Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle, Freak Out in the Fjord: Cosmic Collision

Posted in Reviews on May 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

oresund space collective meets black moon circle freak out in the fjord

It happened once upon a Nov. 17, 2017, that respected cosmic improvisationalists Øresund Space Collective made their way from Denmark/Portugal/Planet Omega to Trondheim, Norway, where they were set to join with Black Moon Circle and take part in the Freak Out in the Fjord festival for which they’d eventually name this album. The title, though, is more homage than descriptor, as what makes up the record isn’t the actual live set, but the results of a studio session the next day. That might seem counterintuitive — especially for a band who are not at all shy about putting out live material — until one actually listens to Freak Out in the Fjord, at which point the results become largely inarguable. I say that as a fan of Øresund Space Collective, of course, but if you want to try to make a case against gathering a nine-piece lineup together, sticking them in the studio like some kind of off-the-cuff orchestra — three drummers and all — I’m happy to entertain it.

Certainly by the time they get around in opener “Rendezvous in the Nebula” to tossing off a swaggering reference to Jimmy Forrest‘s “Night Train” (also recorded by James Brown for Live at the Apollo in 1963), any such issue should be settled. From that interstellar-swinging 26-minute leadoff on through the other three more-than-a-side-consuming pieces on the 119-minute Space Rock Productions-issued triple LP, the personality changes, but the ultimate course of exploration is consistent. It’s jammy bliss, and as a particular sucker for an interplay between more than multiple drummers/percussionists, it seems like the rhythms here stand up especially well to the wash of guitar, bass, keys and synth surrounding. For reference, here is the lineup for the session, with their credits directly cut and pasted from the Øresund Space Collective Bandcamp page:

Magnus Hannibal – Fender Rhodes, Synthesizer
Tim Wallander – Drums (right), Fender Rhodes (Side B)
Simon W. Gullikstad – Drums (left)
Hasse Horrigmoe – Bass (slight left)
Øyvin Engan – Bass (slight right)
Vemund Engan – Guitar (right)
Jonathan Segel – Violin, Guitar (left)
Scott “Dr. Space” Heller – Modular Synth, Kaoscillator, Korg Monotron
Per Andreas Gulbrandsen – Drums (side B right, side C/D center)

For those familiar either with Øresund Space Collective or with the Norwegian-native Black Moon Circle, it will come as little surprise that the common thread between the two — aside from a propensity for psych-jamming — is Scott “Dr. Space” Heller. The bandleader of Øresund Space Collective has been a member of Black Moon Circle live and in the studio (also live there, as it happens), and as the two outfits work here under the collective banner of Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle, he’s the one tying them together. It is a noble endeavor. The general method of Øresund Space Collective is to hit the studio or stage, press record, and go. Like off-the-cuff jazz born of psychedelia and space rock, their work is always an adventure and always captures the specific moment of its creation, never to come again. Bringing Black Moon Circle — the Engans and Gulbrandsen, as well as Gullikstad and Heller himself — into the fold, they only expand the reach, and as Freak Out in the Fjord plays through its massive sprawl across “Rendezvous in the Nebula” (26:18), “Afterglow in the Sea of Sirens” (23:55), “Dinner with Gregg A. and Jerry G.” (33:16) and “Freak Out in the Fjord” (36:03), the pieces each develop a persona of their own.

This is true whether it’s the Southern guitar inflection of “Dinner with Gregg A. and Jerry G.” or the engrossing well of energy of “Rendezvous in the Nebula,” the organ and synth making their presence felt in the second half of “Afterglow in the Sea of Sirens” by building a tension that instead of blowing up pays off in arguably the record’s sleekest groove, or the title-track’s experimentalist pulse, manifest in bouts of noise and swells of volume as the group moves inextricably toward a grand finale every bit worthy of the nearly two hours preceding. But as with either the work of Øresund Space Collective on their own or Black Moon Circle‘s jammy material or really any such release, Freak Out in the Fjord isn’t about the destination so much as the outward trip to get there, however satisfying the end proves to be.

So far as I know, it doesn’t, but Freak Out in the Fjord should probably come with some manner of warning label about melted consciousness or “these people are professionals; don’t try this at home” or something of the like. The fact of the matter is that whatever else is going on, Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle are in their element when mounting these sonic excursions, and it’s never going to be for everyone. It is a kind of extremity. Not of volume, or intensity — at least not in a “metal” sense — but of purpose. It is a constant drive to push deeper into the heart of creativity and to document its realization. Øresund Space Collective, its related outfits and especially Dr. Space have amassed an extensive discography, as a group like this will, but some of their best work is done when they force themselves into a different avenue of collaboration, whether it’s with Black Moon Circle or the likes of KG Westman or Gary Arce.

The core of their approach is unwavering, and well it should be, but over time, it is also showing itself as infinitely malleable to a range of contexts. Maybe that’s easy to say for Øresund Space Collective, since their approach is based on an open sensibility, but the prospect of improv space rock is one that could just as easily fall flat, or sound empty, and instead, Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle are engaging and immersive in kind. Whether you’re putting it on for a two-hour chillout or sitting with your headphones and picking out which drums are in which channel on which track, Freak Out in the Fjord delivers an ultimately satisfying experience for the converted or those willing to be, and while I know the whole point of the thing is to preserve the ephemeral spirit of a moment already gone — remember this was late 2017; though the two bands are touring together — I can’t help but hope Øresund Space Collective and Black Moon Circle meet again for another studio session, as it seems like there’s still so much of the universe to be discovered.

Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle, Freak Out in the Fjord (2019)

Black Moon Circle on Bandcamp

Black Moon Circle on Thee Facebooks

Øresund Space Collective on The Facebooks

Øresund Space Collective on Bandcamp

Øresund Space Collective website

Space Rock Productions website

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 15

Posted in Radio on April 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

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It was last Friday about an hour before I had to head out for the start of Desertfest NYC that I cut the voice breaks for this episode, once again on my phone, while in transit. I did the same thing last time and it sounded like crap. I know the stakes are pretty low — that is, nobody really cares — but if you’re going to do a thing, at least try to do it well. I backed off the phone this time and hopefully that cut some of the overmodulation in my voice.

I say “hopefully” because I actually haven’t heard the show yet. I was at the fest on Sunday while it aired, so I’ll be catching the rerun at 9AM this Thursday when that’s on. This is the 15th episode of The Obelisk Show and it’s been an exceptionally busy few weeks, but it’s still fun to put together, and there were some killer tracks included this time from Worshipper, Abrahma, Molasses, Stone Machine Electric, The Well, Kandodo, Methadone Skies, and so on. Any opportunity to throw in some Øresund Space Collective makes me happy, so that was a must, and I was kind of also doing myself a favor in including Natas as the “classic track” (yay! classic track!) for the episode.

So basically, unless I crapped it up, at least the music is good. That’s what matters anyhow, or so I’m told.

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 04.28.19

Pelican Midnight and Mescaline Nighttime Stories*
Abrahma Lost Forever In Time for the Last Rays of Light*
Worshipper Coming Through Light in the Wire*
BREAK
Molasses Drops of Sunlight Mourning Haze*
Los Mundos Subterráneo Mar Jurásico Calor Central*
Kandodo King Vulture K3*
Omen Stones Fresh Hell Omen Stones*
The Well This is How the World Ends Death and Consolation*
BREAK
Natas Samurai Delmar
Smear Old Town A Band Called Shmear*
Methadone Skies Where Were You When We Were into the Void? Different Layers of Fear*
Stone Machine Electric Purgatory Darkness, Dimensions, Disillusion*
BREAK
Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle Afterglow in the Sea of Sirens Freak Out in the Fjord*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Sunday night at 7PM Eastern, with replays the following Thursday at 9AM. Next show is April 28. Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle for a Freak Out in the Fjord

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

If you’re anything like me when it comes to the issue, Øresund Space Collective‘s jams arrive in the-more-the-merrier fashion. They’ve got two hours of live-captured improv psych and space rock? Cool, I’ll clear my afternoon calendar. Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle is, as the name implies, the coming together of those two outfits — the Norwegian troupe Black Moon Circle being no slouches themselves in the jam department — and Freak Out in the Fjord is their six-sided 3LP release named for the show in Trondheim, Norway, that was the occasion for their coming together. The day after the gig, the two outfits hit the studio, recorded four sprawling explorations, and they’re being pressed by Space Rock Productions for release on May 7 on CD/digi. LPs are behind held back by some manufacturing issue — doubtless whatever poor pressing plant couldn’t handle that much cosmic energy brought to bear in a single burst — but should be out in June.

It’s not a split. It’s a collaborative effort, with two guitars, two basses and three drumsets and probably more synth than Norway allows by law. It is two-plus of the trippiest hours you’ll spend.

They’re streaming the 24-minute “Afterglow in the Sea of Sirens” now and you can catch it at the bottom of this post. Do so.

Enjoy:

oresund space collective meets black moon circle freak out in the fjord

Øresund Space Collective meets Black Moon Circle – Freak out in the Fjord

Release on Space Rock Productions, SRP059

Release date: 7th May 2019

In November 2017, ØSC and BMC played a show in Trondheim, Norway called Freakout in the Fjord, which also featured the local band, Red Mountains. The next day, we were booked into the excellent, Øra studio, one of the best in Trondheim for a jam session.

It took a few hours to set up all the gear (2 guitar set ups, 2 bass set ups, 3 drums kits (yes, 3!), modular synth, Fender Rhodes and Oberheim synth and we were ready to go. Four jams were recorded ranging from Miles Davis inspired (Afterglow) to Grateful Dead (Dinner) to heavy space rock (Freakout). It is a hell of a 2hr musical journey.

Recorded at Øra Studio, Trondheim, Norway on Saturday Nov 18th, 2017.
Recording engineer Magnus Koefod
Mixed and mastered at Brygga studio November 2018 by Magnus Koefod.

Tracklisting:
Side A- Rendezvous in the Nebula
Side B- Afterglow in the sea of Sirens
Side C/D- Dinner with Gregg A and Jerry G
Side E/F- Freak out in the Fjord

Personnel:
Magnus- Fender Rhodes, Synthesizer
Tim- Drums (right), Fender Rhodes (Side B)
Simon- Drums (left)
Hasse- Bass (slight left)
Øyvin- Bass (slight right)
Vemund- Guitar (right)
Jonathan- Violin, Guitar (left)
Dr Space- Modular Synth, Kaoscillator, Korg Monotron
Peran- Drums (side B right, side C/D center)

Live dates:
Lygtens Kro, København, DK May 23rd
Spaceboat VI Hamburg, DE May 24/25th 2019
Urban Spree, Berlin May 26th, 2019
Lodz, Poland May 27th
Warsaw, Poland May 28th
Poland or day off May 29th
Fenix Bar, Alyst, Lithuania May 30th
Fontaine Palace, Liep?ja, Latvia May 31st
Ääniwalli, Helsinki, Finland June 1st
Vastavirta, Tampere, FIN June 2nd
Melody Box, Stockholm, Sweden June 4th
Sonic Rock Solstice, UK June 23rd 2019

http://www.spacerockproductions.com
http://blackmooncircle.bandcamp.com
http://oresundspacecollective.com

Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle, Freak Out in the Fjord (2019)

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