Posted in Reviews on May 13th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
I consider myself fortunate to have seen Berlin heavy psych purveyors Samsara Blues Experiment live the two times that I have, as both of their full-lengths to date – 2010’s Long Distance Trip (review here) and 2011’s Revelation and Mystery (review here) have shown the band becoming increasingly distinct within the European sphere. The second album in particular demonstrated a maturity in the four-piece’s approach that found them able to blend open jams and straightforward songcraft, tracks like “Hangin’ on the Wire” and “Into the Black” proving memorable as much for their hooks as for the wandering instrumental arrangements and feeling at any moment, the band might fly completely off the rails. Both of those songs, as it happens, find inclusion on the new, limited Rockpalast live recording – released on guitarist/vocalist/sitarist Christian Peters’ own Electric Magic Records – which was caught on tape while filming in October 2012 for the long-running German rock program of the same name. Alongside such jam-heavy pieces as “For the Lost Souls” and “Center of the Sun” from Long Distance Trip, a balance is struck throughout Rockpalast that finds Samsara Blues Experiment able to unite the varying sides of their approach, Peters and fellow guitarist Hans Eiselt, bassist Richard Behrens and drummer Thomas Vedder shifting with suitable ease from one side of the sound to the other without missing a step along the way, holding onto a wandering mentality even as they hit on some of their most structured parts and never quite letting go of the idea of the song as they play naturally off the chemistry they’ve built on stage over the last several years. In that way, Rockpalast captures Samsara Blues Experiment at their best, and though because it’s pulling from both albums and because it totals just under 80 minutes long, it’s probably going to be a richer listening experience for those familiar with the band than the previously uninitiated, it’s never been quite so easy to get lost in Samsara Blues Experiment’s hypnotic exploration as it is on the 17:51 version of “Double Freedom” included here.
That song – the amorphous nature of which is revealed in the fact that it was 13 minutes on their 2009 demo (review here) and 22 on Long Distance Trip – wasn’t included in the original broadcast of the show, but it closes the live set here as the eighth song and precedes and acoustic bonus track, a sitar-laden studio reworking of “Singata Mystic Queen,” which is shorter than the one that opens the set at 5:45, but still no less immersive than Samsara Blues Experiment has ever been, i.e., plenty. Peters’ voice comes very much to the fore on the live recording, and where one might expect that to provide an undue grounding effect on the material, there’s enough echo on him and his position is varied enough around the two guitars, bass and drums, that it’s not a distraction to the overall flow from one song, or indeed one part, into the next. Doubtless Samsara Blues Experiment’s consistent focus on the instrumental aspects of their sound deserves partial credit for that – for those who’ve heard them, they can make a driving verse riff like that of “Singata Mystic Queen” just as memorable as the more potent chorus of a song like “Hangin’ on the Wire,” which follows – but I think it’s also due to the fact that Rockpalast essentially mirrors and melds the flows of Long Distance Trip and Revelation and Mystery in how the set is put together. They open, as noted, with “Singata Mystic Queen,” which also opened the first album, and answer it immediately with “Hangin’ on the Wire,” the second track from the second album. “Army of Ignorance” and “For the Lost Souls,” the second and third cuts from the first album, follow in succession, and “Into the Black” follows them, the third cut from the second album. Already we see that the foursome are progressing down both tracklists of their studio outings, and they continue the pattern with “Center of the Sun” (album one, track four), “Outside Insight Blues” (album two, track five) and “Double Freedom” (album one, track six), closing with their most extensive piece to date before shifting into the acoustic bonus.
Posted in Reviews on May 10th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
I don’t know how many times I’ve said so – probably at least once for each time I’ve actually brought myself to do it – but I hate reviewing compilations. For most of them, there’s no flow between the tracks, being that it’s different artists, different recordings and sometimes different genres, and even when you get a gem, a non-album track or something like that, there’s no real context for being able to enjoy it, because once it’s over, you’re swept abruptly off to the next thing. Most of the enjoyment I get out of them is in hindsight, years later, when that non-album track is legitimately rare and hard to track down, or the alternate version has never appeared anywhere, or when the comp itself has built up some mystique as a landmark moment – those are even fewer and farther between, but it happens sometimes – either for an artist or the genre. Even if they’re alright to listen to, reviewing them is terrible. You’re either promoting the release outright – “hey, these people are doing good work and you should spend your money on it” – or doing little more than listing the bands involved – “this comp is cool because it has so-and-so involved and they do this song, whereas this band does another song,” and so on. I’ve never been able to find a middle ground in comp reviews and while I do genuinely think there are people out there putting in significant effort to promote artists they believe in, the pain in my ass that reviewing a compilation becomes is enough that I generally try to avoid it as much as possible.
So this is the part where, post-disclaimer, I tell you the case is wholly different with Kept in a Cave, Vol. 1, the 13-track mining operation of Europe’s heavy underground undertaken by Stonerrock.eu, right? Sort of. Kept in a Cave certainly gets a flow going, thanks in part to the similarities in fuzz and jam-minded process of the bands that make up its midsection – Sungrazer into The:Egocentrics into Been Obscene into Electric Moon works rather well and with a healthy dose of Elektrohasch and Elektrohasch-style heavy, there’s not much room for stuff to be out of place – but I still find myself in the position of wanting either to run through the tracklist or just promote it because I respect the effort on their behalf in making the release and its four-panel digipak with giant-mantis artwork happen. To counteract the first, here’s the rundown of artists and songs in its entirety, taken directly off the back of the package:
1. Grandloom, “Larry Fairy” (7:07)
2. Under Brooklyn Palms, “Restlessness” (6:20)
3. Mars Red Sky, “Sadaba” (5:07)
4. Kosmic Elephant, “Bloot Pilot” (6:38)
5. Sungrazer, “Wild Goose” (5:19)
6. The:Egocentrics, “Lost and Found” (4:54)
7. Been Obscene, “Endless Scheme” (6:55)
8. Electric Moon, “Triptriptrip” (8:45)
9. Samsara Blues Experiment, “Hangin’ on the Wire” (5:30)
10. Stonehenge, “Concrete Krieger” (7:36)
11. The Machine, “5 & 4” (6:14)
12. DxBxSx, “Problemkind” (2:16)
13. Sahara Surfers, “Gas” (6:00)
All this adds up to a 79-minute front-to-back listen, about as much as a single-CD will hold. Of the included artists, Sungrazer, Been Obscene, The Machine and DxBxSx are signed to Elektrohasch, and certainly familiar acts like Mars Red Sky, Samsara Blues Experiment and Electric Moon fit aesthetically with that fuzzy, jammy sound as well, so though it’s long, Kept in a Cave makes for a decent listen if you’re going to take it on as a whole, put it on for a party – I’m told music at parties is something human beings do – or whathaveyou, and even the likes of Grandloom, Under Brooklyn Palms (who, yes, are German), Kosmic Elephant, Stonehenge and Sahara Surfers fit on a sonic level. Nothing here is really out of place and obvious consideration has been given to how one song is met by the next – for emphasis, I’ll cite putting the punkier DxBxSx as the second-to-last cut, giving a short burst of energy after the fuzzfests preceding – so the project becomes even more admirable.
Here is the time for us to, and we are glad to introduce another band for the DesertFest 2013 line-up, our dear SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT !!
SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT is a Berlin based band founded in 2007, playing a blend of heavy psych, stoner and space rock, dominated by a playful dual guitar work, and a repetitive hypnotic touch in the tradition of krautrock. They allow the music to escape their control and lead them to wherever it may flow.
The band produced two appetizer EP’s during their first years, but they reached their potential with their long awaited first full-length album “Long Distance Trip” in 2010 thanks to World in Sound Records, which also released their second one “Revelation & Mystery” in 2011. This year, in April, they will release on Electric Magic Records a live record of their show at Rockpalast (October 24, 2012).
SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT is a very demanded live band in the meanwhile and participate at many European festivals such as the Roadburn, Yellowstock, Burg Herzberg and now at the DesertFest !
Get ready for a journey as you have never experimented before !
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 25th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Doubly stoked for this news about a new Samsara Blues Experiment live Rockpalast Crossroads CD, and here’s why: First, I continue to dig the fuzz-laden heavy psych the Berlin four-piece emit, and having seen them live last year at Desertfest and at Roadburn before that, I can tell you they bring it live. Second, the disc — which is to be released on SBE guitarist/vocalist Christian Peters‘ own Electric Magic Records — is also set to include an acoustic version of “Singata Mystic Queen,” a blissfully psychedelic jam that I’m curious to hear how they’ve reworked.
So there you go. I believe I’ve stated my case fully and clearly. In summation, these guys rule. Here’s word they sent over about the release and a link to watch the performance in its entirety prior to the April release:
New CD: SBE at Rockpalast
As some of you already witnessed Samsara Blues Experiment teaching folks at WDR Rockpalast a lesson of what the Blues can be beside those shiny icons blurring them muddy waters these days. Electric Magic Records will release the concert on CD garnished with an acoustic version of “Singata Mystic Queen” which has recently been recorded at Big Snuff Studio Berlin. The whole package will be adorned by amazing new livepictures by Thomas Lang. The release of this CD is set for April 2013 and will be limited to 500 pieces.
The B-side to a new limited 12″ EP that Samsara Blues Experiment will release to mark their fall tour, “Midnight Boogie” starts out with a UFO cover (that’d be the “Boogie” part, as in “Boogie for George” from the band’s 1970 debut, UFO 1), and the band promptly use the low-end groove of the track as a bed for an 11-minute jam. And well, it’s awesome. The Berlin outfit begin the aforementioned run of shows tomorrow, Oct. 19, and they’ll mostly be in their native Germany, but plan to hit up Belgium, Switzerland and Austria as well, sharing the stage along the way with Mars Red Sky, Cherry Choke and Kadavar.
Dates are below and more info is at Samsara Blues Experiment‘s website. Here’s the video for “Midnight Boogie,” which the band put together themselves using fest footage and clips from 1935′s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Please enjoy:
Samsara Blues Experiment on tour
19.10.12 – GOETTINGEN, GER – STILBRUCH 20.10.12 – FRANKFURT/MAIN, GER – DAS BETT – Sky High Festival 21.10.12 – ERFURT, GER – MUSEUMSKELLER 22.10.12 – MUNICH, GER – FEIERWERK 23.10.12 – PRATTELN, CH – GALERY 24.10.12 – BONN,GER – HARMONIE – WDR Rockpalast 25.10.12 – BELGIUM – TO BE ARRANGED 26.10.12 – WUERZBURG, GER – IMMERHIN 27.10.12 – VIENNA, A – ARENA 03.11.12 – HALLE, GER – ROCKSTATION
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 20th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
German heavy psych jammers Samsara Blues Experiment have a slew of activities in the works before the end of 2012. Below, the band updates on the latest goings on in support of last year’s Revelation and Mystery(review here), including tour dates, a Rockpalast appearance and a new 12″ to be released through World in Sound. Check it:
We will be touring through Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium in October 2012. All dates can now be seen in ourcalendar.
There will be an appearance at Rockpalast Crossroads Festival and as some of you might already know this will be shown on German TV. Yes we´re nationwide…
We´ll also have a new release with us which will feature “Center Of The Sun” and a mixture of the UFO song “Boogie” combined with a new jam (summing up to 12 minutes), that will surely please your ears and minds.
This 12 inch maxi single will be limited to only 1000 copies on black and colored vinyl. Released through World In Sound Records with the beginning of the tour.
Posted in Features on April 8th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
04/08/12 — 22.31 GMT — Sunday — Hotel
I’m gonna be perfectly honest with you. I have no idea from what part of the chicken that doner kebab I just ate was made, nor what constituted the white sauce that topped it, but man, it was delicious. A greasy jolt being oddly enough just what I needed at this point. I picked up a plus-sized bottle of Zywiec (and toasted Elvis Deluxe when I opened it, as is my habit — sorry to not see those dudes in Berlin) and some cheddar cheese and crackers, and I could ask nothing more from the end to the first London Desertfest than what I’ve gotten.
Right now, Viking Skull should be on the stage at The Purple Turtle, and C.O.C. will be shortly wrapping their set at The Underworld, and then the streets of Camden Town will once more flood with weirdos and leather/denim heathens, doubtless to the horror of what seems otherwise like a pretty straightforward section of the city, full of painted ladies and bar-going dudes. I’m glad I got to see it during mating season, or maybe that’s later. Ecosystem studies I don’t do.
Balls-out heavy rock and roll, on the other hand… Well, that has been done. It’s been an amazingly long weekend. I’ve met a lot of great people, seen a lot of awesome bands. I know it seems like every post is full of, “Wow, these dudes were excellent! Party time alright!” but no shit, that’s pretty much how it’s been — though I’ve limited my partying to be even on all four sides (read: “square”), and even the Zywiec I’m now enjoying was purchased as much because it’s something different than tap water than because I felt like having a beer. I used to drink all night. Now I do this.
And on that note, let’s get started. As you can see below, my intent of making today lower key than yesterday was at least partially successful, though still with a bit of back and forth near the end.
Once more into the fuzz:
Leeds instrumentalists Wiht looked like they hated each other. I don’t know if it was just a contemplative post-metal thing or if each member of the trio is convinced that the other two dudes are bastards, but they hardly looked at each other or at the crowd, and guitarist Chris Wayper made only a cursory mention of it being their last show. Musically, they were right on. They did “The Harrowing of the North” and nailed it part for part, and it was a lot of fun to follow along with that story in my mind as they went along (see the review for more info), but yeah, there wasn’t much question that when the set was over, they wouldn’t be a band anymore. Still, Wiht were a quality act and quality players, both in general and on stage opening up at The Underworld, and I hope they end up in other bands. Though if I could bring the kind of crowd they did being the first act on the bill at 14.00 after a raging Saturday night, I wouldn’t break up.
My plan was to stay put at The Underworld through Gentleman’s Pistols, and though I knew nothing of either Throne nor Crystal Head, who were the two acts between Wiht and Leaf Hound, I’d hit the point where I was willing to trust Desertfest enough to not throw in anything shitty. It had already been two days of nothing but solid heavy bands, I saw no reason to doubt the capacity of the DesertScene crew to come through in the end, and sure enough, they did precisely that. Throne reminded me a bit of a less psychedelic Naam. Their riffs were in several cases lifted directly from Sleep’s Holy Mountain, though reworked — not that I fucking care; play that Sleep riff note for note and I’ll groove out almost every time — and they had a laid back stonerly attitude that went well with the music. The London trio didn’t look like they gave a damn, but it worked for them.
Also native to the city that’s hosting the fest, Crystal Head apparently used to be known as Penny Black. The new name suits them better. Especially immediately following Throne, they had a professional edge to their presentation that only enhanced the music. Floor lights, fog machine, a Gretsch guitar thicker in body than the guy playing it — Crystal Head struck an immediate chord with me for what I perceived to be a Queens of the Stone Age influence coming out. There was some of that Josh Homme-style start-stop jerky riffing, and the vocals (which came from both the bassist and the guitarist) veered occasionally into some characteristic falsetto. Still, they were thicker tonally than QOTSA, and they took the elements from that band to someplace heavier musically. They were a pleasant surprise, though I’m sad to say I failed to buy a CD from them, even later on in the night asking some other dude with a shaved head who I thought was the bass player if he had any merch. Obviously, he did not.
Fucking Leaf Hound. I don’t know where they stood numerically on the list of bands I never thought I’d be able to catch live, but I’d probably give them an ‘X’ either way, just because the idea seemed so ridiculous I wouldn’t have even thought to include them on any such list (one does not exist, surprisingly). And yeah, I know it’s Peter French and a bunch of guys who weren’t in the band when they recorded their classic material — they even had a new bassist, whose name I sadly did not catch — but whatever. I got to see Peter French sing “Growers of Mushroom,” and the jam that the players behind him embarked on in the song’s middle gave me a whole new appreciation for the track. “Sad Road to the Sea” was one of the day’s best performances from any band, and though I wasn’t on board all the way with guitarist Luke Rayner‘s guitar-face and “I’m gonna stare at the ceiling like I’m having an orgasm because this solo is so good” stage moves, I can’t take away from the fact that they were fucking great.
Shortly before they went on, a guy in the crowd Tony Reed introduced me to the other day told me that Gentlemans Pistols were the best band in Britain. Britain’s got some righteous rock and roll on its curriculum vitae at this point — to wit, everything I’ve seen this weekend — so I was on my way to intrigued by the time the double-guitar foursome took the stage. That in itself was a cause for celebration, as the band includes axe-man Bill Steer of the always-be-boogieing Firebird, and indeed Gentlemans Pistols were even more upbeat than Firebird on stage, changing places and mics, hoisting guitars aloft for the crowd to see and, in the case of drummer Stuart Dobbins, playing in his skivvies which he made a point to show off before sitting behind his kit. I can understand the impulse, as it was pretty hot and only getting hotter in that room — 20 minutes before Gentlemans Pistols came on, The Underworld was packed out — and while I don’t know if I’d say they were the best band on these Isles, I understood the appeal enough to pick up their 2011 album, At Her Majesty’s Pleasure, and I look forward to getting to know it better. Maybe not “in its underwear” better, but better, anyway.
By the time Gentlemans Pistols were halfway through their set, I was ready for the day’s first bit of traveling and made my way down the block with a mind toward seeing Cultura Tres, winding up at The Purple Turtle in time to catch Widows beforehand. UK natives as well, they thanked the crowd present for not going to see Gentlemans Pistols and delivered a set of that peculiar brand of stoner-type rock that’s not actually so different from post-hardcore in that everyone who plays it looks like they were in a hardcore band seven years ago. Not really my thing sonically, but fun to watch and they clearly had the style down. I bought their albums — they were selling handmade copies of their apparently-soon-to-be-pressed new one, and I got one of those — and enjoyed them for what they were. The Purple Turtle being the “heaviest” of the three Desertfest stages throughout the weekend, Widows were a decent balance between the some of the more aggressive sounds and the more laid back approach that was still to come from Samsara Blues Experiment later.
Cultura Tres are, among other things, well managed. They came all the way from Venezuela to tour Europe and the UK and their promotional team (there were several guys the band brought with them, to roadie, sell merch, street-team, film their set, etc.) has been handing out free DVDs the entire weekend. I have at least three at this point. Clearly a case of a band making the proverbial effort to be noticed, and I can’t hold it against them. They have a viable product. Their style is not quite sludge in the American or even the British sense — thinking Eyehategod and Iron Monkey as respective examples — but more of a slowed-down, malevolent metal. Tonally, it’s pretty clean, and there’s an edge of drama to their presentation on stage that adds to whatever the vague threat their material is making might be. I didn’t know them too well, though I’d checked out the video that I think was also contained on those DVDs (I’ll have to look to confirm that) and thought it was cool enough to post. If nothing else, it was encouraging to see that Cultura Tres were able to stand themselves out atmospherically from the rest of the Desertscene fare. I didn’t see anyone else this weekend who sounded quite like they did.
Back at The Underworld, Zoroaster were just finishing up their signature noisy wash as I walked in and made my way up front for Black Cobra, who, at this point, are a sentimental favorite. Aside from the fact that they kick unholy ass and just released the album of their career so far in Invernal (review here), I remember them from their days around New York, and they were killer even then. This morning as I sat outside whichever cafe it was down the block from the venue, I saw guitarist/vocalist Jason Landrian and got to say hey and see how the tour with C.O.C. and Zoroaster was going, and as unassuming as he always is to talk to — real quiet, down to earth guy — is as monstrous has he’s become on stage. He and drummer Rafa Martinez make for one of the tightest live heavy bands on the planet. Reportedly, before they loaded in, the duo also went and had their picture taken in front of a statue of British explorer Ernest Shackleton, on whose writings Invernal is partially based. Perhaps some of Sir Ernest‘s brashness was absorbed into the band, although to say that might give the impression that Black Cobra aren’t always as devastating as they were tonight, so stow that. These dudes just rip. If thrash had become Black Cobra, I’d listen to thrash, and whether it was seeing them destroy this crowd or seeing them with Kyuss Lives! back in December in Jersey (review here), they deserve and they earn every single success they have.
I was worn out. I was down. I didn’t know if I had the hike back to The Purple Turtle in me. Certainly C.O.C. headlining at The Underworld was an enticing offer. But man, there was Samsara Blues Experiment, just waiting with their heavy psych grooves and jams that were just too perfect a close-out to this Desertfest experience. What was I supposed to do? True, Corrosion of Conformity were probably the first heavy band I listened to and one to which I’ve never really lost attachment (we’re talking since I was 10), but I saw them on New Year’s with Clutch, and they’re almost certain to come through NYC again before the Berlin-based Samsara Blues Experiment make it over. So it was back to The Purple Turtle I went. I’d watch Samsara Blues Experiment — who, much to my delight, were selling copies of their original demo — for as long as I could stand up without feeling like my legs were going to give out, and then I’d split. It wasn’t long. I stood right in front of guitarist/vocalist Christian Peters as he had some technical problem with his stage monitor that sent out a rather unpleasant crackle through the P.A. He seemed bummed about it, but once they got going, the band played really well. They are a strong voice in the post-Colour Haze wave of European heavy psych, but like with Sungrazer yesterday, one of the best parts of watching Samsara Blues Experiment was seeing how they’ve come more into their own even in the year’s time since I caught them at Roadburn. I felt like I made the right choice to be where I was, and I can’t think of a better way to cap Desertfest than that, since it’s how I’ve felt this whole time. Coming here was the right choice.
At some point tomorrow, though I don’t know when, really, I will have some concluding-type thoughts on the weekend, so I’ll save the thanks and all that stuff for then, but yeah, that’s definitely on the way. For now, I’ll just say I hope you’ve enjoyed these posts, if not as much as I’ve enjoyed seeing these bands (did I mention fucking Leaf Hound played today?), then enough to make it this far.
Checkout’s at 11.00 and I’ve got pics to sort, more of which you’ll find after the jump. Thanks for reading.
If it was just two new clips I’d seen in the last 24 hours, they’d probably each get their own post, but three would feel cheap spacing them out that way. Plus, this way you can watch them next to each other and pick a winner. Not a clue what the prize is, but I do know that between the three videos below, all the bases are pretty much covered. Crippled Black Phoenix‘s surprisingly politicized clip for “Laying Traps” has gasmasks, King Giant‘s “Appomattox” has zombies, and Samsara Blues Experiment‘s “Into the Black” has a sad-looking girl doing a kind of stop-motion Curly shuffle. Good fun all around. Here they are, in that order, which also happens to be alphabetical. Go figure.
Crippled Black Phoenix, “Laying Traps”
The song is taken from the British outfit’s new album, (Mankind) The Crafty Ape, and finds the band — their faces obscured by gasmasks and bandannas — attempting the rare feat of making anthemic post-rock. I’ve never tried it, but it can’t be easy, though it seems their often mournful sound has been given a kick in the ass somewhere along the line. The spirit of protest suits them well, and there’s also a free download of “Laying Traps” here.
Watch for: The banker-looking dude with the screwdriver sticking out of his head.
King Giant, “Appomattox”
I give much respect to Arlington, Virginia’s King Giant for making a zombie video. As prevalent as zombie’s are in today’s weirdo media culture, it seems like an easy move, but the ubiquitous nature of zombies these days actually makes it that much harder to get right, and I think the band does that here. We start out with tattooed hottie and a bloody baseball bat and a decent The Walking Dead-style chase ensues. “Appomattox” comes from King Giant‘s sophomore album, Dismal Hollow.
Watch for: The zombie in the Red Fang t-shirt.
Samsara Blues Experiment, “Into the Black”
The German band’s second album, Revelation and Mystery (review here), pushed their sound in a surprisingly straightforward direction, moving away some from the heavy psych jamming of the first record. “Into the Black” was among the songs that most displayed this shift, though as you watch the video below, you can see the psychedelic element is nowhere near gone from Samsara Blues Experiment‘s sound. It’s just blended with a killer boogie riff.
Watch for: Orange amps, the stop-motion Curly shuffle and the big comfy chair.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 14th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
I almost don’t want to say it out loud because I’m afraid an Icelandic volcano will erupt and I’ll miss their set, but as someone who lives on the other end of the country from the band, I’m stoked as hell at the prospect of finally being able to catch Ancestors live at London Desertfest next April. They’re among several in the latest batch of confirmations, which also includes German heavy psych upstarts Samsara Blues Experiment, British trio Stubb, Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight, Horisont and more.
Full info on the fest, and the Berlin Desertfest, which is also shaping up, is available at the Desertscene website. In the meantime, here’s a few updates and the poster with the latest lineup:
Atmosphericness will be washing over us in waves with Ancestors, who are now confirmed for Desertfest. The L.A. based 4 piece will be laying down there unique mixture of progressive invention and with influences of doom, stoner and psych all running through their epic tuneage, these guys are sure to blow your mind away. After receiving critical acclaim for their 2009 album Of Sound Mind and having shared a 7? split with the mighty Graveyard, last summer saw them release an EP called Invisible White. Ancestry is a hobby, Ancestors are an experience.
Desertfest are very pleased to announce German heavy psych stoners, Samsara Blues Experiment. These guys have many influences ranging from spiritual to Eastern sounds which adds to the whole Experience. Based in Berlin, the Experiment were founded in ‘07 and could have been seen on the recent “Up in Smoke Vol. III” European Tour. Samsara means “to flow together” and we are looking forward to merging with the band next year at Desertfest. Peace.
Desertfest are pleased to announce UK psych Rockers Stubb. A mutual love of Jamming gave birth to a three-piece of fuzzy psyched rock that come to be known as Stubb. They have toured Europe with the mighty StoneAxe and shared stages with bands such as GentlemansPistols, Firebird and more. Hopefully by the time they hit Desertfest they will be riding high on their debut album which is due for release early next year.
Posted in Reviews on November 4th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
The second album from Samsara Blues Experiment in as many years, Revelation and Mystery (World in Sound) takes a surprising turn in approach from their Long-Distance Trip debut, distilling the jams of the first record into more structured, song-based material. The tracks of Revelation and Mystery almost exclusively follow verse-chorus-verse patterns, and while part of the joy of listening to a song like “Singata Mystic Queen” from the prior collection was meandering along with it, Samsara Blues Experiment don’t completely lose sight of the journey in favor of the straightforward. Right from its start, Revelation and Mystery sees the four-piece layering guitar effects and infusing their parts with swirls and a spaced-out feel. It’s not that they’ve completely changed their methodology so much as they’ve shifted the balance within their sound. These structural elements were certainly present on Long-Distance Trip, but a cut like the semi-acoustic “Thirsty Moon” shows that Samasara Blues Experiment are able to work within these parameters to grow their songwriting. One gets the sense in listening to opener “Flipside Apocalypse” (which follows a 17-second nameless intro track) that this process is just beginning and that the band are still finding out what they want their sound to be, but that only makes Revelation and Mystery a more immediate, direct experience; the linearity of the album unfolding gradually as the songs move from the straightforward into the more sublimely jammed.
Fast-paced rumbling from the bass of Richard Behrens in the surprisingly punkish beginning of “Flipside Apocalypse” is an immediate clue to the changes the last year have brought about in Samsara Blues Experiment. The mood is more active, less calming and chilled out than last time around, and the guitars of Hans Eiselt and Christian Peters – who also handles vocals – seem to be more concerned with riffing out than stacking layers upon layers, though there’s some of that too, even as later in the song a riff straight out of the biker rock milieu shows up and carries the song through to its end. I don’t know if it’s the result in some change in the band’s songwriting process or just how things happened to come out this time, but the change continues through “Hangin’ on the Wire,” which is genuinely hooky and thoroughly in the realm of heavy rock. A crisp production during the solo section brings to mind some of Queens of the Stone Age’s finer moments, and drummer Thomas Vedder locks in with Behrens’ own excellent fills with a few of his own. Peters, though, emerges at the head of the song. His vocals confident and effected in equal measure, he works quickly to establish the verse and chorus patterns, both worthy of sing-alongs, so that by the end, “Hangin’ on the Wire” feels like its earned its handclaps, and though “Into the Black” starts out more ethereal, with extended solo sections and a long instrumental introduction, the shuffle soon takes hold and it proves to be more boogie than nod.
Posted in audiObelisk on October 13th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
German rockers Samsara Blues Experiment impressed with last year’s Long-Distance Trip (review here), and with their demo before that, and live this year as the last band I saw at Roadburn, so it’s not really shocking that their new album, Revelation and Mystery is met with some measure of anticipation. A proven track record that’s held up live goes a long way, and with some of the turns they make sonically on the new full-length, I’m glad to have been looking forward to it.
In a way, I expected the Berlin four-piece to go farther into the improvised-sounding heavy jamming that showed up on some of Long-Distance Trip, but they didn’t, really. If anything, Revelation and Mystery is more straightforward on the whole. Cuts like “Flipside Apocalypse” and the near-burly “Into the Black” have a pointed riffy thrust to them and clear adherence to structure all the way through. The band still jams and offers journeying psychedelia on the closing title-track and the preceding interlude “Zwei Schatten im Schatten,” but even “Outside Insight Blues” is more directed than its eight-minute runtime would lead you to believe.
This makes the album an even more exciting listen. The lineup from Long-Distance Trip has returned — guitarist/vocalist Christian Peters, guitarist Hans Eiselt, bassist Richard Behrens and drummer Thomas Vedder — and their time touring with the likes of Sons of Otis and on stage at festivals like the aforementioned Roadburn and Burg Herzberg has begun to pay off in the confidence with which they approach the surprisingly sunny “Thirsty Moon” and the ultra-memorable “Hangin’ on the Wire,” which is the track I’m lucky enough to be able to premiere on the player below.
I think you’ll find it’s a fitting example of Samsara Blues Experiment‘s heavy rocking side that mixes well with their psych edge. Dig it:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Samsara Blues Experiment‘s Revelation and Mystery is due out Oct. 31 on World in Sound. More info on the release is available at the band’s website and the label’s website. Thanks to Christian Peters for letting me host the track.
Posted in Features on April 17th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
1:46AM — Sunday Night/Monday Morning — Hotel Mercure, Tilburg
It’s over. I couldn’t even leave the building. I walked out of Sourvein more than three-quarters into their set, and still, it was another 15 minutes before I could actually bring myself to walk out of the 013 and head back to the hotel. I stopped along the way in Weirdo Canyon for fries, which, true to form, came buried under a heap of mayonnaise. Kind of a tradition at this point, though most of it I scooped off and sent down the sink in the bathroom here at the Mercure. Hot water on. Gross nonetheless.
Hard to know where to begin, really. When I got back to the venue, I hit up the Green Room to catch the start of The Machine, and of course it was packed. Amazing to see what a year’s done for them — although, granted, they weren’t on in the Bat Cave opposite Eyehategod like they were in 2010 — but I guess that’s part of it too. They sounded tighter, more mature, more together than they did when last I encountered them, but the material was no less vibrant and spontaneous for it. I was back and forth between them and Dead Meadow, who were on the main stage, and while they were a decent sonic complement for Sungrazer (a sort of new school European fuzz Green Room trilogy would be completed later in the evening as Samsara Blues Experiment closed out the night), they also did right in showing some of their own sonic personality, which they began to display on their recently-issued Elektrohasch debut, Drie.
Dead Meadow, on the other hand, brought out Sasquatch. Literally. There was a dude in a Sasquatch costume, and he came out during their set and stomped around the stage while they played. Clad in my Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy t-shirt, I couldn’t have felt more appropriate. I’ve never seen Dead Meadow before, so I couldn’t say whether or not this is a regular thing, but either way, brilliant. Their music, sedate, meandering, cosmic, seemed to make a good impression on the furry beast, and everyone else there to see it (myself included), and with visual accompaniment from festival organizer Walter Hoeijmakers, who handled a video mixer of various psychedelic imagery, it was “a show” despite the lack of anyone losing their minds on stage.
Other than Sasquatch, of course. He seemed to be really enjoying Dead Meadow‘s set.
I stood and waited for Black Mountain to go on, thinking I’d catch their opening couple of songs and then head in for Black Pyramid, but before they even got on stage, I realized how dumb that was, that I’d never get a spot to watch Black Pyramid, and that Black Mountain‘s set was allotted enough time that I could see them after Black Pyramid were done anyway. So, without reason to stay in the main stage area, off I went to the Green Room, which was already mostly full — although nowhere near as full as it would be by the time they started playing — and set up shop there for the duration.
With their riffs of stone and language of doom, Black Pyramid inspire devotion. They played a couple new songs — “Stormbringer” from the 8″ vinyl of the same name — and when they were finished, the crowd wouldn’t let them go. True enough, they hadn’t yet seen their time-slot to its conclusion, but I don’t think they’d have been allowed to leave even if they’d wanted to, so they fired up the amps again and treated Roadburn to a new song from their upcoming second full-length. It was rough, but guitarist Andy Beresky was trying out some new things vocally, so it should be interesting to hear what they come up with on the next album. Everyone seems to go all-out for the fest anyway, but Black Pyramid really have become an excellent live act. I stayed for their whole set and regretted not a second of it.
And sure enough, when they were done, Black Mountain was still on the main stage. They’re one of those bands I keep hearing about, people recommending them and so forth, and good people, too, but although I have a copy of their latest CD, Wilderness Heart, I can’t say I’ve ever listened to it. I remember hearing them when they put out their first record and being unimpressed. Maybe I need to give them another shot. They were elaborate melodically, and probably not my thing on the whole, but decent enough for what they were doing. They sounded clean, which, with Sourvein following, was like wiping off the mirror before crushing up six vicodin and making an evening of it.
Don’t know when it happened, but at some point T-Roy Medlin fromSourvein adopted a kind of “Dirty South” affectation in his stage mannerisms, and that was in full force when they hit the main stage. Before they even started, he urged the crowd to “get ghetto.” I’d already by then been in and back from the Green Room to see Samsara Blues Experiment, who were killer, and had Black Mountain not just played opposite Black Pyramid, I’d have a hard time coming up with a time when two more sonically incongruous bands were on simultaneously. Samsara Blues Experiment: warm, sweetly toned, jammy, laid back. Sourvein: like being punched in the face with the broken glass of the mirror from the paragraph above. They do abrasive and it’s about all they do.
If the two bands had anything in common — and it just might be the only thing — it was energy. Samsara Blues Experiment did well in not getting too lost in their material, in keeping the audience engaged, and Sourvein, complete with Dave Sherman from Earthride on bass, were personality on parade. For not the first time in the evening, I was reminded of Eyehategod doing an Afterburner set last year, but Sourvein might be even more demented. They were ridiculous in their heaviness and completely over-the-top in their stage antics, Medlin managing at one point to call European beer weak while asking for a whiskey from the stage, which aside from not being true was not exactly going to win him friends among the Dommelsch-downing audience.
But then, if he was even slightly concerned with being accessible or friendly, he probably wouldn’t be in Sourvein. They’re good at being mean, only thicker with Sherman (now bearded) on bass, and considering the last time I saw them was playing to an empty Europa club in Brooklyn, the response they got from the main stage was enjoyable to watch. After a festival with acts as diverse as Wovenhand and Wardruna, Sourvein and Samsara Blues Experiment were as fitting a finale (who likes alliteration?) as Roadburn 2011 was going to get.
I’m not exactly ready to wrap up the festival reporting yet, and I’ll allow that maybe that’s me just not wanting it to end and/or being too exhausted tonight to finish it off once and for all, but I’ll have a post to round out this series tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, thanks to everyone who’s been reading and commenting. That kind of feedback means a lot and is greatly appreciated.
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 3rd, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
If you missed the previous announcement (I did, oddly enough), German heavy psych-outs Samsara Blues Experiment and Canadian über-stoners Sons of Otis are hitting the road together at the start of next month. By now, the former should be in — if not finished with — the recording process for their second album, which as anyone who heard their Long-Distance Trip debut knows, is good news.
In case your day wasn’t “stoner rock” enough, get a load of this:
Posted in Reviews on January 18th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster
As a general rule, I try to avoid reviewing compilations, because either the review winds up being a list of the bands involved with nothing of substance said about any of them, or it’s promo-speak pushing an album by saying, “It’s good, you should buy it.” Finally approaching the Planetfuzz Records debut release, Cowbells and Cobwebs, which culls together a whopping 28 underground purveyors of heavy and fuzzed out rock over the course of two 14-track discs, the best I’m hoping for is a combination of both the above. Needless to say, I’ve been sitting on the review for a while, and for me to go track by track and analyze each song would (1) take too long and (2) make for a review of such length that no one would ever read it, being of no use to any of the parties involved – bands, label, reader or myself. To give away the conclusion early: It’s a quality collection with a bunch of previously unheard material that those who think they can hold their breath for nearly 160 minutes (each disc is 79-plus) of fuzz without drowning in it would do well to check out.
A few familiar names pop up on the first disc, appropriately labeled Cowbells. Bands like Orthodox Fuzz, Arrowhead, Ride the Sun, Honcho, Gate 9, Sungrazer and The Grand Astoria are situated next to newcomers Mangoo (who might win the award for best band moniker on the comp), Loimann, Sons of Giants, Propane Propane, Audio Dream Sister, Moab and Spelljammer, and the highlights are just about evenly split between bands I knew going into Cowbells and Cobwebs and bands I didn’t. Sungrazer’s jammy “Zero Zero” shows there’s ample reasoning behind their having been signed to Elektrohasch, and I didn’t think much of it for its opening, but Propane Propane’s “It’s Alright” wound up one of the high points of the collection for its drum sound alone. Norwegian rockers Honcho check in with a track called “Earth” from their 2010 self-released Battle of Wits album and the song is positively gorgeous in that post-Soundgarden Euro-stoner kind of way, while just a few tracks earlier, Ride the Sun show why their name has been ringing out so far over the last year or so with the previously-unreleased “Ride.”
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 20th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster
German heavy psych-outs Samsara Blues Experiment sent over notice that they’re set to begin work on their second album following this year’s hypnotic Long Distance Trip. In addition, they’ll also be at this year’s Roadburn Afterburner and they’ll be touring in March with Sons of Otis. One can only assume massive smoke-laden jams will ensue.
Here’s the news right from the band themselves:
Samsara Blues Experiment will start to record their second album in January 2011. Again there are six tracks to put on tape (okay it’s still a Mac ;-)…). Quite obviously there will be some epic stuff again. People who have met us on our last summer tour through Europe and on this year’s festivals might have an early idea of how the new songs will sound. The blues (in our name) might be given some deeper meaning this one also…
We will tour again in March 2011, this time we will support Sons of Otis on some “well-assorted” shows in Germany and Switzerland. Other gigs are being planned at this very moment and are being updated almost weekly.
Here’s a first bunch of coming shows:
14/01 GER Rostock – Café Momo
04/03 GER Dresden – Groovestation
05/03 GER Halle – Rockstation Hafenstraße *
06/03 GER Berlin – Wild at Heart *
07/03 GER Hamburg – Hafenklang *
08/03 GER Bielefeld – AJZ *
09/03 GER Stuttgart – 1210 *
10/03 SUI Geneva – L´Usine *
11/03 SUI Martigny – Les Caves du Manoir *
12/03 SUI Winterthur – Gaswerk *
09/04 GER Berlin – Burning Earth Festival w/LonelyKamel, Stonehead and others
17/04 NED Tilburg – Roadburn Festival Afterburner
* w/ Sons of Otis