MAGIC MIX

psych . krautrock . prog . rock

WEEK STARTING 17 Aug

Genre pick of the week Cover of Smote Reverser by Oh Sees.
Crack the coffers, Oh Sees have spawned another frothy album of head-destroying psych-epics to grok and rock out to. Notice the fresh dollop of organ and keyboard prowess courtesy of Memory Of A Cut Off Head-alum and noted key-stabber Tom Dolas, while the Paul Quattrone / Dan Rincon drum-corps polyrhythmic pulse continues to astound and pound in equal measure, buttressed by the nimble fingered bottom end of Sir Tim Hellman the Brave and the shred-heaven fret frying of John Dwyer, whilst Lady Brigid Dawson again graces the wax with her harmonic gifts.

Aside from the familiar psych-scorch familiar to soggy pit denizens the world over, there’s a fresh heavy-prog vibe that fits like a worn-in jean jacket comfortably among hairpin metal turns and the familiar but no less horns-worthy guitar fireworks Dwyer’s made his calling card. Perhaps the most notable thing about Smote Destroyer is the artistic restlessness underpinning its flights of fancy. Dwyer refuses to repeat himself and for someone with such a hectic release schedule, that stretching of aesthetic borders and omnivorous appetite seems all the more superhuman!

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: They're back again, reliably presenting us with their annual outing as 'Oh Sees' (not to mention their interim performances as any variety of that name), and they have reliably smashed it out of the park. Unbelievably grooving, beautifully constructed and forged with as much intensity as anything they've ever created. Once again, predictably brilliant.

FORMAT INFORMATION

2xColoured LP Info: Indies exclusive coloured vinyl edition.

2xColoured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

Cosmic Invention

Help Your Satori Mind

    In 1996, Masaki Batoh, who’d spent the previous decade recording, playing and living in a hippie communal environment with the heavy chamber folk outfit Ghost, formed a new unit to play in a different manner. He’d just finished making an incredible new Ghost album - ‘Lama Rabi Rabi’ - but making music with Ghost was an intense and spiritual endeavor; for a change, Batoh wanted simply to enjoy, with a free and open mind, the playing of the kind of music that he and his musical friends had grown up with; the 70s sounds of British, American and Japanese rock. ‘Help Your Satori Mind’ is a result of things they just naturally jammed on during a couple of sessions. It’s totally out of Ghost’s world.

    Along with Batoh were fellow Ghosts Fuji on congos and Michio Kurihara (a modern psychedelic rock guitar god previously in White Heaven and eventually joining with Damon and Naomi). Also invited were notoriously crazy drummer virtuoso Futoshi Okano from Osaka’s heavy rock trio Subvert Blaze, bassist Chiyo Kamekawa from Yura Yura Teikoku and organist / pianist Jun Koto from Kakashi. Together, they were Cosmic Invention.

    The sound of Cosmic Invention was equal parts exploratory and explosive, accessing classical modes of psychedelic and progressive rock and roll music. These guys were so powerful when they played together, Batoh eventually recruited them to form most of the line up for Ghost’s second US tour, in 1997, after ‘Lama Rabi Rabi’ was released. As Ghost, from coast to coast, they pushed American audiences up against the wall with the enormity of their sound. That, though, was the end of their group partnership together; Cosmic Invention was a one-time excursion into this music. Today, The Silence combine elements of Ghost and Cosmic Invention into their eclectic ongoing experience.  Originally, ‘Help Your Satori Mind’ was released by The Now Sound, who’d previously issued two Batoh solo records, both of which became available on Drag City (as ‘Collected Works’) following the collapse of The Now Sound, not too terribly long after the Cosmic Invention release. So, this record has been kind of forgotten for some time, which isn’t the fate that was meant for it. It is the kind of item to be unearthed in a sarcophagus many years later - and at 20 years and counting, now is a good time. This marks ‘Help Your Satori Mind’s first appearance on LP, the vinyl giving new dimension to their multi-hued, raw rock performances. It’s the first appearance of the aptly-titled ‘Long Jamming’, which wasn’t included on the original release. It’s also the first appearance of images of the band, taken while deeply in the albummaking spirit.

    Follakzoid

    London Sessions

      It should come as no surprise to fans of the Chilean trio Föllakzoid that upon meeting the legendary Jason Pierce a.k.a. J. Spaceman (Spacemen 3, Spiritualized), they discovered they were kindred spirits. Föllakzoid and Spaceman’s projects share a restless drive to explore the outer limits of music, as well as an uncanny ability to lock into a groove until it infiltrates the deepest recesses of the listener’s psyche. When Föllakzoid met Spaceman backstage at a Wooden Shjips gig at London’s Electric Ballroom several years ago, they instantly became friends. For London Sessions, the Chileans and Spaceman joined forces for new, live-to-tape renditions of “Electric” and “Earth,” two highlights from Föllakzoid’s III.

      The recordings were made in a private studio in London while Föllakzoid was on tour in Europe in June 2016, and Spaceman’s contributions breathe new life into the songs. “Jason added a very different harmonic atmosphere to the songs,” guitarist Domingo Garcia-Huidobro explained. “It somehow rearticulated the space and metric that already existed in a way the band never could.”

      Chapel Perilous exists whereby the supernatural converges with the everyday - whatever one’s definition of reality, this psychological realm serves to prove it endlessly subjective and changeable. Robert Anton Wilson may have laid claim to the modern use of this phrase - as in his 1977 tome ‘Cosmic Trigger’ - yet there can be few musical outfits in the here and now more worthy of carrying on its tradition than Gnod. In more than a decade on the planet this singular Salford-birthed entity have married intrepid musical exploration with psychic fearlessness - not to mention a tendency to leave any tag or bracket one attempts to place on them utterly redundant. In a sense, the latest adventure bearing this title evolved both from the lengthy European tour that the band embarked upon in the wake of their stripped-down and paint-stripping 2017 opus Just Say No The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine.

      Yet recording in Supernova studio in Eindhoven under the auspices of Bob De Wit, the band found themselves free not only to lay down two tumultuous tracks that they had been honing and hammering into shape on the road - the pulverising fifteen-minute opener ‘Donovan’s Daughters’ and the bracingly brutal ‘Uncle Frank Says Turn It Down’ - but to sculpt more abstract material, utilising dubbed-out repetition, furious riff-driven rancour, bleak soundscapes and off-the-map experimentation to create an intimidating and invigorating tableau of dystopian dread and unflinching intensity. Always working purely on their own instincts and co-ordinates, Gnod’s pathway into unchartered territory continues to move firmly on with nary a care for the sanity of anyone in their surroundings. Chapel Perilous is a still more indomitable chapter in a transcendental travelogue from an iconoclastic institution that only gathers momentum with the passing of time. Wherever Gnod go in 2018 and beyond, expect reality to be reinvented anew, whatever the consequences

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Gnod once again ripping everyone a new one with a heady mix of metallic drone, psychedelic ambience and visceral spoken-word musings, incisive cut-throat guitar lines and hypnotic scree. Classic, unbelievable Gnod. Killer.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Teal Blue repress.

      Gnod

      Just Say No To The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine

      Considering the current political climate, Gnod's newest outing was never going to be a particularly cheery affair. 'Just Say No To The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine' is indeed political, it is wrought and angry, and it installs everything you would expect from a Gnod album, and adds to it exponentially. 'Bodies For Money' sets out as a state of intent from the off with a screaming pillar of feedback before launching headfirst into a barrage of percussion and punishing guitar. Settling slightly to leave sonic headroom for an angry muted voice is as symbolic as it is effective, giving the impression of fighting against the tide of noise and crushing weight of the background. 

      'People' begins much more unceremonoiusly, pitching a looped vocal abstraction against rich and guttoral bass guitar and driving percussion. More akin to the aggressive Krautrock of their earlier years, but injected with a satisfying grit and industrious drive. The vocal segments are layered and amplified, giving the impression of a growing force speaking towards one end. This is music for protest, a soundtrack for forced disillusionment, a call to arms and it is as rousing as it is brilliant. 

      The clanging of 'Paper Error' quickly becomes one of the more melodic points on the album, eschewing vocal snippets and ambient swells for a deft stoner-rock passage, before twisting and tunring into a rawkous and molten grinding thump. It's towering conclusion is inched upon you, like a frog boiling in water without jumping out. 

      'Real Man' is rich in thunderous sub-bass, and propelled by galloping drums and a snarling monologue half-sung about our hero, the man in a dirty grey suit with a bag full of beers. Claging old-school punk littered with instrumental passages and cataclysmic breakdowns, screaming and feedback twisted and rolled into a voracious wall of noise and force. 

      The epic closer 'Stick In The Wheel' grows from a vocal refusal of convention, accompanied by rhythmic guitar stabs and dark-ambient synth work, the constantly propulsive and militaristic rhythm perfectly befits the conventions of the previous numbers, acting as an anchor for the political tumult that preceeds it, before breaking down into a psychedelic and metallic distillation of rage into an eastern-tinged opium den percussive head-nodder. 

      A driven and direct assault on the troubles of today, and a bold, bracing barrage of musical magma. Caustic, loud and captivating to the end. 

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Brilliance as ever from Manchester noise-rock-drone-psych stalwarts Gnod. Brilliantly musical, stunningly direct and absolutely unmissable.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Black with Red Stripe repress.

      The Mystery Lights

      Thick Skin / In The Darkness

        It is our distinct pleasure to announce the latest platter from Brooklyn's own Mystery Lights.

        The a-side, Thick Skin, finds the boys moving away from a traditional '60s garage feel towards an angular, late '70s no-wave sound – but with a driving beat and verbal assault that brings groups like MC5 to mind.

        Coupled with scratchy/noisy bits that tip the cap to the more experimental side of The Velvet Underground, The Mystery Lights masterfully blend blues y riffs, dorky farfisa, and tough rhythms to create a sound that's wholy their own.And the lyrics? Simple: Don't be a cry baby.

        On the flip is In the Darkness which shows the more introspective, soulful side of The Mystery Lights.

        With guest vocals by Coley Gold, Mike laments about finding comfort in the darker side ofl ife, while Coley reasures our protagonist that there is light in all things dark. But hey, sometimes it feels good .


        Having already been nominated for a Swedish Grammy with their debut EP, Diamond Waves, their full-length 2015 debut on Rocket Recordings, Horse Dance, marked out a territory in which beguiling repetition could sashay with sweet pop suss, melodic flourishes with experimental intensity, and it was summarily rapturously received on arrival, making new fans and earning them appearances at Roskilde Festival and Eindhoven Psych Lab. Their second effort Mirage, which follows a mere year after its predecessor, sees the band sculpting sprawling, hypnotic jams into elegant nocturnal serenades. “We agree on not remembering very much about how these tracks came about, that all of them were written on the road and that most of them came fully formed” note the band. “Most were really long to begin with, but we found it relieving to break away a bit from the mandatory psych jams a little bit. We also just realised that none of them were written in daylight, which might be why memory is so elusive.” Indeed, this hypnagogic approach seems to fit well with the primary inspiration for the five-piece, which centred on ‘the state where dreams, visions and the present are entwined’ .Mirage sees the band taking a chic tradition of avant-pop that extends all the way from Serge Gainsbourg and Françoise Hardy to Broadcast and Saint Etienne, and warping it mercilessly to their own darker ends. Whilst the brooding yet sultry ‘Sister Green Eyes’ is no less than a sharp slice of velveteen motorik-pop and ‘Looking For You’ reinvents three-chord garage-rock attack with mighty finesse, The Liberation are just as comfortable dealing out the heavy-lidded and electronically-driven ‘In Madrid’ or the dive in the hallucinatory deep end of ‘Circular Motion’, on which they’re aided and abetted by Lay Llamas’ Nicola Guinta. The seductive splendour of these ten songs åmake manifest a parallel world of disorientation and deliverance in which one would be a fool not to want to languish adrift . Fresh excitement for the band lies in wait, courtesy of a UK tour with Goat and an appearance at Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: Driven and mesmerising psychedelic loops, snarling basses and full on funky-psych freakouts. Sweetly sung vocals contrast perfectly to the experimental backdrop, breaking out into moments of profound serenity. A perfectly measured combination, and just another essential part of this enthralling collection.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Coloured LP Info: Purple & Green Swirl Effect Vinyl repress.

        Uniform

        The Long Walk

          Following the release of critically acclaimed LP Wake in Fright, which had two songs featured in the new season of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, it was time for Uniform vocalist Michael Berdan and instrumentalist Ben Greenberg to return to the studio. The duo decided to up the ante and add a third member to help perfect their vicious post-industrial dystopian cyber-punk. After some deliberation, Greenberg called upon drummer Greg Fox (Liturgy, Zs) to help round out the sound they were looking for. Using a mix of triggered samples and real drums along with layered synths and good old electric guitar, the trio arrived at what would become The Long Walk after only a few short days in the studio.

          From the opening whirr of the title track, it’s clear that the band is onto something special. Recorded in Strange Weather studios in the first part of 2018, The Long Walk is eight new tracks by the duo of Greenberg and Berdan, incorporating Fox’s skills behind the drum kit to add an entirely new dimension to the signature Uniform sound. Ditching sequenced tracks, Greenberg opted for single takes to highlight the Frankenstein-like guitar-bass-synth hybrid that oozes throughout the recording. Meanwhile, crushing guitar thunder is punched up by Fox’s masterful drumming while Berdan’s cries from the nether feel more desperate and morose than ever. This is Uniform at its most bleak, emotional, and powerful.

          Lyrically, The Long Walk deals with paradoxes in spirituality and organized religion. Berdan went to Catholic school for most of his primary education. Fear of Biblical hell and damnation felt tangible. As Berdan grew and matured emotionally, he began to reject Catholicism bit by bit. In the recent past, Berdan found himself slowly reconnecting with his background, observing how the faith that he found so repressive served as a great source of comfort and strength for so many. Yet therein lay the contradiction that drove him from religion in the first place — many of the human traditions of the church also dealt in repression, intolerance, and bigotry. Could one observe the rituals and practice of a faith while acknowledging and rejecting its ugliest elements?


          Various Artists

          Teen Expo: The Cleopatra Label

            From a basement in New Jersey, Tommy Falcone remade himself into a DIY Phil Spector. From 1962 to 1970, he founded and ran Cleopatra Records, discovered and mentored young Garden State talent, wrote songs and produced wild studio effects, and quit his day job to promote it all himself.

            Trained as an accordionist, Falcone had a whirlwind imagination and an omnivorous approach to genre, expressed through acts like the Centuries, the Tabbys, Johnny Silvio, the Inmates, Bernadette Carroll, the Hallmarks, Vickie & the Van Dykes, the Shandillons, Eugene Viscione, the Shoestring, and more. Cleopatra became a time-capsule of every 1960s pop style imaginable—garage rock, psychedelia, surf, girl groups, soul, novelties, exotica, even a crooner—a kaleidoscope of sound in search of the ever-elusive hit record.



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