Mouth Premiere “Coffee” from Past Present Future

Posted in audiObelisk on May 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

MOUTH

Space freaks and prog heads, unite! Or, if not, at least chill out for a bit. This summer, Tonzonen will present Mouth‘s Past Present Future collection as a four-track 10″ EP, which in its digital form sets about compiling work that spans some 18 years of material — appropriately enough, the oldest track is the grunge-riffed closer “Youth,” from 2001 — for a 34-minute span that is, as one might expect, kind of all over the place. It’s a document of how far Mouth have come and, indeed, where they might be headed, as the 2018 track “Steamship Shambles” proves to be some of the band’s most experimentalist prog-jazz fusion to date while still managing as well to be drenched in melody. The live-sounding weird-out “Chase ’72” brings nine minutes of jammy exploration, and a new mix of “Into the Light” from 2017’s Vortex (review here) highlights the whirling synthesizer later in the track. From the opening organ line of “Coffee” onward, it’s an offering full of twists and turns that by its very nature is more EP than album, despite what might otherwise be a full-length runtime, jumping between different recording sessions and, occasionally, styles as it does.

The Cologne, Germany-based proggers have settled over time on a decidedly traditionalist approach, taking influence from the more winding aspects of heavy ’70s keyboard-infused adventurers, but Past Present Future unveils some of the roots of where that mouth past present futurecomes from, with “Coffee,” “Stillsad” and “Youth” adding complexity to the tale in shorter execution and more straightforward verse/chorus structuring. Especially considering those songs are the better part of 20 years old — “Stillsad” is from 2002 — they hold up remarkably well, though in the case of “Coffee,” it’s past and present coming together as guitarist/vocalist Christian Koller went back into the original recording and added keys. Mouth of course dealt with the passing of bassist Gerald Kirsch last year, and Koller and drummer Nick Mavridis have come back together with Thomas Johnen handling low end to begin playing shows in August around the time of Past Present Future‘s release, so it’s entirely possible the compilation is a way for the band to reconcile with their own history and begin to move forward from the tragedy of that loss — the potential “future” portion of the title.

Whatever the case, whether it’s the brief excursion of the almost-a-capella “March of the Cyclopes (A Capella Mix)” or the kitchen-sink, everything-is-music vibe that runs through “Steamship Shambles” — a 17-minute version of which is available in the digital edition — Mouth make their progressivism clear in these tracks even from their relatively rudimentary beginnings. There’s no question they’ve developed as a group over time, but in both “past” and “present,” and likely in “future” as well, their commitment to thoughtful songwriting and pushing themselves forward creatively is right there in the material waiting to be heard.

So hear it. Ahead of Past Present Future‘s slated August release on Tonzonen, I’m happy to host the premiere of “Coffee,” which again is a standout on the EP for its direct blend of old and new recordings. Koller gives some comment about the track below, and if you’d like to read more, the complete liner notes for the outing are posted here.

Please enjoy:

Mouth, “Coffee” official track premiere

Christian Koller on “Coffee”:

Well, I think that I can’t really add something new to the liner notes except that the song was a tiny bit influenced by System of Down’s “Chop Suey!” Haha… The song structure is very similar considering the pop bridge. New Metal was the thing in early 2002 and I hated it but I loved the structure of that song so I borrowed it. Just a youthful folly.

“Coffee” was actually covered by another band from Hagen (Nick’s hometown) back in the days. I saw the band performing it once. That was quite nice. I felt really honored.

MOUTH – Past-Present-Future
(Tonzonen 2019)
1. Coffee (2002/2018)
2. Chase‘72 (2017)
3. Into the Light (alternate mix)
4. Steamship Shambles (2018)
5. March of the Cyclopes (a cappella mix)
6. Stillsad (2002)
7. Youth (2001)

The Tonzonen EP version is going to be a vinyl only release but we will also purchase a digital version via Bandcamp.

The vinyl version consists of tracks 1-4. Furthermore the vinyl version of “Steamship Shambles” is edited to 6:11 minutes. [The digital version] is the super extended version.

Tracks 5-7 are only digital bonus tracks.

Mouth is:
Nick Mavridis: Drums
Thomas Johnen: Bass
Christian Koller: Guitar / Keyboards / Vocals

Mouth on Thee Facebooks

Mouth on Bandcamp

Mouth on Soundcloud

Tonzonen Records on Thee Facebooks

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Tonzonen Records website

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Mouth to Release Past Present Future in August; Playing Krach am Bach

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

German semi-retro progressive rockers Mouth will in August release a new collection titled Past Present Future that, indeed, collects material new and old spanning an 18-year history of the band. Issuing through Tonzonen, the arrival of Past Present Future coincides with the band making their return to the stage at this year’s Krach am Bach festival — playing alongside Kadavar, Spidergawd, Naxatras, Atavismo and others — that will be their first live show since the passing of their bassist Gerald Kirsch and recently-announced regrouping with Thomas Johnen handling low end. Mouth‘s last release was a limited Alterna Sounds Festival live record (discussed here) that captured their final show with Kirsch in the band.

The new vinyl with digital bonus tracks would seem to be a way to reckon with what the band’s been through in terms of personal trauma while express their continued desire to move forward creatively. In addition to the basic release info, Mouth also sent the liner notes for Past Present Future that you can see below.

Enjoy:

mouth past present future

MOUTH – PAST PRESENT FUTURE 10″

The Tonzonen EP version is going to be a vinyl only release but we will also purchase a digital version via Bandcamp.

The vinyl version consists of tracks 1-4. Furthermore the vinyl version of “Steamship Shambles” is edited to 6:11 minutes. [The digital version] is the super extended version.

Tracks 5-7 are only digital bonus tracks.

MOUTH – Past-Present-Future
(Tonzonen 2019)
1. Coffee (2002/2018)
2. Chase‘72 (2017)
3. Into the Light (alternate mix)
4. Steamship Shambles (2018)
5. March of the Cyclopes (a cappella mix)
6. Stillsad (2002)
7. Youth (2001)

Liner notes:

Side A
Coffee* 3:56
As if Led Zeppelin recorded a jingle together with The Move and John Barry for a Starbucks advertisement in 1972.

The Song was originally recorded in spring 2002. It’s a little tongue-in-cheek thing. I used drink a lot of coffee in those while I was learning for my university exams. In a way its my personal drug song. Last year after Gerald’s death I was browsing some of our very old recordings and I found this lovely peace of rock. Anyway, I played around the recording and added some classical MOUTH keys to it. Finally it sounded like a typical 2018 MOUTH song.

Chase’72** 8:58
This is an impromptu live studio jam from 2017 which sounds a bit like movie score from the early seventies, maybe Dirty Harry.

Side B
Into The Light*** 7:05
This is my original mix which was finally dropped by our late producer and label boss Guido Lucas. For me this is the real version. I’m not a big fan of the album version because the song doesn’t really kick the way it was supposed to be but I think that this version is close to perfection.

Steamship Shambles**** 6:11
This almost experimental peace is based on a basic studio recording from January 2018 and a homerecording demo from 2011. Nick is responsible for all the instruments, (kitchen-) sounds, mixing and editing, except hammond, lead guitar & mellotron. It’s a bit like a Ummagamma studio experiment.

Bonus tracks:
March of the Cyclopes
It’s an a cappella mix minus the basic tracks. I like it because you can actually hear what the choir is singing. Haha.

Stillsad
This is a very early example of a typical MOUTH song in those days. It could have been the B-Side to „Coffee“. This is a studio recording from early 2002. We were able to use a very nice studio for free between 23:00-6:00. I think we nailed it in one night session.

Youth
This song was one of our early anthems (together with „coffee“) and our show closer. It was one of our first songs and a very good example of our „boogie van hippie music“. We recorded this one together with another song at the Blubox in autumn 2001. It was also originally produced by the late Guido Lucas.

*2002/2018 (koller)
revised version
bass: jan wendler
**2017 (kirch/koller/mavridis)
studio jam
***2012 (koller)
alternative mix
****2018 (mavridis)

Mouth is:
Nick Mavridis: Drums
Thomas Johnen: Bass
Christian Koller: Guitar / Keyboards / Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/mouthsound/
https://mouthprog.bandcamp.com/
http://www.soundcloud.com/mouthprog
https://www.facebook.com/Tonzonen/
https://www.instagram.com/tonzonenrecords/
https://www.tonzonen.de

Mouth, Floating (2018)

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Mouth Release Limited Alterna Sounds Festival Live Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I’ve always been a sucker for a good bootleg. I’m not saying record labels don’t deserve their cut and bands don’t deserve their cut, but come on, there’s something about an unofficial release that makes it all the more like a piece of buried treasure. I used to buy bootleg CDs at a shop in Morristown, NJ, and it was upstairs above a nail salon or something like that, and you’d walk in and it was like entering a secret world full of weird Italian misprints, old illicit vinyl and so on. Just amazing. Everything kind of went to hell when CDRs and printed-at-home artwork came along in the late-’90s, but a professional bootleg? It rarely gets better than that.

Mouth don a bootleg aesthetic with their Alterna Sounds Festival live recording, captured earlier this year with a TASCAM on stage and presented in warts-and-all fashion with stage feedback and audience whistles and the rest of it. The live album obviously isn’t an actual bootleg, since it’s the band itself putting it out and not, you know, a criminal, but the vibe is there just the same as the band works through tracks dating all the way back to their 2009 debut, Rhizome. Alterna Sounds Festival comes down from their Bandcamp page on Little Xmas — same day your tree is supposed to come down — so if you get the chance, you might as well grab a download while the getting’s good. I don’t think the cops will come after you for that.

Here’s the info:

mouth alterna sounds festival

MOUTH – ALTERNA SOUNDS FESTIVAL

*live bootleg*
*for free*
*only online until January 6 2019*

mouth – live @ alterna sounds festival 2018
Tracklisting:
1. Sunrise
2. Stampede
3. Vortex
4. Witch’s Vice
5. Parade
6. On the Boat
7. Master Volume’s Voice
8. Into the Light
9. Peng*

Recorded live @ Sputnik Café Münster 3/24/2018. Recorded live on stage with a TASCAM DR-5, positioned on the guitar amp.

Mouth is:
Nick Mavridis: Drums
Gerald Kirsch: Bass
Christian Koller: Guitar / Keyboards / Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/mouthsound/
https://mouthprog.bandcamp.com/
http://www.soundcloud.com/mouthprog

Mouth, Alterna Sounds Festival (2018)

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Review & Full Album Stream: Mouth, Floating

Posted in Reviews on March 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

mouth floating

[Click play above to stream Floating by Mouth in its entirety. Album is out March 23 on Tonzonen Records and available to preorder here.]

Looking at the cover art, would it be a shock to learn that Mouth‘s third album and Tonzonen Records debut, Floating, is both colorful and self-aware? Hopefully not. The Cologne, Germany-based progressive rock trio — Chris Koller on vocals, guitars, keys and production, Gerald Kirsch on bass, Nick Mavridis on dums and more keys — have put together Floating on a quick turnaround from their 2017 sophomore outing, Vortex (review here), and with the soft release of Live ’71 (review here) between the two studio outings, it seems the three-piece have committed themselves at least for the time being to a prolific rate of output.

Nothing to complain about there. It’s always more difficult to chart a band’s growth with a short time split from one record to the next, but Mouth have made that process relatively simple by pushing their sound backward in time. One imagines that if utterly manageable eight-song/34-minute Floating were to receive a companion live offering like Vortex before it, it might be Live ’69 instead of Live ’71, and sound-wise that’s a marked difference. Where the prior album was lush in its melodies, patient and ready at a moment’s notice to veer into post-King Crimson serenities — nothing against that whatsoever — Floating is by and large more psychedelically influenced; proto-progressive instead of classically progressive. And even though it picks up right where Vortex left off, with the intro “Floating (Reprise)” reviving — or, you know, reprising — the capstone of the album prior, which was the 16-minute, sitar-laced “Epilogue,” it’s telling that here it features for less than three minutes before Mouth move onto the even-less patient “Madbeth.”

An outlier for sure, “Madbeth” almost reminds of something ’90s weirdos Ween would come up with, but even in that it remains decidedly progressive in its catchy, bizarre shuffle and sneering vocals. The subsequent organ-say-hello-to-wah drifter “Homagotago” — a Can reference? — comes across like an exploratory jam led by its layered in guitar solo, but clearly there’s a trajectory being followed. The mix of Floating‘s longest track (at nine minutes) is given depth through the organ and other backing synth, and bass and drums seem to hold together a progression that otherwise would simply melt into lysergic goo.

Already in the first three tracks, Mouth have given three distinctly different vibes, but fortunately for anyone who might take the heady but not unwelcoming album on, their command over their sound is steady no matter where they head. Completely instrumental, “Homagotago” is given a bit of funk bounce as it crossed its midpoint, but it doesn’t last, and instead the three-piece push through something of an understated crescendo and finish with the keys and synth sort of drifting off into the unknown. What I’ll assume is the side A closer, “Reversed” is more grounded in a proto-prog hook with layers of swirl backing its vibe-heavy naturalism and blend of acoustic and electric guitars, keys melded in with a tambourine and subtle, relaxed boogie. There’s something garage-style about Floating‘s affect overall, but it’s hard to pinpoint that in moments perhaps outside the pre-punk rhythm-making of “Madbeth” or perhaps “Distance” still to come, but it might just be in the record’s more concise presentation.

mouth

Granted, not everything on Vortex was 16 minutes long, but even as side B starts out with the instrumental “Sunrise,” its five-minute stretch seems to be efficiently-enough constructed to make its atmospheric statement without delving overly into self-indulgence or leaving the listener behind on its molten psychedelic journey into far-out far out reaches. Again, Koller‘s guitar is the leading element, but Mavridis‘ drums — dry in their production in a classic heavy rock fashion — are no less essential than the organ that fleshes out the overarching sense of melody. Side B moves from “Sunrise” to closer “Sunset,” and in between, the shorter “Distance” (3:05) and “O.T.B. Field” (2:55) work respectively to add to the scope of Floating overall and revive its sense of movement ahead of “Sunset,” which follows.

“Distance” is of particular note, as it essentially breaks in hal just before about 90 seconds in, leaving its verse/chorus approach behind in favor of peaceful drone and acoustic interplay that’s drifting and immersive in kind until it cuts short into the boogie of “O.T.B. Field,” which like “Madbeth” before it feels wilful in its weirdness and more geared toward catchiness than some of the other material surrounding — “Distance” before it and “Sunset” after, for example. The finale of Floating begins, suitably enough, with organ and guitar in back and forth conversation, and is soon enough backed by a funky drum beat similar to but perhaps not exactly the same as that which featured on “Sunrise.” At just under five minutes long, it builds in tempo and volume over its constant organ line until it just kind of comes apart and the drums announce its finish, cutting everything off cold.

The bookends on side B give Floating‘s second half the impression of being an album unto itself — as though the entire album were a 2LP condensed into a single platter — but if one is listening in a linear format (CD, digital), there’s no lack of flow from front to back. As it turns out, Floating was put together over the course of three years of recording between 2012 and 2015, so it’s hard to say what it stands for in terms of the overarching growth of the band, but Mouth have used these manifestations of disparate songwriting impulses to conjure a sense of wholeness and realization that makes Floating work well as a singular entity.

Does that mean they’ll have another record out in 2019? I have no idea whatsoever, but if they’re as committed to momentum as they seem to be — which is particularly fascinating given that they were founded in 2000, didn’t release their first album until 2009 and didn’t follow that up until last year — then anything’s possible and they make it fun to imagine where they might take their sound next, forward or backward in time, or perhaps out of it entirely.

Mouth on Thee Facebooks

Mouth on Bandcamp

Mouth on Soundcloud

Tonzonen Records on Thee Facebooks

Tonzonen Records on Instagram

Tonzonen Records website

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Mouth to Release Floating March 23

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

mouth

Despite its funky start-stop verse riff and unabashed hook, the new streaming track from German trio Mouth remains decidedly progressive. “Madbeth” features on the Cologne outfit’s forthcoming third album and debut on Tonzonen RecordsFloating, which is set to release on March 23 as the follow-up to the band’s 2017 sophomore outing, Vortex (review here). In the interim — not that it’s much of an interim, particularly in comparison to the eight years between their ’09 debut, Rhizome, and the second record — Mouth also issued the sort-of-self-bootleg Live ’71 (review here), which captured their classic sound in raw form.

Hard not to dig this artwork and I’m not saying I’ve heard it yet or anything, but it’s just has hard not to dig the record itself. March 23 is the release date. I’ll hope to have more on it before then.

To the PR wire:

mouth floating

MOUTH are back with new album “Floating”

Release date: 23/03/2018

After Rhizome (2009, BluNoise Records) and Vortex (2017, BluNoise Records) the trio Mouth releases their new album titled Floating in early March via Tonzonen Records!

Floating sounds very different to the previous album Vortex. It’s a bit like the “downside up” or the sarcastic happy contrast to the vortex world.

Mouth were formed in Cologne, Germany in 2000 as a trio, comprised of Christian Koller (vocals, guitars, occasional keyboards), Gerald Kirsch (bass) and Nick Mavridis (drums, backing vocals, keyboards). Indeed, their style is often cited as a mixture of ‘retro prog’, Krautrock, hard rock, psyche and glam rock – all together it fuses into a unique spleen often underlined with dystopian themes.

After Rhizome (2009, BluNoise Records) and Vortex (2017, BluNoise Records) the trio releases their new album Floating on Tonzonen Records. Floating sounds very different to the previous album Vortex. It?s a bit like the “downside up” or the sarcastic happy contrast to the vortex world.

Floating (reprise) is the opening track and it was also the hidden track on Vortex. It perfectly fits as a bridge to connect both albums. Also the themes are still connected to the loose vortex narrative. Madbeth and Reversed are ironic songs about mad leaders. Distance was basically intended to open the Vortex album and O.T.B.Field is also referring to March Of The Clopes and Into The Light from the Vortex album. The instrumentals (Homagotago / Sunrise / Sunset) are basically Krautrock inspired jams picking up the spirit of the old days.

Tracklist
1. Floating (Reprise)
2. Madbeth
3. Homagotago
4. Reversed
5. Sunrise
6. Distance
7. O.T.B. Field
8. Sunset

https://www.facebook.com/mouthsound/
https://mouthprog.bandcamp.com/
http://www.soundcloud.com/mouthprog
https://www.facebook.com/Tonzonen/
https://www.instagram.com/tonzonenrecords/
https://www.tonzonen.de

Mouth, “Madbeth”

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Quarterly Review: Wolves in the Throne Room, Gravy Jones, Marmora, Mouth, Les Lekin, Leather Lung, Torso, Jim Healey, Daxma, The Re-Stoned

Posted in Reviews on January 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Lodewijk de Vadder (1605-1655) - 17th Century Etching, Landscape with Two Farms

The Obelisk’s Quarterly Review continues today with day two of five. I don’t mind telling you — in fact I’m pretty happy to tell you — that this one’s all over the place. Black metal, post-metal, singer-songwriter stuff, psych jams, heavy rock. I feel like I’ve had to go to great pains not to use the word “weird” like 17 times. But I guess that’s what’s doing it for me these days. The universe has plenty of riffs. All the better when they start doing something different or new or even just a little strange. I think, anyhow. Alright, enough lollygagging. Time to dive in.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Wolves in the Throne Room, Thrice Woven

wolves in the throne room thrice woven

True, it’s something of a cliché when it comes to Wolves in the Throne Room to think of their work as “an awaited return,” and perhaps that speaks to the level of anticipation with which their outings are greeted generally. Nonetheless, Thrice Woven arrives via the band’s own Artemisia Records six years after Celestial Lineage, their last proper full-length, and three after its companion, Celestite (review here), so the five-track/42-minute offering from the USBM innovators is legitimately due. The Washington-based troupe’s black-metal-of-the-land remains heavily focused on atmosphere, with a sharp, experimental-feeling turn to ambience and melody in opener “Born from the Serpent’s Eye” and the later drone interlude “Mother Owl, Father Ocean” that precedes the rampaging closer “Fires Roar in the Palace of the Moon,” which caps Thrice Woven with a long fade into the sound of rolling waves. Between them, “The Old Ones are with Us” casts a vision of blackened folk-doom that seems to pull off what Agalloch was always aiming for, and centerpiece “Angrboda” blasts through an early wash before splitting near the midsection to minimalism and rebuilding itself on a slow march. 15 years on from their beginning, Wolves in the Throne Room still sound like no one else, and continue to push themselves forward creatively.

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Artemisia Records on Bandcamp

 

Gravy Jones, Funeral Pyre

gravy jones funeral pyre

It’s a crazy world into which Gravy Jones invite their listeners on their self-issued debut full-length, Funeral Pyre, and the fire they bring is born of a molten classic psychedelic rock underpinned by low end weight and further distinguished by its use of organ and proto-metallic vocal proclamations. Opener and longest track (immediate points) “Heavens Bliss” tops 10 minutes in its weirdo roll, and subsequent cuts “The Burning of the Witch” and “It Came from the Sea” do little to dispel the off-center vibe, the former dug into rawer NWOBHM-ism and the latter, the centerpiece of the five-tracker, beaming in from some kind of alt-universe Deep Purple idolatry to lead into the particularly doomed “Gilgamesh” and the shuffle-into-noisefest onslaught of the closing title-track. All told it’s 41 minutes of bizarre excursion that’s deceptively cohesive and feels like the start of a longer-term sonic exploration. Whether or not Gravy Jones even out sound-wise or hold to such an unhinged vibe, they definitely pique interest here.

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Gravy Jones on Bandcamp

 

Marmora, Criterion

marmora criterion

Criterion – yes, like the collection – is the debut EP from Chicago four-piece Marmora, who released a single in 2013 before the core brotherly trio of Zaid (guitar), Alejandro (bass) and Ulysses (drums) Salazar hooked up with vocalist/guitarist/synthesist Allan Cardenas in 2015. The three-tracker that has resulted begins with its title-cut, which thrusts forth a wash of heavy post-rock that makes an impression in weight as much as space before turning to the more grounded, propulsive, aggressive and punkishly noise-caked “Apathy” and closer “Flowers in Your Garden,” which turns traditional heavy rock riffery on its head with frenetic drum work and rhythmic turns that feel born of modern progressive metal. Significant as the crunch factor and aggro pulsations are, Criterion isn’t at all without a corresponding sense of atmosphere, and though there isn’t much tying these three tracks together, for a first EP, there doesn’t need to be. Let that come later. For now, the boot to the ass is enough.

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Marmora on Bandcamp

 

Mouth, Live ’71

mouth live 71

Perhaps in part as a holdover between their 2017 second album, Vortex (review here), and the impending Floating to be issued in 2018, German progressive retroists Mouth offer Live ’71. No, it was not actually recorded in 1971. Nor, to my knowledge, was it recorded in 2071 and sent back in time in a slingshot maneuver around the sun. It’s just a play on the raw, captured-from-the-stage sound of the 55-minute set, which opens at a 19-minute sprawl with “Vortex” itself and only deep-dives further from there, whether it’s into the keyboard throb of “Parade,” the nuanced twists of “Into the Light” or the more straightforward riffing of “On the Boat.” There’s room for all this scope and the stomp of “Master Volume Voice” in a Mouth set, it would seem, and if Live ’71 is indeed a stopgap, it’s one that shows off the individualized personality of the long-running band who seem to still be exploring even as they approach the 20-year mark.

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Mouth on Bandcamp

 

Les Lekin, Died with Fear

les lekin died with fear

A second full-length from Austrian heavy psych trio Les Lekin, Died with Fear is perhaps more threatening in its title than in its overall aesthetic. The four inclusions on the 43-minute follow-up to 2014’s All Black Rainbow Moon (review here) set their mission not necessarily in conveying terror or some overarching sense of darkness – though low end is a major factor throughout – as in cosmic hypnosis born of repetition and chemistry-fueled heavy psychedelic progressivism. Well at home in the extended and atmospheric “Orca” (10:41), “Inert” (10:21), “Vast” (8:59) and “Morph” (13:34), the three-piece of guitarist Peter G., bassist Beat B. and drummer Kerstin W. recorded live and in so doing held fast to what feels very much like a natural and developing dynamic between them, their material all the more fluid for it but carrying more of a sense of craft than most might expect from a release that, ostensibly, is based around jams. Sweeping and switched-on in kind, Died with Fear turns out to be remarkably vibrant for something under a banner so grim.

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Leather Lung, Lost in Temptation

leather lung lost in temptation

Oh, they’re mad about it, to be sure. I’m not sure what ‘it’ ultimately is, but whatever, it’s got Leather Lung good and pissed off. Still, the Boston-based onslaught specialists’ debut full-length, Lost in Temptation, has more to its cacophony than sheer violence, and though that intelligence is somewhat undercut by the hey-check-it-out-it’s-cartoon-tits-and-also-because-snakes-are-like-wieners cover art, the marriage between fuckall noise intensity on “Gin and Chronic” and trades between growl-topped thrust and more open and melodic plod on “Shadow of the Scythe” and upbeat rock on “Momentum of Misfortune.” Put it in your “go figure” file that the closer “Destination: Void,” which is marked as an outro, is the longest inclusion on the 28-minute offering, but by then due pummel has been served throughout pieces like “Deaf Adder” and “Freak Flag” amid the willful stoner idolatry of “The Spice Melange,” so there’s texture in the assault as well. Yeah though, that cover. Woof.

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Leather Lung on Bandcamp

 

Torso, Limbs

torso limbs

I won’t deny the strength of approach Austria’s Torso demonstrate across Limbs, their StoneFree Records debut LP, in the straightforward structures of songs like “Meaning Existence” or “Mirror of My Mind” or “Skinny and Bony” and the semi-acoustic penultimate grown-up-grunge alternarocker “Down the Highway,” but it’s hard to listen to the nine-minute spread of “Red Moon” in the midsection of the album and not come away from its patient psychedelic execution thinking of it as a highlight. Shades of post-rock and moodier fare make themselves known in “Come Closer” and the righteously melodic “Ride Up,” and closer “Voices” delivers a resounding payoff, but it’s “Red Moon” that summarizes the atmospheric and emotional scope with which Torso are working and most draws together the various elements at play into a cohesive singularity. One hopes it’s a model they’ll follow going forward, but neither should doing so necessarily draw away from the songwriting prowess they show here. It’s a balance that, having been struck, feels ready to be manipulated.

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StoneFree Records website

 

Jim Healey, Just a Minute More

jim healey just a minute more

Companioned immediately by a digital release of the demos on which it’s based, including four other songs that didn’t make the cut of the final, studio-recorded EP, Jim Healey’s Just a Minute More conveys its sense of longing in the title and moves quickly to stake its place in a long-running canon of singer-songwriterisms. Healey, known for fronting metal and heavy rock acts like We’re all Gonna Die, Black Thai, Set Fire, etc., could easily come across as a case of dual personality in the sweetly, unabashedly sentimental, acoustic-based opener “The Road” or the more-plugged-in “You and I” at the outset, but in the fuzzed-out centerpiece “Swamp Thing,” the emotionally weighted memorable hook of “Faced,” and the piano-topped payoff of closer “Burn Up,” the 18-minute EP unfurls a sense of variety and a full-band sound that sets the project Jim Healey on its own course even apart from the man himself. Some of those other demos aren’t too bad either. Just saying.

Jim Healey on Thee Facebooks

Jim Healey on Bandcamp

 

Daxma, The Head Which Becomes the Skull

daxma-the-head-which-becomes-the-skull

Signed to Magnetic Eye for the release, Oakland post-metal five-piece Daxma answer the ambition of their half-hour single-song 2016 debut EP, The Nowhere of Shangri-La, with the even-fuller-length The Head Which Becomes the Skull, demonstrating a clear intent toward sonic patience and ambient reach that balances subtle builds and crashes with engaging immersiveness and nod. Three of the six total inclusions top 10 minutes, and within opener “Birth” (10:53), “Abandoning All Hope” (11:34) and the penultimate “Our Lives Will be Erased by the Shifting Sands of the Desert” (13:42), one finds significant breadth, but not to be discounted either are the roll of “Wanderings/Beneath the Sky,” the avant feel of the closing title-track or even the 80-second drone interlude “Aufheben,” which like all that surrounds it, feeds into a consuming ambience that undercuts the notion of The Head Which Becomes the Skull as a debut album for its purposefulness and evocative soundscaping.

Daxma on Thee Facebooks

Magnetic Eye Records on Bandcamp

 

The Re-Stoned, Chronoclasm

the re-stoned chronoclasm

For their first new outing since they revisited their debut EP in 2016 with Reptiles Return (review here), Moscow instrumentalists The Re-Stoned cast forth Chronoclasm, a six-track long-player of new material recorded over 2015 and 2016 that ties together its near-hour-long runtime with a consistency of guitarist Ilya Lipkin’s lead tone and a steady interweaving of acoustic elements. “Human Without Body,” “Save Me Under the Emerald Glass,” “Psychedelic Soya Barbecue” and the title-track seem to have some nuance of countrified swing to their groove, but it’s lysergic swirl that ultimately rules the day throughout Chronoclasm, Yaroslav Shevchenko’s drums keeping the material grounded around Lipkin’s guitar and Vladimir Kislyakov’s bass. The trio are joined on percussion by Evgeniy Tkachev on percussion for the CD bonus track “Quartz Crystals,” which picks up from the quiet end of “Chronoclasm” itself and feels like a nine-minute improve extension of its serene mood, adding further progressive sensibility to an already wide scope.

The Re-Stoned on Thee Facebooks

Oak Island Records on Thee Facebooks

 

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Mouth Sign to Tonzonen Records; New Album out in 2018

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

The announcement below has been run through a major internet corporation’s translation matrix, so keep in mind that it’s basically a robot’s idea of what the words should be, but the bottom line is that German imprint Tonzonen Records has picked up Cologne heavy proggers Mouth for the release of their next album in March 2018. I’m happy today to be able to tell you that the title of said full-length is Floating. According to my conversation with the band, it was tracked at the same time as earlier 2017’s Vortex, which was reviewed and streamed here around the time of its release in June, but has a lighter feel suited to the name they’ve given it.

I believe them. Particularly after hearing Vortex, I’ve no doubt Mouth can conjure a feeling of weightlessness in their material and use that as a central theme for a long-player. I’m looking forward to hearing how that sounds when it’s all put together. Hmm — I wonder if they’d want to do a stream?

Circle of life, and so forth.

Dig it:

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Mouth – Tonzonen Records

A small statement by Tonzonen Records: after the premature death of Indie icon Guido Lucas the situation for the BluNoise label and their bands is not easy. The third album by Mouth is already finished and the band would like to take the next step towards the new album. Tonzonen Records has agreed with the band on a future-oriented cooperation.

I’m looking forward to hearing the Cologne band MOUTH at Tonzonen Records.

With ‘Vortex’ (BluNoise Records), the trio has released a highly acclaimed and highly praised album. The extremely cool vintage sound, driven by hypnotic rhythms, goes directly into the blood. Freak Prog Psychrock without high gloss polish directly into the brain bends, that makes immensely fun and is the right soundtrack to the next Roadtrip.

A release of the LP / CD / Digital Release album is planned for March 2018.

MOUTH Bio:

MOUTH were formed in Cologne in 2000 as a trio, comprised of Christian Koller (vocals, guitars, occasional keyboards), Gerald Kirsch (bass) and Nick Mavridis (drums, backing vocals, keyboards). Their style is often cited as a mixture of ‘retro prog’, Krautrock, hard rock, psyche and glam rock – all together it fuses into a unique spleen often underlined with dystopian themes.

https://www.facebook.com/mouthsound/
https://mouthprog.bandcamp.com/
http://www.soundcloud.com/mouthprog
https://www.facebook.com/Tonzonen/
https://www.instagram.com/tonzonenrecords/
https://www.tonzonen.de

Mouth, Vortex (2017)

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Review & Full Album Stream: Mouth, Vortex

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

mouth vortex

[Click play above to stream Vortex by Mouth in its entirety. Album is out June 30 on Al!ve/Blunoise Records.]

Some eight years after releasing their debut, Rhizome, and 17 years after first getting together in 2000, German progressive classicists Mouth offer their second full-length in the form of Vortex. An album that winks its ’70s influences even unto its cover art, it finds the three-piece of vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Chris Koller, bassist Gerald Kirsch and drummer/keyboardist Nick Mavridis nestled easily and immediately into headphone-ready krautrock vibes that continue to spread out across the 56-minute release, which arrives bookended by two 16-minute tracks in opener “Vortex” and closer “Epilogue.”

King CrimsonPink FloydUriah Heep, BrainticketHawkwind, and so on, are of course reference points as they invariably would be, but like US-based outfit EyeMouth distinguish themselves through the fluidity of their composition — that opener arrives in four parts: “To the Centre,” “Turbulence,” “Silence” and “Vortex” itself — through creative arrangements of guitar around various key instruments and vintage-sounding synth, and through the overarching poise of their delivery.

That they’d be patient isn’t necessarily a surprise after being together so long in one form or another, but neither does Vortex lack drive, and even as “Vortex” — also the longest track at 16:36 (immediate points) — carries through the organ-soaked/lead-topped swirl of its “Silence” portion with spoken vocals behind its instrumental build, Mouth hold to a firm sense of forward direction and don’t simply meander to suit their own whims. And after all that cascading, the eponymous portion of “Vortex” caps with ambient synth, acoustic strum and far-back layers of electric guitar in what comes across very much as a final movement, so there’s a feeling of completeness to Vortex that, informed by the extended opener, continues throughout the proceedings that follow.

On the other end of the spectrum, one finds “Epilogue,” the corresponding finale that nearly matches the opener for runtime. It’s a slowly unfolding, three-stage (mostly) instrumental jam, languid and hypnotic, that gives way to silence after three and 12 minutes and finally leads to a sitar-infused hidden track of organ-laced psychedelia. Arguably the most intentionally molten stretch of Vortex, “Epilogue” is ultimately just that: the afterword from Mouth‘s long-form statement, and while when considering the launch and the landing, Vortex is already a considerable achievement in classic prog, there’s still significant stylistic expression happening in its journey through shorter tracks “March of the Cyclopes” (6:01), “Parade” (4:02), the centerpiece “Mountain” (3:43), “Into the Light” (7:07) and “Soon After…” (3:18), as the three-piece set to balancing their impulses toward willful complexity and cosmic psychedelia.

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Despite some blown-out vocals, they do so gracefully from the start of “March of the Cyclopes,” shifting from early verses into a space-rocking midsection that draws the listener into its instrumentalist push and devolves into noise to finish out and lead into the fuzzy start of “Parade.” A more grounded shuffle at the start seems to nod at straight-ahead classic heavy rock in a way that realigns the listener’s mindset effectively, and even as church organ and other key lines play off one another, Mavridis‘ drums assure that all stays in motion as it should.

Dreamy guitar effects take hold circa the halfway point, and “Parade” also drives toward an apex like “March of the Cyclopes” before it — note how both tracks are ‘going somewhere’ in their titles; we’ll soon enough find destinations in “Mountain” and “Into the Light” — but it doesn’t come apart in the same way, holding to its chorus and ending cold on its organ line as toms start the climb through “Mountain.” Zeppelin-style acoustic strum and effected vocals hit backed by Mellotron in a secondary hook as the bouncing groove assures momentum is steadfast as Vortex moves into side B.

Cosmos and mind continue to blend on “Into the Light” — a winding keyboard line emitting a certain tension but never actually out of control or dissuaded from its forward direction — and “Soon After…,” which one might be tempted to call an interlude were its jazzy drum work and melodic wash of keys and guitar not so well executed, and though Mouth have by and large set the course that defines Vortex, the process of hearing them explore within that context satisfies all the same, especially as “Into the Light” seems to answer the more structured feel of “Parade” and “Mountain” with subtle shifts in approach, making the whole affair even richer than just its constructed layers can convey.

In wrapping the voyage, both “Soon After…” and “Epilogue” have a kind of understated triumph at their core, most especially the closer, which departs from the verses and choruses that follow “Vortex” in much the same way that the opener had little time for them to start with. This kind of parabolic oddity, coupled with the utterly liquefied aspect of Mouth‘s psychedelic lysergery, successfully conveys the experience of their years together, but Vortex is fresh and engaging despite being vintage in its form, and finds its best footing in a front-to-back open-minded listen from those ready and willing to be carried along by its resonant, expressive flow.

Mouth on Thee Facebooks

Mouth on Bandcamp

Blunoise Records website

Al!ve website

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