Trzecie Bardo – my new music blog in Polish

Hello everybody! All Weed Temple readers from Poland (or those who can read Polish) can now visit my new music blog written entirely in my own language called Trzecie Bardo (the Third Bardo in English). The theme of the blog is similar to that of Weed Temple, although it will probably focus more on longer forms of writing (free essays, but also reviews) and will sometimes focus on things different than music, but still very much related to the popular culture.

Witam wszystkich! Od dziś wszyscy polscy czytelnicy Weed Temple (oraz ci, którzy znają język polski) mogą odwiedzać mojego polskojęzycznego bloga zwanego Trzecie Bardo. Tematyka podobna co Weed Temple, choć 3B będzie skupiać się na dłuższych tekstach oraz recenzjach, a tematyka może czasami wychodzić poza muzykę w inne rejony popkultury. Serdecznie zapraszam do czytania!

Review: Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura – Untitled

(Cassette, Feathered Coyote Records, 2012)

First of all, let me start briefly & bluntly: it’s a fucking crime that this cassette (and a digital album, while we’re at that) failed to contain the entire length of the two supersonic jams from these lysergic Mancunian warriors. The two massive pieces on both sides of the tape begin and end just as abruptly, making it feel like just a modest, simple glimpse of a wonderful session that must have happened. But then again, putting only a part of the recording on the medium is a staple (or maybe rather a curse?) of many psychedelic bands, especially the more free-wheeling ones: Suburned Hand of the Man comes to mind as the master of those sudden cuts. As Julian Cope noted in his review of Sunburned’s “Jaybird” back in 2002:

No, Sunburned’s problem is that almost every one of these major league grooves finishes as abruptly as the Beatles’ “She’s So Heavy”. Just as you’re drifting quietly in some super-consciousness, another clunk of instant silence springs you back into life and yet another hefty 16-wheeler funkathon fires itself up, and idles briefly before leaving the warehouse. But, of course, this is all by-the-by in the great quest for contemporary shamanic thang, and Sunburned Hand is surely that. And, just maybe, these punks intend to keep us on our psychic toes. 

Same is the case with the fuckers from Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura (damn, what a name!). Comparisons with the legendary Boston collective don’t end just here. The eagle-based artwork and the free, rocking structure might remind some of “Earth Do Eagles Do”, a truly head bobbing and somewhat overlooked album by the Sunburned from 2007, one of the most “rock” releases by that band, replacing the avant-folk of the previous releases with amplified stoned jams which rank among some of the best in the SHotM catalogue.

But let’s get back to the Soldados again. The two long pieces filling entire sides of the tape are sure to satisfy even the most thirsty/hungry fans of wild psychedelic rock music. Side A’s monster “Leese Geese” takes the listener by surprise, beginning suddenly, with a wild guitar solo set to spastic, somewhat improvisational drumming and a snakelike bass line. After a short moment however, the pieces finally fall into their places and we’re in for one of the most intense, no-limits, off-the-grid free jam trips of the year. Not only on the cassette format, not only in the “obscure” area of music, but in the area of rock music in general. The constant guitar soloing is sandchwiched between the constant drum breaks thick as a flood of molasses without getting sludgy. This is some of the most intense, not-giving-a-fuck, freestyle psychedelic rock put to tape this year. Just as Fungal Abyss was ruling the tape realm with their psylocybin behemoths in 2011, Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura are ready to take over the wheel with their freight train of overdriven sound, even though it’s somewhat chopped and shortened from the original recording. Maybe one day there will be a more “proper” release collecting the full span of the cosmic jams by these stargazers.


Kalkh-In(joy) Erode – Chaos

The strangely named French project Kalkh-In(joy) Erode has already been featured on the previous incarnation on Weed Temple (the Blogger one), but this alchemist (as I described him in that previous post) doesn’t fuck around and brings us another slab of hazy-as-hell, guitar and vocal driven half-folk, half-ambient improvisations. It’s dark, rather depressing and multi-layered, like a young Franz Kafka armed with a guitar and an amplifier letting his problems devour him and subsequently recording his torment with some ghostly overdubs and reverberations added. Just like the Bandcamp page of the artist himself, the music is thoroughly dark and almost undecipherable.

MH – Wreath

The great thing about ambient music is the fact that it blurs, or completely destroys the boundary between “real” and “electronic” instruments: when processed and modified enough, you can never guess whether the original instrument for making the sound was an electric guitar or a synthesizer. But in ambient music it doesn’t matter anymore: it’s all about the feeling, the texture, the ability to elicit certain emotions: the stronger the emotions, the more effective ambient music is. The Chicago project MH does exactly that: you stop caring whether it’s guitar, or a computer making the sound, whether it’s one lonely soul, or five people, it doesn’t matter at this point. What matters is the emotional load “Wreath” carries with itself, and believe me, it’s enormous. A bit cookie-cutter maybe, but still massive and moving. Good stuff.

Holocene – Channel

Mumbai, India may be probably the last place on Earth where you might expect to find some cold, alienated ambient/drone music with a heavily unsettling edge. But the electronic project of Rasik Srinath seems to work as a means of esape from the oppressive heat of the Indian metropolis. The sounds of “Channel” are distant, deeply atmospheric and blurry, as if they were recorded in some remote village in the far north reaches rather than one of the biggest cities on our planet (near the Equator, no less!). Sombre acoustic guitar impressions meet glacial Sunn-like drones in an unholy union of the love of Drone. Impressive work. Recommended!

Also available on Mediafire!

Blast from the Past: Magik Markers – The Voldoror Dance

(CD, Latitudes, 2006)

Before the Hartford, CD based noise rock trio Magik Markers became more known (and more accessible) to the indie public with their “BOSS” album in 2007, which contained a collection of coherent and short rock songs, they achieved the legend status in the deep underground with their incredibly dense, prolific and anarchic catalog of live and in-studio (but mostly live) recordings of lengthy, aggressive and nihilistic noise rock jamzzz, quickly achieving praise for their sheer ferocity and darkness of lyrics, achieved with Pete Nolan’s maniacal drumming, Elisa Ambroglio’s “I don’t give a fuck” style of guitar playing and Leah Quimby’s multi-level bass shredding.

While the earlier years of Magik Markers saw the trio on their more improvisational side, the recordings, often released on hand-made CD’s on low-level imprints, like the band’s own label Arbitrary Signs, the albums showed this improv side from various approaches: for example, “A Panegyric to the Things I Do Not Understand” showed the Markers from their most abrasive and aggressive side, almost sounding like an infinitely extended hardcore punk session, while albums like “Danau Blues” or “Gucci Rapidshare Download” projected the calmer, almost post-rock atmospherics with a gritty, noise rock edge. And then there’s the four-track monster of “The Voldoror Dance”, released in elegant, classy packaging both on vinyl and the CD (though the vinyl is missing one track) from Latitudes, the more avant-garde oriented subsidiary of Southern Records.

“The Voldoror Dance” joins the best of two worlds, giving a disorienting, somewhat directionless feel of the most aggro moments of the band with the deeply atmospheric, psychedelic meanderings and melts them into an unholy union and a real sonic labirynth that keeps unfolding without an end, never getting stale, boring or pointless. Which is incredibly hard in a genre heavily focused on constantly unfolding, mandala-like structures and losing track of specific instruments in order to focus on the greater Music. TVD also sees Magik Markers doing some of their longest jams, with two tracks clocking in well over 20 minutes. The trio achieve a true spiritual unity here, actually getting closer to the ideology of free improv/jazz, although told in the language of noise rock: wah-wahed guitars, abrasive cascades of notes and relentless assault of the drums. My absolute favorite release in the whole Magik Markers catalog, which says a lot, considering their fertility (well, until around 2009, at least).

El Straffo – Live​@​MespotineSessions

This minimalistic & heavy as fuck duo of bass & drums (as they shamelessly describe their sound in an e-mail, as “Bass & Drums, like Om”)  plows forward on this bassy, bossy monster of an album, storming the listener with doomy, droning riffs, slow-paced yet machine-like drumming and screaming, somewhat distant vocals. This is stoner rock/metal reduced to its bare basics, kept within tight bass riffs and precise drumming. If only it was recorded at a better quality, it would have become a hit. Otherwise, a very promising proposal of heavy psych by these Mexican (or maybe German…?) bassstoners.