We Lost the Sea Stream Departure Songs in Full; Out Now on Translation Loss

Posted in audiObelisk on November 30th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

we-lost-the-sea

Sydney six-piece We Lost the Sea first released their third full-length, Departure Songs (review here), this past summer. They financed it on their own and worked with Bird’s Robe Records and Art as Catharsis, and the latest version of the album was issued by Translation Loss this past Friday. It’s out now. It’s streaming on their Bandcamp page and has been for I don’t know how long. Why, then, would one bother to host the tracks for a full-album stream like it’s not something that everybody can just go find on their own? The simple answer is that the five-song, 67-minute outing is that much worth the time and focus.

Departure Songs, almost entirely instrumental save for a choral part in opener “A Gallant Gentleman” and samples in “Challenger Part 1 – Flight” and “Challenger Part 2 – A Swan Song,” is richly evocative, broad in its scope and gorgeously engrossing throughout its span. It has moments of rage, of excitement and times where its breadth seems to just go on and on, but its intent is plain: To convey loss. We Lost the Sea‘s work has always been thematic in one way or another — their 2010 debut, Crimea, took inspiration from poetry about the Crimean War, and 2012’s The Quietest Place on Earth resounded with melancholy at its center — but Departure Songs brings this to a new level of poignancy and specificity, each track referring directly to a tragic death that, as the band put it, “tells the stories of those who have gone above and beyond their duty as humans and sacrificed themselves for others for honorable reasons.”

The subject matter is no coincidence. we-lost-the-sea-departure-songsIn 2013, We Lost the Sea frontman Chris Torpy committed suicide, devastating the band and others around him, and as the group continues to move forward, it seems that in listening to the quiet reaches of centerpiece “The Last Dive of David Shaw” — Shaw an Australian diver who lost his life trying to recover the body of another diver — that the cathartic exploration on the part of the band is as much inward as it is outward. That’s as much the case for the soft airy guitars that begin “A Gallant Gentleman” — English explorer Laurence Oats who sacrificed himself so that the rest of his party could survive in the Antarctic — and for the subsequent “Bogatyri,” which takes its narrative from the story of three people (Valeri Bezpalov, Alexie Ananenko and Boris Baranov) who died opening the floodgates at Chernobyl to lessen the impact of the fallout, as it is for the two-part “Challenger,” which closes out in homage to the crew of the ill-fated 1986 shuttle of the same name.

It may well be that by telling these stories through music, the remaining members of We Lost the Sea — guitarists Mark Owen, Matt Harvey and Brendon Warner, bassist Kieran Elliott, pianist/keyboardist Mathew Kelly and drummer Nathaniel D’Ugo — are in some way attempting to make sense of their own, but it’s worth noting that in a subject territory in which everything and anything has been said and all that’s left is to rehash the superficial comforts of cliché, Departure Songs brims with original, personal boldness. Tracks are immersive and so gracefully textured that, even without the context retreaded above, it succeeds in putting the listener in a kind of contemplative, quiet place with its emotional gamut, the final wash of “Challenger Part 2 – A Swan Song” bringing a tear to the eye for what is the most universal truth of our condition. All of us. Everybody.

Like I said, the album is out now, so take this as a long-form version of “Recommended” if you want to, but either way, I urge you to dive into Departure Songs one way or another. Whether that happens here on the player below, their Bandcamp, Spotify, through Translation Loss, wherever, I hope you enjoy:

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We Lost the Sea on Bandcamp

We Lost the Sea on Twitter

Translation Loss store

Translation Loss on Thee Facebooks

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We Lost the Sea to Issue Departure Songs on Translation Loss

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 30th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

we lost the sea (Photo by XRAY DOLL)

Sydney heavy post-rockers We Lost the Sea initially released their latest album, Departure Songs (review here), this summer, but it’s been picked up for a label-backed issue via Translation Loss next month, and if you heard it, there’s really no mystery as to why. Lush in its textures but still human-sounding in a this-might-be-able-to-be-replicated-on-stage kind of way, its atmospheric crux was as much emotional as sonic, and particularly for an instrumental band, its songs seemed to evoke precisely the kind of wistfulness that the band intended.

More about their intentions — including some of the direct themes they’re drawing from throughout — follows in the news about the Departure Songs release on Translation Loss. If you haven’t yet had the chance to take a listen to the tracks, they’re below courtesy of We Lost the Sea‘s Bandcamp. Well worth your time:

we lost the sea departure songs

WE LOST THE SEA to Release New Album ‘Departure Songs’ November 27

Australian Post-Rock Pack Creates Cinematic Instrumental Atmospherics

Progressive instrumental heavy rock band WE LOST THE SEA will release its new LP, Departure Songs, on November 27 via Translation Loss Records. The Australian sextet, which calls its sound, “an unstoppable force meets an immovable object” and “crushing guitar noise with post-rock atmospherics”, recorded the album at Sydney’s 301 Studios (Coldplay, Chvrches, Muse) with producer Tim Carr. Departure Songs is the follow-up to WE LOST THE SEA’s 2012 release, The Quietest Place On Earth, a recording that was hailed as “a ride of despair, aggression and melancholy filled to the brim with emotion.”

A conceptual album with song titles and themes inspired by actual events, Departure Songs pairs heavy subject matter with the group’s depth-filled, melancholic, yet emotionally charged music. “A Gallant Gentleman” is a sound story about Laurence Oats, an English cavalry officer and explorer who, during an expedition to the Antarctic, willingly committed an act of self-sacrifice when aware that his ill health was compromising his companions’ chances of survival. “Challenger” pays homage to the Space Shuttle Challenger and its brave crew who perished on January 28, 1986. “Bogatyri” is a tribute to Valeri Bezpalov, Alexie Ananenko and Boris Baranov — aka “the suicide squad” — who gave their lives diving to the depths of the Ukraine’s Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in order to open its floodgates, saving much of Europe from deadly nuclear fallout. Finally, “The Last Dive of David Shaw” honors the Australian scuba diver, technical diver — one of only 11 people who have dived below a depth of 240 metres (800 ft) on self-contained underwater breathing apparatus — who gave his life in “Bushman’s Hole” (believed to be the sixth-deepest submerged freshwater cave (or sinkhole) in the world) while attempting to recover the body of Deon Dreyer, a South African diver who had died in the same spot ten years previously.

“‘Departure Songs’ is about failed journeys and it tells the stories of those who have gone above and beyond their duty as humans and sacrificed themselves for others for honorable reasons,” says the band. “It is also a tribute to our late friend and front man, Chris Torpy. It is about those that have left us and moved on. Each song on this album has a themed attached to it; almost like the song’s lyrics, telling a story. All of the stories are from history and about real people. Part of the band’s creative process was and is to find themes that fit the music and tell stories like that. Epic stories for epic songs. It helps give context, narrative and character.”

WE LOST THE SEA creates music that incorporates expression, pensive atmospherics melody, dynamics and crushing heaviness that, while seeming and sounding to be downbeat and somber, is also at once appreciative, commemorative, remembering and celebratory. A cathartic experience of sadness and perseverance encapsulated in five amazing instrumental passages, Departure Songs will come housed in a four panel heavyweight wallet with a 12 page booklet CD. The album will also be released on LP (packaged as a 2xLP gatefold), available in both black and limited colored vinyl, with accompanying 12 page / 12″ booklet.

Track listing:
1.) A Gallant Gentleman
2.) Bogatyri
3.) The Last Dive of David Shaw
4.) Challenger part 1: Flight
5.) Challenger part 2: A Swan Song

Departure Songs is available to pre-order now at this location.

WE LOST THE SEA features Mark Owen (guitar), Matt Harvey (guitar), Brendon Warner (guitar), Kieran Elliott (bass), Matthew Kelly (piano, keyboards) and Nathaniel D’Ugo (drums).

http://translationlossrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/welostthesea
https://twitter.com/welostthesea
http://welostthesea.bandcamp.com/
http://www.welostthesea.com/

We Lost the Sea, Departure Songs (2015)

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Quarterly Review: We Lost the Sea, Dark Buddha Rising, Red Mountains, Black Space Riders, Lamprey, Godsleep, Slow Joe Crow & the Berserker Blues Band, Monobrow, Denizen, Witchsorrow

Posted in Reviews on October 1st, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-quarterly-review-fall-2015

We’re in the thick of it now. It’s hard sometimes putting these things together to remember that each band has worked incredibly hard to put out an album. I’ve been through that process (once), and so I know it can be harrowing at times between acts going back and forth about recording, what’s included, how to release, when, and so on. There’s a lot to cover this week — and we’re not out of the woods yet — but I hope that, just because each review is short, you don’t take that as a sign I don’t have the utmost respect for the effort that has gone into making each of these releases. It can be a tremendous pain in the ass, but of course it’s worth it when you get to the end product. We continue.

Fall 2015 Quarterly Review #31-40:

We Lost the Sea, Departure Songs

we lost the sea departure songs

To be blunt, We Lost the Sea’s Departure Songs is the kind of album that immediately makes me want to own everything the band has done, in hard copy, for posterity. The Sydney outfit’s third full-length finds its crux in its two-part closing duo of “Challenger Part 1 – Flight” and “Challenger Part 2 – A Swan Song,” enacting a lush instrumental interpretation of the Space Shuttle Challenger flight and disaster that took place nearly 30 years ago in Jan. 1986. In its progression, patience, flow and discernable narrative thread it is nothing short of brilliant, a lush and sad beauty that serves as a genuinely affecting reminder of the hope for a better future that died with that shuttle’s civilian crew and the era of aspiration that tragedy brought to a close. I think the closing sample is the only time I’ve ever heard Ronald Reagan speak in my adult life and felt something other than anger, and that’s a testament to the ground Departure Songs covers – on the preceding three cuts as well as the final two – and the masterful execution on the part of We Lost the Sea.

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We Lost the Sea on Bandcamp

Dark Buddha Rising, Inversum

dark buddha rising inversum

There does not yet exist a name for what Finland’s Dark Buddha Rising bring to bear on the two side-consuming tracks of their Neurot Recordings debut and sixth album overall, Inversum. Self-recorded and presented following some shifts in lineup, the album swells to a massive head of bleak, noise-infused psychedelia, fully ritualized and self-aware but still vibrant as it makes its way further and further down into itself. It is bright black, based so much around contrasting ideas of form and tonality that to listen to it, one almost doesn’t believe that the band are accomplishing what they are on an aesthetic level, but the weight, chants, screams, cavernous feel and nod that “Eso” (24:05) and “Exo” (23:52) enact is ultimately real no matter how nightmarish and otherworldly the impression might be. A work that sounds as likely to digest as be digested, it constructs a temple of its own sound and then burns that temple and everything around it in a glorious final push into charred chaos.

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Dark Buddha Rising at Neurot Recordings

Red Mountains, Down with the Sun

red mountains down with the sun

Few endorsements carry as much weight for me as that of Germany’s Nasoni Records, so when I see that venerable imprint is on board for the release of Red Mountains’ first album, Down with the Sun, expectations immediately rise. The Norwegian four-piece don’t disappoint, calling forth a heavy psychedelia weighted enough to be immersive without really falling into the trap of sounding too post-Colour Haze or Causa Sui, finding a balance right away on opener “Six Hands” between open-vibe and structured songcraft. They toy with one side or the other, getting crunchy on “Rodents” and tripping out into ambient echoing on the penultimate “Silver Grey Sky,” but that only makes the debut seem all the more promising. Particularly satisfying is the scope between “Sun” and “Sleepy Desert Blues,” which is enough to make the listener think that grunge and desert rock happened in the same place. An engaging and already-on-the-right-track start from a band who sound like they’re only going to continue to grow.

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Nasoni Records

Black Space Riders, Refugeeum

black space riders refugeeum

It’s improper to think of Germany’s Black Space Riders as entirely psychedelic if only because that somehow implies a lack of clearheaded consciousness in their work, which as their fourth album, Refugeeum, demonstrates, is the very core tying all the expanses they cover together. As Europe comes to grip with its most dire refugee crisis since World War II, Black Space Riders take their thematic movement from such terrestrial issues (a first for them) and it makes a song like 11-minute centerpiece “Run to the Plains” all the more resonant. Of course, the big-chug groove of “Born a Lion (Homeless)” and the cosmic thrust of the penultimate “Walking Shades” still have a psychedelic resonance, but the balance between the earthly and the otherworldly do well to highlight the progressivism that’s been at work in the band’s sound all along. A considerable undertaking at 61 minutes, Refugeeum is an important step in an ongoing development that has just made another unexpected and welcome turn.

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Black Space Riders website

Lamprey, III

lamprey iii

And so, with their third and final outing, III, Portland, Oregon, trio Lamprey reserve their strongest point for their closing argument. The two-bass trio of bassist/vocalist Blaine Burnham (now drumming in Mane of the Cur), bassist Justin Brown (now bass-ing in Witch Mountain) and drummer Spencer Norman recorded the conclusive six-tracker with Adam Pike at Toadhouse (Red Fang, Mammoth Salmon, etc.) and even the slower shifts of “Harpies” and the decidedly Conan-esque “Lament of the Deathworm” breeze right by. Like their two prior releases, 2012’S The Burden of Beasts (review here) and 2011’s Ancient Secrets (review here), III is a showcase of songcraft as much as tone, and it seems to presage its own vinyl reissue, each of the two halves starting with a shorter piece, the opener “Iron Awake” a notably vicious stomp that sets a destructive vibe that the rumble and weirdo keys and leads that finish out “Gaea” seem to be answering, a quick fade bringing an end to an underrated act. They’ll be missed.

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Lamprey on Bandcamp

Godsleep, Thousand Sons of Sleep

godsleep thousand sons of sleep

If newcomer bruisers Godsleep seem to share some commonality of method with fellow Athenians 1000mods, it’s worth noting that on their debut, Thousand Sons of Sleep, they also share a recording engineer in George Leodis. Fair enough. The big-toned riffing and shouty burl on which Godsleep cast their foundation makes its identity felt in the post-Kyussism of “Thirteen” and stonerly grit of centerpiece “This is Mine,” which follows the extended opening salvo of “The Call,” “Thirteen” and “Wrong Turn,” the latter of which is the longest cut at 9:09 and among its most satisfyingly fuzzed nods. They’re playing to style perhaps, but doing so well, and if you’ve gotta start somewhere, recording live and coming out with a heavy-as-hell groove like what emerges in the second half of “Home” is a good place to start. Godsleep are already a year past from when they recorded Thousand Sons of Sleep in Summer 2014, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a follow-up happened sooner than later.

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Rock Freaks Records

Slow Joe Crow & the Berserker Blues Band, We are Blues People

slow joe crow and the berserker blues band we are blues people

Kentucky-based, cumbersomely-named Slow Joe Crow and the Berserker Blues Band may indeed live up to the We are Blues People title of their debut EP, but they’re definitely riff people as well. As such, the four-track sampling of their wares draws from both sides on a cut like opener “No One Else,” the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Austin P. Lunn, bassist Patrick Flanary and drummer Thom Hammerheart in the process of figuring out how much they want to lean to one or the other. They round out with a fuzzy take on the traditional “John the Revelator,” but the earlier “Muddy Water Rising” strikes a more effective and more authentic-feeling balance, leading to the slow jam of “Before I Go,” which adds a ‘70s rock vibe to push the bluesy feel even further and expand the palette in a manner one hopes they continue to pursue as they move forward.

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Slow Joe Crow and the Berserker Blues Band on Bandcamp

Monobrow, A Handwritten Letter from the Moon

monobrow a handwritten letter from the moon

Canadian trio Monobrow follow their 2014 LP, Big Sky, Black Horse (review here) with what’s essentially a new single that finds them continuing to step forward in their approach. Dubbed A Handwritten Letter from the Moon and taking its name from the 8:33 title-track, the Ottawa group’s latest offering finds the instrumental outfit smoothing out the tones a bit, still hitting into raucous grooves, but closer to Truckfighters than their prior brashness. I don’t know if it’s a method they’ll stick to going into their fourth LP next year, but the result is dynamic and suits them well. “A Handwritten Letter from the Moon” comes coupled with “Dyatlov Station 3,” a seven-minute rehearsal-space jam from 2011 that fascinatingly (and I’m sure by no coincidence) showcases some similar classic heavy rock influence. The only real shame of the release is that both these tracks are probably too long to fit on a 7”, since a small platter of vinyl would be a perfect way to hold over listeners until the next album arrives. As it stands, the digital version is hardly roughing it.

Monobrow on Thee Facebooks

Monobrow on Bandcamp

Denizen, Troubled Waters

denizen troubled waters

French heavy rocking four-piece Denizen issued their decidedly Clutchian debut, Whispering Wild Stories (review here), in 2011, and follow it through Argonauta Records with Troubled Waters, a more individualized 10-track outing that alternates between punkish rawness and classic upbeat grooves. Four years after their first album, their progression hasn’t come at the cost of songwriting, and while they still have work to do in distinguishing themselves in a crowded, varied European market, they deliver the material with an energy and vitality that makes even its familiar parts easy enough to get down with, be it the Southern heavy solo of “Jocelyne” or the meaner bite of “Enter Truckman.” I’ll take the pair of “King of Horses” and “Heavy Rider” as highlights, and remain interested to find out where Denizen head from here, as well as how long it might take them to get there. Four years between records gives Troubled Waters the feel of a second debut as much as a sophomore effort.

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Argonauta Records

Witchsorrow, No Light, Only Fire

witchsorrow no light only fire

Releasing through Candlelight in their native UK, doom metal trio Witchsorrow mark a decade with their third album, No Light, Only Fire. Opener “There is No Light There is Only Fire” seems to nod immediately at Cathedral, with a speedier, chuggier take, and the record proceeds to alternate between shorter and longer tracks en route to the 14-minute closer “De Mysteriis Doom Sabbathas,” cuts like “Negative Utopia” and “Disaster Reality” sailing a black ship past the 10-minute mark on a rumbling sea of riffs and slow motion nod. They break for a minute with the acoustic interlude “Four Candles” before embarking on the finale, and the respite is appreciated once the agonizing undulations of “De Mysteriis Doom Sabbathas” are underway, using nearly every second of their 14:25 to affirm Witchsorrow’s trad doom mastery and bleak, darkened heft. No light? Maybe a little light, but it’s still pretty damn dark, and indeed, it smells like smoke.

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Candlelight Records

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audiObelisk Transmission 050

Posted in Podcasts on August 3rd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Click Here to Download

 

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

We’re a little bit overdue for a new podcast and I know it. A hectic couple weeks, I suppose. But it’s here now and there’s plenty to dig into, so hopefully it’ll make up for some of the lost time. Not like the site’s lacking for audio — you might say there’s a 24-hour live-streaming radio station with a permanent home over there in the sidebar — but it’s still nice to feature some new tracks from what’s come across for review and other consideration.

A few marquee names this time around: Monster Magnet, Pentagram, Kadavar. And on the other end of the spectrum, a band like Seagrave, whose inclusion here is taken from their demo. In between those extremes, an outfit like Borracho continue to refine their heavy rock bona fides, Thera Roya delve deep into post-metallic abrasion, Black Tremor capture a dark Americana, and Weeed earn their third ‘e’ with massive stoner sprawl. And speaking of sprawl, you might notice the first hour ends at 52 minutes. Well, things get long early. Thera Roya, Iguana, Matuska and We Lost the Sea all top 10 minutes — the latter 20 — and that pushes the total runtime over two hours. I figured it’s the 50th one, so fair enough to stretch a bit. Hope you enjoy:

First Hour:
0:00:00 Kadavar, “Last Living Dinosaur” from Berlin
0:04:02 Pentagram, “Walk Alone” from Curious Volume
0:07:18 Monster Magnet, “Mastermind ‘69” from Cobras and Fire: The Mastermind Redux
0:13:34 Weeed, “Rainbow Amplifier Worship” from Our Guru Brings us to the Black Master Sabbath
0:22:08 Tuna de Tierra, “Ash” from EPisode 1 – Pilot
0:29:29 Seagrave, “Through the Lion’s Eye” from Dead Demo
0:32:45 Vinnum Sabbathi, “Hex I – The Mastery of Space” from Split with Fuzzonaut
0:39:52 Borracho, “Superego” from The Second Coming of Heavy Split with Geezer
0:47:27 Black Tremor, “Rise” from Impending
0:52:36 Thera Roya, “Unraveling” from Unraveling

Second Hour:
1:05:37 Iguana, “Cult of Helios” from Cult of Helios
1:21:09 Matushka, “Drezina” from II
1:40:55 We Lost the Sea, “Challenger Pt. I: Flight” from Departure Songs

Total running time: 2:04:22

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 050

 

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