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Buddha Sentenza, Semaphora: Reaching Outward

Posted in Reviews on January 19th, 2017 by H.P. Taskmaster

BUDDHA SENTENZA SEMAPHORA

Feels like it’s been a while in the making, but Buddha Sentenza‘s second album justifies the wait in a significant push forward from where 2013’s debut, South Western Lower Valley Rock (review here), found them. Still working through World in Sound, 2016’s Semaphora hits with the pastoral feel that’s been present in the German five-piece’s sound since their 2009 demo, Mode 0909 (review here), and if one is so inclined, one might still pick up shades of My Sleeping Karma in their sound, but there’s a progressive tinge to the winding guitar and keys in opener “Jet,” and the subsequent “Greek Ancestry” goes farther in fitting its arrangement to its title.

Ultimately, the playfully named Heidelberg-based lineup of guitarist/violinist B.B. Blacksheep, guitarist Major Mayhem, bassist Amnesio Bodega, keyboardist Pontifex Maximus and drummer Jesus Malverde end up as much in the sphere of progressive rock as that of heavy psych, and Semaphora has a refreshing cohesion of purpose and focus that distinguishes it from the hordes of instrumental jammers populating Europe’s heavy rock underground. The shift is visible even unto the photorealism of Semaphora‘s cover art, which finds a hand reaching across the shards of a shattered mirror backed by cloud and blue sky — reminiscent of some lost ’70s prog LP — where South Western Lower Valley Rock, while staking a claim on naming Buddha Sentenza‘s sound perhaps in a tongue-in-cheek manner, featured line drawings of fractals and other psychedelic imagery. I might be interested to know if the band, who split the six-track/48-minute Semaphora into two sides, each with an extended closer, still consider the title of their debut to be the style of music they play.

Could be that designation is nebulous enough to continue to fit, and if “south western lower valley rock” is whatever Buddha Sentenza make it, then all the better that Semaphora finds them so willfully exploring that freedom. As progressive as it gets, and as much as that colors the impression of everything that follows, the first thing one hears on “Jet” is a fuzzed-out guitar. It’s not long though before the organ, drums and bass have joined in and the arrangement thereof spun off into what feels like multiple directions, like beams of light splitting apart and coming back together in cycles. The second half, following some midsection chugging, drops to ambient spaciousness for a time, highlighting the keys and the overall textural feel, but the push resumes in the last minute and cuts off to let the strumming at the start of “Greek Ancestry” speak immediately to the name of the track.

More subdued than the opener on the whole, it demonstrates a patience that suits its bounce well but is hardly inactive, with lead guitar driving more weighted sections and switches back and forth around that initial strummed line, joined the second time around by violin, guitar and keys for a more lush take. By the time it’s done, “Greek Ancestry” has staked its claim in gorgeousness, but the 10-minute “Kréèn (Patagonian Lights),” which follows and closes out Semaphora‘s first half, is the highlight, with a meandering countrified fuzz starting off topped by sampled chanting that unfurls to summarize the patience and the spirit of the first two tracks while expanding the sonic foundation on the whole in a satisfying and immersive way. It never loses its sentimental feel in the guitar or organ line, and bookends with more sampled chanting at the end, making “Kréèn (Patagonian Lights)” almost an album unto itself.

buddha sentenza

Further sampling starts side B’s opener, “Laika,” but it’s direct speech, almost sounding like an advertisement or newscast, but the song itself begins soon and thrusts quickly into wah and a more active feel, particularly in the keys and perhaps in conversation with “Jet.” The symmetry of Semaphora‘s two sides is evidence of the consciousness at work on Buddha Sentenza‘s part, and that may or may not bleed into the tracks themselves, but it’s worth noting that nowhere on the album do they actually seem to repeat moves. “Laika,” for example, shifts into a chugging march with theremin behind it, farther-back lead guitar and synth swirl, and though it’s the shortest cut at 5:22, it still has time to cap with a quiet movement of piano before it transitions into the foreboding standalone chord that launches “Blood Rust,” the eight-minute penultimate piece that follows and seems to work most directly in stages.

The first builds from that initial guitar line, then it moves into synth-led atmospherics for its middle third, and from there, it emerges once again on a less threatening push toward an apex that, but for closer “The End is Coming, We’ll Take it from Here” behind it, could just as easily have been the payoff for the record as a whole. That closer, however, immediately marks itself out as the grand finale. Sampled lines from 1984 move into faster guitar that in turn shifts toward piano and guitar interplay and a rolling forward groove of riff, keys, synth and theremin — all hands on deck — before a sudden stop and chug announces the arrival of the next movement shortly before the four-minute mark. A wash of keyboard tops the roll, but there’s more intense drum and guitar chugging to be found as well as “The End is Coming, We’ll Take it from Here” plays out, and the feel is suitably chaotic as Buddha Sentenza pass the halfway point, break and return to launch Semaphora‘s final build from the ground up.

As noted, “Blood Rust” could have been the payoff for the album’s entirety, but there’s no question that the finish they give with “The End is Coming, We’ll Take it from Here” could hardly be placed anywhere else and still work as well, and though the song borders on overwhelming in its turns from one part to the next, that only underscores the progressive mentality of the band, since they never seem to be out of control or to lose track of the direction they’re headed. That may be the underlying message of Semaphora, all told, and if Buddha Sentenza have worked the last several years coming together to craft it, then their time was not misspent. As far as Semaphora ranges, it never fails to bring their audience along for the ride, and the breadth it unveils makes it all the more difficult to predict how they might progress from here, only adding to the satisfaction of the listening experience.

Buddha Sentenza, Semaphora (2016)

Buddha Sentenza on Thee Facebooks

Buddha Sentenza on Bandcamp

Buddha Sentenza website

World in Sound Records website

World in Sound Records on Thee Facebooks

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Cosmic Fall to Release First Fall Vinyl on Clostridium Records; Preorders Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 18th, 2017 by H.P. Taskmaster

Let’s just assume that Berlin three-piece Cosmic Fall shook hands upon first getting together in June 2016 and immediately hit record to begin work on their debut full-length, First Fall, which surfaced in August. I’m not sure how else such a feat could’ve been accomplished and a drift as encompassing and molten as that of “Son of a Gun” executed by such a new band except as a result of off-the-bat productivity. To put anything together at that pace is impressive — and granted they’re jamming out; it ain’t exactly rock opera in terms of arrangements — let alone have it not fall completely flat upon its release. One might take being picked up by Clostridium Records as a definite sign that the plan, if there was one, worked out. Pretty much anything that makes you labelmates with Lamp of the Universe earmarks a win by my estimation.

The album is streaming in full now on Bandcamp and Clostridium has limited vinyl up for preorder now with patches and signed whatnots. Art, details and audio follow:

cosmic fall first fall

The band COSMIC FALL presents here their debut album “First Fall,” a mixture of classic Desert sound and original Psychedelic Stoner. Exciting and common are jam-like parts, which are attached to bands like COLOUR HAZE or EARTHLESS, with numerous guitar tunes, underpinned by their own charm. The trio, founded only in June 2016 in Berlin, already released their first work just two months later.

After the self-financed CD, the vinyl edition will now appear on Clostridium Records.

Cosmic Fall First Fall tracklist:
01 Sun of a Gun
02 Road to Ufa
03 I Must Obey
04 Jam I

COSMIC FALL “First Fall”
Limited to 500 copies
black poly-lined innersleeve
hand-numbered
200 x black – 180gr
200 x coloured 180 gr
100 x splatter/ DIE HARD edition
( + patch & signed/autographed card )
ALL copies will have a A-2 „ poster
pressed in Germany

Bio:
Whatever fell from the cosmic sky, it landed in our home town Berlin. And is ready to take your mind on a beautiful journey. Bringing Earthless-level Heavy Psych into the local scene! Taking you into the endless universe, the lonely desert and the depth of the ocean as relaxing sounds and moody melodies will go along with you on this journey. Do you smell it? It’s time for another take off!

https://www.facebook.com/cosmicfallband/
https://cosmicfall.bandcamp.com/album/first-fall
https://www.facebook.com/clostridiumrecords/
http://www.clostridiumrecords.com/product_info.php?products_id=76&MODsid=p741afdcgt5lu1bq51i8fmd9t5

Cosmic Fall, First Fall (2016/2017)

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Desertfest Berlin 2017: Saint Vitus to Headline; Venue Expansion Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 13th, 2017 by H.P. Taskmaster

As doom legends Saint Vitus join Sleep and John Garcia in headlining, things seem to still just be heating up for Desertfest Berlin 2017. The reason I say so is the fest has just announced plans to expand beyond the Astra Kulturhaus for the first time in its five-year history. It will now incorporate multiple spaces in RAW, including two other clubs near to the Astra at which affiliated shows will be hosted put on by local promoters. Pretty awesome news, quite frankly, and it gives those fortunate enough to be in attendance even more options for how to spend their time as Desertfest gradually takes over the whole area for the weekend.

The fest made the announcement thusly:

desertfest-berlin-2017-first-poster

Desertfest Berlin 2017 We go BIGGER and BETTER: additional Venues / SAINT VITUS to Headline

2017 – DESERTFEST will conquer all of RAW !

That means, for all of you who don’t know, the wonderful RAW-Area where our main venue ASTRA is located. It is a former GDR train maintenance station with lots of now newly populated old factory buildings, lots of space to play and street art to enjoy. It means you get to roam freely in and outside of the Astra and go out and explore, as we will expand the festival to three more additional venues! Of course the traditionalists can enjoy the full program, eat & drink and get wild without leaving the premises – our main stage, our foyer stage, bingo-bongo bar and the beloved beergarden.

We are super stoked to have the venues CASSIOPEIA, URBAN SPREE and BADEHAUS BERLIN with us on board – three amazing clubs in three minute walking distance from Astra that will host special parties and more concerts. The events there will be curated by underground labels and promoters which we will introduce to you with several postings in the weeks to come.

Desertfest Berlin 2017 will feature more than 50 bands in total !!!

Also be prepared to welcome very special known people who are trading their instruments with turntables and deliver you exclusive DJ Sets!

In order to make things more fun we are forced to raise the ticket prices a tiny bit. But have no fear – until February 1st, you can still buy Tickets for 85 € (visit our Website, or use the links below in this release). After that, the weekend pass will be 95 €. We hope you like the news of our expanding ideas and you are looking forward to celebrate the biggest and best DESERTFEST ever ;)

SAINT VITUS TO HEADLINE DESERTFEST BERLIN 2017

On top of that great news, we are thrilled to tell you that SAINT VITUS will be our third headliner for this 2017 edition, alongside SLEEP and JOHN GARCIA ! BONGZILLA, STONED JESUS, MAMMOTH MAMMOTH and ODD COUPLE are also added to this year’s line-up !

SAINT VITUS (USA)
Los Angeles titans Saint Vitus are over 36 years-strong and still bleeding black… Coming from the same school as Trouble or Pentagram, they are praised as one of the original instigators of doom metal. Even through the turmoil of personnel changes and re-formations, Saint Vitus have always held a position of respect in the underground heavy rock scene, and we are proud to have them headlining Desertfest Berlin 2017!!

BONGZILLA (USA)
Before virtually any of these new jacks started claiming “weed metal” or anything of the like, there was Wisconsin’s Bongzilla. Formed in 1995 and devoted to all things green, the band infuses its homegrown, psychedelic sludge sound with a distinctive Southern feel. After several releases and lineup transformations, the band went on hiatus in the late 00s. But since 2015, Bongzilla are back to deliver their stoned out, tuned down, Sabbath inspired stoned music to the world, and have proven that their live shows are not to be missed!

STONED JESUS (UKR)
It’s been half a decade since Ukrainian heavy trio released their second album, “Seven Thunders Roar”, and it would be hard to imagine they had any idea the audience it would find back then. This year at Desertfest Berlin, to mark the fifth anniversary of “Seven Thunders Roar”, Stoned Jesus will perform a set featuring their most famous album in its entirety!! They are at work on new material as well, so keep an eye out for more updates!

MAMMOTH MAMMOTH (AUS)
Melbourne’s Mammoth Mammoth just emerged from the studio with a new album locked, loaded and ready to fire! Again, the recording was not without the usual disturbances that plague this foursome. Yes the police came (and not to jam a few tunes). Yes, there was a chemical fire. And yes, a little voodoo was practiced. And okay, the bass player did barely survive a motorcycle crash just before the final tracking. But nothing short of Armageddon was gonna stop MM from getting the job done and to launch this new album at Desertfest Berlin!!

ODD COUPLE (GER)
Odd Couple are a Berlin duo with guitars, drums and hands. Together they play a fast paced, sweaty rock ‘n’ roll, wwhere it dwho is playing which instrument, it’s all about setting a room on fire – with limited resources. Another new edition of the Black Keys formula? Not at all!

Previously confirmed for this year’s DESERTFEST BERLIN: SLEEP, JOHN GARCIA & BAND (playing songs from Kyuss to Slo Burn), SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT, MARS RED SKY, LOWRIDER, 1000MODS, TOUNDRA, ECSTATIC VISION, SUMA, THE COSMIC DEAD, PONTIAK, TUBER, SATAN’S SATYRS, WUCAN, VENOMOUS MAXIMUS, THE WELL, GOLD, RIFF FIST, TSCHAIKA 21/16.

http://www.desertfest.de/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestBerlin
http://woolheads.com/shop-2/festivalmerchandise/desertfest-berlin-2016-early-bird-ticket-action-1/
https://shop3.ticketscript.com/channel/html/get-products/rid/4MGC3S6H/eid/327518/validity/any_day/language/en

Lowrider, “Shivaree” live at Desertfest Berlin 2013

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Nap Post “Ungeheuer” Video; German Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 12th, 2017 by H.P. Taskmaster

nap

Next month, German progressive heavy psych trio Nap will head out for five-night run alongside Norway’s Orango as they herald the impending Noisolution release of their debut album, Villa (review here). That record — self-recorded, self-mixed, self-artworked and initially self-released — made for a strikingly cohesive first outing and signal of intent in melding heavy subgenres. A song like “Ungeheuer,” for which Nap just happen to have a new video, is as much defined by its rumble as by its spaciousness as by its boogie. The band seem to be figuring out how to toy with this blend as they go, but for a single five-minute cut, that’s a solid bit of breadth, especially when one takes it into account as a beginning point.

If you missed Nap on public television 20 years ago, don’t worry, they weren’t really there. They might’ve been like seven years old at the time, from the look of them. Either way, they’ve adopted a somewhat retro — and I only say “somewhat” because thinking of the late ’90s as “retro” makes me feel as old as I am — visual aesthetic for the “Ungeheuer” clip. Don’t worry, youngins. Someday all the social media-ing and selfies, endless war and political horrors of this day will too be remembered as a simpler time, granted authenticity through age and an abidingly human shortness of memory. We can chat about it in 2037 if the oceans haven’t risen to swallow us all.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, Nap. While suddenly engaged in a frantic search for reasons to be hopeful about the future, one might consider their stylistic reach is still at a nascent point and will, hopefully — aha! — continue to flourish. Dig into “Ungeheuer” below and see where you think they might go over the longer term, then check out the tour dates that follow to see where they’re headed in the immediate.

Enjoy:

Nap, “Ungeheuer” official video

Happy New Year 1997 !!! This was filmed using the highest Video and best FX Technology available to this date…

Nap from Oldenburg bring their first, “Villa,” out in the spring and are to be heard with Orango (Norway / Stickman Records) in February on a first round trip in some clubs.

A fantastic brew of Psychedelic Rock, a pinch of Stoner, a good herb, and even the skinny Twang sounds do not frighten these three in their session-like arrangements.

Nap on tour:
07.02. – DE – Kiel – Schaubude
08.02. – DE – Hamburg – Astra Stube
09.02. – DE – Hannover – Chez Heinz
10.02. – DE – Dortmund – Subrosa
11.02. – DE – Münster – Rare Guitars
04.03. – DE – Lübeck – Treibsand

Nap on Thee Facebooks

Nap on Bandcamp

Noisolution website

Noisolution on Thee Facebooks

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Freak Valley 2017: Conan, Elephant Tree, Maserati and Wand Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 6th, 2017 by H.P. Taskmaster

One of 2017’s great mysteries as I see it is whether or not Conan will have a new album. They’ve given hints toward a next batch of material, but it would be quick since their Revengeance (review here) came out last year, and they seem to have an awful lot of touring in the works, so I don’t know how that balance will shake out over the next 12 months. Earth-destroying riffs aren’t built in a day, you know. They are, however, going to grace the stage at Freak Valley 2017 this June in Germany. The fest has announced that Conan have signed on to play alongside Elephant Tree, Maserati and Wand as the first lineup additions of the New Year.

If you missed it — and I know you didn’t — Elephant Tree‘s 2016 self-titled debut (review here) was among last year’s finest first albums. They’ve made a few 2017 announcements, including Desertfest London and Psycho Las Vegas, and it’s hard to imagine more won’t follow before the year is out. To wit, they’ll have a tour update on Monday, so keep an eye out for that.

As for L.A.’s Wand, they released their 1,000 Days album in 2015, and Georgia’s Maserati offered up Rehumanizer that same year. They join and add to an increasingly ridiculous lineup, the entirety of which you can see below.

Freak Valley put it like this:

Welcome to 2017 Freaks!!

It’s the first freaky friday this year and we have 4 new bandnames for you!!

Conan [UK] – Doom/Sludge Metal
MASERATI [US] – Postrock
WAND [US] – Psychedelic Rock
Elephant Tree [UK] – Rock/Blues/Doom/Stoner

CONAN are as heavy as interplanetary thunder amplified through the roaring black hole anus of Azathoth. A three piece, in the grand tradition of many amazing fabulous three pieces that hold a tight line and an iron-grip command over the uber-synchronised chord changes and tempo-shifts of the holy trio of bass, drums and guitar. Hear the roar of battle. Smell the stench of split blood. A thousand heads piled high like a grim mound of suffering- a blasphemy to nature. Hail Conan!

Formed at the edge of the new millennium, MASERATI is as sleek, sexy and sophisticated as the legendary Italian sports car it takes its name from. It is fitting, then, that the band has dragged the glory years of psychedelic arena rock kicking and screaming into the 21st Century, with the pomposity (and vocals) carefully removed. In its place are white hot flashes of light pulsing to an unstoppable rhythm that makes us want to punch air and drive really fast in a car with wings instead of doors.

California psych band WAND will make us slaves to the rhythm!! “Pitchfork” favorably compares them to The Zombies and the krautrock of Neu!. They will satisfy fans’ appetite for heavy, psych-inspired landscapes with thick, garage guitars and an energetic, melodic core.

Wand combines elements of shoegaze, psych rock, desert rock, and sludge metal. Equally reminiscent of icons like Kyuss and contemporaries like Ty Segall (Fuzz), Wand’s sound is a fresh take on psychedelia; it avoids the dated nostalgia that has plagued some of the recent psych-rock acts. The band names a variety of influences, including Melvins, Crass, Talking Heads, and Pink Floyd.

ELEPHANT TREE are a relatively new band who, after cutting their teeth in the London metal scene, have established a place within the current growing Stoner Metal genre. Having moved down and taken in many many gigs and shows the guys have been influenced to start making their own music.

While the style is difficult to class under any one particular sub-genre of Metal it has been most likened to Doom Metal and Stoner Rock however many people have their own classifications ranging from Blues to Prog.

FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL – 15th-16th-17th June 2017
www.freakvalley.de www.rockfreaks.de

Freak Valley Festival 2017: No Fillers – Just Killers

Line-up 2017:
Slo Burn, Pentagram, Conan, Elephant Tree, Maserati, Wand, UFOMAMMUT, Greenleaf, The Brew, Salem’s Pot, MaidaVale, Geezer, Kikagaku Moyo, Vodun, Orango, The Black Willows

www.freakvalley.de
https://www.facebook.com/freakvalley
https://www.facebook.com/events/150965291977635/
https://twitter.com/FreakValley

Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree (2016)

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Deaf Proof & Mount Hush Split Available Now; LP Release Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 6th, 2017 by H.P. Taskmaster

German compatriots Deaf Proof and Mount Hush have teamed up for a new split with one extended track per band included. The idea is that the two groups will divide up the two sides of a vinyl platter. Not an unreasonable way to go. Okay. Trouble is making vinyl costs money, and the bands, being bands, are not prone to having such things, so they’re going to be setting up a crowdfunding campaign in order to make the pressing of Interstellar Smoke a reality. Does that campaign exist yet? No. When is it coming? Presumably soon. That, my friends, is about the extent of what I know on the subject.

Well, not really, because as a way of teasing the release in a gosh-wouldn’t-you-like-these-massive-molten-slabs-on-your-shelf kind of way — and indeed, gosh, I would — both Mount Hush and Deaf Proof have made their inclusions to Interstellar Smoke available to stream now, so you can basically hear what the vinyl will be and imagine your turntable feet flattening under the weight. Or something like that. You might imagine other things. Whatever’s on your mind.

Release info and audio follows. If you’d like a way to send them your cash in the interim, downloads are available through respective Bandcamp pages, linked below:

deaf-proof-mount-hush-interstellar-smoke

Deaf Proof / Mount Hush Split “Interstellar Smoke”

Stoner enthusiasts, fuzz worshippers and psychedelic lovers listen up!

From now on you‘ll get the chance to lay your hands on a fantastic and unique record. Mount Hush and Deaf Proof entered the studio to craft two monstrous tunes (ONE each band!) and bring them to you. Mount Hush delivers a 3-parted heavy psychedelic jam trip where spaced out guitars organically blend in with crooning vocals, synths & organ sounds.

Deaf Proof joins the game with a fuzzy and pounding edge, straight and expansive at the same time. Altogether a dreamy and psychedelic, yet furious and crashing trip awaits: This is “Interstellar Smoke”.

So do yourself a favour, lean back and enjoy this record in its full entirety… But don’t be ungenerous and tell a friend! Because we need YOUR support to crowdfund a special vinyl release of this gem. Campaign coming soon. Support the underground and spread the word!

Mount Hush & Deaf Proof “Interstellar Smoke” Split:
A. Mount Hush – “Sleeping Jupiter – Haze – Aquatic Void” 20:03
B. Deaf Proof – “Everything Dead” 24:32

https://deafproof.bandcamp.com/album/interstellar-smoke-split-mount-hush-deaf-proof
https://www.facebook.com/deafproofstoner/
https://mounthush.bandcamp.com/album/interstellar-smoke
https://www.facebook.com/mounthush/

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Surya Kris Peters, Holy Holy Holy: House of Worship

Posted in Reviews on January 5th, 2017 by H.P. Taskmaster

surya-kris-peters-holy-holy-holy

As was the case with Surya Kris Peters‘ first physically-pressed album, 2016’s The Hermit (review here), the key to Holy Holy Holy seems to lie in evocation. This solo-project from Christian Peters of Berlin heavy psych rockers Samsara Blues Experiment began with the 2015 digital outing Status Flux and subsequent Moonstruck, and working with his own Electric Magic Records imprint (distributed through World in Sound), Peters embraces a broad creative freedom across the included six songs, the last of which, “Modular Mono Logic,” consumes the whole of side B at a grand and exploratory 21 minutes of layered modular synth, Moog, guitar, keys, programming, and so on. I’m not sure I’d call the album as a whole more experimental than its predecessor, since if anything, Peters seems more assured of this creative process than he did last time — that is, he has a better sense of how to make this kind of kosmiche progadelia work — but it remains far, far out even in side A’s guitar-driven “Schorfheide Blues,” which is about as close as Holy Holy Holy comes to rock-based composition.

It could well be this openness and creative range that lets the title have such a strong presence in the listening experience of Holy Holy Holy, in that just as The Hermit seemed contemplative and insular, this new collection flows together more as a single, outward-looking statement of worship, but whatever the case, it remains very much a solo affair on Peters‘ part. He handles all instrumentation himself as well as the recording process — his adopted moniker for the project, Surya, being a reference to the Hindu sun deity, further underscoring the idea of worship — as he brings together the two sides, each drawn from a separately-issued 2016 digital EP, into an encompassing 42-minute long-player.

It’s not long into “Leise Versprechen” (“quietly promise”), which begins side A’s series of five tracks — two more were on the original Schorfheide Blues EP, presumably dropped from Holy Holy Holy for vinyl time constraints — before Peters has built up from a low rumble to a near-orchestral wash of synth. He establishes a simple keyboard line early, however, and holds to it throughout the opener’s five minutes, so that even as the song more completely comes to life, its swell of volume carries that intimacy forward. In some ways, that’s the story of the record itself, and of Peters‘ progression as a solo artist, but as “Tanz der Wasserläufer” (“dance of water runners”) beams itself in like some deep space transmission of modular bleeps and bloops — or maybe those are intended to be drops of water? or birds? — the krautrock vibe becomes all the more prevalent, as does the hypnotic intertwining of layers.

Accordingly, the clarion fuzz of “Schorfheide Blues” — which if I’m not mistaken (and I might be, as always) is Peters‘ first guitar-led solo track since Surya Kris Peters emerged from his previous project, Soulitude, which released a lone full-length, So Came Restless Night (review here), in 2013 — is somewhat jarring, but the song’s quick 4:20 run does much to ground Holy Holy Holy before moving into the plucked synth strings and Mellotron-style sounds of “Soirée à Lunéville” (switching from a German title to French), which revives the blend of background wash and a relatively simple forward line, this time with the already noted string sounds in the forward position, almost making it a shame Peters titled another song as a “Tanz.” “Soirée à Lunéville” is also brief.

At 2:29, it’s the shortest piece on the LP, but neither its standalone impression nor its function in serving as a bridge between “Soirée à Lunéville” and “Nachtschattenspleen” (“night shadows”) are to be understated, the side A finale seeming to be an extension of the evening hours the prior track put forth, but broader and more spacious, a low drone beneath reminding that indeed, we’re in the dark. The falling waters of “Tanz der Wasserläufer” seem to make a return as well, and they’re the last sounds to go before the first half of Holy Holy Holy ends and a platter flip brings “Modular Mono Logic,” which was recorded in Spring 2016 and originally presented in three movements on the summer-released EP of the same name: ‘Gong Zong,’ ‘Rumba Elektronika’ and ‘All-Ein-Sein.’ Where one might feed into the next exactly I won’t hazard to say, but there are distinct changes in feel as “Modular Mono Logic” moves from its opening low-end undulations toward the final spread of droning swirl that consumes it, ending on a long fade of residual noise.

On the original EP, it also came with another track — “Talk to the Devil to Find God” — but on its own as part of this LP, “Modular Mono Logic” still qualifies as Peters‘ most ambitious offering under the banner of Surya Kris Peters, and with all the nighttime contemplations, spiritual searching and aural experimentation, “offering” feels very much appropriate as a descriptor for what’s happening on Holy Holy Holy. Whether that’s true because of the title’s power of suggestion or something else ultimately doesn’t matter, since at very least it demonstrates a consciousness and a purpose behind Peters‘ work in this form. One can only hope that will continue to develop as it has thus far and that his penchant for finding quiet spaces within his own soundscapes remains as resonant as it is here.

Surya Kris Peters, “Modular Mono Logic”

Electric Magic Records BigCartel store

Electric Magic Records on Thee Facebooks

Electric Magic Records on Bandcamp

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2016

Posted in Features on December 30th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk top 20 short releases

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2016 to that, please do.

Yeah, I know I said as much when the Top 20 Debut Albums of 2016 went up, but I take it back: this is the hardest list to put together. And to be honest, there’s a part of me that’s hesitant even to post it because I know as soon as I do someone’s going to be like, “No way you dick your entire existence is shit because you forgot Release X,” and very likely they’ll be right. Up to the very moment this post is going live, I’ve been making changes, and I expect I’ll continue to do so for a while after it’s out there.

So what’s a “short release?” That’s another issue. Pretty much anything that’s not an album. Singles, digital or physical, as well as EPs, splits, demos, and so on. The category becomes nebulous, but my general rule is if it’s not a full-length, it qualifies as a short release. Sounds simple until you get into things like, “Here’s a track I threw up on Bandcamp,” and “This only came out as a bonus included as a separate LP with the deluxe edition of our album.” I’m telling you, I’ve had a difficult time.

Maybe that’s just me trying to protect myself from impending wrath. This year’s Top 30 albums list provoked some vehement — and, if I may, prickishly-worded — responses, so I might be a bit gunshy here, but on the other hand, I think these outings are worth highlighting, so we’re going forward anyway. If you have something to add, please use the comments below, but remember we’re all friends here and there’s a human being on the other end reading what’s posted. Thanks in advance for that.

And since this is the last list of The Obelisk’s Best-of-2016 coverage, I’ll say thanks for reading as well. More to come in the New Year, of course.

Here we go:

scissorfight chaos county

The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2016

1. Scissorfight, Chaos County EP
2. Earthless / Harsh Toke, Split
3. Mars Red Sky, Providence EP
4. Mos Generator, The Firmament
5. Soldati, Soldati
6. Monolord, Lord of Suffering / Die in Haze EP
7. Wren, Host EP
8. Goya, The Enemy EP
9. The Sweet Heat, Demo
10. River Cult, Demo
11. Stinkeye, Llantera Demos
12. Megaritual, Eclipse EP
13. Ragged Barracudas / Pushy, Split
14. Mindkult, Witchs’ Oath EP
15. Iron Jawed Guru, Mata Hari EP
16. Brume, Donkey
17. Bison Machine / Wild Savages / SLO, Sweet Leaves Vol. 1 Split
18. BoneHawk / Kingnomad, The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter Three Split
19. Wicked Gypsy, EP
20. Love Gang, Love Gang EP

Honorable Mention

An expansive category as ever. In addition to what’s above, the following stood out and no doubt more will be added over the course of the next few days. If you feel something is missing, please let me know.

Presented alphabetically:

Cambrian Explosion, The Moon EP
Candlemass, Death Thy Lover EP
Cultist, Cultist EP
Danava, At Midnight You Die 7″
Dos Malés, Dos Malés EP
Druglord, Deepest Regrets EP
Fu Manchu, Slow Ride 7″
Geezer, A Flagrant Disregard for Happiness 12″
Gorilla vs. Grifter, Split
Holy Smoke, Holy Smoke! It’s a Demo!
Karma to Burn, Mountain Czar
LSD and the Search for God, Heaven is a Place EP
Pallbearer, Fear and Fury
Reign of Zaius, Planet Of…
Sea of Bones / Ramlord, Split
Shallows, The Moon Rises
The Skull, EP
Snowy Dunes, “Atlantis Part I” digital single
Sun Voyager / The Mad Doctors, Split
Valborg, Werwolf 7″

Notes

Was it just the raw joy of having Scissorfight back? No, but that was for sure part of it. It was also the brazenness with which the New Hampshire outfit let go of their past, particularly frontman Christopher “Ironlung” Shurtleff, and moved forward unwilling to compromise what they wanted to do that made their Chaos County so respectable in my eyes. Having always flourished in the form, they delivered an EP of classic Scissorfight tunes and issued a stiff middle finger to anyone who would dare call them otherwise. They couldn’t have been more themselves no matter who was in the band.

At the same time, it was a hard choice between that and the Earthless / Harsh Toke split for the top spot. I mean, seriously. It’s Earthless — who at this point are the godfathers of West Coast jamadelica — and Harsh Toke, who are among the style’s most engaging upstart purveyors, each stretching out over a huge and encompassing single track. I couldn’t stop listening to that one if I wanted to, and as the year went on, I found I never wanted to.

I was glad when Mars Red Sky included the title-track of the Providence EP as a bonus cut on their subsequent album, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul), both because it tied the two releases together even further and because it gave me another opportunity to hear it every time I listened to the record. Their short releases have always shown significant character apart from their full-lengths, and this was no exception. I still tear up when I hear “Sapphire Vessel.”

To bounce around a bit: Had to get Mos Generator on the list for the progressive expansion of the live-recorded The Firmament. Stickman was right to put that out on vinyl. Both Monolord and Goya provided quick outings of huge riffs to sate their respective and growing followings, while Megaritual’s Eclipse basked in drone serenity and the debut release from Sergio Ch.’s Soldati provided hard-driving heavy rock with the particular nuance for which the former Los Natas frontman is known. It’s the highest among a slew of first/early outings — see also The Sweet Heat, Wren (Host was their second EP), River Cult’s demo, Stinkeye, Mindkult, Iron Jawed Guru, Brume, Wicked Gypsy and Love Gang.

Ultimately, there were fewer splits on the list this year than last year, but I’ll credit that to happenstance more than any emergent bias against the form or lack of quality in terms of what actually came out. The BoneHawk and Kingnomad release, the Ragged Barracudas and Pushy split, and that heavy rocking onslaught from Bison Machine and company were all certainly welcome by me, and I’ll mention Gorilla vs. Grifter there too again, just because it was awesome.

One more time, thank you for reading, and if you have something to add, please do so in the comments below. Your civility in that regard is appreciated.

This is the last of my lists for 2016, but the Readers Poll results are out Jan. 1 and the New Year hits next week and that brings a whole new round of looking-forward coverage, so stay tuned.

As always, there’s much more to come.

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