16 March 2013

In the Court of the Star Chamber

I'm not going to rant too much this time, but just to keep track I've now gotten a copyright infringement notice about Damaged Tape's "Nude Witchcraft."  Just as in the notice in January, this regards recordings that I created myself (no samples, borrowed images, or cover songs are present).  Something strange is afoot.

15 March 2013

Masarati - 2010 - Pyramid of the Sun

Quality: 4.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out of 5

My college roommate was quite turned on to the sound of these guys.  The interlocking wire-like guitar line caught my attention, but the synth pop infusion prevalent on this release really brought me into the fold.  Masarati melds their guitar expertise with the unfulfilled promises of post-rockers Trans Am on this release.  It's the sound of the disco in hell, and that makes for a fine experience in my book - at least if we assume that it's just a decadent visit.

There's not a ton of variation on this LP, but it doesn't matter so much with the groove that the band sets up on "Pyramid of the Sun."  The legendary Can proved it first and Masarati are acolytes of that Deutsch gospel - if you set the field with precise, metronomic drumming and have the chops to match it, you can ride it home on the second star to the right, straight on till morning.  The band finds their sharpest honing of this particular implement on the widescreen "Oaxaca."  It sounds like if Kraftwerk gave up on the robots and cranked up the amplifiers.  "Ruins" takes the groove into subterranean depths, distorting and plowing the sounds though an industrial refractory prism.

The sounds here are a shining crystal darkened with the sound of a fantastical future dystopia.  It's krautrock metronomik wailing away in a sleazy discotheque.  If Trans Am's "Futureworld" was your gospel of 1999 (as it was mine), then this is a fine piece of vinyl to serve as your "Acts."  Psychedelically biblical, man (sorry, I just finished a history book on Jerusalem).

Quest For Fire - 2010 - Lights From Paradise

Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

The band rides on the psychedelic side of the metal highway.  Quest For Fire trades in symphonic psychedelic jam outs, but they're not afraid to crank up the amps when the need arises.  The sound of this album gives us a grungy garage glow with the tube amps shining a warm brown; it's like a hazy recollection of classic rock informed by the indie rock buzz of prime Dinosaur Jr. (we're going to give that band's prime a nod both toward their 80's SST heyday as well as their recent albums with the return of prodigal son Lou Barlow).  This album probably won't rocket towards your top 10, but it's got a nice lived-in feel that may very well keep you hitting the repeat button.

There are plenty of highlights lurking around on this EP, but the opener "The Greatest Hits By God" is the most sublime aural hit.  With a plaintive violin suggesting a hint of prog rock, the band churns on slathering multicoloured paint onto a black canvas.  "Strange Vacation" puts on a pair of Beatle-boots, but planting the soles firmly in the 1967 London club underground, while "In the Place of a Storm" blasts the hinges of of a well-worn garage door.   Meanwhile, "Psychic Seasons" takes a cosmic Americana tilt into strangely wavering purple waves of grain.  "Seasons of Light" takes a loping beat and plunges it into some full tilt rock and roll noisemaking.  It almost reaches the epic, but the true source of that signifier is still best experienced on the first track.

I've had several bouts returning back to these tunes since their release in 2010.  Although they may not be the best at what they do, the great convergence of warm production, well-written tunes, and true blue psychedelic hard rock hit a definitive sweet spot.  This is the sound of the desert slowly being overcome by go-go dancing fluorescent paint and fractal flora.  I'm in for their weird primordial ceremony to bring on the fire should it occur.