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EL PARAISO

Brian Ellis Group

Escondido Sessions

    There’s something brewing in Southern California these days, besides the world’s finest Pale Ale and crystal clear surf rolling up the shore along the Interstate 5. Recently there’s been a pour of mindblowing prog-, psych- and free-rock in impeccable form out of San Diego County: Seamlessly merging jazz tendencies and extraordinary jam-abilities with crushing heaviness, electronics and a general out-there-ness. Bands such as Psicomagia, Earthless and Joy has earned SoCal it’s own unique spot on the worldwide map of psychedelia. At the heart of all this, is one young Escondido native, Brian Ellis. A guitar virtuoso in Astra, saxophonist in Psicomagia as well as keys- and synth-wiz. For years he’s been cutting his teeth as a grade A session player in heavyweight funk-outfits such as Egyptian Lover, as well as a studio owner gradually turning into an esteemed recording engineer. It was only a matter of time before he was gonna get his own group of local offbeat heroes in the same room and crank out a spectacular piece of prismatic, electric free-form jazz. And here it is.

    Along with members from Radio Moscow, Corima and Psicomagia, Brian has cooked up two vinyl sides of seriously vital jazz-rock, taking up where Miles Davis, Tony Williams and Donald Byrd left off in the seventies. This music is a far cry from the self-absorbed European free-jazz or academic noodling one is likely to meet at any given jazz festival - no, this music is earthy, like, say, Hendrix at Woodstock, or Miles’ Live Evil - a pinnacle challenge of the past that has never met any really satisfying response from contemporary music. There’s that unique sense of percussive drift that characterized Can’s records in the first half of the seventies - somehow extravagant, yet also subtle at the same time. The warmth of Brian’s sun-dried Rhodes and cosmic Moog-lines intertwine with Patrick Shiroishi’s Coltrane-inspired soprano arabesques. Trevor Mast’s thick bass lines and a multitude of tribalistic percussion keep it together along with a naturalistic crisp-sounding recording. It all adds up to a soulful tour de force of everything that’s great about the current San Diego scene. To be played loudly.

    File next to: Miles Davis, Tortoise, Marion Brown, Joe Henderson, Can, Donald Byrd . 

    Causa Sui

    Summer Sessions Volume 2

      Causa Sui's three volumes of Summer Sessions are back in print! This time on the band's own label, on individual LP's for the first time since they were first released in 2008 and 2009. Re-packaged in El Paraiso’s signature style. Originally the Summer Sessions were intended as a side project for the band – a chance to explore their love for other genres such as American free jazz, krautrock, 1970s soundtracks, as well as the psychedelia and detuned stoner-rock that characterized Causa Sui's first two albums.

      But these three albums came to define the band, and have become become modern classics of psychedelia and progressive rock since their were initially released ten years ago. In a scene often characterized by loyalty to a specific period, there’s something refreshing about Causa Sui’s eclectic approach. With several guest appearances by Coltrane-devotee Johan Riedenlow on sax and electronics wiz Rasmus Rasmussen, Causa Sui venture far beyond stoner-rock platitudes. Take the grandiose opening statement for example – the 24 minute ”Visions of Summer” taking up the entire A-side: here new and old sounds dissolve in a mindbending excursion that recalls Future Days-era Can, breezy tropicalia or Herbie Hancocks Mwandishi group, as much as it sparks associations to Kyuss or Hendrix.

      Other tracks, such as the frenetic Rip Tide (vol. 2), heads into straight up free jazz territory with Riedenlow going absolutely bonkers on the sax. But this set also allows plenty of room for savory, atmospheric pieces such as the sun-drenched ”Venice by the Sea” (vol. 3) or the Morricone-esque ”Cinecitta” (vol. 2). Praise for Summer Sessions: Causa Sui, psychedelic/desert-space rock band from Denmark, effortlessly takes the prime trimmings of almost every element rock has to offer and propagates a sensation of their own...It’s almost impossible to not appreciate the groovy jazz-rock bass lines of Jess Kahr, the endless expressive jazz styles of drummer Jakob Skøtt, and most importantly the extravagant lead guitar and keyboard work of Jonas Munk...These enduring works of art must be beheld by the likes of rock enthusiasts and/or anyone wishing to seek what psychedelic-rock has to offer.

      For a modern psychedelic/jazz-fusion/jam rock album, Summer Sessions is as essential as it gets. Sputnik Music. Formed in the late summer of 2004, this Danish four-piece unashamedly reference such esteemed cosmic talents as Blue Cheer, Amon Düül II and Ash Ra Tempel. Yes, it's another improv quest for the heart of sonic enlightenment, but they do it with a conviction, dexterity and drive that few modern bands possess. -Mojo.This is space music, that flows as a lysergic trip with poetic flights that remind us of the cosmic couriers, and also derives from the most free-jazz contaminated by rock music.

      Causa Sui

      Summer Sessions Volume 3

        Causa Sui's three volumes of Summer Sessions are back in print! This time on the band's own label, on individual LP's for the first time since they were first released in 2008 and 2009. Re-packaged in El Paraiso’s signature style. Originally the Summer Sessions were intended as a side project for the band – a chance to explore their love for other genres such as American free jazz, krautrock, 1970s soundtracks, as well as the psychedelia and detuned stoner-rock that characterized Causa Sui's first two albums.

        But these three albums came to define the band, and have become become modern classics of psychedelia and progressive rock since their were initially released ten years ago. In a scene often characterized by loyalty to a specific period, there’s something refreshing about Causa Sui’s eclectic approach. With several guest appearances by Coltrane-devotee Johan Riedenlow on sax and electronics wiz Rasmus Rasmussen, Causa Sui venture far beyond stoner-rock platitudes. Take the grandiose opening statement for example – the 24 minute ”Visions of Summer” taking up the entire A-side: here new and old sounds dissolve in a mindbending excursion that recalls Future Days-era Can, breezy tropicalia or Herbie Hancocks Mwandishi group, as much as it sparks associations to Kyuss or Hendrix.

        Other tracks, such as the frenetic Rip Tide (vol. 2), heads into straight up free jazz territory with Riedenlow going absolutely bonkers on the sax. But this set also allows plenty of room for savory, atmospheric pieces such as the sun-drenched ”Venice by the Sea” (vol. 3) or the Morricone-esque ”Cinecitta” (vol. 2). Praise for Summer Sessions: Causa Sui, psychedelic/desert-space rock band from Denmark, effortlessly takes the prime trimmings of almost every element rock has to offer and propagates a sensation of their own...It’s almost impossible to not appreciate the groovy jazz-rock bass lines of Jess Kahr, the endless expressive jazz styles of drummer Jakob Skøtt, and most importantly the extravagant lead guitar and keyboard work of Jonas Munk...These enduring works of art must be beheld by the likes of rock enthusiasts and/or anyone wishing to seek what psychedelic-rock has to offer.

        For a modern psychedelic/jazz-fusion/jam rock album, Summer Sessions is as essential as it gets. Sputnik Music. Formed in the late summer of 2004, this Danish four-piece unashamedly reference such esteemed cosmic talents as Blue Cheer, Amon Düül II and Ash Ra Tempel. Yes, it's another improv quest for the heart of sonic enlightenment, but they do it with a conviction, dexterity and drive that few modern bands possess. -Mojo.This is space music, that flows as a lysergic trip with poetic flights that remind us of the cosmic couriers, and also derives from the most free-jazz contaminated by rock music.

        Causa Sui

        Summer Sessions Volume 1

          Causa Sui's three volumes of Summer Sessions are back in print! This time on the band's own label, on individual LP's for the first time since they were first released in 2008 and 2009. Re-packaged in El Paraiso’s signature style. Originally the Summer Sessions were intended as a side project for the band – a chance to explore their love for other genres such as American free jazz, krautrock, 1970s soundtracks, as well as the psychedelia and detuned stoner-rock that characterized Causa Sui's first two albums.

          But these three albums came to define the band, and have become become modern classics of psychedelia and progressive rock since their were initially released ten years ago. In a scene often characterized by loyalty to a specific period, there’s something refreshing about Causa Sui’s eclectic approach. With several guest appearances by Coltrane-devotee Johan Riedenlow on sax and electronics wiz Rasmus Rasmussen, Causa Sui venture far beyond stoner-rock platitudes. Take the grandiose opening statement for example – the 24 minute ”Visions of Summer” taking up the entire A-side: here new and old sounds dissolve in a mindbending excursion that recalls Future Days-era Can, breezy tropicalia or Herbie Hancocks Mwandishi group, as much as it sparks associations to Kyuss or Hendrix.

          Other tracks, such as the frenetic Rip Tide (vol. 2), heads into straight up free jazz territory with Riedenlow going absolutely bonkers on the sax. But this set also allows plenty of room for savory, atmospheric pieces such as the sun-drenched ”Venice by the Sea” (vol. 3) or the Morricone-esque ”Cinecitta” (vol. 2). Praise for Summer Sessions: Causa Sui, psychedelic/desert-space rock band from Denmark, effortlessly takes the prime trimmings of almost every element rock has to offer and propagates a sensation of their own...It’s almost impossible to not appreciate the groovy jazz-rock bass lines of Jess Kahr, the endless expressive jazz styles of drummer Jakob Skøtt, and most importantly the extravagant lead guitar and keyboard work of Jonas Munk...These enduring works of art must be beheld by the likes of rock enthusiasts and/or anyone wishing to seek what psychedelic-rock has to offer.

          For a modern psychedelic/jazz-fusion/jam rock album, Summer Sessions is as essential as it gets. Sputnik Music. Formed in the late summer of 2004, this Danish four-piece unashamedly reference such esteemed cosmic talents as Blue Cheer, Amon Düül II and Ash Ra Tempel. Yes, it's another improv quest for the heart of sonic enlightenment, but they do it with a conviction, dexterity and drive that few modern bands possess. -Mojo.This is space music, that flows as a lysergic trip with poetic flights that remind us of the cosmic couriers, and also derives from the most free-jazz contaminated by rock music.

          Kanaan

          Windborne

            “Windborne” is the debut album from young Norwegian power-trio Kanaan. With components from jazz, fusion and post-rock they have created six extended pieces of blazing freeform psychedelia. While the band is rooted in the same spirit that gave birth to Mahavishnu Orchestra and The Eleventh House in the 1970s, there's a distinctive modern flavour to Kanaan's sonic endeavors. Their Scandinavian genealogy is apparent as well - their intricate song structures seems to be branching off the same stem as Motorpsycho, Papir and Jaga Jazzist. And no doubt the young band has the chops to carry on the pedigree! Opening track ”A. Hausenbecken” feels like a sudden blast of refreshing nordic air, with it's rolling guitar leads and growling Fender Rhodes.

            But Kanaan aren't afraid to get deep and heavy – the B-side dives into straight-up Sabbath territory, with ”Act Upon The Mundane World” and ”The Groke”, before ending the album with the abstract, free-flowing title track ”Windborne”. From the first note to the last the band keeps high levels of energy and creativity, and although freeform, they never sacrifice focus or direction. 

            Jakob Skott

            Instrumentality

              Causa Sui drummer & El Paraiso visual designer Jakob Skøtt unleashes his most personal vision to date. His one-man-band formula of synths, drums and effects serve him as well as ever. From the avant-electro grooves of Amor Fati (2014) to his ambitious pre-fusion cosmic jazz sessions of All the Colours of the Dust (2016), this latest set is Skøtt at his most ripe: The grooves are deeper, more stripped down to its essentials, yet maintaining the vibrant seamless mix of airy timing, drowning drones & sludgy synth riffs. The album was recorded a few months after Jakob experienced a brief, yet painful spontaneous leak of brain fluid. Instrumentality draws on that corpal experience in it’s titles and artwork, as well as works it’s musical muse. It’s music that constantly dives inwards - ever repetitive, yet constantly moving. From micro movements in Skøtt’s poly-rhythms, to the 5 song cycles diving to the depths of the splintered nerves reconnecting with their natural flow. Sometimes lost but never without a sense of purpose. Welcome aboard.

              FORMAT INFORMATION

              LP includes MP3 Download Code.

              Finally back in print on CD and vinyl after being sold out for more than a decade! The original single-LP version, released in 2007 on Elektrohasch, has been selling for ridiculous prices on Discogs and eBay. Even the CDs are much sought after collectors items almost impossible to find - until now. For the first time out on glorious double vinyl with a 20 minute bonus track recorded live at the Roadburn Festival in 2007. Remastered by Jonas Munk.

              Imagine a tidal wave sweeping up from the 1960s through the 1970s; then cresting in the 1990s before finally crashing on a present shore – that's what Causa Sui's ”Free Ride” sounds like. This is the 'heavy psych' LP of the Causa Sui catalogue – one out of only two albums they recorded with a lead singer, this is most direct-sounding collection of tracks the band has done to date. You'll find the sonic experimentation and curious song structures that also defines later Causa Sui records (just listen to those echo-treated flutes in ”Passing Breeze”), but what really ties this record together is an unashamed appreciation of the Grande Rock of the previous four decades. One can literally feel how the young lads has been absorbing endless amounts of Blue Cheer, Zeppelin, Mudhoney, Sabbath and Kyuss before cooking up these seven tracks. There's no shortage of killer riffs and Bonham-esque grooves.

              The culmination is the epic breathtaking acid-rock finale that takes up the ENTIRE second platter: the 15-minute ”Newborn Road” and the 20-minute extended live version of the band's signature track ”El Paraiso” - captured in front of a mesmerized crowd at Roadburn on the very day Free Ride was released. It's impossible not feel swept away by the Hendrixian glory of these two cuts, as they fly from tranquil noodlings to the most thunderous peaks. This is the kind of album where you drop the needle and ride it all the way to the end, as if overwhelmed by an awesome natural force.

              Nicklas Sørensen

              Solo 2

                Nicklas Sørensen's second solo effort away from his main stint as guitar player in Papir is a more placid, blissful listen than his first solo venture from 2016. On this set Nicklas digs deep into his love for vintage new age music, Brazilian bossa nova and the electronic side of kosmische, while still paying homage to the guitar heroes that has shaped his playing throughout the years, such as Vini Reilly, Manuel Göttsching and Michael Rother. Produced in collaboration with Causa Sui- and El Paraiso in-house maestro Jonas Munk in his Odense studio, the pair have conjured a set of tracks that are blistering and euphoric, yet relaxed and solemn. Sørensen's unique guitar sound, in combination with warm blankets of analog synths, vibrating filters and the occasional drum machine, paints colourful soundscapes that mediates the soul with both the ethos of new age and hints of classical minimalism and modern composition.

                Experimentation is at the heart of Sørensen's modus operandi, but he never forgets to keep his melodic guitar leads central to the proceedings. In these times – with the world's absurdity reaching new levels daily – no one should feel ashamed about leaving the world behind, slowing down for a while, and seek a state where one can emancipate oneself from reality. Chilling out simply cannot be reduced to the guilty pleasure it once was, and the album's B-side is unashamedly immersive – with Munk wrapping bubbly analog synths sequences around Sørensen's guitar loop patterns and panoramic slide guitars. The album ends on Sørensen's most inward-travelling note yet, bathing expressive guitar lines in a tender ocean of processing and reverb. Get that incense burning!
                Nicklas Sørensen is one of those artists who manages to filter ideas from the past through a modern, personal vision. ”Solo 2” is a piece of music for the present.


                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: El Paraiso are one of those labels who I completely trust. I know that each release will be different, but that's definitely a good thing. As for this one, we get a STUNNING mix of wandering Balearic, sky-piercing synth trails and heady, psychedelic bliss. Marvellous.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                Astral TV

                Crystal Shores

                  Astral TV is a new project from Causa Sui synth- and electronics-wiz Rasmus Rasmussen and fellow inner-space traveller Keith Canisius. On ”Crystal Shores” they create fluctuating aural landscapes, ranging from subtle and earthy to celestial and downright paranormal. Inspired in part by classic synth-scores, vintage European ”kosmische” and modern drone, the duo has created the soundtrack for a heady, sonic trip. Like with the best new age music these sounds can provide solace and regenerative energies in the listener, but ultimately the moods the duo are creating are too open and ambiguous to be neatly categorized.

                  The bright analog synths and delicate Stratocaster notes occasionally conjures images of rushing water, slowly passing cumulus and weightless, orbiting satellites. But there are more mysterious undercurrents in this music as well – periodically pulling it into peculiar, hypnagogic realms, where ghostly digital presences awake. ”Crystal Shores” is awash in layers of tonal perfection, and while it constantly evolves, there's a unified feel to each of its gorgeous vinyl sides. The duo has that rare ability to create a sense of familiarity without feeling like a retread. Fans of minimalism, ambient and vintage synth scores will find much to delight in in these multicoloured, rich-sounding grooves.

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  Coloured LP Info: Transparent blue vinyl.

                  The Southern California psych scene is flourishing these days, with bands such as Earthless, Joy, Brian Ellis Group and Astra conjuring new magic from styles of bygone years. But no other band channels the colour, warmth and energy of the coastal SoCal scenery as well as San Diego's native sons Monarch. ”Two Isles”, their debut album, was recorded and produced by local glitterati Brian Ellis, adding a sense of focus and depth to the sound these guys have been developing throughout years and years of aural explorations while growing up together.

                  More than anything ”Two Isles” is the perfect head trip for easy summer days - or all those other days you wish felt like those. It's full of breezy Allman Brothers guitar leads gliding effortlessly on top of gentle, and sometimes not so gentle, prog-rock structures. Even when it get's blustery and heavy there's an airy, inviting quality to Monarch's music that makes you feel all fuzzy inside. With supreme musicianship they're somehow connecting the dots between classic California rock, prog, pastoral pop and the vivid, expansiveness of early 1990s British shoegaze. Indeed these guys have created something that transcends sounding like a time capsule.

                  While psychedelia might be the prism that everything is projected through, ”Two Isles” reveals the fact that this is a group of people who grew up on a wide range sounds available in the diverse San Diego scene: ambient, indie, math, jazz and whatever else was available to experience. It's about mood and texture as much as it's about the ROCK, and might just be the perfect companion for travelling somewhere, physically or mentally.


                  With a band name mingled from album titles by John Coltrane and Sun Ra one might expect Mythic Sunship to be jazz band. However, this is not quite the case, although the Copenhagen quartet shares a similar sense of exploration and general untamedness with that of the two masters of cosmic jazz. The destination is transcendence alright, but the vehicle, ultimately, is assembled from decades of ROCK! Not your dad’s rock exactly (unless your dad hung out in Münich or Wümme in the early 1970s, that is), but nonetheless ROCK, where ferocious drum-pounding and thick, Geezery basslines adds fuel to an endless pyre of blazed-out dual fuzz guitar action. This stuff is wild.

                  Spiritually, the band seems connected to present day So Cal psych-rock, but listening to Ouroboros, their debut album, also reveals the band’s strong ties to the Copenhagen underground scene: members of the band brushing elbows with the avant-garde noise of the record label Posh Isolation as well as the Mayhem venue, and even chips in with the new weird-commune of the Festival of Endless Gratitude. These bros are in the zone alright! There’s plenty of blissed-out riff-worshipping here, but there’s also something slightly unsettling in the band’s skyward travels - perhaps a longing for spiritual redemption? Maybe the road to Satori isn’t necessarily pretty after all. File next to: Amon Düül II, Earthless, Guru Guru, Travellin’ Flower Band.


                  First solo album from Papir guitar player Nicklas Sørensen! While there’s certain similarities with the oeuvre Nicklas has created with Papir it quickly becomes apparent that this is something quite different. “Solo” begins and ends with the instrument the Copenhagen native fully masters by now: the guitar. Throughout the album his main instrument is being explored as a generator of otherworldly, esoteric sounds as well as a compositional tool and - perhaps most importantly - a transmitter of pristine, cascading melodies.

                  There’s a peaceful, savory quality to the record that manifests a musical maturity. With help from the rhythm section of Papir as well as Causa Sui’s Jonas mun (who also recorded the album in El Paraiso Records’ new studio) Nicklas has created a wide, shimmering sound that seems to allude to a multitude of different styles and traditions. Considering that Nicklas is best known as a hard rocking guitar player with a knack for improvisation it’s perhaps surprising that his inclination for pattern-based minimalism, blissed-out ambience and experimental british “oceanic” music from the 1980s and early 1990s dominates throughout this set. This is the kind of record that rewards repeated listens - each listen revealing new layers in the architecture of the sound. “Solo” is an affable, slowburning album where each component is given its own space and place to gently unfold and work its magic in the mind of the listener. 

                  Pan is the first solo effort from Jonas Munk released in his own name. Jonas Munk is a musician and producer from Odense, Denmark who has been active in a wide range of musical styles for the past decade. In the European psych-rock community he is mostly known as the guitarplayer in the respected stoner/jazz/krautrock-outfit Causa Sui as well as related projects such as Chicago Odense Ensemble, a joint session project featuring members of Causa Sui, Chicago Underground Collective and Tortoise, which resulted in a 2LP released in 2011.

                  Outside of these circles Munk is best known as a producer of electronic music, most recently with a full-length collaboration with German synthmeister Ulrich Schnauss. Munk also holds a masters degree in philosophy with a thesis on music and consciousness. Pan simultaneously betrays his connections to the European stoner-rock community and the world of electronic ambient music – this album combines ideas from both worlds, while the result really doesn't belong in neither of them. With Pan's motoric analog synthesizer patterns and its warm, fuzzy drones the influence from 1970's German synthesizer- and new age music, such as early Kraftwerk, Ashra and Popol Vuh, is apparent from the first note. But there's also definite traits of American styles running through this album – from the flowing optimism of Alice Coltrane and Terry Riley to the modern-day psychedelia of Comets on Fire and Bardo Pond. While large parts of Pan has been programmed on electronic equipment there's a jam-like quality emanating from album's seven tracks.

                  The album reflects the idea of giving up rationality and control with the purpose of letting the music flow towards it own ends. The compositional ideas are incredibly simple while still carrying a certain depth. Soundwise Pan is all about analog machines, 30+ year old synthesizers, detuned guitars and heavily cranked vacuum tube amplifiers weaving together in fuzzy, pulsating glory. The title Pan refers to the ancient Greek word meaning all or everything.



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