Release: In A Witch Forest
Release Date: 22/02/15
Record Company: Cable Hell Records
Back in April 2014 I stumbled on a band from Århus over in Denmark who blew me away from the very first listen of their then most recent 7 inch single release entitled ’Distant Light/Sedated Sun’. On closer inspection I found out that this band had not only released 2 albums previously but had just gone back into their own studio to finish recording their third album entitled – ‘In A Witch Forest’. Spökraket are a neo-psychedelic shoegazing outfit, formed in 2010, who have taken the shoegaze genre by the scruff of the neck & not only experimented with it, but have created a completely new sub-culture all of their own.
Spökraket are – Bjørn Vind Abildtrup: electric and acoustic guitars, organ, grand piano, synthesizer, double bass, bass, backing vocals, singing bowl, handclaps, tambourine, african drum, beer bottle, shaker, cow bell, floor tom, cymbals, table with dishes and beer bottles, drum machine, tape effects, Jonathan Højgaard: vocals, 6 and 12-string electric guitars, acoustic guitars, organ, synthesizer, bass, tambourine, shaker, table with dishes and beer bottles, drum machine, tape effects & Sinas Robin Krøjer Svendsen: drums, synthesizer, bass, backing vocals, clarinet, didgeridoo, singing bowl, tambourine, shaker, darbuka, handclaps, african drums, congas, tinfoil, plastic spoons, plastic bag, table with dishes and beer bottles, tape effects!
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The album opens up with the middle eastern flavours of ‘Tahir Square’ & transports this listener back in time to ‘Velvet Underground’ inspired, drug fuelled, warehouse parties full of psychedelic interactions involving light & dark sound waves! This is a beautiful, free flowing opening track that takes you in and introduces you to something good.
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Track 2 entitled ‘Tandava’ is one of my favourite’s on the album. It’s a full on ‘Gaze At Your Shoes’ anthem! From it’s hazy wall of sound beginning’s, through to it’s addictive vocals, enticingly erratic drum beat & an absolutely explosive ending, this track is immense.
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The pounding drums on track three herald the arrival of a behemoth! The drum track baton charges your senses before introducing you to a driving wall of effected guitars, synths & a throbbing bass line all cradling the swirling repetitive vocal – ‘Lord Drug My Mind’. The chord changes in this track alone are mind blowing and keep you firmly focused on whats actually going on within this maelstrom of sound, thus preventing you from completely zoning out in this incredible pulsating soundscape!
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With a fuzzy 90’s, almost trip hop like sequenced drum beat, ’My Mind Is Going’ enters the arena with beautiful swirling synths and dapper piano stabs, surrounded by a whirlwind of upheaval. This is an epic battle of good against evil – in musical form! You need to listen to this track with headphones on to experience exactly what I’m on about! It is Magnificent.
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Track five, ‘Electricity Comes From Other Planets’, is a full on shoegazing masterpiece! Beautiful in it’s conception & a welcome break from the effected madness of previous tracks. You float on a three minute & twenty nine second sonic wave of goodness while a soothing vocal line caresses your mind.
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On track six we’ve returned to another 60’s influenced, neo-psychedelic track with Middle Eastern infusions, full of beautifully addictive sounds.‘Enjoying Insanity’ continues on from where ‘Tandava’ ended. Yet again, this is another amazing track to journey through & get lost in respectively. Immense!
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‘In A Witch Forest’, the albums self titled seventh track is a creeping monolith. Full of expressive songwriting & menacing tones, this track floats around the atmosphere with reckless abandon. The vocal track melts into the laid back psychedelic atmospherics supplied by the guitars & drums. Sit back, put your headphones on & allow this track to take you to places previously visited in dreams! Stunning!
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Track eight on this immense release brings me back to where I first heard Spökraket. ‘Distant Sun’ was originally released as a double A-Side single back in April 2014 & caught my attention from its very first musical note! It’s testament as to why I really like this band. Full on emotive shoegaze explodes onto the musical landscape with aplomb. A wall of sonic sound waves attack your eardrums as the vocal wash over you, streaming alongside the throbbing drum track. The lead guitar lines are to die for & the track just keeps giving and giving. A truly immense track & absolutely my favourite on this album.
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The closing track is a bit of a miss match if I’m honest. ‘Tribute To Ride Into The Sun’ is obviously a rehearsal room favourite & if I’m honest, a bit to much Krautrock meets Electronica for my liking! Others may like the ethereal vocal swirls, sequenced drum machines & synth stabs running through it. There are shoegaze moments too, but overall this track doesn’t do it for me. Check it out for yourself –
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Spökraket’s collective sound on this album can be described as hazy, moody, emotive & thought provoking, with intense pulses of screaming shoegaze, infused with swirling North African & Indian folk music influences that lightly break the sonic layers of their epic wall’s of sound to bring their listeners on an immense psychedelic journey. This highly anticipated third album entitled ‘In A Witch Forest’ has taken 14 months to complete, was recorded on tape and mixed at Cable Hell Studio between september 2013 and January 2015, engineered by Sinas and Jonathan, mixed by Spökraket, mastered by Mads Bordingaard & is an absolute revelation.‘In A Witch Forest’ will be out on vinyl in April or May 2015 and will be the first release on Cable Hell Records.
You can find out more information about Spökraket by perusing their social media here:
Del Chaney – The Primal Music Blog – February 2015 – Dublin, Ireland.
Del Chaney has spent the last two years not only fronting popular Irish Electronic duo ‘Analogue Wave’, but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the Unsigned or Small Independent Label based Shoegaze, Dream Pop, Noise-Rock & Post-Rock genre’s of music from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog – The Primal Music Blog. His other arm, ‘The Primal Radio Show’, has gained considerable respect from band’s and promoter’s alike since it’s conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he’s passionate about. He also currently write’s for Canadian based online music webzine www.ReplicantEars.com. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.