Henryspenncer, Hypnosis Gumbo: New Days in Trance (Plus Full Album Stream)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 8th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

henryspenncer hypnosis gumbo

[Click play above to stream Henryspenncer’s Hypnosis Gumbo in full. Album is out April 12 through Robotic Empire and Bookmaker Records.]

It’s nearly impossible to imagine that Henryspenncer didn’t name their new album, Hypnosis Gumbo, after its own sound. Released through Robotic Empire and Bookmaker Records, the Parisian instrumental post-heavy-rockers’ fourth full-length enacts varying modes of trance-inducing sonics throughout, from molten chugging to tribal-style percussion to dreamy Western psychedelia, and a given recipe for gumbo being “whatever you got, over rice,” Hypnosis Gumbo makes a fair title for the deeply atmospheric and at times resoundingly weighted outing. Wherever Henryspenncer go in the six-track/42-minute span, they manage to keep a sense of space in the material and offer substance to go with all the otherworldly vibes and patient execution.

None of that is necessarily new from Henryspenncer, which was founded by guitarist/bassist Valentin Féron in 2008, but Hypnosis Gumbo does represent a significant shift in approach, as it’s Féron‘s first long-player with Henryspenncer not executed as a solo artist. In the studio, he worked with drummer/bassist/Rhodes specialist Julien Magot, and since then the lineup has grown even further, with the additions of guitarist Carl Boisson, bassist Charlie Batalla and Thomas Kuratli on electronics. Even with just Féron and Magot on the studio tracks, however, Hypnosis Gumbo is immediately a shift in vibe from Henryspenncer‘s past work, which has its explosively loud moments, but was much more Grails than Pelican and now finds that balance shifted significantly. Presented as two vinyl sides, each opening with its longest track, Hypnosis Gumbo trades the somewhat more intimate feel the project honed previously for a richer and more densely weighted sound that, in addition to its ambient roots, is not at all shy about crushing when to inclined.

The stated central theme of the album is fire, which is fitting enough with the cover art, certainly, and the tones throughout keep plenty warm as well. Opener “Quetzalcoatl” unfolds a rolling groove in Magot‘s drums beneath Féron‘s riffing, freaking out with effects as it makes its way toward a faster push topped by transposed layers of noise, breaking down just past the halfway point only to rebuild again, that noise becoming abrasively high pitched by the end of the song, which gives way to the minimalist, spacious opening of “Relic,” thudding drums growing gradually in intensity atop a bed of drone.


A swell of post-metallic riffing emerges for a moment, but recedes again, and when the guitar comes back, it’s to unleash a slogging chug of doom, that will carry the elephantine stomp to the song’s finish several minutes later, a slow-motion effects swirl growing in intensity near the finish to provide transition into the percussion-led “Vortex,” which closes out side A with a linear build that seems to take cues earlier on from Russian Circles‘ progressivism and in its later reaches from the rhythmic urgency of Neurosis. Neither is a bad cue to take, frankly, and the manner in which Henryspenncer play these influences off each other helps to create an identity not necessarily entirely beholden to either. They come out of with with something individual, in other words, and particularly in context with the breadth of the rest of the album’s first half, they maintain a genuinely experimental feel.

At just past 10 minutes, “Voodoo’s Rising” is the longest cut on Hypnosis Gumbo, and perhaps its most ambitious installment as well, with clanging percussion behind its early rumble, a chaos of Rhodes keys tossed in to enhance the swampy atmosphere, shakers, a growing intensity of drums and noise, and a thrilling final push that, in fine tradition, is torn apart over the last minute or so. Its kitchen-sink approach feels emblematic of the album’s title, and broadens the context in which the subsequent “Foxes” arrives, its relatively subdued open-air guitar more in line with some of what Henryspenncer offered on 2013’s Saturn or 2011’s To the Timeless Valley, even with Magot‘s drums gradually emerging to complement Féron‘s guitar. Somewhat more languid in its execution, it also happens to be particularly hypnotic as it moves with subtle efficiency toward a keyboard-laden apex that fades out before closer “New Days” commences its droney start, setting a bed for what sounds like looped guitar runs and tapped-out notes, Magot joining in to set an overarching groove to the turns as the build gets moving, keys fleshing out the space.

After three minutes into the total six, “New Days” comes to a halt, thickens its tones and rolls out a last nod at full-weight, ending the album with a build on the drums met by key/effects swirl and buried guitar leads that cuts itself short to fade quickly out. Maybe Henryspenncer had such a finish plotted out all along for Hypnosis Gumbo and maybe it just happened to be what worked best when Féron and Magot were putting the record together, but either way, it’s a final emphasis of the new era on which the band has embarked with these tracks. As Henryspenncer has continued to add to their lineup, and particularly as that lineup has started to play live, it seems likely there are more changes in store going forward from here, but with Hypnosis Gumbo as a kind of second debut, the band has given themselves plenty to build upon for the next time out.

Henryspenncer on Thee Facebooks

Henryspenncer on Bandcamp

“Voodoo’s Rising” video

“New Days” video

Robotic Empire website

Bookmaker Records website

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Terminal Fuzz Terror Post New Video for “Senseless Boogie”

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 25th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

terminal fuzz terror (Photo by Chris Mighton)

Seattle four-piece Terminal Fuzz Terror pretty clearly have a thing for severe statements. The experimental heavy rockers made their full-length debut in March on Robotic Empire with Vol. 0: In the Shadow of the Mountain (not sure if it’s the one they’re talking about, but I hear Rainier is lovely), and that too had its sharpened edges, the Tad Doyle-recorded tracks quick to turn riffy convention on its head to suit punkishly defiant purposes. In their new video for “Senseless Boogie,” one again finds Terminal Fuzz Terror pushing toward the edge of abrasion for the sake of going against the norm.

It’s an admirable goal, but I’d hardly call the boogie senseless. The boogie is its own excuse for being.

Nonetheless, it’s a killer track and anyone trying to be a wrench in the apparently-ceaseless gears of genre tropes is cool by me. News of its arrival and the video itself follow, courtesy of the PR wire:

terminal fuzz terror senseless boogie


The video for “Senseless Boogie”, the newest single from Terminal Fuzz Terror’s Robotic Empre debut, Vol.0: In the Shadow of the Mountain, is now streaming online.

Combining live footage with esoteric drag racing carnage, the video for “Senseless Boogie” is just as chaotic, unhinged, and groovy as the music itself. The Video was filmed by Seattle Photographer/Director Chris Mighton and marks his first collaboration with the band.

ABOUT THE BAND: Terminal Fuzz Terror is a Seattle based Motosonic Rock band comprised of D. Rodriguez (guitar, vocals), D. Nelson (guitar, vocals), A. Crawshaw (drums) and J. Kleine (bass) who unleash a raw fury of rock n’ roll drifted through the filters of punk, psychedelia and blues on their vinyl debut, Vol. 0: In The Shadow Of The Mountain. Pummelling percussion and wailing riffs accompany a vocal delivery that channels an obliterated Jim Morrison at the height of religious revelry! The magnanimous 17-minute title track B-side closes the album with a long form, slow burning mind melter.

Vol. 0: In The Shadow Of The Mountain was recorded at Witch Ape Studio, engineered and mixed by Tad Doyle (TAD) and mastered by James Plotkin. Vinyl edition comes housed in a silk screened jacket printed by drummer A. Crawshaw at Broken Press in Seattle, WA and is limited to 300 copies.


Terminal Fuzz Terror, “Senseless Boogie” official video

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Live Review: A Few Words about Floor in Brooklyn, 06.26.10

Posted in Reviews on June 30th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

I got to Europa about 15 minutes after doors and 15 minutes before the first band. Annoyingly early, even for an early show with four acts on the bill, set to be over by about 10 so the Polish dance party, which is a regular feature at Europa, could start vaguely on time and the venue could make some real money. I wasn’t drinking (much) because I was driving in. I should have drank more.

The first band was Hot Graves from Florida, and though they rocked like a blackthrash Kill ’em All era Metallica and the vocalist/guitar player talked some righteous shit, I just couldn’t get into it. I sat in the back, sipped my beer and regretted the ride in and the $15 I paid at the door when I should have just left. Some nights going to shows is like not being able to get a boner.

I do enjoy me some Javelina though. The Philly outfit killed as usual, and though it was only about 7PM when they were done, I felt like I’d been through a full night already. Unearthly Trance was next, playing songs from their new album, guitarist/vocalist Ryan Lipynski trying out a more melodic vocal approach that worked fairly well. They’re a band I’ve always taken for granted because they’re local. I have the feeling if I was from Arkansas I’d think they were the best shit in the world. But they are good what they do and deserve the success they’ve had. I won’t begrudge them that. There were people who left when they were done.

Those people missed Floor. Jerks. The ones who stayed were treated to sing-alongs, guitar bombs from Steve Brooks, smiles, good times, good songs, and occasional stretched out heavy droning that broke up the set nicely. Floor only played for an hour and 15 minutes or so, but they pretty much killed, and I was glad to see recently interviewed bassist Anthony Vialon looking like he was enjoying himself. The room was packed and it was more genuine enjoyment than I’ve seen Brooklyn allow itself to have in a long time. Who the hell cares if these people heard Floor after the fact? They knew the words to the songs — one up on me in that category — so who am I to criticize? At least they didn’t just stand there like assholes.

When the show was over, I split out to a bar down the street to sober up (that’s right) and got funny looks from the locals. Perhaps it was my pre-imposed annoyance — unrelated to the show, but not helped by it either — but I didn’t come out of Europa feeling like I’d communed with gods. I’ve always liked Floor in a more than ambivalent kind of way, and though it looked like everyone was having a great time on stage and off, I felt like I was in a bubble surrounded by it rather than actually a part of it. My loss, I’m more than sure.

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Floor Interview with Anthony Vialon: The Band Gets Their 10LP Exclamation Point

Posted in Features on February 11th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

You know the old saying: “If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing across eight CDs.”

Long-since defunct Floridian doomers Floor, from whose cranium sprang forth the mighty Torche the kids love so well, have taken the above maxim to heart with their new box set, Below and Beyond. Available through Robotic Empire either as 10LPs (and one 7″) or eight CDs, plus digital downloads, it is as huge a project as a band could take on. As bassist Anthony Vialon informs in his first interview since parting with the band in 2003, it was quite an undertaking.

Vialon was a founding member of Floor, alongside guitarist/vocalist Steve Brooks, and there is palpable emotion in his voice when he talks both about being kicked out of the band and about putting together Below and Beyond and the prospect of playing Floor‘s several upcoming reunion shows in Miami and Gainsville, Florida, and Atlanta, Georgia. He remarked at several points during our discussion that he was nervous and, having removed himself completely from the music industry over the better part of the last decade, out of practice. Nonetheless, he was remarkably open about his experiences both positive and negative with Floor and genuine in his appreciation of the growing interest in his former outfit.

Floor‘s Below and Beyond is due out next month, and the live shows are set to encompass material with multiple drummers, including Henry Wilson (who was instrumental in putting the box set together and in the band from 1997 till their breakup in 2004), Jeff Sousa (1994-1996) and Betty Monteavaro (1992-1993). Vialon explains it all in his Q&A after the jump.

Read more »

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Dude, Hope You Like Floor…

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 15th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

…Because if you do, this should pretty much make your day. There’s comprehensive, and then there’s 10 LPs, eight CDs and accompanying downloads of a band’s complete work. I consider myself a Floor fan — I dug Dove and am into Torche as well, so the lineage holds up — but this is an unbelievable amount of material. A lot of bands dissolve before they ever get closure, and it certainly seems like with Below and Beyond, Floor are getting theirs. The PR wire has more details and some exclusive reunion dates as well:

Celebrating the release of their Below & Beyond box set, Floor will be getting back together to play three shows in the southeast. In keeping with the chronology and theme of the box set, the shows will reflect the lineups of each era of the band: Betty will be playing drums for songs from the early days, followed by Jeff on drums from the Dove era, and end with Henry stomping his way through the Floor album. And, of course, Steve and Anthony on vocals and guitars.

Floor was formed in 1992 by Steve Brooks (guitar), Anthony Vialon (bass), and Betty Monteavaro (drums). Jeff Sousa became the drummer in late 1993, at which time Steve and Anthony switched to two low-tuned guitars with no bassist. Early influences included Melvins and Godflesh, later developing their own sound of melodic, pop-infused doom. Several vinyl-only 7″ EPs were released before their first break in 1996. The band reformed with a new lineup for one show in 1997 with Henry Wilson on drums and practiced only occasionally until 2001. 2002 saw the release of their first full-length album, self-titled ‘Floor,’ before splitting in 2003 for good.

These shows mark the culmination of years of work put into the comprehensive Floor collection, being released by diverse independent label Robotic Empire. Three separate versions of this Below & Beyond discography will exist by the live dates:

1) Deluxe vinyl edition of 10 LPs, one 7-inch, CDs, 32-page booklet and more,
completion expected in February

2) CD standalone edition of eight CDs and 32-page booklet – available via mailorder in February, in stores and everywhere else March 30th

3) Digital download editions of eight separate albums, or one single massive collection, available in February

Floor Live Dates
March 27th Churchill’s Hideaway Miami, FL
April 2nd Common Grounds Gainesville, FL
April 3rd The Earl Atlanta, GA

The complete Below and Beyond track list is available here.

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