Posted in Whathaveyou on November 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Just a few nights ago, Danish riff-crunchers Rising played their first show in more than two years. Last time we heard from them was January 2014, when they’d begun the writing process for their third album as the follow-up to 2013’s Abominor (streamed here) and 2011’s To Solemn Ash (streamed here). More than a corresponding two years later, that album — yet untitled — will see release in Spring 2016 via Indisciplinarian.
A shifting lineup seems to have been the cause of the delay, but whatever it took to get them back to this point, Rising have some more gigs booked in Denmark this month and the album to look forward to in the New Year. I hope I get to stream it.
Details follow, from the PR wire:
RISING Completes Work On Third Album And Prepares For First Shows In Over Two Years
Danish metal four-piece, RISING, has completed their new and forthcoming third album to be released in April 2016, as the band gears up for their first shows in over two years.
Formed in 2008, RISING, at that time a trio, quickly gained praise in the metal scene with their first two DIY EPs, then going on to build momentum with their To Solemn Ash debut LP in 2011 and the follow-up Abominor in 2013. Following the recordings of Abominor, the trio dissolved, and as the sole remaining member guitarist Jacob Krogholt has since then rebuilt the band with original drummer Martin Niemann, bass player Bjarke Kofoed and singer Morten Grønnegaard.
The new RISING lineup entered the studio in August and September to record the band’s third album with producer Jacob Bredahl (By The Patient, The Kandidate, etc.), who also mixed the effort, while Brad Boatright (Nails, Converge, etc.) has overseen the mastering. The yet untitled album consists of ten songs, still undeniably RISING in its crushing heaviness, firm songwriting and intricate arrangements, while Grønnegaard with his more melodic vocals lends a more classic metal vibe to the band. The album will be released via Indisciplinarian in April and will be backed by touring in their native Denmark and abroad.
For now, RISING is preparing for four Danish shows in November, which marks the band’s first live appearances since May 2013. The shows will consist of primarily new material along with a couple of oldies. As the new album includes intricate guitar parts arranged for two guitarists, RISING will be joined at the shows by their good friend and guitarist extraordinaire Anders Bo Rasmussen, formerly of A Kid Herafter and Sygdom.
RISING Live 2015: 11/13/2015 Stengade – Copenhagen, DK w/ Galvano 11/27/2015 Radar – Aarhus, DK w/ By The Patient 11/28/2015 Ved Amagerbanen 9 – Copenhagen, DK w/ By The Patient 11/29/2015 Templet – Lyngby DK @ Black Christmas w/ Redwood Hill
RISING’s first three releases, the self-titled debut EP from 2009, the Legacy Of Wolves single from 2010 and the band’s debut album To Solemn Ash from 2011 are now also a part of the Indisciplinarian catalog and available digitally on all relevant platforms, with the first two DIY releases having only been available on Bandcamp until now. Digital orders can be placed via Bandcamp HERE and the physical formats are available via Indisiciplinarian’s webshop HERE. In the US, To Solemn Ash and Abominor are available via Earsplit Distro HERE.
Posted in Reviews on November 19th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Øresund Space Collective are among psychedelia’s most open and most stringent of bands. Now active for more than a decade, the Danish collective are fiercely committed to a single idea — it just happens to be that single idea is being open to all things at all times. To wit, the prolific, prone-to-documentation Danish/Swedish outfit led by synth-player and bandleader Scott “Dr. Space” Heller have maintained their ethic of being entirely improvisational and amorphous in their lineup, and that has resulted in an expansive catalog of live and studio recordings of some of the world’s most expansive space and kosmiche rock.
Their latest pair of offerings through Space Rock Productions, released within a month of each other, together stand as a solid compendium of some — not all — of their scope. Released last month, Out into Space, is a 3CD live offering captured in Feb. 2015 at their 10th anniversary show at Loppen in Christiania, playing to support 2014’s Music for Pogonologists (review here) though obviously not actually playing anything from the record since it’s all improvised, and the even-newer Different Creatures is a 2CD/3LP studio album. Both are completely different lineups apart from Heller — in fact, in the case of Out into Space, it’s no fewer than three different incarnations of the band playing a single show. It suddenly makes sense why Øresund Space Collective would have the recorder running as often as they do. How else to keep track of what they’re doing at any given point?
The concept for Out into Space is an exception to start with, though. Their 10th anniversary gig was more than the average show. They played three sets, again, each with a different lineup, in an attempt to capture the beginning, middle and current eras of the band — or at least give them some representation. As a result, each set has its own specific feel, whether it’s the way the band seem to rally around the guitar in “The Last Glide” on disc one or how “Stargate 7431” on disc two has its own progressive edge. Heller speaks to the assembled crowd between jams, informing them of what’s happening and introducing each band, and though at over three and a half hours of material, one could hardly call Out into Space anything other than comprehensive, it’s worth noting that it’s not complete. The third set, the recorder gave out. They literally out-jammed the recording equipment. That’s the scale of jams we’re talking about here.
Heller announces it’s 1AM as that third set kicks off with the 34-minute “A Long Night Amongst Friends” — he says, “Time to go to another planet” as the ultra-fluid track gets underway with a soft jazzy roll on the drums and yet another foundational bassline, the low end seeming to be the factor that holds the material together no matter who’s playing it at any given time — Jocke first, Thomas second, Jiri third — and it’s around the solid groove that the molten jamming happens in extended earlier pieces like the krautrocking “Has Anyone Seen Nick?” from the first or the particularly spacey “Chocolate Orange Candle” in the second set. While each has its own personality, I’m not inclined to pick a favorite from among the three lineups. It seems against the concept of Out into Space entirely, which was so clearly to bring these different personae together as one cohesive (if constantly shifting) whole, rather than to drive them apart. While it can be overwhelming in a single sitting — it is an afternoon long, after all — Out into Space provides years’ worth of psychedelic fodder to dig into.
So naturally they let it breathe for about a month before dishing out a follow-up. That’s not a criticism. In the tradition of the best of space rock, Øresund Space Collective do not stop to examine, do not stop to bask. They continue to move forward and on to the next thing, letting history sort it all out in their wake. The next thing? Different Creatures, which was recorded over a period of three days, Oct. 24-26, 2014, and found the band working as an eight-piece with Heller on synth as ever, plus Alex on drums and percussion, guitarists Jonathan (also violin, Theremin, electric mandolin and Hammond), Mattias (also pedal steel and shaker) and Mats (also bass on “Juggle the Juice,” “Digestive Raga” and “Bon Voyage”), bassist Hasse, key specialist Jonas and sitarist/synth-player KG. This lineup tears into over two and a quarter hours’ worth of material, showcasing distinct and differing vibes on the half-hour “Digestive Raga” and “The Man from Wales” while universally impressing with the chemistry at the heart of their improvisations. “Digestive Raga” — which, presumably, was performed after lunch — or the penultimate “Raga for Jerry G.” would be highlight candidates were it not for the sheer immersiveness of closer “20 Steps Towards the Invisible Door,” which is an album unto itself at 45:14 and emphasizes not only the beauty at heart in Øresund Space Collective‘s creative process — getting to the very core of group performance that brings individuals together working toward a common purpose — but also the beauty in the result of that process.
Hypnotic from its launch stages through to the strings and synth at its gradual comedown, it lives up to the promise of album-opener “The Ride to Valhalla” and speaks in its entirety to what makes Øresund Space Collective such a special project to begin with. To compare it to Music for Pogonologists seems moot since it’s different players throughout, but it wouldn’t matter anyway. “20 Steps Towards the Invisible Door” and Different Creatures as a whole have their own persona, and in capturing that special moment in time, unfiltered, unrestrained, gorgeously mixed, Øresund Space Collective once again affirm their position as the foremost jammers in the known cosmos. There are others who jam, and others who improvise their work along similar lines, but nobody who seeks to turnover their lineup with such regularity and still maintain such a consistent quality of output. Even within the vast realm of space rock and heavy psychedelia, Øresund Space Collective remain one of a kind.
Øresund Space Collective, Out into Space (2015)
Øresund Space Collective, Different Creatures (2015)
My understanding is that Red Lama‘s debut full-length is in the mixing stages now and, when it’s done, it’ll be out early in 2016 on All Good Clean Records. The Copenhagen-based outfit are bordering on psych-orchestra status with a full seven-piece lineup — I’ll just assume somebody couldn’t make it the day they took the picture above — and while it’s a miracle they can get that many people to be on the same page regarding anything, let alone actually function together as a heavy band, they’ve managed to put together an initial single in the form of “The World is Yours,” for which they also have a video newly unveiled.
The album doesn’t have a name yet — can you imagine getting seven people to agree on an album title? — but “The World is Yours” effectively demonstrates Red Lama‘s psychedelic side. As to how it might or might not speak for the whole record, I don’t know, but presumably they didn’t make it the first single because it just happened to be the first song finished. Or if it was, then that wasn’t a coincidence either. If it’s indicative of what they’re doing overall, then it finds them setting a deep mix to work in and then filling that space with an array of effected guitar, warm low end, spacey vocals and fluid groove. Some of it feels like post-Colour Haze heavy psych, but the band are right when they namecheck the Danish neo-krautrock stylizations of Papir as well, as there’s a definite progressive undercurrent to “The World is Yours” to coincide with its catchy chorus and dreamy central guitar line.
I’m not sure whether songs like “J.W. Burning” or “Twisted Smile” from the band’s self-titled 2012 EP will make the cut on the new record, but the septet’s Soundcloud page gives a chance to dig into these and other tracks like “Drowning Sun,” which coincides time-wise with “The World is Yours” and so likely came from the same sessions. It has a correspondingly open feel, laid back and jammy and post-rocking at times, but with a definite, grounding presence in standalone vocalist Johannes Havemann Kissov Linnet. In any case, if you’re looking to dig in, “The World is Yours” encourages further investigation, and the impressionism of the video enhances the otherworldliness of the sound.
Video follows, with background on the band and the clip after. Enjoy:
Red Lama, “The World is Yours” official video
Video directed by Iris Deppe Footage shot by Sarina Bosio
Music composed by Red Lama Recorded live at TAPF studio Produced and mixed by Peter Sloth (TAPF Studio) Mastered by Rune Rask (Tabu Studio)
Copenhagen’s musical underground continues to shoot new rock bands up through the asphalt. Now the next longhaired seed, in form of the seven-piece band Red Lama, is sprouting and is on its way to break through. The band is ready with a music video for their track The World is Yours. The track is at the same time the first single of the upcoming record by Red Lama, which is to be released primo 2016.
Red Lama settles in the slipstream of other current Danish bands with a taste for psychedelic expression and sound, such as De Underjordiske, Spids Nøgenhat, Papir and Fribytterdrømme. Red Lama find themselves between different parts of the rock genre with inspiration drawn from musical traditions from Iran and Mali.
The debut album, which is still untitled, is a bold move, where all the tracks are recorded as live sessions in TAPF studio in order to maintain an authentic and vivid sound. At the same time it makes apparent that Red Lama is a band that plays together, has experience and does not compromise the team effort that a seven-piece band requires live.
“We try to challenge the composition without making it too abstract and emphasize that we do not relate to a specific kind of genre of rock music. The intention is to create a powerful expression. We call it Moodrock where the rationale is that dreams are free, “says the lead singer Johannes Havemann Kissov Linnet.
The video for the first single, The World is Yours is directed by the Dutch artist Iris Deppe that previously has made music videos for the musical relatives in Fribytterdrømme.
“When making a music video I try not to focus too much on the lyrics and more on the atmosphere of the song. In this case the song The World is Yours by Red Lama has a very apocalyptic feel to it, whilst being mysterious at the same time. In a way it feels like a love song written for the earth that ends violently. Because there’s so much happening in the song I decided to go for a moving collage style where different kinds of filmed fragments are being shown, kind of like pattern puzzles, leaving it up to the viewer to piece everything together. Towards the end of the video everything starts to fall apart, melting into multi-coloured shapes. I got that idea while strolling around the Nørrebro lakes one evening and watching the reflections of all the lights casting long, melting shapes into the water., “says Iris Deppe.
Red Lama’s debut album is released on the brand new record label All Good Clean Records, and is just now entering the mixing phase.
Johannes Havemann Kissov Linnet: Vocal Morten Kaas: Organ, harmonica and other effects Marius Havemann Kissov Linnet: Drums Frederik Randrup Hansen: Bass Jonas Harboesgård Rahbek: Guitar Oliver Asbjørn Fick: Guitar Niklas Sjøbeck Jørgensen: Percussion
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 5th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Danish newcomer foursome Silhouette will make their debut with Die the Fire next week. I’m not sure whether it’s an EP or an LP, ultimately. They seem to go back and forth between one and the other, but if it’s a short first record, a full-length, I doubt anyone would hold that against it, particularly as the Fredericia outfit seem to have the swinging Uncle Acid-style occult vibe so thoroughly nailed down and balance it against proggy spaciousness as demonstrated on the song “What I Became,” which you can hear below. If you’re listening and you’re not sure what I’m talking about, make sure you get past the four-minute mark. It’ll start to make more sense.
That kind of immediate breadth is engaging, and it leaves me wondering what else they might have in store for the record. About a week to go. If you’re looking to get informed, the news might be a good way to do that:
Silhouette to release their debut album ”Die the Fire” on Friday the 13th of November
The Genre is Dark Rock where elements from the 70’s and 80’s hard rock and occult/shock rock is weaved together to a personal sound and style. Romantic and melancholic melodies get a grotesque edge from the scary and obscure face of rock music.
The band’s debut ”Die the Fire” which is released on November 13th, contains of six tracks that unfolds in a dynamic explosion of psychedelic details and a great interaction between lapsteel guitar and true hammond rock organ.
”Die the Fire” was recorded during winter 2013 in a rented summer cottage surrounded by cold, barren dunes close to the North Sea. During the recording there was also DIY ongoing, which was everything from technics and production to practical things as dragging gear and setting everything up. The recording was performed partially separately but all drum and bass is recorded together like the track “The Great Orange Sky” which was recorded live with the full band.
The release was intended to be an EP with a bit more “stuffing” than normal EP’s. The choice of songs on the record was made based on the opportunity to present the listener with a wide range of silhouettes, different musical themes and shades.
Tobie who has written the music and lyrics to all ”Die the Fires” six tracks says: ”If I should name other artists that make up a significant source of inspiration sheer musically in relation to the material on this record, it could be bands like Pink Floyd, Uriah Heep and Mercyful Fate.
Lyrically it stretches widely but the general atmosphere is carried by melancholic and bleak themes. Silhoutte grapples with chaotic forces and actions in life and tries to express this through lyrics. Realisation of and uncertainty in relation to life and death, magick and general extraordinary natural and astrological phenomenon’s are all topics that underpin the band’s music.
“Die the Fire” is mixed by Kasper Thomas in cooperation with the band itself and mastered by Mads Christensen (Rillbar). Surrounding “Die the Fire” physically is the detailed artwork of the artist Aslak Serpens that spurs contemplation.
On stage, Silhouettes universe is presented effectively and atmospherically. The dark and occult themes are effectively in play together with the bands hard, atmospherically full and melodious progressive sound. The band’s first live appearance was when they opened Metal Magic Festival, Fredericia, in the summer of 2014. Besides this the band has performed in Poland this summer and has also performed at the Mono Goes Metal festival in January 2015 together as well as the Culture Night in Kolding in august.
Silhouette, made up by Tobie (lead vocal, bass) Tommie (drummer, vocal) Stefan (guitar, lapsteel, vocal) and Eric (organ/keys, guitar, vocal), started back in 2012 when Tobie and Tommie got together and started writing songs. It is a band with a common background in Fredericia and Kolding, they are all friends who are gathered around a journey of the soul and an idea of how rock music should sound and be interpreted.
Almost on a per-song basis, Summer of Crush presents its audience with a lesson in how to capture scope within a solo performance. The album is the second for Copenhagen singer-songwriter Kristian Harting after 2014’s Float, which was also released via respected purveyors of the experimental Exile on Mainstream, and its 12 tracks/35 minutes are simultaneously intimate and grand. That’s rare enough, but Harting is a genuine solo act — he wrote, performed and recorded Summer of Crush entirely on its own, and given the breadth he shows, there’s no option in listening except to read purpose behind each of the turns in style or mood. Foot-pedaled synth and acoustic guitar intertwine with progressive folk without losing emotional resonance, and though a minute-long cut like “Cannibals” comes off minimal in its intent, it furthers the context of the record as a whole, which remains immersive, fluid and engaging, wherever Harting decides to go or is guided by a given track.
Songs feel built in the studio — “Ship of Fools” has percussion, layers synth, atmospheric guitar noise and a bassline — but Harting is never trying to trick his audience into thinking there’s a full band at work. Summer of Crush deftly retains its solo feel and is stronger for it, a solitary mood persistent across two sides constructed for vinyl but united by themes of travel, departure, movement. From the opening duo, “Traveller” [sic] and “Temporary Rooms,” Harting captures a moment as fleeting as the season from which the record takes its name, and as he careens from one piece into the next, it’s in the resolution of the final three tracks that he makes plain the directions he’s taking.
Hell, even the album’s cover brings a compass to mind, and with a heart at the center, it’s true to the nature of Summer of Crush as a whole. Its approach to beauty is unabashed, and as “Traveller” begins with soft acoustic pluck and deeper-mixed shaker, the nod toward complexity is subtle but by no means absent. Harting isn’t through the first song before a Morricone guitar echoes over top his acoustic, but “Temporary Rooms,” with a synth line that feels drawn from the teenage dramas of ’80s New Wave and an echoing low end guitar to match in the style of Angelo Badalamenti circa Twin Peaks — both set to an uptempo drum beat — is an immediate expansion. Harting himself is the unifying theme between the two songs, but he backs himself vocally on the second cut in a way the opener avoided, and sets forth a richness that “White Spirits” continues to build upon with an early drone-folk pulse that later gives way to full-on abrasive noise.
Miraculously, the chorus reemerges, unscathed from that momentary assault, and after a final moment of sweetness, “High High” taps coffeehouse lyrical cleverness and a more forward vocal presence, almost reminding of Michael Gira in Angels of Light during the verses, the second of which has an insistent kind of alarm sound deep under the melodic wash, just enough to be jarring until finally Harting hits the snooze button and lulls the listener back away from consciousness and toward the fuzzier, almost bouncing “I am You 2.” I don’t know if there was a first “I am You,” or if this is it — it wasn’t on Float — but the apparent sequel marries a wall of distorted guitar with a sweet sing-along, reveling in the contrast over a simple, programmed-sounding drum beat as “I am You 2” begins a section of shorter songs that moves forward through “Spirits Revisited,” an answer perhaps to “White Spirits” that gracefully blends noise, low-end synth and post-rock guitar airiness for a brief instrumental, and into “Cannibals,” which draws back the arrangement to a foundation of acoustic guitar and vocals. Like “Traveller” and “Temporary Rooms,” it is no accident that “Spirits Revisited” and “Cannibals” are paired up on the CD, though they’re also where the break in vinyl sides occurs.
There isn’t a single track on Summer of Crush that speaks to the entirety of the album — that is, no one-song summary of the overall scope — but “Ship of Fools” is a highlight anyway for its otherworldly echoing jangle, the intensity of its percussion, the way its synth line brings horns to mind and the edge of judgment in Harting‘s voice as he begins with the lines, “Eightballs of fine white powder/Snake oil and alchemy/Bottles of ancient poison/Portions of sweet honey,” before making a memorable hook out of “I know you know you know I know, you’re gambling/You know I know you know I know, we’re gambling” over a tense bassline and odd spurts of synth. Skillfully, Harting brings “Ship of Fools” to an apex of synthesized wash, and “Digging up Graves” takes hold with soft vocals, bass and far-off backing “ooohs,” but kicks at its midpoint into fuller-thrust bursting that, whether you call it post-punk or black metal, is brilliantly blown-out. Like a dream, it just happens and then is gone.
It cuts out and while one questions the reality of what they just heard, Harting is back to a soft verse like it was nothing, did you hear something? The quiet finish leads the way into the first piece of Summer of Crush‘s closing trio, which as noted, are where Harting notes his directions. Literally. “South North Passage,” “Soul Sister” and “East West Door” are the record’s final movement, and they feel linked in sound as much as the impression of the cardinal navigation with “Soul Sister” at the core, very much like the heart on the cover. “South North Passage” has vocals deep down — maybe recorded the same time as the guitar lead in the second half? — it but unfolds an atmospheric breadth behind a haunting central figure, while “Soul Sister” feels more straightforward from the start, at least within the context of Summer of Crush. Acoustic and dreamy electric guitars meet with keyboards, and a return-t0-earth vocal from Harting is presented in a synth-backed chorus. Near the end, the chorus of “I am You 2” gets a revisit, and as though just in case the album’s underlying symmetry wasn’t laid bare enough, Harting brings back the Morricone ramble in his guitar for “East West Door,” a soft programmed beat behind giving one last sense of motion as Summer of Crush marches to its finish.
Worth noting in summary that as Kristian Harting‘s second album makes its way through these varied realizations, it does so with little to no fullness of self. That is to say, while there’s going to be a certain amount of indulgence in the creative process — it’s a solo record; if there wasn’t, it wouldn’t exist — Summer of Crush is too busy actually being vibrant to revel in its vibrancy. Add to that the fact that it’s such a quick listen front-to-back and that even its longest cut is well under five minutes, and a listener could hardly accuse Harting of being pretentious. Rather, Summer of Crush arrives as the product of a genuinely open, individual creative process, and one that only seems geared toward growth. It is an even more satisfying experience on repeat visits.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Like the best space rock in this universe, it’s damn near impossible to keep up with Øresund Space Collective. Between their amorphous lineup of players coming and going, constantly updated catalog of bootleg live recordings on archive.org, extended live albums, fest appearances, guest spots, etc., you’d pretty much have to be in the band to be able to have an handle on all of it, and even then it seems like that handle would be tenuous at best. That, of course, is the whole idea. I very much dug last year’s Music for Pogonologists 2CD full-length, and just as I’ve started to dig into a new three-disc (!) live album, issued just a couple weeks back and suitably titled Out into Space, along comes a new studio full-length, Different Creatures, set to release next month. It is a staggering, overwhelming amount of music, and when you get down to the fact that most of what Øresund Space Collective does is improvised on the spot, their output seems even more encompassing. They’ve got jams for light-years.
Info on the new one follows, as sent along the PR wire:
Øresund Space Collective- Different Creatures
Space Rock Productions SRP030
Release date: Nov 2015 Triple Gatefold Vinyl 200 on black vinyl 300 on coloured vinyl 1000 2CD in a 4 panel digipack with 24 panel fold out poster
The Øresund Space Collective is a super group made up of members from various Scandinavian rock groups. These include the Carpet Knights (SE), Mantric Muse (DK), Bland Bladen (SE), Gas Giant (DK), Hooffoot (SE), First band from Outer Space (SE), Siena Root (SE), My Brother the Wind (SE), The Univerzals (DK) and others. The band has played numerous festivals around Europe including the Roskilde Festival (2015), Copenhagen Jazz Festival (2010), Kildemose Festival, Roadburn Festival (Holland 2010), Space Rock Odyssey (Sweden 2008), Slotsskogen goes Progressive (Sweden 2008), Space Force 1 (Finland 2009), Psychedelic Network (Germany 2009, 2013), Occultrance Festival (2011) in Belgium and Burg Herzberg, DE (2014). By 2015, the band had played about 90 concerts in 10 different countries! The band first started releasing music in 2006 on the Transubstans Label in Sweden and has over the first 5 years released many albums on several different labels.
This marks the 20th Øresund Space Collective release. The music presented on the deluxe 3LP gatefold or double CD was recorded by a very special group of musicians from Sweden and Norway (plus Dr SpaceDenmark) at the Black Tornado studio in Copenhagen. The members are from a wide variety of bands including Tangle Edge, Agusa, Camper Van Beethoven, My brother the Wind, Gösta Berlings Saga and Ex-Siena Root. The mixture of pedal steel, sitar, violin, mandolin, and theremin, presents a new and exciting sound and energy ranging from high energy space rock like Ride to Valhalla to very laid back country space blues with Jam for Jerry G and Indian space trance of the Digestive Raga. We created an unknown tribute to the Welsh band, Man, on the track, Man from Wales. There were some interesting sound experiments included as well to bridge the sides. Finally, the massive 45min, 20 steps towards the invisible Door.. Wow.. what a piece of music..
Recorded at the Black Tornado Studio, Copenhagen Oct 2014. Engineer Lars Lundholm. Mixed by Jonathan Segel with spiritual guidance from Hasse. Artwork by Mårdøn Smet. CD and LP Layouts by David Graham. Photos by Sabine Pottien.
LP1 (CD1) Side A Ride to Valhalla 19:37.65 Juggle 3:49.05
Side B Digestive Raga 20:55.33 Extended version on CD only (30:03)
LP2 Side C (CD1) Man from Wales 13:23.36 Bon Voyage 6:11.33
Side D (CD2) Raga for Jerry 20:16.13
Side E 20 Steps Towards the Invisible Door Part 1 25:18.11
Side F 20 Steps Towards the Invisible Door Part 2 20:01.05 (track is combined into one 45:19 min track on the CD)
The band on this release was the following: (in alphabetical order) Alex – Drums and Percussion Dr Space – Analog Synthesizers Hasse – Bass, DounDouns Jonas – Hammond, Synthesizer, Electric Piano, Guitar* Jonathan – Guitar, Violin, Theremin, Hammond*, Electric Mandolin KG – Sitar and Analog Synths Mattias – Guitar, Pedal Steel, Shaker Mats – Guitar, Bass**
*on The Man From Wales **on Juggle the Juice, Digestive Raga, Bon Voyage
I’m perfectly willing to go on-record and tell you that summer is far from my favorite season of the year, and as the news comes out that July 2015 was the hottest month the planet has experienced since they started keeping track, and as it’s humid enough out today for me to feel like I could swim to my busted-ass-AC-having car, I believe it. Here on the East Coast of the US, the perma-haze has settled in, and it we’re at that stage of summer where it feels like it’s never going to end and the world is just trying to cook us off its surface. You want pleasant? Wait until spring or fall. The only thing that awaits you outside today is sun-baked death. I mean that.
Still, just because that happens to be my experience and my opinion does not at all make it universal. In listening to Causa Sui‘s Summer Sessions series, I can only marvel at what must have been a very, very good season in their eyes. Released in three volumes on Elektrohasch Schallplatten as separate limited LPs between 2008 and 2009 and subsequently collected as Summer Sessions Vol. 1-3 on CD and vinyl, Summer Sessions remains a consuming meisterwerk precisely because it manages to capture the warmth and dreamy sensibility so often associated with the hot months of the year, the Danish four-piece of Jakob Skøtt, Jonas Munk, Rasmus Rasmussen and Jess Kahr finding a balance between classic progressive and heavy psychedelic rocks that not only showcased the live chemistry they were (and still are) able to bring to the studio, but pushed far beyond what they’d been able to accomplish on their self-titled 2005 debut (on Nasoni) or its 2007 follow-up, Free Ride. I won’t take anything away from either of those — except perhaps to say the first album has proven a pain in the ass to find on CD; when something on Nasoni is gone, it’s really gone — but clearly the scope on Summer Sessions Vol. 1-3 is in a different league entirely. Two hours of rich, explorational jamming, lush and vibrant. It’s a pretty high standard to meet.
And I think Causa Sui took some pretty significant lessons from Summer Sessions in their recording process for their 2013 full-length, Euporie Tide, upon which much due praise has been heaped. They’re currently working on their next outing that will probably be out early next year, and as they get farther away from Summer Sessions, it should be interesting to hear what they come up with and how they move forward past Euporie Tide, but whatever that album holds, the ultra-immersive sun-shining brilliance of Summer Sessions continues to stand on its own. It’s almost enough to make one tolerate the heat.
I put word out yesterday on Thee Facebooks and didn’t post anything here mostly because I wanted to sort of make it a soft announcement rather than a big thing, but I’ll be hosting an all-dayer next August at the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. The date is Aug. 20, 2016. It’s a Saturday. My plan is to have bands start around 2 or 3PM, go until a bit before midnight and then basically just make it a party. I have a headliner confirmed about whom I’m very stoked and several others locked in and am looking into other acts. Seven bands total. Several people have reached out from around the world to say they’re interested in coming, and that support means very, very much to me. Would be awesome to sell the place out.
Anyway, actual, official-type announcements will start after the New Year, so keep an eye out. I’m stoked though.
My brain must be absolutely fried, because I don’t even know how fried my brain is. I took the day off from work — which is, apparently, a thing one can do? — to take The Patient Mrs. for an endoscopy as her bizarre food-allergy saga continues, and I had some stuff going on this morning as well, including an interview with Dave Wyndorf of Monster Magnet about their new release. Look at me, doing interviews. It’s been a while.
That’ll be posted sometime in the next week or two, and next week I’ve also got reviews of the new Pentagram and Thera Roya releases slated, a full-album stream for Carousel‘s new one on Wednesday, a track stream on Tuesday for a band called Mountain Movers from Connecticut and another one maybe Thursday that I shouldn’t really talk about yet. Might do a podcast for Monday as well, since we’re about due. Depends on time, which as always, is short. I’m back and forth between Connecticut and New Hampshire for the next two days — because, you know, self-cruelty — and so by the time Monday gets around that 90 minutes to work in the morning should seem like a break.
Please have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and the radio stream.
[NOTE: Press play above to hear the stream of Shiggajon’s Sela. Thanks to El Paraiso for letting me host the premiere.]
Danish collective Shiggajon issue a disclaimer as regards their sound, and it goes like this: “Shiggajon is not freejazz.” Fair enough. The truth of what they “are,” at least on their newest offering, Sela — also their first to be issued through Causa Sui‘s label, El Paraiso Records — is both more complicated and less off-putting. Jazz is part of it, freedom is part of it, but there’s also psychedelic exploration, jamming, experimental rock, ambient texturing and a deep-rooted improvisational sensibility that, in large part, defines the two included tracks, “Mæander” and “Sela,” each of which boasts sprawl enough to consume a vinyl side. Another part of what Shiggajon “are,” however, is amorphous.
Based around the duo of saxophonist Nikolai Brix Vartenberg and Mikkel Reher-Langberg, who on Sela handles drums, percussion and clarinet, the band has a revolving-door contributorship as well as a massively prolific level of output, including studio and live records, one-off CD-Rs and so on. Being hard to define is part of the trip. For “Mæander” (18:14) and “Sela” (18:29), they’re joined by violinist and double-bassist Emil Rothenborg, drummer Martin Aagaard Jensen, drummer, percussionist ang guitarist Mikkel Elzer and vocalist and silver flutist Sarah Lorraine Hepburn, who also donates electronics and tingshaws, the latter of which sets a major tone of pastoralism in the developmental stages of “Mæander,” along with Rothenborg‘s violin and various jingling bells.
Far back percussion — congas, maybe — gives a somewhat ritualized feel, and Hepburn‘s sans-lyrics vocal textures come presaged by an uptick in those bells, so there’s a plan at work on “Mæander,” though far more satisfying is the process of letting Shiggajon, whoever, wherever, whenever, whatever they are, construct the flow of the track and be carried along its multifaceted currents. Natural vibing is pervasive and proceeds gloriously, without interruption, to spread out over side A’s 18-minute course, cymbals keeping rhythm not in straightforward rock progressions but in timed ceremonial march.
As the strings and the percussion continue to build intensity to and through the 12-minute mark, one is reminded of some of Swans‘ mounting-chaos experimentalism, but Shiggajon are ultimately on a much more peaceful trip, and rather than come to a head and explode with aggression, “Mæander” finds a distinctly meditative feel in its repetitions, elements moving in and out around a central angularity that has an underlying melody but isn’t shy about defying it either. When Hepburn returns in the second half of the track, it’s clear just how ceremonial “Mæander” has become and how much of a march has emerged. Seemingly perpetual, it ends on a long fade, the bells cutting through on the way out, only to have the title-track fade in quietly around turns of violin, more bells and a subtly grounding drum beat. More experimental-sounding on its face — that is, with a less prominent initial foundation — “Sela” itself is also a more linear build, flowing smoothly toward an apex and then making its way out again peacefully.
More than its predecessor, “Sela” comes together as a wash of tone and cymbals. There’s a drone-style feel to some of its early going, but it’s more active than it at first seems, and like “Mæander,” it’s best experienced as a sort of passive participant, which is to say, if you’re going to go with it, go with it. By the time they’re 10 minutes in and the guitars begin to hint at post-rock echoes amid a peaceful din that’s just as real as it is oxymoronic, you’re either going to be lost or completely on board for wherever Shiggajon go next. That destination? A somewhat more rhythmically insistent apex — the flute comes into play — that’s gorgeously layered into a consuming, almost overwhelming push.
I couldn’t point to an exact second where they hit it, but the crescendo is over shortly past the 15-minute mark — the cymbals drop out — and from there, Shiggajon set about deconstructing “Sela”‘s various elements, the flute staying so long, then withering into the background drone, then rising again. It’s an ending that fits with the odd but always flowing spiritualism preceding, but one gets the feeling coming out the other side that Shiggajon probably didn’t stop to look back at the ending, by which I mean a band like this — as much as they are a band — is almost always looking forward at what’s next rather than what they’ve done before, constantly striving toward the next step in their ongoing progression. While Sela unquestionably captures a moment in their existence worth seeking out, for Shiggajon, it’s likely to be one more chapter in a longer story rather than any kind of stopping point. As one can hear on both sides of the platter, there’s no shortage of movement within.