Earthling Society – Zen Bastard

zenbastardThe chance to put the word ‘bastard’ in a headline, non-gratuitously? Sold!

Actually, though, this is probably my favourite album of the year so far. When my brain gets invaded my unwelcome ear-worms, it is the current – and formidable – defense system, especially Outsideofintime.

According to the blurb, these are re-recordings of some older tunes, with a new one thrown in. As I was previously unfamiliar with the band except by name, they’re all new to me. Reworking old songs is a good idea, though, when appropriate. I’ve started to realise with my own material that a song is never finished and will always continue to evolve of its own accord if you let it. The wonderful Big Blood frequently do this, too. There’s something about this notion that I’ve been wanting to put in a post for a while, so there may well be a macro-post coming up soon.

The songs are loooong, which I like. They skip around a bit, which I normally don’t like cos it makes me think ‘progressive’ which used to be a swear word around rock music when I was younger (thankfully, I grew up), but these boys make it work very well which proves the strength of the material. Stylistically, we’re talking about a 70s influenced space-rock vibe, so if you likes you your Hawkwind, do check these out. I also find myself thinking of Litmus in the approach and delivery. There are also dub infusions. More rock bands should have dub infusions.

Electric Moon – Stardust Rituals

elecmoonThere are many, many, many heavy psych bands out there who make what sounds a bit like jamming music. There is one such band, however, who are indisputably the King, Queen and Current Drummer of that crop, and that band is Electric Moon. And it is a cause for joy, nay, celebration, that they have released a new studio album.

Stardust Rituals is actually a bit less heavy than they can be, but just as transportative. Komet Lulu brings her vocals back for this release – I mean that in a relative way, as these long songs are still mostly instrumental, but having vocals does add a nice texture and the effects she puts on hers suit the music superbly well. In fact, I think she is the secret weapon that makes them a great band, although guitarist Sula Bassana is a pretty handy force to have in your musical phenomenon. There is also a more eastern vibe going on, plus the organ comes a bit more to the fore early on.

They could have re-done The Doomsday Machine or Lunatics and I would still have been a happy man, but they haven’t. Stardust Rituals is as good as anything else that will be released this year, by one of the all time greats of heavy psych.

Cosmic Triggers – Homo Fractaliens

cosmictriggersSo whilst we’re in Russia, here are the Cosmic Triggers.

This is not wholly unlike Sonora, but a more cosmic sort of space rock, with a kind of 90s feel to some of it. I hear Spiritualized style guitar work, G.O.L. style female vocals overlaying the repetitive, circular rhytms (‘we are all fractals of ourselves,’ she intones at one point, which is right up my alley, philosophically). I hear Thee Open Sex, a little bit of Goat, Verma, a slower Our Solar System, The Myrrors again… you know, I could go on. And I mean that in the best possible way, trying to illustrate that there is now so much brilliant music everywhere, and the fact that they all reference each other – probably without actually trying to do so – is part of a larger point that I may do as a macro-post at one point. These are truly wondrous times we live in.

Sonora – The Fire from Within

sonoraMethinks somebody has been reading their Carlos Castaneda.

Sonora are from Russia, which also plays home to Gnoomes, who my friend loves in an unhealthy way, and also the artist of the next post that will follow this one in some time frame or other, depending on how interrupted I get by the kids.

Musically, this is a very spacey, desert-rock sort of vibe. I’m mostly put in mind of a slightly crunchier The Myrrors without the flutes, or a mellower Dreamtime, with the circular and cyclical riffs that play such a large role. It’s instrumental, and that means it has to have something about it in my book. And it is a perfect accompaniment for a slightly bleary-eyed Saturday morning.

Centralstodet / The Myrrors – Ljudkamrater

centralstodetThe second of the three promos I mentioned what were dead good, like. This is a split release, combining an a group with whom I am totally unfamiliar with a group of whom I am more than slightly familiar.

Centralstodet have been described as Prog rock and as space rock in the whole two reviews I’ve sought out on t’net; I myself put them in that ‘jam band’ genre on the basis of the tunes included here. I might think differently when I hear some of the other stuff. There’s a bit of an edge to what they do, though one man’s edge is another man’s middle, as I once saw a self of mine write. For example, Colour Horizon called an earlier release of theirs ‘harsh,’ but I wonder if he’s ever seen Merzbow live? I have.

The Myrrors only contribute one track, but that one track is 20 minutes of possibly their finest recorded music to date. It is wonderfully spacious, meditative and hypnotic, and I reckon it would soundtrack a mellow initiation ritual in the desert, were such things ever to happen, because obviously assigning such judgements is my area of expertise (I’ve never been to a real desert, though I have been to something called an outback, I don’t think it’s the same thing as there were grasses and bushes and everything).

You can get this on vinyl, if you do vinyl, here.

Lamagaia

lamagaiaI mentioned of late that new/contemporary music is teasingly unlikely to make its way into my collection in the near future, but fortunately I’ve been sent 3 promos of late and they’re all good, damn good.

Lamagaia do this kind of repetition thing unto epic proportions, and the two tracks on here are feasts of sonic content, destined to unfold further upon each listen. The opening ‘Aurora’ is easily the heaviest thing I’ve heard them do, but they then go and do one of their more mellow moments on what I assume will be side 2 if you buy the vinyl.

Although they don’t sound like them particularly, they remind me of Oneida before their improv inflections began to dominate, what with their incredibly disciplined yet loose repetition, repetition, repetition. This is excellent music; perfect for our interesting times.

Verma – Mul.apin

mulapinI’m really not quite sure of the correct formatting for the word that is this album’s title, although if the the Wikipedia entry telling me what its interesting meaning is is correct, then it should be in all caps, only I don’t like shouting.

Neither do Verma, obviously. This album is instrumental, which I think is quite unusual for them; most of their albums that I play often have quite a good vocals-instrumental ratio (which is now an official measurement thing). Maybe Whitney said most of what she’s got for us at the moment on her latest as Matchess.

Or maybe not. It seems to be the result of a session in 2013, which may or may not have been improvised – I remain cautious about that, because if it was improvised, why is there the sentence ‘written and performed by?’ On the other hand, why is there the tag of ‘improvised’ in the tags?  Not saying it has to be either/or – it can be both/and – but I do like clarity in the use of language.

So, the album came out last year but I could only find it on vinyl, so I forgot about it until I stumbled across it via some commercial digital provider or other. It’s worth the wait, because it’s Verma, and I like Verma. If you don’t yet know Verma, then have these verbal reductionisms, copied form the bandcamp page: experimental atmospheric experimental rock improvisedinstrumental krautrock progressive psychedelic rock soundtrackspace rock Chicago . complete with tag links. damn, I dislike when that happens.

I haven’t embedded because the aforementioned page doesn’t give you the full album, and acts primarily as a pathway to the vinyl. So have a video instead: