Craang, To the Estimated Size of the Universe: Looking Outward

Posted in Reviews on October 17th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

craang to the estimated size of the universe

Greek heavy psych trio Craang seem to tip their hat to improvisation early into their four-track debut full-length, To the Estimated Size of the Universe (to be released on vinyl early next year by Pink Tank Records), when six minutes into opener “Slo Forward Jam,” the song seems to come to an end with a wash of cymbals. There are still two more minutes to go, and the deceptively thick guitar tone soon kicks back in and continues to carry a progression out, but there still seems to be something off the cuff, even if some moments are clearly planned or if the Thessaloniki three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Manos, bassist Theano and drummer Nick are working from a basic schematic or a loosely-plotted course. Perhaps it’s part of the nature of the material itself and the fact that it was recorded live that it would seem so. The opener is, but not all four of the extended tracks — “Slo Forward Jam” (8:08), “Butterfly” (9:19), “Magnolia” (9:53) and “The Meteorian” (15:48) — are instrumental, but the focus is quickly put on the jam, and even as keys enter on “Butterfly,” the prevailing impression is still of looser-knit heavy psychedelia, a laid back groove pervading and holding firm throughout, even as heavy as the guitars and bass can get. And they do get fairly heavy, crunchier in their tone than one might expect, and even if where they go stylistically holds to some manner of restraint — that is, even as “The Meteorian” reaches its apex, Craang never thrash out — To the Estimated Size of the Universe showcases a burgeoning dynamic and progressive feel rife with subtle builds, effects-laden spaciousness and groove in steady supply.

Aside from that balance between improvisational and composed movements, the opener being the most leaned toward the former — working considerably in the album’s favor is Craang‘s patient sensibility. By the end of its nine minutes, “Butterfly” has pulled off a remarkable build, but the band’s roll is patient enough that it’s easy to get lost in and be carried along with it. On first listen, the arrival of Manos‘ vocals is surprising, since after “Slo Forward Jam,” it seems just as likely the entire album will go without, but more striking is the subtle way late in the track the guitar and keys push “Butterfly” toward and through its payoff, the final minute slowing to an absolute crawl in a rumbling and, finally, droning finish, luring an audience further from consciousness only to smack it in the head with the thick and immediate intro of “Magnolia,” which were it not for the more dynamic approach of the closer, would be the highlight of the record. It’s prime, fuzzed-out Euro-style heavy psych, feeding in its languid chug on a Colour Haze-via-Elder sensibility of how the genre is accomplished, and more than “Butterfly,” it does push and pull, the initial thrust giving way momentarily to an airier section of lead guitar and open vibe. The tradeoff is effective and shows Craang have more in their structural arsenal than a straight-upward build, the song seeming to come to a head after six minutes in only to space out on sustained guitar feedback, and an air-moving bassline that subtly sets the bed for a finishing jam. In both its ain’t-over-yet methodology and instrumental approach, “Magnolia” recalls “Slo Forward Jam,” but what they do with that changes, and the layered guitar work at the end of “Magnolia” makes a strong argument for the band’s potential future stylistic evolution.

craang

Still, it’s hard to overlook a 15-minute heavy psych excursion like “The Meteorian,” which finds a steady foundation in Theano‘s bass as it begins to unfold in languid fashion, the guitar slowly coming to life alongside the low end and a quiet but tense drum progression from Nick. Here too Craang‘s patience shows itself, but the pace increases just before three minutes in and what becomes the bed for the verse starts to take shape. Vocals are far back, almost consumed by the tones surrounding, and a space-rock push emerges in the bass and drums as the guitars once again give way to keys — if they even are keys and not guitar effects; nobody is credited with keyboards (the digipak, the liner for which is printed backwards, is cagey in giving any lineup information) and Craang‘s live setup doesn’t seem to have any, but it’s a distinct sound separate from the guitar fuzz, so if it was overdubbed later or whatever, I don’t know — and more airy guitar. This would seem to be the final build, but it peaks about halfway through the song with a riff that reminds directly of Elder‘s “Dead Roots Stirring” and shifts into a lull before picking up again with the push that gradually devolves into the finish of the album, some ambient vocals — or guitar, or keys — holding out over a final round of hits as “The Meteorian” crashes to its end. For its broader range, the closer makes for the highlight, but really it’s across the full span of To the Estimated Size of the Universe that Craang show their ambition and their allegiance to the tenets of heavy psychedelia, their desire to find a place within the genre. That progress is underway on this debut, peppered and given breadth by hints of sonic expansion to come.

Craang, To the Estimated Size of the Universe (2014/2015)

Craang on Thee Facebooks

Craang on Bandcamp

Pink Tank Records

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audiObelisk Transmission 040

Posted in Podcasts on September 26th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Click Here to Download

 

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

This one’s beamed in from a universe of all good times. I don’t want to walk around tooting my own horn like I actually did anything, but you’ll pardon me if I say that once you get on board here, you might not want to jump back off. The flow is up and down, alternately drawn out and rushing, and right up to the last song which is a bit of a return to earth, the second hour is the most spaced out it’s ever been around these parts. I’m way into it. I hope you’re way into it.

Like last time, I tried to get a mix of excellent stuff upcoming with other recent items you might’ve missed. One of these days I’m gonna do another one of these where I talk, but this is straight-up track into track the whole way through and I think it moves really well that way. Please feel free to grab a download or hit the stream and dig in and enjoy.

First Hour:
The Melvins, “Sesame Street Meat” from Hold it In (2014)
Fever Dog, “One Thousand Centuries” from Second Wind (2014)
Lo-Pan, “Eastern Seas” from Colossus (2014)
Witchrider, “Black” from Unmountable Stairs (2014)
Alunah, “Awakening the Forest” from Awakening the Forest (2014)
Craang, “Magnolia” from To the Estimated Size of the Universe (2014)
Slow Season, “Shake” from Mountains (2014)
Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds, “Guillotine” from The Shining One (2014)
The Proselyte, “Irish Goodbye” from Our Vessel’s in Need (2014)
Flood, “Lake Nyos” from Oak (2014)
Lord, “Golgotha” from Alive in Golgotha (2014)

Second Hour:
My Brother the Wind, “Garden of Delights” from Once There was a Time When Time and Space were One (2014)
Spidergawd, “Empty Rooms” from Spidergawd (2014)
The Myrrors, “Whirling Mountain Blues” from Solar Collector (2014)
Witch Mountain, “Your Corrupt Ways (Sour the Hymn)” from Mobile of Angels (2014)

Total running time: 1:54:28

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 040

 

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Craang to Release To the Estimated Size of the Universe on Vinyl

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 12th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

craang

Thick groove, big riffs, full sound and long-form songs — there’s a lot to like about Craang‘s 2014 outing, To the Estimated Size the Universe, four cohesive, righteously jammed slabs of heavy psychedelic rock. The Thessaloniki, Greece, trio self-released the album as their debut earlier this Spring in a vinyl-textured CD digipak edition — one of those discs with the grooves on top — and word has come down the PR wire that German imprint Pink Tank Records has picked up the band for a vinyl edition due in the first going of 2015.

Seems like a good call, honestly. One can hear influences from Colour Haze to Elder in what Craang do on the CD’s four tracks, and while they might have to do some editing to get “Magnolia” (9:36) and “The Meteorian” (15:22) to fit on the same side of an LP platter, the album as a whole is begging for the treatment, be it the band’s own rich tones or the intricately detailed Theano Giannezi cover art. Presumably the deal with Pink Tank extends to Craang‘s next offering as well, or at least includes some provision accounting for it one way or another, since these guys seem to be one to watch going forward.

Don’t forget the details:

craang to the estimated size of the universe

Greek Stoner Rock Trio Craang Signs with Pink Tank Records

Greek psychedelic/stoner rockers CRAANG have just signed a record deal with German-based Pink Tank Records, who will release the band’s debut album “To The Estimated Size Of The Universe” on vinyl in early 2015.

Based in Thessaloniki, in Greece, fuzzy psychedelic rock trio CRAANG have released one of the best spacey-psychedelic rock releases you’ll hear this year, offering an enthralling brew of fuzzy stoner rock laced with healthy dose of 70’s psychedelic rock.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Craang
Bandcamp: http://craang.bandcamp.com
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/craang

Craang, To the Estimated Size of the Universe (2014)

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