Posted in Reviews on August 10th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
There are a few things to know about Electric Moon‘s new live album, Live 2015 – Zeiss Planetarium Bochum, released digitally on their own Sulatron Records. First, it has six songs. Second, all but two of those six are over 24 minutes long. Not a one of them is under 15 minutes long. Do the math and that adds up to a runtime of 2:24:28. That’s a hell of a show, and largely unmanageable for any kind of physical release, but it works for the expansive, exploratory, and largely improvised far-ranging space-psych that the German trio proffer. The liquefied jams of Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt, bassist/sometimes vocalist Komet Lulu and drummer Marcus Schnitzler have always kind of existed outside of time anyway, so somehow this long-form excursion suits them as they conjure headphone-worthy immersion in richly-effected guitar and synth swirl, deep and warm bass tones and percussive drive capable of holding it all together.
Accompanying the album is a note from the band informing listeners that Schmidt had some technical difficulties during the gig, which does indeed seem to have been held at a planetarium (where they’ll play again in Nov. 2016), and that when it was done both his guitar amp and his Korg Polysix synthesizer — not a minor factor in their sound — were broken. They out-rocked their gear, in other words. Proceeds from sales go toward repairs. Sure enough, there are some clicks and pops audible in the guitar after 24:43 opener “Star Factory” recedes and elsewhere as well, but the overarching impression on Live 2015 – Zeiss Planetarium Bochum is so much more about the krautrock trance the band elicits that it’s easy to pass over those other noises without even realizing they’re there.
Likewise, one might snap back to consciousness 10 minutes deep into “The Last Words of Mr. P.” (28:21) and wonder how the three-piece got from the subdued synth interplay to just a thickened push of a crescendo. They did so gradually, of course, Same way they always do it, but what stands Live 2015 – Zeiss Planetarium Bochum apart from other live outings the band has done like their Live 2012 One and Two (review here), and certainly from their studio work to-date is the scope of the work itself. Not just that it’s longer, but what that extra space in time allows Sula, Lulu and Marcus to do in terms of making the vibe come to life across such a massive span.
Each of these jams would eat a side of vinyl whole, if not more than that, but as “The Last Words of Mr. P.” gives way to the particularly space-rocking “Air to Space” (the shortest inclusion at 15:47) and the bass-led experimentalist build of “Radio Contact was Lost” (19:38), they bring quality no less than quantity, the band having long since established a crucial chemistry between them that continues to shine and grow with each subsequent release. That’s audible as Lulu and Marcus hold together the spacey thrust on “Radio Contact was Lost” and Schmidt sets about creating a wash of swirl that seems to grow more intense with each rhythmic cycle, propelled by the drums with the bassline holding steady but increasing its tension as well. At about 14:30, they hit the peak and ride it until just after the 15-minute mark, but even there, Lulu keeps that bassline going, so when they pick it back up, the song remains fluid, the vibe tripped-out, the mood engaging.
Electric Moon aren’t a new band at this point, so that they should be able to bring this level of mastery to the form of heavy psychedelic jamming maybe isn’t such a surprise, but the scale at which they do it on Live 2015 – Zeiss Planetarium Bochum is a statement unto itself. The album ends as it began: with two massive slabs of jammy adventuring. Both “Close Encounter of the 4th Kind” (26:29) — which might just be the highlight of the release, though I won’t take away from the appeal of “Air to Space” — and closer “Sunburst Odyssey” (29:29) have their own development cycle. The former moves through a quiet synthy opening smoothly into guitar-led build, peaks and falls back before finding a sort of middle ground, where Schmidt‘s airy dreamscape guitar feels particularly resonant, while the latter, perhaps unsurprisingly, has a bit of everything. It starts off with quiet hum, then throws in some synth.
It moves through krautrock jamming, deep-space atmospherics, emphasizes the balance of high and low end in what Electric Moon do in its second half and ultimately asks nothing more of the listener than perhaps a bit of mind expansion in the process of letting go and following the band along their extended but still welcoming path. Ever prolific in the tradition of their style, Electric Moon have a new studio album in the works and as “Sunburst Odyssey” meanders its way toward its finish in some world other than this one, I can’t help but wonder how much of the synth integration that typifies Live 2015 – Zeiss Planetarium Bochum will show up there as well. We’ll find out in time, of course, but if anything’s for sure it’s that more than half a decade on from their first offering, Electric Moon keep growing and changing, and here they admirably maintain a cohesive atmosphere across what to many acts would be an utterly impossible stretch. Hard to imagine anyone leaving this show dissatisfied.
Electric Moon, Live 2015 – Zeiss Planetarium Bochum (2016)
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 23rd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
You know how I know Doomed Gatherings III has its shit together? Yeah, they’ve got Elder, Crowbar, Trouble, Monolord, Egypt, Ramesses, Mantar and so on confirmed to play over the course of the three-night event in Paris this May, and that’s super. Not arguing against any of that. But how you really know is that not only are Toner Low playing the thing, but they’re playing a set all three nights. That’s right: a Toner Low residency. I don’t know about you, but from where I sit there’s nothing about that concept that isn’t badass.
Details and ticket links follow for the big to-do, for which there are reportedly more band announcements to come. Makes sense, as May’s still a ways off. The following came down the PR wire:
Crowbar, Ramesses, Trouble and more confirmed to play third DOOMED GATHERINGS festival in Paris!
The third edition of France’s only doom, sludge and filth-oriented festival DOOMED GATHERINGS is taking up residence again at Glazart venue in Paris, for three days of crushing, highly grooving and undoubtedly smoke-filled performances. The lineup is now almost complete with a total of twenty-one bands, among which Crowbar, Ramesses, Trouble, Monolord and Elder. Let there be doom.
DOOMED GATHERINGS III May 14-16th at Glazart – Paris, France 3-day pass (55€) and day tickets (25€) on sale HERE
The current lineup is as follows, with two more bands remaining to be announced. Hotel deals will come up soon along with next announcement.
DAY 1 ? Saturday 14th May ? Ramesses (UK) ? Toner Low (NL) ? Mantar ? Egypt (USA) ? Demonic Death Judge (FIN) ? The Lumberjack Feedback (FR) ? NNRA ? Bathsheba (BE)
DAY 2 ? Sunday 15h May ? Crowbar (USA) ? Trouble (USA) ? Toner Low (NL) ? Samothrace (USA) ? Hang The Bastard (UK) ? Throw Me in the Crater (NL) + 2 more bands TBA
DAY 3 ? Monday 16h May ? Elder (USA) ? Monolord (SWE) ? Toner Low (NL) ? Electric Moon (DE) ? Chaos E.T. Sexual (FR) ? DDENT (FR) ? Carousel (USA)
Doomed Gatherings is the first festival in France for everything doom, sludge, filthy and psyched out. Taking place for the third year at Glazart in the 19th district of Paris, the festival is powered by national heavy promoters Stoned Gatherings and assembles a fine selection of international headliners and breakthrough acts, for the sheer love of Heavy.
Glazart is an indoor/outdoor club located in the north-east of Paris, near reknown architectural unit of La Villette, a venue that is easily reachable from the underground and tramway lines.
? Getting to Glazart ? 7-15 avenue de La Porte de la Villette, 75019 Paris ? Metro 7 (Porte de la Villette station) or Tram 3b (Porte de la Villette station)
Posted in Reviews on July 8th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Listening to Theory of Mind, I’m not sure German trio Electric Moon ever need to set foot in a studio again. One imagines that at some point they will, but the vibrancy and the fullness of tone they’re able to capture from the stage — added to the fact that their extended, flowing, sprawling jams are instrumental and at least in part improvised — makes the idea of them stepping in to record to a board, without an audience there, seem incorrect on some fundamental level. On stage is where they should be, where pieces like those included on Theory of Mind should come from. They are, in other words, in their element.
The raw chemistry that has grown up over the last several years (and really before that, in different bands) between guitarist/synthesist Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt, bassist/sometimes vocalist/cover artist Komet Lulu and drummer Marcus Schnitzler is readily on display in the four cuts of this Sulatron Records CD/2LP, arranged one per side in the order of “Hypnotika” (16:04), “Theory of Mind” (19:05), “The Picture” (14:32) and “Aerosoul” (14:28), the trance coming on early in “Hypnotika” as it unfolds gradually over its first three minutes and twisting here and there, getting heavy at the end of the title-track and finding “The Picture” as perhaps the most riff-based jam Electric Moon have proffered in their time together, before “Aerosoul” ups the swirl and wah quotient to finish the show with a full on crest-and-recede process, Lulu underscoring a wash of guitar and crashing drums that lead to a last-minute swirlout.
An assembled audience — there is one — is pretty low in the mix, and were it not for the eruptions that occur as each piece draws to its conclusion and periodically within the jams as well, Theory of Mind would be an easy sell as a studio LP. Recorded to give a full tonal breadth, one can hear the separation between the guitar and bass, but not in the choppy soundboard manner that might result on a bootleg. Of course, Electric Moon have put out enough live albums at this point to know how it’s done, so maybe it’s not a surprise that “Hypnotika”‘s initial build-up would sound so completely fluid as it deftly shifts via Schnitzler‘s drumming into its next movement of heavier Krautrock stylizations, but that doesn’t make the release any less enjoyable.
Rather, knowing that Schmidt, Lulu and Schnitzler are going to provide their trademark exploratory sense in just about everything they do only enhances the appeal of their prolific output. It’s not quite like watching them play in-person, but it’s the next best thing, and the chance to hear the 19-minute breadth of “Theory of Mind” itself is something special, the song moving from another taking-its-time beginning into wah and bass bliss over liquefied cymbal work before emerging with a classic howl of a solo and evolving naturally into a heavier and heavier push, Lulu‘s bassline hypnotic all the while beneath, the track dynamically rising, falling, rising again momentarily and then pulling itself downward to make room for “The Picture,” its Sleepy initial progression striking in how firmly preconceived it seems to be. Possible that Sula or Lulu thought of that riff off the cuff, but it sounds like one from home brought to the stage for show-and-tell, and they put it to excellent use over the course of “The Picture”‘s 14-minute roll.
All the better to have “The Picture” directly in front of “Aerosoul,” then, because while the closer does have a build playing out over its own 14 minutes, it’s the most improvised-sounding of the four tracks on Theory of Mind. Now, it’s entirely possible that “Aerosoul” was thought out beforehand and “The Picture” made up on the spot — I’m only going by how I hear it — but what’s more important than when or how Electric Moon came up with this stuff is the fact that, even as they seem to be constantly pushing into new cosmic terrain, they’re also branching out into different modes of exploration, taking varied paths to accomplish the work of raw creativity.
By the time its crescendo takes hold circa eight minutes in, “Aerosul” has stretched itself out over a vast expanse of heavy psychedelia, and it only becomes more hypnotic as it pushes that groove forward and moves deeper into who the hell knows where Electric Moon are ultimately headed. Their jams have grown more and more engaging as their time has gone on, and with Lulu and Sula Bassana now also taking part in Krautzone and the reunited Zone Six, it seems like the scope has widened and will keep widening. Not something to complain about, because it seems like no matter where Electric Moon might go with their sound, they always keep the core mission of exploration central to what they do. As a live record like Theory of Mind proves, their approach is among the most vital of heavy psychedelic outfits active today, and one hopes it continues to develop as organically as it has to this point.
Posted in Reviews on April 1st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Morale is good as I stare down day three of this Quarterly Review. I’m encouraged by the good response the two-so-far posts have gotten and hope if you’ve had the chance to check out any of this stuff you’ve been able to find something you’re into. Or if not, I hope the next three days can rectify that situation. There are 30 records still to go. Bound to be something in there for everyone, myself included.
Quarterly Review #21-30:
Royal Thunder, Crooked Doors
Royal Thunder’s second full-length for Relapse, Crooked Doors, is bound to surprise some listeners. A three-piece when they issued CVI through the label in 2012, the Savannah, Georgia, outfit arrives at Crooked Doors as a foursome with the addition of guitarist Will Fiore of Zoroaster, and embarks on a considerable shift in approach. Slickly, almost commercially produced, the album brisks past some riffy elements in songs like opener “Time Machine,” also the longest cut at 7:20 (immediate points), and “The Line” toward an aesthetic reinterpreting ‘80s pop-metal melodramas through a vaguely heavy rock filter. Between Fiore and might-spit-beer-on-you guitarist Josh Weaver, one might expect more tonal heft than Crooked Doors offers overall, but the album instead leans heavily on bassist/vocalist Mlny Parsonz to carry the emotional crux of the material (though Evan Diprima’s drums still hit with some impact as well). Parsonz’s voice proves up to the task — in pop-singer form, she carries the record — and is bolstered through layering, but by the time Crooked Doors’ hour runtime ends up at the lounge-blues and piano stylizations of “The Bear I” and “The Bear II,” it feels cumbersome and like the point has already been made.
A sophomore EP from this London five-piece following their impressive 2013 self-titled (review here), Luia doesn’t top half an hour, but its five included tracks show marked progression in pushing Strauss away from the Kyuss-isms that in large part defined their prior work. Opener “Mud at You” is immediately more aggressive, and though “Humanphobic (to Mary Shelley)” (note: anthropophobia), slows the pace and opens wide in its middle third, vocalist Stef shouts to remind of the core intensity in the songwriting. That takes a back seat as centerpiece “For all the Wrong Reasons” moves toward an apex of a cleaner-sung chorus, but the riffs of guitarists Charles and Bano, and the groove from bassist Bill and drummer Doc, remain heavy enough that the point isn’t lost. The eight-minute “Eclipse” has it all – doomed chug, screams, singing, crash, tempo changes, nod and so on – but the funky jam that starts closer “2015” shows Strauss are willing to have some fun with their heaviness as well. All the better. Time for a full-length.
Comparisons to Witch Mountain are inevitable for Minneapolis four-piece Kult of the Wizard, whose vocalist, Mahle Roth, carries a bluesy inflection not dissimilar from Uta Plotkin on the five-song EP, The White Wizard. Self-released, it’s the band’s first work with Roth as frontwoman, guitarist Aaron Hodgson, bassist Ryan Janssen and drummer Travis Nordahl having released two prior outings – The Red Wizard (2013) and The Blue Wizard (2014) – instrumentally, and the difference is palpable. Roth adds a commanding presence to the rolling leadoff track “Tusk of the Mammoth,” showcases a noteworthy range on “Black Moon” and steps back only for an eerie wash of noise and samples on centerpiece “Plasma Pool,” but the finest performance on all fronts is closer “Devil Delight,” which meters out stomp and echo at its peak to concoct an otherworldly churn of psychedelic cult doom, Roth once again steering the progression with a sure hand. One does not expect The White Wizard to be the last we hear from Kult of the Wizard. Hell, they haven’t even done all the primary colors yet.
With 350 copies pressed by H42 Records in no fewer than five different color variations and at least that many versions of the cover art, Ein Herz Voller Soul, the latest 7” single from horn-laden German rockers Coogans Bluff hits with a fair amount of circumstance. It is, nonetheless, two songs and a quick listen. Its A-side is “Ein Herz Voller Soul,” a German-language retelling of “Heart Full of Soul” from the band’s 2014 full-length, Gettin’ Dizzy, and the B-side is “She Gave Her Life for a Man,” a classic rocker given middle-era Beatlesian flair by Stefan Meinking’s trombone, which feels fitting after the garage style of “Ein Herz Voller Soul,” though both cuts retain an element of the progressive in their approach, the band – Meinking, guitarist Willi Paschen, bassist/vocalist Clemens Marasus, drummer Charlie Paschen and saxophonist Max Thum – not afraid to branch wherever the song might take them, to a call and response hook or harder drum stomp. A stopgap, maybe, but Coogans Bluff have a tendency to engage and here they do so in hardly any time at all.
Papir Meets Electric Moon, The Papermoon Sessions Live at Roadburn 2014
Members of German psych-jam godsends Electric Moon and Copenhagen progressive explorers Papir took the stage at Roadburn 2014 in the Netherlands as a follow-up to their 2013 outing, The Papermoon Sessions (review here). I don’t think they’d played live together before and I’m pretty sure they haven’t since (though don’t quote me on that), but in any case, the billing Papir Meets Electric Moon isn’t something that happens every day, and the two north-of-20-minutes pieces conjured up for inclusion on The Papermoon Sessions Live at Roadburn 2014 only emphasize how special the collaboration actually is, washes of synth and effects layered over gloriously krautrocking rhythms, swiftly turning one minute and peaceful the next, but never disjointed, never losing the sense of flow. Each track — the second one is shorter at 22:15 — has its own movement, but the thing to do is put on The Papermoon Sessions Live at Roadburn 2014 and just let it go and go along with it. For a group that came together in the wake of a tragedy — the untimely passing of Danish promoter Ralph Rjeily — Papermoon proves yet again that beauty can spring even in dark times. I hope they do another record.
Seems unlikely a band is going to dive into songs like “Hippies are Dead,” “Whore Island (Jim Loves His Wife” or “King Mullet Destroyer” and not have a sense of humor, let alone call themselves We are Warwick Davis – please note: the actor is nowhere to be seen – so yeah, the Illinois double-guitar five-piece get up to some chicanery on their Storming the Castle full-length. Lots of chicanery, as it happens. Vocalist Joe Duffy is blown out over the punkish progressions of “Audio Visual” but reminds more of Jello Biafra on “Mind Enemy Mine,” which launches the album following a voicemail intro about blowing people off the stage. Former Monster Magnet guitarist John McBain mastered the album, and it was apparently a couple years in the self-recording process. It’s accordingly raw, and at 57 minutes, I doubt the band could be accused of understating their argument. Out of balance here and there to the point of abrasion, but ultimately harmless.
Rongeur, The Catastrophist and As the Blind Strive Demos
With members of folk metallers Trollfest, off-kilter hardcore punkers Ampmandens Døtre and atmospheric post-metallers Sju in tow, it may or may not be fair to call Rongeur a side-project, but they sure as hell are varied in their influences. The Oslo trio of drummer/vocalist Jostein, guitarist/vocalist Ken-Robert and bassist/vocalist Dag Ole (who belong respectively to the bands above) arrange their two-to-date demos with the newer tracks first on The Catastrophist and As the Blind Strive Demos, on Disiplin Media, so that the listener encountering them for the first time hears where the trio are as of 2014, then goes back to their first explorations, from 2013. Raw noise ensues, a post-hardcore vibe delivered with shouts and sludgy heft, but the older tracks offer a fuller distortion that they seem to have stripped down before getting around to songs like “Traitors” or the barebones-aggro “Jon Hogg.” One wonders where they might go from here, which is probably the whole point of the release.
Heavy rock and death metal rarely tread the same ground without being immediately cast to one side or another. Gothenburg’s Crowlegion seem determined to stake a claim to both sides, and the 24-minute The First Offering EP, issued on CD by Grave Goods Productions, makes good on that attempt. The seven tracks are short – only two top four minutes – but stylistically ambitious, guitarist/vocalist Linus Pilebrand seeming to be the driving force behind the project’s blend of rolling riffs and guttural growls. He’s since replaced the rhythm section, having played bass on this recording in addition to guitar, with Jonas Jörgensen also on guitar and Sarah Tefke drumming, and four of the seven cuts also feature guest vocals, most of them working in extreme styles as well. I’m not sure if The First Offering is the release that finally crosses that long bridge between aesthetics, but Crowlegion position themselves well with these tracks to continue to make the journey. Nod or headbang. Your choice.
Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band, Intensity Ghost
Less about the sonic heft of any given moment than the overarching freedom of exploration throughout its five instrumental tracks, Intensity Ghost is the first studio offering from Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band (released on No Quarter), and it’s fucking brilliant. The Philly-based five-piece got together in 2013 but play like they’ve been sharing stages for a decade, whether it’s the smoothness with which they ride the bassline and current of synth in “Yellow Square” or closer “Paris Song”’s subtle move from minimalism into contemplative psychedelia. Dreamy centerpiece “I Ain’t Waiting” is the shortest of the bunch at 5:16, and opener “The Ballad of Freer Hollow” the longest and jammiest at 11:25 (immediate points), but wherever these guys – Forsyth on guitar, plus guitarist Paul Sukeena, bassist Peter Kerlin, drummer Steven Urgo and synth/organist Shawn Edward Hansen – seem to go, they get there with an engrossing fluidity that’s nothing short of masterful. A joy, front to back.
Eldorado’s Babylonia Haze, at 10 tracks and 55 minutes, is not an insignificant undertaking. The Spanish four-piece brazenly take on classic rock hooks topped with organ-and-guitar fluidity and the soar-ready singing of Jesus Trujillo, joined in the band by guitarist Andres Duende, bassist Cesar Sanchez and drummer Christian Giardino (since replaced by Javier Planelles). A progressive clarity marks out acoustic-led cuts like “Breathe the Night” and the later “Resurrection Song,” the arrangements natural and purposeful in kind, and longer inclusions like “Flowers of Envy” (8:02) and “Karma Generator” (11:35) have breadth enough to sustain their runtimes while keeping a structured feel, the latter providing plotted movements toward the apex of the album before “Moon Girl” offers a lesser build of its own as afterthought, reimagining prog-fueled heavy rock as the fodder of a pop wistfulness. Accomplished and precise, it’ll be too clean for some ears, while others will no doubt wonder how its brilliance can be ignored.
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.