Review & Track Premiere: Brume, Rooster

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

brume rooster

[Click play above to stream the premiere of ‘Reckon’ by Brume. Their debut album, Rooster, is out April 20 on DHU Records and Doom Stew Records ahead of a UK tour (info here) including a stop at Desertfest London 2017.]

A dense fog comes to rest over the 51 minutes of Brume‘s Rooster. By the end of the 10-minute opening track, it has settled in despite — or perhaps because of — the pervasive thrust the San Francisco trio have conjured, and it remains a factor for the six-track duration. Fortunately, the three-piece of bassist/vocalist Susie McMullin, guitarist Jamie McCathie and drummer Jordan Perkins-Lewis chose the most capable of navigators, Billy Anderson (NeurosisMelvinsAcid KingSleep, need I go on?), to help guide them forward. Rooster, issued through Perkins-Lewis‘ own Doom Stew Records on CD, tape and download with vinyl forthcoming from DHU Records, winds up not so much getting lost in this fog as inhaling it, plugging in, and riffing out with marked force, thickness and presence.

Their 2015 debut EP, Donkey, was a showcase of promise, and Rooster is a longer one, but in stepping forward to give their building audience a first real chance to take in the scope of what Brume — who got together in 2014 — can and will be as a band, they do not flub the opportunity. With longer pieces “Grit and Pearls” (10:06) and “Tradewind” (11:48) as bookends at the outset and finish, the fervent plod of “Harold” (7:30), “Reckon” (9:13) and the rolling “Call the Serpent’s Bluff” (9:29) between, as well as the penultimate acoustic-based “Welter” (2:55) leading into the closer, Rooster realizes the potential of the prior EP and moves forward with it, successfully melding together influences into what Perkins-Lewis might call a “doom stew” of their own recipe.

For those new to the band, with the airy, soulful melodicism of McMullin‘s voice echoing spaciously over the molasses riffery, one might hear them at first as spiritual successors to the recently-defunct Uzala, but the turns of “Grit and Pearls” immediately widen this impression with rhythmic stops drawn from the post-YOB sphere of cosmic doom and Mike Scheidt‘s particular style of angularity. The key, though, is immersion. By the time “Grit and Pearls” has finished its 10-minute course, shifting from vast plod into quiet atmospherics and back through the faster ending that’s the source of the YOB comparison above, they’ve managed to hook the listener with a repetitive nodding groove. Their sense of pacing and willingness to vary tempos emerges as something of a theme throughout, but Rooster never becomes more monotonous than it wants to be. Monolithic, perhaps.

brume

“Harold” begins by teasing the lighter strum-and-pluck that “Welter” will later bring before crashing in at full weight and unfolding its first ethereal verse, slower and more doomed than “Grit and Pearls” before it — I keep hearing early Cathedral in McCathie‘s guitar progression, but I can’t place it exactly — and they settle into a consuming roll as they move past the halfway point, the last minute of the song being the real point of departure as the central rhythm gives way to feedback and ambient noise with Perkins-Lewis‘ drums behind, a grueling end that perfectly sets up the doom-gone-TwinPeaks-barroom-blues launch of “Reckon.” The third of Rooster‘s six cuts fascinates conceptually as McMullin plays off the country music trope of the cowgirl singing the tale of meeting a mysterious stranger, but instead of a sharp-eyed, all-chin guy on horseback, he’s got a beard and rides a beat-up motorcycle. Nonetheless, the vibe that results makes “Reckon” a standout, as does its more prevalent hook and open-feeling, drum-and-chanting midsection break that swells to an apex with a layered-over guitar lead that recalls “Grit and Pearls” in its intent without necessarily retreading what’s already been done.

It seems likely that “Call the Serpent’s Bluff” will mark the start of the vinyl’s side B after “Reckon” finishes the album’s longer-by-two-minutes side A, and that break between the two songs feels somewhat essential as a factor in the flow throughout Rooster as a whole. That is, the effect of Perkins-Lewis‘ drums returning to start “Call the Serpent’s Bluff” is best experienced with the breath-catching moment provided to the listener by flipping a record. Even the digital version of “Reckon” has a couple seconds of silence at the end, and that feels very much on purpose and very correct. When it gets going, with the rumble of McMullin‘s bass and feedback from McCathie‘s guitar soon enough joining the tom runs to draw the listener into the patient groove, “Call the Serpent’s Bluff” swirls out hypnotic, doomedelic nod, an early lead giving way to more insistent pulse before spacious vocal melody transitions into slower riffing, a quiet introduction of the back-half hook and build back to the crawling, crashing finish recitations, ending with the vocals as a standalone element. That subtle moment of minimalism makes an effective transition into “Welter”; the shortest cut and starkest contrast to its surroundings, sonically if not in overall mood.

Backed by acoustic strum, McMullin echoes the bluesier feel of “Reckon” in another context, surrounded by a flourish of keys for a neofolkish stretch one might relate to Windhand but that serves all the same to further widen the breadth of Rooster ahead of “Tradewind,” which comes to life slowly over likewise quiet strum and cymbal wash before the full heft arrives at around two and a half minutes in to commence a series of loud/quiet tradeoffs that once again find Brume working in a varied structural context even as they reinforce the brooding feel of the record as a whole and offer one last deceptively catchy chorus. The nature of their craft, with a focus on longer songs meting out grueling and at times otherworldly doom, doesn’t necessarily lend itself toward the expectation of hooks, but Brume have a few throughout Rooster, as “Tradewind” duly reminds, and that seems an avenue where the trio might continue to grow as they take the lessons of their debut forward into whatever might come next. Along with the cohesive ambience and fluidity of their presentation on the whole, this underlying foundation of songwriting gives them another tradition to make their own as they begin to do in these tracks.

Brume website

Brume on Bandcamp

Brume on Thee Facebooks

Brume BigCartel webstore

Doom Stew Records website

DHU Records webstore

Tags: , , , , , ,

Brume to Release Debut Album Rooster April 20; UK Tour with Gurt Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

brume

I’m not sure when else one might expect San Francisco’s Brume to release their Billy Anderson-produced debut album, Rooster, other than April 20, but the timing works on multiple levels as that’s just a scant two days before they head overseas for the first time. They’re set to tour the UK with sludgemongers Gurt as a precursor to appearing at Desertfest London 2017 at The Underworld in Camden Town, where they’ll share the stage with Celeste, Scissorfight, Inter Arma and Bongzilla.

A worthy occasion to say the least, and certainly as they go, waving a banner like the frickin’ awesome Sean Beaudry cover art for Rooster won’t hurt. In addition to the April 20 release, which will be CD, tape and download through Doom Stew Records, the plan is to have Rooster out on vinyl through DHU Records over the summer.

Stay tuned because I’ll have more on this one leading up to the release — think, the week before. For now, the PR wire has tour dates, album info and all that good stuff:

brume rooster

San Francisco, California Doom trio Brume announce their debut album ‘Rooster’ out on DHU Records/Doom Stew Records.

Brume’s heaving dose of hallucinogenic heaviness has been crafted since their EP ‘Donkey’ released on CD (When Planets Collide), LP (DHU Records) and Cassette (Transylvanian tapes) in 2015. Returning to Sharkbite studios in Oakland, CA to record their full length but this time working alongside legendary producer Billy Anderson to lay down six songs, 51 minutes of heavy.

Progressing from Donkey’s monolithic focus, Rooster sees Brume evolve to a more dynamic songwriting approach. The west coast debut is a more sonically diverse, crushingly heavy and beautifully conflicted album. To accompany the music, the cover art was created by Savannah illustrator Sean Beaudry, best known for his work with Kylesa.

Brume will bring its riff ritual to Europe for the first time in April with a joint UK tour with Gurt in the run up to there Desertfest London slot alongside the likes of Bongzilla and Inter Arma in The Underworld, Saturday 29th.

Rooster will be available on CD, cassette and digitally on April 20th from Brume drummer Jordan Perkins-Lewis’s fledgling label, Doom Stew Records. The 2xLP will be available in a variety of limited edition variants via DHU in July.

Watch these spaces for preorders:
https://www.brumeband.com/
https://www.doomstew.com/
http://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/

Artist: Brume
Album: Rooster
Label: DHU Records/Doom Stew Records
Release date: April 20th (CD) July (LP) 2017

Tracklist:
1. Grit and Pearls
2. Harold
3. Reckon
4. Call the Serpent’s Bluff
5. Welter
6. Tradewind

Brume & Gurt UK tour dates:
22/04 The Firehouse Southampton UK
23/04 The Stag and Hounds Bristol UK
24/04 Finns Weymouth UK
25/04 Rebellion Manchester UK
26/04 The Phoenix Coventry UK
29/04 Desertfest London 2017 The Underworld London UK (Brume only)

Brume are:
Susie McMullin – Vocals/Bass
Jordan Perkins-Lewis – Drums
Jamie McCathie – Guitar

https://www.brumeband.com/
https://brumesf.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/brumeband/
http://brume.bigcartel.com/
https://www.doomstew.com/
http://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/

Brume, Donkey EP (2015)

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Watchers Announce Tour Dates; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the watchers

Because I’m interested in these things, I looked up the driving time between Wapakoneta, Ohio, and Frederick, Maryland. That’s the trip that San Francisco heavy rockers The Watchers — who debuted on Ripple Music last year with their Sabbath Highway EP (review here) — will make on June 24 to take part in this year’s Maryland Doom Fest at Cafe 611. According to the robots that rule our existence, it’s about six hours and 45 minutes. Doable in a day but not insubstantial by any means. They’ll probably want to split after their set in Ohio the night before and get at least two or three hours of that down and finish the trip in the morning. Life of a touring band. They don’t need me to tell them that.

Maryland Doom Fest, incidentally, is the only gig The Watchers have booked on (or near, anyway) the East Coast, and immediately following it, they whip a 180 and head back to the Midwest for a show in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 26. Go go go.

Not a small amount of ground to cover, even with a day between, and before they do it, they’ll reportedly hit the studio to work on their first full-length, tentatively due in Sept., also on Ripple. Oh, and they have a new video as well.

The PR wire keeps us informed:

the watchers tour

The Watchers hit the road in support of their critically-acclaimed debut EP on Ripple Music

S.F. Bay Area rock heavyweights, The Watchers, hit the road this summer in support of their debut Ripple Music release, their “Sabbath Highway”.

Starting this June, the “Sabbath Highway Tour” will see the band hitting the highways of the American heartland, crossing from their West Coast homes all the way to their pinnacle stop at The Maryland Doom Fest #3, where they’ll lay waste to waiting audiences along side such heavyweights as The Skull, Wo Fat, and Bang.

6/17 Nevada • Reno / Jub Jubs Thirst Parlor
6/18 Utah • SLC / The Urban Lounge
6/19 Colorado • Ft Collins / Surfside 7
6/20 Kansas • Lawrence / Replay Lounge
6/21 Illinois • Chicago / Reggies
6/22 Indiana • South Bend / Smiths Downtown
6/23 Ohio • Wapakoneta / Route 33 Rhythm & Brews
6/24 Maryland • Frederick / Cafe 611 (Maryland Doom Fest)
6/26 Oklahoma • Tulsa (TBA)
6/27 Texas • San Antonio / Limelight
6/28 Texas • Austin / The Lost Well
6/29 Texas • El Paso / Rock House
6/30 Arizona • Tempe / Yucca Tap Room

Before the Tour commences, The Watchers will enter the studio to record their next full length offering anticipated to be released by Ripple Music in Sept. 2017.

Finally, to rev up for the tour, The Watchers just released a new video from the “Sabbath Highway” EP, “Just A Needle.” Check it out and prepare for the Sabbath Highway!

www.facebook.com/bandofwatchers
https://www.facebook.com/Ripple-Music-369610860064/
http://www.ripple-music.com/
http://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/sabbath-highway

The Watchers, “Just a Needle” official video

Tags: , , , , ,

The Obelisk Radio Adds: REZN, The Fërtility Cült, Cosmic Fall, Oceanwake, Jenzeits

Posted in Radio on March 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk radio cavum

Granted, we’re still running on the backup server, but it’s been a couple weeks at this point anyway, so it’s time for a new round of adds to The Obelisk Radio. Some of this stuff is brand new, some isn’t out yet, and some is older, so it’s a pretty decent mix on that front, and between REZN, The Fërtility Cült and Cosmic Fall, I certainly think we’ve got heavy psychedelia covered. Fortunately there’s the longform doom extremity of Oceanwake and the kraut-worship electronics of Jenzeits (also longform, as it happens) to offer some balance, lest we go drifting off into the universe never to be heard from again. Can’t have that happening.

Before we dig in, thanks to Slevin as ever for his diligent work in keeping the Radio afloat. He’s got a drive recovery running now that will hopefully bring back everything that was there before. It’s been a whole thing, but progress is being made and I appreciate him tossing this stuff in with the backup material in the interim. Thanks to you as well for reading and listening.

The Obelisk Radio Adds for March 14, 2017:

REZN, Let it Burn

rezn-let-it-burn

All-caps Chicago-based newcomers REZN make their deceptively ambitious debut with Let it Burn, a self-released 10-songer checking in at a willfully sprawling 59 minutes that blends psychedelic drift, grunge fuckall and neo-stoner fuzz consumption to welcome effect. One gets shades of Mars Red Sky from opener “Relax,” but later doomer cuts like the blown-out cosmic smash of “Harvest the Void” or the rolling “Fall into the Sky” ensures the three-piece of bassist/vocalist Phil Cangelosi, drummer Patrick Dunn and guitarist/vocalist Rob McWilliams are working on their own wavelength, and flourish of sitar from McWilliams and Dunn on the dynamic raga-infused “Rezurrection,” as well as Dunn‘s percussion and Spencer Ouellette‘s modular synth in the two-minute interlude “Pipe Dream” that leads into the initial spoken sample of the Dead Meadow-style fuzzer “The Creature” only add further checked-out-of-life charm to the offering as a whole. “Relax” and “Wake” at the outset speak to some impulse on the part of the band to tie their material together, but that comes through even more as “The Creature” transitions into “Fall into the Sky” and the suitably-spacewalking “Orbit” leads to the noisy start of rumble-laden closer “Astral Sage” later on. REZN leave themselves room to grow into their approach in moments like these, and pieces like “Harvest the Void,” “The Creature” and “Wake” certainly speak to a memorable songwriting process in development, but Let it Burn already shows them a potent brew of weighted lysergics.

REZN on Thee Facebooks

REZN on Bandcamp

 

The Fërtility Cült, A Forest of Kings

the-fertility-cult-a-forest-of-kings

Nestled into the heavy hotbed of Tampere, Finland, The Fërtility Cült continue their progressive push into reverb-laden heft with late-2016’s A Forest of Kings, their third long-player behind 2013’s Heavenly Bodies and their 2011 debut, Eschatology (review here). In an admirably crowded scene, the five-piece are distinguished for their tonal breadth, use-not-overuse of echo-laden saxophone and organ and general willingness to meander without giving up an underlying principal of craft or direction. All of this is on display in the A Forest of Kings opener “Blood of Kings,” but the highlight of the album has to be the centerpiece “The City on the Edge of Forever” (taking its name from the highlight episode of the original Star Trek, written by Harlan Ellison), which successfully fuses jazzy rhythm with a patient, psychedelic execution to the sacrifice of neither. Also the longest inclusion at 10:58, it’s the umlaut-happy troupe’s most resonant melody and most singularly progressive stretch, but neither will I take away from the nod of “God of Rain,” which follows, or the manner in which the apex shuffle of closer “Cycles of Time” unfurls itself from the song’s initial subdued verses. Heady vibe throughout the total 46 minutes, as one might expect, but The Fërtility Cült‘s third is less self-indulgent than it might superficially seem, and their varied arrangements never fail to service what really matters to them, which of course is the material itself rather than the exercise of playing it. Rich and graceful when it wants to be, A Forest of Kings hones an endearing landscape without getting lost in it.

The Fërtility Cült on Thee Facebooks

The Fërtility Cült on Bandcamp

 

Cosmic Fall, Kick out the Jams

cosmic-fall-kick-out-the-jams

Mostly-instrumentalist trio Cosmic Fall — based in Berlin and comprised of guitarist/vocalist Mathias, bassist Klaus and drummer Daniel — formed in 2016 and worked quickly to turn around First Fall (discussed here), their first full-length of improv-based works. Kick out the Jams arrives with a fittingly quick turnaround and brings forth seven new pieces in its digital form, topping 93 minutes in its total space-bound push. More impressive than the quantity of the work — though I won’t take away from the sprawling appeal (or the delightful, influence-on-our-sleeve pun in the title) of the 21-minute “Earthfull” or 19-minute opener “Saturn Highway” — is the chemistry that seems to have immediately found root in Cosmic Fall‘s sound. They take a forward step in these tracks, to be sure, and there are more steps to be taken — a band like this, in the best case scenario, does not stop progressing, their material only comes to unfold more as a musical conversation between old friends; see Electric Moon — but as Kick out the Jams plays through its extended, immersive runtime, cuts like “Interstellar Junction” and “Stairway Jam” feel especially bold in how open they are in allowing the listener to hear that process happening. Songs are varyingly active — only “White Stone” (4:42) is under 11 minutes long — and allow for Mathias to lead the way into the spaciousness of “Purple Weed” while Daniel‘s toms propel “Cosmic Conclusion” at the album’s finish, but the core message behind Cosmic Fall less than a year into their tenure is one of ambition and the band’s deep motivation to develop the already palpable dynamic they have going. One can only look forward to hearing where their adventures take them and, indeed, where they take their audience.

Cosmic Fall on Thee Facebooks

Cosmic Fall on Bandcamp

 

Oceanwake, Earthen

oceanwake-earthen

With Earthen on ViciSolum Records, Finnish progressive death-doomers Oceanwake complete a trilogy that began on their 2013 debut Kingdom and had its second installment with 2015’s Sunless (review here). I’m not entirely sure what the overarching theme tying the releases together is — perhaps hearing the debut would help, but it’s not easily tracked down — but Earthen expounds on the blend of extremity, poise and emotional resonance the Luvia five-piece proffered their last time out, arriving as two massive tracks, opener “A Storm Sermon” (21:09) and closer “In Amidst the Silent Thrones” (24:04), both of which work in movements that shift between crushing, grueling doom and gorgeous, airy melodies. A depth of emotionalism isn’t necessarily anything new in the style — countrymen from Skepticism to Swallow the Sun have been morose for a long time — but what Oceanwake bring is a fluidity in their transitions and a sense of purpose to their songwriting beyond the usual miseries. Thus, like Sunless before it, Earthen emerges to bring significant character to familiar elements, drifting at times and explosive at others, but always under complete control, never wandering without a reason, and basking in low end that has to be heard to be believed. Earthen might fly under a lot of radars, but it shouldn’t be missed by those with an affinity for the extreme ends of doom. One hopes the now-completed trilogy project won’t be the sum total Oceanwake‘s output together.

Oceanwake on Thee Facebooks

ViciSolum Records on Bandcamp

 

Jenzeits, Jenzeits Cosmic Universe

Jenzeits-Cosmic-Universe

Jenzeits may be a new incarnation, but the project stems from a familiar source. Relocated from North Carolina to San Francisco — also, apparently, to the cosmos itself — multi-instrumentalist Chad Davis (Hour of 13SetAnuThe Sabbathian, etc.) offers up two massive synthesized soundscapes on Jenzeits Cosmic Universe, as both “Alpha” (25:00) and “Omega” (21:53) channel krautrock exploration and progressive indulgence. A due amount of the release is given to hypnotics, as one might expect — that is, it’s an easy one to put on and zone out — but Davis isn’t without some sense of motion either as he makes his way through “Alpha” and the rightfully more foreboding “Omega,” the latter delving into a movement of key runs backed by wind swirl calling to mind any number of horror and/or retro-horror soundtracks, and even minor shifts in the elements at work at any given moment become more pronounced in the grand context of the whole work. Davis usually has his hands in a number of outfits (and a number of genres) at any given time — an Hour of 13 resurgence is pending, for example — but Jenzeits‘ debut is engaging in its textures and feels like a journey just beginning.

Jenzeits on Thee Facebooks

Jenzeits on Bandcamp

More to come as we get The Obelisk Radio back up and running at full capacity. I’ve purchased a new hard drive toward that end, so we’ll have even more room to work with as well. Will update when there’s an update.

Till then, thanks again for reading and listening.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Six Organs of Admittance Post “Adoration Song” Video; US Tour on Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

six-organs-of-admittance-adoration-song

Ben Chasny has spent the better part of the last week on the road along the West Coast supporting the latest outing from Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold (review here), which is out now on Drag City. He’ll have more tour dates starting at the end of this month and rolling into April along the Eastern Seaboard and into the Midwest, and to further mark the album’s arrival, he has a new video for the track “Adoration Song” directed by Elisa Ambrogio that mirrors the song’s bright and pastoral melodic flow with ambient visuals, some psychedelic experimentation, and perhaps most crucially, dogs.

Burning the Threshold is something of a repatriation for Chasny in how Six Organs of Admittance works following 2015’s Hexadic (review here) and 2016’s Hexadic II, both of which were constructed using the titular Hexadic system of songwriting. One can hear echoes of the project’s past in “Adoration Song,” in the blend of folkish traditionalism and psych nuance, and of course Chasny‘s voice owns the melody as few could hope to, but the album could hardly be called a backward step. Six Organs of Admittance has always approached a given work with a sense of intent — even if that intent is no intent — and the latest offering proves no different. One gets the sense of a cleaning house in terms of material, and there’s a corresponding push toward the far-out that later pieces like “Taken by Ascent” unfurl toward colorful and immersive splendors.

“Adoration Song,” the second of the nine tracks on Burning the Threshold, is somewhat humble by comparison, but it’s also one of the record’s most memorable inclusions, proving how few frills are needed for raw songcraft at its best to make a lasting impression.

Tour dates and more info off the PR wire follows the clip below.

Please enjoy:

Six Organs of Admittance, “Adoration Song” official video

On the cusp of two full decades of music-making, Six Organs of Admittance has ridden winds and waves spanning passion and logic and myth. The brand-new full length, Burning the Threshold, exudes a warmth not always found in Ben Chasny’s music – but that’s how life works, taking us up and down over time. Ben’s records have charted that passage, making his arrival at this seemingly sweet moment a special pleasure, and as always, a magic and musical one as well. It is now available for all to hear via vinyl, CD, cassette and digital files. What more can Ben Chasny do? Well, how about a brand new music video to unveil in anticipation of his tour? Done!

For the first music video and third single from Burning The Threshold, “Adoration Song” enervates and elevates ones mind, with images of the raw majesty of nature and haunting reminders of the unknowable. Directed by Elisa Ambrogio, the sun hangs over the moss and lichen, the cliffs and sandy shores of wintery northern California. Ben’s melody and lyrics work as layers with the sharp focus and gauzy allegorical bent of the video, which features Ben as elephant man, a remote wanderer fearful of the world around him, until he removes his sheath, obtains the third eye and rises up, to become a part of the natural world, moving forward with two sets of footprints in the sand behind him.

600A ON TOUR
08/03/17 Wed in San Diego, CA at Soda Bar
23-26/03/17 in Knoxville, TN at Big Ears Festival
28/03/17 Tue in Atlanta, GA at The Earl
29/03/17 Wed in Asheville, NC at Mothlight
30/03/17 Thu in Raleigh, NC at Kings
31/03/17 Fri in Washington, DC at DC9
01/04/17 Sat in Brooklyn, NY at Union Pool
02/04/17 Sun in Boston, MA at Great Scott
03/04/17 Mon in Portland, ME at Space Gallery
05/04/17 Wed in Philadelphia, PA at Johnny Brenda’s
06/04/17 Thu in Pittsburgh, PA at Club Cafe
07/04/17 Fri in Cleveland, OH at Beachland Tavern
08/04/17 Sat in Detroit, MI at Third Man Records
09/04/17 Sun in Chicago, IL at Empty Bottle
10/04/17 Mon in Minneapolis, MN at 7th St. Entry
12/04/17 Wed in Milwaukee, WI at Collectivo Coffee
14/04/17 Fri in St. Louis, MO at Duck Room at Blueberry Hill
15/04/17 Sat in Louisville, KY at Zanzabar

Six Organs of Admittance website

Six Organs of Admittance on Twitter

Six Organs of Admittance at Drag City

Drag City webstore

Tags: , , , , ,

Kandodo McBain, Lost Chants/Last Chance: Unsafe at any Speed

Posted in Reviews on February 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

kandodo-mcbain-lost-chants-last-chance

It’s an exceedingly clever idea, but that wouldn’t matter in the slightest were the execution not so utterly brilliant. As the phonetics of the title indicate, Lost Chants/Last Chance works strongly off ideas of duality. The late-2016 Rooster Rock offering from Kandodo McBain, pairs Kandodo3 — an offshoot of UK psych legends The Heads featuring guitarist Simon Price (who also operates solo under the moniker Kandodo), bassist Hugo Morgan and drummer Wayne Maskell from that band with guitarist John McBain, formerly of Monster Magnet and Wellwater Conspiracy. These two parties, each a psychedelic powerhouse on their own, come together across two sets of tracks recorded in two separate places — Bristol and San Francisco — and offer two distinct vibes on the 2CD/2LP Lost Chants/Last Chance by changing nothing more than the playing speed of the songs themselves.

To explain, if you get the Lost Chants/Last Chance CD, it comes with two discs — one with five songs at 45RPM speed, and a second with the same songs at 33RPM speed. The digital version on the Kandodo Bandcamp changes the names so that “Megladon’t” becomes “Megladon’t Ever” and “Chant of the Ever Circling Last Vulture” becomes “Chant of the Ever so Slowly Circling Last Vulture,” etc., but in runtime as well as mood, Lost Chants/Last Chance emphasizes the role that tempo plays in a given song’s feel while offering — at both speeds — wonderfully immersive, hypnotic psychedelic drift as only true masters of the form can provide. Front to back across the 10-track entirety, it tops an unmanageable two hours and 10 minutes, but whether listening in a single go, breaking it in half by material-version, or however else one might want to take it on — part of the joy of the thing is its utter amorphousness — Lost Chants/Last Chance lives up to being about more than just its conceptual objective in terms of showcasing the instrumental dynamic between these players, and thereby becomes all the more special.

Resonance abounds from the initial drifting guitar figure that begins “Blowed Out” — which later becomes “Really Blown Out,” naturally — and continues on from there. I tend to use words like “molten,” “fluid,” liquefied,” and so on to describe the sonic flow of heavy psychedelia. Tracks like “Blowed Out,” which earns immediate points for being the longest on Lost Chants/Last Chance at 15:43 in its 45RPM version as well as the opener, are the reason why. Even in its faster incarnation, it holds a languid spirit well past the 10-minute mark, keys adding melodic flourish to an anchoring guitar line that maintains its presence throughout and sets up a key factor in Kandodo McBain‘s execution: blending memorable instrumental hooks with ultra-expansive jamming. Its back third changes up the drums to a more tense use of toms, but the ending finds peace in guitars intertwining gorgeously. This sets up the pair of seven-minute slabs “Holy Syke” and “Megladon’t,” the former of which continues the mellotron-ic flow initially only to find spacier forward thrust at about 90 seconds in, setting up a build that becomes noisier — or is it “blowed out?” — as it moves through crafting another somehow-catchy impression, and the latter which relies on Maskell‘s thudding toms as the foundation for accompanying bass bounce and resonant guitar noodling.

What will seem to be the song most affected by the change in playing speed, “Megladon’t” brings about push without insistence and showcases an extended guitar lead as it heads through its midsection, turning shortly after five minutes in toward a fuzzier riff around which the four-piece will congregate until the fadeout brings on “Chant of the Ever Circling Last Vulture,” a 13-minute unfurling with an immediately space-rocking vibe — like Hawkwind on a preflight countdown — that holds percussive tension beneath swirling effects and key work.

Even after the drums fade down in the mix — McBain mixed and mastered — Morgan‘s bassline holds steady, and when Maskell returns shortly before the 10-minute mark, it gives solid ground beneath all that float from Price and McBain, a righteous turn that, if it came from a stage, would almost certainly prompt applause. On record, an agreeing nod will likely do. Siren loops from some kind of tonal submarine arrive late and set in motion the hum and fade-in of “Pelagic Blue Haze,” the 11:57 closer of the 45RPM segment, the patient unfolding of which offers something of a transition for those about to embark on the slower incarnations of these same tracks. It’s fair play that Kandodo McBain would save their most willfully hypnotic cut for last, but around 7:45, when the drums cut out, they shift into guitar drones and sort of residual melodies with just a hint of noise, as if to remind there’s more to come.

And so there is. Of course, with the slower playing speed, Lost Chants/Last Chance becomes about a third longer at 33RPM, going from 55:41 to 1:15:13. The shift also puts “Really Blown Out” over the 20-minute mark. Time, however, stops mattering by about 30 seconds in, and as so much of the groove presented earlier will, “Really Blown Out”‘s flow seems all the more graceful in its more downtempo showing. I don’t know if the 33RPM versions are mixed differently, but the mellotron reads as more of a forward presence in the opener, and the resulting immersion is a delightful dreamstate that continues as “Holiest Syke” enacts a familiar but modified push just before it hits two minutes. Both it and “Megladon’t Ever,” which on the 45RPM disc were relatively quick compared to their surroundings, benefit from the tempo change, but again, “Megladon’t Ever” might be the single piece most changed by the swap to 33RPM. Maskell‘s drums, particularly the steady hits of ride cymbal, emerge with a ritualized sensibility one only hears in hindsight on “Megladon’t” proper. That makes the song’s shift into noise all the more of a march to oblivion and nothing short of glorious for that, and between “Chant of the Ever so Slowly Circling Last Vulture” at 17:53 and “Deep Blue Pelagic Haze” at 16:09, the final two cuts on Lost Chants/Last Chance comprise an album unto themselves.

Along with the somewhat more grueling stomp of toms, the underlying drone in “Chant of the Ever so Slowly Circling Last Vulture” is a defining factor, but really, if you’re not lost in what Kandodo McBain are doing at this point, heavy psych might not be your thing. The penultimate slab oozes into and through a wash of noise and those same sirens — only slower — lead into the more foreboding-sounding drone that starts “Deep Blue Pelagic Haze.” It’s interesting to note that in changing the titles between the 45RPM and the 33RPM versions, Kandodo McBain emphasize an idea of “more.” Granted the tracks are longer inherently, as noted, but it goes further than that as well in there being an increased expressiveness that comes through. One can hear it in the sweet guitar figures of “Deep Blue Pelagic Haze,” which bring the entire project full circle in the otherworldly but memorable vibe they create, as well as in Maskell‘s hi-hat — even that becomes part of the overarching wash. A long trail into the titular haze and a likewise long fadeout follow, capping Lost Chants/Last Chance with the sense of having journeyed to another plane, arrived there, and departed again for someplace yet to be discovered. It is a trance that lasts even after the actual audio stops, and so seems fair to call genuinely affecting.

One of the aspects that most stands out about Lost Chants/Last Chance when viewed from some measure of distance, is that if Kandodo McBain had chosen to release either of the 45RPM or 33RPM versions of these tracks on their own, one would hardly be able to sort out which were the originals. That is, if one heard the “Megladon’t Ever” without having heard “Megladon’t” before it, the likelihood of their going, “This sounds like the slowed-down version of another track” is just about nil. Both listening experiences are believable, and each creates its own soundscape and sets its own course using the same music, and while it’s an experiment that just about everybody with a turntable has tried at one point or another in their lives, to put out a full-length album of jams that specifically promotes the change in rotation speed is admirably bold, and Kandodo McBain pull it off entirely through the scope and strength of the material itself, rather than just the novelty of the initial exercise. Cool concept, yes, but it’s the songs that make all the difference.

Kandodo McBain, Lost Chants/Last Chance (2016)

Kandodo on Thee Facebooks

Kandodo on Bandcamp

Kandodo McBain at Creepy Crawl Records

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Glitter Wizard Announce European Tour Starting April 8

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Hints were dropped last fall of a return trio to Europe from San Francisco’s Glitter Wizard to herald the arrival of their Hollow Earth Tour full-length and alliance with Italian label Heavy Psych Sounds, and beginning April 8 on the first of several Italian dates, that stint will begin. Its trajectory leads the Californians toward a closeout set at Desertfest Berlin 2017, at which point they’ll have been on the road for three weeks solid, playing in the aforementioned Italy as well as France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium. I say or at least think this about nearly every European tour I see — BECAUSE I’D VERY MUCH LIKE TO TOUR EUROPE, THANK YOU — but it looks like a damn good time.

You’ll find the dates below, snagged from Heavy Psych Sounds on the social medias with all good intentions.

Dig:

glitter wizard european tour

Glitter Wizard – European Tour April 2017

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records & Booking is very proud to announce the European dates for GLITTER WIZARD

The band will be on tour promoting their latest album “Hollow Earth Tour.”

The tour will feature as last date the mighty Desertfest 2017!!

08.04.2017 IT Pescara-Scumm
09.04.2017 IT Castel D Ario-Hostaria
10.04.2017 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando
11.04.2017 IT Trieste-Tetris
12.04.2017 IT Erba-Centrale Rock
13.04.2017 IT Parma Tba
14.04.2017 FR Eisenheim-Woodstock Guitar Shop
15.04.2017 CH Ins-Schuxenhouse
16.04.2017 CH Olten-Coq D’Or
17.04.2017 DE Karlsrhue-Akk
18.04.2017 BE Liege-La Zone
19.04.2017 DE Stuttgart-Goldmarks
20.04.2017 AT Innsbruck-Pmk
21.04.2017 AT Bludenz-Villa K
22.04.2017 IT Caldaro-Kuba
23.04.2017 DE Freiburg-White Rabbit
24.04.2017 CH Basel-Swartze Erle
25.04.2017 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse
26.04.2017 CH St Gallen-Rumpeltum
27.04.2017 DE Cottbus-Zum Faulen August
28.04.2017 DE Erfurt-Tiko
29.04.2017 DE Berlin-Desert Fest

Glitter Wizard:
WENDY STONEHENGE: “Master of Ceremonies,” vocals / flute / lyrics / piano
LORFIN TERRAFOR: “Minister of defense,” guitar / vocals / piano / percussion / bong
KANDI MOON: “Ambassador to Hollow Earth,” bass / vocals / acoustic & electric guitar / piano
FANCY CYMBALLS: “Minister of Transportation,” drums / tecate
DOUG GRAVES: “Minister of Records,” keys / synth / organ / violin / vocals

https://glitterwizard.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Glitter-Wizard/77619029508
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

Glitter Wizard, Hollow Earth Tour (2016)

Tags: , , ,

Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold: A Return from the Hexadic

Posted in Reviews on February 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

six organs of admittance burning the threshold

Considering how much of Ben Chasny‘s approach in the nearly 20 years he’s operated under the banner of Six Organs of Admittance has been experimental — from solo-crafted noise drones to full-band psychedelic blowouts on various albums, limited releases, one-off collaborations, and so on — it doesn’t seem fair to think of his latest outing, Burning the Threshold, as some kind of “return to roots,” but it does represent a marked realignment of his sound. Burning the Threshold arrives via Drag City as the follow-up to 2015’s Hexadic (review here) and 2016’s Hexadic II, which served as a vehicle for a complex, mathematical, somewhat opaque (to my caveman brain) method of composition of Chasny‘s own devising — he wrote a book about it as well — and were arguably his most progressive and conceptual offerings the guitarist also known for Comets on FireRangdaAugust Born, and so on, has put forth.

Unsurprisingly, as Chasny moves away from the Hexadic system at least for the time being and shifts toward a more straightforward songwriting style, his material seems far less angular and far more accessible. At an unassuming nine tracks/40 minutes, Burning the Threshold breathes out richly melodic folk, tinged with psychedelia particularly on “Taken by Ascent” in a way that pieces like “Close to the Sky” from 2012’s Ascent (review here), or the tense title-track of 2007’s Shelter from the Ash have dared to be — the album between, 2009’s Luminous Night, looked more toward Easternisms for its psych explorations, when it wasn’t droning out — including arrangements of drums, bass and guitar, but the core of Six Organs of Admittance is Chasny as the auteur.

Where the Hexadic records were more of a display for the system itself — not to say they weren’t expressive, but in a different manner — Burning the Threshold reemphasizes the human such that pieces like “Under Fixed Stars” or the instrumental “Around the Axis” in the album’s midsection feel burn of folk traditions despite remaining forward thinking. If that isn’t the definition of “neo-folk,” it should be, but whatever one calls it, the execution is Chasny‘s own and will be immediately recognizable as such to those who’ve followed him from releases like the aforementioned Shelter from the Ash or the earlier The Sun Awakens (2006), School of the Flower (2005) and Compathia (2003). He’s not recreating those sounds, varied as they were, but moving ahead with perhaps a similar foundation. The sweetness of opener “Things as They Are” comes across as a marked statement of intent; immediately Burning the Threshold is a return to reality, even with its chorus about angels and moral portrait of the universe.

six organs of admittance (Photo-by-Elisa-Ambrogio)

Followed by “Adoration Song,” which along with gorgeous layers of self-harmonized singing subtly introduces backing vocals, electric guitar, bass and drums that will be pivotal later on “Taken by Ascent,” the beginning of the record is as wonderfully immersive as only a sigh of relief can be. As he guides listeners through the tracklist, the short, acoustic-only instrumental piece “Reservoir” leading to the aforementioned, more fleshed out pairing of “Under Fixed Stars” and “Around the Axis,” Chasny seems to bask in the brightness he’s creating, such that “Adoration Song” and “Under Fixed Stars” exude patience bordering on the meditative; an aural stop for rose-smelling, maybe. Like the best of his work and others still to come here as well, these songs are progressive and affecting as well, familiar and strikingly new, and as the bouncing bassline of “Around the Axis” fills the space beneath the acoustic guitar with a tonal warmth not to be understated, Six Organs of Admittance sounds very much like a project come home to find its footing.

Such evocation is nothing new for Chasny, and I’ll allow my interpretation could be way off — certainly happened before — but even as the buzz of “Taken by Ascent” pushes outward into a standout hook with Chasny joined on vocals by Hayley Fohr, Chris Corsano on drums and Cooper Crain, breaking at almost exactly its midpoint and moving into a smooth instrumental psych-jam (again, the low end resonates), there seems to be a search for serenity happening. That continues as “Threshold of Light,” which is as close as we get to a title-track here, picks up with its swirling vocal effects and more earthbound acoustic figure, both vaguely ritualized. The second half of “Taken by Ascent” is hypnotic enough that just about any transition away from it would be jarring, but “Threshold of Light” presents a calm psychedelic folk, with vocals playing forward lines off chants and repetition that underscore a spiritual sensibility. If this indeed is the threshold that’s burning, one is left to wonder why as the keyboard flourish arrives late in a kind of soothing revelation, but not having it explained outright seems to fit with the notion the album originally proffered: it’s things as they are.

A resurgent bounce in the finger-plucked instrumental “St. Eustace” makes that track the third in a pastoral trilogy — arranged from shortest to longest — with “Reservoir” and “Around the Axis,” while the title references the Roman saint whose trials included the loss of his children to wolves and lions and being burned alive in a bronze statue. Hardly as uplifting as the redemption one hears in Chasny‘s guitar, but the closer, “Reflection” keeps to the theme in pleading, “Please, please peace,” amid repetitions of “Dull, abstract aching…” and so on atop wistful lines of acoustic strum and airy electrified notes. If one looks at Burning the Threshold as two vinyl sides with the split occurring between “Around the Axis” and “Taken by Ascent” — the latter leading off side B — then the second half seems to dig into more personal territory compared to “Things as They Are,” which is a more external parable. This progression toward inner emotionalism gives Six Organs of Admittance‘s latest a linear trajectory despite how far-out it goes in terms of sound, and the intimacy and depth of communication that emerges from it is perhaps what ties Burning the Threshold most to the body of Chasny‘s formidable catalog, to which these songs are a welcome addition.

Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold (2017)

Six Organs of Admittance website

Six Organs of Admittance on Twitter

Drag City Records website

Drag City on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,