Leafy, Leafy: Go Fuzz Go (Plus Full Album Stream)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on December 5th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

leafy-leafy-700

[Click play above to stream Leafy’s self-titled debut in full. Album is out Dec. 9 on More Fuzz Records.]

Because they’re so effective when they lock into a forward drive like that in the chorus of second cut “Can You See Them,” it’s easy to lose sight of the largesse in atmosphere and the wall of fuzz that Norwegian heavy rockers Leafy bring to their More Fuzz Records self-titled debut. But that largesse is there and is a constant in tying the six-track/33-minute offering together, the band’s post-Truckfighters momentum-minded grooves propelled through by guitarist/backing vocalist Josh “Mr. Yoshi” Bisama, whose riffing is front and center throughout with support from bassist Enyeto Kotori (since replaced by Marcus “Marco el Róbalo” Billington), drummer Per “Señor Pedro” Arne Solvik and vocalist Ryan “Mr. Leafy” Matthew Moen, whose nicknames would seem to underscore the point of the Örebroan influence but don’t wholly lose themselves in a single-mindedness of approach.

Make no mistake, they’ve got heavy rock on their minds, and that’s the core of their execution. The six songs on Leafy bring forth high order, weighted, modern desert rock thrust with efficiency, but they also reach out as much as they hammer down. Particularly with Moen‘s burly, semi-bluesy vocal style, Leafy remind of London’s Steak, whose 2014 debut, Slab City, worked in similar function to bring a Kyuss-style desert symposium to fruition while casting their own persona through the interpretation. And as their first outing, Leafy give a sense of where they’re coming from in the Orange Goblin-esque alcoholic regret of “No Gnome” and the broader progression of extended closer “Felt Like Dying.”

One might get the sense that Leafy are preaching to the converted, and they may well be. Especially with Leafy being their first album, I don’t necessarily have an issue with that. It’s how genre tropes are developed and how audience habits are reinforced; how the substance of a style takes shape. Clearly the Kristiansand rockers are in the process of figuring out where they want to be within heavy rock, and in addition to forcing one’s hand in thinking of groups like Wo Fat1000mods, and a next-gen band like the aforementioned Steak as influential in league with more established groups like Orange Goblin, these tracks brim with a density of fuzz and thrust that one hears just as soon as opener “Wild Cherokee” kicks in from its quieter intro. Right away, Moen and Bisama work fluidly together on vocals, right away the audience is acknowledged — “we hope you will enjoy the show” — and right away guitar establishes itself as the engine that makes the band go.

“Wild Cherokee” introduces many of the moves Leafy will make throughout, and certainly brings the listener into their tonal world, but if side A has a highlight, it’s “Can You See Them.” The second longest cut on Leafy at 6:20 it careens and shuffles at a faster clip and boasts a memorable dual-vocal interplay in its hook and a fullness of sound — credit to Kotori and Solvik for thickening and making it move, respectively — and is among the most striking impressions the record makes, even unto its big finish, which successfully conveys the this-is-something-you-should-watch-on-a-stage vibe that, for a group like Leafy, is probably just what they should be telling those checking out the album at this point. The subsequent “Puzzled Skin” reinforces the energy in “Can You See Them” and rounds out the intended side A with another push further distinguished by its quick solo in the back half.

leafy

And if there was any doubt that Leafy had vinyl symmetry in mind with the album’s structure, the subdued guitar intro of “No Gnome” should answer it handily. Missing only the count-in stick clicks from Solvik that began the opener, it seems to be in direct conversation with “Wild Cherokee” — it also happens to be the exact same length at 3:54, but it’s hard to imagine that’s not a coincidence; bands rarely write songs down to the second in my experience — though it builds more fluidly from that beginning and ultimately finds its own path, entering full tonal presence after about a minute in but moving back to a bluesier and more open feel for the next verse. Lyrically, it’s a booze story, and perhaps more than any of the other cuts, it’s a showcase for Moen‘s vocals, which can be harrowing for a singer the first time out. He approaches the task with apparent confidence over the softer proceedings behind him and that makes the song’s later payoff even more satisfying as it sets up the quiet finish of “No Gnome” and transitions into the drum/bass-led beginning of “Fallen Leaf.”

Maybe it’s an expected uptick in the dudely vibrancy from the track before it that takes its time getting going — a nascent patience in development — but it still ultimately works to revives the momentum of “Puzzled Skin” effectively, playing between chugging tension in its verse and a chorus release before a righteously crashing ending, and with the eight-minute “Felt Like Dying” closing out Leafy behind it, makes sense in its place. For its added length, the four-piece’s finishing move doesn’t ask much by way of indulgence on the part of the listener, instead rewarding those who’ve stuck it out with another highlight hook and a more open-feeling plotted jam in the back half that builds into the last chorus payoff and ends cold on guitar squibblies that seem to say the “show” to which listeners were being welcomed on “Wild Cherokee” is over.

Fair enough. In the end, Leafy‘s Leafy comes across less geared toward innovation than capturing the moment at which the band get their feet under them, sonically speaking. But it does capture that moment, absolutely, and considering Leafy have only been together for a year, it’s all the more an impressively cohesive collection that only benefits from the clearheadedness of its intent. That is to say, Leafy very obviously came into their first release with ideas about who they are as a band and what kind of ruckus they want to make. The task before them now is to grow from the solid foundation they’ve laid down in these tracks and to continue to refine the identity they convey through this material, and in that, to hopefully hold fast to this self-titled’s lack of pretense.

Leafy on Thee Facebooks

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Ulver to Release Riverhead Soundtrack Dec. 9

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 1st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s been a while at this point, but director Justin Oakey‘s work has been covered here a few times over the years. He’s done videos for the likes of Hexvessel, Canadian experimentalists Godstopper and indeed Norwegian post-everything specialists Ulver — the “Magic Hollow” video (posted here) from the band’s 2012 obscure covers outing, Childhood’s End — who’ve composed the soundtrack to Oakey‘s new film, Riverhead.

In all that I’ve seen of it, Oakey‘s work has always kept a focus on nature and the always-underlying threats thereof, and the quiet, spacious tension Ulver can evoke when they so choose would seem to be a solid fit for that. Frankly, if you need to be sold on the idea of Ulver doing soundtrack work — or, you know, anything — you’re probably not that familiar with what they do. And that’s cool too. Just make sure you approach with an open mind. All the way open.

The PR wire has release details. Ulver‘s Riverhead LP is out Dec. 9 on House of Mythology. There’s a trailer at the bottom of this post as well:

ulver-riverhead-lp

Ulver announce the release of the original motion picture soundtrack Riverhead, out 9th Dec via the House Of Mythology label

Ulver have announced the next chapter in their phenomenal thread of recorded output. On December 9th, the House of Mythology label (that began this year with the launch of their ATGCLVLSSCAP LP, and has since put out records by Hypnopaz?zu, The Stargazer’s Assistant, KKKMO and more) will be releasing Ulver’s original score Riverhead. The feature length crime drama set in the rich historic area of Newfoundland, Atlantic coast Canada follows family blood feuds between communities. Director Justin Oakey has been a fan of the band for some time, and Ulver’s original score for the film was a close collaborative process between the director and the band.

ABOUT THE FILM…

“The North Shore is a particular coastline on the island of Newfoundland that has been in various stages of settlement since the 1500s – it is said to be one of the oldest North American settlements. As Irish and English settlers formed communities, centuries of secular feuding in Europe were inevitably rediscovered in this new land and lead to many years of fighting, rioting, and murder. As a Newfoundlander with deep roots on the island, my family has experienced this conflict first-hand and often tell stories of their rival outports, even warning me to stay away from certain communities as a child. This is the backdrop for Riverhead – an area with a fragile coexistence between communities, where inherited feuds can resurface at any moment.”

ABOUT THE SOUNDTRACK…

“Late last fall I sent Kristoffer Rygg my latest short film, Flankers, and we began chatting about the soundtrack, eventually going back and forth about a potential collaboration. At this point, I went out on a limb and asked if Ulver would be interested in composing the music for my upcoming feature, Riverhead. They kindly accepted and here is the result. As a long-time fan, this was an incredible collaboration for me – and further, it allowed us to find aesthetic and cultural similarities between our lands. With this in mind, the soundtrack certainly touches on Nordic and Celtic folk music from within an ambient/atmospheric frame.

“There was a mutual understanding that the soundtrack should be hushed, airy and ominous, almost elemental in its minimalism, with only a few key moments that rupture into larger, more augmented pieces. As far as the method, Ulver started by recording and sending over some sketches and atmospheres before we shot a single scene of the film. This allowed me to go into the filming with an understanding of the soundtrack, and how the scenes could (and would) be paced – truly an invaluable asset, especially with a fragmented film like this. Afterwards, they continued to record and we fine-tuned said sketches as well as some new pieces together. Ultimately, I am as proud of this collaboration as a standalone project as I am with the film itself.” – Justin Oakey, L’Anse aux Meadows, September 2016

Pre-orders now available via the House Of Mythology store.

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Ulver, Riverhead trailer

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Black Moon Circle’s Psychedelic Lightshow Featured in “The Head” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 30th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

black-moon-circle-with-dr-space

Among the several thrills this year has held for me when it comes to watching bands on a stage, the chance to see Norwegian heavy psych rockers Black Moon Circle perform at Roadburn 2016 alongside their compatriot Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective and with visual accompaniment in the form of a live psychedelic oil show from Simon W. Gullikstad is pretty high on the list. It was late at night, and the languid, trippy vibe at the smaller venue Extase was just the thing to cap a long day with a bit of go-ahead-and-get-lost-in-it wash effects wash and nod-ready groove. I’d say I was into it, but that would probably be underselling the experience. It was the right place to be and at the right time.

The Trondheim band’s improvisational side was highlighted with the recent release of The Studio Jams Vol. II (review here), which arrived under the subheading of “The Serpent” as a two-sided LP drawing forth from the well of a single extended jam. Like the aforementioned Roadburn set, the Stickman/Crispin Glover Records release too featured Dr. Space alongside the core trio of guitarist Vemund Engan, bassist Øyvin Engan and drummer Per Andreas Gulbrandsen, and its cover art was indeed a still of Gullikstad‘s work.

Sensing a theme? Good, because the band’s new video for “The Head” — the 24-minute A-side of The Studio Jams Vol. II — also features Gullikstad in his gooey element. Shot on a wall outside Black Moon Circle‘s practice space — I guess any wall would do, really — it’s a longform sampling of both the lysergic explorations the band has to offer and the visual immersion that’s made to accompany. Want to put it on fullscreen and just let it play out? Yeah, I think that might be a good impulse to follow.

Please dig in below, and enjoy:

Black Moon Circle, “The Head” official video

The track is taken from the album The Studio Jams Vol II by Black Moon Circle. The visual arts, water, oil & colors, were performed by Simon W. Gullikstad and the video was filmed by Eivind Stuevold in the hall outside of our rehearsal area.

Black Moon Circle on Bandcamp

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Crispin Glover Records website

Stickman Records website

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Kal-El Sign to Argonauta Records; Astrodoomeda out in 2017

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

With two full-lengths already under their belt, Norway’s Kal-El have been picked up by Italian imprint Argonauta Records for the release of their third. It’s been given the charm-laden title Astrodoomeda and though there isn’t a solid drop date for it as yet and the band are reportedly still in the studio, they have two new videos for tracks that will be featured on the finished product, including the rather bold Kyuss cover “Green Machine.” That and the original “Mothership” can be sampled below, and it’s worth noting that their second LP, Ecosphere, came out via respected Berlin purveyor Setalight Records in 2015.

The PR wire has all the details:

kal-el-photo-by-toffa-berg

NORWEGIAN STONER ROCKERS KAL-EL SIGN TO ARGONAUTA RECORDS

Kal-El is the fuzzed-out step-child of hard rock and heavy metal, often with hints of psychedelic and blues rock as well as doom metal. Songs typically feature a bass-heavy groove, detuned guitars and mind-expanding lyrics.

Formed in Norway back in 2012 by members from Theatre of Tragedy, Six Eyes Lost and Desspo, they started rehearsing for the debut record shortly after that, growing up not just as a band, but as a little family as they found themselves around Norway on different gigs and venues.

The album “Pakal” was released on Wormhole Death Records 26th of May 2014, the video for Fire Machine 26th September 2014, and Pakal was released in Japan on Wormhole Japan 24th September 2014. Second album “Ecosphere” was released on Setalight Records 22nd of August 2015.

Kal-El are now recording the very new album to be released by Argonauta Records in 2017. Be prepared for a stunning blend of Black Sabbath meet Monster Magnet meet Nebula!

The band says: “We are proud to be a part of the Argonauta Family, and we look forward to release our 3rd album “Astrodoomeda” through this label in 2017. Gero has a solid promo package going, and we really miss that, so signing with him was a naturally choice. “Astrodoomeda” is going to be a bit heavier than any of our previous releases, but we do believe we keep the essence of Kal-El with us here as well with different songs and different moods throughout the album. The new record has been a slow process where it has been recorded at different sessions through the last year and a half and even as we speak”.

You can already have a taste of the new stuff of the band by hearing the song “Mothership” and “Green Machine” (Kyuss cover), both to be featured in “Astrodoomeda”.

Kal-El are:
Cpt Ulven – Vocals
Roffe – Guitars
Liz – Bass
Bjudas – Drums

Picture credit: Toffa Berg

www.argonautarecords.com
www.kal-el.no
https://twitter.com/Kal_El_Band
https://www.facebook.com/kalelproject

Kal-El, “Mothership” official video

Kal-El, “Green Machine” official video

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Friday Full-Length: Gate 9, Moon Ranger Gone Evil

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 18th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Gate 9, Moon Ranger Gone Evil (2002)

I don’t care if you know this record, if you don’t. If you like it, if you don’t. If you’ve heard of Gate 9 or if you haven’t. This ain’t clickbait, this is rock and roll. You might say Gate 9‘s 2002 outing, Moon Ranger Gone Evil, is something of an obscure pick. Yeah, it is, but when I was first getting deep into heavy rock in a “Well that sounds cool” kind of way, this was an album that really resonated with me in ways I don’t think at the time I really even understood. I heard it in what was probably a two-year genre-immersion project into heavy rock — just picking through label rosters and anything I could get my hands on from the All That is Heavy store (newly redesigned) — while doing college radio at WSOU in New Jersey. Likely the connection is Underdogma Records, whose honcho, Carlton Duff, I’m sure I emailed from my .edu account and bothered for a free CD as I did for his other bands, We’re all Gonna Die, Solace (though their EP was a little later), Crom, Wooly Mammoth‘s first EP, and so on, and listening back to Moon Ranger Gone Evil now, I can hear what Mr. Duff no doubt heard in Gate 9 that caused him to pick them up in the first place. It’s in the fluid tempo changes, the play between stoner and doom, and the fact that though Gate 9 were from Norway, they had a clear Wino influence in their sound that they were willing to work within and around, whether that’s through layering samples into “Queen of Hades” or indulging proto-ritualizations in the later “Mantra of Doom.”

The latter is a highlight in concept and execution and a moment at which the trio of bassist/vocalist Jan M. Sørensen, guitarist Are Branstad and drummer/lyricist Jon A. Magnæs, were probably years ahead of their time. 14 years later one doesn’t blink at the thought of sonic heft as an act of worship, but for them to draw so direct a line across such a moody track is a standout. Add that to the rolling nod and spaciousness of centerpiece “Empress of Andromeda” — like Spirit Caravan-plus, that one — and you begin to get a more complete picture of what Moon Ranger Gone Evil has to offer in terms of scope. I’m not saying these guys reinvented heavy rock and roll or anything like that, but they put together a 43-minute flow of stoner, doom and edged toward psychedelia in a way that made the record even broader on their debut album at a time when many were just getting their feet wet in fuzz. To wit, the closing Monster Magnetism of “Transmission Overload” that jams out in a way one wishes Monster Magnet had dared to do at the time, which shows the experimentalism that the European scene would continue over the next decade to bring to the genre, extensions of which still reverberate (not to mention ring in the ear) to this day.

Having gone on at length about the era of heavy rock lost to the pre-social media age — though I’m sure there’s a Gate 9 MySpace page archived out there somewhere if anyone wants to go find it; an even bigger loss as regards these guys is probably StonerRock.com — I’ll spare you that rant this time, but even if you manage to get as far as the grunge-psych of “La Stranda Astra” some four tracks in, I think you can hear that Moon Ranger Gone Evil was at very least a debut with potential for the band to keep growing. Gate 9 released one more album, titled In the Kingdom of Vulgaria, in 2006 that had a Nazareth cover on it (they did “Holy Roller”) and to the best of my knowledge have done nothing since. If you wind up searching for them on Thee Facebooks, you get a band from South Australia who seem to be completely unrelated. Just a heads up.

Either way, Moon Ranger Gone Evil‘s still out there and relatively cheap on the secondary market, so if you’re feeling it, it’s easy enough to come by. As always, I hope you enjoy and thanks for reading.

These posts just keep getting longer. I can’t seem to stop myself from writing album reviews.

Got up very, very early this morning. Like four. And while I’m not sure how that’s going to play out in terms of overall energy level by the time 8 or 9PM rolls around, I’m glad I did because it allowed me to get that Slo Burn announcement together in time. Pretty awesome get on the part of Freak Valley 2017 and I can’t help but wonder what other shows the band will be doing — looking at you, Psycho Las Vegas. I wouldn’t expect Roadburn, but you never know. One should remember that it was Roadburn 2010 where John Garcia premiered Garcia Plays Kyuss, which begat Kyuss Lives!, which begat Vista Chino, which begat his solo band, and so on leading to his acoustic record, which is out in January.

Anyway. You’ll have to pardon my nerding out.

Next week is Thanksgiving. I expect it’ll be pretty slow as a result, at least as regards news about American bands, but as I say that, Monday and Tuesday are already full, so shows what I know. Let’s look at the notes:

Mon: Full album stream and review of the new Øresund Space Collective, new All Them Witches video.
Tue: Review of the new Wasted Theory.
Wed: New podcast (yup, that’s right) for you holiday travelers. Also for myself. Also premiere of a new Ordos single.
Thu: Probably nothing.
Fri: Release announcement/track stream from Buried Feather, interview with Truckfighters.

The Patient Mrs. and I are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, as we usually wind up doing at one point or another for most occasions. I’m looking forward to it. With my work and her dug deep into her own with the semester and all, it’s been a long time since we’ve been down to New Jersey to see my family — my grandmother is 101 years old and I haven’t seen her since her birthday brunch in June, for example; it’s a guilt worthy of that third digit — so it’ll be good. I’ve got a lot of stuff I want to listen to on the way too, so all the better.

Whether you’re celebrating next week or not, I hope you have a great and safe weekend and subsequent week (and, you know, general existence all the time). I’ll be around this weekend writing and catching up on email from some laptop downtime this week that held me back, but am looking forward to a couple quiet minutes as well before the rush of the holiday season begins. Gotta get those best-of lists started.

Thanks again for reading. Please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Leafy Sign to More Fuzz Records; Self-Titled Debut out Dec. 9

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 17th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Norwegian four-piece Leafy are pretty clearly keyed in on an oldschool stoner rock aesthetic, but the closest comparison point I can think of in listening to the streaming tracks “Can You See Them” and “Felt Like Dying” from their impending self-titled debut — the latter is the finale; no minor giveaway — is London’s Steak, who took similar influence from the desert on their first record and worked to make it their own through songcraft and various nuances. In the case of “Felt Like Dying” particularly, that comes through in Truckfighters-style fuzz (one assumes that Swedish troupe are also an influence on the “Mr.”-style nicknames) met with just a touch of grunge, but there are any number of lines to be drawn as the cycle of straightforward European heavy rock seems to be resetting itself through a new generation of acts.

Something to continue to watch for in the months (and years) to come. Meanwhile, Leafy‘s self-titled debut will be out Dec. 9 on More Fuzz Records. I put together the following from the label’s announcement and the band’s bio, if you’d like to be informed:

leafy

Leafy from Norway sign to More Fuzz Records

As you’ll be able to hear on the blog, they have a strong Northern Europe Stoner Rock sound that will hook you in instantly! Think burning fuzzy riffs with high Temperature Level ala early-Truckfighters or Dozer.

After several live performances on the southern Norwegian local scene, this hard hitting band quickly made a name for themselves and planted a seed. Leafy, fronted by Ryan Matthew Moen on vocals delivers unpolished Stoner Rock that takes you back to the original Nothern Europe style. With an array of pedals, guitarist Josh Bisama creates an atmospheric pressure while loudly leading over the groovy fuzz-laced bass, handled by Marcus Billington.

The musical energies combined from these four free-spirited individuals could not be arranged without the heavy rhythm section controlled by Per Arne Solvik. Inspired by observations, interactions and experiences, the lyrical aspect is often aimed at society, its inhabitants and a possible revival of the lost connection, delivered soulfully by the lead singer. Follow us on the journey, as we unfold the flower of life, from a single seed!

This is so cool, the family is getting bigger ;)

Mr. Fuzz

Releases December 9, 2016.

Leafy are :
Ryan “Mr. Leafy” Matthew Moen – Vocals
Josh ” Mr. Yoshi” Bisama – Guitars & Vocals
Per “Señor Pedro” Arne Solvik – Drums
Marcus “Marco el Róbalo” Billington – Bass
Enyeto Kotori – Bass (on the album)

https://www.facebook.com/weareleafy/
https://leafy420.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.instagram.com/leafy.official/
https://www.facebook.com/morefuzzrecords/
https://morefuzzrecords.bandcamp.com/

Leafy, Leafy (2016)

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Black Moon Circle Stream The Studio Jams Vol. II in Full

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 11th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

black-moon-circle-with-dr-space

Today, Nov. 11, marks the release date of Black Moon Circle‘s The Studio Jams Vol. II. Offered on vinyl through Crispin Glover Records and Stickman Records, as the title hints, it’s the Norwegian outfit’s second such collection of improvised work, following behind a similar release last year (discussed here) and leading to one set to show up next May. That’s right, Vol. III, already confirmed. In the meantime, The Studio Jams Vol. II also follows the Trondheim trio’s song-based 2016 outing, Sea of Clouds, and once more pairs the core lineup of the band — guitarist Vemund Engan, bassist Øyvin Engan (who also mixed) and drummer Per Andreas Gulbrandsen — with synth wizard Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective for an extended, 40-minute improvisation recorded this past January. It seems to have been laid down in one take, and it comes broken up into a pair LP tracks that give a complete description of the beast’s two sides in their titles: “The Head” (24:02) and “The Tail” (16:49). Each one, of course, consumes an entire half of the record, and I don’t think there’s any way to imagine Black Moon Circle would have it otherwise. At this point, they haven’t been around long — black-moon-circle-the-studio-jams-vol-iitheir self-titled debut (review here) and the follow-up, Andromeda (review here), both came out in 2014 — but they’ve proved prolific enough to make one believe they’re reasonably comfortable in Naultilus Studio, where Magnus Kofoed recorded. They certainly seem to spend enough time there.

Which, when it comes to jammed-out space rock, is what you want. If a group doesn’t exercise these muscles constantly, they atrophy, and as Øyvin‘s bass leads the way into the first minute or so of “The Head,” the immediate fluidity of what’s unfolding reassures that indeed that has not happened with Black Moon Circle. In classic form, bass and drums anchor the proceedings while the guitar takes flight, but the not-so-secret weapon here is Dr. Space, whose mastery of swirl from his custom synth comprised of knobs and keys and effects is second to none. Heller‘s time in Øresund Space Collective may be coming to an end — though they also have a new record on the way — but he continues to bring textures and flow and a sense of (dare I say it?) spaciousness to everything he touches. In combination with the chemistry on display from the Engans and Gulbrandsen, it’s little wonder that “The Head” and “The Tail” play out as smoothly as they do, the A side riding its low-end foundation to and through a build in its first 10 minutes only to give the drums a rest thereafter and dig into a psychedelic dronescape that’s as vast as it is hypnotic, bluesy guitar echoing out over slow-motion swirl. To think of a moment like that as something that just happened, that just came about when Black Moon Circle plugged in and went for it — even if they had some direction in mind beforehand — makes The Studio Jams Vol. II all the more worth preserving on vinyl, let alone the careful manner in which the bass and drums reintroduce motion to the track under a cover of synth, not upsetting the balance but clearly moving “The Head” into a next stage that, when the guitar rejoins, results in a near-Earthless-style cacophony pushing even the band’s own limits of psychedelia as Vemund tears into a righteous solo.

“The Head” fades out, taking its time, of course, and “The Tail” black-moon-circle-the-studio-jams-vol-ii-backhowls its way in, picking up where its predecessor left off. Although it’s seven minutes shorter — a manageable 16 minutes — it’s basically a continuation of “The Head”‘s excursion into the ethereal. One might wonder at first why Black Moon Circle would break up the jam in such a manner, to make the A side so much longer than the B side, but I think the story gets told about four minutes into “The Tail,” when the swell of volume recedes and the drone exploration resumes for a stretch with the bass and drums quietly behind. Entirely possible the band wanted to keep the two similarly-minded movements apart in an effort not to repeat themselves too much in succession, though Gulbrandsen‘s echoing snare and toms about seven minutes into “The Tail” have a distinct jazziness that “The Head” simply doesn’t offer and the focus on the rhythm section that develops around them is likewise distinguished from the earlier cut. It’s easy to miss, but by the time they’re eight minutes in, Black Moon Circle have hit the ground level of what will serve as the final build in Studio Jams Vol. II, and as the guitar and synth continue to wash effects forward to the listener there’s a subtle and patient push happening that only gets more fervent as it goes. They peak across the 14th and 15th minutes, with cymbal crashes and full-on guitar howl and noise and general soaking-wet freakout madness all around, and with no place in the universe left to traverse — until next time, adventurers! — they dissipate into a spacebound current of residual amplified rumble that, if we’re lucky, will be picked up by aliens circa alpha centauri and used as our second-most-confusing-ever line of contact with an outside species.

With the pace that Black Moon Circle have thus far kept up in working on both sides of their jams-and-songs-built-from-them approach, I’m all the more thrilled to be able to host The Studio Jams Vol. II in its entirety for your streaming pleasure. Please find it on the player below, followed by some comment from the band and the brief announcement of Vol. III, the confirmation of which is so telling of the vibrant creativity at play in the band.

Enjoy getting lost in this one:

Øyvin Engan on The Studio Jams Vol. 2:

Free-jamming is all about losing control, narrowing down to the moment, where we try to let go of the past and not to worry about what is coming up next, then anything goes.

The Studio Jams series is all about that kind of free floating playing: no rules, no plans.

Of course, we also do a whole lot of jamming when we play the more regular songs, they will never be the same twice, and I think this has influenced the way we make our music. Now, we are both trying to allure the jams into the written songs, and we are forcing structure onto the jams, either way, that´s how we make new songs.

Norwegian psychedelic space rock group Black Moon Circle was formed by Øyvin Engan (bass/vocals) and Vemund Engan (guitar) in 2012. Rising out of the ashes of the fast paced garage punk rock band The Reilly Express, the lineup was completed with the addition of Per Andreas Gulbrandsen on drums. The sound of Black Moon Circle combines long jams with heavy riffage, the extensive use of effects on bass and guitar and analogue synths oscillating with echoes and delays created by Dr. Space.

These days BMC are in The Nautilus mixing The Studio Jams Vol III feat. guest guitarist Snah, due out in May 2017.

Black Moon Circle on Bandcamp

Black Moon Circle on Thee Facebooks

Crispin Glover Records website

Stickman Records website

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The Order of Israfel, Year of the Goat and Tombstones Announce Early 2017 European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 11th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Lest a day should go by without a reminder of how frickin’ awesome Europe’s heavy underground is, Napalm Records sends word of an early 2017 co-headlining tour from Swedish acts Year of the Goat and The Order of Israfel to be supported by Oslo’s Tombstones. The run kicks off late in January and will go into the middle of the next month, and will be preceded by a new Year of the Goat single out Dec. 9, as The Order of Israfel continue to support their 2016 sophomore outing, Red Robes (review here), that found them refining their take on classic doom.

Particularly stoked for Tombstones opening this stint, as it seems like a prime opportunity for them to turn some heads with their brash, deeply-weighted groove, which should rest well alongside The Order of Israfel‘s traditionalism and the cultistry of Year of the Goat. Good mix all around, if you happen to be in that part of the world.

From the PR wire:

year-of-the-goat-the-order-of-israfel-tombstones-tour

YEAR OF THE GOAT & THE ORDER OF ISRAFEL Co-Headlining Tour in 2017!

Now this is how a new year should start!

Two fantastic bands from the Napalm Records roster – THE ORDER OF ISRAFEL & YEAR OF THE GOAT – have teamed up with Tombstones as support to hit the road all across Germany, Netherlands, the UK, Italy, Austria and Switzerland!

THE ORDER OF ISRAFEL are already extremely looking forward to this tour:

“We are extremely happy to announce our next tour that will take place in January-February 2017. It is a Co-headlining tour with our friends and label mates Year Of The Goat! Support on this tour will be Tombstones!”

The band’s first steps might have been heavily influenced by genre icons such as Cathedral, Pentagram and Witchcraft, but the four piece has firmly established its very own brand of slow-motion magnificence in 2016 with their latest masterpiece Red Robes.

YEAR OF THE GOAT deliver finest and darkest occult doom rock! This is captivating, unique and majestic! Their latest effort The Unspeakable was released in 2015, so it’s time to hit the road again! By the way, the band will release a 7″ single “Song Of Winter” on December 9th.

YEAR OF THE GOAT states:
“We are truly looking forward to be out on the European road again, this time with a package that we’re sure will provide many magical moments. Besides returning to countries and cities we love, we get to visit a few countries and places for the first time as well. We will put together a show of our favourite songs from our current catalogue and bring the uplifting gospel of Lucifer as well as a Lovecraftian gloom. Welcome to the sermon!”

The result of both bands together is a wondrous, mystical piece of art featuring unforgettable vocals and ten-ton riffing that will haunt you for aeons and especially on their upcoming co-headlining tour!

Find all dates listed below & don’t miss this power package including co-headlining THE ORDER OF ISRAFEL and YEAR OF THE GOAT with support of Tombstones live on tour!

28.01.17 DE – Berlin / Badehaus
29.01.17 DE – Osnabrück / Bastard Club
30.01.17 DE – Hamburg / Hafenklang
31.01.17 DE – Wiesbaden / Schlachthof
01.02.17 NL – Arnhem / Willemeen
02.02.17 UK – London / Underworld
04.02.17 TBA
06.02.17 CH – Olten / Coq D’Or
07.02.17 IT – Milano / Lo Fi
08.02.17 DE – Munich / Backstage
09.02.17 AT – Vienna / Viper Room
10.02.17 DE – Leipzig / UT Connewitz
11.02.17 DE – Siegen / Vortex

www.facebook.com/TheOrderOfIsrafel
www.theorderofisrafel.com
www.facebook.com/yearofthegoat
https://www.facebook.com/tombstonesoslo/

The Order of Israfel, “Swords to the Sky” lyric video

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