Review: VED – Spectra

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(Vinyl LP, Adrian Records, 2013)

First of all: Good God, that’s one scary cover. It kinda reminds me of that urban legend painting that was allegedly haunted or the shit from the SCP Foundation (if you haven’t heard of that website and you’re going to read it at night, don’t expect to go to sleep anytime soon). Thankfully, the music here doesn’t go in the same direction as the artwork does (which is not say it’s not a bitchin’ piece of art, but it’s pretty unsettling). Instead of muffled screams and deep, echoing noises we get floral, oriental psych-krautrock in the style of Agitation Free or Brainticket. Plus the band’s from Sweden, a country that can be always trusted upon with their psychedelic music (take Goat’s “World Music” as the latest example, even if it’s been hyped to oblivion in the last few months).

“Pushing this power, this energy out of my head…” – a monologue in English with a heavy foreign accent begins side A’s “Spectra” (the album is divided into two side-long tracks). A slowly rolling jam reads like a guitar duel: on one side there’s a snakelike, oriental guitar shamanism, on the other there are explosions of fuzzy, distorted guitar. First fighting, like melodic psychedelia wrestling with noise rock, the guitars later begin to work in unison, propelled forward by calm, slow drumming that further enhance the smokey, oriental feel of the album. The musicians keep pushing this power out of their heads in a mandala-like fashion, building the laid back jam around a few simple riffs adorned with proggy organ workouts.

The second track, “Starokorokas” begins in a similar manner, slowly, with a heavily hasheeshian vibe, with a hypnotic bass line and just as equally hypnotic flute playing, much in the vein of Brainticket’s “Celestial Ocean”. The drums grow almost tribal and the dulcimer joins the meditational parade, transporting the listener to the Garden of Eden. But not for long: after a short, almost ambient, dulcimer-driven interlude, the music suddenly, without any warning kicks into a high-octane motorik kraut-jazz jam with a screeching sax and maniacal, re;entless drumming. Guitars explode in violent, sparse chords. It’s a total opposite of the slowed-down psychedelia of side A, an ecstatic explosion of energy that lasts for almost 10 minutes. It’s just for this autobahn-friendly piece alone that this album is well worth recommending. Actually, let the music speak for itself:

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