Posts Tagged ‘Kosmiche’

Ami Dang – Raiments

Songwriter and Sitarist Ami Dang ditches vocals on her upcoming LP for Leaving Records to craft an album that balances sitar and electronics – dousing Southeast Asian folklore in a burble of Kosmiche tones. The first cut off of her new LP, Parted Plains, is a melancholic, yet ethereally calming track that’s floating in the haze. The record takes inspiration from “the four tragic romances of Punjab, Sohni Mahiwal, Sassi Punnun, Heer Ranjha, and Mirza Sahiba; Flora Annie Steel’s Tales of the Punjab: Folklore of India, and selected stories from One Thousand and One Nights.” Instead of straight interpretation, though, Dang seeks to view them through a Western gaze that’s obscured the original, giving her album a push-pull of East and West. Check out the video above that animates (via Nicole Ginelli) the album’s glowing cover art. The record his shelves August 2nd.

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Skyminds

Skyminds slipped a small eponymous tape run (100 copies) out on Auasca earlier this year and its sorely deserving of more attention. The set, from members of Channelers, Ashan, and Selaroda, is ladled with the same syrupy serenity that their other outfits offer, slotting definitively into the mind melt zones one would expect. However, they also expand amiably on the synth duo dynamic with forays into desert dub, radiant high plains guitar shimmer, and meditative acoustic strum. Henning and Conrad melt their psychedelic float into a record that ripples like mountains out the window, calming as a sine wave but also rather breathtaking as the full horizon unfolds.

With a drone underpinning most tracks, the pair place delicate stacks of flutes, strings, plucks and even the occasional beat into the mix but they always return to the ether to unwind with pillowy synths as the bedrock of their sound. The album’s first half mix n’ picks some of their strengths, but the band stretches out completely as they ease into the latter tracks, “Morning Way” and “Illuminated and Warming.” The sounds become a bucolic haze washing over the listener. Each listen on the album picks out new combinations of sound that give the album shading and shape. Recommended picking this one up before the run sells through as its a nice little gem.

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Jacco Gardner – Fading Cosmos 12″

Jacco Gardner’s last album, while still quite steeped in the seeds of psychedelia, was a departure of sorts. It served as a complete instrumental journey that echoes the type of synth-heavy psych and prog that inhabited the Harvest label, the more cosmic side of the ‘70s German underground, and pastoral Swedish psychedelia. Along with those sessions Gardner recorded two songs that didn’t seem to quite fit with the overarching journey and now they being released as a 12” called Fading Cosmos. The title track still follows the album’s thrust of burbling synths and lilting guitar melancholia, but there’s not as much buzzing of the MS20 that drove his direction on Somnium.

Rooted in the idea that artificial light is slowly eroding our ability to observe cosmic occurrences, the song wafts into a quivering dream state that’s almost unsettling in the ease of its embrace. Hazy, and rocking on a lullaby beat, the song slowly hypnotizes the listener into a meditative bliss while the organ sketches soft penlight patterns on the eyelids. Along with the flip, “Autumn in Lisbon,” the release makes a nice compliment to Somnium‘s synthedelic themes. The new EP out June 14th from Full Time Hobby.



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Dominique Guiot – L’Univers De La Mer

The crew over at WRWTFWW have always been true to their masthead, exploring any facet of the musical landscape that catches their fancy. Earlier this year they set sights on French prog and cosmic synth artist Dominique Guiot’s 1978 album L’Univers De La Mer. The album, inspired by undersea exploration, skews a bit from the wide-eyed wonder of Jaques Cousteau scores, adding a sense of danger to the mellotron’s quaver and a medieval bent to some of the more pastoral passages. The record employs minimoog, clavinet, guitar, and organ alongside the seaside call of the mellotron, and while the damp inspiration remains in tact, the styles change as Guiot sees fit – winding through space-odyssey jazz and dense prog to tracks.

Guiot’s vision comes close to that of Sven Liabek, whose undersea scores were a vanguard of the ‘70s. Again though,, as with Cousteau’s scores, Liabek was a bit less heavy on the throttle than Guiot. The sci-fi keys kick in giving the album a kinship with Eloy or Embryo at their heaviest. Its a beautifully engrossing gem of an album that’s worthy of rediscovery, given the limited nature of its original issue. Just as good for meditative bliss as it is for head-trip excursions to the inner most reaches of the soul. Highly recommend dimming the lights and letting this one float over the eyelids.



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Tengger – “High”

After records on Must Die and GuruGuru Brain, South Korean family band / drone wizards Tengger land at Beyond Beyond is Beyond. The band has two records out in short succession in 2019, Spiritual in March on Extra Noir, and Spiritual 2 in June from BBIB. Like the previous release Spiritual 2 centers on the harmonium, voice and toy instrument drones of itta and Marqido, drawing on the traditions of Kosmiche travelers skirting the skyways before them. Mustering memories of Cluster, Michael Rother’s (recently reissued) solo works, or French Canadian floaters Harmonium, the first song seeping out to the public, “High,” sparkles with a serene burble. If the band hasn’t been on your radar yet then this is a good chance to grab a US release from the meditative duo. Spiritual 2 is out June 7th.

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Michael Rother – Solo

Odds are if you’re familiar with Michael Rother round about 2019, its from his work with Neu! or Harmonia. If you’re digging deep, perhaps from his short stint with Kraftwerk. This month, however, the light gets shown on Rother’s tight but enticing catalog of solo works as his label Groenland issues them in the box set SOLO. The tone in his works always captured a sense of wonder, but with Neu! there was also a feeling of modernity as well. Following his move to the smaller hamlet of Frost, in Northern Germany and his connection with Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius to form Harmonia, there slipped in a bucolic calm, but also (often to Rother’s chagrin) a formless float that wasn’t tethered to the heartbeat hum that had been his bedrock.

In 1976 the members all looked to solo ideas and Rother embarked on Flammende Herzen, which kept the calmer shades and lush atmospherics of his country surroundings but added in a bit more backbone than Harmonia had offered. This could quite rightly be attributed to excellent contributions by producer Conny Plank and Can’s own Jaki Liebezeit, but Rother’s vision was sound even without his ringers. The resulting album revels in natural wonder, working effervescent rhythms and Rother’s dewy guitar leads into an album that’s a soundtrack to the sun.

Surprised by its success Rother dove back in with a renewed confidence and a bigger budget, given that the solo album was outselling any of his previous works at home. Sterntaler follows much of the same feelings as the first LP before he broke new ground with ‘79’s Katzenmusic (inspired by his love of Cats) incorporating a less restrictive beat and a wider palette of instrumentation than before. While the record doesn’t exactly inspire mewling, its another instrumental dip into the blissful end of the pool, albeit now with a looser handle on the sticks and sequences. Quite sadly for audiences, this blissed trip would also be his last with Conny Plank at the controls. As he slid into his last, and quite frankly darkest period for ‘82’s Fernwarme, he’d leave behind his veteran producer in the process.

This last album in the set still retains Rother’s deft hand on the strings and synths, but turns a bit darker and away from his pastoral times, centering more on life in Hamburg than his idyll out in Forst. Jaki remains on the drums, giving the album another rhythmic tie in – looser still like Fernwarme wound up, but the record doesn’t capture the bliss as well as some of the others. The set’s rounded out with new live cuts and remixes, along with some soundtrack work, but its thos core four albums that make up the true meat of SOLO – a complete picture of Rother’s imprint on the guitar world bound up in one fine form. If you’re a fan of any of his other bands, not to mention other German Progressives like Ashra, Manuel Göttsching, Tangerine Dream, then this set seems like a solid place to spend a little time.



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Thee Open Sex

After some great tapes and a release on their own Magnetic South Records, Bloomington’s Thee Open Sex bring their hypnotic sound to Sophomore Lounge. The new LP tumbles headlong into cosmic synth with a German Progressive punch. Still anchored by the core duo of John Dawson and Tylor Damon (Damon/Dorji Duo, Circuit Des Yeux), the pair augment their sound with the help of members of Burnt Ones, Creeping Pink and Call and Response House Band. White Horses is a meditation on a theme that covers both sides of the new release. Creeping and claustrophobic, the record drops out into minimal space with a core of repetition offset by a grinding drive doused in drone.

The band brings in further help from Kosmiche master in his own right Cooper Crain, who helped the band record and mix this crusher. With Crane guiding the shading on the LP the band takes the listener through the twists of a towering build. They start out in calm space as they ease into “Pt. 1,” rolling steady strums against a steady lap of percussive patter. The tension mounts over the course of the track, but it’s the flip where they let loose the power of the White Horse. By the end of “Pt. 2” the band has fully whipped the universe into a sonic froth, engulfing the listener in a psychedelic storm that threatens from all sides. Its almost a relief when the chaos clicks to a close, the clouds part and sun trickles in at the seams of madness. Recommended listening at maximum volume to really hammer home the heights of tethered tension on this record.



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CAVE – “San’ Yago”

Over the last few years Cooper Crain has been so enmeshed in his glycerin drone unit Bitchin’ Bajas and busy with production work its hard to remember that the man commanded one of the great prog psych bands of our time. CAVE returns with a new album this year on Drag City, just to remind us how sorely they are needed. First single from the upcoming Allways is a cosmic funk number that digs it’s boots into a groove and doesn’t let go. A velvet bass tugs at the tail of this cut. Crain’s keyboard runs fire somewhere between German Progressive and Italo Library psych. Surrounding it all a tangle of percussive poprocks and some air-cooled vocals help cement this into the kind of soundtrack that’s made to get stuck in the 8-track of your Pacer for all time.

Amplifying the ‘70s vibe, the band has worked up a video that’s splitting time between blurring lights and sepia toned travels through the country’s hot dog shacks and roadside greasy griddles. “San’ Yago” is CAVE stepping back atop the mountain of instrumental psych groovers and picking up their crown from the ash. This one is high on the list of albums to look out for in the second half of 2108.



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Bitchin’ Bajas / DSR Lines – The Encyclopedia of Civilizations Vol 2: Atlantis

Abstrakce Records continues their series of tonal explorations of ancient civilizations. Following the first installment from April of last year which saw Jonas Reinhardt and Jürgen Müller (aka Norm Chambers in full ‘80s synth mode) attempt their take on the cradle of Egypt, the series moves from myths to legends with DSR Lines and Bitchin’ Bajas exploring the lost civilization of Atlantis. As might be expected watery synths rule the day here, at least as pertains to DSR’s side of the split. Working through improvisations on Buchula 200 and Serge Systems synths, Belgian artist David Edren nails the shimmering quality of underwater sounds. This could work handily as a high-minded backdrop to an oceanographic exploration doc, though its just as easy to imagine “Panorama” or “Lineage” as the environmental ambiance of an advanced and submerged people. With “Deluge” Edren scratches through the serenity to add a feeling of rising anxiety – cracks in the glass, tectonic swells or the encroaching poisons of the surface perhaps. Whatever the worry, Edren makes it feel real and immediate, like a civilization running out on their years of solitude and preparing to fight for their way of life.

Cooper Crain and crew take a slightly different tack on the Bitchin’ Bajas side. Rather than capturing the feeling of life from the Atlantean side theirs drops instantly into a burbling scientific haze, capturing the whirring instruments of exploration searching for the legends that pockmarked their illustrated children’s compendiums. There’s a sense of swelling depth – present here through increasingly felt throbs of bass that undercut the sparkling wonder of synths capturing dazzling dials and flashing lights that wouldn’t be out of place in a ‘70s sci-fi epic. The Bajas nail a Kosmiche sense of wonder that’s just as liquid and dazzling as their counterparts on the flip.

Together the two sides make up a gloriously deep and inviting environment that nails its goal of evoking otherworldly enclaves under the ocean. Doing the listener one better, Abstrakce goes for high marks with packaging, adding letterpressed sleeves and a thick booklet exploring the myths of Atlantis for reference. All in all a gorgeous piece that’s proving exactly why the large format is worth the price of admission – physical and tactile to its core.




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LFZ – “Naturalistic”

Drumming up JD Emmanuel comparisons and carving at the heart of Kosmiche float, LFZ (aka Sean Smith) taps the cosmos via heavily processed guitar rather than the genre’s preferred weapon, the synth. Finding some solid overlap with later period Ashra as well, “Naturalistic” is bubbling with a crystalline calm, lulling the listener through hypnotic higher states with liquid licks. Smith notes that, “Where most of Name Plus Focus deals with airy themes, “Naturalistic” is elementally the most earthy piece on the record and is more about conjuring an image or place to one’s mind than the usual emotional abstractions in my work. I visualize an ancient woodland ritual or a lumbering mammal or an insect on the move in the redwoods of Northern California, but the listener should experience the freedom to perceive natural spaces familiar to them.”

The track is locking down a space on his upcoming LP for Casleface, giving them an unusually calm respite in a sea of fire eaters on that roster. Keep eyes out for it July 20th.


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