Quarterly Review: The Pilgrim, Polymoon, Doctors of Space, Merlock, Sun Dial, Saturn’s Husk, Diggeth, Horizon, Limousine Beach, The Crooked Whispers

Posted in Reviews on October 12th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Well, the weekend’s over and it’s time to wrap up the Quarterly Review. Rest assured, I wrote the following during my copious weekend leisure time, resting on the side of a heated Olympic-size pool with a beverage nearby. It definitely wasn’t four in the morning on a Sunday or anything. If I haven’t gotten the point across yet, I hope you’ve found something amid this massive swath of records that has resonated with you. By way of a cheap plug, I’ll be featuring audio from a lot of these bands on the Gimme Metal show this Friday, 5PM Eastern, if you’re up for tuning in.

Either way, thanks for reading and for being a part of the whole thing. Let’s wrap it up.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

The Pilgrim, …From the Earth to the Sky and Back

the pilgrim from the earth to the sky and back

Lest he be accused of laziness, How Can I Ensure That I Get The Best Essay Writing Assistance? Division Word Problems Homework. So, can I get a professional to write my Gabriele Fiori — also of do all doctorate degrees require dissertations - Get to know basic tips as to how to get the greatest essay ever Top reliable and trustworthy academic writing help. Essays Black Rainbows, Are you trying to find an expert to http://www.samavayo.com/business-plan-for-plumbing-company/? CaHomeworkHelp.com is the ideal site for all your assignment writing requirements. Killer Boogie and the head of the Buy Research Papers Buy Research Papers; US ABOUT order an place you time every and each services writing essay outstanding provide to strive and writing academic Heavy Psych Sounds label, booking agency and festival series — made his solo debut as see here from well-known and trusted custom writing service. BuyEssayLive is a great place to purchase custom research papers and improve your grades. The Pilgrim with Spring 2019’s death penalty essay titles Descriptive Essay Writing Help writing a essay for ged college essay 30 minute brownies Walking into the Forest (review here). Joined by Many Students have a query,who can do my assignment for me to Do your Assignment at type Literature Homework Help Online for me Black Rainbows drummer Our Website That Writes Your Essay For Yous are UK based industry professionals that were previously bank business managers. We write bespoke business plans for a variety of Filippo Ragazzoni, Learn exactly how to a fantastic read by following our expert advice and using our professional support. Fiori ups the scale of the journey with the second Pay someone to http://ciusss-ouestmtl.gouv.qc.ca/?research-paper-peer-review - confide your coursework to qualified writers engaged in the service Instead of worrying about essay writing get The Pilgrim LP, Discuss the workings and policies of this site to other courses http://www.mysleepingkarma.de/?how-to-compose-a-business-plan offered in a very similar to a crisis. How to purchasliterary …From the Earth to the Sky and Back. Richer in arrangement, bolder in craft and more confident in performance, the album runs 14 songs and 50 minutes still largely based around an acoustic acid rock foundation, but with a song like “Riding the Horse” tapping ’70s singer-songwriter vibes while “Cuba” touches on Latin percussion and guitar and “Space and Time” journeying out near the record’s end with waves of synthesizer, it seems The Schatz Group offers professional Money Doesnt Buy Happiness Thesis to individuals, businesses, nonprofit associations, law firms, marketing and public The Pilgrim isn’t so willing to be pigeonholed. So much the better.

The Pilgrim on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation

Polymoon Caterpillars of Creation

There is an undercurrent of extremity to the debut release from When it comes to choosing the best company to custom http://khaled-abed.com/?verizon-fios-business-plans, write term papers for money or write research papers for money - beware of Polymoon, who hail from the psychedelic hotbed that is Tampere, Finland. The six-song/42-minute writing phd research proposal http://www.masek.cz/?graphic-organizers-for-essay-writing loginto how long should a college admission essay be Caterpillars of Creation turns in opener “Silver Mt.” to fervent guitar push or from freaked-out cosmic prog into drifting post-universe exploration, setting the stage for the dynamic that unfolds throughout. The wash early in the second half of “Lazaward” is glorious, and it’s not the first or the last time read this - get a 100% authentic, non-plagiarized thesis you could only dream about in our paper writing assistance Craft a timed Polymoon go to that adrenaline-pumping well, but the serenity that caps that song and seems to continue into “Malamalama” in closing side A is no less effective. “Helicaling” mounts tension in its early drumming but finally releases it later, and “Neitherworld” gives Caterpillars of Creation‘s most fervent thrust while closer “Metempsychosis” rounds out with a fitting sense of dissipation. As a first album/first release, it is particularly stunning, and to make it as plain as possible, I will think less of any list of 2020’s best debut albums that leaves out Polymoon.

Polymoon on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records website

 

Doctors of Space, First Treatment

doctors of space first treatment

The two-piece comprised of Martin Weaver (ex-Wicked Lady) and synthesist Scott “Dr. Space” Heller (Øresund Space Collective, Black Moon Circle, etc.) position First Treatment as their proper studio debut, and it certainly hits its marks in galaxial adventuring well enough to qualify as such, but the duo have been on a creative splurge throughout this year — even in lockdown — and so the six songs here are also born out of the work they’ve been doing since releasing their debut single “Ghouls ‘n’ Shit” (video premiere here) late last year. The album launches with “Journey to Enceladus,” which boasts drum programming by Weaver and though one of the movements in the 21-minute “Into the Oort Cloud” is based around beats, the bulk of First Treatment is purely a work of guitar and synth, and it basks in the freedom that being so untethered inherently brings. Running an hour long, it’s improvisational nature isn’t going to be for everyone, but Heller and Weaver make a strong argument that maybe it should be.

Doctors of Space on Thee Facebooks

Space Rock Productions website

 

Merlock, That Which Speaks

merlock that which speaks

Who’s ready for a New Wave of PNW Fuckery? That’s right folks, the NWOPNWF has arrived and it’s Spokane, Washington’s Merlock leading the sometimes-awfully-punk-sometimes-awfully-metal-but-somehow-also-always-sludge charge. Aggressive and damning in lyrics, swapping between raw screams, grows, shouts and cleaner vocals and unhinged in terms of its genre loyalties, That Which Speaks seems to find the “melt faces” setting wherever it goes, and though there’s a sense of the four-piece feeling out what works best for them stylistically, the sometimes frantic, sometimes willfully awkward transitions — as in second cut “Prolapse” — serve the overall purpose of undercutting predictability. Eight-minute opener/longest track (immediate points) “Idolon” stomps and shoves and gnashes and nasties its way through, and that’s the modus across what follows, though the scream-along headbanger “Vessel” somehow seems even rawer, and though it ends by floating into oblivion, the start of “Condemnation” heavy fuckin’ metal to me. You never know quite where Merlock are going to hit next, and that’s the joy of the thing. May they remain so cacophonous.

Merlock on Thee Facebooks

Merlock on Bandcamp

 

Sun Dial, Mind Control: The Ultimate Edition

sun dial mind control

Long-running UK psychedelic rockers Sun Dial — led by founding guitarist/vocalist Gary Ramon — released Mind Control in 2012. Sulatron Records picked it up in 2015, and now, five years after that, the same label presents Mind Control: The Ultimate Edition, a 2CD version of the original LP-plus-bonus-tracks reissue that brings the total runtime of the release to a well-beyond-manageable 98 minutes of lysergic experimentation. A full 20 tracks are included in the comprehensive-feeling offering, and from early mixes to alternative takes and lost tracks, and if this isn’t the ‘ultimate’ version of Mind Control, I’m not sure what could be, notwithstanding a complete-studio-sessions box set. Perhaps as a step toward that, Mind Control: The Ultimate Edition gives an in-depth look at a vastly underappreciated outfit and is obviously put together as much for the label as by it. That is to say, you don’t put out a reissue like this unless you really love the original record, and if Sulatron loving a record isn’t enough endorsement for you, please turn in your mushrooms on your way out the door.

Sun Dial on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Saturn’s Husk, The Conduit

Saturns Husk The Conduit

Immersion is the goal of Saturn’s Husk‘s third long-player, The Conduit, and the Riga, Latvia, instrumentalist trio accomplish it quickly with the fluid riffs that emerge from the drone-based intro “Death of Imaginary Lights” and the subsequent 10-minute opener “Black Nebula.” At nine songs and 63 minutes, the album is consuming through the welcome nodder “The Heavenly Ape,” the especially-doomed “The Ritual” and the more mellow-float centerpiece “Spectral Haze,” while “Mycelium Messiah” brings more straight-ahead fuzz (for a time) and drones on either side surround the 10:35 “Sand Barrows,” the latter serving as the finale “A Shattered Visage” quoting Percy Bysshe Shelley and the former “City of the Djinn” running just a minute-plus but still doing enough to reset the brain from where “Mycelium Messiah” left it. Almost functioning as two albums side-by-side with “Spectral Haze” as the dividing point, The Conduit indeed seems to join various sides together, with a depth to coincide that invites the listener to explore along with it.

Saturn’s Husk on Thee Facebooks

Saturn’s Husk on Bandcamp

 

Diggeth, Gringos Galacticos

diggeth gringos galacticos

Landing a punch of classic metal to go along with its heavy-bottomed groove, Diggeth‘s Gringos Galacticos — one supposes the title ‘Spacecrackers’ was taken — was released by the Dutch trio in 2019 and receives a US limited vinyl edition thanks to Qumran Records. One finds some similar guitar heroics to those of Astrosoniq‘s more straightforward moments, but Diggeth‘s focus remains on hookmaking for the duration, offering hints of twang and acoustics in “In the Wake of Giants” and tipping a hat southwestward in “Three Gringos,” but “Straight-Shooter” is willfully breaks out its inner Hetfield and even as the penultimate “Unshackled” departs for a quieter break, it makes its way back in time for the big finish chorus, adding just a touch of Candlemass grandiosity for good measure before the harmonica-laced closing title-track rounds out with its dynamic spacey weirdness, the name of the album repeating itself in an answer to the Stephen Hawking sample that started the voyage on its way.

Diggeth on Thee Facebooks

Qumran Records website

 

Horizon, The White Planet Patrol

horizon the white planet patrol

Cursed Tongue Records has the vinyl here, and Three Moons the tape, and the CD will arrive through Aladeriva Records, La Rubia Producciones, Aneurisma Records, Surnia Records and Violence in the Veins — so yes, Horizon‘s third album, The White Planet Patrol is well backed. Fair enough for the Kyuss-via-BlackRainbows vibes of “End of Utopia” or the initial charge and flow of “The Backyard” that sets the Alicante, Spain, trio on their way. “King Serpent” and “Death & Teddies” bring well-crafted fuzz to bear, and “Blind World” effectively layers vocals in its chorus to coincide, but the more laid back roll of the title-cut is an unmistakable highlight. Shades of mid-paced Nebula surface in “Meet the Forest” later on, but Horizon are part of a tradition of heavy bands in Alicante and they know it. The smoothness of their tone and delivery speaks volumes on its own in that regard, never mind the actual songwriting, which also leaves nothing to be desired.

Horizon on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

 

Limousine Beach, Stealin’ Wine + 2

Limousine Beach Stealin Wine

Debut EP from Limousine Beach out of Pittsburgh, and if the three guitars involved don’t push it over the top, certainly the vocal harmonies get that particular job done. You got six minutes for three songs? Yeah, obviously. They scorch through “Tiny Hunter” to close out, but it’s in the leadoff title-track that Stealin’ Wine + 2 sees the Dave Wheeler-fronted outfit land its most outrageous chorus, just before they go on to find a middle-ground between KISS and Thin Lizzy on “Hear You Calling.” The harmonies open and are striking from the outset, but it’s in how they’re arranged around the standalone parts from Wheeler (also Outsideinside, ex-Carousel) that the outfit’s truest potential is shown. Issued through Tee Pee Records, Stealin’ Wine + 2 is the kind of thing you’d pick up at a show in a normal year and then feel way ahead of everyone else when the LP finally hits. Not a normal year, obviously, but Limousine Beach are serving due notice just the same. In six minutes, no less.

Limousine Beach on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records website

 

The Crooked Whispers, Satanic Melodies

the crooked whispers satanic melodies

I’m sure a lot of records show up at Satan’s door with notes, like, “Dear sir, please find the enclosed submitted for your approval,” but it’s not hard to imagine Beelzebub himself getting down with the filth-coated sludge and rolling doom unfurled across The Crooked Whispers‘ debut offering, Satanic Melodies, marked by hateful, near-blackened screams from Anthony Gaglia and the plodding riffs of Chad Davis (Hour of 13, et al). The title-track is longest at 8:23 and in addition to featuring Ignacio De Tommaso‘s right-on bass tone in its midsection, it plays out early like Weedeater sold their collective soul, and drifts out where earlier pieces “Sacrifice” and “Evil Tribute” and “Profane Pleasure” held their roll for the duration. Stretches of clean-vocal cultistry add to the doomier aspects, but The Crooked Whispers seem to care way less about genre than they do about worshiping the devil, and that unshakable faith behind them, the rest seems to fall into place in accordingly biting fashion.

The Crooked Whispers on Thee Facebooks

The Crooked Whispers on Bandcamp

 

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Finding Comfort in Live Music When There Isn’t Any

Posted in Features on August 12th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Bands and festivals have begun to announce 2021 dates and all that, but let’s be realistic: it’s going to be years before live music is what it once was. Especially in the United States, which is the country in the world hardest hit by the ol’ firelung in no small part because of the ineptitude of its federal leadership, an entire economic system of live music — not to mention the venues, promotions and other cultural institutions that support it on all levels — needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. It isn’t going to be just as simple as “social distancing is over and we can all crowd into the bar again.” Maybe not ever.

You’ve likely seen a band do a live stream at this point, even if after the fact, and I have too. Not the same as a real-life gig, duh, but if it helps raise some funds and keeps creative people working on something and gives an act a way to connect with its audience, you can’t call it bad. I’ve found, though, that with the dearth of live music happening and the nil potential that “going to a show” will happen anytime soon, I’ve been listening to more and more live albums.

This, in no small part, is because there are plenty to listen to. Some groups attempting to bring in cash either for themselves or relevant causes have put out live records in the last few months and made use of the downtime that would’ve otherwise been given to actually being on a stage or writing together in a room or whatever it might be. It’s been a way for a band to not just sit on its collective hands and wonder what the future will bring. When so much is out of your own control, you make the most of what you’ve got.

In that spirit, here’s a quick rundown of 10 recent live outings that I’ve been digging. If you’ve found you’re in the need of finding comfort in live music and whatever act you want to see isn’t doing a stream just this second, maybe you can put one of these on, close your eyes, and be affected a bit by the on-stage energy that comes through.

Thanks as always for reading, and thanks to Tim Burke, Vania Yosifova, and Chris Pojama Pearson for adding their suggestions when I asked on social media. Here we go, ordered by date of release:

Arcadian Child, From Far, for the Wild (Live in Linz)

arcadian child from far for the wild

Released Jan. 24.

Granted, this one came out before the real impact of COVID-19 was being felt worldwide, but with the recent announcement of Arcadian Child‘s next studio album coming out this Fall, including From Far, for the Wild (Live in Linz) (discussed here) on this list seems only fair. The Cyprus-based four-piece even went so far as to include a couple new songs in the set that’ll show up on Protopsycho as well this October, so it’s a chance to get a preview of that material as well. Bonus for a bonus. Take the win.

Kadavar, Studio Live Session Vol. 1

kadavar studio live session

Released March 25.

Germany began imposing curfews in six of its states on March 22. At that point, tours were already being canceled, including Kadavar‘s European run after two shows, and the band hit Blue Wall Studio in Berlin for a set that was streamed through Facebook and in no small part helped set the pattern of streams in motion. With shows canceled in Australia/New Zealand and North America as well, Kadavar were hoping to recover some of the momentum they’d lost, and their turning it into a live record is also a part of that, as is their upcoming studio release, The Isolation Tapes.

Øresund Space Collective, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019

Øresund Space Collective Sonic Rock Solstice 2019

Released April 3.

Of course, I’m perfectly willing to grant that Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 (review here) wasn’t something Øresund Space Collective specifically put out because of the pandemic, but hell, it still exists and that enough, as far as I’m concerned. As ever, they proliferate top notch psychedelic improv, and though I’ve never seen them and it seems increasingly likely I won’t at the fest I was supposed to this year, their vitality is always infectious.

Pelican, Live at the Grog Shop

pelican Live at The Grog Shop

Released April 15.

Let’s be frank — if you don’t love Pelican‘s music to a familial degree, it’s not that I think less of you as a person, but I definitely feel bad for you in a way that, if I told you face-to-face, you won’t find almost entirely condescending. The Chicago instrumentalists are high on my list of golly-I-wish-they’d-do-a-livestream, and if you need an argument to support that, this set from Ohio should do the trick nicely. It’s from September 2019, which was just nearly a year ago. If your mind isn’t blown by their chugging progressive riffs, certainly that thought should do the trick.

SEA, Live at ONCE

sea live at once

Released June 19.

Also captured on video, this set from Boston’s SEA finds them supporting 2020’s debut album, Impermanence (review here) and pushing beyond at ONCE Ballroom in their hometown. The band’s blend of post-metallic atmosphere and spacious melody-making comes through as they alternate between lumbering riffs and more subdued ambience, and it makes a fitting complement to the record in underscoring their progressive potential. The sound is raw but I’d want nothing less.

Sumac, St Vitus 09/07/2018

sumac st vitus

Released July 3.

Issued as a benefit to Black Lives Matter Seattle and a host of other causes, among them the Philadelphia Womanist Working Collective, this Sumac set is precisely what it promises in the title — a live show from 2018 at Brooklyn’s famed Saint Vitus Bar. I wasn’t at this show, but it does make me a little wistful to think of that particular venue in the current concert-less climate. Sumac aren’t big on healing when it comes to the raw sonics, but there’s certainly enough spaciousness here to get lost in should you wish to do so.

YOB, Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn

YOB Pickathon 2019 Live from the Galaxy Barn

Released July 3.

They’ve since taken down the Bandcamp stream, but YOB’s Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn (review here) was released as a benefit for Navajo Nation COVID-19 relief, and is an hour-long set that paired the restlessness of “The Lie that is Sin” next to the ever-resonant “Marrow.” Of all the live records on this list, this is probably the one that’s brought me the most joy, and it also inspired the most recent episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal, which jumped headfirst into YOB‘s catalog. More YOB please. Also, if you haven’t seen the videos of Mike Scheidt playing his guitar around the house, you should probably hook into that too.

Dirty Streets, Rough and Tumble

dirty streets rough and tumble

Released July 31.

If you’re not all the way down with the realization that Justin Toland is the man when it comes to heavy soul and blues guitar, Dirty Streets‘ new live record, Rough and Tumble, will set you straight, and it won’t even take that long. With the all-killer bass and drums of Thomas Storz and Andrew Denham behind, Toland reminds of what a true virtuoso player can accomplish when put in a room with a crowd to watch. That’s an important message for any time, let alone right now. These cats always deliver.

Amenra, Mass VI Live

amenra mass vi live

Released Aug. 7

Look, I’m not gonna sit here and pretend I’m the biggest Amenra fan in the world. I’m not. Sometimes I feel like they follow too many of their own rules for their own good, but there’s no question that live they’re well served by the spectacle they create, and their atmospherics are genuinely affecting. And I know that I’m in the minority in my position, so for anyone who digs them hard, they put up this stream-turned-record wherein they play a goodly portion of 2017’s Mass VI, and even as the self-professed not-biggest-fan-in-the-world, I can appreciate their effort and the screamy-scream-crushy-crush/open-spaced ambience that ensues.

Electric Moon, Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019

Electric Moon Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019

Releasing Sept. 4.

Yeah, okay, this one’s not out yet, but sometimes I’m lucky enough to get things early for review and sometimes (on good days) those things happen to be new live records from Germany psychonauts Electric Moon. The Always-Out-There-Sula-Komets are in top form on Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019 as one would have to expect, and they’re streaming a 22-minute version of “777” now that rips so hard it sounds like it’s about to tear a hole into an alternate dimension where shows are still going on so yes please everyone go and listen to it and maybe we’ll get lucky and it’ll really happen. The magic was in you all along.

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Album Review: Øresund Space Collective, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019

Posted in Reviews on June 1st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Øresund Space Collective Sonic Rock Solstice 2019

The voice of Scott ‘Dr. Space’ Heller is one of the first things one hears on Øresund Space Collective‘s Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 live CD as the first of the collections liquefied jams fades in behind him. He thanks the crowd, says, “Have a nice trip,” and then, a second or two later, adds, “And kill the white lights!” That pretty much tells the tale right there. Of course, Heller — the synthesizer wizard joined on this recording by a multinational cast of players including Vince Cory and Vemund Engan on guitar, Jiri Jon Hjort on bass, Mogens Pedersen also on synth and Tim Wallander on drums — is talking about the lights hitting the stage, and by killing the white ones, he’s leaving nothing but presumably vibrant colors behind, reds, blues, oranges, yellows, whatever, in order to complement the 90 minutes of swirl that’s about to unfold. And fair enough, as Øresund Space Collective — the long-running improv psychedelic/space jam unit ostensibly based in Denmark but whose members hail from Norway, Sweden, and now Portugal, where Heller himself has resided for some number of years now — have never been anything but colorful.

Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 captures of course a performance at the festival of the same name, based in Worcestershire, UK, and as Heller notes just before the group dives headfirst into the 31-minute “Jam for Gavin,” it’s their first time playing in the country. To say the least, they do it up, and from the funky bass of “SRS Solstice Jam” and the space-proggin’ that ensues through the early stretch of “Jam for Gavin” and the mellower drift that takes hold circa 16 minutes in as they make their way back toward solo guitar scorch and finally a kind of quirky bounce outward over the last few minutes held together by the drums as much as anything, and on through the first of two band introductions and into “Jazz it up Boyzz” — nothing if not self-aware in its title — and the extended closing pair “Solstice Jammers Pt. 1” (14:44) and “Solstice Jammers Pt. 2” (21:12) at the end of which Heller again says everyone’s name the band (a follow-up introduction well-earned on the band’s part), Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 as much typifies Øresund Space Collective‘s mission as any live release could and most of them do.

Whether they’re in the studio or on a stage, Øresund Space Collective jam. There is a reason five out of the six tracks on Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 have some variation of “jam” in the title, and it’s because they fucking jam. And that other track? It’s 35 seconds of talking in between “Jam for Gavin” and “Jazz it up Boyzz,” so yeah. The focus here is clearly on jamming, and as Heller says early on, they don’t have a lot of time for chit-chat. And accordingly they don’t mess around, instead hitting it head-on with “SRS Solstice Jam” and keeping the flow central throughout the entire set. And it should comes as little surprise to anyone familiar with what Øresund Space Collective is or what they do that they’re locked in and their musical conversation is second to none. For a group who regularly record and release their own live shows via the internet archive or Bandcamp, it’s telling when they go to the lengths of doing an actual physical pressing of a live release, and as Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 was initially put out to Bandcamp subscribers — there are a host of exclusive offerings to go along with the steady stream of “regular” ones; this follows February’s Experiments in the Subconscious (review here) studio LP as the second full-public outing of 2020 — and then put on limited CDs for those who’d chase it down, it’s clear they consider it an occasion worth marking.

sonic rock solstice 2019 poster

Fair enough for the performance they got, taking advantage of the multi-track recording by Peter Wibrew (which Heller mixed afterward) to present their freeform psychedelic improvisation as best they could hope to do. With the white lights presumably shut off after the request, the band shine bright just the same, and as they marked 15 years of existence in 2019, and as they were headliners of the fourth and final night of the festival — other headliners included Hawklords and Tir Na Nog — and, as noted, since it was their first time ever in the UK, the party spirit seems certainly justified. The jams are for the most part upbeat, of course with some spaceouts, and though I’ve no doubt that those in the building would say they felt it even more — such is the nature of live albums — but the good-time vibe practically leaks out of the speakers when listening here.

It’s reasonable to assume that if that wasn’t the case, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 wouldn’t exist as it does. No band ever willingly put out a crappy live record. But especially for an act like Øresund Space Collective, whose purpose all along has been to enact an instrumental conversation among players, whether it’s regulars like JiriMogens, or Tim — often just presented as their first names, like old friends — or others who’ve made their way into and out of the group over the years, including members of PapirBlack Moon Circle (of which Engan and Heller are both tenured) or Sgt. Sunshine, the ability to bring about so much consistency in that regard while staying so willfully amorphous in makeup and in the basic sonic pursuit, is nothing to be taken lightly. I’ll admit gladly to being a fan of Øresund Space Collective‘s on-paper mission and in-reality output, and as with the most resonant of their various offerings and offshoots, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 puts together immersive and hypnotic jams that neither fade into the background nor force themselves upon the listener. They unfold naturally, in their own time, and though the band may not have had much time to talk as Heller says, they make their statement without any trouble by the time they’re through with “SRS Solstice Jam” and into the kosmiche launch that is “Jam for Gavin.” This is as organic as the roots of heavy psychedelic rock can get, and Øresund Space Collective make the trip their own as only they can. In times that do nothing if not warrant it, this is my comfort music.

Øresund Space Collective, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 (2020)

Øresund Space Collective on The Facebooks

Øresund Space Collective on Bandcamp

Øresund Space Collective website

Space Rock Productions website

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Days of Rona: Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective

Posted in Features on April 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

scott dr space heller

Days of Rona: Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective, Aural Hallucinations, Space Rock Productions, etc. (Portugal)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

Well, at the moment our concerts in May are in doubt and we might have to postpone them till late summer or fall. Looks like Høstsabbat for Oct 1st will still happen though so that might be one of the few shows we do. As far as I know all the members of the band are healthy and staying at home, probably making or mixing music!!!

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

Portugal has taken this very seriously as has Denmark, where a lot of the members live. Schools are closed, bars, restaurants, pretty much everything except small local businesses, grocery stores, gas stations… Where we live there are still no cases reported yet. Denmark is shut down for three;, months. Oddly, where some of the members are in Sweden, it is business as usual. They have not shut down anything much. They also have the most cases of all of Scandinavia. We will see how it goes.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

We have a huge view of the valley where we live and you just don’t see many people out or cars, so I think people around here are being vigilant. I go to the post office every week to mail packages and they only let two people in at a time and you can’t get close to the workers, they have a large plastic window with a gap. As for music, there is no live music at the moment but I am making a lot of music and improving my skills, mixing new tracks, recording for new collaborations (a secret at the moment). My fourth Dr Space’s Alien Planet Trip LP –  Space with Bass is still coming out in May. My collaboration with Matt (Ex-Elder, Kind, Queen Elephantine) called Aural Hallucinations will be out on LP, CD and tape around May 1st. A new subscriber-only release of Øresund Space Collective is supposed to arrive this week… So lots still happening..

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

We are pretty safe and unlikely to get this virus if we just stay at home since we live so isolated and all my music projects will continue but live concerts will be fewer this year for sure. I wish everyone the best and hope you all ride this crazy virus wave to a safe place and we can all be together again later this year. Thanks to everyone who has bought our music. Peace…

http://oresundspacecollective.com
http://oresundspacecollective.bandcamp.com
http://doctorsofspace.bandcamp.com
http://writingaboutmusic.blogspot.com
http://www.spacerockproductions.com
http://blackmooncircle.bandcamp.com
http://auralhallucinations.bandcamp.com

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Aural Hallucinations Stream Debut LP Alucinações Auditivas in Full; Preorders up Now

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 1st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

aural hallucinations

Aural Hallucinations will release their debut album, Alucinações Auditivas, through Space Rock Productions on May 1. The ocean-spanning experimentalist duo brings together Massachusetts-based Matt Couto — best known as the now-former drummer for Elder, and also currently of Kind — with Scott “Dr. Space” Heller, who, though currently residing in Portugal, nonetheless continues to work as the prolific synthesist and bandleader of Øresund Space Collective and also, so far as I know, still hold a place in the otherwise-Norwegian Black Moon Circle and a few other projects as well.

The semi-self-titled Alucinações Auditivas is their first release of any sort as well as being their first album — though they led up to it by unveiling “Brain Stimulator” and “Fly Free, Furry Friend” as singles — and in its vinyl-ready form it runs seven tracks and 41 minutes of way-far-gone mostly-instrumental collaboration. Pieces like “Hills White, House Blue” become a kind of miasma of synthesizer sounds, and from the leadoff cut “Formigas,” on which the applied “vocals” would seem to be recorded and manipulated breathing, onward, the prevailing sentiment is that anything is welcome noise-wise so far as the vibe is maintained.

To wit, the underlying low end synth progression behind the penultimate “Don’t Take the Granite Acid” follows an eerily similar rhythm to that of my basement washing machine when heard through the floor of my living room. There are eerie whispers there as well (not in my basement, fortunately), and “Spore Cloud Dispersion” offers a drum progression and bassline that echoes the space rock at its most frenetic, while closer “Surreal InhiVisions” finds its anchor in acoustic guitar almost in a manner reminiscent of Lamp of the Universe were that outfit more given to conjuring a total wash AURAL HALLUCINATIONS ALUCINACOES AUDITIVASof effects rather than sticking to some semblance of structural traditionalism.

Despite all the far-out-itude of Alucinações Auditivas and the piercing high-pitched frequency that makes its way into “Brain Stimulator,” the project is consistent with elements of both Couto‘s and Heller‘s past work. Certainly the latter has been no stranger to improvised-seeming experimentation — that’s Øresund Space Collective‘s wheelhouse — and the former has handled modular synth and other noisemaking whatnots in Kind as well, so it’s not that Aural Hallucinations comes out of nowhere in terms of their approach, just that the two parties involved have very clearly made a conscious decision to highlight this aspect of their creativity together.

The mission and resulting LP are likewise admirable though both by their very nature are not necessarily widely accessible. Still, the wide open range that Alucinações Auditivas establishes nearly immediately and only continues to push into broader spaces is a closed-eyes-headphones-on escape that one can easily imagine as a ready foundation for future such expeditions. With their driving principle seeming to be just building pieces from the ground up and seeing what works, they show an awareness of that and a corresponding awareness of when a piece is done or might not need anything else going on in it.

This makes Aural Hallucinations dynamic as well as varied in their approach, and from minimal to maximal, Alucinações Auditivas demonstrates a dimensionality that goes beyond the depth of its mix. Actually, its dimensionality kind of goes outside of this dimension altogether, but I suppose that’s a different matter.

Also it’s not made of matter.

You get the point.

With preorders open as of today ahead of the release next month, Aural Hallucinations have opened the floodgates and are letting the noise drift through with a full album stream of Alucinações Auditivas below. Should you choose to plunge in, I most certainly hope you enjoy:

This is the debut album by Matt Couto (Kind, ex-Elder) and Dr Space (Øresund Space Collective, Black Moon Circle). It features a number of tracks to have Aural Hallucinations to. Luis Antero has kindly provided us with several field recordings that have been mixed into a few of the tracks.

Matthew Couto- Moog Opus III, Moog Werkstatt, VRL Modular Synthesizer, Drums, Bass, Acoustic guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocal

Dr Space- Yamaha CS10, Custom Modular Synthesizer, KORG SQ-10, Nord Lead 2, ARP Odessey, Vocal

Artwork by Matt. Logo and cassette/CD layouts by Josh Yelle.

Mixing and mastering at Éstudio Paraíso nas Nuvems, Central Portugal by Dr Space.

Aural Hallucinations on Bandcamp

Space Rock Productions website

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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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Doctors of Space Premiere Horrifying Video for “Ghouls ‘n’ Shit”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

doctors of space

Much respect to Doctors of Space, the Portugal-based experimentalist psych duo of synthesist Scott “Dr. Space” Heller and guitarist Martin “Apparently Also Earned a Space Doctorate” Weaver, perhaps best known as the axe behind the classic heavy ’70s riffage of Wicked Lady, who aside from a formidable pedigree have in their new video for “Ghouls ‘n’ Shit” created something genuinely nightmarish. I mean, there’s a lot of music out there that’s dark — and Doctors of Space isn’t particularly so — and a lot of affected horror donned as part of an aesthetic in underground music. It’s just kind of part of the thing. The clip for “Ghouls ‘n’ Shit,” which may or may not have been made by Weaver himself, goes beyond that. It’s a psychological horror, gruesome in the raw visual, yeah, but haunting in a way that speaks to something primal and wrong. That many teeth can only be signifying a threat on a preternatural level.

Are those “Ghouls ‘n’ Shit?” doctors of space ghouls n shitQuite possibly. They are ghoulish. Could also be that the “ghouls” in question are the lines of synth that seem to be screaming throughout the song. Either way, the upcoming 7″ release for the track will mark the first physical offering from the project, which has a couple digital singles to its credit as it is. Heller‘s own Space Rock Productions is handling the pressing, and it’ll be 100 copies with spraypainted covers each of course somewhat different from the others. You can get them signed too, which is always fun. The B-side is a demo of the same track, with Weaver playing bass and programming drums in addition to playing guitar. No doubt that too is gleefully weird.

Heller, known around these parts as the bandleader of Øresund Space Collective and synthesist for Norwegian psych jammers Black Moon Circle, fits well in this more experimental context, adding out-there flair to what’s already a pretty vast concept. As to where his work with Weaver might go, I’m told the universe is only expanding, so I guess it could be just about anywhere they want. It’s a level of adventurousness that suits them just fine. And hey, maybe the next video will be all puppies and flowers. For now, let this one plague your dreams.

Enjoy:

Doctors of Space, “Ghouls ‘n’ Shit” official video premiere

Doctors of Space is a fairly new project that features Dr Space (Øresund Space Collective, Black Moon Circle, Dr Space’s Alien Planet Trip, etc..) and Martin Weaver (Dark, Wicked Lady). The songs are conceived as collaborations either starting with synths and Martin adds his parts or Martin creating tracks with drums, bass and guitar and Dr Space adding his spacey sounds.

This 7” is limited to 100 copies, hand numbered and each cover unique, spray painted by the artists. It features the track Ghouls ‘n Shit as well as our original demo version on the B-side. The final version features Hasse Horigmoe (Tangle Edge, Øresund Space Collective) on bass.

The track is an uptempo rock number with some great guitar and spaced out Ghouls in the background, courteous of the Plague Bearer synth module and the Korg SQ-1 sequencer. This is a preview for our full length record that will be out in the spring next year.

Martin Weaver- Guitars, bass, programmed drums
Dr Space- Analog Synthesizers, spoken word, mixing and Mastering
Hasse Horgimoe- Bass guitar

Doctors of Space on Bandcamp

Space Rock Productions website

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Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle, Freak Out in the Fjord: Cosmic Collision

Posted in Reviews on May 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

oresund space collective meets black moon circle freak out in the fjord

It happened once upon a Nov. 17, 2017, that respected cosmic improvisationalists Øresund Space Collective made their way from Denmark/Portugal/Planet Omega to Trondheim, Norway, where they were set to join with Black Moon Circle and take part in the Freak Out in the Fjord festival for which they’d eventually name this album. The title, though, is more homage than descriptor, as what makes up the record isn’t the actual live set, but the results of a studio session the next day. That might seem counterintuitive — especially for a band who are not at all shy about putting out live material — until one actually listens to Freak Out in the Fjord, at which point the results become largely inarguable. I say that as a fan of Øresund Space Collective, of course, but if you want to try to make a case against gathering a nine-piece lineup together, sticking them in the studio like some kind of off-the-cuff orchestra — three drummers and all — I’m happy to entertain it.

Certainly by the time they get around in opener “Rendezvous in the Nebula” to tossing off a swaggering reference to Jimmy Forrest‘s “Night Train” (also recorded by James Brown for Live at the Apollo in 1963), any such issue should be settled. From that interstellar-swinging 26-minute leadoff on through the other three more-than-a-side-consuming pieces on the 119-minute Space Rock Productions-issued triple LP, the personality changes, but the ultimate course of exploration is consistent. It’s jammy bliss, and as a particular sucker for an interplay between more than multiple drummers/percussionists, it seems like the rhythms here stand up especially well to the wash of guitar, bass, keys and synth surrounding. For reference, here is the lineup for the session, with their credits directly cut and pasted from the Øresund Space Collective Bandcamp page:

Magnus Hannibal – Fender Rhodes, Synthesizer
Tim Wallander – Drums (right), Fender Rhodes (Side B)
Simon W. Gullikstad – Drums (left)
Hasse Horrigmoe – Bass (slight left)
Øyvin Engan – Bass (slight right)
Vemund Engan – Guitar (right)
Jonathan Segel – Violin, Guitar (left)
Scott “Dr. Space” Heller – Modular Synth, Kaoscillator, Korg Monotron
Per Andreas Gulbrandsen – Drums (side B right, side C/D center)

For those familiar either with Øresund Space Collective or with the Norwegian-native Black Moon Circle, it will come as little surprise that the common thread between the two — aside from a propensity for psych-jamming — is Scott “Dr. Space” Heller. The bandleader of Øresund Space Collective has been a member of Black Moon Circle live and in the studio (also live there, as it happens), and as the two outfits work here under the collective banner of Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle, he’s the one tying them together. It is a noble endeavor. The general method of Øresund Space Collective is to hit the studio or stage, press record, and go. Like off-the-cuff jazz born of psychedelia and space rock, their work is always an adventure and always captures the specific moment of its creation, never to come again. Bringing Black Moon Circle — the Engans and Gulbrandsen, as well as Gullikstad and Heller himself — into the fold, they only expand the reach, and as Freak Out in the Fjord plays through its massive sprawl across “Rendezvous in the Nebula” (26:18), “Afterglow in the Sea of Sirens” (23:55), “Dinner with Gregg A. and Jerry G.” (33:16) and “Freak Out in the Fjord” (36:03), the pieces each develop a persona of their own.

This is true whether it’s the Southern guitar inflection of “Dinner with Gregg A. and Jerry G.” or the engrossing well of energy of “Rendezvous in the Nebula,” the organ and synth making their presence felt in the second half of “Afterglow in the Sea of Sirens” by building a tension that instead of blowing up pays off in arguably the record’s sleekest groove, or the title-track’s experimentalist pulse, manifest in bouts of noise and swells of volume as the group moves inextricably toward a grand finale every bit worthy of the nearly two hours preceding. But as with either the work of Øresund Space Collective on their own or Black Moon Circle‘s jammy material or really any such release, Freak Out in the Fjord isn’t about the destination so much as the outward trip to get there, however satisfying the end proves to be.

So far as I know, it doesn’t, but Freak Out in the Fjord should probably come with some manner of warning label about melted consciousness or “these people are professionals; don’t try this at home” or something of the like. The fact of the matter is that whatever else is going on, Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle are in their element when mounting these sonic excursions, and it’s never going to be for everyone. It is a kind of extremity. Not of volume, or intensity — at least not in a “metal” sense — but of purpose. It is a constant drive to push deeper into the heart of creativity and to document its realization. Øresund Space Collective, its related outfits and especially Dr. Space have amassed an extensive discography, as a group like this will, but some of their best work is done when they force themselves into a different avenue of collaboration, whether it’s with Black Moon Circle or the likes of KG Westman or Gary Arce.

The core of their approach is unwavering, and well it should be, but over time, it is also showing itself as infinitely malleable to a range of contexts. Maybe that’s easy to say for Øresund Space Collective, since their approach is based on an open sensibility, but the prospect of improv space rock is one that could just as easily fall flat, or sound empty, and instead, Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle are engaging and immersive in kind. Whether you’re putting it on for a two-hour chillout or sitting with your headphones and picking out which drums are in which channel on which track, Freak Out in the Fjord delivers an ultimately satisfying experience for the converted or those willing to be, and while I know the whole point of the thing is to preserve the ephemeral spirit of a moment already gone — remember this was late 2017; though the two bands are touring together — I can’t help but hope Øresund Space Collective and Black Moon Circle meet again for another studio session, as it seems like there’s still so much of the universe to be discovered.

Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle, Freak Out in the Fjord (2019)

Black Moon Circle on Bandcamp

Black Moon Circle on Thee Facebooks

Øresund Space Collective on The Facebooks

Øresund Space Collective on Bandcamp

Øresund Space Collective website

Space Rock Productions website

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