Hello dear Readers, sorry for the break in writing, but I’ve been busy getting suburned and exploring the scorched Polish seaside, where the Sun was ruthless but the waters of Baltic Sea regularly brought me back to life. Now I’m back and it’s time for a bunch of awesome music! (damn, I’ve got over 50 unread e-mails, I’ll get to them in time, I swear)
As usual, just as everyone and their mother managed to write a word or two of praise for the Gorzów, Poland duo UL/KR, I wake up under a pile of press materials and mumble: “What’s going on, what’s the hype!???!” while rubbing my eyes and casting a blank stare. But nevermind, here’s a real gem from my country.
The word “Ament” sounds a lot like “ambient”, and there’s a lot of ambience in it, but it’s just a vehicle for building further ideas – melancholic, slow songs that the duo describes on their Bandcamp page as “goth pop” – which is very fitting. Many have compared the music of UL/KR to Dead Can Dance and the German romantics – it’s moody, oneiric and it’s one hell of a grower. World, time to meet UL/KR.
How about a modern-day, old-school prog rock record with all the epicness and great instrument playing of progressive rock, yet without all the pretentiousness and self-indulgence that later became the cancer that effectivelly killed this genre? The self-titled album from the Missoula bunch Monks on Fire is exactly that. With a heavy penchant for classic psych and rock anthems, but retaining the straightforward approach and great songwriting skills, Monks on Fire might be one of those up-and-coming “under the radar” bands we might hear about quite a lot, if everything goes right. Let’s wish them good luck. Highly recommended!
Hans Schleckner Trio perpetuate the kind of slowly rolling opium den free jazz psychedelia that really hits you late at night with its tribal power. It’s never loud or overblown, but it will lead you around the dark, seedy corners of semi-improvised music where you can smell the unfamiliar smoke coming from the forbidden parlors of pleasure and sin. The happy family on the cover is just a decoy, they’re all long dead anyway. Recommended, especially if you’re a fan of the more ritual-oriented incarnations of the Jooklo collective.
Those who like their psychedelic rock with less hyperamplified freakouts and more traditional song structures with the more “vintage” and summery feel might be interested in “Blister” by the Canadian band Lambs. Just listen to the opener “Palms of Your Hands” and succumb to the Technicolor love machine. Recommended!
Now here’s a weirdo gem from my home country. And I don’t give a damn if you know Polish or not, because this right here is some of the smartest, most psychotic and intentionally cheesy and hilarious plunderphonics since Negativland with wonderful use of samples. If you listen to this high, you might have a better trip than with some overblown space rock jam band. Seriously! And if you understand Polish, you might just be reaching the next level of existence.
One very apt tag on Last.fm for Dallas, TX based Myles Dunhill’s musical efforts is “kitschedelia” – he operates with the language of shimmering, happy-go-lucky psychedelic electronics, albeit with a tongue-in-cheek, kitschy side to it, being rendered like the LSD-laced soundtrack to an oldschool platform jumping video game. Everything is cartoonish yet has all the elements of a mind-expanding musical trip – there’s some sort of affinity to the work of Astral Social Club or Sunroof! in here, but I guess someone else can see other inspirations there, because “Cartoon Pizzeria” is a definite kaleidoscope. Recommended!
I have to admit that the Brooklyn, NYC based prog electronix duo Seabat has been one of my favorites pretty much since their inception and their first release on the Hyperdelic Records. Hell, I have even added their artist page on Rate Your Music! Ever since I’ve heard “The Mountains of Palawan” tape, sent to me by the golden-hearted Goldtimers Tapes, I’ve been hooked on their vision of electronica. The kind that still had its roots in the sacred Teutonic age of Kosmische Musik and New Age synth suites but its branches reached for the future of the genre and weren’t afraid to explore and experiment. The kind of heroes that the psychedelic underground needs. The project of musician and artist John Also Bennett with the film composer Forest Christenson seemed more than obvious.
Even though they have touched a lighter, more playful side of their work on previous release, “Crescent ParC”, on this album they are coming back to the enlightened ambient soundscapes with an expert hands of Mr. Christenson, who managed to place the samples and critical moments in all the perfect places. Also, gone is the ugly, seedy undertone of the perfectly polished pieces on “Crescent ParC”. “Scattered Disc” is all about sincere, real affirmation. Affirmation of human mind and its capabilities, perfectly envisioned in the first piece, titled “The Human Endeavour”, a sprawling vision of the future, like an alternative soundtrack to “2001: A Space Odyssey”, with triumphtant brass section and swollen basslines. And an atmosphere of mystery and high-techness, of course. “Scattered Transmissions” is mystical and openly structured, with the lone choir samples making for a surreal soundtrack for a post-apocalyptic Tarkovsky style arthouse film with long camera takes and melancholic synth lines.
Seabat take their music in a very film-friendly, symphonic way on “Scattered Disc”. It sounds psychedelic at the same time and if you’re in the rigth state of mind *cough* *cough*, this release certainly helps in creating new film scenarios and making your way to become the film industry boss. Or a starving arthouse director. You decide. Anyway, make sure to hire Seabat to make a soundtrack for your film, regardles of the genre. It will either be a mainstream success, or it will become a rare and really sought after cult following relic.