Quarterly Review: Russian Circles, War Cloud, Here Lies Man, Book of Wyrms, Möyhy-Veikot, Darsombra, Set Fire, Jesus the Snake, Föllakzoid, Dresden Wolves

Posted in Reviews on October 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Had to take a second this morning to get my email back under 100 unread. It currently stands at 95. There’s just something about being in triple digits that I can’t stand. Press releases and stuff I can usually file right away since not everything’s relevant to the site, etc., but that’s all stuff that either wants follow-up or could be a factor here if there was time. I do my best to try to keep up. And I fail, consistently.

The tradeoff, of course, is I spend that time writing reviews and other stuff for the site. Today’s hump day when we pass the halfway mark of the Fall 2019 Quarterly Review, and we’re doing it in absolutely all-over-the-place style, so all the better. Some pretty familiar names today, but some that might not be as well, so whatever your poison, I hope you enjoy the picking.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Russian Circles, Blood Year

russian circles blood year

There’s simply no denying the force behind the depths and swell of a song like “Kohokia” on Russian Circles‘ latest offering, Blood Year (Sargent House), and though one knows what to expect to some degree from the Chicago heavy post-rockers at this point in their career, they seem to be doing all they can to deliver their instrumental progressions with energy to match the breadth of the spaces and the heft they conjure. Like 2016’s Guidance (review here), the seven-track/39-minute Blood Year — was recorded with Kurt Ballou, whom the trio imported to their hometown to work at Electrical Audio (aka Steve Albini‘s stomping ground) instead of traveling to Massachusetts to track at Ballou‘s Godcity. If it was the long-famed drum sound of Electrical Audio that they wanted and the live feel that so many of the recordings done there have, they got both, so mark it a success and another notch in the belt of one of the heavy underground’s most immersive and evocative outfits. Their building and releasing of tension is second to none and moves into the spiritual by the time they even get to side B, let alone through it.

Russian Circles on Thee Facebooks

Sargent House website

 

War Cloud, State of Shock

war cloud state of shock

Oh, the riffs you’ll gallop. Oakland, California’s War Cloud skirt the line between classic thrash and heavy rock and roll on their second album for Ripple Music, State of Shock, and from the sound of things, they have a good time doing it. The record’s not much over a half-hour long, which is as it should be for this kind of party, and they toy a bit with the balance between their two sides on a rocker like “Do Anything” or the subsequent “Means of Your Defeat” on side B, but the main crux of State of Shock and certainly the impression it makes off the bat with “Striker” and “White Lightning” up front ahead of the six-minute that-moment-when-ThinLizzy-turned-into-IronMaiden “Dangerous Game” is one of homage to the metal of yore, and in following-up the band’s 2017 self-titled debut (review here), it’s a showcase of energy and craft alike as two guitars shred, chug, groove and charge through the material. If they were from the Eastern Seaboard, I’d say something about getting caught in a mosh. As it stands, I’ll go with urging you to jump in the fire instead. Horns up, either way.

War Cloud on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

Here Lies Man, No Ground to Walk Upon

here lies man no ground to walk upon

They should’ve just called it an album. Yeah, it would be short at 26 or so minutes, but it’s got everything you’d want from a full-length, and if they’d put a four-minute jam or something on it, they’d have been there anyhow. In any case, Los Angeles’ Afrobeat-infused heavy psych rockers Here Lies Man present seven tracks of dug-in glory with No Ground to Walk Upon (on RidingEasy), continuing to build on the potential shown across their first two LPs, 2017’s self-titled debut (review here) and last year’s You Will Know Nothing (review here), even as they swagger their way through a groove like “Long Legs (Look Away)” and show their continued forward potential. They continue to be a special band — the kind of band who doesn’t just come along every day and who shouldn’t be overlooked during their time, because maybe they’ll be around 30 years and maybe they won’t, but what they’re doing now is bringing something wholly individual to a heavy context. They’ve already proven influential to some degree, but listening to No Ground to Walk Upon cuts like the dream-keyed “Iron Rattles” and the opening strut-into-drone of “Clad in Silver,” one wonders if they wouldn’t be more so if people weren’t too afraid to try to pull this thing off. Hard to argue with that, since more likely than not most couldn’t.

Here Lies Man on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Book of Wyrms, Remythologizer

Book of Wyrms Remythologizer

I won’t take anything away from the eight-minute “Blacklight Warpriest” earlier in the offering, but the highlight of Book of Wyrms‘ second album, Remythologizer (on Twin Earth & Stoner Witch Records) has to be the closing “Dust Toad,” which at 9:25 is the longest track and the slowest crawl included. Led into by the synth-infused “Curse of the Werecop,” it takes the crunch that showed itself through opener “Autumnal Snow” and, later, the melody and swing of “Undead Pegasus” — as seen on the cover art — and brings them together in order to perfectly summarize the doom rocking ethic the Richmond, Virginia, four-piece are working from. Tonally righteous and more solvent in their songwriting than they were on their 2017 debut, Sci-Fi/Fantasy (review here), the band sound assured as they move in “Spirit Drifter” from a standout keyboard line to a likewise standout guitar solo, giving a feeling of progressive nuance that’s continuing to take hold in their sound, balanced by the underlying naturalism of their approach. That dynamic continues to duke it out on Remythologizer, much to the benefit of anyone who takes the record on.

Book of Wyrms on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records on Bandcamp

Stoner Witch Records BigCartel store

 

Möyhy-Veikot, Huume Jet Set Life

moyhy-veikot huume jet set life

Too weird for planet earth and, well, probably too weird for anywhere else too, Helsinki psych-space-kraut-whathaveyou experimentalists issue their third tape in the form of Huume Jet Set Life and whether it’s the cosmo-jamming on “MITÄ ON TULLUT VEDETTYÄ?” or the who-the-hell-knows-what-ism of “MEDIA-AJOJAHTI 2000,” the band at no point fail to make an impression of being out there in the far gone far out there reaches of the far out there. Talkin’ freaked out next level total, like the cassette just fell into the atmosphere to represent some other planet’s culture where things are both dangerous and interesting and you never really know if you’re going to get laid or eaten or both. Still, they may be doing math of the likes not yet conceived by humanity, but Möyhy-Veikot go about it in suitably friendly if totally over-the-top fashion, and it’s fun to play along while also being completely overwhelmed at the various pushes and pulls happening all at once, the media samples and the Windows 95 compatibility of it all. It’s one small step for man, one giant leap for disco.

Möyhy-Veikot on Thee Facebooks

Möyhy-Veikot on Bandcamp

 

Darsombra, Transmission

Darsombra Transmission

It’s just lovely. Really. In some ways it feels like the 41:20 single-track full-length Transmission — self-released, no less — is what Baltimore ambient exploratory two-piece Darsombra have been building toward all along, but I think the truth is they probably could’ve done this at any time if they’d chosen to do so. Still, the fluidity of “Transmission” itself is something special, with its cascades of manipulated voice, riffs that swell and recede, loops, synth and somehow-manifested light that are as much immersion for the spirit as the eardrum. One doesn’t want to dive too deep into hyperbole and oversell it to the point of dulling the listener’s own impression, but Transmission is the kind of record that even those who profess to never “get” drone or noise offerings can engage with. Part of that is owed to Brian Daniloski‘s guitar, which provides landmarks along the path of swirl conjured by his own effects and the synth from Ann Everton (both add vocals where applicable; don’t look for lyrics or verses) that allow those who’d take it on to do so more easily. But the real joy in Transmission is letting go and allowing the piece to carry you along its progressive course, genuine in its reaching for the unknown. Plus there’s a gong, and that’s always fun too. Go with it.

Darsombra on Thee Facebooks

Darsombra on Bandcamp

 

Set Fire, Traya

set fire traya

Traya is the third three-song full-length from Boston’s Set Fire, and it would seem that, and in addition to marking the last recording to feature drummer Rob Davol, who’s since been replaced by Josh Cronin, it would seem to show the three-piece nailing their sound of classic-tinged duet-fronted heavy rock and roll. With two powerhouse vocalists on board in guitarist Jim Healey (We’re all Gonna Die, Black Thai, etc.) and keyboardist Jess Collins (ex-Mellow Bravo), they work in varying arrangements across a meager 12-minute run that feels short mostly because it is short. Too short. “Any Place Left” puts Collins in the foreground, while “Sacred Song” is more Healey‘s, and unsurprisingly to anyone who’s experienced their past work either together or separate, they’re more than able to carry the material — only more so with the other party backing. “Waves” brings them together around theatrical layers of piano and keyboard and guitar, and that they manage to hold it steady at all, let alone take flight as it does, speaks to how ready they are to embark on a longer offering. Put out an album, already, would ya?

Set Fire on Thee Facebooks

Set Fire on Bandcamp

 

Jesus the Snake, Black Acid, Pink Rain

Jesus the Snake Black Acid Pink Rain

For those feeling adventurous, Portugal’s Jesus the Snake follow-up their 2017 self-titled EP (review here) with the unmitigated warmth of Black Acid, Pink Rain, their live-recorded full-length debut. And for the sort of heavy psych-jazz-prog meandering, one would almost expect the organ-laced instrumentalist four-piece to track the record as they perform it, if not front-to-back then certainly one song at a time across multiple takes. Not one piece of the five total on the 49-minute offering is under eight minutes long, and sandwiched between opener “Karma” (10:28) and the closing title-track (10:55) are three cuts circa nine that prove no less hypnotic. The beginning of “Floyds I” is so fluid with the interplay of organ and guitar that one almost expects a gentle Portuguese spoken word verse to start, but of course one never does. Instead, Jesus the Snake complement mindful drift with flashes of more weighted or active fare, all the while holding to a central vibe that is peaceful even as “Duna” finds its chill before the halfway point, with no loss of spirit in the process.

Jesus the Snake on Thee Facebooks

Jesus the Snake on Bandcamp

 

Föllakzoid, I

follakzoid i

As with any kind of sonic minimalism or release based around trance induction — see Darsombra above — there’s a certain amount of buy-in that needs to happen on the listener’s side. Accordingly, those going into the fourth LP from Chilean duo Föllakzoid, titled I and issued through Sacred Bones Records as a double-vinyl, should be aware that it’s requires that kind of interaction from one side to the other. It’s not especially loud or abrasive, or even demanding in terms of the basic sonics of the thing, but as “I” becomes “II” becomes “III” becomes “IIII” and the songs such as they are alternate between 17- and 13-minute runtimes and the blend of effects and electro beats tips to one side or the other — “II” with a fervent ‘ump-tis’ in its early going while “III” brings a more Vangelis-style cinematic wash — of course there’s an ask in terms of indulgence happening on the part of the two-piece to their audience. Whether an individual is willing to make that jump is obviously going to be up to their headspace and where they’re at, but Föllakzoid‘s work here is more than worth the investment, even for those less familiar with their methods.

Föllakzoid on Thee Facebooks

Sacred Bones Records website

 

Dresden Wolves, Hiedra – Sencillo

dresden wolves Hiedra Sencillo

The sub-three-minute “Hiedra – Sencillo” is the latest in an ongoing series of digital offerings from Mexico City’s Dresden Wolves, and though the two-piece band bill themselves as post-punk and they may actually have a history in playing punk rock — stranger things have happened, certainly — the song finds them working in a taut heavy rock context, brash in delivery but not overly so as to lose the overarching swagger they seem intent on conveying. Particularly as it follows behind two EPs and a swath of other single tracks, and is offered name-your-price through their Bandcamp, “Hiedra – Sencillo” feels like its most nefarious aim is to hook anyone who’d click play on first listen and try and keep them intrigued for next time out. Fair enough. I won’t profess to know what Dresden Wolves‘ plans are, but they’ve got songwriting in their pocket and the production on “Hiedra – Sencillo” is crisp and clear enough to convey the heft of the guitar but not so much so as to dull its rawer aspects. They’ve got the balance ready to go, whatever they might choose to do with it from here.

Dresden Wolves on Thee Facebooks

Dresden Wolves on Bandcamp

 

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Review & Full Album Stream: The Black Wizards, Reflections

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

The Black Wizards Reflections

[Click play above to stream The Black Wizards’ Reflections in its entirety. Album is out Aug. 23 through Kozmik Artifactz and Raging Planet.]

Reflections is what it sounds like when a band learns the lessons of their past releases and incorporates them into the next one. The third full-length from Portuguese heavy psych blues rockers The Black Wizards, the seven-track Kozmik Artifactz and Raging Planet-issued outing scales back from the 2LP that was 2017’s self-released What the Fuzz! (review here) to a single 41-minute platter with a structure that seems to maximize the overarching flow and still manage to capture a sense of the breadth in their approach, from fervent boogie rock to bluesy sway and onward into resonant psychedelic drift as it rounds out. This range, coupled with the organic style and songwriting approach from guitarists Joana Brito (also vocals) and Paulo Ferreira and the double-João rhythm section of bassist João Mendes and drummer João Lugatte, helps make Reflections an easy bet to win hearts and minds among the converted, as some of the boogie in What the Fuzz! is drawn down into the taffy-pull psych of “Starlight” and closer “Kaleidoscope Eyes,” the band clearly saving their most immersive vibes for the end of each side, in traditional fashion.

“Traditional fashion” could be seen as a kind of running theme for the album, but Reflections is by no means retro. Given the usage of the title-line in “Kaleidoscope Eyes” — a highlight unto itself — I wouldn’t necessarily think the band intended so when they named the album, but their approach to classic heavy rock and psych and blues and all the rest of the stylistic combustibles melted into their sound is very much reflective. Not an exact emulation in the sense of capturing a “vintage” spirit in the actual listening experience — their scope is way too broad and production way too vast for such a thing — but reflecting those ideas back on themselves in a different form. It begins with opener “Imposing Sun” as Lugatte‘s sticks-on-rim tension and Brito‘s vocals lead into a swirl-laced heavy rocker with layers of backing vocals dug deep into the mix and a forward guitar line that’s like sped-up Monster Magnet doing Hawkwind doing Rolling Stones. The vibrato in Brito‘s voice will be familiar to anyone who heard What the Fuzz! or the prior 2015 debut, Lake of Fire, but as everything seems to be, it’s put here to more mature and accomplished-feeling use.

Side A presents a few fascinating turns. True, it works as shorter songs offset by longer ones — three minutes, six, four, six, goes the tracklisting — but second cut “Outlaws” (6:26) introduces more of the psych-blues spirit, with echo ringing out from Brito over rising-sun riffing and a build of effects wash that leads to an immersive linear progression the payoff for which is a righteous return to the central hook riff. The track is little short of a triumph and a fair enough summary of The Black Wizards‘ encompassing style at its best, but it doesn’t tell the whole tale, which continues with the boogie-down spirit of “56th Floor,” though even that start-stoppery has a sense of space to its guitar and drums and some drift in its second half, asking more questions even as it sees fit to answer a few of them as well. The presumed side A finish is in “Starlight,” which is shorter than “Outlaws” at 6:16, but more drawn out in its unfolding of guitar and more patient in its execution overall, presenting Reflections‘ most atmospheric moment in a departure from the groove-groove-groove of the track prior, because take that, expectation. As the whole-album centerpiece and the transition into side B, its role is vital, and “Starlight” lives up to that without a doubt.

the black wizards

That’s all the better to lead into “Symphony of the Ironic Sympathies,” which is the longest track on Reflections at 7:57 and moves from wah-drenched verses to a tuned-in psych rock explosion in its choruses to a righteous melodic slowdown at its midpoint that moves through an instrumental section and into a spoken preach from Brito that reminds of Colour Haze‘s “Peace, Brothers & Sisters!” as she gains intensity before dropping out as the song begins to draw down. It’s a surprising moment, but not at all out of place, since by that time the flow of the record is broad enough to allow The Black Wizards to go pretty much wherever they want sound-wise. Accordingly, the penultimate “Soul Keeper” touches on All Them Witches-style blues licks and jams itself forward for about the first five minutes before cutting the volume behind the vocals to let their reverb carry the ending as the shift into “Kaleidoscope Eyes” takes hold, guitar, bass and drums introducing the album’s finale with grace that’s by then well established but every bit deserving of the reinforcement it gets.

It isn’t necessarily a surprise that The Black Wizards would save the most expansive moment on Reflections for last — though I suppose there are arguments to be made for “Starlight” in that regard as well — but they deliver the finishing move as a summary of the offering preceding and tie together sometimes disparate turns with a fluidity that lets the listener know for sure there’s been a master plan at work all the while. That too underscores the idea of Reflections as an actual reflection, but in this case, the band reflecting on what they’ve done before and how to bring a new level of accomplishment to their sound. There’s no question they’ve done precisely that, as the full and natural melodies and weight of their material is nonetheless carried with such ease both by them and by anyone who would take on the record to discover where it and the band end up by the time it’s done. The Black Wizards‘ obvious internalizing of their strengths is palpable here, and the paring down they’ve done in terms of runtime has allowed them all the more to bring the songs into focus, which is exactly where they belong.

The Black Wizards on Thee Facebooks

The Black Wizards on Instagram

The Black Wizards on Bandcamp

Kozmik Artifactz website

Kozmik Artifactz on Thee Facebooks

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The Black Wizards to Release Reflections Aug. 23; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the black wizards

So, I don’t want to sound like Captain Jaded or anything, but it doesn’t always happen to me that I put on a preview track, video, teaser, whatever and then immediately feel the impulse to check out the entire record. And yet, here I sit, having just made my way through The Black Wizards‘ new clip for “Kaleidoscope Eyes” and needed to put on their new record, Reflections, pretty much as quickly as I could open the folder on my desktop. Regrets? Not a one. The third album from these Portuguese ministers of heavy takes something of a more psychedelic turn than I recall for their boogie-laced 2017 offering, What the Fuzz! (review here). They’ve also trimmed about 25 minutes off the runtime, no doubt at least in part to be able to fit it on a single LP, which Kozmik Artifactz will release on Aug. 23, while Raging Planet handles the CD release.

If you’re feeling up for being similarly convinced, the video for “Kaleidoscope Eyes” follows the PR wire info below, and even if you can’t get your fix right away, there’s always some satisfaction to be derived from a preorder.

Have at it:

The Black Wizards Reflections

THE BLACK WIZARDS release brand new video! Reflections coming August 23rd!

August 23rd will see psychedelic fuzz rockers The Black Wizards return with their brand new album, Reflections. Born in the digital era, these Portuguese rock talents enthrall with an analogue and unique sound of fuzzadelic grooves. Drinking from the same fountains as many of the contemporary bands around, The Black Wizards give a new twist on previously heard tunes and stamp their own personality.

Today the band is sharing with us their brand new video to the psychedelic juggernaut “Kaleidoscope”, taken from The Black Wizards’ upcoming album!

“Kaleidoscope eyes is one of my favorites songs from this record.” Guitarist and vocalist Joana Brito comments. “It’s a psychedelic floating dream song with a very up-bright vibe. For the video, we had the idea of having eyes on it and we did some experiences with Lugatte’s lens and it worked out, so we thought that maybe we could do it ourselves and take it as a new challenge. So then we did it all by ourselves, from capture to edition and it was quite fast but we are proud that we could do it and capture the same nice vibe that you have in the song to the video, we think it fits very well.”

The band exploded on the scene in late 2015 with their debut Lake of Fire, followed by the Fuzzadelic- EP, the sophomore critically acclaimed album What the Fuzz! and numerous tour dates and festival appearances all over Europe. Their live performances are known for being an intense explosion of emotions with lots of soul and of course, a heavy fuzz. The Black Wizards have grown in their sound, they have upped their ante with sonic experimentation without ever losing sight of the core roots having their feet on the ground. The band has learned and archieved a lot, and the time has finally come to present the hotly anticipated, third album: Reflections is like a sunny day and fresh breeze of groovy beats and psychedelia, swaying between sweet moments and massive fuzz deliriums. This record is here to prove more than ever, The Black Wizards are one of the most prolific and promising bands around!

Reflections is set to be released August 23rd on Vinyl with Kozmic Artifactz and on CD plus Vinyl with Raging Planet (including a deluxe edition with a 7”inch Vinyl outakes)!

Album Tracklist:
1. Imposing Sun
2. Outlaws
3. 56th Floor
4. Starlight
5. Symphony of the Ironic Sympathy
6. Soul Keeper
7. Kaleidoscope Eyes

THE BLACK WIZARDS are:
Joana Brito – Vocals & Guitar
Paulo Ferreira – Guitar
João Lugatte – Drums
João Mendes – Bass

www.facebook.com/theblackwizardsband
www.theblackwizards.bandcamp.com
www.instagram.com/theblackwizardsgram
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz
https://ragingplanet.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ragingplanet.pt/

The Black Wizards, “Kaleidoscope Eyes” official video

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3rd Ear Experience with Dr. Space, Ear to Space: Souldreams and Eagle Bones

Posted in Reviews on May 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

3rd ear experience with dr. space ear to space

In 2017, scientists measured ripples in gravity for the first time caused by a neutron star collision in the galaxy rather unromantically-named NGC 4993. It was badass. I don’t know what effect bringing together Californian jammers 3rd Ear Experience with synthesizer specialist Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective will have on the universe at large, but if there are gravity waves caused as it beams itself out across space and time, one could hardly be surprised. The two parties coming together perhaps isn’t so much of an impact — that is, it’s actually a pretty smooth process, rather than two objects smashing into each other — but the end result on the 73-minute/five-track Ear to Space feels like a cosmic event anyway. Led by guitarist/producer Robbi Robb, 3rd Ear Experience have been rolling out desert-hued cosmic weirdo jams for the last half-decade, prone to massive explorations or tighter offerings in a varied, never-quite-know-what’s-coming aesthetic that extends to the vibe of the material itself as well as its construction, such as it is constructed at all, what with all the improv.

That sensibility — improv — is all over Ear to Space, with the first three sides of the 2LP each consumed by a single track pushing out across ever greater reaches, such that opener “Screams of Eagle Bone” (14:51), “Anam Cara” (20:22) and the extra-kraut-feeling “Dreams of the Caterpillar” (22:22) become a nebulous sprawl of trance-inducing aural voyage, a put-on-and-mellow-out excursion of engaging atmospheres and deep-running interstellar salutation. The amalgam collaboration of 3rd Ear Experience with Dr. Space doesn’t feel so much like an anomaly as it does a cohesive unit, as the two parties work toward the same ends in proffering an ultima-kosmiche space rock, the sax infusion early on “Screams of Eagle Bone” giving immediate Hawkwindian flair to the initial push, but the album finding its own way shortly thereafter as though, having once broken out of the stratosphere, it decides to go wondering around the neighborhood and see what it might run into. Oh, hello cosmic enlightenment. Didn’t see you there.

It’s an interesting project in terms both of the actual results — which are frankly kind of hard to write about because they’re so entrancing — and the process by which they were made. The aforementioned first three tracks, also known as sides A, B and C, were put together first by 3rd Ear Experience, with Robbi Robb on guitar and synth-guitar, Jorge Carrillo on bass, Richard Stuverud on drums, Amritakripa on synth and the bizarre chanting at the end of “Anam Cara,” and John Whoolilurie on sax. They were then sent to Heller, residing in Portugal, who essentially sat in on the “finished” jams, adding his signature sound via custom modular synth box and presumably other beep-boop this-and-thats — don’t ask me how the magic happens; it’s technology beyond my feeble understanding. The short version of the tale is: it works. If they said Dr. Space wizarded his way to California to join 3rd Ear Experience in the studio live, no one would think twice about questioning it. But, the last two tracks basically flip the method. Dr. Space started out with the synth textures of “Coin in the Desert” (9:37) and “Sue’s Dream World” (6:04), then sent that to Robb and company to be finished and mixed and mastered.

3rd Ear Experience with Dr Space Ear to Space lps

Especially in the case of “Sue’s Dream World,” that change is palpable in a departure to more atmospheric reaches, a lack of drums emphasizing the feeling of floating that’s been there all along if somewhat tethered to molecular cohesion by Stuverud‘s drums and the other percussion around even in “Coin in the Desert,” let alone “Screams of Eagle Bone,” which is downright straightforward in comparison. That said, because “Sue’s Dream World” is shorter, “Dreams of the Caterpillar” might actually be the point where Ear to Space finds itself most crossing dimensions, though it hardly seems a coincidence that both songs involve the word “dream” in their respective titles. That’s not to say “Anam Cara” is lacking anything for otherworldliness. Its sax-laced midsection freakout is a joy to behold, especially in terms of what Carrillo brings on bass, and the solo-topped wandering that happens afterward only enhances the wash, organ and synth coinciding to ensure there’s due melodic breadth to go with all the spaced-out spread happening.

On some level, the listener who is most likely to take on a collaborative effort from 3rd Ear Experience and Dr. Space probably knows what they’re getting going into it. That is, Ear to Space is probably not the kind of thing that finds its way into the hands of the not-yet-converted, except through word-of-mouth proselytizing. Fine. I don’t think going into it knowing that it’s going to be spacey diminishes the listening experience at all, because that simple category is so open to interpretation. 3rd Ear Experience with Dr. Space are indeed spaced out. That’s the idea they’re working from. That’s what they’re going for. But that doesn’t account for the undulating swells at the start of “Dreams of the Caterpillar” or the percussion jam in “Coin in the Desert” or the serenity with which “Screams of Eagle Bone” later resolves its early outbound rocketing.

The nature of improvised space rock is to capture these moments at the heart of creation, and so even while the frame might be familiar, the portrait within is inherently fresh. The point is to make a moment, and that moment, that specific “right then,” doesn’t happen twice. It may seem like an incongruity that something so tied to ephemera — made once, not recreated — should have such a lasting impression, but this too is part of the whole idea and part of what makes Ear to Space so gorgeous as a concept. It’s two parties reaching across continents and an ocean to come together in one celebratory creation ritual. It’s not meant to last, but it does. I’d be surprised if Ear to Space is the only time Robb and Heller join forces, as there seems to be so much more to be explored, and space itself is endless. Until then, this is a most encouraging first contact.

3rd Ear Experience with Dr. Space, Ear to Space (2019)

3rd Ear Experience on Thee Facebooks

3rd Ear Experience on Bandcamp

Øresund Space Collective on Thee Facebooks

Øresund Space Collective on Bandcamp

Space Rock Productions website

Space Rock Productions on Thee Facebooks

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Dr. Space Premieres “Cosmic Explosions” Video from Alien Planet Trip Vol. 3

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

dr space

Pardon me, but is the head of the household available? Great! Might you have a few minutes to hear the good word of our interstellar salvation? Excellent!

In that case, I delightfully turn you over to Dr. Space, the synth wizard — sometimes actually in costume, sometimes more of a figurative wizard — who stands as figurehead of the amorphous improv outfit Øresund Space Collective. Once of the US, then of Denmark, currently in Portugal with probably six or seven other places in between in what we pitifully think of as “our” dimension, Dr. Space has in the last 20-plus years amassed a massive catalog of output in the form of live records, studio jams, collaborations, splits, and more recently, solo affairs as part of a serious aptly dubbed Alien Planet Trip. The first them (review here) appeared in the night sky circa 2017, and a second followed in moodier fashion last year, amid a general onslaught of offerings.

The third is fully titled Dr. Space’s Alien Planet Trip Vol. 3 Featuring Martin Weaver, and feels very much like the beginning of a collaboration that will flesh out further in the future — or maybe it already has if we’re consideringdr spaces alien planet trip vol 3 the realm of non-linear time. Either way, true to its somewhat cumbersome title, it brings together Dr. Space — né Scott Heller — with the also-currently-of-Portugal guitarist Martin Weaver, whom heavy rock heads might recognize from his time in ripe-for-reissue proto-riffers Wicked Lady, among scores of others, and the two mount a kraut-hued exploration of synthesizer and guitar textures across a 50-minute eight-tracker (the LP edition is 44-minutes and seven tracks) that casts forth a hypnotic psychedelic suggestion every bit worthy of owning a song called “Trance Pants.”

That cut, by the by, is a techno freakout the likes of which probably won’t make it into “the club” unless “the club” is indeed on another planet, but emblematic of the kind of experimentalism on display throughout. Opening with the duo “Lost in the Desert” — on which Weaver adds drum programming and various other percussion as well as guitar — and the brazenly ambient “Veganporcotopia,” Alien Planet Trip Vol. 3 willfully blows down the doors of consciousness in its reach such that it’s not just about throwing ideas onto the tape and seeing what the magnet holds, but of helping conjure the other-world to which the title alludes. Even in the shorter “Where Aliens Go to Die” and also-percussive “Cosmic Explosion” find their way to do that, and “Spacey Placey” and “Sue’s Dream of Exploding Sheep” only push further out from there.

It’s a trip, sir or madam, well worth the taking. I thank you for your time and descriptor-indulgence and wish you well on your journey.

Enjoy:

Dr. Space with Martin Weaver, “Cosmic Explosions” official video premiere

Dr Space makes another Alien planet trip and this time he takes guitarist Martin Weaver along with him. This track ‘Cosmic Explosions’ is off the new record Vol 3. The album takes the listener through many different soundscapes and textures.

The 3rd volume of Alien Planet Trips is a collaboration with guitar player, Martin Weaver (Wicked Lady, Dark). We met a year ago and found we had a in common musically and should work together. These tracks were conceived during the summer of 2018, when it was too hot to do anything outside. It had been many years since I used my Nord Lead 2 so it was time to take it out and see what sounds it could produce. Many of the tracks the main synth lines were created on the Nord Lead and then additional layers were added and Martin then laid down some guitars. Hope you enjoy this 3rd Trip. It is very different from Vol 1 and 2.

Øresund Space Collective on Thee Facebooks

Øresund Space Collective on Bandcamp

Space Rock Productions website

Space Rock Productions on Thee Facebooks

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Saturnia Post “The Twilight Bong” Video from The Seance Tapes

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

saturnia

I said last time around when Saturnia posted a video assembled from studio footage during the making of their latest album, The Seance Tapes (review here), that it probably wouldn’t be the last clip they did in that fashion. For all I know the Portuguese heavy psych rockers have the entire session captured, but for now, “The Twilight Bong” follows “Gemini” (posted here) from the 2018 collection, which found Saturnia founder Luis Simões in the studio for the first time with very nearly a complete lineup, handling guitar, bass, sitar and vocals himself while keeping company with drummer André Silva and keyboardist Nuno Oliveira, essentially able to record live for the first time, and accordingly reworking material from Saturnia‘s prior six full-lengths.

“The Twilight Bong,” for example, makes its sitar-laced way to The Seance Tapes via Saturnia‘s 1999 self-titled debut, and as the penultimate inclusion running a sprawling nine and a half minutes with keys and sitar, drums and percussion intertwining, it’s an especially vivid showcase of what the newer incarnation of Saturnia are able to accomplish, even though it digs back to a record that turns 20 this year. Simões has always been at the core of Saturnia, and to hear his sitar in conversation with Oliveira‘s Mellotron-style keys late in the track is an exciting twist on the character of the original track. The mission is still way trippy, but there’s a live dynamic in the recording throughout The Seance Tapes that a one-man-band would have an almost impossible time trying to capture.

Once again, I don’t think this will be the last time Saturnia put out a video from The Seance Tapes that was taken in the studio. I don’t know if they have footage for the whole record, but if they did and they were able to get it all together, it would only demonstrate the burgeoning, molten chemistry in development with the new lineup. One hopes that perhaps they’ll channel those energies toward further studio work on new material, but the truth of the matter is that if they want to let The Seance Tapes linger a little longer, “The Twilight Bong” is a pretty good example of why that would be just fine.

Please enjoy:

Saturnia, “The Twilight Bong” official video

Hope you are ready for a bit of sitar-Rock.

New video from The Seance Tapes. Enjoy.

Recorded at Colour Haze Studio, Reichertshausen.

Saturnia on Thee Facebooks

Saturnia website

Elektrohasch Schallplatten website

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SonicBlast Moledo 2019: Earthless, Graveyard, Eyehategod, The Devil and the Almighty Blues, High Fighter, Cardiel and Jesus the Snake Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Oh, you know me. Just sitting on ass on a chilly proto-Spring morning, daydreaming of shuffling over to Portugal for a weekend this August, flying into the Azores and then over to Porto, taking a car, train, or maybe just some other magical means of conveyance out to Moledo on the coast and then pretending to be a human among all the skinny Europeans at SonicBlast Moledo 2019, which has just added the likes of Earthless, Graveyard, Eyehategod, The Devil and the Almighty Blues, High Fighter, Cardiel and Jesus the Snake to a lineup that was already (un)fairly packed before them, with Om and Orange Goblin and Windhand and so on.

Maybe I’m sipping my 45th cup of coffee on the second or third day of the fest and watching Minami Deutsch expand minds via psychedelic jams, or maybe Dopethrone have made even that most pristine of locales (in my mind, anyway) seem utterly filthy with their crusty sludge. Either way, the point is I’m there to see it. In my daydreams.

Announcement from the fest:

sonicblast moledo 2019 square poster

We’re very proud to share with you the latest additions to SonicBlast Moledo 2019 line up:

Revered swedish heavy rock band Graveyard, NOLA kings EYEHATEGOD, San Diego cosmic warriors Earthless, The Devil And The Almighty Blues and their slow, dirty, heavy blues (which today are releasing their new album “Tre”), the intense and powerfull High Fighter, mexican power duo Cardiel and one of the freshest talents emerging from the portuguese underground, JESUS THE SNAKE!

3 days that you’re never ever forget!

Om (usa) + Graveyard (sw) + Eyehategod (usa) + Orange Goblin (uk) + Earthless (usa) + My Sleeping Karma (ger) + Windhand (usa) + Monolord (se) + Lucifer (se) + The Obsessed (usa) + The Devil and The Almighty Blues (nor) + Dopethrone (can) + Toundra (es) + Satan’s Satyrs (usa) + Sacri Monti (usa) + Harsh Toke (usa) + Petyr (usa) + High Fighter (ger) + Zig Zags (usa) + Kaleidobolt (fi) + Cardiel (mex) + Maidavale (se) + Minami Deutsch (jp) + Maggot Heart (se) + Jesus The Snake (pt) ++ some more tba ++

Artwork by Branca Studio

SonicBlast Moledo 2019
8, 9 and 10 of August
Moledo
Portugal

https://www.facebook.com/events/183265999284942/
https://www.facebook.com/sonicblastmoledo/
https://sonicblastmoledo.com/

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Black Bombaim to Release Zone of Resident Bodies March 11

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

black bombaim

Like a fair amount of Black Bombaim‘s work at this point, it’s probably going to be a decade or two before Zone of Resident Bodies has fully sunk in, but in the meantime, the Portuguese experimentalists have once again broadened the scope of what makes an album an album, working with three different producers in three different explorations of sound and texture in three different environments. How does the room affect sound? How does it affect the mood of the creator of that sound? How does that mood affect the creation? How has no one written a dissertation on this yet?

All these questions and more will, until the Roddenberryian post-scarcity economy takes hold and everyone just works on whatever they most feel deserves their attention — surely at that point a dissertation would be forthcoming — remain unanswered, but the album is a joy nonetheless and its reaches invite these inquiries and evocations fluidly despite the purposeful shifts behind the circumstances of their creation. It’s out March 11. You can dig into a track below. You should do that.

Info came from the PR wire:

black bombaim zone of resident bodies

BLACK BOMBAIM – ZONES OF RESIDENT BODIES (2XLP GATEFOLD)

Cardinal Fuzz and Lovers & Lollipops are proud to bring to you the new magnum opus from Black Bombaim titled ‘Zone Of Resident Bodies’.

Black Bombaim approached their latest creation with the mindset of pushing the boundaries of their musicianship by working with three different electronic composers in three unique recording settings — an old workers auditorium, a huge empty space on the postal office building and on a reverberation room on the university of engineering.

Working with Jonathan Saldanha, Luís Fernandes, Pedro Augusto helped Black Bombaim break free of the constraints of a band in a recording studio as each new recording environment and composer brought new textures and ambiance to the music created. It really is rather special to hear.

‘Zone Of Resident Bodies’ is presented in a 350gsm gatefold sleeve, pressed on black vinyl and comes with a download code. 750 Pressing World-Wide.

Preorders: https://cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com/product/black-bombaim-zone-of-resident-bodies-cardinal-fuzz-2xlp-gatefold

Black Bombaim: Paulo Gonçalves (drums), Ricardo Miranda (guitar), Tojo Rodrigues (bass)
Producers: Luís Fernandes, Jonathan Saldanha and Pedro Augusto

http://facebook.com/blackbombaim
https://blackbombaim.bandcamp.com/
http://www.blackbombaim.pt/
https://cful.bandcamp.com/
https://cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com

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