Review & Full Album Premiere: The Spacelords, Water Planet

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the spacelords water planet

[Click play above to stream The Spacelords’ Water Planet in full. Album is out Oct. 20 via Tonzonen and available to preorder on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.]

As one might expect for a record comprised of three sprawling heavy psychedelic instrumentals, atmosphere plays a large role in The Spacelords‘ fifth studio outing and second for Tonzonen Records, Water Planet. But it’s not the whole story. And from the underlying progressive melodies in Hazi Wettstein‘s layers of guitar on 11-minute opener “Plasma Thruster,” it’s clear there’s a plotline being followed at least to some degree. No doubt that Wettstein, bassist Akee Kazmaier and drummer Marcus Schnitzler (the latter also Electric Moon) are following naturalist cues throughout “Plasma Thunder” and the subsequent “Metamorphosis” (11:52) and “Nag Kanya” (19:35) that round out the 42-minute offering, but Water Planet has none of the willful clumsiness that often found in spaced-out records based on pure improvisation.

There’s songcraft at work here, however little it might have to do with traditional verse chorus structures. The record, which follows the band’s similarly-minded 2016 three-track long-player, Liquid Sun, and 2014’s Sulatron Records-released Synapse (review here), greatly benefits from that directed sensibility, whether it’s the initial engagement of the opener or the manner in which “Nag Kanya” seems to solidify around its funky wah to push toward the album’s apex and then recede back into fluid drift to send the audience off into space one last time. Rest assured, there’s plenty of exploration still being done in this material — I’m not sure there would be much point, otherwise — but the overarching vibe is expressive as well. These aren’t just indulgent jams.

Perhaps to an unschooled ear, that doesn’t serve for much of a difference as the sampled launch countdown ignites the swirling effects and core bassline of “Plasma Thruster.” At a certain conceptual point, jams are jams, and fair enough, but while The Spacelords still have a sound molten enough as to draw readily on the chemistry between WettsteinKazmaier and Schnitzler, the fact that it also gives them someplace to go sonically seems huge in comparison to other space rock LPs playing to the other side of that equation. This distinction is perhaps evident nowhere so much as in “Metamorphosis,” which is the centerpiece of the three inclusions and presumably the side A finale of the vinyl.

the spacelords

Almost set to pure drift, its 12-minute stretch is hypnotic in the extreme, and yet, after about four minutes in, there’s a subtle turn from Schnitzler on drums, and as Kazmaier‘s bassline holds steady and the effects wash continues to unfold, Wettstein‘s guitar shifts into the next movement of the track. It’s such a small change, and it may indeed have been recorded live, but it comes across like The Spacelords knew they were going to make that pivot, as well as the one after that brings the song into even airier, post-rocking territory, and their knowing what’s following any given moment makes it that much easier to go with them along this path that, once again, still allows for much trance-inducing, purposeful wandering and spacious vibration.

Whatever commonality of theme may persist between Water Planet and its predecessor, the three inclusions of which were similarly broken down with two extended cuts on side A and one even longer one consuming the entirety of side B, there is a notable uptick in production value on the newer record, which makes the effects churn from Wettstein and Kazmaier and Schnitzler added synth all the more immersive. This is especially true throughout “Nag Kanya,” the rhythmic march of which is topped by a sustained drone that does much to fill out the sound, and to go back further and hear early work from The Spacelords on their 2010 self-titled debut or its 2011 follow-up, Dimension 7, it is plain that their progression has involved not only the move toward clearer intention in their craftsmanship, but also a fuller manner of presenting their material on the whole.

This, in combination with a lineup that feels further coalesced than it did on Liquid Sun, which marked Kazmaier‘s introduction to the band, stands Water Planet apart as The Spacelords‘ most realized full-length to-date. One can’t help but wonder if having this solidified base (bass?) beneath them, the band won’t feel freer their next time out to indulge a bit more improvisational wanderlust, but even if they continue to refine their methods with another liquid-theme three-songer, the obvious drive toward growth that shows itself on Water Planet will no doubt yield further forward progress. That is, there’s invariably more ground for The Spacelords to cover — a consequence in part of having a sound so vast — but between “Plasma Thruster,” “Metamorphosis” and “Nag Kanya,” nothing to argue against their being ready or willing to keep heading outward into the uncharted and, in the process of incorporating new elements and touches amid their already established modus, making that ground all the more their own just as they do here.

The Spacelords on Thee Facebooks

The Spacelords on Bandcamp

The Spacelords on Spotify (available Oct. 20)

The Spacelords website

Tonzonen Records website

Tonzonen Records on Thee Facebooks

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Les Lekin Set Dec. 1 Release for Died with Fear; New Track Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

les lekin

Trippy trio Les Lekin are set to release their second long-player, the ominously titled Died with Fear, on Dec. 1 through Tonzonen Records, and to go with the announcement of the blue-marble gatefoldness to come, they’ve newly unveiled the immersive and instrumental thrush of a track called “Morph.” It’s 13 minutes long, which when you’re listening to it as I am now sounds about right, and has a super-easy flow in following up on what the Austrian three-piece brought to their 2014 debut, All Black Rainbow Moon (review here), as regards tonal richness, listener encapsulation via groove, heavy psychedelic reach and so on. I’m digging it, in short. Look forward to hearing the rest of the record.

Info, background and audio came down the PR wire. Track is at the bottom of the post. Suggest you hit it up:

les lekin died with fear

LES LEKIN Announce New Album “Died With Fear”, First Track Revealed

Heavy psychedelic rock Trio Les Lekin announce new album Died With Fear for a December 1, 2017 release on Tonzonen Records!

A room in an industrial area in Salzburg, Austria. Tuesday evening, 8 pm. After the neon suns have gone out, only candles light the place. You hear the high-pitched whine of the fully opened Marshall, the Ampeg fan going at full blast, and the rattle of a snare drum. The whine builds up more and more into a room- filling feedback noise. A fist hitting the body of the bass fills the space between with deep frequencies.

The cymbals’ attack becomes louder and louder. Then… silence… a stroke at the snare- drum. Three people throw out all they have, all they are, and all of what they have in them. Inspired by the desert and the moon, sand and space. Welcome to the heavy-psych-three-piece-noise-machine that is Les Lekin.

Died With Fear new album from Les Lekin will be available from Tonzonen Records on limited edition blue marbled gatefold vinyl of 500 copies with download code as well as on CD and digital.

https://www.facebook.com/leslekin
https://twitter.com/LesLekin
http://www.leslekin.com/
https://leslekin.bandcamp.com/
http://www.tonzonen.de
https://www.facebook.com/Tonzonen/

Les Lekin, “Morph”

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Mouth Sign to Tonzonen Records; New Album out in 2018

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

The announcement below has been run through a major internet corporation’s translation matrix, so keep in mind that it’s basically a robot’s idea of what the words should be, but the bottom line is that German imprint Tonzonen Records has picked up Cologne heavy proggers Mouth for the release of their next album in March 2018. I’m happy today to be able to tell you that the title of said full-length is Floating. According to my conversation with the band, it was tracked at the same time as earlier 2017’s Vortex, which was reviewed and streamed here around the time of its release in June, but has a lighter feel suited to the name they’ve given it.

I believe them. Particularly after hearing Vortex, I’ve no doubt Mouth can conjure a feeling of weightlessness in their material and use that as a central theme for a long-player. I’m looking forward to hearing how that sounds when it’s all put together. Hmm — I wonder if they’d want to do a stream?

Circle of life, and so forth.

Dig it:

mouth

Mouth – Tonzonen Records

A small statement by Tonzonen Records: after the premature death of Indie icon Guido Lucas the situation for the BluNoise label and their bands is not easy. The third album by Mouth is already finished and the band would like to take the next step towards the new album. Tonzonen Records has agreed with the band on a future-oriented cooperation.

I’m looking forward to hearing the Cologne band MOUTH at Tonzonen Records.

With ‘Vortex’ (BluNoise Records), the trio has released a highly acclaimed and highly praised album. The extremely cool vintage sound, driven by hypnotic rhythms, goes directly into the blood. Freak Prog Psychrock without high gloss polish directly into the brain bends, that makes immensely fun and is the right soundtrack to the next Roadtrip.

A release of the LP / CD / Digital Release album is planned for March 2018.

MOUTH Bio:

MOUTH were formed in Cologne in 2000 as a trio, comprised of Christian Koller (vocals, guitars, occasional keyboards), Gerald Kirsch (bass) and Nick Mavridis (drums, backing vocals, keyboards). Their style is often cited as a mixture of ‘retro prog’, Krautrock, hard rock, psyche and glam rock – all together it fuses into a unique spleen often underlined with dystopian themes.

https://www.facebook.com/mouthsound/
https://mouthprog.bandcamp.com/
http://www.soundcloud.com/mouthprog
https://www.facebook.com/Tonzonen/
https://www.instagram.com/tonzonenrecords/
https://www.tonzonen.de

Mouth, Vortex (2017)

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