Jakob Skøtt’s Taurus Rising LP Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster


Causa Sui drummer and experimental solo artist Jakob Skøtt will issue his third full-length, Taurus Rising, in December through El Paraiso Records. The Copenhagen-based Skøtt issued his previous album, Amor Fati, earlier this year, and El Paraiso has unveiled the song “Pleiades” on the occasion of Taurus Rising being available to preorder as if to ensure listeners that the Krautrock-style progressivism of the last outing will indeed push even further this time out. Causa Sui reportedly have some new stuff in the works as well as they continue their ascent to the fore of European heavy psychedelia, but in the meantime, Skøtt demonstrates that even one-fourth of the band can still provide a rich and engaging listen.

Go anywhere progressive psychedelia; the motorik lives:

jakob skott taurus rising

Jakob Skøtt: Taurus Rising LP PREORDER

3rd album from Causa Sui drummer Jakob Skøtt expands his one-man-band experiments into vast new territories.

Taurus Rising is built from motoric synthesizer arpeggios and heavy duty live drumming. But rather than simply worshipping endless repetition, Skøtt reaches an impressive array of expressions on each of these five mini epics – each song is ALIVE – frequently whirling off track like the wind direction in a sand storm, leading to some mind-altering melodies and rhythms that’ll keep you on your toes. Washed currents of pulsating analogue synthesizer scores, pre-fusion jazz-sensibility and fuzz’ed out electronics all tied together by fevered rhythms.

Jakob Skøtt is the drummer in revered danish experimental psych act Causa Sui and has previously collaborated with artists from Tortoise and Sunburned Hand of the Man. In a number of different outfits he has also released thru esteemed labels such as Morr Music, Ghostly International, Darla Records. Furthermore Jakob has done exclusive live visuals and artworks for Amon Düül II, Earthless, Manual, cult actress Asia Argento as well as The Roadburn Festival.

Also available as a 2xCD package also containing Jakob’s previous album Amor Fati.


Jakob Skøtt, “Pleiades”

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Causa Sui’s Pewt’r Sessions 3 Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

If you’re familiar with Danish heavy psych jammers Causa Sui, then there’s really only one piece of info you need — the preorder links:



What you’ll find when you get there are the packages available from the band’s El Paraiso Records for Causa Sui‘s Pewt’r Sessions 3, the band’s latest round of jams with Ron Schneiderman of Sunburned Hand of the Man and their first studio outing since 2013’s spectacular Euporie Tide — though Live at Freak Valley (review here), released earlier this year, made for a nice fix as well. The new release, set for an Aug. 18 arrival, is available in CD and LP versions, with a bonus 10″ available for the first 300 who place their orders.

So like I said, there are the links. Here’s the info from the El Paraiso page:

Causa Sui: Pewt’r Sessions 3 LP + bonus 10″

Preorder – ships august 18th!

First 1000 LPs orange marbled vinyl.

First 300 orders from elparaisorecords.com gets bonus 10″ vinyl of exclusive tracks – with stunning linoleum hand printed sleeves by Martin Rude in three variations.

Following last year’s determined studio double LP, Euporie Tide, Causa Sui returns to improv with a third round of mindbending jams feat. Ron Schneiderman!

The savage, kaleidoscopic improvisations of the quintet’s previous two volumes instantly gained reverence among fans of free flowing krautrock and detuned stoner rock, and this brand new addition, recorded in the late summer of 2013, fullfills the group’s potential entirely. The krautrock grooves, the low-end heavyness and the sprawling furor is still very much present – but this set is also permeated by a rare free jazz-sensibility, at times recalling American masters of improvisation such as John Coltrane and Don Cherry in spirit.

Ferociously experimental, yet absolutely welcoming and corporal. One eye looking back to the golden age of improvised music, the other looking straight ahead, into the future. ”Incipiency Suite”, which takes up the entire B-side of this record, stands as the high pinnacle of what this group is capable of with the inclusion of Ron Schneiderman: an afternoon of spontaniously recorded parts, cut-and-pasted into an abundant whole by studio wiz Jonas Munk, creating a unique interplay between in-the-moment improvisation and creative studio editing.

Including digital download card.


Causa Sui, Pewt’r Sessions 3 Preview

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Wolves in the Throne Room’s Celestite, Milligram, A Sad Bada, Phant, Damo Suzuki Meets Øresund Space Collective

Posted in Radio on June 6th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Running a pretty wide gamut this week, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. This week is a pretty good example of one where there’s way more added than just what’s listed here, so make sure you check the updates page to see the full list of everything that went on the server. Next thing I knew, I turned around and there was a ton of awesome stuff waiting to go up. Tough times.

It’s been a few weeks doing the adds this way and I’m digging it so far, so I’m going to keep it up, at least until I think of something else or it gets to be a pain or whatever. Thanks for reading and checking out the radio stream.

Adds for June 6, 2014:

Wolves in the Throne Room, Celestite

The much-awaited follow-up to 2011’s Celestial Lineage finds Washington US black metal forerunners Wolves in the Throne Room not quite ready to let go of that album yet. Celestite is intended as a complement to its predecessor, and as the first release on the band’s own Artemesia Records imprint, it comes as a particularly bold move for a band clearly looking to shirk expectation. Its five included tracks are cinematic, ambient set-pieces — instrumental works that, when played at the same time as Celestial Lineage, enhance the atmospheres of those already dense songs. Of course, cuts like the 11-minute opener “Turning Ever Towards the Sun” and the centerpiece “Bridge of Leaves” have value on their own as well, but there’s little denying that the apex of Celestial Lineage in “Prayer of Transformation” is pushed further by Celestite closer “Sleeping Golden Storm” and vice versa. Anyone expecting forest screams or raging blastbeats is in for a surprise, but those who approach with an open mind will be rewarded, which has always been the case with Wolves in the Throne Room‘s work. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Milligram, Live on Pipeline (WMBR)

A band with a reach that has lasted much longer than their actual six-year run, Milligram retain a presence in heavy rock consciousness despite having really only gotten together to open for Kyuss Lives! in 2011 since calling it quits in 2002, prior to Small Stone‘s issue of their This is Class War full-length. Accordingly, the version of “Not Okay” included on this collection of live recordings from the radio station WMBR sounds like a blueprint for some of the soulful heavy vibes Lo-Pan would conjure in their early going. Also included are covers of the Misfits (“We are 138″) and Black Flag (“Jealous Again”), so in addition to hearing Milligram – which in 2000 when Live on Pipeline was recorded was comprised of vocalist Jonah Jenkins (see also Raw Radar War), guitarist Darryl Shepard (see also Hackman, Black Pyramid, Blackwolfgoat, The Scimitar, etc.), bassist Bob Maloney and drummer Zephan Courtney — tear into some of their own material, there’s also a look at their punkier roots. Shepard has begun a series of digital releases of his bands with this, so look out for more. All are available for name-your-price download through his Bandcamp. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Damo Suzuki Møder Øresund Space Collective, Damo Suzuki Møder Øresund Space Collective

Captured live and largely improvised on Valentine’s Day 2013, the 3LP Damo Suzuki Møder Øresund Space Collective indeed proves a match meant to be. The Danish/Swedish space jammers and the krautrock legend — Damo Suzuki has released decades’ worth of solo output and collaborations, but is still best known for his contributions to Can — offer no single piece under 14 minutes long, so I guess as jams go, these worked out. The six inclusions are immediately exploratory, and while at just over two hours, the meeting of these expanded-mind entities can feel a bit like traveling through a wormhole where you snap back to consciousness on the other side and wonder how you got there, each piece also takes on a life and movement of its own, propelled by ceaselessly creative guitar work, engaging rhythmic nod and, naturally, a near-constant swirl of effects. Suzuki‘s voice echoes through “Dit Glimtende Øje” as though beamed in from another galaxy, and his first contact with Øresund Space Collective results in vibrant, cosmic jams that push through the psychedelosphere. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

A Sad Bada, White Rivers and Coldest Chains

Chilean four-piece A Sad Bada specialize in post-sludge that is lurching and atmospheric in kind. White Rivers and Coldest Chains is their first full-length, with it they offer five extended tracks of crushing density and grueling nod. They skirt the post-metal line — guitarists Gastón Cariola and Fernando Figueroa, who founded the band in 2008, keep a steady supply of airy echoes on hand throughout — but as a cut like the 11-minute “Hide and Grieve” shows, they’re never quite looking to get away from the sludgy churn of their slower-than-thou progressions, bassist Roberto Toledo and drummer Alejandro Ossandon expertly holding together the songs as Figueroa offers vicious, throaty growls over top. White Rivers and Coldest Chains (out on Australis Records) is intended as a slog, and it is one, but the soundscape that A Sad Bada enact over the course of the album has more appeal than just its tonal weight or extremity. There’s a darkness at its heart that comes from more than just the music itself, and that bleeds from the speakers with every oozing riff. On Thee Facebooks, Australis Records.

Phant, The Octophant Pt. II

Newcomer Swedish trio Phant return with their second self-released, digital-only EP in less than a year’s time, bringing their eight-armed elephant mascot deeper into a heavy-riff melee over two more extended tracks and an outro with The Octophant Pt. II. Like their predecessors on The Octophant Pt. I (review here), “Nativitas/Hakaisha” (13:53) and “Magna Cael” (9:31) blend cosmic doom and heavy rock tendencies, finding a cohesive balance of aggression and groove along the way, subtly adding effects amid echoing vocal interplay from bassist Jesper Sundström and guitarist Anton Berglind while drummer Elias Sundberg taps into reaches no less spacious via a constant-seeming wash of cymbals. Found sounds, samples and other sundry weirdness caps The Octophant Pt. II in “Outro Pt. II,” with tales of UFOs and government coverups. How long Phant might continue this series of EPs, I don’t know — they can at least get a trilogy out of it if they want; I’d take another 26 minutes of this no problem — but the heft the three-piece bring to bear across “Nativitas/Hakaisha” and “Magna Cael” also shows they’re more than ready to tackle their debut full-length, should they decide to go that route next. On Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Other adds to The Obelisk Radio this week include Novembers Doom, the four-way split between Naam, White Hills, Black Rainbows and The Flying Eyes, as well as Recitation, Sunwolf, Godflesh, Dylan Carlson of Earth‘s solo-project, Drcarlsonalbion. For the full list, check the updates page.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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Hjortene Self-Titled Debut Available Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Spoiler alert: the self-titled Hjortene debut has actually been out since last month, but when the band got in touch I was at Roadburn and I didn’t get the chance to check it out. They boast guests like Valient Himself from Valient Thorr and Lorenzo Woodrose from Baby Woodrose, but the real appeal of Hjortene‘s Hjortene is the fluid Fu Manchu-meets-Queens of the Stone Age vibe the Copenhagen trio puts together on cuts like “Weber” and “Pounding Hammer,” a rich fuzz tone getting a memorable push from a clean, full production that seems to border on blown-out without ever sounding dirtier than it means to. It’s a cool if familiar vibe, and they flesh it out with some punkadelic touches on “James Brown” and the jammier stretch of closer “Canada.”

I guess what it works out to is I probably should’ve checked this one out earlier and didn’t want you to also miss it if you hadn’t seen it yet. Info and audio follows from the PR wire:


Well hidden in the forests of Denmark Hjortene have during the last year worked on their 3rd release – and their first album. The self titled record was recorded live at Black Tornado studios in Copenhagen, Denmark with Anders Onsberg Hansen (Baby Woodrose, Spids Nøgenhat, Highway Child) and the album is indeed very warm sounding since all songs are recorded direct to analogue tape (btw on the same tape recorder Nirvana used to record ‘In Utero’).

On the album, the band worked with three distinct handpicked guest musicians:

— Valient Himself from American Valient Thorr lend his vocal duties on the opener 180.000 km/t. The guest vocals became possible after a long correspondence between the lead singer and the band, and the recording took place in a conference room at the venue before Valient Thorr’s last gig in Copenhagen.

— Lorenzo Woodrose from Baby Woodrose and Spids Nøgenhat is an old friend of the band, who guests on Canada with a 1½ minute double fuzz- space echo-wah solo, where he plays against himself in guitar sequences intertwining endlessly.

— President Fetch/Molle from legendary danish punkband President Fetch participates on the shortest track of the record, James Brown. The President wrote the lyrics about the King of Soul, who wishes to fly with UFO’s in Thuringia and walk on coals with the Mau Mau.

The sound of Hjortene is like dry wood beeing chopped with a fuzz pedal set to 11, and an old tube amp puking blood. The album is packed with solid bass heavy riffs that will cater for fans of Fu Manchu, Brant Bjork, Nebula, The Sword and Mudhoney, but with more unconventional song structures and experimental (animal-)sounds. Previously all Hjortene’s songs have been in their native language, but on this album Danish and English is mixed. The lyrics are a bipolar mixture focusing from birth to death and on the mind’s darkets corners. For example the 9 minute long Canada: What happens, when you’re sitting in the most peaceful enviroment in the forests of Canada, and suddenly you feel yourself so clearly that all the bad things you have accumulated over time just comes tumbling.

In 2004 Hjortene won an P3 Guld-award and later they released the 10” mini album ’Brøl Stød Løb’ (2007). In 2008 Hjortene released the split-EP ‘World Domination’ (2008) with Swedish band Omar.

180.000 km/t (feat. Valient Himself) 3:04
Igennem Hårde Tider 3:55
Weber 3:17
Classic Rock FM 2:47
Epic Indian 6:36

Pounding Hammer 4:36
James Brown (feat. President Fetch) 1:46
Hold Dig Væk 4:17
Canada (feat. Lorenzo Woodrose) 9:05


Hjortene, Hjortene (2014)

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Pet the Preacher Offer a Track-by-Track Look at The Cave and the Sunlight

Posted in Features on May 2nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Released just last week, The Cave and the Sunlight is the Napalm Records debut from Copenhagen trio Pet the Preacher, and with it, the heavy rocking trio deliver a forceful take on the tenets of heavy rock and roll. Led by the riffs and vocals and Christian Hede Madsen, thickened by Torben Wæver Pedersen and given a foundation by Christian Von Larsen‘s drumming. It’s not a new combination of elements by any means, but the Danish outfit use it well over the course of the 50-minute runtime for The Cave and the Sunlight (review here), flowing smoothly through material alternately brooding and brash while giving listeners an impression of complexity to come and already at work within the material. Following up on their 2012 full-length debut, The Banjo, and 2013 EP, Papa Zen and Meet the Creature, it’s an engaging work driven by the overarching quality of its songwriting.

The band played Desertfest Berlin last weekend and their hometown release show for The Cave and the Sunlight was last night, May 1, at Beta2300 in Copenhagen. Busy times though these are for the three-piece as they continue to proliferate their brawny, nod-ready grooves to European audiences, Madsen found time over the last couple days to put together a track-by-track runthrough of the record and you can find it below.

Please enjoy:

The Cave and the Sunlight Track-by-Track by Christian Hede Madsen

1. The Cave

This song was actually a part of “Let Your Dragon Fly,” but what we wanted to do with this album was to cut the fat and only leave what was really essential, in the service of the good track. We liked the melody too much to cut it, so we made an intro out of it, and it works great. You are being eased into a feeling that sets the mood for the rest of the record: dark, bluesy, melancholic.

2. Let Your Dragon Fly

The first real banger on the album. One of the first songs we wrote. It has a rebellious feeling to it, and we like to start with this song. It is a good way to punch your audience in the face. Our producer and friend, Jacob Bredahl, screams in the end of this song too.

3. Kamikaze Knight

We wanted to put another “party-rock” song together with “Let Your Dragon Fly.” It is a live-favourite and even though the whole album is written from a pretty serious emotional standpoint, this song is mostly about a battle field and bloodrage.

4. Remains

This is a desperate, dark ballad. It is bluesy and slow-starting. It is about what is going on in the world today, and how it is about time that we talk about what to do with our situation regarding the environment, political corruption, over-population, self-indulgence and a sick focus on youth and superficial values. It is a song that comes from all the things I fear in this world and all the things that make me think. Because I am a part of it. Because I do NOT take a stand. It is a wake-up call for myself as well. “Remains” is about trying to become a better human being in the broadest sense of the term.

5. Fire Baby

This is a song about a forbidden love. About burning inside for something that is impossible and wrong. It is about doing bad things and keep on doing them, because you just can´t help it. I think we are repeating ourselves in life. We repeat mistakes, repeat relationships and love-stories and we can´t change these patterns until we realize this. That is the standpoint I wrote all the lyrics from.

6. Marching Earth, Pt. 1

This is the first part of a heavy two-piece. An instrumental that, like the intro, sets a mood for what’s to come.

7. Marching Earth, Pt. 2

A song about all that we do wrong with our earth today. It is almost like a classic tragedy: we destroy what we love, only to discover what we are doing when it is too late. We don’t deserve this earth anymore. It is sad.

8. The Pig & The Haunted

Like “Fire Baby,” it is a disturbed love-song. About how you perceive yourself when doing something you know is wrong, and can’t help it. It brings the pace up again, and is more of a classic rock song.

9. What Now

This is a heavy riff onslaught. The idea was just to keep on throwing riffs at the listener and then suddenly let it all dissolve into a dark hymn. The spoken word at the end is a poem I wrote from a sick person’s point of view. It is a mental patient trying to see things clearly. It all ends with a heavy, repetitive doom riff to underline the chaos.

10. I´m Not Gonna

An easy listening, heavy rock song. Written from the same emotional standpoint as the others, but with a more positive outlook. Lots of slide in this one. Love that little glass thing.

11. The Web

The grand finale. “The Web” is a very personal song, summing up the emotions I mentioned earlier: being caught in patterns (the web), knowing it and still not being able to change it. It is an epic, and my favourite on the album. We thought a lot about how to build up this album, and “The Web” is a natural ending. It leaves you wanting more in my opinion.

Hopefully it makes the listener go back to side A of the vinyl… oh, did I mention: LISTEN TO THIS ALBUM ON VINYL… It is made for it!

Pet the Preacher, The Cave and the Sunlight (2014)

Pet the Preacher on Thee Facebooks

Pet the Preacher at Napalm Records

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Pet the Preacher, The Cave and the Sunlight: A Web in the Spinning

Posted in Reviews on April 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

From an American standpoint, a lot of what riff-rocking Danish trio Pet the Preacher get up to on their second album and Napalm Records debut, The Cave and the Sunlight, will probably seem familiar. On the 11-track/51-minute offering, the Copenhagen-based three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Christian Hede Madsen, bassist/backing vocalist Torben Wæver Pedersen and drummer Christian Von Larsen proffer a brash, bruiser sort of heavy rock, indebted at times directly to Pepper Keenan-era C.O.C., as on “Remains,” but elsewhere deriving an emotional push that to US ears, could sound just as easily culled from commercial hard rock, as on “Marching Earth Pt. 2″ and the penultimate “I’m Not Gonna.” A modern clarity and fullness of production backs that read, though I think ultimately it’s a skewed interpretation. In context of geography, Pet the Preacher offer a split from Europe’s current heavy psych and classic rock proliferation — if there’s one thing The Cave and the Sunlight doesn’t sound like, it’s Graveyard — and whereas in the UK, that alternative seems to come either in vicious sludge or Orange Goblin-inspired booziness, the Danes have taken a different direction, based more on songwriting than tonal impact but still landing plenty heavy when they choose to do so, the initial rush of “Let Your Dragon Fly” following the blown-out bluesy intro “The Cave” and not quite setting up everything the album has to offer, but at least give it a riotous beginning and letting listeners know that in addition to dragons, there be stoner riffs ahead.

We never quite make it from “The Cave” to “the sunlight,” but I suppose the ending of the eight-and-a-half-minute closer and longest track “The Web” offers some brightness of mood compared to Pet the Preacher‘s more downtrodden moments. Between the two, songs play out with varied personalities but consistency of tone and overall feel, and while with an album that tops 50 minutes that can make a song like “The Pig and the Haunted” or even the longer “What Now” (7:45) — the standout lines from which are “What now?/Fuck it” — seem to have to work harder to justify their inclusion, The Cave and the Sunlight gets there sooner or later in each case. Earlier pieces like the drum-led “Kamikaze Night,” which plays tense tom-work against payoff riffing and Madsen‘s throaty, low-in-the-mouth vocal style, and subsequent “Remains,” which follows furthering the hints of slide guitar of the prior track with a verse that seems to singularly call back to C.O.C.‘s 1996 landmark, Wiseblood (not a complaint), have it somewhat easier in distinguishing themselves, resulting in an overarching linear feel for The Cave and the Sunlight — a CD structure that, like the band’s sound itself, runs somewhat counter to trend. Neither their 2012 debut, The Banjo, nor subsequent 2013 compilation, Papa Zen and Meet the Creature (Papa Zen being new or at least unreleased material and Meet the Creature being their 2011 debut EP), stretched beyond the bounds of vinyl-readiness in terms of timing, and here, the two chapters of “Marching Earth Pt. 1″ and “Marching Earth Pt. 2″ are arranged right in the middle, as if to underscore the trio’s intent toward a classic CD flow.

Read more »

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Duuude, Tapes! Demon Head, Demo 2014

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on April 1st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Many of the influences Copenhagen five-piece Demon Head are working with will seem familiar. Of course there’s Sabbath, Pentagram, etc., and one can identify points of Witchcraft in the production of their Demo 2014, now available as a limited-to-100 purple cassette through Caligari Records, and some of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats‘ garage-style shuffle, but what the four-track release really showcases from the Danish newcomers is swing. Fast or slow, their riffs wind their way around the listener’s consciousness, and with the bass of Fuglsang and drums of Wittus – middle and last names or initials only, depending on where you look — Demon Head never stray too far from the soul-corrupted boogie that serves them well here as they follow-up 2013’s Chaos Island Rehearsal 2013 with more developed but still raw and doomed rock.

The blown-out croon of Ferreira Larsen recalls ’80s metal conjurations on opener “Undertaker,” but is malleable ultimately to what’s called for by a given song, and his style helps distinguish Demon Head from the Uncle Acid jangle that’s clearly influenced “Undertaker” and shows up on the eponymous closer as well in its oozing, dirt-packed groove. A rough recording plays well on tape — the four-song program repeats on both sides — and Demo 2014 is most definitely a demo, but the songwriting is there and Larsen, Wittus, Fuglsang and the guitarists, both named Nielsen (presumably they’re related), don’t come off as so loose as to be self-indulgent or unaware of where they’re headed. “Ride the Wilderness” seems to be a band mantra, and as the second cut after “Undertaker,” it’s a faster push to set up the Witchcrafty turn to doom of the shorter “333” (alternately listed as “III” and “Three”), which leaves a mark lyrically and in the crashing lurch that gives way to a satisfying but not grandiose build before a deft slowdown returns to the chorus.

On the European edition, issued by Smokedd Productions with a different cover, “333” and “Ride the Wilderness” appear to be switched, but the Caligari version serves the overall flow well, the four songs moving smoothly between each other, getting progressively more doomed until “Demon Head” finishes with nod enough to tie everything else together, a bluesy lead in the first half perhaps foreshadowing developing guitar antics that will show up in increased volume next time out. They’ve got more than an ample amount of groove to justify the physical release — the j-card liner folds out to eight panels with art and recording info on one side and lyrics on the other — and as Demo 2014 fades out from its noisy ending, the tape bodes well both for what Demon Head might do and how they might do it. In terms of their overall approach, there’s room to grow into a more individualized take, but as noted, they’ve got the swing down, and that’s already more than an awful lot of bands.

Demon Head, Demo 2014

Demon Head on Thee Facebooks

Caligari Records on Bandcamp

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Causa Sui, Live at Freak Valley: Sacred Blood in the Garden (PLUS Full Album Stream)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Generally speaking, one of the problems with a live album is that save for rare exceptions, unless you happened to be at the show where it was recorded, it’s that much harder to make a connection to the experience of actually seeing the band on stage. I wasn’t so fortunate to be in Netphen, Germany, when Danish heavy psych masters Causa Sui played at Freak Valley 2013, but listening to the El Paraiso Records 2CD/2LP document of their set — fittingly titled Live at Freak Valley and available for preorder now ahead of an April 7 ship date — the audio easily gives a sense of the warmth and vibrancy of the four-piece’s performance. The material is culled from their 2005 self-titled debut (the inimitable “El Paraiso”) all the way to and through 2013’s hyperbole-worthy Euporie Tide, touching on the expansive jams taken from their Summer Sessions and Pewt’r Sessions along the way for a steady flow that, as the lineup of guitarist Jonas Munk, bassist Jess Kahr, drummer Jakob Skøtt and keyboardist Rasmus Rasmussen progress through their own catalog in swells of volume and stretches of subdued exploration, never subsides throughout the two-disc entirety of the release. Live at Freak Valley is Causa Sui‘s first official live album, and it’s not difficult to tell from listening why they’d want it made public. Especially in the longer-form cuts like “Red Valley” (10:19), the “Lonesome Traveller” medley that also includes pieces of “Santa Sangre” and “Garden of Forking Paths” (14:07), “El Paraiso” (12:36), “Euporie” (12:02) and “Homage” (9:56), Causa Sui are as engaging on their live incarnation as they are in their studio output.

Part of that has to be because Causa Sui‘s albums are closely tied to live performance. That sense was certainly true on Euporie Tide, where the mood was spontaneous, like the band could take their laid back grooving and tonal warmth anywhere they wanted to do go, places alternately lush and expansive or driving in their heavy riffs. Live at Freak Valley doesn’t allow for quite the same level of production value as a studio album, but it’s not far off, either. Munk handled the mixing and mastering himself, so the band’s touch is on every level of the release, and that’s clearly made a difference in the atmosphere of the audio. Each disc — or each platter, if you get the vinyl version — holds just under 45 minutes of runtime, so Live at Freak Valley comes across not as a live album sloppily assembled, lazily mixed and tossed out to capitalize on a willing fanbase, but as something that not only recounts Causa Sui‘s work in the past but actually adds something new to their oeuvre as well because of how well the spirit behind their material is carried through these songs and how plain to hear is the chemistry between the band members. Both the first disc (red) and second disc (blue) position Causa Sui not just as a group hitting their stride on stage, but pushing themselves past where they’ve been before to new places that are captured here. As “The Juice” and “Boozehound” from Euporie Tide flesh out into “Lonesome Traveller”-plus, the band elicit a hypnotized response that shows their command of their form and presentation and is only interrupted when the disc ends and it’s time to put on the other one. If anything interrupts the flow on Live at Freak Valley, it’s the constrictions of media.

That’s inevitable, however, and the tradeoff — aside from the positive, atmosphere-enhancing presence of physical media as a whole in comparison to the digital alternative — is that each half of Live at Freak Valley can be read as having a personality of its own, the first plenty immersive but more varied, with more songs included, the pieces worked into “Lonesome Traveller,” the jazzy jumps in “Mireille” and the thoroughly nailed build of “Red Valley” from Summer Sessions Vol. 3 marking the transition point to the second half’s come-get-lost-in-here sprawl. Those four songs alone — “El Paraiso,” “Euporie,” “Homage” and closer “Soledad” — make for what I have no doubt will prove one of 2014’s most satisfying in heavy psychedelia, but to have them coupled immediately with the preceding five tracks and to think of the entirety being presented whole, as one free-flowing set performed live, well, it’s one of the best live albums I’ve heard in a very long time and makes a solid argument for the live album as being able to capture the essence of a band on stage while also giving those who weren’t there a closer look at what they might have missed. Listening back to Munk‘s guitar and Rasmussen‘s keys lead the way over the steady progression of Kahr and Skøtt toward that song’s payoff, it’s clear that Causa Sui‘s creativity extends to how they conduct themselves live. It’s also clear that I need to see these guys play as soon as humanly possible, because whether it’s the initial wall of fuzz that “The Juice” builds or the serenity that bleeds through “Soledad,” Live at Freak Valley showcases some of the finest heavy psych that Europe has to offer. It’s a release the success of which exceeds even the considerable ambition that birthed it. Recommended.

PLEASE NOTE: I’ve been given permission to host the premiere of the full stream of Live at Freak Valley with this review. Please find it on the YouTube player below and enjoy!

Causa Sui, Live at Freak Valley (2014)

El Paraiso Records’ website

El Paraiso Records on Thee Facebooks

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Baby Woodrose, Kicking Ass and Taking Names: Gone Yesterday, Here Tomorrow

Posted in Reviews on March 27th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Seems likely that Copenhagen psych-garage aficionados Baby Woodrose have a considerable backlog of unreleased material. Before the band led by guitarist/vocalist Lorenzo Woodrose, also of Dragontears, released their righteously cool 2012 sixth full-length, Third Eye Surgery (review here), they preceded it with a 2011 comp of early demos titled Mindblowing Seeds and Disconnected Flowers (review here). The new collection, Kicking Ass and Taking Names, also dips back to the beginnings of the band, and from the second one unfolds the six-panel Bad Afro Records digipak (or, presumably, opens the vinyl), there’s an archival feel. Lorenzo Woodrose himself offers liner notes extolling the virtues of the B-side as an opportunity to experiment and gives recording dates and circumstances for each of the comp’s 14 tracks, spanning years from early 2002 to 2013, and as he explains it, there’s more on offer than just B-sides. The tracks “Coming Around Again” and “I Feel High” were released together as a single in 2008, and “Light up Your Mind” and “Bubblegum” came out together through Bad Afro last year. Covers of The Troggs‘ “6654321” and Otis Redding‘s “That’s How Strong My Love Is” (which Humble Pie also covered in 1973) end each half of the tracklist and represent the earliest material included, coming from the band’s Feb. 2002 first session with their original lineup. Of course, with variation in the years of release, production and lineup, Kicking Ass and Taking Names has a few notable jumps in sound, but a remaster for everything included gives some sense of flow to the collection’s 36-minute course.

Really, the structure of Kicking Ass and Taking Names isn’t that of a compilation of individual, standalone tracks, but of a previously unreleased EP plus enough bonus cuts to extend it to full-length. While they were subsequently released on singles, the first five tracks — “Information Overload,” “Good Day to Die,” “Coming Around Again,” “I Feel High” and “Making My Time” — come from the same session, recorded by the late Ralph Rjeily in 2007 and issued in drips and drabs in the years since. Those with prior exposure to Baby Woodrose‘s fervent worship of 13th Floor Elevators-style psychedelia will be right at home with “Information Overload”‘s space-rocking thrust and Woodrose‘s own howls echoing up from the swirl. I’ve always considered his style to have similar roots to those of Monster Magnet‘s Dave Wyndorf, but Woodrose‘s approach is looser, the material it tops less concerned with sprawl. “Good Day to Die” is an early highlight the energy of which is a precursor to some of what arrives later on side B’s (can you have a side B on a collection of B-sides?) “Here Today Gone Tomorrow” and “Live Wire,” while “Coming Around Again” delivers a poppier take and “I Feel High” backs it with acoustic-based lysergics, a steady undercurrent of fuzz and organ making a complex mix sound simple. That track builds but remains drumless, leaving the buzz of “Making My Time” to sum up the preceding four with organ start-stops, echoing space and an easy, right-on groove. As ever, Woodrose remains a strong presence, but I wouldn’t discount the organ work of Fuzz Daddy either, which is featured in a solo in the song’s second half.

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Demon Head’s Demo 2014 Tape Available Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Cast in shadows of Witchcraft‘s vintage stylizations and Uncle Acid‘s malevolent garage jangle, the Demo 2014 from Copenhagen five-piece Demon Head is available now and presumably not for long on limited-to-100 copies cassette (they seem to all have made it into the photo below) via Caligari Records. The four-song outing includes Demon Head‘s eponymous track, a highlight of the band’s post-Pentagram doom rock early going, resting comfortably on a bed of nodding riffs and skillfully pulled blues solos. It’s a cool atmosphere and I imagine the raw ’70s loyalism goes well on tape. For now a Bandcamp stream should be enough to give some idea.

The PR wire will make converts of us all:

DEMON HEAD – Demo 2014 – Out On Cassette Via CALIGARI Records

This four-song recording by doom band DEMON HEAD captures the essence of old school doom and skips entirely the musical evolution that has taken place during the last three decades. DEMON HEAD craft stripped down, soulful and blues-based doom rock and Demo 2014 is a wicked and evocative offering that vastly improves over the tracks included in last year’s Chaos Island Rehearsal 2013.

Long winters and short glimpses of the sun brought Demon Head to life in Copenhagen sometime during spring 2012. Jamming and refining the sounds of sinister voices has been the purpose since then, resulting in the first sonic outings in the course of the last year. Demon Head is heavy rock, aiming to fuse the atmosphere of 70’s dark heavy metal with twin guitar lead harmonies.

After a tour through the Winterland of northern Scandinavia, this February saw the release of a demo tape that we’ve been dying to put out. The recordings were made when the leaves fell red in 2013 and represent a starting point of what we’re trying to achieve in terms of sound. In March, a 7″ will be born from the hands of ourselves and the danish record coven Levitation Records.

Members have been or are active in other bands such as Scavenger Brats, I, Mountain, Øresund Space Collective, Alucarda and Reefer.

Limited to 100 copies. This is the 7th release of CALIGARI Records.

A European version of Demo 2014 has been released by Smokedd Productions.

Limited to 100 copies
Pro Tapes – Pro Covers With Full Lyrics

Listen: http://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/album/demo-2014
Order $5.50: http://caligarirecords.storenvy.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CaligariRecords
Official Site: http://www.caligarirecords.com

Demon Head, Demo 2014

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Pet the Preacher Sign to Napalm Records; Added to Desertfest Berlin Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Congratulations to Copenhagen-based trio Pet the Preacher on inking a deal with Napalm Records. The Danish heavy rockers will have their sophomore full-length, The Cave and the Sunlight, out on Napalm/Spinning Goblin Productions a little later in the year, and for a release party, they’ve just been added to the lineup of Desertfest Berlin, replacing Master Musicians of Bukkake, who’ve canceled their European tour entirely. Not too bad.

You might recall Pet the Preacher debuted their “Let Your Dragon Fly” video here in December as the first audio to come from The Cave and the Sunlight, and if you don’t feel like clicking on that link, the short version of the story is that it bodes well. One might be hard-pressed to keep it in mind during these unpleasant depths of winter, but April will be here before you know it.

So once again, kudos to Pet the Preacher – comprised of guitarist/vocalist Christian Hede Madsen, bassist/backing vocalist Torben Wæver Pedersen and drummer Christian Von Larsen — and here’s looking forward to The Cave and the Sunlight when it hits. The PR wire takes it from here:

Napalm Records/Spinning Goblin Signs PET THE PREACHER

Napalm Records / Spinning Goblin is extremely proud to announce the world wide signing of the Denmark’s Heavy Stoner Blues Band Pet The Preacher!

The band’s sophomore album will hit stores in the end of April and will be celebrated with an album release show at DesertFest Berlin!

“We are beyond excited to officially announce our signing to Napalm Records/Spinning Goblin. Pet The Preacher is a band that strives to be something special, and by our collaboration with Napalm Records, we are given the opportunity to prove that we are a force to be reckoned with and that we are not giving up… Ever”

Christian Hede Madsen / Vocals/Guitar

For More Info Visit:

Pet the Preacher, “Let Your Dragon Fly” official video

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Papir, IIII: Sand, Space and Between

Posted in Reviews on January 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

IIII is the fourth Papir album in about as many years. The Copenhagen trio of guitarist Nicklas Sørensen, bassist Christian Becher Clausen and drummer Christoffer Brøchmann made a self-titled debut in 2010 and followed in 2011 with Stundum, their first release on El Paraiso Records, run by Jonas Munk and Jakob Skøtt of Causa Sui. Munk would produce their early 2013 full-length, III, and a collaboration with Electric Moon, dubbed The Papermoon Sessions (review here), followed later in the year. With IIII, Papir step back into their own gorgeous krautrock ambience, proffering four tracks/48 minutes of semi-improvisational instrumental work that’s concerned neither with genre nor heft, but sonically uplifting and creatively open. The cuts — “I” (10:45), “II” (9:35), “III” (21:43) and “IIII” (5:15) — run deep and personal despite their I-only titles, the effect of which is to make one think not necessarily of Roman numerals, for which the last would be “IV,” but more like the bars on the album artwork, reminding of some sort of schematic or engineering grid, if not for the bars as representing actual people, paired off as some are. Sure enough, Papir seem to be working from a schematic of their own on this material, though they end up with a breadth that’s bound to test the limit of any blueprint from which it might be working.

It’s immediately noteworthy that “IIII,” which is the de facto title-track of the album, doesn’t appear on the vinyl version. That makes the runtimes on the two sides of the LP just about even and keeps IIII over the 40-minute mark in total, but it makes side B comprised entirely of “III” which only furthers the notion that that song is practically a full-length unto itself. Prior to, on side A, Papir begin with the intricate runs of “I,” all the members of the band making simultaneous entry amid gracefully mounted, unforced atmospherics. The splash in Brøchmann‘s cymbals has as much of an effect on those atmospheres as does Sørensen‘s guitar or its interplay with Clausen‘s bass, which takes an early solo leading the way past the first minute of “I.” Early on, Papir leave little room for choice. If you’re going to go with “I,” you have to go with it. When they start, they’re already off and moving, and by the time they hit the dreamy midpoint from which they build the lush second half of the track, the hypnotic effect that remains in place for the remainder of the side, “II” moving in linear fashion from a subdued beginning to fervent-but-not-overdone payoff and then lingering with enough of progressive atmospheric naturalism that I was looking to see if I might’ve missed a Gary Arce guest appearance somewhere along the line.

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Causa Sui’s Jakob Skøtt to Release Amor Fati on March 17

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

On March 17, El Paraiso Records will release Amor Fati, the second solo offering from Causa Sui drummer Jakob Skøtt. No audio from the album has surfaced publicly as of this moment, but as described below, it does follow a much different course than Skøtt‘s 2012 solo debut, Doppler, trading out electronic ambience for a fuller “band” feel.

Preorders? Not yet. But the announcement of the record’s release follows here courtesy of the PR wire if you’d like to get acquainted ahead of time:

Jakob Skøtt: Amor Fati

Causa Sui drummer Jakob Skøtt returns with his 2nd full length in his own name. Taking the leap from his debut Doppler’s introvert kosmische synthesizer dronescapes diving into a full blown mad scientist one-band mode, Jakob straps on a wide array of heavy percussive modes to fuel his vivid utopia of analogue synths and drums. It’s one man’s vision as crazed and intoxicated as it is soothing and compelling, borrowing as many clues from afro-beat, latin-grooves and new age-ambience as it does from the booming legacy of krautrock. The proceedings are distanced from both coolness and kitsch, and a refreshing break from any standards.

Mantis in Lace kicks off the record with a thick repetitive bass synth riff, on top of two drum kits battling to spontaneously combust. On top of that a heavy percussive layer of echo-addled synthesizers is working out a path of it’s own: An opening statement constantly collapsing on itself. Synthemesc takes a calmer, yet insisting percussive mode of full bodied Moog-tone carrying the track into a John Carpenter-ish landing. Araucaria Fire straps on congas for a more exotic journey into an organ riddled percussive climax, recollecting Trans Am and Tony Williams Lifetime. Side B lends to a more subtle start, with two tracks of electroorgasmic psychedelic bliss, leading the way into the heart of the title track – a heavy slice of funk as dense as any 4-piece band could have cooked it up. Earth of no Horizon lands the spaceship safely with echos of Terry Riley or Vangelis.

Amor Fati is unique blend of improvisation, as well as carefully structured climaxes and shifts. All drums were recorded first take in a single afternoon, soloes slashed out in impulse mode, albeit everything was creatively mixed, using the editing process as yet another instrument in the vein of Bitches Brew, in line with the album’s title, giving apollonian structure to a dionysian chaos. It’s music that acknowledges both the glorious and the illfated in the unpredictable current of music.


Jakob Skøtt, “Longevity Suite” from Doppler (2012)

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Papir Announce New Album IIII and Debut First Track

Posted in audiObelisk on January 9th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Next month, a year after releasing their third album, III, through El Paraiso Records, Danish heavy psych trio Papir return with IIII. Available now to preorder, IIII continues the Copenhagen three-piece’s push toward far-out instrumental jamming, beginning in medias res with the first of its four included parts, while also building on the psychedelic rush of their prior work. It is rich, sonically diverse and organic sounding, and without pretense toward cosmic themes — or anything else, for that matter — it taps into a hypnotic pulse that comes derived from space rock but never fully aligns itself with the post-Hawkwindian sphere or departs the sun-soaked field of terrestrial psychedelia.

Perhaps that last image is the most fitting for IIII, which was recorded partly in Copenhagen and partly out in the Danish countryside, with Causa Sui‘s Jonas Munk, who would also mix and master the album, at the helm. Even within the 10-minute opener, the trio’s progressive explorations veer into riffier crunch and airy post-rock with a sonic dexterity that would be frightening were it not also so gorgeously smooth, and the prevailing atmosphere is one not of aggression, but of peace. Guitarist Nicklas Sørensen, bassist Christian Becher and drummer Christoffer Brøchmann execute their parts with a jazzy clarity and focus, but even at its loudest, IIII is not unintentionally intense or more consuming than it wants to be. That precision, in balance with the organic output across “I,” its no-less-gracefully building counterpart “II,” the 21-minute sprawl of “III” and the serenely ambient “IIII,” results in an outing of great reach and greater affect. It is subtle, but expansive.

Ahead of the release on Feb. 11 (that’s when preorders ship, anyway), I have the pleasure today of hosting the premiere of “I.” I’ve no doubt you’ll find its 10:46 run immersive, and the only downside is that after it reaches its crescendo — oh, you’ll know it when you hear it — it won’t be immediately followed by the next of the LP’s four tracks. A month isn’t so long to wait.

Papir will be appearing at Roadburn 2014, both alone and alongside Electric Moon – their collaborative debut, The Papermoon Sessions (review here), is available now on Sulatron – and have been announced for the Freak Valley Festival in Germany as well.

Please enjoy “I” below, followed by more info courtesy of El Paraiso, who in the coming months will also release a new solo offering from Jakob Skøtt and a live Causa Sui album (their first) from Freak Valley:

Papir, “I” from IIII

PAPIR release new album in less than a month – pre-orders up now at:


Papir has the unique ability to transform heavy, psychedelic music into something fresh. Sure, Papir knows their kraut- and progrock history, but unlike the majority of bands in the present day psych-rock scene they venture far beyond mere pastiche. By now the bands concerts have become awe-inducing experiences, earning them slots at major European festivals including Roskilde (2012), and Roadburn (2014).

It’s stunning to witness how Papir pull numerous influences together with natural ease in these three lengthy excursions. It sounds inspired.

Not only is Papir IIII heavier than previous their efforts, it seems more lush and atmospheric as well. It is the sound of a band fulfilling its potential. Onwards and upwards.

We’re amazed to bring you this centerpiece exactly one year since the revered III was release – the album that really put Papir on the map. We had to reprint it a few months later, so grab that while you’re at it: http://elparaisorecords.com/releases/papir-III

Papir IIII is available as LP including mp3 download card – packed in a heavy duty recycled sleeve. Every order of this album from the El Paraiso shop gets a sheet of limited El Paraiso stickers! As well as an oversized heavy duty catalogue card. All our orders are packed in sturdy double sided cardboard boxes.

Papir on Thee Facebooks

El Paraiso Records

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Rising Begin Writing for Third Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

All I know is that when Rising‘s third record is done, sometime this year, if I’m fortunate enough to be able to stream it in full as I did their 2011 debut, To Solemn Ash (streaming here), and 2013’s follow-up, Abominor (streaming here), I’ll have to use a different band photo with it, because the Danish big-tone sludgers are set to premiere a whole new lineup for their forthcoming outing. That’s a ways off yet, since they’ve just started writing and Abominor only came out about two months ago, but still, it’s good to know they’ve got something in the works.

The PR wire has words for your eyes:

RISING Kicks Off 2014 With Songwriting For Next Album; Band Forming New Lineup

Danish epic sludge act, RISING, had a turbulent 2013, writing, recording and releasing their second album, Abominor, amidst losing two out of three members and leaving remaining member and main composer Jacob Krogholt to reconsider the band’s future.

Since the departure of vocalist/bassist Henrik Hald and drummer Jacob Johansen in July, Krogholt has regrouped with the band’s original drummer Martin Niemann, while forming his own label, Indisciplinarian, to release Abominor this past November; a grim, aggressive album adding punk and crust-influenced elements to the band’s already inherent traits of heaviness, epic feel and melodic sense as heard on their previous releases including the debut album, To Solemn Ash. No shows will be played in direct support of Abominor as Krogholt and Niemann — the core of a yet-to-be-complete new lineup — has focused solely on writing new material for RISING’s third album. The duo has just completed demos for five new tracks, and has a plethora of additional riffage and ideas penned for exploration over the coming months of songwriting.

RISING is to complete the new lineup, with tryouts for a new vocalist and bassist looming, and plans to be back on the road and recording the new album with the new personnel will take shape for the second half of 2014. Meanwhile Krogholt will be busy with other new Indisciplinarian releases including the new album from noise rock duo Fossils along with a new Krogholt-related metallic outfit yet to revealed.

Until the new era of RISING hits the road again and new material find its way unto tape and into the public sphere, the Abominor LP and the band’s previous releases can be streamed via their Bandcamp. The Abominor 12″ LP can be obtained by European customers via Indisciplinarian RIGHT HERE, while Earsplit Distro is the sole North American outlet for the album, mongering the album HERE. The LP is constructed out of 180-gram black vinyl with a heavy inner sleeve and limited to three hundred copies worldwide.


Rising, Abominor (2013)

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