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.

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Zement – Werk

zement So, my way around using that descriptor of music that I really don’t like* is to use a different one – or two, or three, or many – instead, because I just love when genres get divided and subdivided and so on. But stay with me on this.

“Krautrock” (the last time I will ever type that word) can arguably be said to comprise of (at least) two elements – motorik and kosmiche. So, without further ado, I hereby tag this particular music motorik, because it has that driving rhythmical quality to it so prevalent within the field. I would argue that it isn’t particularly kosmiche – I personally am more likely to ascribe that quality to the output of Ash Ra Tempel, Gunter Schickert, etc. But that doesn’t mean this music can’t transport you, it is heavy on repetition after all, and repetition rocks. When done well, anyway. Though I suppose an argument can be made to call it something like industrial drone. But I’m not going to do that.

Other reference points for this include but are not limited to Minami Deutsch, Follakzoid, a more up-tempo Appliance and there’s also a riff they use quite often that can be found on Hey Colossus‘ magnificent Cuckoo Live Life Like Cuckoo (those of you familiar will know what I mean, it’s on the track English Flesh).

*just to clarify, because the sentence is not all that clear, it’s the descriptor I don’t like, not the music. If I didn’t like the music it wouldn’t be here.

Electric Moon

So, now 2014 is out the way and I got my year end list up, now I can travel back in time to previous musics. Now, it seems that this makes it harder for me to link directly to an album for you to listen to, although with this band it probably isn’t a huge thing, on account of how almost everything they’ve done is frankly marvellous.

Part of me assumes everybody in the world knows about Electric Moon. How can they not? If ever there was a band who represented the psych-rock zeitgeist so compellingly, it’s them. And we’re all into psych-rock aren’t we? That’s why there’s so many bloody chancers getting in on it again…

But it seems that my little world isn’t exactly the same as the ‘objective’ one out there, so it behooves me to tell all of you objective people that Electric Moon exist and are probably better than your favourite psych-rock band. If you look at their discography page, there is an awful lot of releases, many of which are live sets. And me, I’m an album dude, so I largely listen to albums. And there are three albums I really think should be listened to muchly:

 

(I can’t find an equivalent for the ‘Lunatics’ album)

I can tell you about them all by telling you about any one of them, really, and that really is no disrespect or faint praise. This is the sort of music made by a band who know each other inside out, can anticipate where each other is going and can play off each other with immense skill. It feels like jam music that has purpose without having a pre-defined end-point (i.e. pretty much unlike most of the other jam-music out there). I think I’ve now invented a new genre – teleological jamming!

On top of that, there’s a couple of honest-to-goodness songs mixed in too.

I think what really separates them from the rest of the ‘jam-bands’ who are their nearest peers in terms of sonic description is their judicious use of Komet Lulu’s vocals, particularly when she uses the husky whisper that she does on the awesome ‘Moon Love’ (23 minutes of sonic perfection).

In a roundabout way, I would never have discovered Big Blood if it wasn’t for Electric Moon. For years I’ve checked in every now and again over at Ran Prieur‘s website because of his ability to chuck interesting articles and viewpoints out at the world, but I’d never paid much attention to his taste in music, because his recommendations had always seemed a bit too US-indie for my taste, the sort of music that uses the word ‘sophomore.’ (I’m English, and that word means nothing to me, I tell you, nothing!) And then one day he recommended Electric Moon and used the word ‘ineffable’ to describe their music and I thought, you know what, maybe this boy has better taste than I credited him with*, maybe I’ll check out his future recommendations. And pretty much the next band he recommended was Big Blood.

*i.e. taste that I approve of, which probably says more about me than it does about him 🙂 Also, I have never come across a better description of Electric Moon’s music than ‘ineffable.’ I think that’s what I was trying to say using far more words. Think teleology without a specified end-point – life itself, in other words. And the macrocosm in the microcosm in the macrocosm gets demonstrated yet again, at least to my own satisfaction…

I think I can safely say that I am not afraid of teleology.