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      From adversity can come triumph, and from catharsis inspiration. Such has been the case for Gnoomes, the threesome hailing from Perm, Russia, whose second release for Rocket Recordings, ‘Tschak!’ arrives in the wake of considerable turbulence and tumult within their personal lives and scoiety itself, all of which has only been fuel for a creative epiphany that has seen them create a deeply evocative work rich with vibrant experimentation and saturated in a widescreen sense of wonder.

      It may only have been eighteen months since ‘Ngan!’, the band’s first release for Rocket, whose self-styled ‘stargaze’ approach marked a glorious collision between melodic sweetness, skysurfing guitar experimentation and motorik magnificence, yet the band have already moved on to a sonic landscape still more adventurous and ethereal on ‘Tschak!’, not to mention an emotionally resonant approach that’s bewitching to witness. Taking in torrents of guitar noise and electronic extrapolations both blissfully kosmische and aggressively abrasive, it exists outside of all or any convenient genres, a vivid and singular work by three dreamers-at-heart forced to manifest their vision into a psychic defence to the circumstances surrounding them. Working in splendid isolation thanks to a studio space provided by their work for a local radio station, the band had time and space for the alchemical process of creating ‘Tschak!’ entirely on their own terms.

      Central to the this were a collection of Russian synths that they gathered, whose eccentric arpeggios and analogue textures form crucial ingredients on songs like ‘Severokamsk’ and the title track, arriving at a sound that forms a star-crossed and timeless marriage between the experimentation of krautrock and the lineage of Warp Records. Forging forth into unknown realms both physical and metaphysical, Gnoomes recently completed a UK tour - including an appearance at Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia (full European tour planned for spring 2017). Yet with the dreamlike radiance of the potent and otherworldly ‘Tschak!’ on their side, this adventure is already well on its way

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Martin says: The Russian threesome’s second album brings a fluent collage of influences, easing krautrock, ambient drone and pulsing electronica through a loose psyche blender.

      Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs

      Feed The Rats

      Playing their first gig supporting Goat at what was only the latter’s second ever show, the band have gigged relentlessly with kindred spirits including The Cosmic Dead and Luminous Bodies, not to mention gracing festivals like Supernormal and Portugal’s Reverence with their feral attack. Yet the time has come for this band to transcend the realm of word-of-mouth phenomenon and be judged on their feverish and demented collision of psych-drone dementia and riff-driven salvation alone.

      The inarguable proof is Feed The Rats, the overwhelming first album the band have created for - equal parts righteous repetition, bludgeoning brute force and Sabbathian squalor, its alchemical charge has the power to transform bleary-eyed abandon into small-hours revelation. This three-track, forty-minute monument of chaotic catharsis captures the everythingon-eleven spirit of the band’s live manifestation whilst adding a level of finesse and texture often less easily accessible in a dangerous haze of flying hair, discarded clothes and spilt premium lager. Channeling the grimy trip hazards of Monster Magnet’s ‘Spine Of God’ through a prism of kraut-derived repetition and Part Chimp style bloody mindedness, the resulting hallucinatory vortex appears constantly on the realm of breaking point. Yet for Baty, the porcine realm is less about a nihilistic quest for fiery oblivion than one might imagine.

      “You know, I think we’ve experienced it, many times. It’s those gigs where we can almost sense that everyone in the room is engaged. The energy created is so thick you can almost bite down on it and it feels like there’s no longer any barrier between band and audience. Those are the special shows, where there’s a solidarity and a very visceral bond. That, and being able to smell our amps melting”. Amps and brains alike, as these psychic omnivores bring seven times the joy, seven times the pain, seven times the dementia and deliverance. 

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Sludgy, psychedelic walls of throbbing guitar riffs and shouted vocals, a build up of drone before breaking into a Sabbathesque single note riff, as heavy as it is isolated before being ceremonoiusly descended upon by all manner of mayhem. Heavy, sludgy indie psych madness. Brilliant.

      The Russian city of Perm takes its name from the Finno-Ugric word ‘para ma’ meaning ‘Faraway land’. Indeed, despite being a centre of both culture and industry for the Ural region, at seven hundred miles from Moscow it was far enough away from the heart of the Russian empire to be used as a place of exile in the nineteenth century for those who fell out of favour with Alexander I. Even whilst dwelling in an era two centuries on in which such exile is now more metaphysical, and in which electronic connections have effectively made the world a smaller place, it can nonetheless be easy for an artist to feel the burden of geographical isolation,

      The three musicians who form Gnoomes hail from Perm –and have a deep connection with their home - indeed their drummer Pacha is descended from the Komis, the indigenous pagan people of the area before Russian culture and orthodox religion overtook it in the the late 15th century. Yet rather than being confined or frustrated by their surroundings, the three-piece outfit have used their origins as a springboard to the unknown, via the skysurfing radiance of their debut album for Rocket Recordings, ‘Ngan!’ “We think about isolation as a dream trigger, and sometimes a dream becomes a motivation to do something cool” Gnoomes relate. “Being in a band is the one thing that keeps us from Russian madness.”

      ‘Ngan!’ is an album suffused with a potent sense of wonder - it’s bookended by the enormous twin psychic monoliths of ‘Roadhouse’ and ‘My Boy’, which form dreamlike aural travelogues clocking in at around a quarter-hour each, and take influences as diverse as the fiery avant-six-string scree of Atlas Sound, the classic motorik of Neu! and Kompakt label techno, and sculpt them into a wide-eyed, kaleidoscopic sweep of sound that the band themselves, keen to break free of generic convention, dub ‘stargaze’. It’s a style which nods to the melodic sweetness of The Flaming Lips or Tame Impala as much as the synapse-shifting dynamics of Animal Collective or My Bloody Valentine. ‘Myriads’ is nothing less than a sweet and somewhat slightly dazed pop song - distantly related to the muse of Syd Barrett, yet filtered through the band’s ambitiously hallucinogenic soundworld and propulsive rhythmic drive. Elsewhere,on ‘Moognes’ the collision of melancholy vocal harmonies, luminous guitar melody and in-the-red intensity makes for a sound as bracing as it is beatific. ‘Ngan!’ is the sound of a band looking above and beyond modern archetypes of guitar-fuelled noise in search of a strange and beguiling personal vision, and dissolving barriers of distance, cultural context and geographical inconvenience with a confident and warm-hearted flourish. “For us this is the main mechanism of psychedelic music” the band explain. “to connect things, to join this particular experience into a global one.” On the evidence of ‘Ngan!’ Gnoomes would appear to be on the verge of doing just that.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Shoegazing synthy-sounding guitar lines juxtaposed with triumphant chorused vocals and syrupy reverb. Like a wall of feedback, but softer. Melodic but experimental, concise yet exploratory. A fantastic, summery-sweet love-in. Ace.


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