Posts Tagged ‘Desert Psych’

Causa Sui – Summer Sessions (Vols I,II,III)

It’s fair to say that Causa Sui is the corner stone of Danish label El Paraiso. While the label has offered up choice slabs from faves like Mythic Sunship, Landing, Monarch, and Futuropaco in the last few years, the impetus for the label grew out of a set of records that founders Jonas Munk and Jakob Skøtt put together with their band in 2008. The group had already released two records, including the now reissued (and deservedly so) Free Ride when they decided to embark on a series of releases that explored their various Venn diagrams of psychedelic interest. Heavily featuring saxophonist Rasmus Rasmussen, the set veers through desert psych — dredging up visions of Kyuss and Josh Homme’s Desert Sessions — to a free jazz bite and Kosmiche float. The originals would see light on Germany’s Elektrohasch Schallplatten, and the money from those records would help found El Paraiso as we know it today.

What’s striking, listening back after nearly a decade, is that the set of three records sounds as timeless as anything in the band’s catalog or on the label’s roster. While the sidelong crusher “Visions of Summer” trades in some liquid stringwork, a la Ripley Johnson, it more directly nods to Future Days’ crossbreed of Krautrock and Dead-indebted exploratory jams. Each of the LPs winds between face-melter psychedelia and more nuanced visions of Ash Ra Temple’s tangle, 70’s Miles mind expansion, and Blue Cheer’s bottom-end fuzz rumble. Live favorite “Rip Tide” tears at the psyche with molten guitars and Rasmussen’s relentless sax. The third LP is more languid, melting into pools of shimmer, but it’s still occasionally beset by the band’s flash paper burn of guitar.

There’s a very good chance that these sessions escaped your view when they were first offered up, so now’s probably a good time to go for the deep dive and let the band’s exploratory vision wash over you. They even have a nifty box that ties up all three in a great Skøtt-designed sleeve, looking neat and prim like all El Paraiso offerings. It’s recommended going deep on this set and finding some forgotten gems.



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Curved Entrances – “Inscribe In Night”

Phoenix’ transcendental psych collective The Myrrors have birthed a new offshoot this year (two actually, but just gonna focus on the one for now). Guitarist Nik Rayne and drummer Grant Beyschau have drawn in The Night Collectors’ Connor Gallaher to form a trio that boasts similar vibes to their own brand of sweat lodge psychedelics. Gone is the sawed violin, though and instead the band locks into the séance slithers of deep-set drone – meditative, monolithic, and ultimately boiled into a guitar maelstrom that’s slipped out of time and into a zone beyond what they’re laying down in their flagship band. The first release as Curved Entrances offers up two side-long runs of improv insanity in extremely limited runs from Carinal Fuzz. Check the five-ton freakout “Inscribe In Night” below and snag one of the remaining LPs while you can.



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The Myrrors

For the past three years Arizona’s Myrrors have dug out a dusty psychedelic hovel in their corner of the American Southwest. The band’s third in a string of albums that each seem to build dizzying worlds dappled by psychedelic folk finds resolve in its own warring impulses. It boasts a political core that resonates in an era where borders cut down lives, where happenstance of heritage is twisted into birthright and where the notion of sanctuary has been pulled up at the roots. As much as ever the album leans on Miguel Urbina‘s viola to anchor the record’s heat and heart, fraying the impassible drones and rhythmic barriers sprung up over the album’s six tracks. The strings saw at the record with a wide-eyed insistence, as if the notes were found curdled in blood on the sand and Myrrors are merely decoding the pain let loose on the terrain.

When the flutes, showered in an echo that makes them move on month’s wings, dance with the strings then the album transitions from haunted pain to a leathered strength. The album highlight “Formaciones Rojas” is tattered and spattered by mud, but it dances with a fire in its eyes that pushes past appearances. It’s a moment when the album rises past fear and anguish to embrace cultural power in the face of a scale tipping further from the favor of the masses. The track ends with protesters chanting “We’ll be back,” It’s a rallying moment fueled by discontent that seems to galvanize, but its followed by songs that are more chaotic and less sure. “Biznagas” shoulders a heavy heart that feels parched and solemn and the seemingly resilient “Call For Unity” buzzes around in a storm of horns that are more disorienting and ridden with anxiety that unifying.

This all leads to the crusher of a climax, “Note From The Underground.” At almost twenty minutes, the sidelong séance attempts to harness both the anxious energy and the hardened strength into one giant wave of humanity. The song is full of the buzzing energy, often times hard to hack through with the nimblest ears, but the swirling strands become patterns that weave ropes to pull down the walls. There’s light at the end of Borderlands, but just like the real-life tangles it works to unwind it’s a tough road out to that light.



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The Myrrors – “The Blood That Runs The Border”

After a caustic blast introduces the fourth album from Arizona’s Myrrors the band lays into the lyrical and tonal mood setter for Borderlands. “The Blood That Runs The Border“ is a heatstroke invocation to gods of the salt and sand. The title is particularly apt in an age of contentious nationalism that’s led to fierce protection of the imaginary (and very real) walls we conjure around ourselves. The Myrrors divine that no good will accompanies the lines in the sand we draw and they reflect back the feelings of desperation, denial and hackled defense that we pour into our plexiglass and concrete castles. The band often invokes images of nomadic travelers caked in the dust of their desert surroundings and parched as thirsty blacktop in the summer sun, so it’s only natural that they run afoul of systems built on borders.

Giving some insight to the track the band confirms, “The Blood That Runs the Border” is actually an old live standard that for whatever reason never translated into a recording until now, a time in which the issues of manufactured frontiers and the human cost of xenophobic immigration controls are perhaps more immediate than ever before. Destroy all borders, tear down all walls and the governments that build them! In a sense this track actually sowed the seeds for the entire record, from its subject matter to our conscious effort to more accurately capture the sound of The Myrrors in its current live incarnation.”

The track, along with the rest of Borderlands ably achieve a closer communion with the band’s live sound, feeling looser and wilder than they have on any album up to this. Check it out below and put the record on your radar for August.



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Mt. Mountain

Perth’s Mt. Mountain stretch out heavier and headier than ever before with a record that evokes the endless stretches of outback, scorched earth futures and shamanistic auras. The record opens with a crusher, the 17+ minute “Dust” that builds from a parched stumble into a storm of guitar fury, ominous flutes and feedback swirl. The track anchors the record. It’s a tempest that guides the album, harnessing their soft touch of desolation and the kill switch quick change of noise and power that they have at the ready.

The rest of the album doesn’t necessarily crouch in the shadows, though. They continue to mine the desolate squalls of Barn Owl and Earth, dip into a quavering well of shimmer psych that owes no small favers to Japan’s psychedelic past and then marry it all to a comedown cascade that recalls mid-00s psych with a softer touch along the lines of The Occasion. The band’s been building steam steadily, but one gets the sense that this is where they’ve been headed. Dust is Mt. Mountain cracking through the veil of rote psychedelia and into the branch that’s reserved for those vibrating at a higher frequency. This is where the journey begins and, if you’re unfamiliar, where you should as well.




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The Myrrors – “El Aleph”

Arizona psych trio The Myrrors are back again this year, following on their intriguing LP, Entranced Earth from 2016 that raised their profile among psych heads everywhere. The new LP sees the band drift further from guitar psych and into dronescapes flecked with Eastern touches and their signature somber violin. The first taste from the upcoming Hasta La Victoria is a shamanistic shake through the valley of dessert psych, speaking well to their Southwest surroundings. It’s just a short wander into the scorched sun, but it feels like a ominous preview of the rest of what HLV has to offer. If you weren’t paying attention last year, then it seems Myyrors have doubled down on the urge to bend your ears to their psych prominence this year.




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