Chalaque – Switching Center

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[ Golden Lab Records, 2015 ] 

The Manchester monster trip unit Chalaque is keeping the ethos of a power trio alive and well; spearheaded by the guitarist Nick Mitchell and backed by the bassist Dylan Hughes and drummer Pascal Nichols, this amorphous freewheeling lysergic being is trying to keep the balance between good ol’ psych rock jamming and the endless chasm of free improvisation and I must say, the balance is pretty much perfect. Recorded in raw, live settings and pretty much without any post-recording studio fuckery, Switching Center is as true as possible: losing your mind after drinking a few beers and smoking a few joints in the front row, flailing like a fish out of water, not giving a fuck whether you look like a total fucking idiot, just taking the music in with every inch of your body, experiencing it harder that you ever could. That’s the psychedelic spirit. It’s raw, it’s somewhat lo-fi, sometimes it’s painfully lost, but it’s still the tripRecommended!


Least Carpet – Shahi Baaja

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[ self-released, 2015 ]

Germany’s Marko Martini has been creating transformative psychedelic music as Least Carpet since 2010, releasing a bunch of psychedelic folk and drone albums on a number of underground DIY labels. Now he’s decided to celebrate the Christmas of 2015 with a free release constisting of his compositions for Shahi baaja (popularized in the recent years by Michael Flower of Vibracathedral Orchestra) filtered through some effects for that trippy delight. Shahi Bajaa treads between New Age Laraaji stylings and Eno’s ambient soundtracks with wonderful ease, providing a deep cleansing for the soul. Highly recommended!


John Lake – Strange Gods

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Mik.Musik.!., 2015]

Super-strange rough zones from Poland’s Łukasz Dziedzic creating paranoid, noisy beat-electronix under the moniker John LakeStrange Gods is a take on paganism and animism seen through the lens of corroded mutant techno, a story of all the different gods and deities that happened in all possible forms over the course of human history who suddenly decided to have a dance-off on a dancefloor somewhere deep down in a concrete fallout shelter. The album is highly distorted and if often blurs between the line between paranoid ambient and techno music without any hint of a melody. It’s difficult, it’s annoying, it’s great. Recommended, but in a confused, tortured way.


Location Services – Music For Quiet Rooms

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[ Beer On the Rug, 2016 ]

Location Services open up 2016 with a deceptive album for Beer On the Rug label. Of course, you are excused if you thought of vaporwave when seeing the name or the album cover. Despite the opening track’s corporate field recording aesthetics hinting at the v-word, Music For Quiet Rooms goes much deeper than that. It’s a beautiful meditation that leaves the sterile office environments and goes into the meadows and woods with the acoustic guitar and a harp. The album plays like a typical corporate drone who decides to suddenly quit his 9 to 5 job, pack up, leave the city and decide to rent a semi-ruined cottage in the countryside to make Eno-inspired guitar/harp ambience out of thin air. Great for relaxation and these brief periods of disconnecting from the glowing stream of Information. Recommended!


555 – Arcosanta

MG79-555_arcosanta_cover[ Moon Glyph, 2015 ]

There’s this funny thing about ambient music. A lot of people laugh that it all sounds the same, and it’s partially true; after all, how much further can you take music without any structure and focused on texture rather than rhythm and melody? But some acts manage to miraculously stand out from the ambient crowd with some magic touch, giving them a bit of their own style. Chris Farstad’s 555 project is one of them. On yet another cassette released on Moon Glyph, 555 proves he’s truly the Time Architect with glassy and glossy synth patterns, deep New Age meditations and overhwelming psychedelic atmosphere making one quickly forget all their Eearthly problems. This is truly a nugget of psychedelic magic. Highly recommended!


Mazut – #1

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BDTA, 2015 ] 

“We are not musicians”, the people behind experimental project Mazut state in the liner notes on their debut album’s Bandcamp page. Indeed, the album feels somewhat accidental and undecided in what style to take after all, but it still manages to push forward. While the opening track is a repetitive piece of lo-fi mutant techno, the second track is a brooding drone/ambient soundscape. The third track is yet another piece of mutated techno/house beats gone wrong/self-sentient… and so on. #1 is more of a conceptual album than an actual music album in a sense that the creators (since they don’t want to call themselves musicians…) take their source sounds from all sounds of re-used cassette detritus and literal garbage, including cassette tapes found in the trash. Interesting and somewhat hypnotic.