audiObelisk Transmission 061

Posted in Podcasts on May 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk podcast 61

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Yes! A new podcast! Are you stoked? I’m stoked. If you’re not, you will be when you look at the list of bands included. In any case, let’s be stoked together, because rock and roll, and heavy psych and good music and, well, yeah. That’s pretty much stuff to be stoked about. It’s been absurdly long since the last time we did one of these. Too long. I don’t really have an excuse other than… gainful employment? Don’t worry, though. That’ll be over soon enough. Then it’ll be podcasts out the ass.

There’s some killer goods here though. Yeah, I decided to do a “Yeti” double-shot with Green Yeti into Telekinetic Yeti. That’s my version of me being clever. But both bands are righteous, and if you haven’t heard the Savanah record, or that new Tia Carrera jam, or the Cachemira or Big Kizz or Yagow or Vokonis or the Elder — oh hell, frickin’ all of it — it’s worth your time. That Emil Amos track just premiered the other day and I think will surprise a lot of people, and I liked the way it paired with the dark neofolk of Hermitess. And of course we get trippy in the second hour, as is the custom around here. But first a moment of prog clarity from the aforementioned Elder. That’s a good time as well.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Track details follow:

First Hour:

0:00:00 Vokonis, “The Sunken Djinn” from The Sunken Djinn
0:06:47 Tia Carrera, “Laid Back (Frontside Rock ‘n’ Roll)” from Laid Back (Frontside Rock ‘n’ Roll)
0:16:33 Supersonic Blues, “Supersonic Blues Theme” from Supersonic Blues Theme / Curses on My Soul
0:19:28 Emil Amos, “Elements Cycling” from Filmmusik
0:22:28 Hermitess, “Blood Moon” from Hermitess
0:26:24 Savanah, “Mind” from The Healer
0:34:22 Yagow, “Non-Contractual” from Yagow
0:42:35 Big Kizz, “Eye on You” from Eye on You
0:45:53 Cachemira, “Jungla” from Jungla
0:52:05 Green Yeti, “Black Planets (Part 2)” from Desert Show
0:58:02 Telekinetic Yeti, “Stoned and Feathered” from Abominable

Second Hour:

1:02:10 Elder, “The Falling Veil” from Reflections of a Floating World
1:13:20 Riff Fist, “King Tide” from King Tide
1:24:15 Cavra, “Montaña” from Cavra
1:39:18 Causa Sui, “A Love Supreme” from Live in Copenhagen

Total running time: 1:55:53

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 061

 

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Review & Full Album Stream: Cachemira, Jungla

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cachemira jungla

[Click play above to stream Cachemira’s Jungla in full. Album is out today, May 12, on Heavy Psych Sounds.]

More than most records, let alone most debuts, Cachemira‘s first offering, Jungla, gives the front-to-back impression of a live set. With “Ouverture” — French for “opening” — the Barcelona three-piece gradually bring the Heavy Psych Sounds release to life over the course of its first four minutes, and from there, it’s all about the naturalist chemistry that emerges as one song feeds into the next over the course of four pieces on two vinyl sides. When taken together, those two sides, “Ouverture” included, comprise a tight 30-minute set that showcases the band’s personality in what is apparently their formative stage. That is, while Cachemira may not sound like it as they round the hairpin turns of eight-minute tracklist centerpiece and side A closer “Goddess,” which follows “Sail Away” after “Ouverture,” they’re are a pretty new group.

The lineup has some measure of pedigree, as guitarist/vocalist Gaston Lainé has played in Brain Pyramid, bassist Pol Ventura in 1886 and drummer Alejandro Carmona in Prisma Circus, but Jungla is their debut outing together following a recorded early version of the album’s instrumental title-track and a posted leak of “Goddess,” which when taken together here comprise the whole of side B. I suppose one could call it boogie rock with all the scorching guitar-led shuffle in “Goddess” or “Jungla” itself, but the classic-rocking sensibility Cachemira elicit owes more to the likes of Radio Moscow than to Graveyard, and among the most appealing aspects of Jungla is its unpretentious, organic vibe.

Most especially for the heavy rock converted, it’s an easy listen that asks little of its audience other than they tag along for a slew of guitar solos and jam-based songcraft. Anyone who’s heard Prisma Circus can tell you Carmona is a monster shuffle-drummer, and he showcases some of that here, finding complement in the warm low tone of Ventura‘s bass as the band works in classic power trio construction — Carmona and Ventura the powerhouse rhythms section to Lainé‘s frontman presence. As recorded by Lainé‘s Brain Pyramid bandmate, Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo, the spirit in “Ouverture” is immediately warm with a subtle underscoring of organ for the sweet guitar tone, and as they build toward “Sail Away,” transitioning via that same organ line, the groove that takes hold remains informed by the relatively patient start they give the album.

cachemira

In terms of the basic elements at play, Jungla works in familiar terrain — guitar, bass, drums, vocals, some flourish of keys — but it’s really about what these players bring to it and how well they work together that lets Jungla impress in the way it does. The band has said outright that this is the product of their beginnings, some of their earliest work from about a year ago, and that may well be the case, but that also shows clearly that what they have most going for them at this point is the fluidity of the instrumental conversation between LainéCarmona and Ventura, as the smoothness of their delivery throughout becomes enough to even out the purposeful choppiness and bounce of their writing style such that even the more raucous back half of “Goddess” — drum solo and all — holds firm to its overarching languid mood. Even when they’re in a rush, they don’t sound like they’re in any rush whatsoever.

That’s not to say they don’t build some significant momentum throughout Jungla, because they most certainly do. Even as “Goddess” breaks before the side flip brings on the closing duo of “Jungla” and “Overpopulation,” the sense of motion to the songs is clear, and whether they’re running in circles as “Jungla” builds to a head in its second half, underscored by persistent, insistent crash from Carmona on drums and a steady throb from Ventura on bass, almost jazzy by the finish after a wah-soaked, forward-driven start, or squealing through the starts and stops and winding progression of the finale, that motion is as varied and multidirectional as it ultimately is maintained. If Jungla is to represent Cachemira‘s beginnings, then their beginnings find them not at all afraid of flying off the handle as they twist around complex rhythm structures, and proven that they’re right not to be.

Whether it’s from their collective experience in other outfits or just happenstance that they work so well together — or, I suppose, some combination of the two — the basic fact of the matter is Cachemira‘s debut offers explosive moments amid a liquid, welcoming, almost understated presentation for what they’re actually doing, and in addition to its own accomplishments, it sets them up to move forward and develop along the course they’re setting here. Primarily, though, it speaks to what would seem to be their force as a stage act, and though it’s a short set, there’s no question they leave their audience wanting more. One suspects it won’t be all that long until we get it, but until then, Jungla‘s balance between the head-spinning and the molten makes their first album a significant preach well worth engaging. It would be a hell of a live show.

Cachemira on Thee Facebooks

Cachemira on Bandcamp

Cachemira at Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

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Cachemira to Release Debut Album Jungla on Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cachemira

So you’re telling me you’ve got a new band with dudes culled from the ranks of Prisma Circus, Brain Pyramid and 1886? Somehow I don’t think I’m gonna have much trouble getting on board with this one, and listening to the instrumental boogie in the “lo-fi take” of “Jungla” — which seems likely to be the title-track of Cachemira‘s forthcoming debut album, and which you can stream at the bottom of this post — the appeal that drove Heavy Psych Sounds to pick the trio up feels pretty obvious. Fiery classic shuffle finds a good home amid a killer label’s unfettered expansion. Who doesn’t like that story?

The version of “Jungla” below, which appeared on a Red Sun Records compilation, is my introduction to the Barcelona-based outfit, but it’s only got me intrigued to dig further. The Italian imprint doesn’t half-ass it either when it comes to promoting its bands, so expect to hear more about Cachemira leading up to the release. For now, here’s the announcement that was posted about the signing:

cachemira-jungla

Cachemira, Jungla – Heavy Psych Sounds

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records & Booking is proud to announce the signing of a new awesome band!! Welcome on board to CACHEMIRA!!

Cachemira was born in the summer of 2015 in Barcelona, the band started as a duo composed of drummer Alejandro Carmona of Prisma Circus and guitar player Gaston Laine of Brain Pyramid (that had recently moved to Spain), after some intense nights of jams they were finally joined by bass player Pol Ventura (1886) to complete the actual line-up.

All three members meet during shows with their respective bands and decided to gather forces to develop each others compositions. Until early 2016 they kept composing in the search of their old school psych rock dynamic.

From January 2016 with a brand new set, the band started to play as much shows as possible to try out their sound. Through a bit more than half of the year they played various cities through Spain, Portugal, France and Germany, sharing the stage with some international bands from the Psych Rock, Stoner scene.

Recording of the first record started in June 2016 and was finished in August right after they were back from a short summer tour where they played in Sonic Blast Moledo, the band has since then matured its sound and keeps on with composition and shows, developing a genuine heavy psych blues experience!

THE DEBUT ALBUM FOR THIS INCREDIBLE 70’s, Heavy Psych, Bluesy Rock band WILL BE OUT THIS SPRING ON HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS RECORDS!

More details about the album will be announced soon …so stay tuned!

https://www.facebook.com/cachemiraband/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/bands/cachemira.htm
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/

Cachemira, “Jungla (Lo-Fi Take)”

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Quarterly Review: Hornss, Khemmis, Fox 45, Monolith Wielder, No Man’s Valley, Saturna, Spotlights, MØLK, Psychedelic Witchcraft, Moon Coven

Posted in Reviews on December 26th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk winter quarterly review

2016 ends and 2017 starts off on the right foot with a brand new Quarterly Review roundup. The first time I ever did one of these was at the end of 2014 and I called the feature ‘Last Licks.’ Fortunately, I’ve moved on from that name, but that is kind of how I’m thinking about this particular Quarterly Review. You’ll find stuff that came out spread all across 2016, early, middle, late, but basically what I’m trying to do here is get to a point where it’s not March and I’m still reviewing albums from November. Will it work? Probably not, but in order to try my damnedest to make it do so anyway, I’m making this Quarterly Review six full days. Monday to Monday instead of Monday to Friday. 60 reviews in six posts. Sounds like madness because it is madness. Let’s get started.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Hornss, Telepath

hornss telepath

San Francisco trio Hornss debuted on RidingEasy Records with 2014’s No Blood No Sympathy (review here) and further their raw genre blend on Telepath, their half-hour follow-up LP delivered via STB, melding heavy punk and metallic impulses to a noisy, thick-toned thrust on songs like “Atrophic” and the bouncing “Sargasso Heart” while opener “St. Genevieve” and the penultimate “Old Ghosts” dig into more stonerly nod. The latter track is the longest inclusion on the record at 3:26, and with 11 cuts there’s plenty of jumping between impulses to be done, but the trio of guitarist/vocalist Mike Moracha, bassist/vocalist Nick Nava – both formerly of desert punkers Solarfeast – and drummer Bil Bowman (ex-Zodiac Killers) work effectively and efficiently to cast an identity for themselves within the tumult. It’s one that finds them reveling in the absence of pretense and the sometimes-caustic vibes of songs like “Leaving Thermal,” which nonetheless boast an underlying catchiness, speaking to a progression from the first album.

Hornss on Thee Facebooks

STB Records store

 

Khemmis, Hunted

khemmis hunted

Easily justifiable decision on the part of Denver’s Khemmis to return to Flatline Audio and producer Dave Otero (Cephalic Carnage, etc.) for their second album, Hunted. No reason to fix what clearly wasn’t broken about their 2015 debut, Absolution (review here), and on the 20 Buck Spin Records release, they don’t. A year later, the four-piece instead build on the doomly grandeur of the first outing and push forward in aesthetic, confidence and purpose, whether that’s shown in mournful opener “Above the Water,” the darker “Candlelight” that follows, or the centerpiece “Three Gates,” which opens as muddied death metal before shifting into a cleaner chorus, creating a rare bridge between doom and modern metal. Khemmis save the most resonant crush for side B, however, with the nine-minute “Beyond the Door” capping with vicious stomp before the 13-minute title-track, which closes the album with an urgency that bleeds even into spacious and melodic break that sets up the final apex to come, as emotionally charged as it is pummeling.

Khemmis on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin on Bandcamp

 

Fox 45, Ashes of Man

fox 45 ashes of man

In addition to the outright charm of titles like “Doominati,” “Coup d’étwat,” “Murdercycle” and “Urinal Acid” (the latter a bonus track), Rochester, New York’s Fox 45 offer fuzzy roll on their Twin Earth Records debut full-length, Ashes of Man, the three-piece of Amanda Rampe, Vicky Tee and Casey Learch finding space for themselves between the post-Acid King nod of “Necromancing the Stone” and more swing-prone movements like the relatively brief “Soul Gourmandizer.” Playing back and forth between longer and shorter tracks gives Ashes of Man a depth of character – particularly encouraging since it’s Fox 45’s first record – and the low-end push that leads “Phoenix Tongue” alone is worth the price of admission, let alone the familiar-in-the-right-ways straightforward heavy riffing of “Narcissister” a short while later. Very much a debut, but one that sets up a grunge-style songwriting foundation on which to build as they move forward, and Fox 45 seem to have an eye toward doing precisely that.

Fox 45 on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records on Bandcamp

 

Monolith Wielder, Monolith Wielder

monolith wielder self titled

Double-guitar Pittsburgh four-piece Monolith Wielder make their self-titled debut through Italian imprint Argonauta Records, bringing together Molasses Barge guitarist Justin Gizzi and Zom guitarist/vocalist Gero von Dehn with bassist Ray Ward (since replaced by Amy Bianco) and drummer Ben Zerbe (also Mandrake Project) for 10 straightforward tracks that draw together classic Sabbathian doom with post-grunge heavy rock roll. There’s a workingman’s sensibility to the riffing of “No Hope No Fear” and the earlier, more ‘90s moodiness of “Angels Hide” – von Dehn’s vocals over the thick tones almost brings to mind Sevendust on that particularly catchy chorus – but Monolith Wielder’s Monolith Wielder isn’t shy about bringing atmospherics to the Iommic thrust of its eponymous cut or the penultimate “King Under Fire,” which recalls the self-titled Alice in Chains in its unfolding bleakness before closer “Electric Hessian” finishes with a slight uptick in pace and a fade out and back in (and a last sample) that hints at more to come.

Monolith Wielder on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

No Man’s Valley, Time Travel

no man's valley time travel

The stomp and clap intro “The Man Who Would be King” casts an immediately bluesy hue on No Man’s Valley’s debut album, Time Travel (LP release on Nasoni), and the Netherlands-based five-piece seem only too happy to build on that from there. It’s a blend outfits like The Flying Eyes and Suns of Thyme have proffered for several years now between heavy psychedelia and blues, but No Man’s Valley find a niche for themselves in the dreamy and patient execution of “Sinking the Lifeboat,” a highlight of the eight-track/33-minute LP, and bring due personality to the classic-style jangle-and-swing of “The Wolves are Coming” as well, so that Time Travel winds up more textured than redundant as it makes its way toward six-minute piano-laden finale “Goon.” Once there, they follow a linear course with a post-All Them Witches looseness that solidifies into a resonant and deeply engaging apex, underscoring the impressive reach No Man’s Valley have brought to bear across this first LP of hopefully many to come.

No Man’s Valley on Thee Facebooks

Nasoni Records website

 

Saturna, III/Lost in Time

saturna lost in time

Barcelona classic rocking four-piece Saturna seem to avoid the boogie trap when they want to, as on the more rolling, modern heavy groove of “Five Fools,” and that keeps their World in Sound/PRC Music third album, III/Lost in Time, from being too predictable after the opening “Tired to Fight” seems to set up Thin Lizzy idolatry. They dip into more complex fare on “Leave it All,” somewhere between Skynyrd leads, Deep Purple organ-isms topped with a rousing hook, but keep some shuffle on songs like “Disease” and the earlier “All Has Been Great.” Highlight/closer “Place for Our Soul” seems to be literal in its title, with a more subdued approach and harmonized vocal delivery, and listening to its more patient delivery one can’t help but wonder why that soul should be relegated to the end of the album instead of featured throughout, but the songwriting is solid and the delivery confident, so while familiar, there’s ultimately little to complain about with what III/Lost in Time offers.

Saturna on Thee Facebooks

World in Sound website

 

MØLK, Hate from the Bong

molk hate from the bong

Especially with the title of their second EP set as Hate from the Bong, one might be tempted to put Belgian outfit MØLK immediately in the same category of malevolent stoner/sludge metal as the likes of Bongripper, but frankly they sound like they’re having too much fun for that on the five-tracker, reveling in lyrical shenanigans on the politically suspect “Stonefish” and opener “Methamphetamine.” Make no mistake, they’re suitably druggy, but even Hate from the Bong’s title-track seems to keep its tongue in cheek as it unfolds its post-Electric Wizard echoes and tonal morass. That gives the five-piece an honest vibe – they’re a relatively new band, having released their first EP in 2016 as well; why shouldn’t they be having a good time? – to coincide with all that thickened low end and vocal reverb, and though they’re obviously growing, there isn’t much more I’d ask of them from a debut full-length, which is a task they sound ready to take on in these songs.

MØLK on Thee Facebooks

MØLK on Bandcamp

 

Psychedelic Witchcraft, The Vision

psychedelic witchcraft the vision

Italian cult rock outfit Psychedelic Witchcraft have proven somewhat difficult to keep up with over the last year-plus. As they’ve hooked up with Soulseller Records and reissued their Black Magic Man EP (review here), their full-length debut, The Vision, and already announced a follow-up compilation in 2017’s Magick Rites and Spells, the band consistently work to feature the vocals of Virginia Monti (also Dead Witches) amid semi-retro ‘70s-style boogie, as heard on the debut in cuts like “Witches Arise” and “Wicked Ways.” At nine tracks/34 minutes, however, The Vision is deceptively efficient, and though they’re unquestionably playing to style, Psychedelic Witchcraft find room to vary moods on “The Night” and the subdued strum of “The Only One Who Knows,” keeping some sonic diversity while staying largely on-theme lyrically. To call the album cohesive is underselling its purposefulness, but the question is how the band will build on the bluesy soulfulness of “Magic Hour Blues” now that they’ve set this progression in motion. Doesn’t seem like it will be all that long before we find out.

Psychedelic Witchcraft on Thee Facebooks

Soulseller Records website

 

Spotlights, Spiders EP

spotlights spiders

Following the heavy post-rock wash of their 2016 debut album, Tidals, Brooklynite two-piece Spotlights – bassist/guitarist/vocalist Sarah Quintero and guitarist/synthesis/vocalist Mario Quintero – return on the quick with a three-track EP, Spiders, and set themselves toward further sonic expansion. The centerpiece “She Spider” is a Mew cover, electronic beats back opener “A Box of Talking Heads V2” and the spacious closer “Joseph” is a track from Tidals remixed by former Isis drummer Aaron Harris. So, perhaps needless to say, they hit that “expansion” mark pretty head-on. The finale turns out to be the high point, more cinematic in its ambience, but still moving through with an underlying rhythm to the wash of what one might otherwise call drones before becoming more deeply post-Nine Inch Nails in its back half. How many of these elements might show up on Spotlights’ next record, I wouldn’t guess, but the band takes an important step by letting listeners know the potential is there, adding three wings onto their wheelhouse in three tracks, which is as efficient conceptually as it is sonically immersive.

Spotlights on Thee Facebooks

Spotlights on Bandcamp

 

Moon Coven, Moon Coven

moon coven self-titled

This self-titled second full-length from Malmö, Sweden-based Moon Coven begins with its longest track (immediate points) in “Storm” and works quickly to nail down a far-reaching meld between heavy psych and riffy density. Issued through the much-respected Transubstans Records, it’s a nine-track/50-minute push that can feel unipolar on an initial listen, but largely avoids that trap through tonal hypnosis and fluid shifts into and out of jams on cuts like “The Third Eye,” while centerpiece “Haramukh High” provides a solidified moment before the organ interlude “The Ice Temple” leads into the mega-roll of finisher “White Sun.” What seems to be a brooding sensibility from the artwork – a striking departure from their 2014 debut, Amanita Kingdom – is actually a far more colorful affair than it might at first appear, and well justifies the investment of repeat visits in the far-out nod of “Conspiracy” and the swirling “Winter,” which goes so far as to add melodic texture in the vocals and notably fuzzed guitar, doing much to bolster the proceedings and overarching groove.

Moon Coven on Thee Facebooks

Transubstans Records

 

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Riff Ritual Fest Vol. 3: Samsara Blues Experiment and Powder for Pigeons Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 1st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Riff Ritual Fest Vol. 3 is set for April 22 in Barcelona, Spain, and the first two acts of what I understand will be a five- or six-band lineup have been announced as Samsara Blues Experiment and Powder for Pigeons. Both based in Germany, both planning on releasing their fourth album, it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility they’ll travel together to Iberia. We already know that Samsara Blues Experiment will take part in Desertfest around this time as well, so it could be that a tour has yet to be revealed. Worth keeping an eye on, particularly as they’re reemerging from a period of relative inactivity over the last year or so.

Seems like it could be a cool vibe if you happen to be in that part of the world in Springtime. Here’s word from the fest:

Exactly 3 years ago, Samsara Blues Experiment visited Barcelona for the first and only time…

What’s a better way to celebrate it than announcing their appearance at Riff Ritual Fest’s third edition? That’s right, the German trio will visit us again with an exclusive show in the Iberian peninsula next April 22, 2017.

It will be the perfect chance to enjoy one of the best stoner/psych live shows around with songs off seminal records in the genre like “Long Distance Trip”, “Revelation & Mystery” or “Waiting For The Flood”.

After taking one sabbatical year, the band is back stronger than ever. We’re sure SBE’s show at RRF will be one for the ages!

Australian-German duo Powder For Pigeons will also be at Riff Ritual Fest’s third edition next Saturday April 22, 2017! PFP is Meike on drums and Rhys as vocalist/guitarist. They met in the Australian desert in 2012 and they haven’t stopped playing all around the globe ever since. In 2017 they will visit Spain for the first time ever.

PFP will be introducing their fourth album, expected for early 2017, while also playing songs from their previous albums; “Powder For Pigeons”, “Washed, Dried, Brain Fried” and “Circus Kinda Times”. A band surely to get the audience crazy with their unique blend of stoner metal and grunge.

RIFF RITUAL FEST / Saturday, April 22nd / Barcelona
Samsara Blues Experiment
Powder For Pigeons

https://www.facebook.com/riffritualfest/
https://www.facebook.com/events/558476571018818/

Samsara Blues Experiment, Live at Daos 2015

Powder for Pigeons, “Full Control” live

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Thermic Boogie Stream Vastness and Matter in Full & Discuss Album’s Origins

Posted in audiObelisk on September 8th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

thermic boogie

Thermic Boogie will release their debut album, Vastness and Matter, through HeadSpin Records on Sept. 15. The Barcelona-based two-piece introduced the record with a review/track premiere here back in the early hours of 2016, and signed with HeadSpin for the CD/LP physical pressings thereafter. A few months’ manufacturing time later, here we are again, streaming the record in full. Nice to give these things some symmetry sometimes.

However, as I’ve already reviewed the four/five-track work — it started out as four, but the latter part of “No Pienses en Volver” has been broken off into a separate, untitled closer for the real-world editions — it hardly seems useful to rehash my own meager insights about the instrumental work of guitarist Albert Martínez-López and drummer Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo (also of Brain Pyramid), so I thought I’d go to the band itself to get some background. What started as a track-by-track kind of became a general overview about how Thermic Boogie came about and how the record came together following the writing for its longest piece, the 21-minute “Quadratonic Magnitude.”

That that track would be the foundation for Thermic Boogie as a whole makes sense once you hear it. Gautier-Lorenzo and Martínez-López have immediate chemistry together as players, and it comes across there in a way that serves the shorter cuts around it, whether that’s opener “A Black Powdery” or the following “Space Void of Matter.” “Quadratonic Magnitude,” as the centerpiece of the tracklist, embodies Thermic Boogie‘s ethic, and the exploration it sets out upon continues in the subsequent “No Pienses en Volver” and the percussive experimenting of the already-noted unnamed finale.

Gautier-Lorenzo was kind enough to go into detail on Vastness and Matter from start to finish, concept to execution, so I won’t delay any further. Dig into the stream of the full album using the Soundcloud player below, then find his comments after, and please, enjoy:

Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo on Vastness and Matter:

Thermic Boogie was born in 2015, after the meeting of me and Albert, who is my step-brother. He already had two beautiful amplifiers and I was looking for a heavy rock project. We directly made a lot of jam sessions, which we recorded on my little cassette 4-track recorder.

Then, we made a surgical work to grab and mix all the heaviest and groovy things we had on the recordings. First came the longest song on the debut album: it’s called “Quadratonic Magnitude.” It actually last 21 minutes or something around. This is the song on which we spent a pretty big lot of time… We wanted to create an intense and dynamic piece, to stick to the dimension-related album. I think it give a good idea of the monolithic way of playing we are aiming to reach.

After this, we crafted the following song, which is the outro of the album. It consists in a sweet and deep part; followed by a percussion part. We really loved the idea of a huge finish, to bring even more density to the disc. It is also a way to show another side of heaviness. This acid-drum part is the only part that has been recorded with the 4-track recorder!

The other songs were quicker to compose. They have more common shape, and straightness. And it’s hard to say if we were “inspired” by a certain band or song to compose them. It think it just popped out of us, without thinking. I like to do spontaneous things, and these songs were almost created instantaneously. Albert brought a lot of ideas and freshness in the way of playing these songs.

The recording took place in a wood factory, in an industrial zone, near Barcelona. It was just a weekend, as we recorded all the playbacks “live”. We just made some overdubs after it, and we were done. It was a real isolation from the noise and agitation of city. We both love to be on the outsides and to have a relief from the stressed environment where we’re living. It think this is the main influence for the whole songs and also for the design and the way of building the album.

It was also very important for us to make that album sound natural and as close as possible of the reality. The mixing and master were made to respect the dynamics and textures of the versatile sound of the guitar, despite of the awful mics and recording gear we used, heheheh.

We made everything by ourselves from the beginning, without help from any third part person! So the people will taste an entire and “monolithic” part of the band
and we would also say a huge thank to our friends and family, to Clio and Headspin/Clear Spot Records.

We’re really excited to see how the people will react to it, as every beginning project. We hope this will like to all the heavy diggers, and night trippers. May the real heavy rock live on!

Thermic Boogie on Thee Facebooks

Thermic Boogie on Bandcamp

Thermic Boogie at HeadSpin Records

HeadSpin Records on Thee Facebooks

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Cuzo, Ensalada Ovni: Alien Communications (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 19th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

cuzo ensalada ovni

[Click play above to stream ‘Noches de Sol’ from Cuzo’s Ensalada Ovni, out in September on Underground Legends Records.]

At its core, Cuzo‘s Ensalada Ovni seems to be most about balance. A balance between guitar and keys, guitar and bass, bass and drums, drums and keys, guitar and drums, and the fluidity that emerges from that balance. It is the Barcelona trio’s sixth album and their first for Underground Legends Records, having made their debut with 2008’s Amor y Muerte en la Tercera Fase (review here) and followed it with 2010’s Otros Mundos (review here) as they continued to develop their deeply progressive instrumental approach.

The next year, they hooked up with Can‘s Damo Suzuki for Puedo Ver Tu Mente, and Alquimia para Principiantes and Son Imaginacions Teves followed in 2012 and 2013, respectively, but three years is the longest stretch between Cuzo albums to-date, so it’s with more than a little interest that guitarist Jaime Pantaleón, bassist Fermin Manchado and drummer Pep Carabante make their return with these nine tracks. As to what the time has done to the band’s sound, Ensalada Ovni offers something of a shift in tone from Son Imaginacions Teves, some movement away from the fuzz that record proffered at times and which their earlier work did as well, toward a cleaner, more purely progged take, but they were headed in that direction already. The key is in how dug into the sound the three-piece is, how linked they are through chemistry when they play.

I don’t know if it’s fair to say “it sounds like a band’s sixth record” — first because it might not necessarily sound like a compliment, second because who the hell knows what a sixth record sounds like — but Ensalada Ovni clearly benefits from Cuzo‘s prior experience and dedicates itself to moving that forward across its tight-woven but not overly dense 36 minutes. For all its flow and for all the grace with which it blends the elements at work, Ensalada Ovni almost feels like it should be more self-indulgent than it is. Any even semi-experimental offering is going to have that side to its personality, and Cuzo‘s latest definitely qualifies, but PantaleónManchado and Carabante keep a human core underlying the twists and turns of “Cuenta Atrás Muda” and the subsequent “Plutonium” that sets the tone for what plays out across the rest of the record, establishing the across-the-board balance noted above. That’s a tradeoff, inherently.

cuzo

Balance comes at the expense of danger, but I don’t think a song like “Il Dio Serpente,” which sounds a little in its dreamy guitar like it’s auditioning for a Gary Arce collaboration, would necessarily work as well if it sounded like it was about to fall apart. Rather, the skillful hand(s) that guide it lead the listener through its jam-influenced course easily, and as long as one is prepared to go along, it’s an engaging trip to take, particularly backed as it is by the shorter psych freakout/keyboard wash of “Todo Ha Terminado,” a quick but linear part meld that gives way to Ensalada Ovni‘s centerpiece title-track, which feels lush in its keys early but still manages to bold hold a groove and avoid getting lost in itself. Very much emblematic of the album that shares its name.

Guitar leads the way into “Noches de Sol,” but the drums still play a foundational role in the track, giving Pantaleón the space to establish the initial breadth of the track before moving into the jangly central figure, spacing out from there and returning once again to the simple strum. Cuzo‘s tones may have gotten less fuzzy over time, but their delivery still has presence in its motion, and the funky start of “Maquina Suau” demonstrates that cleanly. The song is under four minutes long but among the most singularly immersive on Ensalada Ovni, more driven by its synth, though it’s the guitar that ultimately wahs the way out over a cymbal wash, jazzy and funky in kind.

Space continues to be the running theme through “Cuzolar” and closer “Good for Business,” the former with a more laid back roll that highlights Manchado‘s smooth tone beneath its forward keyboard line, and the latter which seems to start out on a similar course but shifts into more manic guitar strumming at about its halfway point. Never quite knowing what to expect, toying with nontraditional structures, playing up one side over another — these are all pretty consistent factors throughout Ensalada Ovni‘s run, but the overarching sense of design behind the record shouldn’t be ignored, and though they have worked at a prolific clip to get to where they are, it’s very obvious that Cuzo have reaped the benefits of their experience as a band. Expect Ensalada Ovni to be another step on a much longer path, though it offers landmarks on its way as well.

Cuzo, Ensalada Ovni teaser

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Thermic Boogie Premiere “Space Void of Matter” from Vastness and Matter

Posted in audiObelisk on January 11th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

thermic boogie

Barcelona duo Thermic Boogie are hoping to release their debut album, Vastness and Matter, this Spring. The instrumental two-piece of guitarist Albert Martínez-López and drummer Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo offer up a four-track, 50-minute long-player with their debut release in a style they refer to as “double-toasted” heavy rock. Whatever that might mean, their sound draws a line across two shorter cuts and two subsequent longer ones between semi-technical riffing and rhythmic turns and all-out crunching tonality. It’s heavy, it can move quick to a dizzying degree, and it retains a sense of spaciousness in its tone and crash no matter where Martínez-López and Gautier-Lorenzo (the latter also of Brain Pyramid and Fange) take it.

In short, Vastness and Matter offers up what its title promises — space and earthly crush. The dynamic that Martínez-López and Gautier-Lorenzo foster even from the feedback-soaked beginning of opener “A Black Powdery” belies the notion of this being their first outing, the guitar digging deep into low-end to fill out the room in the channel a bass might otherwise occupy as the drums offer immediate electrified propulsion. Still, “A Black Powdery” might as well be an introduction next to what follows as “Space Void of thermic-boogie-vastness-and-matterMatter” picks up with a vehement push of thickened boogie, Thermic Boogie winding through The Atomic Bitchwax-style runs and still showing up on the doorstep of the four-part “Quadratonic Magnatude” without a scratch on them.

Perhaps it’s inevitable because of the runtimes involved, but “Quadratonic Magnatude” and the closing “No Pienses en Volver” both top 21 minutes and comprise the core of Vastness and Matter‘s barrage of high-impact riffs and en-route-to-tripped-out sonics. Working in four individual movements, “Quadratonic Magnatude” courses through uptempo heavy rock twists and wall-of-noise crashing before settling at last into a slowdown groove and big finish worthy of what came before it, and as it carries the rest of the album out, “No Pienses en Volver” is a record unto itself, with jazzy bursts, a massive stretch drum tension and a stretch of silence prior to a classic riffy shuffle takes hold, either as a secret track or a second part of “No Pienses en Volver” that remains unnamed. At heart in everything Thermic Boogie do on their first outing is the chemistry between Martínez-López and Gautier-Lorenzo, who give an impressive showing while also setting up various avenues for potential future growth.

They’re reportedly looking for a label now to get behind the release of Vastness and Matter, and I don’t anticipate finding one will be much trouble. “Space Void of Matter” gives an excellent sampling of what they have going throughout the album (while not necessarily giving it all away), and you can check it out on the player below.

Please enjoy:

Thermic Boogie is a heavy rock band formed in Barcelona on summer of 2015. It is the initiative of Albert Martinez Lopez and Baptiste Gautier Lorenzo (Brain Pyramid/Fange). The aim is to provide a loud and powerful groove through firing and corrosive songs. Great volumes, intense sound, high energy, and hard playing. The influences are all 90s and some actual sludge bands, but also rock and roll in his different forms, and of course, every funky groovy, and world music. They will release their first LP called Vastness and Matter in beginnings of 2016. The band is now searching for many gigs to offer the best of what they can blast.

Thermic Boogie / VASTNESS AND MATTER
01 A Black Powdery
02 Space void of matter
03 Quadratonic Magnitude
–03.1 Amplitude
–03.2 Distance
–03.3 Lux Vacuum
–03.4 Ascension
04 No pienses en volver

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