Various Artists, Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3: Journeys End and Begin

Posted in Reviews on January 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

electric funeral cafe vol 3

Look. The thing is immense. One can barely hope to give a decent accounting of a compilation in a review in the easiest of scenarios, but to attempt to sum up the scope of Robustfellow ProductionsElectric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3, which spans three CDs in its physical incarnation and tops out at an astonishing 48 tracks and four-plus hours of listening material when the digital bonus tracks are included from the Bandcamp version, the idea itself becomes silly. All one can really do is the same thing the listener likely does: make your way through it at your own pace, try to absorb as much as you can, and step back to admire the incredible amount of coordinating effort that must have gone into its making.

The latter is particularly impressive as what’s been touted as the final installment of the Kiev-based Robustfellow‘s Electric Funeral Cafe trilogy — nothing like going out with a bang — is bigger even than its predecessors, which came out in 2016 and 2015 and were “only” two discs apiece. The first two were broken down into component Electric and Funeral halves, arranged along this theme by discs. This edition works much the same way, with the Electric discs more focused on heavy rock and the Funeral disc dug into dirge-style doom and sludge, but adds the Cafe disc, on which one might be hear the Beatles-gone-electro-pop psych of Black Maloka, the Creedence Clearwater Revival-style boogie of Freeky Clean or the pure Doorsian meandering of The Jossers, along with more familiar names like Krobak (a Stoned Jesus side-project) or The Legendary Flower Punk (a The Grand Astoria side-project).

As with the earlier volumes, the bulk of the inclusions here highlight the underground boom in the Ukraine itself. 38 of the total 48 groups involved hail from the Ukraine. Two more are from Russia (The Legendary Flower Punk and A Foggy Realm, also on the Cafe disc), and one each from Japan (Eternal Elysium, on the Electric disc), Finland (Loinen, Funeral disc), the US (Contra, Electric), Sweden (Suffer Yourself, Funeral), Belarus (Nebulae Come Sweet, Funeral), the UK (Sons of Alpha Centauri, Cafe), and Italy (Le Scimmie, Funeral). It’s easy to get lost in the sprawl of a release like this, certainly, but worth noting all the same that this is the first of the Electric Funeral Cafe offerings to branch outside the Ukraine itself, so even as Robustfellow ends the series, it does so by reaching into new territories, making the project all the more impressive. One imagines that if the label kept it going, it would only continue to grow.

ELECTRIC FUNERAL CAFE POSTER

Not that it’s lacking in its current form, of course. Pick your poison and it’s likely here somewhere, from the progressive heavy vibes of Stonefromthesky and Ethereal Riffian on the Electric disc to the deathly chug of Chainsaw Jack‘s “Crashing Waves” and post-hardcore-sludge of Nebulae Come Sweet on the Funeral disc to the ’90s-style psych of Vermilion Nocturne and beat-backed drone of Submatukana‘s “Genesis” — which boasts a sampled Bible reading amid creepy whispered vocals — on the Cafe disc. There are, of course, a host of bands here who aren’t so easily fit into one category or another, as Dreadnought foreshadow on the Electric disc some of the screaming that will be a running theme throughout most of the Funeral disc, and the huge Ufomammut-style roll, push and echoes of Soom on Funeral do likewise for Cafe, but each piece of Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 offers something distinct from the others, and so the themes are not only ably established, but solidified while jumping from band to band, city to city, country to county, atmosphere to atmosphere.

And as ever for a worthy various-artists release, Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 presents a number of curios warranting further investigation. In particular, Lviv’s 1914, who lead off the Funeral disc with “8×50 mm Repetiergewehr M95” would seem to have a fixation with WWI — remind me to tell you sometime about how it was the fall of Western Civilization; unless you’re European, in which case you already know — and Lucifer Rising on the Electric disc blend modern buzz tone with classic blues rock thrust, but there are a swath of such interest-piquers as the comp plays out, and the real challenge lies in not being overwhelmed by all of it.

Much to the credit of Robustfellow and to the benefit of the acts contributing, everyone is given a genuine chance to ply their sonic wares, whether that’s a sub-three-minute death-doom rumbler like Monmuth‘s “Vail Seven” or the nine-minute heavy post-rock rollout of Stonefromthesky‘s “67,” which makes sense in a if-you’re-going-to-do-it-and-it’s-already-huge-then-don’t-skimp kind of way, and if the tradeoff for that is there’s a lot of music to dig into, it’s the kind of issue a listener should probably be thankful to take on, even if it requires multiple rounds to get through the front-to-back experience — a four-hour listening session is a rare gift in these busy times. Bottom line is Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 will be there, whether one wants to take it as a whole or in pieces — as a document of Ukrainian heavy, yes, but also the scene’s will to reach outside itself and include others in a creative conversation — and as that movement continues to flourish and progress, such an impulse can only help broaden a scope already shown here to be considerable. And by considerable, I mean staggering.

Various Artists, Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 (2017)

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Robustfellow Productions website

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Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 Compilation Due Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 14th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

If you’ve had the chance to check out the prior two installments of Robustfellow Productions‘ compilation series Electric Funeral Cafe, you already know they’re massive things. Huge in terms of the sheer amount of music they feature, and with a strong focus solely directed on the Ukrainian heavy scene, they bring to light some acts who those of us outside the region might not necessarily run into on a daily basis. Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 is no different, but it’s worth noting that in addition to the good dose of acts from Kiev and Lviv it provides, it for the first time pushes international and boasts bands from the US, the UK, Belarus, Finland, Japan and Sweden included, so this final installment in the series — which comes with seven more tracks if you get the digital version — is by no means limited. Fitting for the mission of the series that it would expand even unto its conclusion.

I feel like the first line below under specifications really says it all: 41 bands, 9 countries, three discs, over three and a half hours of music. Sold.

Release date is Jan. 21. Here’s info from the PR wire:

electric funeral cafe vol 3

V/A – ‘Electric Funeral Café vol.3’

Formats: 3xCD in Deluxe digipack & Download
Catalogue # RBF 016 | IHR005
Label: Robustfellow Prods. & Iron Hamster Recs.
Release Date: 21 January 2017

Specifications:
– 41 bands from 9 countries on 3 CDs lasts for more than 3,5 hours
– Including 23 special tracks that you hardly hear anywhere else
– Plus 7 bonus tracks on digital version on bandcamp
– The final chapter of EFC trilogy
– Deluxe ltd.ed. that will consist of EFC vol.1,2,3
– Launch Party 21.I.2017 @ Winter Mass [“Monte Ray Live Stage”, Kyiv, UA]

Artwork design by Zinkovskaya Oksana
Design and DTP by Marsym Gavronsky
Made in Ukraine | 21.I.2017

List of robust bands involved in EFC vol.3 from A to Z:
1914 [Lviv, UA]
5R6 [Kharkiv, UA]
A Foggy Realm [Moscow, RU]
Atomic Simao [Kyiv, UA]
Bichkraft [Kyiv, UA]
Black Maloka [Kyiv, UA]
Borum [Kyiv, UA]
Chainsaw Jack [Kharkiv, UA]
Contra [Cleveland, OH, USA]
Dreadnought [Ternopil`, UA]
Drunk Diver [Lviv, UA]
Eternal Elysium [Nagoya, JP]
Ethereal Riffian [Kyiv, UA]
Filthy Rich Preacher [Cherkassy, UA]
Freeky Cleen [Kyiv, UA]
Krobak [Kyiv/Kharkiv, UA]
Katakomba [Kyiv, UA]
Le Scimmie [Vasto, IT]
Les Gendarmes [Kyiv, UA]
Loinen [Karjaa, FIN]
Love’n’Joy [Kyiv, UA]
Lucifer Rising [Kyiv, UA]
MAUT [Ivano-Frankivsk, UA]
Monmuuth [Dnipro, UA]
Nebulae Come Sweet [Minsk, BY]
Night on Fire [Zhytomyr, UA]
Ningen-girai [Cherkassy, UA]
Nödutgång:Självmord [Poltava, UA]
Obriy [Uzhgorod,UA]
Octopus Kraft [Drohobych/Lviv, UA]
Onsager [Khmelnitsky, UA]
OwlCraft [Cherkassy, UA]
Risin Sabotage [Kyiv, UA]
Small Depo [Kyiv, UA]
Sons Of Alpha Centauri [Kent, UK]
Soom [Kharkiv, UA]
Space-man [Lviv, UA]
stonefromthesky [Kyiv, UA]
Straytones [Kyiv, UA]
Submatukana [Dnipro, UA]
Suffer Yourself [Kyiv, UA/Linköping, SWE]
The Curse Of Wendigo [Kharcyzk/Kyiv, UA]
The Jossers [Kalush, UA]
The Legendary Flower Punk [St.Petersburg, RU]
Trip Inside Me [Kyiv, UA]
Tungu [Chernihiv,UA]
Vermilion Nocturne [Kyiv, UA]
Warningfog [Kyiv, UA]

http://robustfellow.blogspot.com/
https://robustfellow.bandcamp.com
https://www.youtube.com/user/TheRobustfellow
https://www.facebook.com/RobustfellowProds/
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Various Artists, Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 2 (2016)

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H42 Records Marks Three Years with Home of the Deer Vol. I Compilation

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 8th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Hamburg’s H42 Records has kept itself pretty busy since the 2013 release of The Flying Eyes‘ and Golden Animals‘ split single (streamed here), and the imprint will take a moment to celebrate its accomplishments as it pushes past the three-year mark next month with a new compilation called Home of the Deer Vol. I. The name of course implies it’s a series with more to come, but either way, the 16 included tracks showcase some of the killer material past, present and future in which H42 has been involved with releasing.

Nothing like starting off with some Mos Generator, and from an acoustic track from Kadavar-offshoot The Loranes to previously unreleased cuts from Mangoo, Daily Thompson, Molior Superum and others, there is much to dig into from there. Release announcement and track info follow, as seen on the PR wire:

various artists home of the deer vol. 1

H42 Records CD LABEL SAMPLER ,Home Of The Deer – Vol. I’ sees the light of day before X-Mas!

On 22 January 2016 the Hamburg based Label H42 Records is celebrating its third anniversary. Among other things, this will be celebrated with the Promo Label Sampler ‘Home Of The Deer Vol. 1’. From the 14th December, all songs will be streamed for two days till January 22th 2016 on the Bandcamp page (https://h42records.bandcamp.com/album/the-roaring-deer-vol-one-h42-025) of the label. Among them are well-known songs from H42 Records releases such as ‘Raise Hell’ by The Flying Eyes from H42 Records first output in 2013, but also new previously unreleased tracks as ‘The Awakening’ by Mos Generator or the brand new track ‘Supernova Remnant’ of Molior Superum. Best of all, Everyone who stocks up with vinyl from the H42 Records shop (www.h42records.8merch.com), get one of these limited promo CDs for FREE. Do not forget only available while stock lasts.

Tracklist:
01 Mos Generator – The Awakening (Reference Mix)
Previously unreleased – recorded at HeavyHead Recordings 2015
02 Sons Of Alpha Centauri – 27
originally released 2012 on Bro Fidelity Split 12“-Vinyl
03 Lord Of Giant – Dust Demon
taken from H42-Records release H42-006 ‚Dust Demon/Woman 7“
04 Mangoo – Hooks (Live)
previously unreleased live recording – Live at VR Studios 10.04.2012 Åbo, Finnland
05 Daily Thompson – Lo-Fi
previously unreleased – recorded at MountHoven Studios Dortmund 2015
06 The Loranes – Hey You Said (Acoustic Version)
previously unreleased acoustic version originally from ‚Trust‘ 2015 – recorded November 2015
07 Molior Superum – Supernova Remnant
previously unreleased – recorded 2015
08 The Flying Eyes – Raise Hell
taken from H42-Records release H42-001 Split with Golden Animals 7“
09 Enos – Devil Makes Work (Live)
taken from DVD ‚Live at East Slope‘ – recorded 20.04.2013
10 Dean Allen Foyd –Devil’s Path
taken from H42-Records release H42-007 ‚Sunshine Song‘ 7“
11 Black Salvation – Flickering Days
previously unreleased – recorded on the ‚I am Pretended‘-Session
12 Mother Of God – Dark Sun Above
taken from H42-Records release H42-003 ‚Black Ocean‘ 7“
13 Larman Clamor -Drone Monger (Bonk Then Stomp)
taken from H42-Records Release H42-020 Split with Blackwolfgoat 7“
14 Odd Couple – Nightcrawl
Taken from Odd Couples debut ‚It’s a pressure to meet you‘ 2014
15 Coogans Bluff – She Gave Her Life For A Man
taken fromH42-Records release H42-010 ‚Ein Herz voller Soul‘ 7“
16 Alpha Cat – The Last Day Of Summer
originally released 2009 – first time on vinyl in 2016 on H42 Records

www.facebook.com/H42Records
www.h42records.com
www.twitter.com/H42records
www.h42records.8merch.com

Sons of Alpha Centauri, “27”

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Yawning Sons’ Ceremony to the Sunset Vinyl Due this Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 14th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

I was fortunate enough to be there to take the above photo of Yawning Sons at the 2013 Desertfest in London. Their set was plagued by technical difficulties — all the more a bummer since the collaboration between Yawning Man‘s Gary Arce and UK instrumentalists Sons of Alpha Centauri doesn’t happen every day — but still, my affection for Yawning Sons‘ debut album, Ceremony to the Sunset (review here), had (and has) endured to the point where it hardly mattered. Just being there to watch them jam out, even for about half their allotted time, was one of the high points for me of that entire trip.

Seems I’m not the only one who still digs on Ceremony to the Sunset five years after its initial release through Cobraside Distribution. Respected Spanish imprint Alone Records has the album slated for a vinyl pressing on Oct. 6, with a preceding digital reissue next week. That’s notable because the record is gorgeous and worth hearing for anyone who hasn’t yet had the occasion, and because in addition to reworked cover art, the new version will also feature a previously unreleased track from Yawning Sons, started with the intent of being included on the album but never finished.

You can find the vinyl details below — pressing of 500, transparent colors, etc. — courtesy of the PR wire, but keep an eye out either way, since rumor has it this is a prelude to further collaboration between Arce and Sons of Alpha Centauri, and if that’s the case, the desert just got richer.

Dig:

YAWNING SONS is the result of a unique collaboration between musicians from different sides of the Atlantic. ALONE RECORDS are proud to present the vinyl release of the desert rock classic CEREMONY TO THE SUNSET.

Limited to only 500 copies housed in a deluxe gatefold housing on either transparent yellow, red or orange vinyl this release includes the original closing album track from the studio master tapes not on the 2009 release! CEREMONY TO THE SUNSET has proven itself as a classic desert rock album and five years after initial release deserves the fullest vinyl release treatment – a revelation to fans of any and every of the artists involved.

Since 2009 and this release, YAWNING SONS have gone from strength to strength releasing their first 7″ single from Abbey Road Studios in 2010 with desert brothers ‘WaterWays’ and beginning live performances in 2013. Return now to the beginning of the adventure with this deluxe release and remember the freedom of music and the spirit of the CEREMONY TO THE SUNSET!!

Limited to only 500 copies housed in a deluxe gatefold housing on either transparent yellow, red or orange heavy vinyl.

Highly limited pre-orders begin here: http://www.the-stone-circle.com/store/ and the LP release date is October 6th.

The album will be digitally re-released on Monday August 25th.

http://www.the-stone-circle.com/store/
https://www.facebook.com/yawningsons

Yawning Sons, “Ghostship – Deadwater”

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Karma to Burn and Sons of Alpha Centauri Release Split 7″

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 24th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Instrumental heavy pioneers Karma to Burn — who draw the straightest line from here to rock that you’ll ever see –teamed up with UK progressive heavy outfit Sons of Alpha Centauri for a split single back in 2009, and I guess it must have been a pretty pleasant experience. They’ve decided to make a sequel.

Containing Karma to Burn‘s “53” and Sons of Alpha Centauri‘s “71” (it was “14” and “65” last time around), the new split is out on Germany’s H42 Records. Sons of Alpha Centauri, in addition to the prior split with Karma to Burn, also released a split in 2009 with KTB guitarist Will Mecum‘s Treasure Cat trio, so the two units are no strangers, and for Karma to Burn, this marks the latest in a string of non-album releases since 2012’s V that also includes a self-titled 2013 EP, two live records and an instrumental re-recording of their first album, dubbed Slight Reprise.

PR wire details and a video teaser follow:

Karma To Burn/Sons of Alpha Centauri Split 7“ OUT NOW!

H42 Records is very proud to announce the return of two instrumental titans and their ongoing partnership to reinvigorate the hard rock world without words! On 21 April 2014 the ‘Karma to Burn / Sons of Alpha Centauri’ split 7″ enters the stratosphere in the form of a three different coloured vinyls and two brand new tracks ‘Fifty Three’ and ’71’ mastered at Abbey Road Studios!

This is the second 7″ featuring both bands and follows up the immense popularity of the first vinyl and captures the raw energy and driving rock fury of both bands yet again. This release will only be available on vinyl with limited pre-orders available exclusively through H42 Records.

Three different vinyl versions are available as blue/white marbled, orange/black marbled & black heavy release in deluxe design sleeves from ‘Alexander Von Wieding’. The vinyl will also be available on the forthcoming summer European Tour – check back for dates!

This release is only available on vinyl in three different versions:
130 pieces blue/white marbled
130 pieces orange/black marbled
240 pieces black

http://www.h42records.com/h42-005/
http://www.sonsofalphacentauri.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/sonsofalphacentauri/
https://www.facebook.com/karma.toburn.3
http://www.k2burn.net/

Karma to Burn/Sons of Alpha Centauri Split 7″ Teaser

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WaterWays, Sons of Alpha Centauri, Hotel Wrecking City Traders Split LP: An Intercontinental Tapestry of Tone

Posted in Reviews on October 8th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

A three-way split released in gorgeous 180 gram LP (limited to 500), with each of its participants represented in a different primary color – red for Californian desert rockers WaterWays, blue for UK prog instrumentalists Sons of Alpha Centauri and yellow for Australian brotherly noise rock duo Hotel Wrecking City Traders – the latest Bro Fidelity Records is every bit as intricate and lush in its psychedelia as its Alexander von Wieding artwork. The three bands display distinct personalities between them and as WaterWays come first with side A all to themselves and twice as much material as either Sons of Alpha Centauri or Hotel Wrecking City Traders, they’re obviously meant as a focal point. No wonder, given the band’s lineup. WaterWays boasts in its ranks guitarist Gary Arce of Yawning Man, bassist/vocalist Mario Lalli and drummer Tony Tornay (both of Fatso Jetson) and vocalist Abby Travis, who in the past has collaborated with the likes of Masters of Reality and Eagles of Death Metal, so if they come first of the three acts represented here, at least they earned it via pedigree. It’s also not the first time Hotel Wrecking City Traders – who also run Bro Fidelity Records – have sought to highlight Gary Arce’s work. The band collaborated with Arce on a 2011 collaborative 12” (review here). And as WaterWays’ first release was a late-2010 split with Yawning Sons, which is Arce’s pan-oceanic collaboration with Sons of Alpha Centauri, he would seem to be the figure tying everything together on this split, particularly as his influence has bled into the work of Ben and Toby Matthews of Hotel Wrecking City Traders on their contribution here, the 9:37 closer “Pulmo Victus.” Before them, on side B, Sons of Alpha Centauri dig deep into their archives to unearth the 8:48 track “27,” from an early recording session, and of course on side A, WaterWays take their time unfolding four songs of textured dune-minded psych, Lalli and Tornay’s well-honed chemistry underscoring Arce’s expansive tone and Travis’ sweetly melodic vocals.

Travis is joined vocally — presumably by Lalli — by low-register rhythmic singing on opener “Piece of You,” playing up a progressive feel early into the split. “Piece of You,” “Queen,” “The Blacksmith” and “WaterWays” are all relatively short, none touching five minutes, and they play out with more structure to them than one is necessarily used to in the often jam-minded context of Arce’s work. The guitarist in no small part defines any band he touches. His tone is inimitable and unmistakable, and for the most part, though it’s not what Yawning Man usually traffics in, he does well with the material, which still feels and sounds open despite having set verses and choruses. He’s hardly caged here – there’s still plenty of room in these songs for him to wander as he will, and even Yawning Man’s freest material doesn’t linger time-wise – but it’s Travis’ vocals that wind up characterizing much of what separates WaterWays from the slew of other Arce projects. She’s got just enough quirk in her voice to make “Piece of You” stand alongside the Palm Desert tradition of weird explorations while still injecting a soulful breathiness into “Queen,” somewhat ironically jarring the listener back to the sandy ground with the punctuated line, “You’re fucking high.” “Queen” has a Western march in its snare from Tornay and Lalli has no problem keeping up and setting the melody on bass while Arce emits echoes of what seems like an eternal lead. It would be the highlight of WaterWays’ section of the split but for “The Blacksmith,” which has “hey-ya, hey-ya” backing vocals behind Travis reminiscent of but not caricaturing Native American chants and the band’s most engaging chorus here. By contrast, the eponymous “WaterWays” offers “lalala”s and an introductory progression that reminds strikingly of Geto Boys’ “Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta,” which left an impression as a featured track in the movie Office Space. Sonic coincidence most likely, and the song moves away to a drum-led section with Tornay setting the course on his toms, but the vocals here seem like an afterthought added once the instrumental progression was set, and the repeated line, “Go the waterways,” falls short of the lullaby it seems to be reaching to be, its pacing just a little too quick to soothe in its four-minute course. Crash cymbals toward the end and layered vocals don’t exactly help in that regard either, though the song remains undeniably infectious.

Read more »

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Six Dumb Questions with Sons of Alpha Centauri

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on July 6th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

It’s been four years since UK instrumental heavy proggers Sons of Alpha Centauri released their self-titled full-length on Sound Devastation, and though they’ve got another record in the works, it’s not like the four-piece has been sitting still since that time. In 2009, they released one of the best albums of that year in Ceremony to the Sunset, the debut of Yawning Sons, their collaboration with Gary Arce of Californian desert legends Yawning Man, as well as a split with Karma to Burn offshoot Treasure Cat.

In 2011, Sons of Alpha Centauri return with another installment of Yawning Sons. This time, it’s a split 7″ with another of Arce‘s many projects, Waterways, and, as SOAC proper, another split 7″ — this one with Karma to Burn. If you believe in guilt by association, Sons of Alpha Centauri have thrown themselves headfirst into the upper echelon of the instrumental heavy underground, and while one hopes their next offering lives up to the high standard they’ve set in these collaborations, their progressive atmospheres have already helped make several strong releases even stronger.

There’s a lot to keep up with, so all the more reason to hit up bassist Nick Hannon to get a better sense of everything happening with the band. Fortunately, he was kind enough to field the interview and you’ll find the results below.

Sons of Alpha Centauri is Hannon, guitarist Marlon King, first-name-only ambience specialist Blake and drummer Stevie B. Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions.

1. How did the collaboration/split projects with Gary Arce and Karma to Burn come about? Does the writing process differ at all when you know someone else is going to be playing on the track?

The projects were quite straightforward to arrange. I called Gary and Will and they both responded with interest to develop some new music. SOAC are a flexible band and both Gary and Will [Mecum, Karma to Burn] are accommodating musicians. As such, when they came over, they used our equipment, and compositionally, we held the bass and drums low with room for guitars to breathe along. It was great to watch the tracks unfold in front of us from there! We played and practiced by the sea and everyone found it a very emotional and inspirational experience.

2. Tell me about the Yawning Sons process this time around. Did Gary come to the UK again to record?

No, no Gary by the sea this time! The track on the vinyl came from an original demo from the Garden Sessions from when we were all recording over in Marlon’s garden. There are quite a few tracks that didn’t make it onto Ceremony to the Sunset and that’s one of them. We didn’t have time in the studio so we re-recorded it and sent it over the Gary who laid it down thick on his end. We had it mastered at Abbey Road and it sounds very chilled. Just like when we were in the garden!

3. Any idea on a release date for the new Sons of Alpha Centauri full-length? How has the recording been, and can you give any hint as to what can be expected from the album? Did you have anything in mind specifically for the songwriting and recording?

We have been determined in writing and recording the second album but there’ll be plenty of music on there, so it’s not going to be a short production. Blake is having a much greater role in the band compared to six or seven years ago and it’s been great to grow since writing and recording the debut. All I can say for the time being is that it’s next logical step and level for us from the debut. Strangely we’ve been together 10 years and we’ve only just started recording our second album! We’re aiming for a release date of mid/late-2012.

4. Talk about the development of the Sons of Alpha Centauri sound. Do you feel that these collaborations have had an effect on how you create new material?

As we had hoped, we’ve grown from the collaborations and accelerated our learning curve for new ideas and exploration of sound for sure. In a way they’ve developed into entities in their own right now, which is cool. For the first five years we wrote 35 songs and picked some for an introduction to some of the styles we liked. The new album is a complete concept in itself and we’re really excited about it.

5. What does the word “progressive” mean to you?

To spiritually evolve organically within your environment. Musically the same applies to SOAC and Yawning Sons. We’re both progressive bands for sure – always evolving!

6. What’s next for you guys? Will you do any other joint projects or releases between now and the next Sons of Alpha Centauri release? Is anything in the works as far as touring after the record comes out?

Well, we’re busy at the moment, which is good. Later this year we’ll be finishing off and putting out the next Space Age and Cheesecake release on 7” vinyl. This is the second in the SOAC/Karma to Burn 7” series as it goes. As with the previous release it’s got a new SOAC track on there and new artwork from Alex Von Wieding. We’ll also be doing a special 12” release before the second album comes out so we’ll be focusing on that for the New Year. Got some great people involved with that…

As for touring, we’re hoping to play some shows in Europe next year and depending on our setup we’ll be looking to bring our background visual setup with us like we’ve been using for the UK shows.

Sons of Alpha Centauri’s website

Yawning Sons on Thee Facebooks

Space Age & Cheesecake Records

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Buried Treasure Gets Born in Space

Posted in Buried Treasure on September 29th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

I wanted to make sure I heard UK prog instrumentalists Sons of Alpha Centauri‘s follow-up contributions to their Last Day of Summer split/collaboration with Treasure Cat (Underdogma) before writing about their 2007 self-titled debut on Sound Devastation Records, because the first thought in my head on listening to that full-length was, “Man, these drums are dry.”

And they were. 2007’s Sons of Alpha Centauri was recorded live over two sessions between 2005 and 2006, and even after going through the album a couple times, I kept coming back to, “Can I get a little reverb here?” And in fact, I extended that to everything — the guitars and bass too, but still most especially the drums, and most especially the snare.

Finally I realized where this expectation came from. Prior to hearing either the Treasure Cat split or the self-titled, I knew Sons of Alpha Centauri principally by name and from their Yawning Sons collaboration with Yawning Man‘s Gary Arce. One thing about that record: it was drenched in reverb. I’m not going to say the drum sound on the first offering is perfect (any production issues are cleared up by the split, it’s also worth noting), but taking away my prejudiced expectation, I felt much less like something was missing from the sound of the band and was able to get into the record with no problem.

There’s plenty of it to get into, too. Sons of Alpha Centauri is 67 minutes long, a monster of an instrumental album, rife with riffs and clever turns. Groove isn’t the primary focus — Karma to Burn‘s an influence, but this isn’t trying to be Karma to Burn — but it’s there nonetheless, and as Marlon King‘s Tool-ish guitar line opens “(Battle at) the Forts,” it’s clear Sons of Alpha Centauri have a diverse range of inspirations. I was surprised to find more straightforward material on the split, like “Under Surveillance,” which goes so far as to include cowbell (very un-prog; not at all a complaint). Not sure if they were just rocking out for the sake of accompanying Treasure Cat, which boasts in its lineup guitarist Will Mecum of Karma to Burn, but it worked for them. The strong rhythm section of bassist Nick Hannon and drummer Stevie B. — the lineup is rounded out by Blake on “textures” — prove adaptable to either approach, so bonus points there.

Doesn’t make much sense to say it, but of the two, I’d recommend starting with both. Some of the production issues on the self-titled might give a mistaken first impression, but the songs are still definitely worth hearing, and the Sons of Alpha Centauri cuts on the split with Treasure Cat go a long way toward confirming those actually were production issues, rather than something internal with the band itself. Plus, the three Alpha Cat tracks on Last Day of Summer — that’s Sons of Alpha Centauri and Treasure Cat put together — are stellar. As a way of getting introduced to the band before either tackling their latest split 7″ with Karma to Burn or impending new album, you really shouldn’t hear one without the other.

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