Review & Track Premiere: Somali Yacht Club, The Sea

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

somali yacht club the sea

[Click play above to hear ‘Vero’ from Somali Yacht Club’s The Sea. Album is out Jan. 22 on Robustfellow Productions and Kozmik Artifactz.]

The second full-length from Lviv-based three-piece Somali Yacht Club, The Sea, would seem to speak more to a spirit of progressive melancholia than its predecessor, 2014’s The Sun (discussed here). This is despite the fact that the two records share in common deep-toned heavy psychedelic underpinnings and an overarching rhythmic fluidity. One could argue that it’s been four years and perhaps the Ukrainian trio of guitarist/vocalist Mez, bassist Artur and drummer Lesyk have grown as an outfit as a result of touring and appearing at notable gatherings like Desertfest Berlin, SonicBlast Moledo, etc., but to listen to the six-track/53-minute outing and ignore the apparent mindfulness behind its drift is to miss out on one of the album’s most resonant appeals.

It’s not just a record that jams out spacious tones and gently echoing melodic vocals in a tossed-off manner; there is an overarching purposefulness to its fluidity and to its presentation, which begins with the opening salvo provided by the extended “Vero” (11:38) and “Religion of Man” (12:02) and moves directly into the Elder-style heavy-prog shimmer of the shortest inclusion, “Blood Leave a Trail,” which still has enough swirl to not be a contrast in its 6:20 run. If one wanted, I suppose, they could hear The Sea and simply get lost in the wash of “Vero” and suddenly snap back to consciousness after the finale of “Crows” has ended, but whether it’s Arthur‘s bassline as the foundation for the volume swell of effects at the start of “Hydrophobia” or the swinging taps on Lesyk‘s ride cymbal as “Vero” jazzily approaches its peaceful, atmospheric midsection, the collection is rife with details that warrant active engagement.

In other words, the more one puts into hearing it, the more satisfaction one is likely to reap from The Sea on the whole. To wit, the initial pairing of “Vero” and “Religion of Man” is perhaps the most obvious showcase of intent on the part of Somali Yacht Club in terms of their desire to fully engage and hypnotize, and while they come close to earning the immediate points of opening with their longest track — there should be a partial credit system for the salvo as a whole, but I haven’t worked out the metrics of such things; check back (or don’t) — it’s the breadth in the midsection of “Vero” that’s most likley to entrance outright. All throughout The Sea, the band demonstrate an ability to transition between wide-cast ambience and more directly weighted, riffier fare, and that’s true of the linear build in the second half of “Vero” as well as it picks up past the seven-minute mark and lumbers to its exciting conclusion, but it’s the patience there and in “Religion of Man” as well (speaking of details: the low-end angularity and feedback interplay in the eighth minute has to be heard to be believed) that makes the execution such a thrill to fully embrace and in tempo as much as construction, the songs are truly progressive in the sense of being thoughtful works manifesting a decisive creative growth.

somali yacht club

That Somali Yacht Club then manage to shift modus into the six-minute “Blood Leave a Trail” essentially without missing a beat shows how well they’ve already managed to carry their listeners with them, and as the rest of The Sea rolls toward the shore, there is never a moment at which they seem either to be out of control or unaware of what effect their material might be having on their audience. Certainly they take their time getting to where they’re going, but as a whole, The Sea is almost perfect in its pacing, and the fact that MezArtur and Lesyk so confidently move at such a languid clip only further speaks to their progress in developing a chemistry over the last several years coming off the debut.

Serene and still a little sad, “Hydrophobia” begins the second half of the tracklisting (one assumes side B of the vinyl actually starts with “Blood Leave a Trail” before it) with an exploratory feel, but splits shortly after its midpoint to the most driving moment on The Sea, quicker in its tempo and more forceful in its swing, but still holding to the reach of the prior tracks in tone and reverb. The final four inclusions on The Sea — “Blood Leave a Trail,” “Hydrophobia,” “84 Days” and aforementioned closer “Crows” — are arranged longest to shortest, so the effect is that the record works to re-immerse the listener as it goes, and it’s telling that the last pairing of “84 Days” and “Crows” are shorter at 7:27 and 9:13, respectively, than the tracks were at the outset, as though Somali Yacht Club didn’t want to ask too much indulgence on the part of their listenership.

That may or may not be their motivation, I don’t know, but the track arrangement works just the same like a rising tide that gradually swells to engulf the shore. “84 Days” is massive by the time the vocals arrive late, having grown so subtly along the way that it’s perhaps the easiest point on the record to lose one’s self, and as the standalone riff of “Crows” begins the last piece, the band seem to be securing their triumph with a victory lap of a groove. Well earned. There’s an uptick in pace as they move toward the middle — Lesyk seeming to double-time it on drums — but it’s shortlived, and the core of “Crows” resides around a singular, nod-ready progression that lumbers in the fullness of its fuzz early and reemerges from the psych-gazing middle third to cap the finale with due payoff for the reaches plumed before it.

If 75 percent of the earth is water, The Sea might just be wet enough to earn its name, but where the album’s true achievement lies is in the grace with which its component pieces come together and the flow that unites them as a whole work, cohesive in sound and purpose and resonant in tone and emotion. One is curious to think what might happen if Somali Yacht Club, after The Sun and The Sea, finally approach landfall with their third outing, but wherever these sonic waves ultimately carry them, the journey is a joy to behold.

Somali Yacht Club, The Sea (2018)

Somali Yacht Club on Thee Facebooks

Somali Yacht Club on Bandcamp

Somali Yacht Club on Twitter

Somali Yacht Club on Instagram

Robustfellow Productions on Thee Facebooks

Robustfellow Productions on Bandcamp

Robustfellow Productions on Twitter

Robustfellow Productions on Instagram

Kozmik Artifactz on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

Kozmik Artifactz webstore

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Somali Yacht Club Post New Song “Blood Leave a Trail”; The Sea Available to Preorder

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

In the swaying rhythm, melody and swirling lead in the back half of the newly-unveiled ‘Blood Leave a Trail,’ one can hear Ukrainian trio Somali Yacht Club working under the progressive heavy rock influence of Elder‘s Lore album as they follow-up their 2014 debut,  The Sun (discussed here), but there’s some dreamy psychedelic vibes underlying that spirit and that suits them no less well than the directed cohesion around which the track is ultimately based. The Sea, which is the album from whence “Blood Leave a Trail” comes, is set to release Jan. 28 via Robustfellow and Kozmik Artfactz both, and preorders have been made available for those who like to get these things out of the way early, before, you know, spending money on less important stuff like paying bills or buying food or whatever it might be. Priority goes to rock.

Hard not to dig this cover art, right? I don’t know who did it, but yeah. If I was the kind of guy to keep a list of awesome album covers throughout the course of a year and post it every December, I might just think 2018 had its first entry on same.

From the PR wire:

somali yacht club the sea

Robustfellow announce pre-orders for SOMALI YACHT CLUB’s sophomore album “The Sea”, out on January 28th.

Robustfellow Prods. announce pre-orders for “The Sea”, the long anticipated sophomore album of Ukrainian dream-toned psychedelic trio SOMALI YACHT CLUB.
After the release of their highly acclaimed first album “The Sun”, which demonstrated the band’s ability to create dreamy vibe, mix styles and immerse listeners into phantasmagorical sound landscapes, SOMALI YACHT CLUB expand their musical horizons with their next LP “The Sea”. Warm grooves, atmospheric psychedelia, rich fuzz, airy leads masterfully blend in one sonic canvas and show progression of the band both in terms of songwriting and lyricism.

“The whole album is built upon the story about love, friendship, hope, and trust”, vocalist and guitarist Ihor comments. “Our music gets darker, more sophisticated and deep with each song. Imagine the dark clouds that are sinking lower and lower and dark-blue waves that are rising higher and higher.”

From the 22nd of December, you can pre-order CDs, limited editions, t-shirts, patches, bundles and many more via Robustfellow Prods. The album release will be accompanied with a massive merchandise sale at this location. Vinyls will be available via Kozmik Artifactz (links below) in the beginning of spring.

1. Vero
2. Religion Of Man
3. Blood Leave A Trail
4. Hydrophobia
5. 84 Days
6. Crows

http://facebook.com/Somaliyachtclub
http://somaliyachtclub.bandcamp.com
http://twitter.com/somaliyachtclub
http://instagram.com/somaliyachtclub
http://facebook.com/RobustfellowProds/
http://robustfellow.bandcamp.com
http://twitter.com/robust_fellow
http://instagram.com/robustfellow_prods
http://facebook.com/kozmikartifactz
http://kozmik-artifactz.com
http://shop.bilocationrecords.com

Somali Yacht Club, “Blood Leave a Trail”

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Risin Sabotage Post Video for “Sun is God”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

risin sabotage

Whatever your expectations might be for this video from Kiev-based desert-style groovers Risin Sabotage, put them aside. You remember how when South Park first came on in the late ’90s it was made with paper cutouts? Well, the clip below for “Sun is God” was no doubt animated on computer, but it has that same look and as its raw riffing plays out across an efficient four and a half minutes, we see the story of a Christian-looking congregation meeting their match as the band itself shows up in the form of horned dinosaurs, blows out the mass, burns everyone’s eyeballs and then turns the church into a rocketship and blasts it off, presumably into the sun. Yes it’s as awesome as it sounds. Yes you should watch it immediately.

The track comes from Risin Sabotage‘s 2017 album, Planet Dies, which saw LP issue through the ultra-respected Nasoni Records and a CD pressing from Japanese imprint Voron Nest, and which, if you’re so inclined, you can stream in its entirety at the bottom of this post. It’s definitely worth checking out for the barebones style of fuzz Risin Sabotage present, but make sure you hit up the thick shuffle of “Sun is God” first and dig into the video, because yeah, it’s definitely worth your time. Imaginative in its story, engaging in its look and creative use of color, and fitting to the track itself — I’m not going to disparage those who do the band-rocking-in-rehearsal-space video, because hey, at least they’re making an effort, but “Sun is God” reminds of what a difference some very obviously hard work can make when the results come out just right.

Clip and more info follow here. Please enjoy:

Risin Sabotage, “Sun is God” official video

Made by:
Michelle Feldman
Matous Valchar
Tomas Cerveny

Sun is God is a song from our latest album Planet Dies

Check it https://risinsabotage.bandcamp.com/

The second trip from our essence and conscious to the stars and galaxies through the deserts and stones of our existence. There are always a stepping stones on the way questioning about the life and death, bearing thoughts about the end and the beginning and who watches us on this way. No matter is it the line or the cycle pass it with Risin Sabotage accompanied.

Risin Sabotage is:
Igor Nediuzhyi (Drummer)
Kirill Chepilko (Vocals)
Vitya Panchishko (Guitar)
Valery Skorzhenko (Bass)

Risin Sabotage, Planet Dies (2017)

Risin Sabotage on Thee Facebooks

Risin Sabotage on Instagram

Risin Sabotage on Bandcamp

Voron Nest on Bandcamp

Nasoni Records website

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Somali Yacht Club to Release The Sea Jan. 22

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

somali yacht club

Ukrainian heavy psych rockers Somali Yacht Club made a resonant impression with, well, the resonance, of their debut album, The Sun (discussed here), which was issued by Robustfellow in 2014 and Kozmik Artifactz in 2016. The same two imprints combine their efforts in order to stand behind vinyl and CD pressings of the band’s second full-length, the six-song The Sea, which follows suit in vibe from its predecessor while further marking the progressive growth on the part of the group.

What does that mean? How does it manifest in the songs? The record’s not out until late January, so there’s some time really before one can expect some audio to be made public to find out — and I hope to have more on the release sometime between now and then, be it a track premiere or whatever — but on first impression, there’s an immediate warmth and sense of flow that would seem to fit with the titular theme at the very least, and while in a heavy psych context I can hardly even look at anything named The Sea and not hear the chorus of the Sungrazer song, it’s obvious Somali Yacht Club are thinking of it more in direct relation to the prior debut. Maybe they’ll do The Sand next and make it a day at the beach. Who knows?

The PR wire knows:

somali yacht club the sea

Dreamtoned trio from Ukraine, Somali Yacht Club, are going to release their sophomore album “The Sea” on Robustfellow Prods. (CDs and limited editions) and Kozmik Artifactz (vinyls).

After their first LP “The Sun” – which was highly acclaimed both by critics and listeners worldwide and showed the band’s ability to mix styles, create dreamy vibe and submerge listeners into fantastic sound landscapes – the band is ready to continue their musical journey with their next album “The Sea”. Rich fuzz, blended with atmospheric psychedelia, warm grooves and airy leads show the band’s progression both musically and lyrically and once again prove Somali Yacht Club’s inventiveness in blending styles.

1. Vero
2. Religion Of Man
3. Blood Leave A Trail
4. Hydrophobia
5. 84 Days
6. Crows

http://facebook.com/Somaliyachtclub
http://somaliyachtclub.bandcamp.com
http://twitter.com/somaliyachtclub
http://instagram.com/somaliyachtclub
http://facebook.com/RobustfellowProds/
http://robustfellow.bandcamp.com
http://twitter.com/robust_fellow
http://instagram.com/robustfellow_prods
http://facebook.com/kozmikartifactz
http://kozmik-artifactz.com
http://shop.bilocationrecords.com

Somali Yacht Club, “Sun’s Eyes”

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Ethereal Riffian Talk Limited Editions and More in Relics Documentary

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

Say what you want about meditative Ukrainian psychedelic rockers Ethereal Riffian, they’re well documented. We’re little more than a month out from the release of their live-show/behind-the-scenes rock doc DVD Afterlight (review here), and already band-spearhead Val Kornev and company have a follow-up out. Ethereal Riffian Relics is shorter, apparently not looking to be feature-length this time out, and centers around the process of making special packaging for physical pressings, which is something I know damn well I’ve commented on the band doing on multiple occasions at this point. They’re good at it. It’s something worth talking about.

That said, I don’t know that I’ve ever encountered a band with such a singular drive to communicate their intentions flat out to their audience who still came off sounding so utterly mystical when you actually listen to their material. It’s quite a duality. I’d say maybe they’ll cover that in a documentary at some point, but I’m pretty sure they already have.

Here’s a pretty picture of a new release wrapped in fabric and some info from the PR wire, and of course the video itself, which is up on YouTube now. Enjoy:

ethereal riffian special package

Ukrainian psych rockers ETHEREAL RIFFIAN celebrate the release of their documentary “Ethereal Riffian Relics”

Psychedelic ritualists ETHEREAL RIFFIAN announce the release of a new documentary. “Ethereal Riffian Relics” is dedicated to the band’s very special approach to crafting limited editions. It’s divided into two parts: in the first one, frontman Val Kornev answers 10 questions about ETHEREAL RIFFIAN’s limited editions series ; in the second one, all limited editions created by the band to date are showcased.

The band comments: “We already have a short documentary called “Robust Rehearsal”, which describes the background of the band, its creative world, work in literature and its very essential philosophical and spiritual components,” says band leader Val Kornev. “And now we release “Ethereal Riffian Relics” documentary which explains the role of visual presentation and can help our listeners to create a more thorough understanding of our work. This short film will be of interest for all lovers of limited editions, for those who already create exclusive items and for those who only have an intention to create it”.

The release of the documentary is supported by the unprecedented 3-day 30% sale on all merchandise, which will serve as a fundraising campaign for the recording of the band’s third LP, to take place next year. Sale starts on the 9th of October and ends on the 12th of October. The discount can be obtained by entering a code-name “peace2all” when checking-out on Bandcamp.

ETHEREAL RIFFIAN discography
2011 – Shaman’s Visions (CD)
2012 – Shaman’s Visions (CD re-master)
2012 – Dkyil Khor (3” CD single)
2014 – Aeonian (CD/LP/MC/Book)
2016 – Youniversal Voice (live album) (CD)
2016 – I AM. Deathless (EP) (CD)
2017 – Afterlight (DVD)

“We sincerely hope that the message carefully integrated in our music is able to induce our listeners, and now our readers as well, to open up the new facets of existence and kindle the light of their true self, which will not dim even in the darkest times.” — ER team

https://etherealriffian.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/etherealriffian/
https://www.instagram.com/etherealriffian/
https://twitter.com/EtherealRiffian
https://vk.com/etherealriffian

Ethereal Riffian, Relics documentary

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Ethereal Riffian Offer Limited-Time-Only Screening of Afterlight DVD

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ethereal riffian

The word progressive, especially in a musical context, can have any number of definitions. It can convey a focus on technique, a history of intellectualism that goes back decades, can relate to politics as much as style or can be a nebulous genre catchall. For me, a band or release is progressive when it shows real consideration in some element of its craft and/or presentation. When a band puts care and thought into what they do and always keep in mind a sense of artistic growth, of — wait for it — progression. That’s pretty open, but not at all universal, and there are few acts who emphasize precisely the sort of creative willpower sonic progressivism as Ukrainian heavy ritualists Ethereal Riffian.

Among groups I’ve had the pleasure to encounter the last few years, the Kiev-based outfit stand out not only in sound, drawing from the meditative heavy psych of Om and blending that patience with expanded arrangements of guitar and a wide swath of other instrumentation rooted in semi-Opethian prog metal and a shamanist-minded thematic, but in their utter purposefulness and their attention to detail. The physical pressings of their material are as intricate and gorgeous as their music is immersive. Atmosphere is no less paramount than how the songs themselves are crafted. They engage intellectually, spiritually and emotionally in what they do, and after a productive span that brought forth offerings like the I am Deathless two-song EP (review here) and the live  Youniversal Voice (review here) in 2016, Ethereal Riffian now delve the furthest they’ve gone yet into their mythos with the Afterlight DVD.

It’s a concert documentary, yes. They play a show. There’s a tracklisting. Songs are aired from a selection of concerts. But it’s more than just that. Beginning with a spoken intro about the band’s philosophy as regards the nature of music, Afterlight goes onto work its way through Shamanism, Buddhism and Mysticism — how these things relate to Ethereal Riffian, tying in the migration from Russian of the peoples who would become Native Americans over a course of centuries with an artistry and fluidity that one can hear being brought to bear in the fluidity of their psychedelic metal, chants and richly atmospheric execution of their material, which even live comes through with a balance every bit worthy of its heady conceptual foundations.

Over the course of more than an hour and 40 minutes, Afterlight brims with purpose across multiple acts defined by these concepts and as the band rightly postulates, gives its audiences the most in-depth look at who they are and where they’re coming from that they’ve yet showcased. This is a limited-time screening. It will be available for five days, and after that, it gets pulled and the only way to view Afterlight will be by ordering it from Ethereal Riffian‘s Bandcamp. If you go that route, you should know it comes with a wax seal, and of course the artwork and packaging are crazy lux, as is the band’s wont.

So please, enjoy this one while you can. And as you dig in below, keep in mind the transitory nature of creativity itself, because I can just about guarantee that wherever Ethereal Riffian go from here, it’s going to be on a different plane than this or anything that’s preceded it.

Here we go:

Ethereal Riffian, Afterlight DVD limited screening

Limited time, 5-day screening of Afterlight DVD is available exclusively via https://theobelisk.net/

Buy physical copy via http://etherealriffian.bandcamp.com/

Spiritualized rockers from Ukraine Ethereal Riffian have launched the “Afterlight” DVD, which showcases the results of the band’s 6-year work. “Afterlight” is a conceptual work and its main theme is spiritual liberation in different spiritual traditions, namely – Shamanism, Buddhism and Mysticism. The DVD features:

– Full overview of Ethereal Riffian’s creative universe
– Animated videos uncovering the spiritual journey of “Afterlight’s” main characters
– Special structure with three acts, introduction and epilogue that gives the DVD a logical inception and ending.
– Unique bonuses including official music video, two documentaries, archive with rare photos and more
– Mesmerizing artwork

“Since 2013 I wanted to have a single release that can give a versatile overview of the band’s creative work – its music, philosophy, approach to limited editions and live potential. And now we have it,” says Val Kornev, the frontman of the band. “With this release we, on one hand, aim to crystalize all our work and ideas since the inception of the band, and on the other hand, we want to show the quintessential component which unites all spiritual paths. For the band this release marks the end of the first chapter in its history and the beginning of the new one.”

Tracklist of the “Afterlight” DVD
1. Whispering of the Ancients
2. Beyond
3. Transoma
4. Wakan Tanka
5. Thugdam
6. March of Spiritu
7. Anatman
8. Drum of the Deathless
9. Sword of the Deathless
10. Light of Self

Ethereal Riffian on Bandcamp

Ethereal Riffian on Thee Facebooks

Ethereal Riffian on Instagram

Ethereal Riffian on Twitter

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Ethereal Riffian Announce Afterlight DVD Preorders

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ethereal riffian

Like few heavy psych acts the world over, Ukrainian shamanistic groovers Ethereal Riffian have committed themselves to physical presentation of media as a part of their aesthetic process. Deeply progressive in their songwriting, they extend a self-awareness to how their material is presented to the listener, be it vinyl, CD, or in the case of Afterlight, a limited-edition DVD available to preorder in a number of varied packages. The release itself contains live and documentary footage and then some — animated videos, an overarching narrative, bonus interviews, and so on — and it seems the band’s attempt is to capture the full essence their years together in a single release. If that isn’t worthy of a wax seal, I don’t know what is.

You can see the various editions at their Bandcamp and see a teaser and a making-of video below. Official release date for Afterlight is Aug. 17, but all the tracks are streaming now as well.

From the PR wire:

Ethereal Riffian Launch Pre-Orders for “Afterlight” DVD

Artist: Ethereal Riffian
Title: “Afterlight”
Formats: DVD-book, ecopack, or as a part of discography (comes with a secret link to view bonuses in Full HD)
Label: Self-Released

Release Date: 17 August 2017

Spiritualized rockers from Ukraine Ethereal Riffian have launched pre-orders for “Afterlight” DVD, which showcases the results of the band’s 6-year work. “Afterlight” is a conceptual work and its main theme is spiritual liberation in different spiritual traditions, namely – Shamanism, Buddhism and Mysticism. The DVD features:

– Full overview of Ethereal Riffian’s creative universe
– Animated videos uncovering the spiritual journey of “Afterlight’s” main characters
– Special structure with three acts, introduction and epilogue that gives the DVD a logical inception and ending.
– Unique bonuses including official music video, two documentaries, archive with rare photos and more
– Mesmerizing artwork

“Since 2013 I wanted to have a single release that can give a versatile overview of the band’s creative work – its music, philosophy, approach to limited editions and live potential. And now we have it,” says Val Kornev, the frontman of the band. “With this release we, on one hand, aim to crystalize all our work and ideas since the inception of the band, and on the other hand, we want to show the quintessential component which unites all spiritual paths. For the band this release marks the end of the first chapter in its history and the beginning of the new one.”

Traditionally for the band, “Afterlight” comes in unique formats elaborated by the band (limited edition DVD-book and discography) and can be purchased for pre-order prices, along with three exclusive limited-time offers via the band’s bandcamp page: http://etherealriffian.bandcamp.com/. Pre-sale will be active from 17.VII.2017 to 17.VIII.2017. Upon the end of pre-sale, limited-time offers will expire and prices for other items will be increased.

Tracklist of the “Afterlight” DVD
1. Whispering of the Ancients
2. Beyond
3. Transoma
4. Wakan Tanka
5. Thugdam
6. March of Spiritu
7. Anatman
8. Drum of the Deathless
9. Sword of the Deathless
10. Light of Self

“Afterlight” DVD was made possible thankfully to the efforts of:

– Kirai Gigs team, which filmed and edited all video materials for the main unit
– xNinja, who created both the breathtaking artwork and the mesmerizing illustrations for animated videos
– Bobina Records and Max Poops, who worked scrupulously to make live performances sound like expensive studio records
– Robustfellow and the Kornev family whose continuous support motivates and inspires

https://etherealriffian.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/etherealriffian/
http://bit.ly/etherealriffian
https://www.instagram.com/etherealriffian/
https://twitter.com/EtherealRiffian
https://vk.com/etherealriffian

Ethereal Riffian, Afterlight (2017)

Ethereal Riffian, The Making of Afterlight Limited Editions

Ethereal Riffian, Afterlight DVD teaser

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Quarterly Review: Les Discrets, Test Meat, Matus, Farflung, Carpet, Tricky Lobsters, Ten Foot Wizard & Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, The Acid Guide Service, Skunk, The Raynbow

Posted in Reviews on July 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-summer-2017

My friends, the time has come. Well, actually the time came about two weeks ago at the end of June, but I won’t tell if you don’t. Better late than never as regards all things, but most especially The Obelisk’s Quarterly Review, which this time around features releases recent, upcoming and a bit older, a mix of known and lesser known acts, and as always, hopefully enough of a stylistic swath to allow everyone whose eyes the series of posts catches to find something they dig between now and Friday. As always, it’ll be 50 records from now until then, 10 per day, and I see no reason not to jump right in, so let’s do that.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Les Discrets, Prédateurs

les discrets Prédateurs

After offering a preview of their marked stylistic turn in last year’s Virée Nocturne EP (review here), Lyon, France’s Les Discrets return with the suitably nighttime-urbane vibing of their Prédateurs full-length via Prophecy Productions. Five years after Ariettes Oubliées (review here), Fursy Teyssier and company reinvent their approach to the sonic lushness of their earlier work, departing the sphere of post-black metal they previously shared with sister band Alcest in favor of an anything-goes heavy experimentalism more akin to Ulver on cuts like “Le Reproche” or the deeply atmospheric “Fleur des Murailles.” Drones pepper “Rue Octavio Mey” and closer “Lyon – Paris 7h34” effectively conveys the sense of journey its train-schedule title would hint toward, and indeed Les Discrets as a whole seem to be in flux throughout Prédateurs despite an overarching cohesion within each track. It’s a fine line between multifaceted and disjointed, but fortunately, Teyssier’s grip on melodicism is unflinching and enough to tie otherwise disparate ideas together here.

Les Discrets on Thee Facebooks

Les Discrets at Prophecy Productions

 

Test Meat, Demo

test meat demo

Considering the pedigree involved in guitarist/vocalist Darryl Shepard (ex-Milligram, Blackwolfgoat, Kind, etc.), bassist Aarne Victorine (UXO, Whitey) and drummer Michael Nashawaty (Planetoid, Bird Language), it’s little surprise that Test Meat’s Demo would have a pretty good idea of where it wants to come from. The five-track first showing from the Boston trio blends raw-edge grunge and noise rock on “He Don’t Know” after opening with its longest inclusion (immediate points) in the 3:50 “Cuffing Season,” and though centerpiece “Done” nods at the starts-and-stops of Helmet, the subsequent 2:35 push of “If You Wanna” is strikingly post-Nirvana, and closer “Permanent Festival” rounds out by bridging that gap via a still-straightforward heavy rock groove. Formative, yeah, but that’s the whole point. Test Meat revel in their barebones style and clearly aren’t looking to get overly lush, but one can’t help but be curious how or if they’ll develop a more melodic sensibility to go with the consuming, full buzzsaw tones they elicit here.

Test Meat on Thee Facebooks

Test Meat on Bandcamp

 

Matus, Intronauta

matus intronauta

Worth noting that while the opening cut here, “Claroscuro,” shares its title with Matus’ 2015 full-length (review here), that song didn’t actually appear on that album. Does that mean that the Lima, Peru, classic progressive rockers are offering leftovers from the same sessions on their new EP and perhaps final release, Intronauta? I don’t know, but the four tracks of the digital outing are a welcome arrival anyway, from the laid back easy vibes of the aforementioned opener through the riffier “Intronauta (Including Hasta Que El Sol Descanse en Paz),” the Theremin-soaked finish of the harder-driving “Catalina” and the acoustic-led four-part closer “Arboleda Bohemia,” which unfolds with lushness that remains consistent with the naturalism that has always been underlying in the band’s work. They’ve said their last few times out that the end is near, and if it’s true, they go out with a fully-cast sonic identity of their own and a take on ‘70s prog that remains an underrated secret of the South American underground.

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Farflung, Unwound Celluloid Frown

farflung unwound celluloud frown

The jury, at least when it comes to the internet, still seems to be somewhat divided on whether the name of Farflung’s five-track/34-minute EP is Unwound Celluloid Frown or Unwound Cellular Frown. I’d say another argument is whether it’s an EP or an LP, but either way, let the follow-up to the more clearly-titled 2016 album (review here) demonstrate how nebulous the long-running Los Angeles space rockers can be when it suits them. Hugely and continually underrated, the troupe once again aligns to Heavy Psych Sounds for this release, which is rife with their desert-hued Hawkwindian thrust and weirdo vibes, permeating the rocket-fuel chug of the title-track and the noise-of-the-cosmos 13-minute headphone-fest that is “Axis Mundi,” which seems to end with someone coming home and putting down their car keys before a slowly ticking clock fades out and into the backwards swirling intro of lazily drifting closer “Silver Ghost with Crystal Spoons.” Yeah, it’s like that. Whatever you call it, the collection proves once again that Farflung are a secret kept too well.

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Carpet, Secret Box

carpet secret box

Immersive and progressive psychedelia unfolds from the very opening moments of Carpet’s third album, Secret Box (on Elektrohasch Schallplatten), as the Augsberg, Germany-based five-piece explore lush arrangements of Moog, Rhodes, trumpet, vibraphone, etc. around central compositions of fluid guitar-led melodies and engaging rhythms. Their 2015 Riot Kiss 7” (review here) and 2013 sophomore long-player, Elysian Pleasures (review here), came from a similar place in intent, but from the funk wah and percussion underscoring the pre-fuzz-explosion portion of “Best of Hard Times” and the okay-this-one’s-about-the-riff “Shouting Florence” to the serene ambience of “For Tilda” and ethereal fluidity of “Pale Limbs” later on, the secret of Secret Box seems to be that it’s actually a treasure chest in disguise. Opening with its longest track in “Temper” (immediate points), the album hooks its audience right away along a graceful, rich-sounding melodic flow and does not relinquish its hold until the last piano notes of the closing title-track offer a wistful goodbye. In between, Carpet execute with a poise and nuance all the more enjoyable for how much their own it seems to be.

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Tricky Lobsters, Worlds Collide

tricky lobsters worlds collide

Full, natural production, crisp and diverse songwriting, right-on performances and a name you’re not about to forget – there’s nothing about Tricky Lobsters not to like. Worlds Collide is their sixth album and first on Exile on Mainstream, and the overall quality of their approach reminds of the kind of sonic freedom proffered by Astrosoniq, but the German trio of guitarist/vocalist Sarge, bassist/vocalist Doc and drummer/vocalist Captain Peters have their own statements to make as well in the stomping “Battlefields,” the mega-hook of “Big Book,” the dreamy midsection stretch of “Father and Son” and the progressive melody-making of “Tarred Albino” (video premiere here). The emphasis across the nine-song/42-minute outing is on craft, but whether it’s the patient unfolding of “Dreamdiver Pt. I & II” or the harp-and-fuzz blues spirit of closer “Needs Must,” Tricky Lobsters’ sonic variety comes paired with a level of execution that’s not to be overlooked. Will probably fly under more radars than it should, but if you can catch it, do.

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Ten Foot Wizard & Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, Special

ten-foot-wizard-chubby-thunderous-bad-kush-masters-special

Dubbed Special for reasons that should be fairly obvious from looking at the cover art, this meeting of minds, riffs and cats between Manchester’s Ten Foot Wizard and London’s Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters brings four tracks – two per band – and goes so far as to find the groups collaborating on the former’s “Get Fucked,” which opens, and the latter’s “Dunkerque,” which begins their side of the 7”, as vocalists The Wailing Goblin (of Chubby Thunderous) and Gary Harkin (of Ten Foot Wizard) each sit in for a guest spot on the other band’s cuts. Both bands also offer a standalone piece, with Ten Foot Wizard digging into heavy rock burl on “Night Witches” and Chubby Thunderous blowing out gritty party sludge in “Nutbar,” which rounds out the offering, and between them they showcase well the sphere of the UK’s crowded but diverse heavy rock underground. Kind of a niche release in the spirit of Gurt and Trippy Wicked’s 2016 Guppy split/collab, but it works no less well in making its impact felt.

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The Acid Guide Service, Vol. 11

the acid guide service vol 11

It turns out that Vol. 11 is actually Vol. 1 for Garden City, Idaho, three-piece The Acid Guide Service, who dig into extended fuzz-overdose riffing on the 52-minute nine-tracker, proffering blown-out largesse even on shorter cuts like the five-minute “Into the Sky” while longer pieces like opener “Raptured” (7:16), “EOD” (9:38) and closer “Black Leather Jesus” (10:04) skirt lines between structure and jams as much as between heavy rock and psychedelia. Proffered by the trio of guitarist/vocalist Russ Walker, bassist/vocalist Tyler Walker and drummer Nick McGarvey, one can hear shades of Wo Fat in the guitar-led expanse of “Rock ‘n’ Roll (Is the Drug I’m On),” but on the whole, Vol. 11 speaks more to the late-‘90s/early-‘00s post-Kyuss stoner rock heyday, with flourish of Monster Magnet and Fu Manchu for good measure in the hard-swinging “Dude Rockin’” and its chugging companion piece, “Marauder King.” Big tones, big riffs, big groove. The Acid Guide Service are preaching to the converted, but clearly coming from a converted place themselves in so doing. Right on.

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Skunk, Doubleblind

skunk doubleblind

Professing a self-aware love for the earliest days of heavy metal in idea and sound, Oakland’s Skunk offer their full-length debut with the self-released Doubleblind, following up on their 2015 demo, Heavy Rock from Elder Times (review here). That outing featured four tracks that also appear on Doubleblind – “Forest Nymph,” “Wizard Bong,” “Black Hash” and “Devil Weed.” Working on a theme? The theme is “stoned?” Yeah, maybe, but the cowbell-infused slider groove and standout hook of “Mountain Child” are just as much about portraying that ‘70s vibe as Skunk may or may not be about the reefer whose name they bear. Presumably more recent material like that song, “Doubleblind,” closer “Waitin’ Round on You” and leadoff cut “Forest Nymph” coherently blend impulses drawn from AC/DC, Sabbath and Zeppelin. John McKelvy’s vocals fit that spirit perfectly, and with the grit brought forth from guitarists Dmitri Mavra and Erik Pearson, bassist Matt Knoth and drummer Jordan Ruyle, Skunk dig into catchy, excellently-paced roller riffing and cast their debut in the mold of landmark forebears. Mothers, teach your children to nod.

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The Raynbow, The Cosmic Adventure

the raynbow the cosmic adventure

As they make their way through a temporal drift of three tracks that play between krautrocking jazz fusion, psychecosmic expansion and Floydian lushness, Kiev-based explorers The Raynbow keep immersion central to their liquefied purposes. The Cosmic Adventure (on Garden of Dreams Records) is an aptly-titled debut full-length, and the band who constructed it is comprised of upwards of eight parties who begin with the 16-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Changes,” which builds toward and through a metallic chug apex, sandwiching it on either side with ultra-patient molten tone and soundscaping that continues to flourish through the subsequent “Cosmic Fool” (5:17) and “Blue Deep Sea Eyes” (8:18), the whole totaling a still-manageable outward trip into reaches of slow-moving space rock that whether loud or quiet at any individual moment more than earns a volume-up concentrated headphone listen. The kind of outfit one could easily imagine churning out multiple albums in a single year, The Raynbow nonetheless deliver a dream on The Cosmic Adventure that stands among the best first offerings I’ve heard in 2017.

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