Review: Maan – Khomeini 99

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(Cassette, Smeltkop, 2012)

Maan is a duo of Simon Apers and Tim Depraetere from Ghent, Belgium who definitelly dwell in the darker corners of psychedelic rock. Their “Khomeini 99” tape, released by Ghent microlabel Smeltkop, is a plodding, alienating trip through the industrial daymare, focusing on and exploiting the more negative aspects of human psyche. It’s quite easy to call Maan the urban version of funeral folk collective Silvester Anfang, as in: the negative, psychedelic vibe is still very much there, although the pagan, folklore influences are gone, replaced this time with suffocating concrete and dark urban legends.

The two unlabeled, glow in the dark sides of the white cassette are seeping with industrial waste and rusting cadavers of cars, going straight to the scrapyard with their resigned, vicious outsider psych. Strange collages of recorded sounds and harsh guitar feedback die out to reveal slow burning jams strangely reminiscent of Fushitsusha, down to the cavernous and freely soloing electric guitar, overdriven and heavily distorted and scarce, aggressive vocals that are more barked than sung or spoken, reducing the only human factor in music to a vile, virulent animal trapped in the urban wasteland. A variety of instruments will ocasionally wander into the rusting soundcapes, sounding strangely out of place, like the trumpet or the primitive, tribal flute instruments fighting the cold synthesizer pulses.

There are more ways to the psychedelic experience, some of them lead through bliss and relaxing of body and mind and others can be experienced through difficult, carnal experiences. Maan uncover that ugly, seedy underbelly of psychedelia with all the bad trips it brings and create their own soundtrack to an industrial bad trip with “Khomeini 99”.

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