Duuude, Tapes! Space Mushroom Fuzz, Back from the Past

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on January 30th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Exploratory heavy rockers Space Mushroom Fuzz may have decided to call their second tape boxed set Back from the Past, but it’s actually comprised of some of their most recent material. The prolific Boston space/jam/heavy rockers led by Adam Abrams (also Blue Aside) self-released four full-lengths last year between April and December, and all four — Man in the Shadow (April), A Possible Paradox (August), Stealing Some Time (November) and Burning the Almanac (December) — are gathered here, pressed DIY in an edition of only 20 copies (I got number 4, as I hope everyone does who winds up with one) and sold on the cheap for $8 through Space Mushroom Fuzz‘s Bandcamp. At two bucks an album, it seems fair to call Back from the Past a bargain even before one actually cracks it open and listens to the music, which upon play shows development over the course of the year and the band from the jammy sensibilities of their older material to a kind of garage space rock, Abrams a steady presence on guitar and vocals, as well as periodically working on drums and bass despite being joined in those roles by Clay Neely (Black Pyramid) and John Belcastro on drums, Scott Levine on bass for Burning the Almanac, and for a couple songs, Steve Melanson on saxophone.

More than anything, the mission of Space Mushroom Fuzz seems to be to weird out and have a good time. I can dig that. A studio project, that they’d have a slew of releases isn’t necessarily much of a surprise, and that there’s a glut of material doesn’t seem to take away from any kind of completeness in the songs — that is, sometimes when I band is geared toward putting out a lot of stuff, things can get rushed so they can move onto the next project. Abrams as the driving force of Space Mushroom Fuzz allows songs to develop to a natural point across these four albums, so that the layers of effects in “Gallopie” and “Wreckage” from Stealing Some Time are as much a part of the atmosphere as the root riffs and verses (at least verses in the case of the latter, since “Gallopie” is instrumental). In addition, I don’t know if it’s just because there’s so much of it all right next to each other, but it’s easy enough to read a sonic clarity coming into focus from one side of the tape to the next. The albums are positioned such that side one of tape one is the oldest album, Man in the Shadow — still less than a year old — and it runs through so that side two of tape two is the newest, Burning the Almanac. Finding a narrative arc there isn’t hard, and by the time Burning the Almanac comes around and Levine has joined his bass with Abrams‘ guitar and Belcastro‘s drums, Space Mushroom Fuzz sound that much more like the full band they’ve become.

That seems to be something the band acknowledge themselves on Burning the Almanac opener “The Cosmic Evolution,” though if I’m to be completely honest, I’ll say it’s an evaluation I made after hearing the digital version of that record, because when I flipped the tape over to listen to side two for the first time, my player promptly made a feast of it. Technical difficulties on my part notwithstanding, Space Mushroom Fuzz continue to be somewhat elusive as an act, working around a center of space rock that’s off-center and feeling its way through an ongoing progression even as it results in more and more recorded output, but in cases like Back from the Past, it’s interesting to have them step aside from time to time and take a look at what they’ve done. Their prior tape set, Seeing Double (review here), worked similarly if not as expansively, and the compilation format suits the project. As a lead player and the figure devising these songs and directing their progression, Abrams presents a gleefully strange take on psychedelia, weaving into and through convention en route to something decidedly and purposefully different. One might expect Space Mushroom Fuzz to lead with their newest work and move backwards from there, but listening to it front-to-back, their being counterintuitive seems to be part of the fun.

Space Mushroom Fuzz, Back from the Past (Dec. 2013)

Space Mushroom Fuzz on Thee Facebooks

Space Mushroom Fuzz on Bandcamp

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Duuude, Tapes! Space Mushroom Fuzz, Seeing Double

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on May 6th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

As one expects to a certain degree with jam-based space rock, Space Mushroom Fuzz has proven to be pretty prolific in its almost a year of releases. During that time, Adam Abrams (also of Blue Aside and Palace in Thunderland), who handles vocals, writes, records and plays guitar, bass, sometimes drums and synth, has released three full-lengths, a single and an EP — the last of which just came out last month. These self-releases were digital-only at first, but CD-Rs have followed and Abrams has collected the first two LPs — When Time Trippers Collide and Something Weird’s Going On – and the two-song Trapped in the Past single onto a two-cassette boxed set called, fittingly enough, Seeing Double.

Seeing Double is limited to 20 copies with artwork by Ralph Walters (see also Blue Aside, Groan, etc.) and comes packaged like a book on tape from grammar school in a plastic case that houses both tapes at once, and the White Rabbit out front is nothing but appropriate for Abrams‘ ultra-trippy sonics contained within, whether it’s “Shine on You Crazy Train Pt. 1″ from When Time Trippers Collide or the robo-acoustic swirl of “Scientist Sparks” from Something Weird’s Going On. Universally, the music is immersive, if somewhat underproduced, and intriguingly unpredictable. Sometimes Abrams and drummer John Belcastro embark on a go-long-go-strange space jam, and sometimes Abrams keeps the structures relatively terrestrial, as on the still-Floydian “The Other Side of Life,” the B-side to Trapped in the Past, which shows that just because Abrams puts a track to a verse and chorus doesn’t mean he can’t also make it as bizarre as he may so choose.

And if anything is apparent throughout Seeing Double it’s that Abrams so chooses to make it pretty damn bizarre. There’s a real turning point in methodology perceptible between the two full-lengths for when the synth became involved, and though the two full-lengths were home-recorded, Trapped in the Past found Space Mushroom Fuzz with the drums done by Clay Neely of Black Pyramid at Black Coffee Sound. Sure enough, the single is the fullest sounding slice on offer, but there’s still enough richness in “There’s Something Weird Going On Pt. 2″ to convey the ’80s prog rock moodiness that Abrams is going for, low end serving as a bed for the sharp guitar solo and synth percussion. Each of the Space Mushroom Fuzz releases was recorded relatively quickly — the single took the longest — but there’s a progression at play over the course of the material on Seeing Double that one finds continued on the newest full-length, Man in the Shadow – not included in the cassette box set, but already released last month. One can no more stop a space rock catalog from expanding than one can stop space itself, it would seem.

So be it. I don’t know if Abrams would ever put together a band to play live as Space Mushroom Fuzz, but the studio excursions have proved interesting and varied to date and there seems to be no slowing down in the project’s will toward interstellar survey. Again, there are only 20 copies of Seeing Double made, so for a lucky few space rockers, Abrams and company provide a curio and collectors piece as much as a summation of the project’s first couple installments.

Space Mushroom Fuzz, Something Weird’s Going On (2012)

Space Mushroom Fuzz on Bandcamp

Space Mushroom Fuzz on Thee Facebooks

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Space Mushroom Fuzz Post Video for “Trapped in the Past”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 27th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s only been a little over two months since Boston-based space rockers Space Mushroom Fuzz released their second album, Something Weird’s Going On, and only about six since their first full-length, When Time Trippers Collide (review here), was unveiled, so the two-piece have set a solid course of working quickly. Yet, I can’t help but notice that the song “Trapped in the Past,” for which they just today unveiled a new video, isn’t on either of those two albums.

The natural conclusion is that Space Mushroom Fuzz — the duo of Adam Abrams (also Blue Aside/Palace in Thunderland) and John Belcastro — already have more new stuff in the offing, which is an even more impressive pace than I previously thought. Either way, the video for “Trapped in the Past” is rife with a sort of low-budget psychedelic strangeness, Wonka-esque light flashes and periodic moments of clarity. It’s a trip, and you’ll find it on the player below.

I also thought I’d include the stream of Something Weird’s Going On from the Space Mushroom Fuzz Bandcamp page in case you wanted to dig a little further. Please enjoy:

Space Mushroom Fuzz, “Trapped in the Past”

And the full-length:

Space Mushroom Fuzz, Something Weird’s Going On

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On the Radar: Space Mushroom Fuzz

Posted in On the Radar on June 20th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Does Space Mushroom Fuzz exist? Well, if you open up two of their Bandcamps at the same time, then they exist twice. Did I just blow your mind? Good. Then you’re ready for the head-drenched effects jams of the Boston duo’s home-recorded debut, When Time Trippers Collide. The band, whatever they might lack in moniker and album titling proficiency, more than compensate for with the six extended tracks of the record itself, which is right up there with the heart of European next-gen psych heavies like Samsara Blues Experiment or even Electric Moon if Space Mushroom Fuzz were going to do it for 80 minutes at a clip.

The major difference between Space Mushroom Fuzz and those bands? It’s just two dudes. East Coasters might recognize the be-chapeaued Adam Abrams above from space-prog explorers Blue Aside or the newly-reborn Palace in Thunderland. In Space Mushroom Fuzz, Abrams handles guitar, bass, vocals and some drums and is joined by drummer John Belcastro. All of the music on When Time Trippers Collide was recorded between June 1 and June 20, 2012, and if you’re saying to yourself, “June 20? That’s today!” you’re absolutely right, but the release date isn’t listed as being until tomorrow, so wrap your head around that, time tripper.

But though the nature of the band means that not all these layers can come together improvised in a live setting, there’s a good deal of When Time Trippers Collide that feels made up on the spot, or at lease built on a basic rudimentary guitar/drum jam that was. If the tradeoff though for a not-all-live recording is going to be the bassline of “Watching the Watcher,” I’ll take it. Other highlights include the Tee-Pee Records-worthy vibe worship of “Space is Blue” and the jazzy hypnosis of “Shine on You Crazy Train Part 2.” Great way to zone yourself out.

And yeah, they’ve got some kinks to work out, but for a project to go from nothing to released — even if it’s just on their Bandcamp page — in 20 days is nothing to sneeze at. I have the feeling we could hear a lot more from Space Mushroom Fuzz in the future. Projects like this always seem to be infinitely expanding.

Here’s the album stream:

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