Review & Track Premiere: Black Space Riders, Amoretum Vol. 2

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

BLACK SPACE RIDERS AMORETUM VOL 2

[Click play above to stream ‘Ch Ch Ch Ch Pt. II (Living in My Dream)’ from Black Space Riders’ Amoretum Vol. 2. Album is out July 27.]

That must have been one hell of a writing session. At the very beginning of this year, German progressonauts Black Space Riders issued Amoretum Vol. 1 (review here), which wildly spanned genres across an eight-track/45-minute run. It was said at the time that Amoretum Vol. 2 — think: “an arboretum of love” — would follow closely behind, and one could hardly do anything but take the band at their word. But they’ve followed chapters one and two, which coincided with the two sides of the first LP, with a double-album — sides C, D, E and F — that total a whopping 14 tracks and 68 minutes. I don’t want to go around telling anyone their business, but Black Space Riders might have considered putting together a few more songs and adding a Vol. 3 to the saga. After all, everyone loves a good trilogy, and December will be here before any of us know it.

All kidding aside, the project is resoundingly ambitious in its concept and in the actual execution of its stylistic drive. Those familiar with Black Space Riders‘ prior work — 2016’s Beyond Refugeeum EP (discussed here), 2015’s Refugeeum (review here) long-player, 2014’s D:REI (discussed here), 2012’s Light is the New Black (review here) and their 2010 self-titled debut (review here) — know that the band has grown to encompass a significant creative sphere, and that they’re no strangers to hopping from genre to genre or experimenting with their sound in order to make a specific statement. As to the statement they’re making with Amoretum Vol. 2 and really the pair of both records with the title, it might be summed up in the hook of second track “Lovelovelovelovelovelovelovelove Love (Break the Pattern of Fear),” which proffers the following: “Fear leads to anger, fear leads to hate/Hate leads to suffering, suffering and pain/So love love love love love love love love,” etc.

That chorus arrives amid a manic tumult of thoughtful and hard-hitting progressive metal that caps in galloping drums beneath and a keyboard line above muted crashes in succession and of course leads to the ambient linear build of “Walls Away” and the winding Celtic-inspired riff of “Slaínte (Salud, Dinero, Amor),” because that’s how it goes with Black Space Riders at this stage in their tenure: it goes. Far. The initials-only returning lineup of guitarist/vocalist/organist/programmer JE and compatriots, vocalist Seb, drummer/percussionist C.RIP, guitarist SLI, bassist SAQ and newer bassist MEI continue aggressive thrust on “Assimilating Love” and earlier cuts like opener “Before My Eyes,” “Lovelovelovelovelovelovelovelove Love (Break the Pattern of Fear),” and the later “Ch Ch Ch Ch Pt. II (Living in My Dream),” but this is no more a defining factor than the atmospheric breadth of highlight cut “Leaves of Life (Falling Down),” the resonant guitars of chapter five leadoff “Take Me to the Stars” or the harsh-vocals over post-rock guitar on the penultimate “No Way.” Scope is what Black Space Riders do best.

black space riders

It works because they don’t lose track of the songcraft in that process. And again, that must have been one hell of a writing session. To come out of it with a collection of at least 22 total tracks topping 100 minutes between them to spread across two albums while working across aesthetics around a consistent theme? Not a minor undertaking and a considerable achievement in the realization. As Amoretum Vol. 2 dives deeper into its chapters, the vibe becomes even thicker. “Take Me to the Stars” leads into the seven-minute cosmic drone build of “Ch Ch Ch Ch Pt. I (The Ugly Corruptor),” which leads the way fluidly into the nodding intro riff of “Ch Ch Ch Ch Pt. II (Living in My Dream),” and while “Chain Reaction” has its hand-claps, standout bassline, percussion and gang shouts, its pace is still more or less in the middle, giving itself over to the willful incongruity of manic drums and post-rock airy guitar in “No Way,” that transition also somehow smooth into the quiet start of 13-minute closer “The Wait is Never Over.”

And of course that final track is a focal point. How could it not be? Black Space Riders, whose sense of purpose is writ large in every facet of Amoretum, set themselves to the task of summarizing the stretch they’ve undertaken, and there’s just about no way they didn’t know when they were putting it together that “The Wait is Never Over” would finish off record(s). There’s simply nowhere else to put it. An initial linear build starts from silence to comprise the first half of the song while a break after the halfway point brings it down to almost reggae-rhythmed mellow vibes, only to surge out again and cap with a residual noise. All the while, controlled keyboard and effects swirls, vocals, bass and drums match pace with the guitar, giving a forward mentality consistent with what’s come before but stretching beyond prior limits. At around 10 minutes, the noise wash arrives to carry Amoretum Vol. 2 to its finish, ring-outs and crashes marking the end of the band’s journey. They might’ve been able to do a Vol. 3 if they wanted, but there’s little question left as to the fact that they’ve finished Vol. 2.

These are interesting and in some ways deeply trying times. Alliances that have lasted decades are dissipating. Centers of global power and leadership are shifting. Not all changes are for the better, and that’s a vicious, vicious understatement. Black Space Riders seem to be offering a reminder of the human center of all the sociopolitical goings on — that it’s not just about vague or even concrete notions of policy, or populism, or economics, but about people living their lives and working to make the world around them a little better for their being there. “In Our Garden” reminds of this with its peaceful and methodical drift, as does the urgency of Amoretum Vol. 2 earlier going. It may well be that the album is looking to convey the idea of the place where love grows, and if so, all the better, since love and passion are so obviously behind the creative spirit that birthed it in the first place.

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Black Space Riders Set July 27 Release Date for Amoretum Vol. 2

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

black space riders

Reliably unpredictable German progressive heavy rockers Black Space Riders have set a July issue date for the second installment of the apparently two (you know, so far) part series of Amoretum full-lengths. The first, Amoretum Vol. 1 (review here), landed on Jan. 26, so it’s fitting that Amoretum Vol. 2 should come precisely six months later. Always equal parts adventurous in their craft and structured in their output, Black Space Riders rarely seem more comfortable than when they’re reaching outside the comforts of genre confines, and if you heard the first volume of Amoretum, you already know they’re pushing further out than ever before.

I did a track premiere for Amoretum Vol. 1 and have put in a request to do one for Vol. 2 as well because I believe in what this band is doing, in all its go-anywhere-anytime outside-the-boxness. Album art and details came down the PR wire:

black space riders amoretum vol 2

BLACK SPACE RIDERS Announce July Release of Amoretum Vol. 2

What, already?

Fresh on the heels of the January 2018 release of Amoretum Vol. 1, German Riffonauts BLACK SPACE RIDERS are set to return with its follow-up, Amoretum Vol. 2.

The songs on Amoretum Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 were all written over a three-month period, and subsequently recorded and produced in a single rush of creativity. The band decided to release the more than two hours of music that came from their mid-2017 writing session in two different parts. As BLACK SPACE RIDERS’ 6th album, Amoretum Vol. 2 is a continuation – a second book – but it also exists as a completely autonomous work.

Is Vol. 2 the rebellious older sister of Vol. 1, or the young, untamed brother? Maybe …

Amoretum Vol. 2 explores the tension between darkness (fear, hate, rejection) and light (empathy, love, acceptance). The albums were titled Amoretum – a blend of “Amor” (or Cupid, as translated from German) and “Arboretum” – as a symbolic reference to the sanctuary of nature and love. While this concept applies to both albums, Vol. 2 is a storm raging through the Garden of Love!

A wild, 14-track ride awaits. Hard, fast heavy rockers morph into new wave indie sounds and even postpunk loses its “post.” Psychedelic triphop meets dub reggae roots and then ends in a loud rush of psychedelic riffs.

Sonically, Vol. 2 delivers a massive, atmospheric, hypnotic, sometimes raw and sometimes tender sound. This, with all the joy of experimentation, is held together by a band that never wants to stop. With all the movement and all the detours, Vol. 2 still manages to sound like one coherent entity. The common thread is in the sound, groove, melody and atmosphere that permeates everything and leads you through this epic journey.

BLACK SPACE RIDERS will release Amoretum Vol. 2 July 27 on double vinyl (w/ CD), digisleeve CD and digital formats.

Amoretum Vol. 2 Tracklist:

Chapter Three:
Before My Eyes
Lovelovelovelovelovelovelovelove Love (Break the Pattern Of Fear)
Walls Away
Slaínte (Salud, Dinero, Amor)
Assimilating Love

Chapter Four:
In Our Garden
Leaves of Life (Falling Down)
Body Move

Chapter Five:
Take Me to The Stars
Ch Ch Ch Ch Pt. I (The Ugly Corruptor)
Ch Ch Ch Ch Pt. II (Living In My Dream)

Chapter Six:
Chain Reaction
No Way
The Wait Is Never Over

BLACK SPACE RIDERS are:
JE: Lead Vocals, Guitars, Organ, Piano, Electronics
SEB: Lead vocals, Keyboards, Electronics
C.RIP: Drums, Percussion, Didgeridoo
SLI: Guitars
MEI: Bass Guitar

upcoming BLACK SPACE RIDERS Shows :
29.06.2018 Osnabrück – Bastard Club
30.08.2018 Köln – MTC
31.08.2018 Giessen – Jokus
01.09.2018 Jena – Kulturbahnhof
08.09.2018 Münster – Sputnikhalle
01.11.2018 Mannheim – 7er Club
02.11.2018 Wien – Das Bach
03.11.2018 Hösacker – Blackout
16.11.2018 Dortmund – Piano (w\ Samsara Blues Experiment)
17.11.2018 Lingen – Alter Schlachthof

www.blackspaceriders.com
Twitter.com/BlackSpaceRider
www.facebook.com/BlackSpaceRiders
www.youtube.com/user/blackspaceriders

Black Space Riders, Amoretum Vol. 1 (2018)

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Six Dumb Questions with Black Space Riders

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on February 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

black space riders

At this point I’ve heaped praise on Black Space Riders‘ new album, Amoretum Vol. 1, in any number of contexts. There was the initial release announcement (posted here), the video posted for “Another Sort of Homecoming” (posted here), the review and track premiere for “Lovely Lovelie” (review here) that went up last month, then another video, this one for the electro-jazz hypnosis of “Movements” (posted here), and even a couple weeks ago a vinyl giveaway set up through the band themselves (posted here).

And you know what? If Black Space Riders had another video tomorrow, or a tour announcement, or whatever, I’d post that shit too. The underlying point of all of it is that I believe — particularly for those who can approach it with an open mind — Amoretum Vol. 1 genuinely has something special to offer. I’ll spare you further laudits and no rehash flowery descriptions of the progressive bent that unites the sonically varied material in its expressive purposes and instead just say that I hope the Amoretum series does indeed continue and that if you haven’t yet, you invest a little time and mental energy into getting to know the album, because it is absolutely worth the effort of the real engagement it demands.

As to the actual talking, this time around I’ll leave it to guitarist/vocalist/organist/programmer JE — joined in the band by the silhouettes above of vocalist Seb, drummer/percussionist C.RIP, guitarist SLI, bassist SAQ and (more recent) bassist MEI — as he explains the motivations behind where Black Space Riders go thematically and sound-wise this time around, their new deal with Ripple Music that will result in wider US distribution of their material, being driven by the music first, letting love rule, and much, much more. He’s obviously someone who cares very deeply about what he does, and I think that comes through here as much as in the songwriting of Black Space Riders as a group.

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

Black Space Riders Amoretum Vol 1

Six Dumb Questions with JE of Black Space Riders

How did the Amoretum idea come about? What was it you were looking to say about the world after Refugeeum? Give me some background on the perspective from which you approached the concept coming into this album.

For us the idea behind Refugeeum was very earthly, very concrete, we felt being between anger and hopelessness, coping with the current events that we were facing in 2014/2015, when we were writing the album. We needed to do that back then, because we felt deeply touched by all the pain and suffering, we had to “leave the orbit” and make a statement.

After releasing the album it was very clear that we didn’t want to repeat that in any way but if you take a look around two years later and notice: “hey, the world didn’t really has become a better place since then …. is it really getting worse??,” you can’t just turn around and move on.

We really wanted to reintroduce some additional joyful, less grave and less serious colours into our music and our lyrics. We wanted to write songs and lyrics to dance to and to smile to ….e.g. I always wanted to write about “love” in a non-embarrassing way. And on the other hand there still was the awareness that we all are moving faster and faster towards really dark times.

In the end we opened ourselves to all these positive and negative feelings and started writing about the confrontation and disunity of fear/anger/hate vs. love/empathy/joy. And once there was this picture of a “sheltered garden of love and blossoming,” threatened by all the darkness around, leading us to create a new word for this imaginary place: Amoretum, consisting of “Arboretum” and “Amor.”

Which came first, the idea for what Amoretum would be or the songs? How does the Black Space Riders songwriting process work for you at this point? Do you compose around a specific idea or improvise and see what fleshes out? How much does everyone in the band contribute?

We are musicians and not poets. The music always comes first. The vocals in our idea of making music are additional instruments and timbres. And when we are writing lyrics it’s sometimes more important how these words sound as a part of the music than the exact meaning of the sentences. We want to create something like a holistic picture, consisting of songwriting, sound, attitude, song titles, lyrics and artwork that may trigger the listener‘s association, that can turn on something like an “inner movie” in the listener’s head. And the music is always the starting point.

After recording the songs for Refugeeum and the Beyond Refugeeum EP we returned to our headquarters — our rehearsal room — and just jammed, recorded, created new music without any pressure, without any idea what will be, without any masterplan.

Our way of composing has developed over the years. For the first albums we were often working on and arranging song ideas that I had designed and drafted before.

Now most of the songs result from jamming and letting flow. But of course there is always a starting point: most times a guitar riff, sometimes a drum pattern or a sequencer pattern or a piano melody. Then usually our drummer C.RIP is stepping in as second and is pushing the idea into a rhythmical direction. First everybody is really listening and is then joining at that point, when he feels, he has an idea what he could contribute and what is missing. In the end every member is contributing.

We record everything in the rehearsal room. We had recorded more than 10 hours of new music only six months after Refugeeum. Our drummer C.RIP is listening and sorting out the ideas and then we continue working on the best ideas and spent a lot of attention in arranging the songs. When we enter the studio we have finished songs with finished arrangements.

Tell me about recording Amoretum. How long were you in the studio? What was the time like when you were there? You’ve been through recording sessions many times over at this point. Do you know what you want in terms of sound when you go in?

This time we recorded all together 22 tracks, almost two hours of music, which took us about two weeks. One to two days are for soundchecking (a good and natural drum sound takes time and as we use a lot of different guitar amps, cabinets and setups in the different songs, we carefully work on these sounds as well). Then about five or six days for live-recordings. This was more than for the previous records but it was so much music with so many details this time. We record all basic tracks live and “oldschool,” in one room: drums, bass and guitars. Good friends locked in one room, that’s good for the feeling, the atmosphere and the sound as well. After that we recorded vocals, additional guitar effects and overdubs (e.g. some keyboards or guitar solos) in another five to six days.

We are working with ROLE in his Tonmeisterei in Oldenburg. (Role Wiegner, http://www.die-tonmeisterei.de/). Back in 2009, I had proposed his studio to the other members for the first album, because I liked some of his recordings, his sound and his philosophy. Since that time we are working with him. He has become a good friend and a kind of additional band member. We know each other very well.

We recorded in three sessions spread over about five weeks. When we are in the studio we are working highly concentrated from 11AM-11PM. It‘s an atmosphere of creativity, friendship, concentration, work, fun and a lot of discussion. After 11PM, we are leaving the studio to find a place which is still serving some food and some drinks. Then sleep in the studio, having breakfast together, working on some lyrics (some of them were written and finished during the recording time) or checking the guitar setup.

Our common idea of how we want to sound and how we can get there with recording and microphone technique is growing and developing from album to album. For the first album we wanted a warm fat analogue transparent classic sound — the contradiction to “modern.” My reference album was Paranoid by Black Sabbath then. So I listened with ROLE and the band members to this album in order to understand what made its production so special. We then also listened to other reference albums such as Tres Hombres (ZZ Top) and By a Thread (Gov’t Mule). That was our first album and the starting point. From then on we never used other external reference albums again to find our way, but we started discussing after we had an idea of how the material on the new album would be, what we wanted to change for the next album. We always first discuss it in the band and then I am visiting ROLE in Oldenburg, play the rehearsal recordings to him and tell him about our sound vision. Then we discuss several ways to get there with different concepts.

For Amoretum we wanted to keep our fat, analogue “soundcore” but add a touch of hi-fi (not too much?!). We wanted more openness, a “bigger” sound: more cymbals, more “room,” like rays of light in the darkness.

Is there a set idea in your mind for what makes Black Space Riders’ style its own? How do you feel about the way the band has progressed since the self-titled? How much of that progression happens on purpose?

We don’t have a masterplan. Neither for our musical “career,” nor for progression or development. We have the privilege to be totally independent so we can do whatever we want. We all have a lot of different musical influences, experiences and favourites, from metal, hardcore, punk, wave, pop, indie to electronic music, trip-hop, funk, jazz, folk and reggae.

From album to album we allowed more influences to enter but still we sound like ourselves. That is something I am really proud of. We can add electronics, funky elements, a dub-reggae feeling and new wave and the result is still Black Space Riders. I believe that is because we have a special signature way we sound, a very groovy rhythmic approach compared to a lot of other rock bands and a special liking for melancholic yearning moods, melodies and atmospheric sound textures.

The progression is just happening. We allow more and more and we like it. And as I said above as our music is increasingly coming from playing together and letting flow. It just happens.

When might we see Amoretum Vol. 2 arrive? Is the next installment written? Recorded? How might it differ from Vol. 1, and are there any lessons you’ve learned from making the first part you’ll bring to the second?

Vol. 2 is written, recorded, mastered and ready to embrace the world a bit later this year. And let me just say you don‘t have to wait until the end of 2018.

We focused on 22 tracks before entering the studio and recorded and produced all of them. And somehow we loved each single track, there were no b-sides in our opinion. The dilemma was: what to do with so much music?

We really thought about releasing a triple-vinyl album like Joe‘s Garage (Frank Zappa) or Sandinista! (The Clash) back then. But who has the time, passion, attention span and is willing and able to listen to almost two hours of music in one piece?

And we want people to listen to the whole album and not only to selected tracks. For us making an album is so much more than to string together a couple of recorded tracks. We want to take people on a trip over the entire record. It should feel like an inspiring, adventurous journey. Creating a permanent flow, a kind of symmetry and a special logic is important for us and this requires the best possible sequence of the songs.

This is a huge challenge if you want to do it for 22 tracks. There are so many options. In the end we decided to split Amoretum into two parts: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.

In my opinion Vol. 1 is very compact, diverting, almost accessible; eight tracks in 45 minutes. For a band that is used to release albums with a running time between 60 and 80 minutes, that’s very (cough) “short.”

Vol. 2 has a somehow different character. We are talking about 14 tracks and a running time of a little less than 70 minutes. Very diverse tracks concerning mood, sound, atmosphere style and tempo. Compared to Vol. 1, it’s like a wild hunt.

Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

No masterplan! Let’s see what is going to happen. Good news for North America: our new collaboration with the California-based label Ripple Music will make this album (and hopefully our back catalogue as well) so much easier available for our friends and fans overseas. What else? My pathetic conclusion: we believe that in the end you can’t fight hate with hate. Let us overcome the fear and embrace the world with empathy. Let love rule!

Black Space Riders, “Movements” official video

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GIVEAWAY: Win Black Space Riders’ Amoretum Vol. 1 on Vinyl

Posted in Features on January 24th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

black space riders amoretum vol 1 vinyl 1

[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]

This week marks the arrival of the new full-length from progressive metallers Black Space Riders. Given the title Amoretum Vol. 1 (review here) and set for issue through Cargo Records in the band’s native Germany, MVD in the US and various other parties in different regions around Europe and beyond, it’s an adventurous listen that, like much of the group’s work to-date, remains underappreciated for its stylistic reach and accomplished level of songwriting.

Well, I can’t make everyone everywhere listen to everything I think is cool. What I can do, however, is make sure the platter gets into someone’s hands who’s willing to give it a shot. Maybe you’re a Black Space Riders fan. Maybe you’re a free vinyl fan. Either way, I can think of no reason why you wouldn’t enter this giveaway and take your chances at winning a copy of Amoretum Vol. 1, which gracefully brings together heavy rock, prog, metal and a slew of other forward thinking impulses to take an honest and engaging look at the world in which we live. Quality record. You could own it.

I’m gonna keep this post short because I’d rather have you enter the contest than read my blathering. Three quick things: Thanks to the band for offering up the platter to some lucky winner from somewhere around the world, and thanks to you in advance for taking part in the giveaway. Also, as always please keep in mind that I have no interest in storing email addresses, selling info or anything like that. I’m neither organized enough nor devious enough for that shit. I’m just a dude who likes to talk about music and hook people up with free platters when I can.

So yeah, have at it. If you win, I’ll drop you a line a week from today or thereabouts. In the meantime, you can hear some of the record on the Bandcamp player below and chase down more info at the links that follow. Dig in.

[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]

Black Space Riders, Amoretum Vol. 1

Black Space Riders webstore

Black Space Riders on Thee Facebooks

Black Space Riders on Twitter

Black Space Riders on Bandcamp

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Black Space Riders Post “Movements” Video; Amoretum Vol. 1 out Next Week

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

black space riders

If you happened to catch the last Black Space Riders video and you happen to catch this one, well, you’ll probably note that the two have about nothing in common. Ha. I bet you thought I was gonna tie it all together like there’s some overarching narrative or something like that. No dice! Take that, expectation!

Actually, if you want to think about it on another level, there is an overarching narrative between the clip previously posted for “Another Sort of Homecoming,”and it speaks in my mind not just to the appeal of Black Space Riders‘ current album — the forthcoming Amoretum Vol. 1 (review here), which, as the headline says above, is out next week — but also the appeal of the band as a whole: you just don’t ever really know where they’re going to go next.

To wit, “Another Sort of Homecoming,” the video, was based around an old sci-fi cartoon culled from the vast reaches of the public domain. “Movements?” Well, it’s nature footage, man’s interaction with the world around him, alternately patient and manic in its presentation — every bit a different vibe. And you know what? It’s perfect for the two songs. “Another Sort of Homecoming” is an uptempo dancer clocking in under four minutes, while “Movements” turns from its initial post-rock drift to build to furious intensity of chugging before finally evening out atop some still-pretty-frenetic percussive work. Time: eight minutes. The two songs — which on the record are separated only by the catchy push of “Soul Shelter (Inside of Me)” — would seem to have little to do with each other.

But that’s the point. It’s the scope of the thing, and that’s the story they’re telling about Amoretum Vol. 1 and Black Space Riders as a whole. I know this isn’t the highest-profile release that’s coming out this year, but I really think this band has something to offer, so I’m just going to keep writing about them as much as possible. Look for a vinyl giveaway and an interview with the band in the weeks to come.

Enjoy the clip for “Movements” in the meantime, followed by more from the PR wire:

Black Space Riders, “Movements” official video

Amoretum Vol. 1 will be released on January 26. The single can be purchased and the album pre-ordered on all digital platforms, including Bandcamp, as well as at the band shop: www.blackspaceriders.com/shop

Distribution partners:
Germany/Austria/Switzerland: Cargo Records
USA/ Canada: MVD Entertainment
UK: PHD (plastichead distribution)
BeNeLux: Suburban records
Scandinavia: Border Music
Italy: Goodfellas

BLACK SPACE RIDERS are:
JE: Lead Vocals, Guitars, Organ, Piano, Electronics
SEB: Lead vocals, Keyboards, Electronics
C.RIP: Drums, Percussion, Didgeridoo
SLI: Guitars
SAQ: Bass Guitar
MEI: Bass Guitar

Black Space Riders webstore

Black Space Riders on Thee Facebooks

Black Space Riders on Twitter

Black Space Riders on Bandcamp

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Långfinger Announce Fall 2017 European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

langfinger (Photo by Bengt Persson)

Swedish classic-style heavy rockers Långfinger have announced a new round of European touring for this September and October. The Gothenburg three-piece will head out for a run through Germany, Belgium, and the Czech Republic beginning Sept. 28 as they continue to support their 2016 offering, Crossyears (review here), released by Small Stone in the US in conjunction with Cargo Records in Europe.

Though they’re still young, Långfinger are fast becoming veterans of Europe’s heavy rock underground. With Crossyears as their third album behind 2010’s Skygrounds and 2012’s Slow Rivers, the band have more and more refined their sense of songcraft to make their tracks organic, memorable and engaging in their blend of ’70s roots and modern impulses. Earlier this year, they hit the road alongside labelmates Captain Crimson to represent two of Sweden’s strongest upstart presences in next-generation riffage.

Dates for the upcoming autumnal run and more info follow here, courtesy of the PR wire:

langfinger tour poster

Långfinger Autumn Tour
28/9 Kiel (DE) – Schaubude
29/9 Oldenburg (DE) – MTS LP’s & CD’s
30/9 La Louviere (BE) – La Taverne du Theatre
1/10 Rodewisch (DE) – Ars Vitae
2/10 Prague (CZ) – Fatal Club
3/10 Pod?brady (CZ) – Boss Bar
4/10 Kolin (CZ) – Bar Pod Hodinama
6/10 Weimar (DE) – Kasseturm
7/10 Lubbeneu (DE) – Kulturhof

Poster design by: Thomas V. Jäger from Monolord.

Långfinger, from the fertile rock ‘n’ roll city of Gothenburg, are masters of the art. They’ve been playing together since they were in their early teens, and their third album, called ‘Crossyears’, is both the thrilling culmination of their collective endeavour, and a rumination on it – on how Time has shaped them and brought them to this point. Within its hard-hitting grooves, the interlocking of Långfinger’s three disparate characters – Kalle, the unflappable, precision axeman; Jesper, the athletic sticksman battering out physical revenge on his kit; and Victor, the intense, exploratory spirit, bridging thundering bass and howling exorcism – is a magical proposition.

Långfinger:
Kalle Lilja – Guitars & backing vocals
Victor Crusner – Bass, keys & lead vocals
Jesper Pihl – Drums & backing vocals

https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/crossyears
https://www.facebook.com/Langfingerofficial/
http://langfinger.net/

Långfinger, Crossyears (2016)

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Black Space Riders to Hit Studio in July for 2018 Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

On a general level, I’m a sucker for productivity and for thoughtful songwriting, and German outfit Black Space Riders have always offered both. The days since the 2016 release of their most recent EP, Beyond Refugeeum (discussed here), would seem to have been particularly fruitful, as the band reports via the PR wire below that they now have too much material written to fit even on a double album. That seems like it should be plenty, and the six-piece apparently agrees. They’ll hit the studio in July to begin laying down new tracks.

I’m also a proponent of making a strong single LP as opposed to a double LP in almost every situation — the theory being that if you truly love, love, love the songs you’re leaving off your record, the ones you’ve left on must be even better — so I’ll be interested for sure to see what Black Space Riders end up with from these sessions. A 2018 release is being eyed, so we’ve got a while before we find out, but here’s the latest update from the band:

BLACK-SPACE-RIDERS

BLACK SPACE RIDERS Entering the Studio this Summer

German Riffonauts BLACK SPACE RIDERS will enter the studio in mid-July to record new material. The thematic journey and musical cycle that covered the internationally acclaimed last album Refugeeum and the subsequent Beyond Refugeeum EP has been completed.

Singer / guitarist JE comments: “We have written a lot of interesting and new songs, too much material to fit on a classic double album. These are tracks that are flirting with different musical styles; we’re looking outside the box. We will start recording in July and then we’ll see what we’re going to do with this giant pile of music. In the beginning of 2018 there will definitely be a new release from us. Watch out!”

Refugeeum and Beyond Refugeeum are available on CD, vinyl and digital formats. Visit http://www.blackspaceriders.com/shop to place your order.

BLACK SPACE RIDERS are:
JE: Lead Vocals, Guitars, Organ, Beats
SEB: Lead vocals
C.RIP: Drums, Percussion
SLI: Guitars
SAQ: Bass Guitar
HEVO: Additional Bass Guitar

http://www.blackspaceriders.com/shop
https://www.facebook.com/BlackSpaceRiders
https://www.youtube.com/user/blackspaceriders
http://blackspaceriders.bandcamp.com/

Black Space Riders, “Starglue Sniffer” official video

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Black Space Riders Post “Starglue Sniffer” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 11th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

black space riders (Photo by Hanno H Endres)

With last year’s Refugeeum (review here), German outfit Black Space Riders made what was easily their most progressive statement to-date. How better to follow-up on such a thing than to present yet another stylistic turn. I’m not sure “Starglue Sniffer” speaks for the whole of the forthcoming Beyond Refugeeum EP — out May 13 via Cargo Records, among others — and in fact I’d be more surprised if it did than it didn’t, since when it comes to encompassing a range of styles, Black Space Riders have grown into an act able to fluidly swap one genre for another in the span of a song.

Perhaps “Starglue Sniffer” is intended to serve as an example of that, though whether or not that was the intent, it does. It finds Black Space Riders, led as ever by guitarist/vocalist/organist/programmer Jochen Engelking, taking a dancier approach to their rhythms. The track is upbeat and should sit well on Beyond Refugeeum next two a couple outside-the-box remixes intended to push the band’s aesthetic breadth even further. They’ve always had something of a keyboard element, some electronics here and there, but with legit beats at its core and its unmitigated catchiness, “Starglue Sniffer” toys with pop ideologies in a way that few bands would dare and even fewer could pull off so well.

Always something intriguing from these guys. Will look forward to digging into the rest of the EP and seeing just where they’re headed as they continue to push “beyond.”

Video features animation by Lenia Friedrich. Enjoy:

Black Space Riders, “Starglue Sniffer” official video

German Riffonauts BLACK SPACE RIDERS have released a video for “Starglue Sniffer,” a song from forthcoming EP Beyond Refugeeum. View it at this location.

Nine months after the release of Refugeeum, the internationally acclaimed fourth album by BLACK SPACE RIDERS, comes a reprise: the Beyond Refugeeum EP! The EP will be released May 13 via BSR/Cargo.

Vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist JE discussed the idea behind the EP: “We had deliberately kept back four songs, all original recordings, from the Refugeeum sessions in order to release them separately from the album because – as the cover artwork already may suggest – the material is different to the songs on Refugeeum. It’s unlike what you might expect from this band. But you can still tell that it comes logically and quite unmistakably from the BLACK SPACE RIDERS. The songs are exalted, sometimes overwrought, vivid, and yet accessible. Much has happened in Europe and in the world since these songs were written at the end of 2014 and recorded in early 2015, but they seem to be even more contemporary and necessary than ever.”

The EP is rounded off with two bonus tracks: “VRTX RMX” (a remix of “Vortex Sun”) is atmospheric electric drone, and “Gravity” is the electro club remix of the band’s 2014 hit “Give Gravitation to the People” that may and certainly will destroy or inspire one or another traditional rocker.

BLACK SPACE RIDERS are:
JE: Lead Vocals, Guitars, Organ, Beats
SEB: Lead vocals
C.RIP: Drums, Percussion
SLI: Guitars
SAQ: Bass Guitar
HEVO: Additional Bass Guitar

Black Space Riders webstore

Black Space Riders on Thee Facebooks

Black Space Riders on Bandcamp

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