Posted in Whathaveyou on January 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
If you’ve encountered Electric Moon‘s 2011 full-length, Inferno, before, it was probably via YouTube, where its plays number in the hundreds of thousands. Not bad for a self-released CDR of instrumental jams that has two songs and is over an hour long. The German trio are set to give Inferno a proper CD release in no small part because of this life-of-its-own the album has taken on, meeting popular demand with quality product. Set to release Feb. 21 through Electric Moon guitarist Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt‘s own Sulatron Records imprint, the new version of Inferno boasts redone art from bassist Komet Lulu.
The following info jammed its way down the PR wire:
NEW CD-ISSUE with new Artwork!
Electric Moon are unstopable! Many live shows and releases make Electric Moon be Germany’s most productive band while being a real high flyer file under Psychedelia.
Interno is a deep journey to your inner worlds… 2 „songs“, together more than 66 minutes, pierce deep into your subconsciousness, while the music stopps being only music…
Recorded in the beginning of 2011 and released in small quantities as CD-R once, this album now sees the world’s light as official release. Komet Lulu (bass, effects, artwork), Sula Bassana (guitar, effects, organ, recording) and Alex (drums), have captivated a meditative and ecstatic trip – on a record.
„Mental Record“ indicates with it’s more than 14 minutes, where the trip „Inferno“ will take you. „Inferno“, the yet longest official Electric Moon track. The listeners on youtube were asking so hard for this release that we decided just to do it – so here you are: INFERNO! More than 600.000 (!) plays on youtube were reason enough…
So fasten your seatbelts and enter this spaceship – but be careful, you’ve been addicted right now…
Recorded and mixed by Sula, mastered by Eroc, artwork by Lulu Artwork!
Tracklist: 1. Mental Record 14:22 2. Inferno 51:54
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
If I had any funds whatsoever or, you know, a job through which I might acquire some, I’d have a plane ticket and hotel room booked for Freak Valley 2015 faster than you could put two and two together on the Kyuss reference in the festival’s name. Organizer Jens Heide has put together an incredible assemblage already, and with the likes of Crippled Black Phoenix and Tombstones, we’re beginning to see the fest branch out from its purely stoner roots into other areas of heavy. It’s a fascinating process to watch, even from afar, and the addition today of Electric Moon to the Freak Valley lineup only increases the appeal as far as I’m concerned, the German trio concocting top-grade heavy psychedelic jams seemingly everywhere they go.
They join an enviable lineup that boasts such gotta-sees as Goatsnake, Siena Root, Monkey3, Egypt (!) and Gas Giant, along with the aforementioned. Fucking a. If anyone needs me, I’ll be daydreaming about covering it while you peruse the announcement below:
Electric Moon @ FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL 2015 !!!
Here we go Freaks!!
ELECTRIC MOON will bring the finest Acid Rock to Freak Valley Festival 2015 !!
The german acid-rocker Electric Moon were founded in late 2009 by Komet Lulu (bass), Sula Bassana (guitar) and Pablo Carneval (drums). Electric Moon belong to the upper shelf of the European Psych- and Krautrock scene, headlined many festivals and concerts. By creating their own style of music, Electric Moon unite many different genres.
They have a fanbase, which is growing more and more.
Take a huge dosis of Psychedelia, blend it with some acid colors and get as high as you can – this is the state of mind, Electric Moon create with their sound. Especially their live appearances are a unique thing. They want to celebrate the love of the music together with the FREAK VALLEY audience and the highest point of communication gets reached when there is happening a symbiosis between listeners and band.
Goatsnake – Crippled Black Phoenix – The Vintage Caravan – Electric Moon – Gas Giant – Monkey3 – Danava – Egypt – Siena Root – Sigiriya – Kamchatka – Purson – Dead Man – Tuber – Valley of the Sun – Tombstones – more tba soon!!
Posted in Reviews on April 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
German improvisors Electric Moon are rarely at rest, and for anyone who’s been following the jam-minded three-piece’s progress these last several years across their slew of studio and live albums, the latest of them, dubbed Mind Explosion, marks yet another interesting turn. When it comes to the band, comprised of guitarist/keyboardist/recording engineer Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt, bassist/visual artist/sometimes-vocalist Komet Lulu and drummer Marcus Schnitzler, the surest bet you can make about any given release is that it’s going to be the most psychedelic thing you’re going to hear that day. That said, I’ve always taken their sound to have more to it than just that, and likewise the band’s mission, which seems geared toward driving at the very heart of sonic collaboration between committed players. Schmidt, Lulu and Schnitzler avoid missteps along the way and get to the center of the galaxy of jamming. Their concoctions — Mind Explosionpresents four of them, for a total of about 80 minutes — are hypnotic, swinging, exciting and saturated in shroomic properties. What stands Mind Explosionout from the catalog is that it’s a live album that basically serves the same function as a studio full-length would. Electric Moon are no strangers to live releases; plenty have shown up on LP, CD and limited CD-R from Schmidt‘s Sulatron Records. But where outings like the two-volume Live 2012CDs (review here) were essentially live bootlegs, the presentation on Mind Explosionis like that of a complete studio outing. It’s bridging that gap.
And in so doing, it’s continuing Electric Moon‘s journey into the sort of creative Big Bang that drives heavy psychedelia to start with. Why can’t an album that would be recorded live just be live on stage? Why can’t an album be a live album? Why does there need to be a distinction from one to the other? The four tracks of Mind Explosion– “Trip to the Moon” (21:45), “Kaleidoscopeephole” (22:14), “The Picture” (17:04) and “Mind Explosion” (18:50) — offer plenty of time to explore these questions, and but for the periodic interjections of crowd noise, shouts in the middle of especially engaging turns, etc., there’s very little to separate the album from anything Electric Moon have jammed out in the studio. In terms of the sound quality, it’s probably Schnitzler‘s drums that most give it away, but his cymbals sound full and have no problem creating a wash to back the spaced-out effects work from Lulu and Schmidt, who also come through clearly. Together, they ride the jams out as far as they want to go, riffs and leads topping sure-footed rhythms — the bass-tone that begins “The Picture” is as much a foundation for the song’s unfolding as one could ask — in a dynamic that has only grown over time. They’re never overly technical or looking to put on a clinic as much as a show, and part of what makes Mind Explosionsuccessful as a release even into its later reaches is the band’s sense of bringing the audience with them on these sonic voyages. As far out as it is — and it is — Electric Moon‘s sound never lets go of also being inviting.
Posted in Reviews on November 11th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
On Aug. 9, 2012, Danish promoter, engineer and heavy psych supporter Ralph Rjeily passed away from testicular cancer. His loss reverberated through those who knew him in the European underground (Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective contributed a remembrance), and it’s in his honor that the Sulatron Records collaborative release, The Papermoon Sessions, arrives. The album, dedicated to the memory of Rjeily, features Copenhagen trio Papir in direct and improvisational collaboration with guitarist/keyboardist Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt and bassist Komet Lulu of Germany’s Electric Moon, as well as synth specialist Mogens Deenfort (also of Øresund Space Collective), and of course takes its name from the combination of Papir and Electric Moon that it is. This collaborative effort poses an interesting question in terms of Electric Moon‘s overall catalog — and since it’s released on Schmidt‘s Sulatron Records and features artwork by Lulu, I’ll count it as part of that pastiche — in that since most of their output is the result either of improv jamming or of parts put together as a result thereof, and since so much of its appeal is in demonstrating so honestly the foundational chemistry at the heart of the band, what do you call it when they bring four more players (five if you count Rosi Diamond, who is credited with “mental support” in the CD liner) along for the ride? Turns out on The Papermoon Sessionsthat you still call it jamming. The members of Papir — guitarist Nicklas Sørensen, drummer Christoffer Brøchmann Christensen, and bassist Christian Becher Clausen — fit in smoothly alongside Schmidt and Lulu, and the overarching ethic of The Papermoon Sessionsremains much the same as it is on their many live and studio releases, with the key differences being rooted in the fact that the psychedelia is given even more reach by the additional parties involved.
The album itself is comprised of three jams, two longer works bookending a shorter centerpiece: “Farewell Mr. Space Echo” (16:10), “Red Dust” (5:58) and “The Circle” (21:17), resulting in a still-vinylable 43-minute runtime. Each of the three cuts is given its own personality and sense of movement, and it should say something about the level of immersive substance overall that “Red Dust” should feel like a take-a-breath interlude at just under six minutes. Elsewhere, the hypnosis is complete, whether it’s immediately textured feel that “Farewell Mr. Space Echo” hones as it begins to quietly unfold its build or the solo-drenched culmination of “The Circle,” which draws complete in a manner befitting its title. It’s murky in terms of knowing just who is doing what at a given moment — though that last solo seems a little more searing than something Schmidt might concoct, as much as I’d hate to speculate and be wrong — but of course part of the fun of listening is being taken along for the ride by the players involved rather than picking out every single change. That said, Christensen‘s work on drums is especially worth noting, as he brings fluidity in his crash to “Farewell Mr. Space Echo” that only deepens the (purposeful) meandering sensibility while also keeping it active and moving along with the wash of guitar, effects and synth, not to mention the two bassists, who seem by the song’s middle to be locked in a tandem groove. That’s not to say that Sørensen and Schmidt have all the fun on these jams, but the collaboration plays out like an extension of the power trio dynamic rather than a complete six-piece band. There is a rhythm section and there are guitars and synth giving a lush, melodic and of course spaced-out vibe. It’s how well the sides work with each other — hard enough to play like a trio with a trio, let alone a six-piece — that makes The Papermoon Sessionsso ultimately engaging.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 22nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Electric Moon are pretty high up on my crowded list of bands I’m really glad I got to see at this year’s Roadburn fest, and the news that they’ll be performing a live collaboration with Papir (who also play separately) as part of the 2014 Afterburner lineup only makes that more enviable in my eyes. There’s a record out the two acts have together, cleverly called The Papermoon Sessions, but it seems like live they’ll be doing improv stuff. Fodder for another live album? Yeah, probably. I’m still hoping for one of Electric Moon‘s 2013 set.
San Francisco-based Carlton Melton have also joined the Roadburn 2014 lineup, and pre-sale tickets are available now right here. More info follows, hoisted from the Roadburn website:
The Papermoon Sessions (Papir Meets Electric Moon) To Bring Improv Krautrock Jams To Roadburn 2014 Afterburner
We’re thrilled to announce that two of the most fascinating European improv / psychedelic bands, Papir (DK) and Electric Moon (DE), will bring their tranced-out psych kraut exclusively to Roadburn 2014, channelling their mysterious cosmic vibes in The Papermoon Sessions as part of the Afterburner on Sunday, April 13th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
The bands spontaneously recorded The Papermoon Sessions at Denmark’s Dragens Hule with Mogens Deenfort Pedersen on August 9th, 2012. The S/T album will be released on October 25th on Dave Schmidt‘s Sulatron records.
Led by Sula Bassana‘s (Dave Schmidt‘s) fuzzed-out, heavy guitar explorations, Electric Moon weave pure-psychedelia, dub, doom, krautrock and drone into kosmische improvisations via a myriad of intergalactic riffs, stellar effects and deep-space transmissions. The overall vibe of their epic but hypnotic freak-outs can be utterly mesmerizing or darker than the depths of the most monstrous of black holes, but all the while remaining deeply psychedelic.
Sounding vital and fresh, Papir‘s cutting-edge take on psychedelica doesn’t hark back to a bygone era, but voyages through lush valleys of atmospheric soundscapes into peaks of wah wah driven, explosive guitar solos, all propelled by jazz-inflicted motorik grooves that serve to give the louder parts more impact.
The band’s use of balance and structure, freedom and power, heaviness and laid back atmospheres comes to full fruition on their latest album, the terrific III, out on Causa Sui‘s adventurous El Paraiso label, and puts Papir squarely in the vanguard of the booming European psychedelic rock scene, along with Electric Moon.
Papir will bring their own extraordinary type of semi-improvised psychedelic rock to Roadburn Festival 2014 on Saturday, April 12th at the 013 venue.
Backed by a full band – Komet Lulu (bass), Marcus Schnitzler (The Spacelords, Electric Moon / drums), Rainer Neeff (The Pancakes, Zone Six, Krautzone / guitar) – Sula Bassana (guitar / synthesizers) will propel us through hyperspace, taking us on an utterly absorbing and surreal journey into the captivating and colorful sounds of the cosmos at Het Patronaat on Friday, April 11th (please note the date change).
Roadburn Festival 2014 will run for four days from Thursday, April 10th to Sunday, April 13th 2014 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
Roadburn Festival 2014 ticket pre-sales are in full swing! GET IN ON THE ACTIONHERE
Carlton Melton To Channel Kosmische Kraut-Age Vibes at Roadburn Festival 2014
There’s no shortage of psychedelic rock at Roadburn 2014: as part of their artist-in-residence activities, The Heads (ft. John McBain) will collaborate with fellow psychedelic travelers Carlton Melton in an exclusive one-off Roadburn performance on Sunday, April 13th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
Carlton Melton recently completely a short tour of northern Europe, electrifying audiences from Amsterdam to Oslo. We just wished they could have stayed longer, which is one reason we are so thrilled to announce that they will be playing their own set at Roadburn 2014, scheduled for Saturday April 12th (013 venue).
San Francisco’s Carlton Melton is centered around former Zen Guerrilla’s Andy Duvall (Guitar / Drums), Rich Millman (Guitar / Synths), alongside Clint Golden (Bass) and occasional 4th member, John McBain who adds flourishes to the psychic weave of their Dome recordings with echoplex and studio mastering; he has mastered all the recent Carlton Melton records.
The band recorded their psychedelic hypno-drone rock in a genuine Geodesic Dome, and have created an insane psychedelic squall utilizing alien guitar swells, freaked out tribal rhythms and strange loping pulsations. The heavy vibrations of Can and Pink Floyd suffuse Carlton Melton‘s work, and they use a bed of classic psychedelic rock as means for the guitars and organ to soar righteously through the stratosphere, before decending into trance-inducing drones which burrow deep into the earth.
Carlton Melton appeals equally to old school bong-bubblers and contemporary cosmic heads. If you prefer old SST label cassette tapes or an early Spaceman 3 or Loop cassette you recently found wedged in the back seat of your car, you need to check out Carlton Melton’s Pass it On, Photos of Photos or their most recent release, Always Even.
Roadburn Festival 2014 will run for four days from Thursday, April 10th to Sunday, April 13th 2014 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
Roadburn Festival 2014 ticket pre-sales are in full swing! GET IN ON THE ACTIONHERE
Posted in audiObelisk on July 5th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
I only bought one piece of vinyl at Roadburn this year, and it was Electric Moon‘s You Can See the Sound Of…10″ EP. The new release comes as ever through their own Sulatron Records – the label helmed by guitarist/swirl creator/engineer Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt — and it’s a continuation of the quick-working trio’s drive toward the very heart of psychedelic jamming. Among the slew of live and studio jams that Schmidt and bassist/vocalist Komet Lulu (also responsible for the artwork) have released, You Can See the Sound Of…stands out not only for its synesthetic title, but for the daring cohesion that emerges out of the lysergic course of the EP’s three tracks/22 minutes.
For anyone who’s experienced Electric Moon before — tasted the noise, heard the smells, and so on — You Can See the Sound Of…will be an immediate departure for the amount of vocals the songs contain. Lulu is never quite at the fore in terms of fronting the band, but effects-soaked lines add to the hypnosis of “Your Own Truth” and the more languid B-side “No Escape from Now,” giving the material a sense of personality, so that even though the release is short in comparison to Electric Moon‘s general wont to push a format as far as it will go, there’s a human impression shining through the bright colors of their space rock pulsations, punctuated here by drummer Michael Orloff, since out of the band.
Of course the molten flow of the material should go without saying. Across opener “The Inner Part,” the surprisingly brief “Your Own Truth” and “No Escape from Now,” Electric Moon craft an immersive sound few peers can match, driving and trance-inducing in like measure. And because the tracks of You Can See the Sound Of…so well balance enlightened musical wanderings and the grounding effect vocals inherently have, they seemed to me a perfect starting point for anyone who might not have had the chance yet to be introduced to what Electric Moon do.
A stream seemed in order — all the better for You Can See the Sound Of…being available only on vinyl and only at gigs — and I was fortunate enough that the band granted permission. You’ll find the entirety of sides A and B on the player below. Please enjoy:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Posted in Reviews on May 10th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
I don’t know how many times I’ve said so – probably at least once for each time I’ve actually brought myself to do it – but I hate reviewing compilations. For most of them, there’s no flow between the tracks, being that it’s different artists, different recordings and sometimes different genres, and even when you get a gem, a non-album track or something like that, there’s no real context for being able to enjoy it, because once it’s over, you’re swept abruptly off to the next thing. Most of the enjoyment I get out of them is in hindsight, years later, when that non-album track is legitimately rare and hard to track down, or the alternate version has never appeared anywhere, or when the comp itself has built up some mystique as a landmark moment – those are even fewer and farther between, but it happens sometimes – either for an artist or the genre. Even if they’re alright to listen to, reviewing them is terrible. You’re either promoting the release outright – “hey, these people are doing good work and you should spend your money on it” – or doing little more than listing the bands involved – “this comp is cool because it has so-and-so involved and they do this song, whereas this band does another song,” and so on. I’ve never been able to find a middle ground in comp reviews and while I do genuinely think there are people out there putting in significant effort to promote artists they believe in, the pain in my ass that reviewing a compilation becomes is enough that I generally try to avoid it as much as possible.
So this is the part where, post-disclaimer, I tell you the case is wholly different with Kept in a Cave, Vol. 1, the 13-track mining operation of Europe’s heavy underground undertaken by Stonerrock.eu, right? Sort of. Kept in a Cave certainly gets a flow going, thanks in part to the similarities in fuzz and jam-minded process of the bands that make up its midsection – Sungrazer into The:Egocentrics into Been Obscene into Electric Moon works rather well and with a healthy dose of Elektrohasch and Elektrohasch-style heavy, there’s not much room for stuff to be out of place – but I still find myself in the position of wanting either to run through the tracklist or just promote it because I respect the effort on their behalf in making the release and its four-panel digipak with giant-mantis artwork happen. To counteract the first, here’s the rundown of artists and songs in its entirety, taken directly off the back of the package:
1. Grandloom, “Larry Fairy” (7:07)
2. Under Brooklyn Palms, “Restlessness” (6:20)
3. Mars Red Sky, “Sadaba” (5:07)
4. Kosmic Elephant, “Bloot Pilot” (6:38)
5. Sungrazer, “Wild Goose” (5:19)
6. The:Egocentrics, “Lost and Found” (4:54)
7. Been Obscene, “Endless Scheme” (6:55)
8. Electric Moon, “Triptriptrip” (8:45)
9. Samsara Blues Experiment, “Hangin’ on the Wire” (5:30)
10. Stonehenge, “Concrete Krieger” (7:36)
11. The Machine, “5 & 4” (6:14)
12. DxBxSx, “Problemkind” (2:16)
13. Sahara Surfers, “Gas” (6:00)
All this adds up to a 79-minute front-to-back listen, about as much as a single-CD will hold. Of the included artists, Sungrazer, Been Obscene, The Machine and DxBxSx are signed to Elektrohasch, and certainly familiar acts like Mars Red Sky, Samsara Blues Experiment and Electric Moon fit aesthetically with that fuzzy, jammy sound as well, so though it’s long, Kept in a Cave makes for a decent listen if you’re going to take it on as a whole, put it on for a party – I’m told music at parties is something human beings do – or whathaveyou, and even the likes of Grandloom, Under Brooklyn Palms (who, yes, are German), Kosmic Elephant, Stonehenge and Sahara Surfers fit on a sonic level. Nothing here is really out of place and obvious consideration has been given to how one song is met by the next – for emphasis, I’ll cite putting the punkier DxBxSx as the second-to-last cut, giving a short burst of energy after the fuzzfests preceding – so the project becomes even more admirable.
Posted in Features on April 21st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
04.21.13 — 23.02 — Sunday night — Hotel Mercure, Tilburg
My watch alarm went off at 13.00 to serve notice that it was time to wake up, get cleaned up and head back over to the 013 for Astra kicking off the traditional Afterburner, the final, pared-down day of Roadburn 2013. I hadn’t fallen asleep until after seven, could hear people leaving for an early start to the day outside my room, but rolled into the Main Stage room still with minutes to spare to see another showing of Costin Chioreanu‘s Outside the GreatCircle. This time through, I learned Current 93‘s David Tibet was also involved in the music. Not that it was lacking dark and artsy cred anyway, but Tibet always seems to have some to spare.
Though it was a contrast to Outside the Great Circle‘s bleak visuals and the Attila Csihar groans those visuals came with, Astra‘s Cali sunshiny early-King Crimson prog was a welcome way to start the Afterburner. The lush melodies and multiple layers of keyboard wash work especially well in the morning, though of course it was 14.30 when they got on stage. Morning to me, though, so right on. They played most of last year’s The Black Chord(review here), including the title-track, “Bull Torpis,” “Cocoon,” “Quake Meat and the closer, “Barefoot in the Head,” but ultimately, they went back to the first album, The Weirding, to finish out with the eponymous cut.
I was a much bigger fan of the second album than the first, but “The Weirding” is a good song and Astra did justice to the expansive and psychedelic feel of their albums, without losing themselves in the staid, passionless presentation prog often winds up having. Switching between guitar and the keys (a Memotron and then some, it looked like), Richard Vaughn was out front and center with lead guitarist Brian Ellis, who seemed to have dressed up for the occasion. I hadn’t seen the San Diego five-piece since 2009 and they seemed all around a more solid band at the 013, and their heavy prog was just the sort of complex but welcoming start a lineup like this one deserved.
A second round of Pallbearer? Sure, why not? Diagonal, who were supposed to open in the Green Room, canceled on account of illness, so the Arkansas four-piece stepped in for another round in the smaller space — the Green Room is the middle space at 013; smaller than the main stage, bigger than Stage01; also smaller than Het Patronaat, which was closed today at least to Roadburn 2013 types — and were once more filled with potential, emotionally resonant and crushingly heavy. The setlist varied some from the Thursday night show, but they got their point across anyway. Interesting that for such morose music, the mood in the room was pretty up. I guess people were excited to see Pallbearer again or excited to see them having missed out the other night, but when whoever it was in the crowd shouted out a request for “Owner of a Lonely Heart” came through, there were laughs on stage and off. Even guitarist/vocalist Brett Campbell was more animated — not quite thrashing out like bassist Joseph Rowland or guitarist Devin Holt or drummer Mark Lierly — but still more than he was on the Main Stage earlier in the fest.
So be it. Even with less tickets sold than for the fest proper, the same basic rules apply to the Afterburner. If you want to see a band up close and personal, you need to get there early. I’ve done a lot of back and forth this weekend and don’t regret any of it, but with less bands on the bill, there’s more time to stick around and see a full set if you’re so inclined, and that takes some getting used to where over the last three days it’s been, “Okay, I have to run in here, stay for 15 minutes then split out and catch so-and-so over here” and so on. It’s a different vibe, and from all the Dutch I heard being spoken, it seemed that a lot of the people who hadn’t stuck around for this fourth day/transition back to reality were the ones traveling, which made sense.
That said, the crustpunkers — crustpunk is the new doom; also atmospheric black metal; also d-beat hardcore; also doom — behind me watching Pallbearer and brushing my back with their headbanging hair were from Australia, so clearly a sizable “fuck it” contingent was present as well, which I guess I also represented to some degree. Not to that degree, but some degree, anyway. I poked my head in the Main Stage as Sigh were getting ready to go on and found the Japanese black metallers duly theatrical. One doesn’t see fire on stage much anymore, or at least not in the venues I go to on the regular — which is fortunate, because everyone would die — but Sigh had a candle going and some light blowtorchery to go with the pummel and dual vocals. They were black metal-plus. Plus sax, plus fire, plus percussion, and so on. Their albums are supposed to be the shit according to a few in the know, but I’ve never been especially in the know, and the thought of leaving town tomorrow started weighing on me, so I ran back to the hotel to ask the kind soul at the counter if she could print my train ticket, and after about an hour, it worked out that she could.
Sigh were done upon my return, but I watched a couple minutes of Dutch black metallers Nihill (interesting about the lineup; had Diagonal showed, it would’ve been prog on one stage, prog on the other, then black metal on one stage, black metal on the other) through the doorway of the Green Room. Actually, I could’ve at least listened to them in the alley outside the venue, since they were loud enough to make the concrete wall of the building sound paper thin. It was supposedly their first show, though you’d never know it by the crowd gathered to see them play it. I guess everyone who hadn’t yet fully gotten their fix from Sigh were still looking for grim satisfaction.
Me, I was looking for Golden Void, but there was still a long time till they went on ahead of Spiritual Beggars and Electric Moon, the two acts who would close out the list I’d see today and my path through Roadburn 2013 as a whole. Neu! founder Michael Rother was going on doing music from that band and his subsequent project Harmonia, sort of bridging the gap between the prog elements and the psychedelic as only krautrock truly could. Being only remotely familiar with Neu! on any level other than the academic, the driving, spacy rhythms were enough to keep me hooked, but I did break for an early dinner partway through — chicken and gravy, mashertaters, salmon and salad — because I could feel myself dragging ass and wanted to be ready for Golden Void‘s set in the Green Room.
Another Californian act, the Bay Area four-piece set an immediately friendly vibe. The curtain in the Green Room was closed when I got there, I guess from Nihill (maybe someone can confirm that?) but before it was even reopened, Golden Void guitarist/vocalist Isaiah Mitchell – whose reputation as slinger of epic solos in influential heavy psych jammers Earthless preceded him — poked his head out from under to say hi. He made conversation as the band set up their gear and even when they got started, kept the atmosphere friendly and unpretentious, which couldn’t be anything but welcome. At one point, Mitchell pointed to someone up front in an Earthless shirt and said, “Nice one.”
Camilla Saufley-Mitchell‘s keys played a big role in their sound, bigger than I recalled from their self-titled debut (review here), and they ran through a JCM800 head, so presence wasn’t lacking, and she added backing vocals as well here and there. The Afterburner marked the end of a 12-date (13 if you count the Brooklyn show they did on their way out of the States) European tour, so no wonder they were feeling good. Golden Void were jammier live than on record, Mitchell taking what seemed to be a couple extended solos, or maybe it just came off that way because of the striking verse/chorus structures on the record where one wouldn’t expect from his work in Earthless that they’d be included at all, but they more than held the crowd’s attention, and the new song “Rise out of the Reach” — which they were selling as a Record Store Day-exclusive 7″ single — makes me look forward even more to their next record than I already was.
I would’ve loved to stay, but Spiritual Beggars were going on the Main Stage and it was time for me to once again “Excuse me” and “I’m sorry” my way through the crowd out from the Green Room. The Beggars – I can call them that now that I’ve seen them live — have a new record out called Earth Blues, and they were selling LPs and signed CDs. I’ll pick it up at some point, but haven’t bothered to listen to it for the same reason I don’t listen a ton of shit that comes out: No time and I fucking hate digital promos. That frustration actually made me less inclined to buy the record, though having autographs from Michael Amott (Arch Enemy/Carcass) and his formidable assembled lineup does hold a certain nerdish appeal. In this incarnation of the band are bassist Sharlee D’Angelo (Arch Enemy/Mercyful Fate), drummer Ludwig Witt (Firebird), organist Per Wiberg (Opeth) and vocalist Apollo Papathanasio (Firewind), who now has two albums under his belt in the band and did a more than able job filling the frontman role while also tackling Spiritual Beggars tracks from the eras of Spice and JB Christoffersson, the former now of Band of Spice and the latter in Grand Magus.
Not easy voices to take on by any stretch of the imagination, as both singers could add dramatic flair, soaring highs or growling lows to any given song at any given time, but again, Papathanasio did well in that spot, and the newer stuff they played seemed right in line with their long-standing love of classic heavy rock. Amott‘s the driving force in that he writes all the material, but everyone was clearly on board — Ludwig Witt is a monster drummer — and the stage show was engaging, professional and fun to watch. They played “Turn the Tide” from the new album and dipped back to 2002’s On Firefor “Young Man/Old Soul,” which was a highlight, and just before “Wonderful World” from 2000’s Ad Astra, Papathanasio asked the crowd, “Have you got the energy left?”
The honest answer? Nah, man. It’s been four days solid of rock and rolling and I’m feeling pretty demolished. He got a response from the crowd that was probably less than the roar he’d hoped for, but the band didn’t miss a beat. Their shit was pro-tight and as next year will mark 20 years since the release of their self-titled debut, for all their love of classics, they’re on their way to becoming one as well. A band of string lights wrapped around the inside frame of Amott‘s speaker cabinet, Wiberg had a tapestry hanging from the front of his keyboard, and in everything they did, Spiritual Beggars were very put together, very rehearsed, but also very effective. It wasn’t the first time I liked a band more than I thought I would this weekend, but it was a nice surprise anyway.
Entirely true, I would have relished the notion of seeing Switchblade live, but I had an early-ish train looming, was beat and knew that I wanted Electric Moon to close out my Roadburn 2013. The German jammers were just right for the job — heavy, psychedelic, totally switched on in their groove and, as I learned, swirl-ready at a moment’s notice. Before they were even ready to play, before guitarist Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt had his shoes off, he and bassist Komet Lulu and drummer Michael Bongolious Orloff were jamming. I don’t think they even realized they were doing it, but all of a sudden, Komet Lulu had a groove locked in and the other two stepped right into it. Their set was great to watch too, but I found that little pre-jam even more telling, since it goes to show just how much chemistry there is between these three players. Lulu led a lot of the changes, with Orloff responding accordingly and Schmidt spacing out in guitar swirls, but she also took the time to add to the effects wash with her bass. I was really, really glad to see them.
What songs they played, I don’t know. They jammed like mad and had a recorder set up at the front of the stage, so hopefully audio or video surfaces at some point. Truth be told, they were the one band I really regretted not seeing at last year’s Roadburn, so watching them tonight was an absolute must, and though former Emperor frontman Ihsahn was on the Main Stage backed by progressive rockers Leprous, I couldn’t have felt better about being where I was. Nothing left to do then but slowly peel myself away from Roadburn 2013 as the thought of that train and what time I’m actually going to get to sleep tonight started to gnaw at me. I’d hoped to see fest promoter Walter and tell him thank you for another fantastic year, but no such luck. I tossed my earplugs in the trash, and bid farewell to the 013 for another year, when hopefully I’ll be back to have my brain melted all over again.
Many people to thank before I sign off from Tilburg and make my way to London tomorrow, but I’m going to save it for now and do a big thanks at the end of the trip next weekend. There’s still another week to go before I head back to Jersey — I cannot even begin to tell you about the plate of pasta I’m going to have upon my arrival there — and plenty more to come in the meantime, so please, stay tuned.
Thanks to all for reading. More pics after the jump.