Aluk Todolo – Voix


[ The Ajna Offensive / Norma Evangelium Diaboli, 2016 ]

Black Krautrock. That’s a phrase that’s getting thrown a lot whenever the French trio Aluk Todolo is mentioned. Though they prefer to call their style “occult rock”, the krautrock and black metal influences are still obviously the most visible and tangible in all of the band’s work to date, including their newest release, Voix. The newest album continues the tangled, densely psychedelic stylings of 2012’s Occult Rock, spiralling the listener down toward the insanely paced malevolent hell. With its cover clearly a homage to Aleister Crowley’s Konx Om Pax, the album is sure to pull the listener into an unholy marriage of psychedelic rock and black metal, fusing thick walls of distortion and guitar effects with cold aesthetics and insanely tight drum work that often goes straight into blast-beats. Another blackened masterpiece from Aluk Todolo. Highly recommended!

Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation – Horse Dance


[ Rocket Recordings, 2015 ]

Confession time: I was never a big fan of psychedelia with vocals – I preferred my music to be meandering, trippy and completely wordless. With a few notable exceptions, of course – like Isobel Sollenberger providing some drugged-out beauty to the music of Bardo Pond or Roki Erikson’s insane vocals for the 13th Floor Elevators – but other than that, I’d prefer psych rock to be silent. However, now came a time for another exception: Stockholm based psych assault from Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation. Compared to the previous two, Josefin Öhrn sounds more like an acolyte of Ian MacKaye, with surprisingly “sober” vocals for a genre that loves to tinker with all sorts of studio trickery and sound effects to enhance the experience. The music is far from the lysergic abandon of jam rockers: it keeps much more to the discipline and overwhelming rhythms of krautrock, allowing itself to go a little wild with a fuzzy guitar solo here and there. But it appears it’s Mrs Öhrn who keeps everything in place. Good job, great album! Recommended!

verãopop – Nouveau Shamanic


[ An Out Recordings, 2015 ]

If different boxers and wrestlers choose various styles of music to accompany their dramatic entrances, then Nouveau Shamanic by the Portuguese experimental duo verãopop must be the entrance soundtrack chosen by God himself. Informed by the instrumental epicness of Popol Vuh and free jazz drumming, the three tracks on the album are monumental open-ended pieces based on huge drones, filled with improvised drum soloes and sudden explosions of crashing cymbals, only to get back to the main drone. There’s no release, no aural orgasm here – more like a constant build-up, endless anticipation, a musical tease and denial, if you prefer. But it’s a good kind – it keep you on the edge all the time. Very atmospheric and mysterious, especially the opening track.