Swiss trio Sons of Morpheus released their self-titled debut last September through Deepdive Records. Earlier this month, they hit Studio Stübio in Luzern to record three songs from that album. Intent on doing it live to best capture the chemistry between guitarist/vocalist Manuel Bissig, bassist Lukas Kurmann and drummer Simon Gautsch, they wound up bringing to life the tracks “Eye of the Storm,” “Sugar Boogie” and “Psilocybin” all in one take. Snakehill Productions, whose Karma to Burn behind-the-scenes videos were recently featured here, was on-hand to tape the proceedings, and I’m happy today to be able to host the premiere of that video.
The clip is 28 minutes long, and accordingly it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think of it as a short live set from the three-piece. “Eye of the Storm” and the aptly-titled “Sugar Boogie” appear next to each other on the Sons of Morpheus album as well, though in the opposite order, and the flow between those songs and “Psilocybin” is palpable. The openers are a catchy, natural-toned pair that work well side-by-side in showcasing the rhythmic fluidity between Kurmann and Gautsch and Bissig‘s penchant for tossing off classic-style leads at the drop of a hat. As they move into the faster “Sugar Boogie,” that dynamic holds, and it does so as well once they get into the more stretched out “Psilocybin.”
It’s a psychedelic jam directly descended from Jimi Hendrix‘s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).” On the album, “Psilocybin” stretches over nine minutes, and I think it’s longer than that here, as Sons of Morpheus gradually build from a quiet psychedelia to more propulsive blues rock en route to jamming the whole thing to pieces in an intense final barrage. That too is a pretty classic notion, but whatever familiar elements Sons of Morpheus are working with, they’re right to do it live, because what most distinguishes them is how well the three-piece work together. If you’re not convinced by the end of the Snakehill/Studio Stübio video, I’m not sure what to tell you.
Please find the whole video on the player below (quite a future we live in), followed by some thoughts from the band on recording live and more. Enjoy:
Sons of Morpheus, “Eye of the Storm”, “Sugar Boogie” and “Psilocybin” Live
We all have our own answer regarding the question what it takes for a band to be truly special. The songs? The excess? The looks? All wrong. What makes music special is the life which is pumped into it. The sorcery. The magic. Enter Sons Of Morpheus: Three Swiss musicians, united in wish and goal. “We are a unit following the same thoughts and the same aims”, vocalist Manuel Bissig explains. No words are needed to express what these are. You hear it. Feel it. With their self-titled debut, they evoke a sonic trance between Stoner, Blues, Rock and wavering psychedelia, between the golden aura of yesterday and the expectant hiss of tomorrow. What unites Sons Of Morpheus with the heroes of the sixties and seventies, with all these iconic forefathers of our contemporary riff, is absolute freedom.
That’s why Sons Of Morpheus shows a sense of jamming, of improvising and of courageous edges despite all that groove and Stoner dust. Only all too clear that playing live lies at the very core of their art. “We are a live band, thus we record live”, Bissig states as if this was no big deal at all. Recording with titan Jim Waters (Sonic Youth, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion), consequently, was not only a logical step but also the best decision this band could ever make. This record rumbles, it roars, it creaks as if the band was thrashing your living room. “When recording live, this single moment gives birth to something that is feeding on the emotions present in this room. In this moment, only music matters.” And precisely this music is of such a dreamlike power that evokes envy even in the eponymous God of Sleep.