Sungod

It is one of the ironies of doing this blog that nearly every post is written whilst at work, usually in an environment when I can’t listen to the music that my researches throw up alongside my subject of the day (in other words, on the service desk in a library in between enquiries). sg

So I (re)discovered Sungod as a result of trawling the 2015 year end lists, I can’t remember which – I don’t think they had a place on said list, more that they were referenced. The album that I checked out was Contackt from 2013, and I am here to tell you that it fair blew my mind much more effectively than the howling winds that have been such a feature of the UK’s weather these last few months. My particular favourite track is ‘Smell of Physiqal’ which marries monstrous riffing a la Sleep with late 90s Goa style trance-techno, and definitely ranks as my discovery of the year so far. In fact, that description could be profitably used for much of the album, inasmuch as words have any value at all when describing music.

Turns out that buried somewhere on my hard drive was Cuts from the Ether which someone must have copied for me some time back. Turns out that’s nearly as good.

May I also commend to you Vision Space which features extra free jazz into the mix, as they cover a composition of Sun Ra, and which is also a very pleasurable listening experience? I can? Good.

So going back to my opening paragraph, I learn that Sungod now release music via Holodeck records, the home of a previous subject of mine, the marvellous Thousand Foot Whale Claw. So this makes the dipping into of their catalogue a task which I now add to the many other sonic tasks ahead of me, most of which I’m trying to accomplish back at my desk whilst at work, because home life is almost exclusively One Dog Clapping now once the kids are in bed. I also find the now neglected but nonetheless containing of intriguing links which is Sungod’s blog so there be some other stuff that my instinct tells me I must check… fun times! As I mentioned before, this is a brilliant problem to have. Would I rather there was a dearth of good music just so I could keep on top of it?

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The Soundbergs of 2015

So, by and large, I’m excluding albums I only discovered the last couple of weeks. But not consistently. Also, I’m going to go on about older stuff that thoroughly rocked me this year, so the aforementioned stuff has a chance for next year. Also, confining stuff into years is arbitrary, because years themselves are a bit arbitrary the way we count them nowadays, although they do represent a real cycle. Also, there is no ‘order’ to this list except for the fact that I ordered it into existence because I am a ruthless bastard like that. Also, this paragraph just gained an extra sentence that added nothing to it except extra letters and words.

So: Stuff released in 2015.

Hey Colossus – In Black and Gold : Having just written that this is in no order, this is most definitely the album that brought me the most joy in 2015. I played it incessantly. My subsequent time with their back catalogue brought me just as much joy. And they played a brilliant gig in September. For such a heavy band, they have an incredible way of making their music swing.

Laughing Eye Weeping Eye – Once Was You : This is an album that is utterly unique. It sounds like nothing else, ever. Unless it does, in which case it behooves someone to tell me what that something is. Eerie, droney, a world of its own.

The Myrrors – Arena Negra : Meditative, spacious, at times ecstatic, and they were just as good live.

Les Sorciers Du Theil – Polyte Deshaies : This album came out of nowhere. I think that I may have to give a hat tip to the person who does the psych round up at The Quietus as to where I discovered it. Four heavy and at times insane songs, all bliss.

Follakzoid – III : Kosmiche meets techno, although very heavily in favour of the former. Pulsating, driving, relentless, and very high quality.

Black Bombain – Live at Casazul : Heavy-psych improvisation at its best, with added saxophone. Nuff said.

Alif – Aynama-Rtama : Middle eastern music with an ear for rock-style arrangements. Some of the riffs, the rhythms and arrangements are just mindbendingly good.

Rob Mazurek : Alternate Moon Cycles : Pure, meditative drone. Insanely relaxing.

Big Blood – Double Days II : They actually released two albums simultaneously. Double Days I is a very rare beast – a Big Blood album I’m not overkeen on. But Double Days II is as good as ever, and they finish it off with one of their very best songs. Apparently they’ve got another album ready to go but I see no evidence of it out yet.

People of the North – An Era of Manifestations / Oneida – Positions : Two albums in one entry? I must be having a larf. Essentially the same masterminds though, which is how I justify it. The POTN album has a more jazzy feel, whereas the O album is closer to their classic sound. Both are essential in my life.

Pharoah Overlord – Circle / Circle – Pharoah Overlord : Wot, again? Well, when masterminds use different monikers, it would just be indulgent of me to give them separate entries in a year end list, n’est-ce pas? Repetition, repetition, repetition. It’s what they do best, and it’s what I like best.

Pridjevi – Pridjevi : I never got around to posting about these, and I should have done. So I may still do. This is sunny psych-pop from Croatia, nearest reference point I can think of is Jefferson Airplane, but sunny psych-pop isn’t usually my thing so you may think of more appropriate references.

Anna Von Hausswolff – The Miraculous : Another album I didn’t post on, only bought it in December. She’s brought a band with her this time, as well as an epic church organ. Droney and heavy, and I do like her voice.

Favourite non-2015 music:

Big Blood – The Wicked Hex : Still processing their mighty back catalogue. This is most similar in style to the incredible Unlikely Mothers, and probably as good although Unlikey Mothers contains ‘A Watery Down part 2’ which, if pushed, I’d probably name as my favourite ever piece of music.

Selim Lemouchi & his Enemies – Earth Air Spirit Water : A very varied album featuring probably one of my favourite ever songs in ‘Chiarascuro’ which is probably best described as ecstatic darkness, especially given subsequent events.

Dahga Bloom – No Curtains : There was a time in late Feb and much of March when I barely listened to music due to bad-sinus induced discomfort. This album was one of the few I did, which is odd because it isn’t exactly mellow…

Hey Colossus – Cuckoo Live Life Like Cuckoo / Happy Birthday / RRR : This has been their year as far as I’m concerned. All three of these albums got some very heavy rotation, heavy being the operative word.

Verma – entire discography : I went through a phase in the summer of playing a Verma album every night, without an obvious favourite emerging, so I simply kept rotating them because it is all THAT good.

Follakzoid – II : I now consider this superior to the successor. This is very high quality up-tempo driving kosmiche.

Espers – II : for years I only thought their debut album was really all that good. in 2014 I finally got the follow up, and continued getting it in 2015. I still haven’t quite got the third one; maybe that will come yet.

Puffy Areolas – In the Army / Dishonorable Discharge : although I’ve known the albums for a few years, it was actually this year that they really grabbed my throat, possibly an echo of my discovery and love of Narcosatanicos.

Malayeen : Middle eastern psychedelia at its very best, ecstatic, trance-inducing.

The Wharves – At Bay : this album completely ruled January 2015 for me. Outrageous harmonies supporting great songwriting.

I haven’t included every single thing I’ve posted about, because this is quite long enough as it is. 2015 was an odd year for me in many respects, but absolutely brilliant for music – why else would there be an album from Thee Oh Sees that is as good as ever but doesn’t make the year end? I absolutely luxuriate in the sheer amount of high quality stuff there is out there, and in that respect 2016 has already got off to a superb start.

Early Mammal – Take a Lover

With a hat tip to my friend for putting them in his 2015 playoffs and then knocking them out in the first round…

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If you cross Hey Colossus at their sludgy prime with Team (no. 2 in that list on the link) then you might get something like Early Mammal, although they are pretty distinctly themselves. Like so many great albums, it has the feel of a journey, a ride into regions you didn’t realise were there. I understand they recorded all of this over a 2 day period, hence the sonic cohesion to it.

My favourite tune is the fabulous ‘Glad is Night,’ even though they fade it out (fade out is a crime! alright its not a crime. I just don’t like it) – it has a feel not unlike Kyuss. I like the whole damn thing, though, and I’m beginning to think I need to spend some quality time with Riot Season records seeing how many great bands have had releases on this label.

And of course, a sound magician is a Mighty God. But you knew that already.

There’s been an absolute glut of music in my world, coinciding with reduced time to listen to it all. Even Maximum Rock’n’roll have got their best of 2015 list out a month early, and I thought that no matter how late I got mine out, I’d get it out before them. Ho hum. It will be with you maybe next week.

Or not.

Evening Fires

Another result of somebody else’s year end post.

They actually released 2 albums, the second of which you are not allowed to buy digitally, although you can buy it on CD, which is a digital format, and they only allow you to hear one song from it… would love to know what the thinking is behind that.

Whereas the album Where I’ve Been is Places and What I’ve Seen is Things is available in a more easy to please Flipdog manner, and is very good. It ticks all the right boxes, most important of which is I don’t know how to describe it. Rural psychedelia? I’ve seen someone use that. Meandering? I think I’d prefer exploratory. Chilled? Yes. Though not always.

ef

I love how after ‘Roll Away the Stones’, which is a kind of ‘typical’ jam band affair, we get a curveball in the shape of ‘We Cast Our Lot With the Waves’ which is very atmospheric and seems to feature wind very heavily (though maybe synths too), and has a very Parson Sound feel when they go Glyptotec. And each song has a different focus. The whole album is wonderfully diverse yet very coherent.

Also, they give good title.

Of course, the other album may be too, but I can only hear one piece from it and frankly it didn’t grab me. I bet it would work in the context of the rest of the album.

Minami Deutsch

I am going to do a best of 2015 round up, for what it’s worth, although my trawling through other people’s round ups is giving me a feast of new stuff to try, which is coinciding with me getting back into recording new stuff so I consequently have less time to check stuff out… in many ways, this is a great problem to have.

md

So anyway, Minami Deutsch. They first came to my attention via the venerable bandcamp hunter, and have been sat in my wishlist for several months since then. Their appearance in at least 3 end of year lists reminded me to go listen again, and listen again I did, and buying the album I did too, subsequently.

If I say ‘krautrock’ then that will basically tell you everything you need to know. But as I despise the term ‘krautrock’ nearly as much as I despise the term ‘world music’ I’m instead going to say ‘repetition, repetition, repetition.’ You like Can? Harmonia? Follakzoid? You like these.

 

 

Black Bombain – Live at Casazul

To give full credit, this is actually Black Bombain jamming with guitarist Isiah Mitchell, saxophonist Rodrigo Amado and Shela on synths one afternoon during the Milhões de Festa in 2014. bombain

This is recorded directly from the audience, but sounds really rather good for that. Much is made on the few sources I’ve been able to find regarding the abrupt nature of the piece finishing due to police unplugging a guitar, though I can’t say it seemed that abrupt to me as a digital punter.

This marries two of my very favourite things: long improvisational psych with horns. Seriously, more rock artists should embrace the horn, especially those working with looser structures. When done well, it is amongst the best sound combinations there are, at least to these ears. It’s fair to say, though, that the saxophone is an instrument I am becoming more and more fond of.

Also, if you are familiar with Black Bombain’s other marvellous collaboration, Black Gnod, then you’ll most definitely snarf this up (hat tip to Trippy Jam as the blog what did show me Black Gnod.)