Review & Video Premiere: Øresund Space Collective, Experiments in the Subconscious

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on December 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

oresund space collective experiments in the subconscious

[Click play above to watch Øresund Space Collective making Experiments in the Subconscious live in the studio. Album is out Jan. 2020 on Space Rock Productions. Cover art by Dennis W. Fleet.]

Though it’s not always immediately apparent by word or deed, one does believe in a bit of self-care every now and again, and in those instances where a bit of spiritual rejuvenation is needed, Øresund Space Collective stand ready to serve as a balm. Fortunately, they’re prolific. They begin 2020 with Experiments in the Subconscious — they’ve also posted countless live shows on the Internet Archive and made some available through Bandcamp, etc., as well — which is their 34th offering by their own count, and thereby collect five tracks, ranging from the three-and-a-half-minute kraut-synth apparent-accident “Oops” to the sprawling and perhaps titled-in-self-awareness jams “Lost in Africa” and “Prosthetic Cuban.” Those two lead off Experiments in the Subconscious and run back to back across 17 and 20 minutes, respectively, digging into Afrobeat and Latin progressions with a still thriving foundation in the space rock.

That, of course, is the well trod domain of the Øresund Space Collective, whose lineup is subject to change from outing to outing but here feature Scott “Dr. Space” Heller on synth as ever as well as Fender Rhodes/synthesist Magnus Hannibal (also Mantric Muse), guitarist/classical sitarist KG Westman (ex-Siena Root), drummer Tim Wallander (Agusa), violinist/guitarist Jonathan Segel (Camper Van Beethoven) and bassist Hasse Horrigmoe (Tangle Edge). It’s a not dissimilar group from that which appeared on late-2018’s virtual-reality trip Kybalion (review here), and as that album’s session took place in 2016, it’s hard to know just when Experiments in the Subsconscious might have been put to tape, but somehow, when it comes to Øresund Space Collective, time seems ever more to be an inapplicable construct. They exist. The album exists. Take heart. From the intertwining percussive shuffles and wah-sounding keyboards of “Lost in Africa” through the organic shredfest of guitar, keys, maybe-violin-run-through-effects that is centerpiece “Lost Milesage” (16:34) and post-“Oops” closer “Hieroglyphic Smell” (14:44), Øresund Space Collective bask in the natural process of creation itself, and whether it’s their most fervent moments of thrust or a moment of atmospheric breather-taking like the slowdown in the second half of “Prosthetic Cuban,” their most crucial hallmark is unmistakable.

Which is to say that, as ever, they live up to their long-established ethic of “totally improvised space rock.” Players go into the studio with nothing, and leave most likely exhausted with a collection of sessions from which the jams that comprise their albums are selected, mixed, mastered, and pressed. Studio tricks, overdubs, even vocals, need not apply, and their style is light on posturing or proselytizing. They’re not looking to harsh anyone’s mellow or bring down the room, they just want to go on adventures in aural subspace and have a good time getting there with instrumentalist conversation between players. It has certainly worked for them in the past and it does likewise here, and while one wouldn’t at all call the sheer sound of the band raw, what with the swirling effects on the guitars and synth and keys and whatever else — if there is sitar anywhere on Experiments in the Subconscious, it’s not as easy to discern as on 2017’s Hallucinations Inside the Oracle (review here) or either of Dr. Space‘s two full-lengths as part of the trio West, Space & Love — in terms of capturing the process of creation at the moment it happens, there are few as committed to bringing to life the realization of that rawest creative instant. The Big Bang of songwriting. That feeling when the piece seems to take hold and write itself and sometimes a band doesn’t even know how it came together later — it just did.

oresund space collective

Without hyper-romanticizing what they do, Øresund Space Collective seem to exist in a place searching for this moving target. It may be elusive, but they’ve got experience on their side at this point, and whoever comes in and out of the lineup for a given studio session or live show, the willingness of the participants to let go and bask in that moment feels essential to their taking part in the first place. That is, I guess by now those who sign up to work with Øresund Space Collective — one does imagine a players’ sign-up sheet with the band’s logo on top, though it’s unlikely such a thing exists — probably have some idea of what they’re getting into. Still, the sonic richness of Experiments in the Subconscious and the subtle and not-so-subtle variety between its component jams brings to the forefront some of the purposes and directions that moment of creation might take on as one instrument follows another along a given path or works an idea to its natural endpoint, or doesn’t, or maybe the whole thing just collapses on itself. You never really know, and that’s basically the fun of it.

Of course, it’s true that Experiments in the Subconscious probably wouldn’t exist if the jams didn’t ‘work’ at least to some degree. I’m sure there’s plenty of material from every Øresund Space Collective session that gets left out for one reason or another or doesn’t make the final edit from which their tracks emerge. And that’s fine. They’re certainly entitled to use the material they like best to make their albums — indeed that should be the ideal almost in every case — but though it’s the briefest of cuts, “Oops” is especially telling in conveying the “happy accident” sensibility that drives so much of what Øresund Space Collective do. It’s so short it’s barely a blip among the band’s oft-extended, fluid pieces, but its inclusion feels purposeful here in showcasing how something like that can just happen once someone is willing to make it do so. Even that seemingly simple act of plugging in, pressing (or clicking, more likely) record, and letting loose is a hurdle some people who want to never manage to overcome, and as it seems to happen so naturally for Øresund Space Collective, it’s all the better to hear them enjoying that spirit on a finished recording. It makes their work all the more inspiring, and Experiments in the Subconscious will no doubt prove to be exactly that for those open to it.

Øresund Space Collective on The Facebooks

Øresund Space Collective on Bandcamp

Øresund Space Collective website

Space Rock Productions website

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Friday Full-Length: Gas Giant, Pleasant Journey in Heavy Tunes

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

A little bit more than halfway through the opening track on Pleasant Journey in Heavy Tunes is a kind of toss-off moment I’ve always found hilarious. The chorus of “Too Stoned,” which leads off the 2001 debut album from Copenhagen’s Gas Giant, is simple enough: “Too stoned/I’m too stoned/Too stoned again/Too stoned/Too stoned, baby/Too stoned again.” If nothing else, it gets the point across as vocalist Jesper Valentin delivers the lines atop a post-Monster Magnet space-psych-meets-heavy-rock swirl, honed by guitarist Stefan Krey and propelled by bassist Thomas Carstensen and drummer Pete Hell. But it also makes plain the ethic through which Gas Giant were working at the time. Though the definition of what the term meant was already expanding even then, it was stoner rock.

That expanding definition can be heard in Pleasant Journey in Heavy Tunes as well as concurrent offerings from further north in Europe like Dozer‘s In the Tail of a Comet, which came out the year before and arguably had an impact on the sound of “Super Sun Trigger” here — though of course the root influence is Kyuss either way — or Lowrider‘s Ode to Io, or even Colour Haze‘s Ewige Blumenkraft, the latter also from 2001, but it’s still there, and “Too Stoned” basically makes that inarguable at the record’s outset. From the rolling AcidKing-meets-slower-AtomicBitchwax nod of “Sit Down” and outright fuzz overload of “Down the Highway” early on to “Desert Call”‘s self-titled-era Queens of the Stone Age quirk and the odd reinvention of Rage Against the Machine‘s signature “Bulls on Parade” riff for the eight-minute album crescendo “Storm of My Enemies” ahead of one more bit of Wyndorfian good times in outer space on closer “Holy Walker,” Pleasant Journey in Heavy Tunes is a willfully bumpy ride, but it’s tied together through a spacious mix courtesy of the band and producer/engineer Ralph A. Rjeily (R.I.P. 2012), and the four-piece’s collective heart is never too far from the “rock” end of the equation. To say that it suits them throughout the nine-track/48-minute offering would be underselling it.

Whatever familiar elements went into the making of Pleasant Journey in Heavy Tunes — and there were plenty, as there were on a lot of records from the era when stoner rock was taking shape (1995-2002-ish) and as there are now more than a generation later — those shades of Nebula and Fu Manchu on “Down the Highway” and “All Creatures” came with more than just flashes of individualism gas giant pleasant journey in heavy tunesthat showed not just Gas Giant‘s real potential in moving forward from their roots, but also the foundation of songwriting that would let them do it. But though there are a lot of comparison-namedrops above, don’t take that to mean Gas Giant had nothing of their own to offer on their debut. In particular, the atmospheric flourish brought to the tracks via echoes and effects were pivotal in letting them establish an atmosphere beyond the sundry riffs and grooves on display, and though that’s something that would come more to fruition on 2003’s Mana, it’s there on Pleasant Journey in Heavy Tunes as well, and even 18 years later, its righteousness holds up. It’s there in the preach at the beginning of “All Creatures,” and in the low-end fuzz of “Desert Call” — the allure of those open spaces calling to northern Europe even long before Truckfighters would go cruising — and it’s there in the Stooges strum and strut of “Holy Walker” as the album rounds out. These sides come together to give Pleasant Journey in Heavy Tunes its personality, subtly varied as it is and almost deceptive in its complexity.

That is to say, in hindsight, it’s easy to stand back and pick out this or that genre element, because there’s been more than 15 years of genre built up since. At the time — not pre-internet, but well before the mobilization and full socialmediafication thereof — the context inherently would’ve been more modern, fresh and cutting edge. Think of all the “lost” records from the early part of the 1970s. Those heavy gems from ’71, ’72, of bands who put out one or two records and then disappeared, maybe with one person going off to do something else, maybe everybody just off to families, dayjobs or an eventual reunion. Gas Giant were similarly of their era and of the pastiche of sound that was happening at the time, but part of what stands them out even now is that they were doing it in Copenhagen.

Consider that Gas Giant‘s demo came out in 1999 after a 1998 EP released as Blind Man Buff and Pleasant Journey in Heavy Tunes came out in 2001. That’s the same year Baby Woodrose offered up their own first album, rising as they did from the proverbial ashes of On Trial. These were the roots of Copenhagen’s heavy scene, which continues to flourish today, and the almost tentative adventurousness shown in Pleasant Journey in Heavy Tunes and expanded on Mana continues to flourish in range of acts, whether it’s prog-fusion psychbringers Causa Sui, jammers like Papir or even a classic doom outfit like Demon Head. The point is that Denmark’s contributions to Europe’s greater heavy underground couldn’t have happened without bands like Gas Giant helping to pave the way. Whether you’re familiar with Pleasant Journey in Heavy Tunes or not — and they’re very much of that pre-Thee Facebooks lost era of heavy rock that I’ve spoken about on multiple occasions; swallowed into the vacuum that once was MySpace — I think that’s remarkable and worth highlighting.

Of course, I hope you agree.

Gas Giant had a split with WE also out in 2001, Mana in ’03 and a split with Colour Haze the year after that, but then that was it from them. The band went their separate ways and came back in 2015 to play Freak Valley Festival and more. They did those gigs and at some point last year made a page for Portals of Nothingness, a lost album from 1999, on Bandcamp that, as yet, has no audio on it, and not much has been heard from them since unless I’m missing something (always possible). One never knows what the future might hold, but Space Rock Productions reissued Pleasant Journey in Heavy Tunes in 2015 in three separate vinyl editions, so the record is out there for those who’d chase it down.

In any case, please enjoy it. Thanks for reading.

Let me tell you about the dinner I had last night.

We’re pretty deep into The Patient Mrs.’ semester at this point — just a couple weeks left before winter break — so I’m largely running point on dinners. I’m not much of a chef, so that kind of has come to involve cooking for the week, generally some variation on slow cooker chicken, vegetarian meat loaf, take out, etc. This week it’s been farm-raised chicken breast, thigh and wing meat that I cooked in the Crock Pot on Sunday. I seasoned it with paprika, garlic, onion powder, salt, pepper, chili powder, Italian-style this-and-that, and some Bell’s, because Bell’s. To go with it, I roasted three heads of cauliflower to a point of being well-done — not burnt, but not far off — and seasoned those similarly but with a little more chili powder to let them absorb a bit of depth. They came out nice.

All of this was tied together with a gigantic spaghetti squash — I mean huge; watermelon-sized — and a 20 oz. pack of Beyond Meat ground beef-style fake meat that I seasoned like hot Italian sausage, with fennel, garlic — always garlic — hot red pepper flakes, a cut whole chili, and so on, that I knew was going to be good because it took on a reddish tint when I was cooking it.

It all came together in our 12″ sauce pan with the high sides and was nearly overflowing when I added four containers of this pesto I drive half an hour to buy at the one fancy wine store down Rt. 24 that sells it. I buy in bulk. Mostly I also consume it in that fashion as well.

Top with fresh-grated parmesan. Dinner for the week.

Each evening I’d kind of add something different to it for myself — The Patient Mrs. is a little more orthodox, though I think if I’d shown up with ricotta or fresh mutz on any given night reheating, I’d only have been greeted as a liberator — and have it with a red bell pepper on the side. I’ve been obsessed with this garlic scape and hazelnut pesto that this one stand sells at the Denville Farmers Market on Sundays — what it lacks in being cheap it makes up for in owning my heart — so I’ve been adding that on top of everything else and very much enjoying it.

Last night was the final night of the run — Sunday to Thursday is pretty good; it was a very large spag squash — so I decided to go all out. I roasted three packs of pre-peeled garlic (maybe seven or eight cloves each?) in the oven and topped it with the pesto and had it with a pepper. It was decadent and marvelous. Everything was perfect. Maybe the best meal I’ve had in a year. And I recognize saying that about day-five leftovers is kind of wacky, but I tell you, this dinner was glorious. Most of the garlic simply melted but there was still some caramelized too, and the combination between that and the garlic scape and hazelnut pesto, the interaction there with that and the other pesto already in the root leftovers — holy shit. It was goddamned incredible.

I topped it off with a couple sugar-free Reese’s for dessert and went to bed fat and happy.

For all the issues I’ve had in my life and continue to have with food, every now and then it’s amazing to enjoy something like that.

Rough week, down week, another week full of days. Ended by getting dicked around on a track premiere. Low stakes bullshit. Doesn’t matter.

Next week, more days. Is one of them Thanksgiving? I think so. I’m doing a Scissorfight track premiere — for which I’ve been not at all dicked around — on Thanksgiving. Tune in to see if I can avoid saying I’m thankful they got back together.

Great and safe weekend. Have fun, eat a good meal, be kind. Make merry. Tomorrow we die.

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Friday Full-Length: Dragontears, Turn on Tune in Fuck Off!

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

 

The cover art of Dragontears‘ third and final album, Turn on Tune in Fuck Off! (review here) — released in 2010 by Bad Afro Records — finds frontman and principle architect Uffe “Lorenzo Woodrose” Lorenzen standing maybe-naked among a trio of mostly-nude women clad in gasmasks and bulletbelts, their faces obscured save for their eyes but their automatic weapons very much in the foreground, aimed up at the downward-facing camera. Lorenzen, eyes obscured in sunglasses, his head tilted and mouth hanging slack, also looks up at the camera, and in each of his outstretched hands, there’s a bunch of pills, clearly being offered to whoever’s eye might’ve been caught by the striking, maddening pinks and blues surrounding. So is the title an invitation or a command? That exclamation point — encouraging or urging or demanding? Maybe pleading, even?

It’s hard to know listening to the record itself, the doomsday psychedelia of which pushed forward in concept and execution even from where Dragontears‘ two preceding LPs, 2007’s 2000 Micrograms from Home and 2008’s Tambourine Freak Machine saw it go. Lorenzen‘s main outfit, Baby Woodrose, for sure had its psychedelic aspects even back to its earliest, most garage-rocking days, but here again, Dragontears pursued another echelon of far out. And found it. Early on side A, “Two Tongue Talk” and the gleefully nihilistic “No Salvation” lead off with uptempo hooks and consummate swirl, engaging with a classic psych feel and prevalent depth of fuzz, while the three-and-a-half-minute “My Friend” marks a turning point to the next stage — or maybe “plane” is more appropriate, considering. The song itself doesn’t fill even that relatively brief runtime, instead drifting off into ethereal synth and keyboard dreaminess. But the real change is before that, as Lorenzen — perhaps in a foreshadow of the solo work he’s done in the last couple years — dons an acoustic guitar and the percussive push underlying “Two Tongue Talk” and “No Salvation” disappears in favor of a peaceful melodic wash. “Time of No Time” finds a middle ground between the two sides, lacing sitar alongside guitar and building on both the acid folk of the song before it and the more rocking feel of the two before that, all the while letting Lorenzen philosophize lyrically like the lysergic cult leader depicted on the front cover.

At just over six minutes, it’s the longest cut on the record to that point, but that doesn’t last, with the 13-minute drone-out “William” picking up in inner peace-inducing fashion, taking the catchiness that (re)emerged on “Time of No Time” and stretching it out across a vast drift with Lorenzen‘s vocals barely acting as a tether to the ground, molten as it is. I don’t know who William is or was, but the song that bears his name is long gone in a hand-percussed melodic expanse, intertwining lines of effects rising and fallingDragontears Turn On Tune In Fuck Off in the mix as Lorenzen does likewise, his lines somewhere between spoken hallucinogenic poetry and singing, dropping out before ceremonial-feeling bells jingle maybe to signal the close of mass or, maybe just to mourn for the planet, universe, self, whatever, all of it, who knows. On the vinyl edition of Turn on Tune in Fuck Off!, “William” and the subsequent “Mennesketvilling” (5:49) comprise the entirety of side B, and sure enough the one feeds right into the other, with the closer picking up from the drone and obscure sample playing and bringing some more forward layers of vocals forward in a chant that only seems to emphasize both the depth of the mix overall throughout the material and the obvious care that was put into the arrangement of elements therein. A freakout guitar solo takes hold and the sample returns, the song receding quickly into the fade before a final sweep seems to wipe everything out.

The title “Mennesketvilling” translates in a major internet company’s matrix from Danish to “dual man” in English, or “human gemini,” which is probably closer and still only barely getting at what the track is actually going for. Whether that’s supposed to just mean “twin” or be a statement on the duality of the human species, I can’t say and won’t waste time in speculating, but if it’s one last preach on the nature of mankind, it’s fairly enough earned and nothing if not welcome in rounding out the spirit of the proceedings.

Dragontears did play live around this time, with Lorenzen in the lineup that included Fuzz Daddy (aka Rocco Woodrose), Moody Guru (aka Riky Woodrose), Morton “Aron” Larsen and Henrik “The Hobbit” Klitstrøm alongside a purported host of others that presumably varied from show to show, but again, this was their final recording, with Lorenzen putting the project to rest with the intention to incorporate more of Dragontears‘ psychedelic aspects into Baby Woodrose. That’s a sonic progression that, in truth, had already been underway. The band’s 2009 self-titled had drawn in a fair share of the acidic, and it was hardly the first release to do so, but perhaps 2012’s Third Eye Surgery (review here) and 2016’s Freedom (review here) would follow this path even more. In 2013, Lorenzen and Klitstrøm and others whose history together stretched back to their days in underrated Danish psych rockers On Trial (if not longer) would reform Spids Nøgenhat for the Kommer Med Fred LP, but that seems to be the extent of that outfit’s work at least for the time being. One never knows, of course.

Over the years, Lorenzen has grown into a kind of Danish LSD-guru figure, and his solo output, released in his own name with Danish lyrics and titles, bears that out with a sensibility that seems to draw from some of what Dragontears were doing on Turn on Tune in Fuck Off!, particularly, as noted, on “My Friend” and maybe even “William.” While Lorenzen doesn’t quite try to get away permanently from the hooky songcraft that’s made Baby Woodrose‘s offerings stand up so well to the test of time, both 2017’s Galmandsværk (review here) and 2019’s Triprapport (review here) portray this identity in their visual and aural presentation, and with his beard long and gray and his material more otherworldly than it’s ever been, it suits him. I wouldn’t fight if another Baby Woodrose record was in the offing for 2020 or if Lorenzen were to continue the solo work or something else, since no matter where he goes, he seems to take such a strong presence with him. Sometimes, that’s a voice out in the void of space itself.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

I was gonna go see Monolord at Vitus Bar on Sunday. I didn’t go to Ode to Doom last week and I’m already hemming and hawing on this, despite my desire to catch Blackwater Holylight and Monolord in that space, let alone the matinee beforehand that I’m co-presenting. Feeling worn out, down, down, down, and like cooking dinner so there are leftovers for the week ahead is probably the way to go. There’s like a seven-pound spaghetti squash sitting on the counter that I should probably throw in the oven now so it’s done in time for Monday.

Shit is large.

The Pecan is up. Early. It’s almost 6:30AM now — not an overly productive morning on my part, but the Dragontears was fun to write about as Lorenzo Woodrose’s stuff usually is — and he’s been up for like an hour. Brutal. I thought he had pooped so I got him from upstairs, but no. He still found time to wind up his legs and kick me while I was changing his diaper though, and that’s what would seem to matter.

He’s two. It’s very hard. We were friends for a little bit there. Not this week.

I tell him, “You’re in control of your responses.” “We can put on shoes easy or hard, it’s up to you.” Even if he doesn’t really know what I’m talking about in terms of actualization of self, I figure that’s good habit for me to say rather than, “Put on your fucking shoes you wretched thing-beast,” and good for him to hear from what’s basically the outset of him understanding words. There’s one corner of the room I don’t want him to go in. Every time I’m out of his line of sight, he’s there. By Wednesday, I felt like my brain was going to explode. Yesterday, which was Thursday, The Patient Mrs. worked from 7AM-6PM (oh, that easy college professor’s schedule; when you’re 80, maybe) and I had him all day and it was too cold to play outside. He bit, he hit, he kicked, he hugged, he pretended to sneeze and laughed, he ran, he ate a good lunch. We went grocery shopping and he sat in the cart. He went in that same fucking corner and I told him, “Okay, that’s cool, you hang out in there and I’ll just put away your toys since you’re not using them anymore. This puzzle looks fun, but if you don’t need it, I’ll put it away,” and he came out of the corner to play with the puzzle. Even if he doesn’t know all the words — and he might — he got the idea, and it was a solid hour before he was back over there playing with the power bar, which at that point was a win.

It was a day, in other words.

So, next week. It’s full. There’s a ton of shit, whether or not I go see Monolord, and if I’m saying that on Friday, I’m probably not going. We’ll see. But it’s a full week regardless, highlighted by a Solace track premiere rescheduled from this week and a War Cloud video premiere, the latter of which will be on Friday to round things out. I’ll review Vessel of Light in there too somewhere.

I’m sure you’re riveted.

Stay glued to your seat, computer, phone, whatever. More Obelisk coming soon.

Ugh.

Everyone have a great and safe weekend. Please be kind and have fun. You can do both.

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Uffe Lorenzen Releases Roky Erickson Tribute Cover “If You Have Ghosts”

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

You’re not going to hear a more appropriate cover this year than Uffe Lorenzen taking on Roky Erickson, I’m sorry. It is a fitting homage from the Baby Woodrose frontman to the 13th Floor Elevators frontman to record “If You Have Ghosts” and issue it as a name-your-price single, and as one would have to expect given the depth of influence Erickson has had on the Copenhagen-based Lorenzen‘s work in various outfits over the last two decades-plus, the song is duly nailed and the spirit of homage in which it’s performed can be heard in the raw simplicity of the recording, done live on a musty guitar with one-take vocals on an 8-track recorder. Can’t ask for much more than that.

Since the start of last month, Lorenzen has been embroiled in a series of live shows that continue this week and into November as he supports his 2019 sophomore solo outing, Triprapport (review here), on Bad Afro Records. You’ll find the remaining dates below, as well as background on this cover, and of course the stream/links, courtesy of the PR wire:

uffe lorenzen if you have ghosts

Uffe Lorenzen – If You Have Ghosts

13th Floor Elevators and Roky Erickson have always been a big inspiration for Uffe Lorenzen and all the bands he has been involved in. Be it Baby Woodrose, Spids Nøgenhat, Dragontears or On Trial. So when Roky died back in May 2019 Uffe Lorenzen decided to pay homage to the legendary psych rocker and record one of his songs.

Uffe Lorenzen was looking for a simple, stripped down and naked sound and found a perfect match in an old Brenell 8-track tape machine from the 70s to record If You Have Ghosts on. To obtain a real dry sound he played on an old guitar from the 70s that had been found in a barn. The guitar strings had not been changed for 10 years which gave everything a special feel.

The recording was done with no editing and the vocal part was recorded in one take. Thanks to tape operator and producer Palle Demant the result is quite breathtaking and unique. Hopefully Roky Erickson will be listening upstairs with a smile on his face.

MP3:
http://badafro.dk/uffe-lorenzen-if-you-have-ghosts-mp3
Spotify, Apple etc.
https://BadAfro.lnk.to/UffeLorenzen-Ghosts

Uffe Lorenzen live:
17.10 Radar Aarhus
20.10 Hotel Cecil København (sold out)
25.10 KulturCosmos Viby Sjaelland
26.10 Harder Svendborg
27.10 Hotel Cecil København
31.10 Boxer Trondheim
01.11 Blå Rock Tromsø

Uffe’s latest album triprapport can still be streaming, downloaded and purchased from these links:

Digital: https://badafro.lnk.to/UffeLorenzen-Album
Bandcamp: https://badafrorecords.bandcamp.com/album/triprapport

https://www.facebook.com/lorenzowoodrose
https://www.instagram.com/themanwhoatetheplant
https://www.facebook.com/BabyWoodrose/
https://www.facebook.com/badafrorecords/
https://badafrorecords.bandcamp.com/
http://badafro.dk/

Uffe Lorenzen, “If You Have Ghosts”

Uffe Lorenzen, Triprapport (2019)

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Pinemoon Release “Miracle” Single & Video; Album Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

This one’s all about vibe. Danish melancholic post-rockers Pinemoon are getting ready to release their debut album, yet-untitled, sometime this Fall through Pinhead Music. “Miracle” is the second single taken from the impending LP behind “Sinister,” which came out back in May. I’ll admit the new track is my first time hearing the band — I’ve never been on the ground floor of anything — but the moody sensibility of “Miracle” is pretty dead-on in terms of what it seems like the band is looking to capture, which they absolutely nail when they liken it to Twin Peaks. The video below has that spirit as well, and while I obviously don’t know how it might speak to the record as a whole, sometimes a little shoegaze is just the thing and this one is hitting the spot.

Announcement, links and video follow, as per the PR wire:

pinemoon miracle

Earlier this year Pinemoon released their first single, Sinister, from their coming debut album. Now they are ready with their second singe, Miracle, witch draws on references like Slowdive and The War on Drugs while creating a melancholic and nostalgic feeling, known from the cult series Twin Peaks.

The melancholy flows in the melodic and evocative shoegaze that Copenhagen based Pinemoon brings on their debut album, that will be released in 2019 on the Danish record label Pinhead Music. Pinemoon draws on the energy of indie rock and good melodies, and are not afraid of letting the songs take their time to develop into dreamy arrangements that bring Slowdive, Pale Saints and even the cult series of David Lynch, Twin Peaks, to mind. In spite of mentioned references, Pinemoon still manages to find their very own and unique sound.

On Friday the 30th of August the single, Miracle, will be released. Just like the rest of the coming debut album, Miracle is recorded live on tape and mixed analog, which gives a warm, nostalgic sound and ensures that the music will emerge real and tastefully stylish.

Miracle leaves a musical taste of the melancholy and the consistent theme of the album. A theme dwelling on the experience of a worldview falling apart; is the time of the miracles really over? Miracle is released with a video on the 30th of August 2019.
The debut album will be out in the fall of 2019.

Pinemoon is:
Christoffer Schultz: vokal og guitar
Steven Stern Stewart: Bas og vokal

http://www.facebook.com/pinemoon.dk
https://pinemoondk.bandcamp.com/
http://www.pinemoon.dk/

Pinemoon, “Miracle” official video

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The Shaking Sensations Premiere “Sightings” Video; How Are We to Fight the Blight? out Oct. 4

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the shaking sensations (Photo by Mark Schmidt Andersen)

Well what else were you going to possibly put in a video for an instrumental song called “Sightings?” Scenery! Obviously. Danish heavy post-rockers The Shaking Sensations will release their second album, How Are We to Fight the Blight?, on Oct. 4 through Pelagic Records, and with the issuance of the second single — that’s “Sightings,” in case you missed it — the doubly-drummed Copenhagen five-piece add to the weighted impression of initial-public-offering “Tremendous Efforts” with an evocative flourish of guitar, insistent rhythm and spacious atmospherics. There’s an energy to the performance of both tracks that, given the other sonic differences between them I’m just going to assume extends to the full album since I haven’t heard the whole thing yet, but that doesn’t come at the expense of an otherworldliness that comes through in the ethereal, overarching melodies of the guitar’s airy float.

The immediate curiosity, of course, is what blight we’re talking about, but given the fact that the cover art for How Are We to Fight the Blight? is a human being wrapped in plastic, one is at least somewhat led to think of environmental issuesthe shaking sensations how are we to fight the blight — though one could make an argument for any number of sociopolitcal themes, the rise of a Northern European right-wing nationalism among them, you’ll pardon me if I commit to this one at least on a basic level of making an interpretive guess — in which case, the “blight” in question is also the “we” in question. It may be that the record is about something else entirely, or not any one thing at all, but between the striking imagery and the contemplative feel that “Sightings” brings to the fore in terms of sound while the video seems to contrast natural and human-made landscapes before turning to sheer light as the song hits its tonal-wash payoff, there is a sense of the interaction between person and place that comes through just the same, and it’s no stretch to hear a wistfulness in the guitar work of “Sightings,” the very echo of which seems to encapsulate a feeling of something lost and remembered. Or maybe I’ve been reading too many climate reports. Never thought I’d miss bees until the ecosystem started collapsing.

Whoops.

Whether or not How Are We to Fight the Blight? is taking on these ideas directly, consider the fact that “Sightings” invites such interpreting as a sign of its overall depth and its engagement on more than just a basic “song you put on for background” listening experience. There are some flashing lights toward the end of the clip, but nothing too severe — no strobe — so you should be fine if you have such sensitivities. I’ve included the preorder links for the album below as well as some more PR wire info, should you want to dive into more background.

Please enjoy:

The Shaking Sensations, “Sightings” official video premiere

Order here:

Europe: http://bit.ly/tssEUROPE
N. America: http://bit.ly/tssNA
Australia: http://bit.ly/tssAUSTRALIA

Digital: https://orcd.co/tssdgtl
Physical: http://smarturl.it/tssHAWTFTBshop

Copenhagen-based instrumental post-rock powerhouse THE SHAKING SENSATIONS unleashes second new track from the upcoming album ‘How Are We to Fight The Blight?’

While the month of June saw a new and unorthodox, fresh approach to the genre with the release of the towering 1st single, Tremendous Efforts, Sightings encapsulates the well know virtues and showcases a band still more than capable of unfolding a world of lush, dreamy loud and majestic post-rock.

Sightings is taken from How Are We To Fight The Blight? Out on October 4th on Pelagic Records.

The Shaking Sensations on Thee Facebooks

The Shaking Sensations on Instagram

The Shaking Sensations on Bandcamp

Pelagic Records on Thee Facebooks

Pelagic Records website

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Quarterly Review: Earth, Heilung, Thronehammer, Smear, Deadbird, Grass, Prana Crafter, Vago Sagrado, Gin Lady, Oven

Posted in Reviews on July 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Deep breath. And… here we go.

Welcome to The Obelisk’s Summer 2019 Quarterly Review. You probably know the drill by now, but just in case, here’s what’s up: starting today and through next Monday, I’ll be reviewing 10 records per day for a total of 60. I’ve done this every three months (or so) for the better part of the last five years, each one with at least 50 releases included. Some are big bands, some are new bands, some are releases are new, some older. It’s a mix of styles and notoriety, and that’s exactly the intent. It’s a ton of stuff, but that’s also the intent, and the corresponding hope is that somewhere in all of it there’s something for everyone.

I’ll check in each day at the top with what usually turns out to be a “hot damn I’m exhausted, but this is worth it”-kind of update, but otherwise, if we’re all on board, let’s just get to it. First batch below, more to come.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Earth, Full Upon Her Burning Lips

earth

Finding post-Southern Lord refuge with Sargent House in similar fashion to Boris, Earth seem to act in direct response to 2014’s Primitive and Deadly (review here) with the 10-track/62-minute Full Upon Her Burning Lips, stripping their approach down to its two essential components: Dylan Carlson‘s guitar and Adrienne Davies‘ drums. The former adds bass as well, and the latter some off-kit percussion, but that’s about as far as they go in the extended meditation on their core modus — even the straightforward photo on the cover tells the story — psychedelic and brooding and still-spacious as the music is. Gone are folk strings or vocals, and so on, and instead, they foster immersion through not-quite minimalist nod and roll, Carlson‘s guitar soundscaping atop Davies‘ slow, steady pulse. It’s not nearly so novel as the last time out, but timed to the 30th anniversary of the band, it’s a reminder that if you like Earth, this dynamic is ultimately why.

Earth on Thee Facebooks

Sargent House website

 

Heilung, Futha

heilung futha

It might seem like an incongruity that something so based in traditionalism conceptually would also turn into experimentalist Viking jazz, but I defy you to hear “Galgadr,” the 10-minute opener of Heilung‘s third full-length, Futha (on Season of Mist), and call it something else. Cuts like the memorable and melodic “Norupo” and the would-be-techno-but-I-think-they’re-actually-just-beating-on-wood “Svanrand,” which, like “Vapnatak” before it, is rife with the sounds of battle, but it’s in the longer pieces, “Othan,” 14-minute closer “Hamrer Hippyer,” and even the eight-plus-minute “Elivgar” and “Elddansurin” that precede it, that Heilung‘s dramas really unfold. Led by the essential presence of vocalist Maria Franz — who could hardly be more suited to the stated theme of calling to feminine power — Heilung careen through folk and narrative and full cultural immersion across 73 minutes, and craft something willfully forward thinking from the history it embellishes.

Heilung on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist website

 

Thronehammer, Usurper of the Oaken Throne

thronehammer usurper of the oaken throne

The reliable taste of Church Within Records strikes again in picking up Thronehammer‘s first full-length, Usurper of the Oaken Throne. The project is a dark and warmaking epic mega-doom working mostly in longform material — it’s six tracks/78 minutes, so yeah — conjured in collaboration by the trio of vocalist Kat Shevil Gillham (Lucifer’s Chalice, etc.), guitarist/keyboardist Stuart Bootsy West (ex-Obelyskkh, ex-The Walruz) and drummer/bassist Tim Schmidt (Seamount), that hits with a massive impact from 17-minute opener “Behind the Wall of Frost” into “Conquered and Erased” (11:24) and “Warhorn” (19:12), making for an opening salvo that’s a full-length unto itself and a beast of doomed grandeur that balances extremity with clearheaded presentation. They simplify the proceedings a bit for “Svarte Skyer” and the eponymous “Thronehammmer,” but are clearly in their element for the 15-minute closing title-track, which rounds out one of the best doom debuts I’ve heard so far this year with due heft and ceremony.

Thronehammer on Thee Facebooks

Church Within Records on Bandcamp

 

Smear, A Band Called Shmear

Smear A Band Called Shmear

Smear‘s live-recorded A Band Called Shmear EP is basically the equivalent of that dude getting dragged out of the outdoor concert for being at the bottom of the puffing clouds of smoke going, “Come on man, I’m not hurting anybody!” And by that I mean it’s awesome. The Eugene, Oregon, four-piece get down on some psychedelic reefer madness tapped into weirdo anti-genre tendencies that come to fruition in the verses of “Guns of Brixton” after the drifting freaker “Old Town.” The whole thing runs an extra-manageable 21 minutes, and six of that are dedicated to the fuzzed jam “Zombie” — tinged in its early going with a reggae groove — so Smear make it easy to follow their outward path, whether it’s the surf-with-no-water “Weigh” at the outset or “Quicksand,” which hints at more complex melodic tendencies almost in spite of itself. You like vibe, right? These cats have plenty to go around, and they deliver it with an absolute lack of pretense. Whatever they do next, I hope they also record it live, because it clearly works.

Smear on Thee Facebooks

Smear on Bandcamp

 

Deadbird, III: The Forest Within the Tree

deadbird iii the forest within the tree

One hesitates to speculate on the future of a band who’ve just taken 10 years to put out an album, but Deadbird sound vital on their awaited third full-length: III: The Forest Within the Tree (arrived late 2018 through 20 Buck Spin), and with a revamped lineup that includes Rwake vocalist Chris Terry and Rwake/The Obsessed bassist Reid Raley as well as bassist Jeff Morgan, guitarist Jay Minish and founders Phillip (drums) and Chuck (guitar) Schaaf and Alan Short — all of whom contribute vocals — Deadbird emerge from the ether with a stunningly cohesive and varied outing of post-sludge, tinged Southern in its humid tonality but still very much geared toward heft and, certainly more than I recall of their past work, melody. In just 38 minutes they push the listener into this dank world of their creation, and seem to find just as much release in experiments “11:34” and “Ending” as in the crashes of “Brought Low” or “Heyday.” Are they really back? Hell if I know, but these songs are enough to make me hope so.

Deadbird on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin on Bandcamp

 

Grass, Fresh Grass

grass fresh grass

Brooklyn four-piece Grass released a live recording in 2017, but the late-2018 EP Fresh Grass marks their studio debut, and it comprises five tracks digging into the traditions of heavy rock with edges derived from the likes of Clutch, Orange Goblin, maybe a bit of Kyuss and modern bluesier practitioners as well in cuts like “Black Clouds” — the lone holdover from one release to the next — and the swaggering “Runaway,” which veers into vocal layering in its second half in a way that seems to portend things to come, while the centerpiece “Fire” and closer “Easy Rider” roll out in post=’70s fashion a kind of rawer modern take. Their sound is nascent, but there’s potential in their swing and the hook of opener “My Wall.” Fresh Grass is the band searching for their place within a heavy rock style. I hear nothing on it to make me think they won’t find it, and if they were opening the show, you’d probably want to show up early.

Grass on Thee Facebooks

Grass on Bandcamp

 

Prana Crafter, MindStreamBlessing

Prana Crafter MindStreamBlessing

Reissued on vinyl through Cardinal Fuzz with two bonus tracks, Prana Crafter‘s 2017 offering, MindStreamBlessing, originally saw release through Eidolon Records and finds the Washington-based solo artist Will Sol oozing through acid folk and psychedelic traditions, instrumentally constructing a shimmer that seems ready for the platter edition it’s been granted. Songs like “As the Weather Commands” and “Bardo Nectar” are experiments in their waves of meandering guitar, effects and keys, while “Mycellial Morphohum” adapts cosmic ecology to minimal spaciousness and vague spoken word. Some part of me misses vocals in the earthy “FingersFlowThroughOldSkolRiver,” but that might just also be the part of me that’s hearing Lamp of the Universe or Six Organs of Admittance influences. The interwoven layers of “Prajna Pines,” on the other hand, seem fine without; bluesy as the lead guitar line is, there’s no doubting the song’s expressive delivery, though one could easily say the same of the krautrock loops and keys and reverb-drenched solo of “Luminous Clouds.”

Prana Crafter on Thee Facebooks

Cardinal Fuzz webstore

 

Vago Sagrado, Vol. III

vago sagrado vol iii

Heavy post-rockers Vago Sagrado set a peaceful atmosphere with “K is Kool,” the opening track of their third album, Vol. III, that is hard to resist. They’ll soon enough pump in contrast via the foreboding low end of “La Pieza Oscura,” but the feeling of purposeful drift in the guitar remains resonant, even as the drums and vocals take on a kind of punkish feel. The mix is one that the Chilean three-piece seem to delight in, reveling in tonal adventurousness in the quiet/loud tradeoff of “Fire (In Your Head)” and the New Wave shuffle of “Sundown” before “Centinela” kicks off side B with the kind of groove that Queens of the Stone Age fans have been missing for the last 15 years. Things get far out in “Listen & Obey,” but Vago Sagrado never completely lose their sense of direction, and that only makes the proceedings more engaging as the hypnotic “One More Time with Feeling” leads into the nine-minute closer “Mekong,” wherein the wash teased all along comes to fruition.

Vago Sagrado on Thee Facebooks

Vago Sagrado on Bandcamp

 

Gin Lady, Tall Sun Crooked Moon

gin lady tall sun crooked moon

I’m more than happy to credit Sweden’s Gin Lady for the gorgeous ’70s country rock harmonies that emanate from their fourth album, Tall Sun Crooked Moon (on Kozmik Artifactz), from the mission-statement opener “Everyone is Love” onward, but I think it’s also worth highlighting that the 10-track outing also features the warmest snare drum sound I’ve heard maybe since the self-titled Kadavar LP. The Swedish four-piece have nailed their sound down to that level of detail, and as they touch on twang boogie in “Always Gold” or find bluesy Abbey Roadian deliverance in the more riff-led chorus of “Gentle Bird,” their aesthetic is palpable but does not trump the straight-ahead appeal of their songwriting. The closing duo of “The Rock We All Push” and the piano-soother “Tell it Like it Is” are the only two tracks to push past five minutes long, but by then the mood is well set and if they wanted to keep going, I have a hard time imagining they’d meet with complaints. Serenity abounds.

Gin Lady on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Oven, Couch Lock

oven couch lock

For an EP called Couch Lock — i.e., when you’re too stoned to even stand up — there’s an awful lot of movement on Oven‘s debut release, from the punk thrust of “Get It” to the arrogant sleaze of “Go James” and even the drums in “This Time.” And the nine-minute “Dark Matter” is basically space rock, so yeah, hardly locked to the couch there, but okay. The five-tracker is raw in its production as would seem to suit the Pennsylvania trio, but they still get their point across in terms of attitude, and a closing cover of Nebula‘s “To the Center” seems only to reinforce the notion. One imagines that any basement where they unleash that and the nod that culminates “Dark Matter” just before it would have to be professionally dehumidified afterward to get the dankness out, and an overarching sense of stoner shenanigans only adds to the good times that so much of East Coast-ish psych misses the point on. They’re having fun. You should too.

Oven on Bandcamp

Oven on Thee Facebooks

 

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Uffe Lorenzen Announces Fall Tour Dates Supporting Triprapport

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I’m wrong about all kinds of shit, pretty much all the time, but I’m right about how good Uffe Lorenzen‘s second solo record, Triprapport (review here), is. Issued by Bad Afro Records, which has also long stood behind releases for Lorenzen‘s main outfit, Baby Woodrose, as well as Dragontears, Spids Nøgenhat, etc., it takes psychedelic folk and garage rock and melts them both down to find a signature character not only derived from but adding to them. There are few people I’m willing to believe were as genuinely upset as Lorenzen might’ve been at the recent passing of Roky Erickson, let me put it that way.

Most of the shows are in Denmark, but pardon me if I take the announcement of this barrage of shows — mostly in three-date increments, but some not — as an excuse to post the Bandcamp stream of the album again and encourage you to dig into it. If you’re interested — and you should be, damnit — the documentary film Born to Lose (review coming soon) about Lorenzen is also out on DVD/streaming now.

Here are the dates:

uffe lorenzen tour

In September my Tålt Ophold Tour 2019. It will be once again a walk around Denmark (and a few go to Norway) only armed with 12-string guitar, my travel card, my own Danish songs and a handful of good stories from A slightly unusual living life. You can see the whole turplanen on this flyer that you would love to share and tag your friends in the comments so I can sell some tickets.

Uffe Lorenzen – Tålt Ophold Tour 2019
05.09 Bygingen Vejle
06.09 Dexter Odense
07.09 Paletten Viborg
12.09 Baltoppen Ballerup
13.09 Støberiallen Hillerod
14.09 Gimle Roskilde
19.09 Stars Vordingborg
20.09 Sonderborghus Sonderborg
21.09 Templet Lyngby
26.09 Tøjhuset Fredericia
27.09 Glumsø Biograf Og Kulturhus Glumsø
28.09 Kulisselageret Horsens
03.10 Kunsthal6100 Haderslev
04.10 Studenterhuset Aalborg
05.10 Hanstholm Madbar Thy
10.10 John Dee Oslo
11.10 Statsraaden Bergen
12.10 Folken Akvariet Stavanger
17.10 Radar Aarhus
20.10 Hotel Cecil København (sold out)
25.10 KulturCosmos Viby Sjaelland
26.10 Harder Svendborg
27.10 Hotel Cecil København
31.10 Boxer Trondheim
01.11 Blå Rock Tromsø

My latest album triprapport can still be streaming, downloaded and purchased from these links:

Digital: https://badafro.lnk.to/UffeLorenzen-Album
Bandcamp: https://badafrorecords.bandcamp.com/album/triprapport

https://www.facebook.com/lorenzowoodrose
https://www.instagram.com/themanwhoatetheplant
https://www.facebook.com/BabyWoodrose/
https://www.facebook.com/badafrorecords/
https://badafrorecords.bandcamp.com/
http://badafro.dk/

Uffe Lorenzen, Triprapport (2019)

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