29 April 2013

Glaze of Cathexis - 2013 - A Lotus Pond in Winter EP

Drinking in a Tokyo hotel and randomly deciding that this is the time to release this.  There's an album on the way as well, but I'm going to transmit a bit of EP to your mind first.  I think I've been musically time traveling the past few years.  "Underground Sound" and the couple following albums fulfilled my 60's dreams, while "Neon Buddha" rolled on through the 70's.  Now there's a 80's indie sound rising bubbling to the surface on the title track of this one.  I'm trying to hit that Sonic Youth buzz, and maybe even the nirvana of the Bloody Valentines if possible.  Please share the sounds around and tell me what you think of this fun-sized batch of psychedelia.

Have a listen here, pilgrim:

16 April 2013

The Beat of the Earth - 1967 - The Beat of the Earth

Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

Man, the surf came crawling in and swept all of the hobos, junkies, and heads into a brick-walled Venice Beach basement infused with the scent of a dying star.  These California weirdos, led by surf-rocker Phil Pearlman, is exactly what Andy Warhol could've used for his west coast happenings.  Like Pearlman's Electronic Hole, the vibes of the Velvet Underground are clearly chiming through, but with the sensibility of wild hair flowin', bongo beatin' nighttime beach bonfire in place of Lou Reed's Chelsea gutter.  With wall-to-wall psychedelic reverb, primordial flute, and the occasional vocals presenting the unholy demon child of Lou Reed and Jim Morrison, this improvised strangeness delivers the psychedelic music promised on the back cover.

Back in my review of the Electronic Hole, I noted that the band oddly didn't function well on the more conventional tunes, while they shine on the jams.  Fortunately, that's all we're getting here, with each side making a blurry, rambling artistic statement.  At least when you consider that the tunes are named "This is an Artistic Statement Parts I and II."  Y'know, I'm not a fan of jam bands in rock.  The hallowed Grateful Dead tend to try my patience, especially after 30 minutes of "Dark Star."  Some rock bands earn their licence to jam (guess we've got to mention Can again).  I don't know if the Beat of the Earth quite earns the certificate, but this record is at least under serious consideration at the City Office of Psychedelia.

Switch the brain off of "focus" and let it all come down.  This is the west coast connection for all of the nutcases who want to connect the Velvet Underground, the 13th Floor Elevators, and the Beat of the Earth into a U.S. national nutcase of the sometimes uncomfortable beyond.  I mean, the Beat of the Earth doesn't have the songwriting or vocal presence of those admittedly better bands, but they do match them in scummy, trippy grooviness.

Sungod - 2012 - Crash Galactic

Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out of 5

Taking a few choice pages out of the krautrock playbook,  Sungod provides impressionistic, instrumental splatter paintings that aim to take you on a trip.  They aren't quite Can, but they do take aim at a variety of sound motifs, providing the listener with constantly shifting sonic scenery.  You'll get warped sounds from the planetarium peyote ceremony, to the psychedelic grime of the back alleys of Berlin (or Austin, Texas as the band hails from there) with a mixture of vintage Moogs, acoustic instrumentation that recalls Can's ethnological forgeries, and the occasional blast of full drum kit percussion.

The bookends of the album, "Constellation of Ions" and "Ion Ecstacy" work the experimental ambient tape groove with cold, celestial synth washes.  Sungod probably could've gotten away with 30 minutes of this stuff, but variety is the spice of "Crash Galactic."  Those electronic pulses seem to be fused into these guys' brains, and the more synth heavy tracks are the real winners.  "Bounded Hessians" tosses us directly into the thirty-five minute mark of a 8's cop show, right when our admittedly square hero gets forcibly dosed with the wild, newest designer drug.  "Shimmering Light (Pure Religion)" is like 70's Tangerine Dream jamming with the ghost of Manuel Gottsching (whom I should probably mention isn't actually dead).  The band yields at it's most successfully experimental, with the aboriginals of Jupiter bouncing back the sounds of Gyorgy Legeti.  A few other tracks, like "Indra's Net and Bell Theorem" may drift a little too far beyond the pale, with no destination in sight, while "The Infinite Regress" walks a groove that doesn't quite do it for me.  Still, it is a far, far better thing to traverse the knife's edge of experimentation and occasionally fail than to sound like a Belieber.

I think some of the vibrations here are kin with t
he recordings I've posted by my past collaborator, Andrew Bland.  The sea of sound is a little colder in the presence of Sungod, though, and they want to hurtle you into space.  Visit the cathedral at the end of this link:

Sungod - 2012 - Crash Galactic