Review & Full Album Premiere: Øresund Space Collective, Live in Berlin 2018

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

oresund space collective live in berlin

[Click play above to stream Øresund Space Collective’s Live in Berlin 2018. Album is out Sept. 12 on Space Rock Productions.]

Even as multinational purveyors of the interstellar Øresund Space Collective were celebrating the release of their latest studio album, May 2018’s Chatoyant Breath, they were already planning their next move. So it goes in the cosmic long game for an act that has nearly 30 offerings of one sort or another in the 12 years, building a catalog as expansive as their sound itself and giving no indication of a slowdown in productivity. Touring to mark the arrival of Chatoyant Breath, they performed June 2 at the Sneaky Snake Festival in Berlin, Germany, rounding out a run of nine dates in nine days and featuring the work of Vemund Engin of Black Moon Circle on guitar alongside the cast headed by synthesist Scott “Dr. Space” Heller, who before the show starts asks the crowd if they’re ready for a space trip. It would seem they are.

Øresund Space Collective from that beginning point unfurl five extended and completely improvised jams, opening with the 29-minute longest track (immediate points) “Improv to the Other Side,” which seems to have gotten there by the time Engin is dug into his solo in the later minutes. Whatever else Øresund Space Collective might be, they’re a vibe band. The version of space rock they play can be uptempo and full of thrust or it can be languid and dream-toned — or it can be both, if they want it to be — but their always-off-the-cuff jams work in intricate layers to create a style that’s immersive in the extreme and meant to be taken as an entirety in its entirety. That is, one can sit and pick apart elements like Jonathan‘s violin (he also plays guitar and theremin) that shows up in the opener and reappears in the subsequent “Sneaky Snake Jam” (the shortest inclusion at 16:03), but in his stage banter, even Heller seems to be advising the audience relax the brain and absorb the jams through the skin, and I’ve found as well that’s the best way to enjoy their work.

I count myself a fan of that work, I should note, and I consider it more or less a favor I’m doing myself whenever I get to review one of their outings. Live in Berlin 2018 is special not only for the lead guitar work of Engin or the aforementioned violin, but also for the manner in which the band so fluidly build their groove on “Sneaky Snake Jam,” or the push that emerges in the first half of the 27-minute “Henk’s Jam-O-Rama,” punctuated by Tim‘s drumming as Mogens and Dr. Space swirl out synth leads and the latter takes a second to check in with the crowd: “How y’all feeling? Great energy in the room.” Easy enough to believe. With Jiri on bass rounding out a six-piece lineup, Heller seems to particularly relish a bandleader role here. There are no vocals, or at least none discernible, as they’ve never really been a part of Øresund Space Collective‘s let’s-jam-our-way-to-the-heart-of-the-sun mission, but Heller introduces the band more than once and seems to be at the center of the proceedings.

oresund space collective (photo by Sabine Pottien)

Fair enough for his having founded the group and all that, and the human presence hardly could take away from the uptempo keyboard jazz in the middle of “Henk’s Jam-O-Rama” or the gloriously mellow funk that takes hold after the quiet opening of “Freaks of Berlin” (18:40), with a highlight performance by Tim on drums and another righteous classic-style solo from Engin on guitar. They take off in that jam, seem to burst forward, recede almost to the point of drone where it seems like maybe they’ve lost the direction, then make a bunch of noise until they get themselves sorted again and soon enough, they’re back in a quick-paced swing, capping quiet with a crash of drums in time for Heller to introduce Simon from Black Moon Circle to take over on drums for the finale “Another Jam for Sabine” while Tim moves to hand-percussion for the 17-minute finish.

And before they start, Heller states the intention of getting kind of an Afrobeat-space sound, but the end product of “Another Jam for Sabine” turns out to be more minor-key in the guitar, lending an almost Middle Eastern sensibility to its sound. While the guitar work remains impressive as it has been all along, a wash of synth early, backed by violin and meeting head-on with said guitar, makes “Another Jam for Sabine” a high point on multiple levels. Only fair they should reach maximum altitude as they get ready to end the set, but Øresund Space Collective have been around long enough at this point, whoever happens to be in the band at any given point, that they know what they want in terms of conjured atmospheres, and they sound confident here in bringing that to life, even if what they want is to jam.

Heller records most if not all of their live shows, and in addition to their 29 proper releases they have a massive digital archive of sets that can be downloaded — each one, of course, is different, with its own improvisations and its own direction depending on the night, but it’s hard to argue with the impulse for Live in Berlin 2018 to have been given a multi-track recording, a real mixdown and a physical pressing. Their energy playing Berlin for the first time and doing so while also wrapping up a five-country tour is palpable throughout and it sounds like band and audience alike were having a total blast. As prone as they can be to drift, it’s an active, engaging spirit that oozes from these explorations, and in their character and their sheer execution of a creative will, they only further the proposition that Øresund Space Collective are an institution in space rock. As Heller says when “Another Jam for Sabine” begins to wind down, “We’ll meet you in another universe some other time.” I believe it, and it probably won’t be all that long till it happens, either.

Øresund Space Collective on The Facebooks

Øresund Space Collective on Bandcamp

Øresund Space Collective website

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The Sonic Dawn Announce New Album Set for 2019 Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Whittled down from an apparent glut of material — 30 songs is not inconsiderable — the forthcoming long-player from Danish classic-psychedelic trio The Sonic Dawn will be released early next year via Heavy Psych Sounds. Why the delay? Well, one expects with pressing times, the label’s schedule, putting together art and all the standard pre-album hoopla — preorders, track streams, videos if they go that route, etc. — it would be a few months anyway, and I don’t know how to say this because it seems utterly impossible, but a few months from now is like November/December, and it makes sense that The Sonic Dawn would rather wait until the New Year to get their record out rather than have it arrive around the holiday season when most folks’ minds are elsewhere. It’s a deceptively quick jump between now and early 2019, however much that might sound like the future.

Fortunately, The Sonic Dawn sound a good bit like the past, you know, to balance things out. Yet untitled, their new record follows Spring 2017’s Into the Long Night (review here), which was the three-piece’s first for Heavy Psych Sounds after making their debut in 2015 with Perception (review here), issued by Nasoni Records.

The PR wire brings announcement of work completed:

the sonic dawn

Danish psychedelic trio THE SONIC DAWN completes new album; to be released early 2019 on Heavy Psych Sounds Records.

Good news for all fans of the psychedelic sounds! The Sonic Dawn just finished recording their third LP, the culmination of a full year’s labor. Following their first two album releases, the Danish trio has toured Europe more or less constantly, only returning home to focus on this, their most ambitious project to date.

“This past year, we’ve been forced to deal with the shadow side of life. We turned feelings of loss, self-doubt and fear into a deeply personal record, finding hope and strength in the process. You hear a shift from darkness to light in these songs, picked from over 30 tracks we wrote. It’s our biggest work ever.” states Emil Bureau (guitar/vocals).

The Sonic Dawn recorded their new album in The Village, Denmark’s best analog studio, with producer Thomas Vang, coming directly from album sessions with Roger Waters.

While the album title and release date is yet to be announced, it is expected to hit record stores and online platforms in early 2019, followed by an extensive album tour. The Sonic Dawn will release their upcoming record world-wide on Heavy Psych Sounds Records.

www.thesonicdawn.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/thesonicdawn
www.instagram.com/thesonicdawn
https://thesonicdawn.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

The Sonic Dawn, Into the Long Night (2017)

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Mythic Sunship Announce 2LP Another Shape of Psychedelic Music Due Oct. 5

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 24th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

mythic sunship

Unlikely that the Ornette Coleman reference in the use of the word ‘shape’ in the title Another Shape of Psychedelic Music is a coincidence. Given Copenhagen four-piece Mythic Sunship‘s jazz-psych proclivities, The Shape of Jazz to Come is probably right on the record shelf next to Coltrane‘s A Love Supreme and assorted concurrent outings from Miles DavisSun Ra and others. Fair enough. Throw in some classic exploratory instrumentalist psychedelia from the likes of Causa Sui — whose Jonas Munk produced the six-tracker and appears on two of its cuts, in addition to releasing it through Causa Sui‘s respected imprint, El Paraiso Records — and you get a beginning understanding of the blend of soaring sax and airy guitar that permeates, flowing easy in some places and off at a sprint in others but always immersive for the 67-minute duration. As the direct follow-up to earlier-2018’s Upheaval (review here) and 2017’s Land Between Rivers (review here), the album does indeed offer another shape, and that shape seems to change throughout according to the band’s will.

I’ll hope to have more to come on this one, but it’s out Oct. 5 on El Paraiso, as the PR wire affirms:

Mythic Sunship Another Shape of Psychedelic Music

Mythic Sunship to Release New LP, ‘Another Shape of Psychedelic Music’, October 5

Explorative Copenhagen Quartet Delivers Deep Dive Into Incendiary Cosmic Rock with Blazing New Double Album

Danish progressive space rock band Mythic Sunship will release its new LP, Another Shape of Psychedelic Music, on October 5 via El Paraiso Records. The fearless group creates epic music — cataclysmic and complex — that pulls from ‘60’s blues-rock, jazz-rock fusion and the golden era of ’70’s prog rock, bursting with improvisation and an avant-garde spirit. A six track double LP, Another Shape of Psychedelic Music, follows Mythic Sunship’s Upheaval, a critically lauded LP released earlier this year.

With a band name mingled from album titles by John Coltrane and Sun Ra one might expect Mythic Sunship to be a jazz band. However, this is not quite the case, although the quartet shares a similar sense of exploration and general untamedness with that of the two masters of cosmic jazz.

Spiritually, Mythic Sunship seems connected to present day So Cal psych-rock. Frederik Denning’s ferocious drum pounding and Rasmus ‘Cleaver’ Christensen’s thick, Geezer Butler-esque basslines add fuel to an endless pyre of blazed-out, dual lead guitars that Kasper Stougaard Andersen and Emil Thorenfeldt play with extraordinary dexterity, and intensity, dished out with the revolutionary fervor of the MC5. Think Earthless rip-roaring at Mach 10 over a live performance of Miles Davis’ landmark ‘Bitches Brew’. This stuff is wild.

Recorded in the winter of 2017 with producer / musician Jonas Munk (Causa Sui, Ulrich Schnauss), Another Shape of Psychedelic Music sees Mythic Sunship continue to build its mesmeric framework with the addition of saxophonist Søren Skov, a Coltrane-like player whose leads snake through the group’s gargantuan grooves and add an unquantifiable surrealism to its sound. The band’s instinctual talents unfurl across passages of light and dark, fast and furious before each composition sluices into an incredible roar of war machine-like power, cacophony and heavy metal ambient insanity. It’s like Blue Cheer attempting New Age music, and how cool of an idea is that?

Mythic Sunship creates music that dances with a level of forward-thinking freshness so immediate that it reminds us that the best music, —like the best theater, the best art—always does something you don’t expect, in a way that you don’t expect. It doesn’t have to be radical, it doesn’t have to be a wholly new invention, but is has to surprise you in some way.

Prepare to be surprised.

Track listing:

1.) Resolution
2.) Backyard Ritual (feat. Jonas Munk)
3.) Last Exit
4.) Way Ahead
5.) Out There (feat. Jonas Munk)
6.) Elevation

Mythic Sunship features Kasper Stougaard Andersen (guitar), Emil Thorenfeldt (guitar), Rasmus ‘Cleaver’ Christensen (bass), Frederik Denning (drums), with Søren Skov (saxophone) and Jonas Munk.

https://www.facebook.com/mythicsunship/
https://elparaisorecords.com/

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The Obelisk Presents: Earth Ship & Rising Fall German Tour

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on August 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

earth ship rising tour

Two underrated progressive and aggressive acts — that’s Berlin trio Earth Ship and the five-piece Rising from Copenhagen — will head out together this Fall on a five-date run through Germany for which I’m thrilled to have The Obelisk among the presenters. From Earth Ship‘s individualized approach to sludge rock and Rising‘s grown affinity for a prog-metal approach to doom, each band offers something different from the other, and yet they should still make for an excellent and complementary pairing. It may not be the longest tour ever, but it’s bound to give German crowds something different from everything else happening as we head toward the end of the year.

Both bands are coming off 2016 releases — Earth Ship released Hollowed through Napalm and Rising had Oceans into Their Graves out on Indisciplinarian — and by astounding coincidence, both band will have new albums out in October. I know! What are the chances? Anyway, I know not everyone who reads this either is in Germany now or is going to be there in November, but even if you’re elsewhere and you get to check out either Rising or Earth Ship on the Bandcamp players below and maybe dig something you haven’t hear before, that’s still a win as far as I’m concerned. Either way, this tour seems like it’s going to be something special with the two new albums hitting around the same time and both groups being so much on their own respective wavelength.

If you do get to a show, consider me jealous. The PR wire has more info on the impending records and more background on the bands. As well as the dates, which, you know, you definitely want in there.

Dig it:

EARTH SHIP ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES FOR THE FALL OF 2018!

WITH VERY SPECIAL GUESTS RISING!

Doom and sludge heavyweights EARTH SHIP have announced a bunch of German tour dates for the Fall of 2018! The Berlin-based trio has teamed up with Denmark’s RISING, both bands are set to release their brand new records this October and will introduce them live on stage.

Ever since their inception in 2010, EARTH SHIP have built their reputation in the vast field of the stoner, doom and sludge underground scene as one of the most relentless and heavy-hitting live bands out there. With their thunderous blend of sludgy riffs, bluesy leads, virulent vocals and a massive dose of both groove and humour, vocalist Jan Oberg, his wife Sabine (bass) and Sebastian Grimberg (drums) have taken EARTH SHIP to the stages of Desertfest, Stoned From The Underground or Pelagic Fest, and toured with bands like RED FANG, TORCHE, CROWBAR or VOIVOD.

After 3 albums on Pelagic, the band signed with Napalm Records for the release of their 4th and critically acclaimed studio album „Hollowed“ in 2016. But the alliance didn’t last long, and the band returned to the welcoming arms at Pelagic for album #5: Resonant Sun.

Resonant Sun will be released on October 5th, perfect in time for a German headline tour with support by very special guests Denmark’s RISING in November!

Epic metal five-piece RISING, formed in 2008, have just finished their fourth full-length album which will be released this October on Indisciplinarian. In 2016, the band released their third album ‘Oceans Into Their Graves’, which was followed by numerous shows all over Europe with bands alike Gold or Orm including festival appearances at such as Copenhell or Roskilde Festival. With their exciting mixture of all that is heavy, RISING own a very special trademark of modern metal sounds while retaining their unique blend of the 70’s and 80’s classic Heavy Metal with the heavier aspects of the more recent alternative and progressive variations of the genre. Their upcoming brand new record will showcase the band’s diversity, musical talent, live power and RISING’s best album to date!

Teaming up with EARTH SHIP to tour both hotly anticipated records will surely please all fans of the Sludge, Doom and Heavy Metal. „We’re happy to return to Germany to play shows in November with the great Earth Ship in support of our forthcoming album!“ RISING comments. „We have some of most persistent and dedicated supporters in Germany, and it always kinda feels like coming home when touring there, as we’re always met with love and open arms. So, expect a fiery set of both new and older tunes and a band going for the throat…or thereabouts. We can’t wait, see you all in November!“

Make sure to catch this heavy package live on the following dates, presented by ALL NOIR, LEGACY, METAL.DE and THE OBELISK:

13.11.18 Hamburg – Fundbureau
14.11.18 Osnabrück – Bastard Club
15.11.18 Köln – Sonic Ballroom
16.11.18 Dresden – Loco
17.11.18 Berlin – Cassiopeia ( + Grim van Doom, Blacksmoker, Praise The Plague )

www.facebook.com/wearetheearthship
www.facebook.com/risingdk

Earth Ship, Hollowed (2016)

Rising, Oceans into Their Graves (2016)

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Quarterly Review: Lucifer, Heilung, Amarok, T.G. Olson, Sun Dial, Lucid Grave, Domadora, Klandestin, Poor Little Things, Motorowl

Posted in Reviews on July 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

You know what’s disheartening? When someone goes ‘thanks dudes.’ You know, I share a review or something, the band reposts and goes ‘thanks to the crew at The Obelisk blah blah.’ What fucking crew? If I had a crew, I’d put up 10 reviews every single day of the year. “Crew.” Shit. I am the crew. In the description of this site, the very first thing it says is “One-man operation.” It’s a fucking solo-project. That’s the whole point of it. It’s like me looking at your bass and going, “Sweet guitar, thanks for the solos brah.” I’m happy people want to share links and this and that, but really? It’s been nine years. Give me a break.

Oh yeah, that’s right. Nobody gives a shit. Now I remember. Thanks for reading.

And while we’re here, please remember the numbers for these posts don’t mean anything. This isn’t a countdown. Or a countup. It’s just me keeping track of how much shit I’m reviewing. The answer is “a lot.”

Grump grump grump.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Lucifer, Lucifer II

lucifer lucifer ii

Recorded as the trio of vocalist Johanna Sardonis (ex-The Oath), guitarist Robin Tidebrink (Saturn) and guitarist/drummer Nicke Andersson (Death Breath, ex-Entombed, ex-The Hellacopters), Lucifer’s second album, Lucifer II (on Rise Above), follows three years after its numerical predecessor, Lucifer I (review here), and marks its personnel changes with a remarkable consistency of mission. Like Mercyful Fate gone disco, the formerly-Berlin/London-now-Stockholm group bring stage-ready atmospheres to songs like “Phoenix” and the riff-led “Before the Sun,” while unleashing a largesse of hooks in “Dreamer” and the boogie-pushing “Eyes in the Sky.” “Dancing with Mr. D” brings nod to a Rolling Stones cover, and “Before the Sun” reaffirms a heavy ‘70s root in their sound. I can’t help but wonder if the doomier “Faux Pharaoh” is a sequel to “Purple Pyramid,” but either way, its thicker, darker tonality is welcome ahead of the bonus track Scorpions cover “Evening Wind,” which again demonstrates the ease with which Lucifer make established sounds their own. That’s pretty much the message of the whole album. Lucifer are a big band. Lucifer II makes the case for their being a household name.

Lucifer on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records webstore

 

Heilung, Lifa

heilung lifa

Lifa is the audio taken from the live video that brought Denmark’s Heilung to prominence. Captured at Castlefest in The Netherlands in last year, the impression the expansive Viking folk group made was all the more powerful with elaborate costuming, bone percussive instruments, antlers, animal-skin drums, and so on. Their debut studio album, Ofnir, came out in 2015 and like LIFA has been issued by Season of Mist, but the attention to detail and A/V experience only adds to the hypnotic tension and experimentalist edge in the material. Does it work with just the audio? Yes. The 12-minute “In Maijan” and somehow-black-metal “Krigsgaldr” maintain their trance-out-of-history aspect, and the 75-minute set blends multi-tiered melodies and goblin-voiced declarations for an impression unlike even that which Wardruna bring to bear. Whether it’s the drones of “Fylgija Futhorck” or the chants and thuds of “Hakkerskaldyr,” LIFA is striking from front to back and a cohesive, visionary work that should be heard as well as seen. But definitely seen.

Heilung on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist website

 

Amarok, Devoured

amarok devoured

Eight years after their founding, an EP and several splits, Chico, California, atmosludge extremists Amarok make their full-length debut with Devoured on Translation Loss. If it’s been a while in the making, it’s easy enough to understand why. The album is rife with brutalist and grueling sensibilities. Comprised of just four tracks, it runs upwards of 70 minutes and brings a visceral churn to each cut, not forgetting the importance of atmosphere along the way, but definitely focused on the aural bludgeoning they’re dealing out. Tempos, duh, are excruciating, and between the screams and growls of bassist Brandon Squyres (also Cold Blue Mountain) and guitarist Kenny Ruggles – the band completed by guitarist Nathan Collins and drummer Colby ByrneAmarok make their bid for Buried at Sea levels of heft and rumble their way across a desolate landscape of their own making. Eight years to conjure this kind of punishment? Yeah, that seems about right. See you in 2026.

Amarok on Thee Facebooks

Translation Loss Records webstore

 

T.G. Olson, Ode to Lieutenant Henry

tg olson ode to lieutenant henry

Here’s a curious case: T.G. Olson, founding guitarist and vocalist of Across Tundras, is a prolific experimental singer-songwriter. His material ranges from psychedelic country to fuller-toned weirdo Americana and well beyond. He’s wildly prolific, and everything goes up on Bandcamp for a name-your-price download, mostly unannounced. It’s not there, then it is. Olson’s latest singe, Ode to Lieutenant Henry, was there, and now it’s gone. With the march of its title-track and a complementary cover of Townes van Zandt’s “Silver Ships of Andilar,” I can’t help but be curious as to where the tracks went and if they’ll be back, perhaps in some other form or as part of a different release. Both are plugged-in and coated in fuzzy tones, with Olson’s echoing vocals providing a human presence in the wide soundscape of his own making. The original is shorter than the cover, but both songs boast a signature sense of ramble that, frankly, is worth being out there. Hopefully they’re reposted at some point, either on their own as they initially were or otherwise.

Across Tundras on Thee Facebooks

T.G. Olson/Across Tundras on Bandcamp

 

Sun Dial, Science Fiction

sun dial sci fi

If space is the place, Sun Dial feel right at home in it. The long-running UK psychedelic adventurers collect two decades’ worth of soundtrack material on Science Fiction, their new release for Sulatron Records. Made with interwoven keyboard lines and a propensity to periodically boogie on “Mind Machine,” “Airlock,” “Infra Red,” etc., the experimentalist aspect of Science Fiction is all the more remarkable considering the album is compiled from different sources. One supposes the overarching cosmos is probably what brings it together, but with the samples and synth of “Saturn Return” and the lower end space-bass of pre-bonus-track closer “Starwatchers” – that bonus track, by the way, is a 15-minute version of opener “Hangar 13” – and though the vast majority of the Science Fiction relies on synth and keys to make its impression, it’s still only fair to call the proceedings natural, as the root of each one seems to be exploration. It’s okay to experiment. Nobody’s getting hurt.

Sun Dial on Thee Facebooks

Sun Dial at Sulatron Records webstore

 

Lucid Grave, Demo 2018

lucid grave demo 2018

There are three songs on Lucid Grave’s first outing, the aptly-titled Demo 2018, and the first of them is also the longest (immediate points), “Star.” It presents a curious and hard to place interpretation of psychedelic sludge rock. It is raw as a demo worthy of its name should be, and finds vocalist Malene Pedersen (also Lewd Flesh) echoing out to near-indecipherable reaches atop the feedback-addled riffing. Quite an introduction, to say the least. The subsequent “Desert Boys” is more subdued at the start but gets furious at the end, vocals spanning channels in an apparent call and response atop increasingly intense instrumental thrust. And as for “Ride the Hyena?” If I didn’t know better – and rest assured, I don’t – I’d call it doom. I’m not sure what the hell the København five-piece are shooting for in terms of style, but I damn sure want to hear what they come up with next so I can find out. Consider me enticed. And accordingly, one can’t really accuse Demo 2018 of anything other than doing precisely what it’s supposed to do.

Lucid Grave on Thee Facebooks

Lucid Grace on Bandcamp

 

Domadora, Lacuna

domadora lacuna

Comprised of four-tracks of heavy psychedelic vibes led by the scorch-prone guitar of Belwil, Domadora’s third album, Lacuna, follows behind 2016’s The Violent Mystical Sukuma (discussed here) and taps quickly into a post-Earthless league of instrumentalism on opener “Lacuna Jam.” That should be taken as a compliment, especially as regards the bass and drums of Gui Omm and Karim Bouazza, respectively, who hold down uptempo grooves there and roll along with the more structured 14-minute cut “Genghis Khan” that follows. Each of the album’s two sides is comprised of a shorter track and a longer one, and there’s plenty of reach throughout, but more than expanse, even side B’s “Vacuum Density” and “Tierra Last Homage” are more about the chemistry between the band members – Angel Hidalgo Paterna rounds out on organ – than about crafting a landscape. Fortunately for anyone who’d take it on, the Parisian unit have plenty to offer when it comes to that chemistry.

Domadora on Thee Facebooks

Domadora on Bandcamp

 

Klandestin, Green Acid of Last Century

klandestin green acid of last century

That’s a big “fuck yes, thank you very much” for the debut album from Indonesian stoner metallers Klandestin. Green Acid of the Last Century arrives courtesy of Hellas Records and is THC-heavy enough that if they wanted to, they could probably add “Bong” to the band’s name and it would be well earned. Eight tracks, prime riffs, watery vocals, dense fuzz, stomp, plod, lumber, shuffle – it’s all right there in homegrown dosage, and for the converted, Green Acid of the Last Century is nothing short of a worship ceremony, for the band itself as well as for anyone taking it on. With the march of “Doomsday,” the unmitigated rollout of “Black Smoke,” and the swirling green aurora of “The Green Aurora,” Klandestin wear their holding-back-a-cough riffage as a badge of honor, and couldn’t be any less pretentious about it if they tried. From the hooded weedian on the cover art to the Sleepy nod of closer “Last Century,” Green Acid of Last Century telegraphs its intent front-to-back, and is all the more right on for it.

Klandestin on Thee Facebooks

Hellas Records on Bandcamp

 

Poor Little Things, Poor Little Things

poor little things poor little things

You get what you pay for with “Rock’n’Roller,” which leads off the self-titled debut EP from Bern, Switzerland-based Poor Little Things. Around the core duo of vocalist Tina Jackson and multi-instrumentalist Dave “Talon” Jackson (also of Australia’s Rollerball) on guitar, bass, synth and percussion is Talon’s The Marlboro Men bandmate Fernando Marlboro on drums, and together the band presents five tracks of remember-when-rock-rocked-style groove. Fueled by ‘70s accessibility and a mentality that seems to be saying it’s okay to play big rooms, like arenas, cuts like “Drive” seem prime for audience participation, and “Break Another Heart” gives a highlight performance from Tina while “About Love” showcases a more laid back take. They close with the 6:37 “Street Cheetah,” which struts appropriately, and end with a percussive finish on a fadeout repeating the title line. As a showcase of their style and songwriting chops, Poor Little Things shows significant promise, sure, but it’s also pretty much already got everything it needs for a full-length album.

Poor Little Things on Thee Facebooks

Poor Little Things on Bandcamp

 

Motorowl, Atlas

motorowl atlas

Every now and then you put on a record and it’s way better than you expect. Hello, Motorowl’s Atlas. The German troupe’s second for Century Media, it takes the classic stylizations of their 2016 debut, Om Generator, and pushes them outward into a vast sea of organ-laced progressive heavy, soaring in vocal melodies and still modern despite drawing from an array of decades past. The chug in “The Man Who Rules the World” would be metal for most bands, but on Atlas, it becomes part of a broader milieu, and sits easily next to the expansive title-track, as given to post-rocking airiness in the guitar as to synth-laden prog. That mixture of influences and aesthetics would be enough to give the five-piece an identity of their own, but Atlas is further characterized by Motorowl’s ambitious songwriting and benefits greatly from the melodic arrangements and the clear intention toward creative development at work here. Those who take on its seven-track/45-minute journey will find it dynamic, spacious and heavy in kind.

Motorowl on Thee Facebooks

Motorowl at Century Media website

 

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Friday Full-Length: West, Space & Love, West, Space & Love

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Go ahead and file under Øresund Space Collective, I suppose. And while you’re at it, pick up the pieces of my blown mind after realizing that it’s been six full years since the West, Space & Love album came out. Their self-titled debut (review here) was originally released under that banner, but immediately on its own wavelength. The uniting factor was the participation of synth specialist Scott “Dr. Space” Heller in the project, but actually, at the time, two-thirds of the outfit came from Sweden’s Siena Root — those being guitarist/sitarist KG Westman and drummer Billy “Love” Forsberg — so I suppose they were even more “file under” that band, if you want to go by the pure math. In terms of their approach though, well, I’ll say the album’s on the right Bandcamp. Perhaps the last song title says it best: “Sitars in Space.” The notion behind West, Space & Love as a project was that it should be a mostly acoustic psychedelic record. Of course, synth plays a heavy role, but with Westman‘s sitar, acoustic and electric guitars, and bass, as well as a variety of percussive instruments and more guitar helmed by Forsberg, there remains a strong undercurrent of the organic to the five included tracks on the ultra-manageable 44-minute LP. Though, you know, I say “LP” and I don’t think it was ever released on vinyl. Could it be time for a reissue?

Now’s as good as whenever, in that regard, though time doesn’t really matter with a release like this. It’s not like it’s going to go out of style. A spirit of exploration pervades — they take their improvisation-minded cues from their Øresund Space Collective parentage, to be sure; not that Siena Root at this point didn’t do their fair share of jamming — but again, the plane from which West, Space & Love‘s jams came was pretty much their own. And it was mellow. Extremely so. In my original writeup for the record, I talk about it behind a nighttime headphone record. I stand by that 100 percent, but I remember clearly the scenario I was talking about was being up late at night at Roadburn in the Netherlands when I first got this CD and listening to it there basically on west space and love west space and loverepeat for the whole weekend. It’s a freakout, but such a quiet one that it was just the perfect chillout to answer that kind of sensory overload. Six years later, the feeling is much the same.

Listening to “High Rise,” “Kafi (For Your Love)” and “Spirit Blues” on what would essentially serve as side A, the flow is impeccable. From the harder acoustic strum and percussive pulse of “High Rise” through the patient and graceful unfolding of “Kafi (For Your Love)” — every bit worthy of a comparison to Lamp of the Universe, and that’s not a line I’ll often draw — and the tracklist-centerpiece naturalism so prevalent in “Spirit Blues,” each player gets his moment to shine out from the three-piece. Whether it’s Love on “High Rise” and in the one-man-drum-circle during the second half of “Spirit Blues” or Dr. Space with the synth wash at the end of the opener or Westman‘s initial strum of sitar in “Kafi (For Your Love)” immediately taking my mind to The Beatles‘ “Love You To” — where it’s always a pleasure to go — the personality of each player is in full bloom throughout, and the manner in which they meld together to form something new is nothing short of remarkable.

And that continues into “Repetition” and “Sitar in Space,” both of which speak to a self-awareness on the part of their creators. It’s easy to imagine that the last two cuts, both utterly meditative in their approach and spacious beyond even what was brought to bear on the three tracks prior, came from later in the session. They seem to be that much more comfortable and settled into a methodology — especially the closer — but I know nothing about in what order these songs happened in the studio, so that’s just a narrative brought on by the evocative nature of the material itself. That is, that 22-minute stretch is so immersive and even unto its titles feels so conscious of what it’s creating that it’s easy to thread the story that it came after the initial explorations at the beginning of the record. For those interested more by general atmospheres than the circumstances of their creation, consider it emblematic of the pull West, Space & Love elicit generally, and the strength in terms of bringing ambience to life. Because while it is for the most part a quiet album, there’s no doubting the vibrancy of West, Space & Love from front to back. “Trippy” is overused as a descriptor, but there’s a genuine sense of journey in these songs for mind and spirit alike, and whether you let them wash over you or try and pick apart each hand-drum thud, synthesized swirl and sitar pluck, the resonance of the album’s entirety will continue long after play has stopped.

It was enough, I suppose, that Forsberg, Westman and Heller came together again in 2016 for West, Space & Love Vol. II (review here). It was a less acoustically-based session, and had the gag-track “Pig in Space” to pull the listener out of the otherwise hypnotic moment, but was still a worthy follow-up to the chemistry established here, and one hopes it won’t be the last time these three get together, however busy they might otherwise be. Forsberg remains with Siena Root, while Westman‘s contributions to 2009’s Different Realities (discussed here) would be his last with the band. He continues to focus on Hundusthani classical sitar music and has performances booked between next week and late September, when he’ll be in New York and Massachusetts both for select US appearances. His latest album, Sonashish, came out last year through Bihaan Music. Here’s a bonus raag from him just because I happened to be on his website and put it on:

Of course, Heller continues to pursue the outer reaches of the known cosmos with Øresund Space Collective, about whom writing has essentially become a means of doing myself a favor over the last several years, as I find their output always to be such a joy to put on and adventure with. I’ll say the same applies to West, Space & Love as well, which it’s been a thrill to revisit. I hope you feel the same way.

And as always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

Pouring coffee in the dark at four in the morning? What could possibly go wrong?

Sometimes I feel like the late-night/early-morning process of decision making is its own beast entirely, separate from the entire rest of the day. And then I remember things like the fact that I drove out of lunch the other day with my wallet on top of the car, losing it — which only sucks because it was a customized gift from The Patient Mrs. — as well as my drivers license, credit cards, debit card, insurance info, cash in pounds, euro and dollars, and several checks made out to cash, etc., and I remember that, no, I’m a fucking moron all the time. Doesn’t matter if it’s four in the morning or four in the afternoon. Points for consistency, I guess?

In any case, I emerged from the coffee-pour unscathed, though I still consider the oh-no-I-can’t-turn-on-the-light-because-I-might-wake-the-baby-who-is-behind-a-closed-door theory specious and ill-examined at best. Fate may have its way with me next time, but it’ll have to wait: this was the end of the pot.

It will be missed.

I’ve been up since two, which is pretty good, considering. Last night was 12:45, for example. I managed to go back to bed for an hour or so at five yesterday, and I may yet do the same this morning, but it’s basically an effort to be done with this stuff by the time The Pecan wakes up. That’s been sometime between five and six for the last month, and especially as we’ve been back and forth between Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey — currently in the latter, until Sunday — my early-morning-get-up-at-4:30-or-five-or-six-and-write time has pretty much evaporated. I’ve made the best of it, and hopefully not too many typos along the way. Nothing is permanent. Someday, my son will wake up without screaming and make himself breakfast. Whether I’ll live to see it, well, let’s not be melodramatic.

By the way, in all the hubbub of traveling and dumbassery, I left my all my meds in Massachusetts. Remember last week when I talked about crying for no reason? Yeah. Tomorrow should be interesting.

Speaking of interesting, I’m kicking the can down the line again and pushing back the Quarterly Review another week. The reason? I’m just not ready. I don’t have Photoshop installed on The Silver Fox yet or a registered version of Word — the former used to making a banner, the latter for keeping track of word counts for the reviews so I don’t fly off the handle and do 500 words for everything — so that’s a thing, and I still have one or two more picks to include for a couple of the days. Getting that laptop stolen in the UK really fucked me up. I hope the dickweed who did the snagging got some decent heroin with whatever cash he got in exchange for it. I’d love to hear from (presumably) him.

So, with the Quarterly Review put off, next week has a lot of stuff up in the air. I’ll improvise like West, Space & Love, but here’s the basic formative plan I’m going from. I fully expect this will change:

Mon.: Saturnia review; Churchburn video.
Tue.: Great Electric Quest review.
Wed.: Black Moon Circle review.
Thu.: TBD.
Fri.: TBD.

Pretty vague. Sorry about that. I was hoping to pull it together on the Quarterly Review and just didn’t get there, so the stuff for the week after, which was half-planned as you can see above, has basically been bumped up. If I’m lucky, someone will feel like premiering something in all that. For what it’s worth, I’ve already got stuff planned as far out as July 31. Just not next week.

However, I remain certain this site won’t go without its due share of postery. There’s plenty out there to cover. To wit, I just checked my email and got asked to do two premieres next week. So things will shape up. I still need to look at Thee Facebooks messages as well. Oy.

Actually, why don’t I go do that. Plus it’s quarter after five, so The Pecan should be getting up imminently and I should put the first of today’s posts live.

And yup, there’s the call. Gotta run. Great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

 

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Øresund Space Collective, Chatoyant Breath: The Eyes, Open

Posted in Reviews on June 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Oresund Space Collective Chatoyant Breath

Every time the Denmark/Portugal/wherever-based outfit Øresund Space Collective put a record out, they’re basically sending their listenership and everyone else an invitation to share in a moment. I don’t want to make it sound too flowery, because the reality of the situation is it’s dudes in a room playing instruments, but what the band creates and has created now for well over a decade lives up to the cliché of reaching beyond the circumstances of its making. Always improvised at least to some extent — safe to say every now and then a riff someone thought of beforehand sneaks in there — their music spreads out as vast and as marvelously psychedelic as their runtimes often likewise find themselves extended. With an ever-fluid lineup and an ever-fluid sound, their latest collection, Chatoyant Breath, includes a stopover from guitarist Gary Arce, founder of Yawning Man and pivotal figure in the creation of Californian desert rock.

Issued on a limited CD and LP run via Space Rock Productions, the offering — the title of which refers to the cat’s-eye effect of gemstones; hence the French root, “chat” — comprises five extended pieces all recorded in a single day. As ever, the group is led by synth master and bandleader Scott “Dr. Space” Heller, whose custom box of wonders with its many mysterious plugs and wires is, also as ever, a galaxy-creator unto itself. Joining Heller and the core of Nick Hill (guitar), Jiri Jon Hjort (bass), Mogens Deenfort Pederson (synth) and Martin Bjerregaard (Gas Giant) on drums is returning player Nicklas Sørensen (guitar; also of Papir), and of course Arce, and together the group ranges beyond two hours and 15 minutes across two discs of positively molten spaced-out voyage. Arce, his tone inimitable and something of which the Palm Desert city council should erect a statue, plays on three of the five cuts, including opener “Peaceful Patterns” (28:37), the subsequent title-track (36:08), which together make up the entirety of disc one, and “Angular Ambrosia” (28:02) on disc two, which leads into the two final jams, “Turbulent Trepidation” (23:21) and “Celestial Sensation” (19:23).

Nick and Nicklas switch up who plays on what — though everybody seems to be all-in on the “Chatoyant Breath” itself — and whoever is involved in whichever given jam, the effect the album has is soothing enough to justify the title of its leadoff, and even as the most active moments of the title-track dip into a kind of upbeat kosmiche reggae or “Angular Ambrosia” rumbles a deeper low-end fuzz beneath the overarching airy guitar notes and copious effects swirl, the shift in the actual amount happening in any given stretch only makes the release more dynamic, rather than detracting from its atmospheric cohesion. One would expect no less from Øresund Space Collective at this stage in their tenure, and though their songs are sometimes carved out of longer jams — further editing is done to make them fit on LP — the group’s underlying mission never wavers: they are capturing the moment of creation as it happens and presenting it to their audience as pure and unrefined as possible. That said, their approach is pretty refined at this point. To my knowledge, Chatoyant Breath is the most recent studio session they’ve had, tracking with the full group in Jan. 2017 and Heller mixing over a period of months afterward.

Oresund Space Collective

Their preceding outing, Oct. 2017’s Hallucinations Inside the Oracle (review here), was put to tape in Nov. 2016, and they never seem to have a session that doesn’t result in at least one release, if not more than that. Accordingly, as this is the latest manifestation of their process, one can also see it as the latest step in their ongoing development. Chemistry at this point is a given — the band wouldn’t exist without it — but for followers of the band who may or may not keep up with their regularly-posted live free-download shows in their group on Thee Facebooks, the clearer realization of their methodology is like a status update from another world: “still here, still far out.” As “Celestial Sensation” winds down and seems to inadvertently (and somewhat ironically, given the album’s runtime and the band’s general longform ways) reference the lead in The Eagles‘ “Hotel California,” the confirmation comes through clearly of another successful endeavor and spirited collaboration. It doesn’t directly mirror the beginning in “Peaceful Patterns” or anything like that — somehow that would almost be too much structure — and the personnel has changed, but that ending nonetheless reaffirms the vitality at work behind an effort that remains serene at its heart.

They’ve never been a band for everybody, and their project remains something that not every listener is going to be able to connect with, but as the official and unofficial catalogs of Øresund Space Collective keep growing, it only becomes more apparent how special an outfit they are, and how much they’ve carved out their own place even among psychedelic jam bands. There are plenty of those around, and plenty who take the instrumentalist and improvisational approach as well, but the level of immersion that Øresund Space Collective emit is their own entirely, and the personality they inject into their grooves isn’t to be overlooked, even if they’re serving as a background or atmospheric listen — that is, even if one isn’t sitting down and analyzing every change or shift in “Angular Ambrosia,” it’s still possible to appreciate what’s happening there, and the same holds true for the rest of the record surrounding. The longer Øresund Space Collective go, the more sustainable their ideas seem, and with such an open sense of what they do behind them, their breadth only continues to move itself forward.

Arce‘s contributions, particularly to the title-track, which is the highlight here and practically a full-length unto itself, are a compelling factor, but there’s no question this is an Øresund Space Collective release. Part of that comes down to the mixing itself and the way it integrates Arce‘s guitar alongside the others and the synth, effects, bass, drums and whatever else, but really, it’s even more about the consuming whole of the jams playing out. Øresund Space Collective have their own kind of space rock, and it’s often less about thrust than it is about drift, and that’s the case with much of what’s made it onto Chatoyant Breath. Once again, the band has dug out its own place amidst the stars and cut the engine to see where gravity takes them. As it invariably must be, the answer to that question is it takes them forward. No doubt that will be the case next time as well, and no doubt there will at some point be a next time. Once you’ve left orbit, why come back?

Øresund Space Collective, Chatoyant Breath (2018)

Øresund Space Collective on The Facebooks

Øresund Space Collective on Bandcamp

Øresund Space Collective website

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Grusom to Release Grusom II Aug. 31

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 1st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

grusom
Danish heavy rockers Grusom have announced an Aug. 31 release for their aptly-titled sophomore outing, Grusom II, which like its 2015 predecessor (discussed here), will be issued via Kozmik Artifactz. The six-piece once again worked with producer Jacob Bredahl (HatesphereAllhelluja, etc.), and they’re streaming the new single “Peace of Mind” in advance of the album. As you can hear at the bottom of this post, it’s an organ-laced classic rocker, and that very much sets the vibe for the rest of the record in that it doesn’t necessarily seem like Grusom are shooting for vintage production, presentation, etc., and yet it’s abundantly clear where their heart lies when it comes to influences in heavy rock.

The PR wire sent album details, which you’ll find below:

grusom ii

GRUSOM ready with sophomore album!

GRUSOM have attracted a tremendous awareness, which exceeds far beyond the Danish border. With a combination of heavy metal, stoner and acid rock, based on the gloomy parts of psych and heavy rock, these boys, naturally and honestly, meet their audience with an open heart.

Through their dark lyrics, GRUSOM create a universe of sound, where life and death is explored through gloomy tales. The dueling guitars, smoothness of the organ and the accomplished musical execution, will create the setting for your mind to wander.

GRUSOM gained huge interest, over a short period of time, with their self-released, award winning, debut album ‘Grusom’ and several riveting concerts at festivals such as Copenhell, Metal Magic Festival and Tinderbox, etc.

Their highly acclaimed and award winning debut ‘Grusom’ paved the way, and now it echoes once again the small island of Funen, Denmark. GRUSOM have once again collaborated with Jacob Bredahl (LIVLØS, Disrule, The Silent Low) at Dead Rat Studio, on the forthcoming album entitled ‘Grusom II’.

The sophomore album will be released through Kozmik Artifacts on August 31st 2018.

Tracklisting:
1. Beyond This Land 4:15
2. Peace of Mind 5:33
3. Skeletons 7:57
4. Vågn Op 5:28
5. Embers 6:29
6. Dead End Valley 5:53
7. Cursed From Birth 5:42

Grusom is:
Nicolaj Hoffmann Jul – vocal
Jakob Kaae – drums
Dennis Warburg – guitar
Thomas Ulrik – guitar
Søren Olesen – bass
Peter Pørtner – Keys

https://www.facebook.com/grusomband/
https://grusom.bandcamp.com/

Grusom, “Peace of Mind”

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