Posted in Whathaveyou on May 7th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Some are coming from the north, some from the south, but this Saturday at BSP Lounge in Kingston, NY, the first-ever Hudson Valley Psych Fest will unite seven acts each with a different take on the traditions of psychedelia. The fest was put together by instrumentalists It’s Not Night: It’s Space, who are natives of New Paltz and who recently signed to Small Stone, and whose latest album, 2012′s Bowing Not Knowing to What, you can hear below.
Three years after their humble beginnings, It’s Not Night: It’s Space decided it was high time to bring together all the heady friends they have made along the way for the very first episode of Hudson Valley Psych Fest.
BSP Lounge in Kingston, a beautiful venue coming up fast, will host seven bands for the evening-long festival. The lineup mixes true locals, B.B. Rebozo & Shana Falana, with some of Brooklyn’s finest: Weird Owl, Ancient Sky and Eidetic Seeing. Wildcard, Black Norse, will come down from the stoney shores of Maine.
Besides mixing locals and travelers, the lineup mixes a great array of stylings from the vast spectrum of what is considered psych: heavy hitters and dreamy wanderers (and all that lies between) will represent in a delightfully disorienting display. Along those lines, INN:IS producer Rick Birmingham will helm some interactive live visual projections.
Advanced tickets are available athudsonvalleypsychfest.com. All who buy advanced tickets will be automatically entered to win a 2ft x 3ft copy of the beautiful flier done by INN:IS album artist Travis Lawrence of Infinity Prints.
It’s Not Night: It’s Space, Bowing Not Knowing to What
Posted in Reviews on January 14th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
The title may be purposefully vague, but the debut full-length from New Paltz, NY, space-jamming trio It’s Not Night: It’s Space, the self-released Bowing Not Knowing to What, nonetheless displays clear ideas of worship and of purpose. Tonally warm and classically exploratory, the threesome’s seven-track/50-minute outing is somehow fitting the hippie-idyllic small college town from whence they come, Kevin Halcott’s guitar painting colors of fall leaves while bassist Tommy Guerrero and drummer Michael Lutomski offer the languid motion of sentimental dreams. With an album structure that places the 12:30 “Painted Serpent” as its centerpiece, there’s a pervasive ritualism in what It’s Not Night: It’s Space are doing, and the music answers back with like-minded richness, embarking on not exactly the kind of layering one would call lush, but still enough effects and wandering moments to sound full and periodically hypnotic. It’s an ethic that in some ways allies them more to European heavy psychedelia than North American, but the post-rock echo in Halcott’s tone is a geographical giveaway (at least as far as continents go) and shows a breadth of influence wider than just classic kraut and space rock, though those vibes persist as well as opener “The Gathering” introduces It’s Not Night: It’s Space’s first movement with burgeoning jam ethic and psychedelic expanse, slow percussion and ethereal vocals mixing with a wash of warm guitar drone and flute moving forward in a slow march before the nine-minute “The Mantis and the Cow” adds more propulsion. Bowing Not Knowing to What essentially breaks down into three parts. There are the first three tracks, the centerpiece, and the last three tracks, each representing a section within the whole of the album, so that it winds up looking like this:
1 .The Gathering (3:19)
2. The Mantis and the Cow (9:00)
3. The Magus in the Valley (6:31)
4. Painted Serpent (12:30)
5. Blue Mountain Freedom (7:32)
6. Vibration Eater (4:13)
7. Palace of the Bees (7:17)
Helping this interpretation is the fact that Movements One and Three run for almost exactly the same length of time – 18:48 and 19:00, respectively – and whether or not It’s Not Night: It’s Space went into the studio with Rick Birmingham (who produced, mixed, mastered and also contributed sitar and other strings) with that idea in mind, the music supports it too, a full-album flow established between the movements but occurring within them as well. The first three cuts, “The Gathering,” “The Mantis and the Cow” and “The Magus in the Valley” find their culmination in the opening build of the third, with Guerrero matching Halcott note for note on impressive runs while Lutomski locks in the groove behind. “The Mantis and the Cow” was more expansive, using an early push and possibly the album’s single most memorable guitar line as a foundation for space-rocking indulgences, but “The Magus in the Valley” winds up summarizing the first movement effectively while also setting up a smooth linear transition into “Painted Serpent,” which is more or less an album unto itself. Growing in presence as it makes its way through the first four minutes, the song soon breaks while Lutomski continues the beat on his toms, only to gradually resurface and continue to develop and unfold naturally over the remaining time, sparse vocals echoing behind the patient progression. Guitar bliss ensues, leading to a slight shift at 9:45, when the riff and bassline change and “Painted Serpent” shifts into a more immediate build, reaching toward a heavier apex by the time another minute has passed and carrying those ideas to a fittingly natural conclusion, swirling with wah and righteous in its groove. A sudden and cold ending is somewhat jarring, considering the gradual feel of the 12:30 preceding, but I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if that was where the tape ran out. That’s the feel It’s Not Night: It’s Space elicit, anyway, if not the actual circumstance and here as with most heavy psych of Bowing Not Knowing to What’s jammy ilk regardless of its point of origin, the feel is paramount. The vibe. The atmosphere. Ambience. Call it whatever you want, but if a full-length from a band like these guys can’t put the listener where it wants them, it simply isn’t going to work.
Posted in Reviews on October 12th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
I wasn’t sure what the deal was with the giant painted egg at the front of the stage before and during It’s Not Night: It’s Space‘s set last night at Public Assembly, but I liked it a lot. Like the trio’s music, it had more than a touch of ritual to it, with the lettering and all, and the instrumental trio didn’t mention anything about it while they were on stage, made no mention of its purpose that I caught, instead Kevin Halcott introducing the instrumental band by saying, “We’re It’s Not Night: It’s Space, and we’re from space,” before leading the way through wah-drenched heavy space-jamming.
Thursday night. I’d already had more than enough week by the time I left the office at about 8:30 to head into the show, but sometimes these things can’t be helped. I’ll spare you the moaning of my insignificant dramas — more because I’m too embarrassed to put them into words than out of time/place considerations — but what it rounds out to is it’s been a shitty week and I needed to get out in a bad way. The decision to hit Public Assembly and catch Bezoar and It’s Not Night: It’s Space was a last-minute thing, but Tommy Guerrero — dreadlocked bassist in the opening act — wasn’t through his first low-end shuffle before I knew I’d made the right choice.
Funny timing on the show, as It’s Not Night: It’s Space have a new CD available called Bowing Not Knowing to What that drummer Michael Lutomski emailed me this week to see about getting reviewed. I didn’t get to meet him at the gig, but hopefully I’ll have that review forthcoming, since I dug what they were doing on stage. The bass was heavy in the mix, and Halcott‘s guitar had some trouble standing up — at one point I realized I was standing by Guerrero‘s side of the stage and thought perhaps that was the issue and so switched sides, but even then the bass was dominant — but so much of that kind of heavy jam’s success comes from the chemistry of the players involved, and though it still felt nascent, they definitely had that going for them.
The band got together in 2010 and Bowing Not Knowing to Whatisn’t their first outing, but it doesn’t feel unreasonable to think of the New Paltz unit as still getting their bearings in a live setting. There were stretches where Halcott seemed in his own world while Lutomski and Guerrero held down the rhythm and some of the timing on his weaving in and out of joining them felt more plotted than the jam preceding, and that undercut a bit of the spontaneity, but honestly, I’m not convinced it was anythingHalcottplaying through a full stack couldn’t have easily fixed, volume adding presence and authority.
But they’ve got time to get there, and in the meantime, they offered engaging jams — “Vibration Eater” from the new album was a highlight — and gave a solid showing of themselves ahead of Brooklyn natives Bezoar, who took the stage around 11PM. Between the sets, I ran into Drew Mack, now formerly of Hull, who said he’s joined the ranks of the band Clean Teeth and that they had a new album in the works — he also said to check out Dead Sands and Blackout, which were appreciated recommendations — so that’s good news, and before too long, Bezoar had loaded up the full stacks belonging to bassist/vocalistSara Villard (who recently curated a playlist for this very site) and guitarist Tyler Villard as well as Justin Sherrell‘s extensive kit-of-many-toms, and they were ready to go.
This was my second time seeing Bezoar after catching them over the summer at the Saint Vitus bar (review here), and though I never reviewed it to my regret, I very much enjoyed their debut CD, Wyt Deth, released earlier this year. Watching them last night, they seemed like the kind of band that could be dangerous if they decide to tour over the long term. I know it’s rarely as simple as “deciding,” but the trio have very quickly honed a surprisingly individualized approach out of a gamut that runs from droning doom to raging post-black metal musically, and while the material was plenty tight, they without a doubt have the potential to do something really special both as a stage act and in terms of their songwriting, which already showed growth in the new song they shared with the crowd.
Here’s the thing about Justin Sherrell: He’s a fucking great drummer. You know those drummers who, when they’re warming up before the set even starts, seem to announce their awesomeness by busting out some wild fill to “test the mics?” Sherrell plays like that but with less ego. In the new song Bezoar played — I don’t think the name was offered and if it was, I didn’t catch it — as Sara and Tyler locked into a huge grooving riff — one of those riffs you call “The Riff” — Sherrell seamlessly kept pace with the changes, playing crisply and creatively in a way most drummers dream of, making the hard parts sound easy. I’m usually in the “if you have more than two mounted toms, you’re just jerking off” camp, but the dude earns every piece of that kit.
And even better, that new song was the best the band played, and they played it like they knew it. Gave me something to look forward to in the follow-up to Wyt Deth, whatever form it might take when it surfaces. They’re getting really good really quickly, and it was exciting to watch.
The Phantom Family Halo was still to come, but I made it an early night knowing there was still more week to come today — the right move, as it turns out, since the 45 minutes it took to get across Manhattan and back to the Lincoln Tunnel would’ve been even more grueling past 1AM — and split after Bezoar were finished. The Yankees were soon to lose to tie up the playoff series with the Orioles, and I rolled back into my humble river valley just a couple minutes after the postgame wrapped, slathered some leftover pizza in pesto and called it a night. It was the most relaxed I’d been in seven days.
The lighting at Public Assembly‘s always pretty rough-going in that back room, but there are a few extra pics after the jump. Thanks for reading, as always.