Oulu Space Jam Collective to Release 3LP on Adansonia Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I’m not sure what exactly is going to be on the triple-vinyl that Adansonia Records will release from Finnish cosmic-improv unit Oulu Space Jam Collective, but apparently there will be plenty of it. I mean, it’ll be jams one way or the other, since that’s what the band — such as they are — does, but they do it pretty often, so maybe it’s the full-length they put out in September, Drug Rings of Saturn, or maybe it’s a collection of other material or some other past release or maybe it’s something new. A group like this, you never really know. Could be a 3LP pumped out every time they get together. When your ethic is “plug in and go,” adding a step to hit record along the way isn’t such a huge ask.

It’s definitely cool for the band though, whatever might ultimately manifest, so right on. Details are apparently forthcoming, but good news is good news, so here’s good news:

oulu space jam collective

Oulu Space Jam Collective – New release on Adansonia Records

It’s been quiet here for a while and now it’s high time for a new fantastic release.

In the meantime a new band has joined the roster of Adansonia Records. Please welcome Oulu Space Jam Collective from Finland.

Oulu Space Jam Collective channels cosmic streams of the universe through a great variety of instruments, which they choose for their jam sessions. It’s their intention to celebrate extended Space Rock Jams with jazzy grooves and Krautrock experiments. Sounds like they are in good company at Adansonia.

We have managed to prepare one of their numerous recordings for release on vinyl. It is the first official physical release of Oulu Space Jam Collective! The package of test pressings arrived yesterday and is just waiting to be checked. We expect to be able to deliver an incredibly spacey 3LP box in early December. Very soon detailed info…

Check them out!!!

Oulu Space Jam Collective in photo above:
Petri Loukusa
Antti Yrjö Olavi Ylijääskö
Olli Niemitalo
Kalle Veikko
Markus Pitkänen
Joonatan Aaltonen
Jani Pitkänen

https://www.facebook.com/Ouluspacejamcollective
https://ouluspacejamcollective.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/adansoniarecords/
https://www.adansoniarecords.de/

Oulu Space Jam Collective, Drug Rings of Saturn (2019)

Tags: , , ,

Sista Maj to Release Localized Pockets of Negative Entropy on Adansonia Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

sista maj

Adansonia Records has put out word that it will issue the new album from Swedish progressive instrumentalists Sista Maj, dubbed Localized Pockets of Negative Entropy — it’s bodies, us, humans, in case you were wondering — on LP next month. Space Rock Productions also released a CD of the band’s last album, the late-2016 double-disc Series of Nested Universes, and they may have a CD version of Localized Pockets of Negative Entropy as well, or there might not be one at all, but Adansonia‘s vinyl has the added appeal of two bonus tracks exclusive to it that aren’t available digitally.

Speaking of digitally, Sista Maj put the album out on their own last month via Bandcamp and you can stream it in its entirety — bonus tracks aside, of course — on the player below.

Dig:

sista maj Localized Pockets of Negative Entropy

We have new partners from Sweden’s capital + + + Sista Maj + + +

Their current album “Localized Pockets of Negative Entropy” will be out soon on Adansonia Records.

Sista Maj started as a trio: Andreas Axelsson on drums, Mikael Tuominen on bass and other stuff, Jonathan Segel on guitar, violin and some other musical stuff. Instrumental hypnotic intense psychedelic space rock in the great Northern European tradition, which ranges from Krautrock to the Swedish progg. The band usually came together to improvise, and sometimes they take those improvisations and re-work them. In 2017 Per Wiberg joined the band with his keyboards. Their latest release, “Localized Pockets of Negative Entropy” includes all four of them and a bit of Mattias Olsson (Änglagård, Pineforest Crunch, Necromonkey, etc.) as well.

Sista Maj – from left to right:
Jonathan Segel moved from the US to Sweden in 2012, he lives in Stockholm and has hooked up with several musicians there, including this grouping. He records and performs music under his own name, and continues to play and record with Camper Van Beethoven (mostly in the US) and the Øresund Space Collective (mostly in the EU). Andreas Axelsson is in several bands (Eye Make the Horizon, Lisa Ullén, AAM, etc.). Mikael Tuominen is as well (Kungens Män, Automatism, Fanatism, Eye Make the Horizon) and they’re all amazing. Per Wiberg joined us in 2017 to play keyboards, opening up their sound to new territories, another veteran of many bands including Opeth, Spiritual Beggars and Kamchatka.

The album will be released in mid-December as a DLP and includes two bonus tracks which will be only available on vinyl. Detailed infos coming soon.

Sista Maj is:
Andreas Axelsson: drums
Jonathan Segel: guitar, violin
Mikael Tuominen: bass
Per Wiberg: keyboards

https://sistamaj.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/adansoniarecords/
https://www.adansoniarecords.de/

Sista Maj, Localized Pockets of Negative Entropy (2018)

Tags: , , , , ,

Fungal Abyss Premiere “Croak Toke Parallax” from Benevolent Malevolence

Posted in audiObelisk on September 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

fungal abyss

Fungal Abyss will release their new album, Benevolent Malevolence, next Monday, Sept. 24, through Adansonia Records. It is at least the third long-player for the Seattle-based cosmic doom experimentalist collective, arriving behind 2016’s Karma Suture (review here) and 2011’s Bardo Abgrund Temple (reissue review here), though the improvisational, mostly-instrumental outfit may well have snuck one or two others in there while no one was looking. With four-fifths of doomly doom purveyors Lesbian in their ranks, Fungal Abyss reach outward into an interstellar creative wash, finding the background noise of the galaxy and channeling it through max-volume wah in order to convey their exploratory sense. Comprised of two songs, each consuming an entire vinyl side, in “Croak Toke Parallax” (20:59) and “Chaos Condor” (22:08) — kudos to whoever in the band comes up with titles — it’s a noisier brand of heavy psych than one jams of the form often bring, and has a darker undertone of mood than one often expects from even the most churning of tripped-out improv.

So what’s happening and what’s happened? So what’s the now all about? Hell if I know, but Fungal Abyss proffer alternate-dimension — but not alt-dimension, because fuck that shit — lysergics with an admirable sense of freedom.  The ol’ “Croak Toke Parallax” starts out with soft chiming bells and echoing voices in tribalist ritualization, unfolding an ambience à la fellow PNW go-anywheres Master Musicians of Bukkake, and soon consumes itself in a swell of guitar noise and percussivefungal abyss benevolent malevolence awakening. Five minutes deep and the drone is up to your eyeballs and what good was reality anyway? Ten and there’s a march and searing lead lines and drums and still-offbeat percussion whatnots and you’re post-some sample that shows up like someone left the tv on, but you’re also post-just about everything else, so let it go. They’re headed somewhere and that’s into a full-on build-into-wash that plays out in increasing volume and surge to extreme levels of both over the next eight minutes, and there’s a while there where it’s just fucking madness, but they kind of even it out before drawing down into a noisy fade with a couple quiet measures of guitar ending off, as if to be like, “Oh yeah, sorry we just melted your eyeballs, here you go. We made you some new ones that see better colors.”

We’re back in the drone at the start of “Chaos Condor,” and you can almost hear the winged beast itself soaring overhead of the loops and swirls and tambourine and sundry banged-on-stuff. Keys? Maybe. Definitely synth. But at 3:30 there’s a deceptive amount going on and none of it seems to be interested in bourgeois interpretation. Like a data rod shot out of an interstellar probe, “Chaos Condor” carries its message in casual antigravity, with mounting feedback about six and seven minutes on that set the tone for the soon-unfolded fuckall (allfuck?). Maddening atmospherics ensue. It’s a more internal vibe that “Croak Toke Parallax,” but no less spacious, and it too finds its way — albeit later — into a reaching jam. It’s the drums that start the push, somewhere in the 11th minute, and we all know immediately where we’re headed but man there’s just not stopping what’s coming. The noise is even more biting the second time around, with the scorch going all the way to carbon before it blows itself apart and drones to a long finish, the chaos having long since been condored. At the end of the 43-minute run, what’s left? Out-of-body psychedelia and the prevailing feeling of stomach discomfort? Physical affect? Fucking right on.

They’re building altars here. Two of them. And the challenge is on you whether or not you can get down. They’re like handing you your first joint and telling you all the cool kids are doing it. Or eating mushrooms and playing Dungeons and Dragons. You get the idea.

Go.

Listen:

For these sessions, the collective spent two long days set up at the Killroom in Seattle keeping the tape rolling nearly the whole time as members came and went as the mood stuck or the drugs kicked in. These two half-hour tracks Croak Toke Parallax and Chaos Condor, capture some of the best moments of the various ensembles formed during this marathon improvisation.

Players from this session include: Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy, Arran McInnis, Dorando Hodous, Daniel LaRochelle, Nathan Smurthwaite, Andrew McInnis, B.R.A.D. Mowen, Sam Yoder, and Jim Davis.

The band will be celebrating the release of the album on October 12th at the Parliament Tavern in West Seattle with Nosretep and guests.

Fungal Abyss on Thee Facebooks

Fungal Abyss on Bandcamp

Fungal Abyss release show event page

Adansonia Records on Thee Facebooks

Adansonia Records webstore

Tags: , , , , ,

Review & Video Premiere: The Crazy Left Experience, Death, Destruction & Magic

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on August 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the crazy left experience death destruction and magic

[Click play above to view the premiere of The Crazy Left Experience’s ‘Magic’ video, with footage from Georges Méliès’ 1902 film, Le Voyage dans la Lune. The Crazy Left Experience’s Death, Destruction and Magic is out now on Adamsonia Records.]

Instrumental trio The Crazy Left Experience have been jamming for roughly five years. Their first three outings are ‘sessions’ releases — 2014’s The Big Bang Sessions (In The Beginning), 2015’s Garage Sessions and early 2016’s Uranus Sessions — but from that point on, the Lisbon-based outfit began to dip into psychedelic conceptualism, working their exploratory approach around a central theme, story or idea. This led to a burst of creativity in 2016 with three more albums: Welcome to the AI, Maya’s Magic Pill and Bill’s 108th Space Odyssey (review here), as drummer/guitarist Rui Inácio, guitarist/noisemaker Luís Abrantes and bassist/flutist Tiago Machado delved into the tale of early US governmental lysergic experiments.

Trippy adventures followed, and the band’s new record, Death, Destruction and Magic — pressed to vinyl through Germany’s Adansonia Records — would seem to keep up the theme. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is comprised of three tracks — titled “Death,” “Destruction” and “Magic” — with a digital bonus cut in “AND (A Song for Rosa),” and like much of the band’s work, it is centered around the conversation happening between the instruments. There is no shortage of drift in “Magic” and “Destruction” has low end worthy of its name, while “Death” seems to howl more in celebration than mourning, but what unites the three distinct pieces is an overarching naturalism that makes all the material as real as it is ethereal.

One aspect of their sound The Crazy Left Experience bring to bear in especially vivid fashion is minimalism. They’d hardly be the first outfit with ebbs and flows in heavy psych jams, but in the second half of “Death” and in the ultra-subdued stretch of “Magic,” where watery effects-laden guitar ascends and descends over steady drum patterning, the space purposefully left open is crucial as well as the space being filled with sound. They come together and in kind with the fluid movement between more and less active parts, help form the dynamic with which The Crazy Left Experience execute their material. The album was, true to form, recorded live, and while there may be parts of it that are inherently off-the-cuff, caught-on-tape-type of happenings, there does seem to be an overarching plot.

Even in the meandering spaciousness of “AND (A Song for Rosa),” one finds a plot being followed or at least some sense of linear direction, rather than a jam simply unfolding as it will. That’s not to say that song or any of the other three before it — which run eight, 15 and nine minutes, respectively, for a total of 32; utterly manageable — sound forced. Far from it. Just that at the very least, someone among Inácio, Abrantes and Machado came into the recording process with some idea of where they wanted the songs to go. That’s more the case here than it was their last time out, but whether it’s indicative of some larger shift in approach and as to the consciousness of that, I wouldn’t speculate. Organic as it is, their sound only benefits from the sense of purpose it’s give here.

For some in the style, their mission is to present the very heart of the creative process — to capture the moment when the spark of songcraft begins. That singular “aha!” moment when it all clicks together. It’s a difficult thing to do and an admirable goal, but it doesn’t seem to be what The Crazy Left Experience are about. Their output on Death, Destruction and Magic is thrilling in the mellow vibe that persists even in “Destruction”‘s actively grooving midsection thanks to the brightness of its tonality and the patience of its execution, and it’s more about telling its story than getting lost in its own making.

the crazy left experience

That is, The Crazy Left Experience use the foundation they have in exploratory psych in order to convey a message or idea in their material. They direct the evocation their songs are making, even just with one-word titles. What does “Death” say about death? How does “magic” feel like magic, and what does magic feel like? As “Destruction” passes its 10th minute, it delves into a melodic drone that builds in the guitar but ultimately holds sway as the drums never return. Are we in the midst of an aftermath there? Was it war? You get the idea. The point is that Death, Destruction and Magic allows its audience to fill in the answers as they will, and to make their own judgment about what they think the band is telling them.

This level of atmospheric engagement is rare, and the guide the band grant on their Bandcamp page for it reads like something out of Dungeons and Dragons:

You’ve just escaped from the lava tunnel.
A pack of razor-clawed creatures are trying
to get you before the lizard men do.
These are moves you’ve never seen before.
A fire-breathing dragon carries you toward the castle.

The choice is simple…

Maybe that’s the thing — it’s all a game. If so, that does nothing to invalidate the expression happening in these passages, nor the obvious heart poured into their making. The Crazy Left Experience have their share of nebulous elements at play, whether it’s the rolling end section of “Magic” or the airy fuzz tone in “Death,” but what brings the band together is still the solid underlying connection they have between each other while playing. The live performance. It’s the reason they’re able to tell the stories they’re telling with their sound, and the reason they see so continually to be able and willing to push themselves forward.

Death, Destruction and Magic isn’t shy in tackling “big ideas,” but the language it uses seems built exclusively for that purpose, and the outward trajectory of the record as a whole should resonate with any and all of mind open enough to let it. They’ve worked quickly to get to their seventh full-length, but The Crazy Left Experience come across like veterans just the same when it comes to the chemistry and confidence with which they ply their liquefied wares.

The Crazy Left Experience, Death, Destruction and Magic

The Crazy Left Experience on Thee Facebooks

The Crazy Left Experience on Instagram

The Crazy Left Experience on Bandcamp

Adansonia Records on Thee Facebooks

Adansonia Records website

Tags: , , , , ,

Review & Full EP Premiere: Atavismo, Valdeinfierno

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Atavismo Valdeinfierno

[Click play above to stream Atavismo’s Valdeinfierno EP in full. It’s out July 23 on Adansonia Records.]

True to form, even a short release from Atavismo has a pervasive sense of atmosphere. The Algeciras, Spain, band blew any and all minds willing to follow along with last year’s Inerte (review here), and to be perfectly honest, I’m still a little up in the air as to whether Inerte was their full-length debut or a sophomore outing after their first release, which was 2014’s Desintegración (review here). As it’s comprised of four central tracks, Valdeinfierno, which is their new ostensible extended-player and debut on Adansonia Records, shares some structure in common with that first offering, but the palette has grown exponentially. It’s been four years, which can be nothing in the life of a band, and Atavismo do retain some of the heavy psychedelic underpinnings that they began to develop into a more progressive mindset with Inerte, but Valdeinfierno is no less a leap from the last outing than that was from the first.

It once more finds guitarist/vocalist/synthesist Jose “Poti” Moreno (ex-Viaje a 800Mind!), bassist/vocalist Mateo and drummer/vocalist Sandri Pow (also ex-Mind!) expanding their sound. They’ve expanded the lineup of the band as well, welcoming Koe on keys, synth and vocals. I’m not sure who contributes what to which parts of “La Palmosa,” “Quejigo,” “Valdeinfierno” and “Sapo Sagapo” but with the intro “Tropmetillas de la Muerte” and the outro “Etreum al ed Sallitemport” — yes, the outro is the intro backwards, in content as well as name — Valdeinfierno is all the more about progression and showcasing different sides of their personality, with each cut offering something different to stand it out from its surroundings, whether it’s the proggy shuffle of “La Palmosa” or the folk-tinged acoustic/electric blend of “Sago Sagapo” or the jam into which “Quejigo” so fluidly launches or the title-track’s sudden turn from drifting heavy psych into Iberian-folk-tinged percussion and jamming. More and more, Atavismo seem to be defining their own stylistic parameters outside of prescribed genre lines. This only suits them all the more.

If we’re arguing that Valdeinfierno is an EP — and since the band says it is, basically we’re not arguing at all beyond a hypothetical — a point in favor of that position is the diversity within the tracks. Even from where they were early last year, Atavismo have taken very clear steps to move forward. That would be all well and good, except for the fact that there’s still such a flow between the songs. At 28 minutes, it could go either way– the debut, for what it’s worth, was 37, and Inerte was 42 — and the way these songs work off each other and seem to add to an overarching statement of stylized progadelic intent speaks to an LP methodology. Maybe it’s a hard sell. What matters more than what one should call it is the vibe the band takes such obvious care to present and to maintain over the course of those 28 minutes. The patient drift past the midpoint in “La Palmosa.” The brightness of the fuzz guitar blast in “Sapo Sagapo.” The slow beginning of “Valdeinfierno.” The mini-freakout of “Quejigo” with its uptempo bounce. All of these things help give the respective tracks a sense of personality of their own, and yet all of them tie the material together as well. They unite as much as they distinguish.

Atavismo

After the wash of keyboard and plucked acoustic guitar notes and clarinet and mellotron of “Trompetillas de la Muerte” — which, by the way, is 39 seconds long — “La Palmosa” takes hold with an insistent strum and plays back and forth between fuzz-laden breaks and an immediate build of forward momentum. Keys in the background help tie together transitions, and Atavismo jam their way through a midsection break that’s the hypnotic beginning of a build, except that instead of paying it off in traditional fashion, they leave off to silence and let the start-stop riff at the core of “Quejigo” — no less danceable than its predecessor — keep the spirit moving. The drums are crucial to this as the guitar joins their rhythm and blown-out vocals mark the beginning of the first verse. Like “La Palmosa,” “Quejigo” builds its own tension, but at 3:22, it opens up to pay it off with an uptempo jam and the already-noted bounce en route to the presumed end of side A.

The title-track is also the longest song on Valdeinfierno at 8:26, and in its concept, it’s the most striking inclusion of them. It works in two sections and the first of them is a lull. Gently, it rises to a serene level of volume with a patience over the course of its first two-plus minutes that feels born out of classical music, never mind prog, and when the airy guitar and drums kick in a bit before 2:30, their entry isn’t even so much a “kick in” as a “oh hi do you mind if we do this thing we promise it’ll be awesome ah cool thanks” and with what sounds an awful lot like a xylophone backing — keys? — Moreno unfurls a slow, jammy lead. By the midpoint about two minutes later, the mood is set and Atavismo set to exploring the landscape they’ve drawn, but then at 5:50 a surge of volume signals to the drums, which then begin cycles of tom runs and the guitar moves into a speedy and winding lead that seems to carry a Middle Eastern influence in its scales, but drops out after seven minutes to percussion and room-mic’ed shouts that end. That switch in volume and meter is so resoundingly important to Valdeinfierno. It’s the moment where the band proves that not only are they able to pull off different stylistic turns between their songs, but within them as well. As “Sago Sagapo” comes through with its soft keys in the background, easy lead layer behind acoustic strumming, the peaceful feel of earlier in the title-track returns, but it’s hard not to think maybe Atavismo will jump ship again and start adventuring into different terrain.

They don’t, really, and “Sapo Sagapo” brings up another fuzzy solo before dropping to silence and letting “Etreum al ed Sallitemport” run backwards through the EP’s intro with all the more of a progressive feel. But the lack of predictability remains firm and it’s become one of the strongest assets Atavismo have at their disposal. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether Valdeinfierno is an EP or an album. It only matters to me because when I invariably salivate over what they do next, compulsion will lead me to wonder if it’s their second LP, third EP, second EP, etc. Of far greater importance is that this mini-album is precisely that: a condensed full-album flow executed over a shorter series of tracks. It acts as a showcase of Atavismo‘s growth and experimental sensibilities, but it also inevitably bridges any and all gaps between those experiments as they arise. This band makes some of the most beautiful music I’ve heard in underground psych. It’s time more people started taking notice.

Atavismo on Thee Facebooks

Atavismo on Bandcamp

Adansonia Records website

Adansonia Records on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , ,

Atavismo Premiere “La Palmosa”; Announce Valdeinfierno EP Due July 23

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on June 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Atavismo

Atavismo will release their new EP, Valdeinfierno, on July 23 via Adansonia Records. With it, the Algeciras, Spain, outfit present six tracks — well, four with an intro and outro — that to each very one, explore new territory of range and scope. From the flowing Iberian folk in “La Palmosa” to the shuffling tension of “Quejigo” to drifting into Afrobeat-inspired rhythms of the title-track to the Mellotron-inclusive fuzz-prog of “Sapo Sagapo,” Atavismo venture into deeply varied ground and feel their way through ideas both rich in tone, all over place and still somehow able to flow together as an execution of a single idea and spirit. If you have an excuse for not digging them, I’d love to hear it.

The label is new, some of the sounds are new, but Atavismo‘s identity still comes through strong on Valdeinfierno — it just so happens that all that exploration is a huge part of it. Check back July 20 for a review and full stream of the EP, but in the meantime, I’m happy to host the unveiling of “La Palmosa, which you’ll find at the bottom of this post. Led into by the intro “Trompetillas de la Muerte” — which appears backwards as the EP’s outro, “Eteum al ed Sallitepmort” — it presents a fuzzy roll and intricacy that only reveals itself more with subsequent listens, whether it’s the percussion deeper in the mix or the vocal harmonies atop. I sincerely hope you enjoy it and stay tuned for more.

Recording info follows here, courtesy of the band via the PR wire:

atavismo valdeinfierno

This EP was recorded in October 2017 and April 2018 in Trafalgar Studios, the place we always use to record all our stuff. Recorded by Curro Ureba.

Only one song (called Sapo Sagapo) was recorded in Tagarnina Studios by Océano Galindo (aka Jose Angel Galindo, the guitarist of Viaje a 800).

The mastering was made by DJM in “Studio Fleisch” (Germany).

The release of the album will be on 23th July, and, exceptionally, this album will be released by Adansonia records (Germany).

Tracklisting:
1. Trompetillas de la Muerte
2. La Palmosa
3. Quejigo
4. Valdeinfierno
5. Sapo Sagapo
6. Etreum al ed Sallitepmort

Atavismo live:
JUL 21 Louie Louie, Estepona, Andalusia, Spain
AUG 10 SonicBlast Moledo, Portugal

ATAVISMO are:
Poti: Guitar and vocals
Sandra: Drums and vocals
Mateo: Bass and vocals
Koe: Keyboard, Synth & vocals

https://www.facebook.com/Atavismo-233096556878903/
https://atavismo.bandcamp.com/
https://www.adansoniarecords.de/
https://www.facebook.com/adansoniarecords/

Tags: , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Hallatar, Alastor, The Dead-End Alley Band, Hair of the Dog, Soup, Kungens Män, Smoke Wizzzard, Highburnator, The Curf, Ulls

Posted in Reviews on September 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

Here we are, gathered for round four of the Fall 2017 Quarterly Review. After the technical issues with the site for the last couple days, I’m glad to have everything back up and running, and one more time I thank Slevin and Behrang Alavi for making that happen. Though I have no idea what it might actually entail, I don’t imagine switching hosts on the fly for a site with as much content as this one has is easy, but they of course killed it and it is thoroughly appreciated. We move forward, as ever, with 10 more records. So let’s go.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Hallatar, No Stars Upon the Bridge

hallatar-no-stars-upon-the-bridge

Finland’s Hallatar was formed after the passing of Trees of Eternity vocalist Aleah Starbridge, life partner of guitarist and songwriter Juha Ravio (also Swallow the Sun). In the new outfit, Ravio pays homage to Starbridge with the debut long-player No Stars Upon the Bridge (on Svart) by using her poems as lyrics, samples of her voice reading on “Raven’s Song,” “Spiral Gate” and the piano-backed centerpiece “Pieces,” and by bringing in Amorphis vocalist Tomi Joutsen and ex-HIM drummer Gas Lipstick to complete a trio playing nine tracks/40 minutes of deeply mournful/beautiful death-doom. The extremity of lurch in “The Maze” late in the record is matched by the gorgeousness of the chants and shimmering guitar on closer “Dreams Burn Down,” and from the opening strains of “Mirrors,” the emotion driving No Stars Upon the Bridge is sincere and affecting. Cuts like “Melt” and the mostly-whispered-until-it-explodes “My Mistake” have a sense of the theatrical in their delivery, but that makes them no less genuine, and though one wouldn’t wish the circumstances leading to the band’s formation on anybody, there’s no question that with Hallatar, Ravio turns tragedy into a lush, resonant catharsis.

Hallatar on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records website

 

Alastor, Black Magic

alastor black magic

Cultish echoes pervade Black Magic, the debut album from Swedish doom-rolling four-piece Alastor, and it’s not so much that the initials-only four-piece of guitarists H and J, bassist/vocalist R and drummer S take influence from Electric Wizard and Black Sabbath, it’s what they do with that influence that’s most striking. Black Magic is made up of three extended tracks – “Enemy” (11:51), “Nothing to Fear” (7:42) and “Black Magic” (14:27) – and with a deep tonal engagement, each one embarks on a huge-sounding sprawl of doom. Yes, the guitars owe the swirl in “Nothing to Fear” to Jus Oborn, but the echoes behind R’s voice there and the melody have an almost New Wave-style feel despite the “all right now!” drawn right from the Ozzy playbook. In other words, Alastor are preaching to the converted, and that holds true in the snowblinded Luciferian spaciousness of the title-track’s early going as well, but the converted should have no problem finding the gospel in what they’re hearing, and as “Black Magic” rounds out with its chanted feel, Alastor affirm the potential to progress within this sound and to continue to develop it into something even more their own than it is now. Familiar superficially, but sneaky in the details, so watch out.

Alastor on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records webstore

 

The Dead-End Alley Band, Storms

the dead-end-alley-band-storms

Lima-based four-piece The Dead-End Alley Band aren’t far into opener “Red Woman” before the dark-psych vibe and languid groove have properly emphasized just how much the guitar of Leonardo Alva and the organ of Sebastian Sanchez-Botta (also vocals) complement each other. Propelled by the rhythm section of bassist/vocalist Javier Kou and drummer Jafer Diaz, Storms is the third album from them behind 2015’s Odd Stories (discussed here) and 2013’s debut, Whispers of the Night (review here), and it continues to blend fuzz and classic garage doom impulses on songs like “Headstone Fortress” and the shuffling “Thunderbolts and Lace,” the latter of which wah-trips to the max around a stirring boogie before “The Clock has Stopped” weirds out on extra vocal echoes and nine-minute closer “Waiting for the Void” brings in the progressive touches of pan flute and percussion. Even in the earlier, shortest track “Need You (It’s Enough),” The Dead-End Alley Band bring no shortage of personality to the proceedings, and confirm that the rough edges of their early outings have matured into essential aspects of who they have become as a band, completely in control of their craft and able to conjure an atmosphere both classic and individual.

The Dead-End Alley Band on Thee Facebooks

The Dead-End Alley Band on Bandcamp

Forbidden Place Records website

 

Hair of the Dog, This World Turns

hair-of-the-dog-this-world-turns

Making their debut on Kozmik Artifactz, Scottish trio Hair of the Dog give their guitar-led compositions plenty of time to flesh out on This World Turns, their third album, as they demonstrate quickly on the nine-plus minute titular opener and longest track (immediate points), but one would hardly call their songwriting indulgent there or anywhere else as “This World Turns” flows easily into the following seven-minute push of “Keeping Watch over the Night” in a resolute one-two punch that soon gives way to the shorter and more driving “Ctrl-Alt-Del,” touching on influences from Thin Lizzy and Scorpions en route as well as modern practitioners like Kadavar, whose stamp can also be heard on side B launch “The Colours in Her Skin.” That’s not to say Hair of the Dog — guitarist/vocalist Adam Holt (interview here), bassist Iain Thomson and drummer Jon Holt – don’t leave their own mark as well, just that their blend stems from multiple sources. A bit of Lynottism surfaces in the penultimate “In Death’s Hands” as well, which has a more subdued feel despite fervent rhythmic movement underlying, and closer “4AM” soars with enough vigor and soul – and a little falsetto – to give This World Turns a suitably smooth and vibrant finish.

Hair of the Dog on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Soup, Remedies

soup remedies

With ties to Motorpsycho through guitarist Hans Magnus “Snah” Ryan, Soup issue their sixth long-player in the five-track lush melodicism of Remedies, which feels particularly aptly named for the immersion the wash that opener “Going Somewhere” is able to elicit. That is, of course, just the first of the spacious, semi-folk-infused progressions, and it’s with the longer-form “The Boy and the Snow” (11:33) and the psychedelic purposeful meandering of “Sleepers” (13:35) that Remedies truly unveils its considerable breadth, but the Crispin Glover Records release holds a sense of poise even in the two-minute centerpiece church organ interlude “Audion,” and the harmonies of “Nothing Like Home” bring to mind peak-era Porcupine Tree patience and fluidity while holding fast to the bright, orange-sunshiny warmth of the atmosphere as a whole, instruments dropping out just before three minutes in to showcase the vocals before returning to embark on the march to the final crescendo, not at all overblown but with just a touch of extra volume to let listeners dive deeper into the moment. Remedies feels quick at 42 minutes, but turns out to be just what the doctor ordered.

Soup on Thee Facebooks

Crispin Glover Records website

 

Kungens Män, Dag & Natt

kungens-man-dag-natt

Prolific psych-progging Stockholmers Kungens Män return with Dag & Natt, a 2CD/2LP issued through Kungens Ljud & Bild (CD) and Adansonia Records (LP) that overflows with jazzy fluidity and gorgeous immersion. The band’s last studio outing was late-2015’s Förnekaren (review here), and whether it’s 13-minute pieces like opener “Morgonrodnad” and the even-more-krautrocking “Aftonstjärnan” or the seemingly complementary inclusions of the kosmiche-minded “Dag” and wonderfully drifting “Natt,” the album as a whole is a joy and a boon to anyone looking for an extended psychedelic meander. The saxophone of Gustav Nygren on the aforementioned leadoff and “Natt” makes a particularly striking impression, but with a steady, languid wash of guitar, synth and warm bass throughout, Dag & Natt wants nothing for flow, and the gentle, classy spirit is maintained even as the penultimate “Vargtimmen” ups the sense of thrust leading into the finisher payoff of “Cirkeln är Slut.” As of now, Kungens Män should be considered a too-well-kept secret of Scandinavia’s psych underground, though listening to Dag & Natt, one wonders just how long they’ll stay that way.

Kungens Män on Thee Facebooks

Adansonia Records website

 

Smoke Wizzzard, Run with the Wolf

smoke-wizzzard-run-with-the-wolf

Whether it’s through the striking and gruesome cover art or through the lumbering post-Sabbath, post-Cathedral stoner-doom nod contained within, Smoke Wizzzard’s five-song self-titled debut LP thoroughly earns its third ‘z’ – and, for that matter, its second one – with played-to-form thickness and a tonal push that starts with 10-minute opener/longest track (immediate points) “Astro Lord” and continues to swagger and swing with due viscosity through “Reptiles” after the minute-long punker curveball “Soul Train.” The highlight of the Pittsburgh trio’s first outing might be “The Pass,” which has a hazy patience and some rightly-featured bass tone, but as “Run with the Wolf” moves from its early Electric Wizard muckraking to cap with piano and included howls for a doomier feel, it becomes clear Smoke Wizzzard have yet to play their full stylistic hand and the real highlights may still be yet to come. Fair enough. Something tells me getting stranger is only going to be a boon to Smoke Wizzzard’s approach on the whole, so bring it on.

Smoke Wizzzard on Thee Facebooks

Smoke Wizzzard on Bandcamp

 

Highburnator, Keystoned State

highburnator-keystoned-state

If you hit up Highburnator’s Bandcamp and download their name-your-price Keystoned State EP, you might note the fifth and final inclusion is the entire live-recorded, 28-minute release presented as a single track. No doubt the Pennsylvania three-piece intend the four-song outing to be taken just that way. They begin with the “mad as hell” speech sampled from the 1976 film Network and from there unfold a potent riffly brew met head on with harsh East Coast hardcore-style vocals and more metallic growls. That’s nine-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “The Brass Rail,” and it sets the tone for what follows on the eponymous “Highburnator” before “Desert Funeral” and the Sleep-style nod of “Peaking at the Coffin” push into even more stonerly vibes. This melding of pissed-off disaffection and mid-paced heavy rock groove is particular to the sludge of the Eastern Seaboard – think of it as regional fare – but Highburnator find space for themselves in the rawness of their riffs and the charm of their puns, and by the time they’re through the four songs, it makes sense why they might want to present the full onslaught as a single entity, essentially giving it to their listeners on one overflowing platter. Got the munchies? It’s right there waiting.

Highburnator on Thee Facebooks

Highburnator on Bandcamp

 

The Curf, Death and Love

the-curf-death-and-love

Greek psych-doomers The Curf made their debut in 2007 with I and then went radio silent until last year’s Royal Water EP. Their sophomore full-length, Death and Love, then, arrives via Fuzz Ink Records with some amount of intrigue behind it, but either way, the sans-pretense heavy roll the band unfurls on “Dark Hado,” and the more uptempo “Smoke Ring,” the dig-in low end of “Lunar Lair” and the scream-topped start-stoppery of “California” present a varied take brought together through heft as well as the crispness of production and delivery, such that when it wants to, Death and Love can bite down hard, but as on the closing title-track or the earlier “Order ‘n’ Sin,” it can rumble out spaciousness as well. Whatever might’ve taken The Curf so long to put together a second album beats the hell out of me, but if they were looking to make an argument for a third one, they do so convincingly across these nine songs, which hold firmly to their overarching flow despite the emergent stylistic range.

The Curf on Thee Facebooks

Fuzz Ink Records webstore

 

Ulls, I

ULLS I

For now, Ulls is the solo-project of Barcelona-based David Trillo, formerly guitarist/vocalist for the heavy progressive trio Lord Summerisle, but the hope seems to be to build a full band at some point in the future. The I EP might rightly be called a demo, then, but for the professionalism and cohesiveness of sound with which its three songs are presented and the clarity of intent behind them. With Trillo rumbling away on bass beneath, six-minute opener “Inhumat” fleshes out its arrangement with organ alongside guitar swirl and sets up the classically swinging strut of “Llot Convuls,” on which the drums post-midsection lead the way through starts and stops à la a restless King Crimson and the guitar joins with no less angularity. Eight-minute closer “L’Emersió de l’Executor” brings about a thicker overall tone, but holds to a similar mood through its first half, Trillo finding room after about the four-and-a-half-minute mark for a standout solo executed with the bass running fluidly alongside that carries the song to its fading finish just before seven minutes in, at which point a residual drone takes hold to lead the way out. That ending is telling when it comes to various impulses that might show themselves in Ulls going forward, but as an initial demonstration, suffice it to say that I makes it plain Trillo shouldn’t have much trouble finding other players to come aboard the band with him.

Ulls on Instagram

Ulls on Bandcamp

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Kungens Män to Deliver Dag & Natt July 31

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

kungens man

Drifting psych-jazz improvocateurs Kungens Män are gearing up to release a new 2LP in less than two weeks’ time. The Stockholm-based explorers — amorphous in personnel and sound, as ever — were last heard from in April with the offering Tomhetens Furste, a long-playing three-tracker streaming and pressed to limited tape through Eggs in Aspic. The latest work is Dag & Natt, and it will be out on vinyl through Adansonia Records and on CD through Kungens Ljud & Bild July 31 bringing a wash of psych-kraut who-knows-what that’s sure to melt brainstems and turn them into a lysergic homebrew at will in a prevailing weirdo wash. Don’t believe me? Tomhetens Furste is streaming at the bottom of this post. Put it on and just see if there’s any getting out alive.

Info on Dag & Natt comes courtesy of the PR wire:

kungens man dag natt

Kungens Män – Dag & Natt

A soothing Aylerian saxophone wakes you up in the morning. Your head gets going by lunch, while tapping your feet to a stomping groove with free flowing guitars on top. A hard driving krautrock song takes you through the evening. The veiled night enters in nuances of black. After the nightmarish turns inside your most hidden parts of the mind, a motorik beat picks you up to make the walk back home. And then it starts over again.

This is mood music for the adventurous. At all times.

Kungens Män are back with the new double-LP ”Dag & Natt” (Day & Night) on Adansonia Records (double vinyl-LP) and Kungens Ljud & Bild (double CD) on July 31st, 2017.

Kungens Män started out in 2012 in Stockholm, Sweden, when a bunch of good friends decided to bring some instruments when hanging out. The random jam sessions became more and more regular and soon Kungens Män started recording it all, completely unfiltered and without safety nets. The music soon found its way to the internet and a buzz occurred, connecting with listeners all over the globe. From the debut show with Master Musicians Of Bukkake and onwards, every show has been a different story. Always new sounds and improvisations, different guest musicians, different happenings. Kungens Män are rooted in the psychedelic/drone rock tradition of bands such as Träd, Gräs & Stenar, but also add influences from krautrock, shoegaze, noiserock and free jazz. They will always add something new to the mix to challenge themselves and the audiences’ preconceptions about what Kungens Män are all about.

Kungens Män have played at festivals such as The Psychedelic Network Festival (Würzburg, DE), PsyKA Festival (Karlsruhe, DE) and The Copenhagen Psych Fest (DK) and played with bands like Øresund Space Collective, Master Musicians of Bukkake, Yuri Gagarin, Spelljammer, The Spacelords and Radar Men From The Moon. They toured Europe in 2015 and 2016. In August 2017 they are invited by Mani Neumaier to play at the Guru Guru festival, Finki Open Air, along with acts such as Arthur Brown, The Pretty Things and of course, Guru Guru.

The first vinyl-LP “Förnekaren” by Kungens Män was released by the German label Adansonia Records in 2015, and was a success with critics and fans alike. The next double-LP “Stockholm Maraton” came out on Adansonia Records in September 2016. The third double-LP on Adansonia – “Dag & Natt” will be released on July 31st, 2017.

kungensman.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/bandetkungensman
instagram.com/kungensmanband
kungensman.tumblr.com
https://www.adansoniarecords.de/
https://www.facebook.com/adansoniarecords/

Kungens Män, Tomhetens Furste (2017)

Tags: , , , , , ,