Posts Tagged ‘Kosmiche’

Matt Lajoie

This year’s already been a pretty great year for Northeast outpost Flower Room, with new releases from Ash & Herb, Starbirthed, rootless, Ash Brooks, and Matt Lajoie but they can’t keep all that goodness to themselves. While Matt and Ash tend to keep their releases close to home, Matt’s solo tapes can often wander far afield. With a companion piece to his excellent Everlasting Spring popping up on Aural Canyon just a couple of months ago, it would seem that he couldn’t possibly have more on the dock for 2020. Yet here we are with the second entry to Trouble in Mind’s new experimental tape run, “Explorers Series,” and Matt’s got more goodness on the spools. The first entry found its way out in June from Chicago duo Jamie Levinson & Donny Mahlmeister and this second installment from LaJoie captures nothing less than the shimmering beauty I’ve come to expect from him in recent years.

At two tracks, one to a side, the tape doesn’t linger long, but the 30 or so minutes that it graces the speakers brighten up any room within reach. The opener “Light Vortex” is a percolating beam bounced off of the morning waters. It rotates with a crystal kaleidoscope of patterns built in sunlight gold and deep azure blues. The flip goes a bit darker in hue, though it remains jubilant, submerging the listener in the aquamarine underworld like Sven Libaek gone glimmer. LaJoie’s catalog is a life buoy in a turbulent tempest of a year, and this one feels like a absolute capper of a trilogy that begs to be enmeshed into your daily life. Can’t wait to see what the “Explorers Series” holds next, but this one is a keeper.




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Prana Crafter

If it wasn’t readily apparent from the sidelong strechout that populated his half of a split with Tarotplane last year, Will Sol’s music is made for grander statements than a compact runtime can accommodate. His latest LP pushes that boundary even further, nudging the scope from one side to two. Though it’s split into six parts, the tracks on MorphoMystic are essentially all part of one long piece. Still strolling the verdant gardens of ‘70s kosmiche and bending the will psych to the whims of prog, the new album truly enjoys the spectral build and release of his German predecessors.

Even when the tempo is slowed to a Cluster-crawl, the new Prana is percolating with a heart-flutter rhythm that’s humid and hungry, yet hunted and wounded — siphoning the cosmic impulses into a dark heart. This is a more furrowed and fraught side of Sol than I’ve heard before. He’s usually threading the gauze, letting his folk strings pull gently at his prog side, but here synths and ambience assert their dominance over the guitar for the most part.

He can still wring wrath from the six, but for the most part he’s embodying the Göttsching persona well while dipping into the works of fellow Ra member Schulze’s works for good measure. Creeping into view with a tempered step, he arcs MorphoMystic into a dizzying psychological thriller by the time “Chalice of the Fungal Sage” hits the speakers. Though if things end with blood and bone, they also end with a somber relief by the time we lie into the weary homecoming of “Starlight, Sing us A Lullaby.” Sol’s been working at body high hits for the last few years, but he’s besting himself yet again with this cohesive platter.




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John Jeffrey – “Leaving Franklin”

Got a real nice cut today from John Jeffrey, who’s probably best known as the drummer for Moon Duo, though he’s been working up this brew of Kosmiche synth tracks over the past year ‘n change so his renown seems subject to change once this one hits the atmosphere. Jeffrey’s debut LP, Passage is out October 30th on Ripley and Sanae’s Jean Sandwich records, which has been home to the first Rose City Band LP and a split with Kikagaku Moyo. “Leaving Franklin” blends a skittering beat with heat hazed synths that push past the usual ‘70s German markers and into something moodier and more inclined to fill in the vacant crevices of the mind. There’s some Ashra in here — at least a taste of the slick plasticity of Correlations — and perhaps a whiff of Heldon, but Jeffrey’s pushing even further into narcotic soundtrack territory that’s somewhere between blissful surrender and purposeful suppression. The song has a low sun in the sky, a strong buzz in the vein. It’s either the beginning of a self-destructive bender or the sobering end. The track reverberates a slip through the cocaine buzz of ‘70s cinema, the kind that’s beautiful on the outside but corroded and caustic under the surface. The song’s only a taste of what Jeffrey has put forth on his new LP and I can assure you that the rest stands up to the queasy optimism that resides in the bones of “Leaving Frankin.” The LP lands this fall from Jean Sandwich and its already a 2020 essential.



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Belbury Poly

On his last album, New Ways Out, Jim Jupp took Belbury in a less fantastical direction. ‘80s vapors crept into the cabin and the album began to imagine cinematic reaches and glossy magazine cover shoots. There was a surreal undercurrent (it is Belbury, how could there not be), but for the most part it was an album that embraced something more upbeat. It was modern life looking to imitate nostalgia and doing the feeling well. But those who’ve traveled through the Polyverse in the past know that Jupp’s world isn’t just synthscapes looking to give a backdrop to adverts that are looking for the rosy glow of the ‘70s in the rearview. Enter the next chapter, The Gone Away. The record returns to some sort of imagined captive kingdom that’s lodged somewhere between fever dream and coma nightmare.

The synths lay out a queasy backdrop of bewildered travelers grappling with being dropped into danger and unpredictable surroundings. While so many rely on a barrage of effects to initiate the psychedelic storm, Belbury has always succeeded in simply creating an unfiltered sound that simply feels like the floor being pulled from underneath you, like the sight of an extra moon on the horizon, or like encountering fauna in colors that defy human comprehension. While so many countless contemporaries armed with synths keep trying (and largely failing) to recreate the exploratory fear of ‘70s horror cinema, Jupp’s gone ahead and begun world building in sound, and the results are beguiling, disorienting, admittedly terrifying in their own way. The Gone Away is pocked with wonder, sadness, fear, and confusion, but as only Jupp can conjure the pieces fit together into a half remembered narrative that’s crawling through the subconscious and leaving iridescent footprints in is wake.

Naturally, as a Ghost Box release, this also benefits from the incredible art direction and design of Julian House, who remains as incredible as ever. Somehow Ghost Box seems to elude the larger review outlets, and that’s always been a shame, each release remains and essential piece of a puzzle that’s been doled out over decades. Perhaps one day the puzzle box will open. Until then. I’m going to keep listening.



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Landing / Headroom – Split 12″

Man, thank all your gods for independent record stores, especially right now. Connecticut’s finest, Redscroll is giving the nod to two of the state’s best psych exports and giving them space on two sides of a split 12”. I’ve long been fans of both Landing and Headroom — kindred spirits in psychedelic float and noise welding. On their half, Landing, who were last seen making some cosmic ripples for El Paraiso Records, let their side stretch out, opening immediately into a 12+ minute monolith that’s built on atmospheric synth and rivulets of guitar that play well to their strengths, laying out a subtle stretch of Kosmiche quiver before they light the match and let things fry for “Seen”. On the flip, I’m always game for an outing from Kryssi Battalene’s Headroom. One of psych’s premiere players no matter what band she’s in, but when at the helm of her own psychedelic force, she’s the most potent.

Headroom’s side shows the band flexing their many sides — restrained mysticism, riffs rife with hot coal cauterization, and Battalene’s voice floating in the same ethereal float as Adrienne Snow entry just a few minutes before her. They build slowly though “Bend” before laying sonic waste to the listener with “Loose Garden,” tying things back into a euphoric bow with the closer, “House of Flowers.” The latter takes on a bit of a dreampop pacing, feeling like the culmination of a Galaxie 500 show gone very right. Both bands are CT at its finest and its great to see this pairing all around. LTD copies, so you know what to do.




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Peter Kerlin

I’ve not been shy about my love of Sunwatchers around here, but the band itself is so full of accomplished players that their coming together is only like trying to watch the brightest suns converge before blazing out in a blast of energy. So its only natural that when the members stray solo, that’s worth noting. Bassist Peter Kerlin has cropped up here a few times already this year, not only with Sunwatchers on two releases but also with Brigid Dawson and Bent Arcana. His playing always lends a supple vision to a release and his solo tape Glaring Omission puts him squarely in front. The pieces here show Kerlin working through mastering the eight string bass while overcoming the loss of a friend and the latter component hangs over the pieces in a tumult of emotions and timbres. The cassette’s instrumental passages aren’t quite as turbulent as his work with either Arcana or the Watchers but there’s a subtle internal struggle threaded through the quiet tension of the works here.

Casting in a lovely mix of players including his fellow Solar Motel member Ryan Jewell and Brent Cordero (Psychic Ills, Mike Wexler), the album hardly seems like a tangent from Kerlin’s usual output. The album touches on jazz, kosmiche, and a somber strain of post-rock that’s sublimated into a gaseous haze threaded through a maze of rhythm that sees Jewell and Kerlin shouldering the pulse of the project. Loss, confusion, reclamation and resolve all play out of the six tracks here and Kerlin once again asserts himself as one of the best in the business, whether he’s at the helm or enmeshed in the ensemble.





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Prana Crafter – “Rebirth In The Mosslands”

I’ve got a brand new one from Northwest psychedelic soaker Prana Crafter today and it’s just a small scrape of his upcoming release. Fresh off of two lengthy side-long splits with ragenap and Tarotplane, Will’s next release is essentially an album-long composition broken up into movements. The first section, “Rebirth In The Mosslands” walks in slow, with a touch of dread in its blood. Steady, progressive plucks give way to a Kosmiche grind that puts this squarely in the pocket of Popul Vuh fans. It’s the opening salvo to an album that tumbles through cosmic impulses — heady and nebulous — and acts as a proper continuation of what Sol was working on with his Symbiose split. There’s tension and trepidation at play here, and Sol wields both with a fine edge that never cuts too deep for discomfort. It’s been great to see him weave between psych folk and more atmospheric ephemera, as he lends a scholar’s ear to both genres. The record lands September 18th as a split release between Cardinal Fuzz and Feeding Tube and you’re gonna want to get a hold of this one.



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White Manna – “Mythic Salon”

Long running California psych band White Manna returns with a split release for Centripetal Force and Cardinal Fuzz August 28th. While the blast-force riffs still abound on the album, on “Mythic Salon” there’s a drive towards rhythmic oblivion. Hewing closer to the German Progressive blueprint rather than the amplifier exhaust that they were known for early on, the track wraps elusive vocals around a percolating beat that’s haunted by horns over the distant hills. The song slots in nicely on ARC, as the LP shifts endlessly between growl and grind and the further reaches of space, noise, kosmiche, and Krautrock. It solidifies what the band were beginning to mold on Ape On Sunday, tightening their hold on cosmic psych and letting the spaces between the storm speak.





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Jeffrey Silverstein

Played a bit of this on the last RSTB radio show, but as the excellent mass of great albums this year has outweighed my free time, I’m just now getting this one up on the site. Silverstein has created a meditative oasis of gently loping guitars and cool waters of pedal-steel. Inspired by the landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, long distance running, and the sunbaked brevity of lost icon Ted Lucas, the record has an innate laid-back quality to it that tends to pass by with a touch of highway hypnosis. Among the marbled greenery of Silverstein’s playing the listener is invited to look inward. Time passes inside tis bubble while the rest of the world slinks by in time-lapse. I’m not going to use the reviled term of 2020 here, this isn’t a balm of sorts, but instead a reset, a meshing with the earth and sky to achieve balance.

There’s a feeling of photosynthesis to the album, as if the vibrations between the light refracted off of You Become The Mountain can energize the listener. The slow pacing never lags, but lingers in just the right manner. Silverstein, along with Barry Walker Jr. (Mouth Painter, Roselit Bone) and Alex Chapman (Parson Redheads, Evan Thomas Way) help to slow down the frantic pace of the year, an asset to an album if there ever was one. While moored in folk, the record takes many of its cues from the amniotic float of Kosmiche while keeping a bit of Neu in the rearview. The latter crops up in the subliminal click of programmed drums that are ever obscured by the heat lines rolling off of the pavement. The elements come together nicely to form an album that suffused with the natural world – the fresh green smell of cut plants, the warmth of wooden surfaces in the sun, the gentle sound of cotton curtains in the breeze. While it seems simple, Silverstein makes the ordinary feel essential for just a few moments.



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Tarotplane

A split last year with Prana Crafter brought Baltimore’s Tarotplane further into the light, at least around here, but PJ Doresey’s been issuing deep-tissue cosmic platters for a couple of years on labels like Aguirre and Lullabies for Insomniacs. He debuts on hometown outpost VG+ with an LP split into two side-long excursions into the outer reaches of crystalline headspace. The Feedback Sutras was conceived mid-winter freeze and the isolation and cold feed into the windswept desolation that scars the album’s surface. There’s something both macrocosmic and microcosmic at work here. Dorsey’s voluminous riffs and synth burble tug at the tundra like an ice core drill down through a glacier. The album leeches out the gasses and grit of eons packed in cold compress, refracting light off the crystal structure to create an earthbound cosmos in compact.

The first side is tenuous and trembling, with a slight tinge of danger lurking beneath the surface. While the coldness is at its core, something in Dorsey’s delivery sidles his work up next to the underwater explorations of Sven Liabek or the watery prog of Dominique Guiot. Like those soundtracks to the deep, there’s something of a descent into the abyss to Tarotplane’s latest. There’s a weightlessness, but also a force pulling the suspended listener further into the depths of shadow and light that flicker through the liquid lines of his playing. The second side sets aside some of the wonder to let the feelings of danger grip tighter. Its hard to fight the pull downward to the frigid waters that grow ever darker, even as the lights of the first track dance in glances back to the surface above. Last year’s split positioned Dorsey to take a hight place on the list of cosmic players filling up the ranks, and with The Feedback Sutras he leaps ever higher. Isolation just got a new soundtrack. Not a minute too late, either.



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