RELEASE DATE: 16th June 2017
RECORD COMPANY: CRAZYSANE Records
'Yagow' is a psychedelic space rock trio based out of Saarbrücken, Germany. Their collective sound echoes through mesmerising passages of psychedelically charged motorik kraut rock underscored at times with subtle shoegaze tendencies that are deftly permeated with layers of incantational space rock & hazy effervescent stoner rock. Their immense self titled six track album gets its full release on June 16th 2017 via the Berlin based independent record label 'CRAZYSANE Records' and is available to pre-order right now on various formats from crazysanerecords.bandcamp.com
s/t by YAGOW
In a dense instrumental drone the heavy opening salvos of ‘Horsehead Nebula’ unfurl their fuzzy tendrils and wrap themselves around enticingly slow lead guitar lines and swathes of reverberation. Bouncing bass frequencies pull stunning percussive patterns into audible range melding effortlessly with the hypnotic surge of guitars, used collectively to ferry haunting psychedelically charged vocalisations out into the ether. Up next, ‘Snake Charmer’, the albums lead single, resonates and pulses through layers of hazy psychedelia that is peppered with subtle touches of eastern esoteric flair. Meandering vocal lines whip and whirr through spiralling guitar progressions as fuzzy sonic reflections sparkle through swirling clouds of addictive sitar and rolling drum patterns. This track explodes into a raging wall of undulating drones, throbbing bass lines and growling guitars, jointly harassed by explosive drum patterns and acid drenched lead lines before tumbling gracefully into a cyclonic sonic whirlwind before fizzing out into obscurity.
‘Moss & Mint’ slows proceedings down as we’re dragged into a muggy metronomic trance like state, glued to the swing of those addictive drum patterns, soaring lead lines the and hazy swirl of dreamy, spaced out vocalisations. ‘Moss & Mint’ works through its instrumental gears with stunning aplomb, at times injecting organ swells, massive waves of imposing reverb and is reminiscent at times to Perth based sonic explorers ‘Mt. Mountain’ with the way they construct intricate song structures, add intense atmosphere and inject undulating passages of heavy psych into their music. ‘Time To Get Rid Of It’ swerves into earshot on a warbling guitar progression, bouncing bass frequencies and skittish percussion. Shamanic reverb drenched vocalisations intertwine with growling lead lines before punishing instrumental drones take over, pulling you with them as you surge through wave after wave of intense psychedelia. Absolutely magnificent!
The albums penultimate piece entitled ‘Non-Contractual’ opens with a menacing instrumental drone before pounding drums, shakers and incantational guitars drag haunting vocalisations out into the open. The subtle plucks of sitar ride punishing instrumentation as we meander through deep sonic troughs, shimmering spaced out verse passages and out into the final throws of a turbulent sonic behemoth. The album closes out with ‘Nude On the Moon Dance’. A tremulous guitar progression rides metronomic percussive pattern that builds and undulates through soaring atmospherically charged prog like lead lines and the constant throb of bass frequencies. Chittering drones sweep aside the opening bars as this track peels back it’s outer layers and morphs into a resonating sonic whirlwind that carefully envelopes another mesmerising vocal. A brilliant ending to rather interesting album.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last four years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. 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.
by Primal Music
Shimmering Leeds based psych-gazers 'Jellyskin' have unleashed their immense fifth track entitled 'Only Rain (Flows To Beach)' and it's accompanying video to the masses. Formed in 2016, 'Jellyskin' are made up of Will, Zia & Olly and they exploded onto the underground psych/gaze scene last year with a splattering of singles including the impressive ‘Grey Glass Hat’, the fantastic 'Milk Of Magnesia', 'She Sung Oceans' & the blistering 'Eater' which collectively brought them to the attention of the underground psych/gaze faithful. They have embarked on a mini-tour until mid-June playing: Unfest at The Forum (Tunbridge Wells), Headrow House (Leeds), Night and Day Café (Manchester), The Washington (Sheffield) and Temple of Boom (Leeds). They will also have copies of their debut EP, their first physical release at all of the aforementioned live shows. Get out and see them live if you can!
'Only Rain (Flows To Beach)' floats effortlessly on glorious waves of simmering synth coupled with tumbling tremulous guitar progressions as metronomic sequenced percussion pulses on effervescent frequencies carefully enveloping that fragile vocal track. At predesignated points along its meandering course it morphs and twists brilliantly into a noisy & turbulent psych induced behemoth before snaking back into a beautifully entrancing piece of music.
'Dazy Crown' are a Norwich based lo-fi/garage band who create stunning soundscapes full of melodic brilliance. They wowed us way back in July 2016 with their impressive single 'Move' and now this immense quartet have returned with another citric slice of summer in the guise of 'Multi Vitamin', their latest entrancing groove laden offering.
'Multi Vitamin' tumbles through swathes of woozy and highly infectious guitar progressions that ride an insanely laid back percussive pattern. Those simmering vocalisations wobble and arc through hazy layers of bubbling bass frequencies and resonating production as the leaping chorus break snaps you out of a hypnotising trance and tip toes you into a cyclonic world filled with instrumental drones and fuzzy sonic reflections. Stacked to the brim with summery summer vibes, 'Dazy Crown' have hit the proverbial sonic nail on its head with this latest track.
ARTIST: Is Bliss
RELEASE: The Honeycomb Explosion
RELEASE DATE: 19th May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Club AC-30 Records
Revered, incantational, hypnotic - Three words that aptly describe what I felt after listening to the absolutely stunning 2016 debut EP entitled 'Velvet Dreams' from Portsmouth based psych aficionados 'Is Bliss'. Signed to celebrated Independent record label 'Club AC-30', 'Is Bliss' are causing quiet a stir right now both on the live scene and within the underground fraternity with their no nonsense, full on, psych induced reverberations! They are made up of Jimmy Stuart - vox/guitar, Dean Edwards - bass & Sam Speakman - drums and they have just released a monumental follow up to their untouchable debut EP 'Velvet Dreams' entitled 'The Honeycomb Explosion'. This sophomore release is a statement of intent by a band who collectively create stunning soundscapes filled with blissed out shoegaze & swirling shamanic psych deftly underscored with passages of dreamy spaced-out grooves and hypnotically charged reverberations. 'The Honeycomb Explosion' was released back on the 19th May 2017 and was initially available to purchase on lovely transparent yellow w/red & orange splatted 12' vinyl via store.clubac30.com
In a haze of cyclonic vocalisations that swirl repetitively through swathes of luscious reverb, the opening salvos of track one ‘Someone’ builds with a menacing hue, dragging hypnotic deep bass frequencies, tremulous drones and angry guitar signatures out into the ether whilst injecting tons of impressive sonic atmospherics as it carefully unfurls it’s far reaching sonic tendrils. Beautifully intense from the off and harking back to to those early 90’s shoegaze sounds ‘Someone’ unleashes a blissful, meandering vocal track that’s whipped and cajoled at times by soaring lead guitar lines and underscored by continuously alluring bass progressions. Up next, ‘Alive (Baby Come On)’ enters the sonic arena swirling dreamily through turbulent organ drones and sparse percussion. Bass lines hum and growl brilliantly as we witness some of the best vocal performances on this whole EP. The track builds builds and builds again until it unleashes a torrent of glorious noise, dragging this listener with it into the eye of a raging sonic firestorm. ‘Alive (Baby Come On)’ has a plethora of influences and I can hear the waviness of Spacemen 3, the punishing guitars of seminal shoegazers Loop & the melodious qualities of Ride streaming through its inner core. Absolutely stunning and definitely my favourite track on the entire release.
‘Is Bliss’ pulse some eastern esoteric flair into proceedings next as sumptuous sitar intertwines with 60’s psych connotations, shimmering tambourine and punchy drum patterns. ‘Into A Dream’ does exactly as it says on the tin. You tumble through layer after layer of droning instrumentation, cascading dream like bass frequencies and that twinkling guitar signatures, guided at every turn by that impressive vocal track and just as you think you are settling in for a session in the shamanic sonic immersion tank you get catapulted out the back end of this track at g-force speeds glued to to a fast moving pulse of intense instrumental chaos before being gently placed back on terra firma with a very big smile on your face (yes it is that good). Up next, ‘Tomorrow’ shimmers hypnotically around an incantational instrumental drone and the jaunty rumble of busy tablas as the dissonant sounds of dreamy sitar bounces and envelopes a stunning vocal performance. Again ‘Is Bliss’ work through their sonic gears with blistering aplomb until eventually they unleash a torrent of explosive frequencies punctuated by screaming guitars, throbbing bass lines and pounding drum patterns that collectively coagulate into one hell of a track finale. The EP then closes out with ‘Inner Soul’, a fantastic sonic trip through layers of blissful reverberations, melodious bass progressions, passages of droning guitars and slow moving percussion that drifts and moves effortlessly, acting as a conduit for those stunning vocal lines. Reminiscent at times to ‘A Storm In Heaven’ era ‘Verve’, ‘Inner Soul’ is an absolutely sublime closing piece to a monumental sophomore EP.
ARTIST: Mt. Mountain
RELEASE DATE: 24th April 2017
RECORD COMPANY: CARDINAL FUZZ
Perth based droning & experimental psych aficionados 'Mt. Mountain' have announced the follow up to last years monumental six track release 'Cosmos Terros' in the form of 'Dust', a four track sonic thrill ride penned in for release on the 24th April via the ever reliable UK based 'Cardinal Fuzz Records'. 'Mt. Mountain' first came to our attention back in 2014 after the release of their brilliant sophomore self titled EP and we subsequently played it to death over on our online sister station 'Primal Radio'. 'Mt. Mountain' are already lauded and revered in Australia where they have built a reputation as one of the most compelling live bands, a distinction that has seen them share stages with myriad Australian and international heavyweights including Sleep, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Thee Oh Sees, Endless Boogie, Tortoise, Bardo Pond and Boris. 'Dust' is available to pre-order right now on limited edition of 200 - Copper/Black Swirl 12" Vinyl Records with UK/EU purchases available via Cardinal Fuzz.
Dust by Mt. Mountain
In a whirling instrumental drone steeped in acutely atmospheric tape hiss and trembling sound waves the opening salutations of ‘Dust’ manoeuvres itself into audible range. It builds ever so slowly, drenched in a menacing experimental air as a subtle percussive pulse sets a persuasive tempo, slow enough to accommodate those haunting guitar lines and the brilliant addition of a ghostly flute progression whilst being whipped by an ever present & deeply incessant high pitched drone. Coming in at a mere sixteen minutes plus, ‘Dust’ isn’t for the faint hearted as half way through it explodes into a maelstrom of reverberating noise steeped in flurries of modern & experimental psych and peppered with passages of plodding bass frequencies, throbbing synth, addictive lead lines and simmering vocalisations to collectively enthral and captivate it’s listeners all at once. A marvellous opening track indeed. Up next, ‘Floating Eyes’ staggers into earshot on a rickety guitar progression that rides a wave of tumbling bongo hits, the repetitive twinkle of tambourine and a surging synthetic drone. The addition of warbling lead lines add weight to proceedings as ‘Mt. Mountain’ unleash a swirling psychedelic behemoth steeped brilliantly in eastern esoteric flair. Addictive vocal lines float into the mix bubbling on those cascading bass progressions, doffing a well worn cap to those early experimental psych pioneers as we float away on wave after wave of captivating golden hued frequencies that eventually leads us into the tracks final throws.
Swirling organ swells echoed by translucent guitar and subtle instrumental drones announce ‘Kokoti’, the albums penultimate piece, and we drift off into a entrancing psychedelic haze filled with jangling progressions, glorious flute lines and hypnotically charged percussive reverberations. Ghostly vocalisations fill the remaining quiet spaces as sonic reflections rise and fall in and out of throbbing bass frequencies and wah wah heavy lead lines before the track takes on a completely different form and rises high up into the firmament on wings of trance like psychedelic joy. ‘Kokoti’ is a sonic journey of discovery, it’s probably my favourite track on this entire release and I firmly recommend that you listen to it via headphones to experience every ounce of it’s sonic mastery. The album closes out with a three minute peaceful ‘Outro’. A beautifully intoxicating guitar progression pulses into the ether dragging with it a repetitive percussive pattern filled with haunting vocal lines and massive swathes of reverberation. ‘Outro’ is a fitting closing piece and it deftly book ends this impressive collection of tracks.
ARTIST: Las Cobras
RECORD COMPANY: Fuzz Club Records
When South American based boyfriend/girlfriend duo of Sofía Aguerre and Leandro Rebellato aka 'Las Cobras' signed to the ever reliable London based independent record label 'Fuzz Club' and their debut single dropped into our inbox, they instantly became firm favourites of ours with their swirling, hypnotically charged sun kissed rock n' roll vibe underscored at times with dark experimental tendencies that are deeply enshrined within this modern day fuzz fuelled psych firmament. We soon discovered that this initial debut single barely even scratched the surface of what this duo could achieve sonically and it was only after we peeled back the many layers on this debut album did we immerse ourselves into what traditional Latin American psych truly sounded like. 'Temporal' is released on May 19th 2017 via 'Fuzz Club' and you can pre-order it right now on various formats from fuzzclub.com
After an initial intro of warbling synthesiser drone courtesy of 'Dark Waves', the albums opening piece, we're then shepherded into the welcoming arms of 'Beating Hard', a mesmerising mêlée of sequenced percussion and growling guitars that are broken up at times by plinking keyboard patterns and layered brilliantly by those menacing duel vocals. Screaming lead lines meander through swells of synth and luscious reverberation as the track builds in momentum and pulses through huge instrumental progressions with relative ease. Up next, 'The Time Has Come' staggers into audible range on a bedrock of electronic percussion as it's sampled synth lines loop and pull the entire production together dragging with them tremulous guitar progressions and simmering vocal lines that are absolutely steeped in resonating effects. Lead guitar lines whip up a frenzy and are allowed to lash out at will as their serine but sampled electronic understudies hold the track's deeply repetitive modern swagger in check. 'Our Love Will Grow' jangles into earshot accompanied by a fantastic cascading baseline, hi-hat heavy drum pattern and angry guitars as the subtle but infectious sampled production bubbles underneath what is a fantastically refreshing track indeed. Duel vocals add swathes of melody as pulses of reverberation ripple out into the ether, skipping along with that highly infectious baseline.
There's a tinge of garage psych streaming through the inner core of 'Al Más Allá' thats quite alluring but it's the pull of traditional percussion, jangling guitars and droning synth enveloping a magnificent vocal line drenched in glorious reverberation that peaks this listeners attention. Up next, 'Nothing Against You' sways into the ether on a snaking synth line and another brilliant guitar progression whilst 'So Much Love' growls menacingly on a fractious baseline and a swirling synthetic drone as it's metronomic drum pattern pulls a duel vocal attack through massive swathes of delayed reverb. This track loops and arcs through wave after wave of undulating sonic frequencies and turbulent effect laden production and it's probably my favourite track on the entire release. The albums penultimate piece trembles on a swirling synth drone as throbbing bass frequencies and the explosive drum track dig a deep dark furrow into the sonic firmament. 'Same And Again' swerves through passages of intensely addictive lead lines and mesmerisingly hypnotic vocal lines that intertwine with one another and undulate like a stalking pit viper and atmospheric organ sweeps create magical incantations as the collective wall of the instrumentation pulses ripples of psychedelic abandonment out into the ether at will. The album closes out with the bands debut single. 'Temporal' shakes on pulsating bass lines and shamanic like percussion as haunting opening vocalisations mimic addictive streamlined lead lines and open up into a magnificent lush and textured afro-beat connotations underpinned with mystical impressions, droning incantations and warbling guitar lines. A fitting bookend to a wonderful debut album.
Del Chaney has spent the last four years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. 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.
ARTIST: Snakes Don't Belong In Alaska
RELEASE: Mountain Rituals
RELEASE DATE: 7th May 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Sky Lantern Records / Infinity Mirror Records
Finding a foothold in todays burgeoning psych rock circuit and then building on said foothold is something that very few bands can rationally seem to figure out. It's a veritable sonic minefield out there vehemently strewn with the broken shells of those bands who have tried and failed miserably due to a lack of positive sonic evolution. There are however, very slim margins of error to work around. A lot of juggling needs to happen to twist a collective sound into something completely new whilst trying to stay relevant and true to core beliefs. This modern scene (and what every band needs to survive in it) changes from week to week so you really need to have something different in your sonic arsenal to make you stand out from it's overpopulated crowd. Newcastle based experimental psych aficionados 'Snakes Don't Belong In Alaska' have achieved just that. After a fairly intense live regime allowing to them to make a name for themselves by hosting numerous international touring acts and putting out some limited but highly sought after self-releases under their own 'Infinity Mirror' imprint the band have unleashed their first widely available record in the guise of 'Mountain Rituals'. This album is infectious, it's a serious step up in terms of performance, aforementioned sonic evolution & overall song writing. It also destroys any preconceived ideas that we had about what this trio could conjure up musically. The album is thirty seven minutes ling and contains two massive tracks filled with immense passages of intensely experimental sonic exploration that skips menacingly through swathes of pummelling reverberation, howling vocalisations, heavy psych & droning kosmische. It's available to buy/download right now both digitally & on limited edition cassette with artwork by Isla Marie Haddow via snakesdontbeonginalaska.bandcamp.com
Mountain Rituals by Snakes Don't Belong In Alaska
Track one, 'Mountain Void' enters earshot by winding up its coiled innards and slowly building sonic momentum. It's held fast in acres of reverberation as a swirling lead guitar line undulates through plodding bass frequencies and sparse but metronomic percussive hits. The track builds menacingly and at times it whips itself into a frenzy of layered production trickery and wah wah led theatrics before unleashing a powerful psych induced blast of hypnotically charged sonic waves that pulse and envelope the senses, pulling the listener with them as they tumble into the dark rippling abyss and on out into the unknown. Wailing lead lines lick and torment the piece to within an inch of it's life as the band play out twenty one minutes plus of sublime psychedelic instrumentation peppered at times with awe inspiring moments of droning stoner & kosmische delight that lead us brilliantly into its frantically turbulent finale. Up next, the intimidating 'Mountain Mirror' creeps through layers of droning atmosphere as it's effected fret noise melds with hovering reverberations and the twang of resonating guitars. Howling vocalisations skulk into audible range mimicking the bend of guitar strings. Pulsating percussion shakes and shudders on a predestined track like some unseen stalking beast as those bass frequencies pulse and hover in close contact. 'Mountain Mirror' easily funnels you into its repetitive inner core as it ambles through massive waves of spacious reverb and expansive ambient hued psychedelic flavours, before sonically assaulting you with dark humming bass lines, tormenting guitar progressions and haunting shamanic like vocalisations that collectively drag the listener through trademark heavy stoner vibes.
RELEASE: Swim EP
RELEASE DATE: 28th April 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Across The Floor Records
Aarhus based noisy duo 'ZRN' have released their latest five track behemoth entitled 'Swim' to the masses back at the end of April 2017. 'ZRN' are a side project of monstrous Danish psych rockers 'Tales Of Murder And Dust' and their sound has gone from meandering, atmospheric almost slowcore/shoegaze leanings on their 2015 full-length release 'Animous' into a more of a menacing experimental/noise rock orientation on these new tracks. The EP was officially released back on the 28th April 2017 via and it is available to buy/download right now from zrnband.bandcamp.com
Swim EP by ZRN
In a spiralling drone and accompanied by sequenced production theatrics the opening salvos of 'Across' sweep into earshot dragged by the fizz of undulating synth and the hypnotic call of dark malevolent atmosphere. Chalking in at a full twelve minutes long this track circumnavigates a stunning array of sound waves as it's gravitational pull buffers and pivots sequenced bleeps and whirrs with stunning effect. It groans and creeks in parts as it's soaring synth lines cut deep sonic throughs through delayed reverberations, rippling magnificent swathes of ambient & lo-fi permutations out into the ether. 'Across' is an absolutely magnificent opening track. Up next, the EP's lead single staggers into audible range. 'Deep End' is immensely infectious! It undulates and snakes on layers of dark, noisy bass frequencies supplemented with repetitive lead lines, shimmering tambourine shakes and a heavy sense of sonic foreboding. It's vocal lines glide and snake in and out of the instrumentation, under constant bombardment from whirring lead guitar lines and addictively atmospheric production.
'Diving Off' stalks metronomically into the ether pulling with it those deep dark plods of menacing piano that seem to echo and billow as they fall. Haunting vocalisations accompanied by swirling synth swells swim in dark reverberation as growling guitar & undulating fret noise envelope the entire track in ink black atmosphere. Absolutely immense, 'Diving Off' is probably my favourite track on the entire release. Up next the album deftly unfurls it's penultimate piece. The shuddering twang of overdriven guitar held fast in a regimental flight path builds and shudders through layers of resonating frequencies. 'Slow Affection' has mantra like qualities that whip and curl brilliantly around the inner psyche. It's vocal lines are distant, almost demon like as they ride turbulent instrumentation mixed with intermittent sequenced theatrics to blistering effect. The EP closes out with a dark slab of experimental noise. 'Dry' is an intoxicating affair filled with infectious vocalisations, sequenced electronics and dark, jittering synth swells that are collectively drenched in massive swathes of reverb. It pulses wave after wave of dark atmospherics as it traverses three minutes plus of immense production. A brilliant ending to a very interesting EP.
RELEASE: Surfacing To Breathe
RECORD COMPANY: Seahorse Recordings
Italian based sonic aficionados 'Clustersun' are what I would define as one of the four main cornerstones of todays underground 'Italogaze' scene. Their collective sound effortlessly swims within a heady mix of shoegaze, electronica & post-punk with a subtle undercurrent of alt-rock that bubbles and fizzes through layers of sublime production to create a wall of blissful noise with layers of soaring reverberation. Now, three full years after the debut long player 'Out Of Your Ego' graced the ears of the underground faithful, the 4-piece band from Catania have announced a brand new eight track album in the guise of 'Surfacing To Breathe' via the brilliant Italian based independent record label 'Seahorse Recordings'. 'Clustersun' have matured dramatically since those tentative debut years, so much so that this time around they have added a new element to the their sonic arsenal by dipping their collective toes into the modern psych gaze scene; and the overall results of this experimentation are magnificent. The band are made up of Marco Chisari - vocals /bass, Mario Lo Faro - guitars, Piergiorgio Campione - synthesizers/keyboards/backing vocals) & Andrea Conti - drums and 'Surfacing To Breathe' gets it's full release on the 19th May 2017 via 'Seahorse Recordings'. The album is available to pre-order right now on various formats including lovely limited edition black vinyl via clustersun.bandcamp.com
Surfacing To Breathe by CLUSTERSUN
The album opens up with it's lead single 'Raw Nerve' and it sits on a very precarious experimental curve with the band stepping out of their comfort zone to inject elements of modern day psych into their usual watered down electro-gaze firmament. It has a kraut like percussive swagger that lends itself brilliantly to that post-punk styled throbbing bass progression and it's angry guitar lines bob and weave menacingly through layers of senses pummelling reverberation. The heavily effected vocal lines dangerously lean (sort of like an over weight scales) atop of the instrumentation with an air of expectation that they might just fall off the sonic precipice at any moment; but that only adds to the overall atmosphere of the track. Up next, 'Antagonise Me' explodes into the ether on sharp instrumental stabs before unloading a dark & delicious slab of driving post-punk intertwined with psych rock tendencies and reams of resonating frequencies. Throbbing bass lines & soaring synth swells bounce and weave along a steadying percussive pattern as noisy guitars slash and chop at those mesmerising vocalisations before collectively soaring into a sublime chorus pattern filled with wailing lead lines and brim;antsy constructed production. Absolutely marvellous!
'Lonely Moon' swerves into modern dream-gaze territory as wave after wave of shimmering synth and soaring reverb drenched guitars loop & arc around a brilliantly executed drum pattern that carefully surrounds and protects that stunning vocal performance by Marco Chisari. Up next, 'Clustersun' dive into massive swathes of undulating atmosphere as 'The Whirling Dervish' unfurls it's resonating tendrils. Piercing lead lines follow cascading bass patterns as the vocals float on a hovering wave of reverb, accompanied at times by refreshing plinking piano lines. This track builds brilliantly as it progresses, adding layer after layer of instrumentation before exploding into a massive wave of post-punk hued psych-gaze. 'Don't Let The Weight Of Your Soul Drag You Down' instrumentally swirls into the ether on an ambient themed synth pattern before glorious guitars enter the mix followed by sparse percussion and the hum of sullen bass frequencies. Another atmospheric monster, this track builds and formulates into a huge wall of blissful unwavering noise before unleashing it's inner behemoth thus dragging this listener with it through every single twist and turn on the road to it's blistering finale.
The albums self-titled track is a full on modern day psych-gaze bruiser. 'Surfacing To Breathe' begins life held fast in a swirling synth drone before a magnificent guitar progression takes hold and instantly peak this listeners attention. Metronomic percussion holds court here as it drags plodding bass patterns and soaring synth lines with it into the mix thus turning this track into a well organised, uniformed, steady and rhythmic sonic drill through layers of reverberation and dark atmosphere. Again, both Marco Chisari & Mario Lo Faro need to celebrated here (on vocal and guitar duties respectfully) as they carry this engrossing track through to the end. The albums penultimate piece teeters precariously on a more experimental edge as 'Emotional Painkiller' enters audible range. This is the only track on the entire album that harkens back to their more electronically charged debut release 'Out Of Your Ego'. For me they try to fit the sonic aesthetic of that debut album into this newer sound with varying results. That not to say that it isn't aesthetically pleasing, it just seems to me that it works only in parts and to some extent suffers greatly at times. It's very difficult to fit square pegs into round holes and the band should be careful of this going forward. For me their new psych-gaze leanings work brilliantly when left alone to be exactly that .... psych-gaze!
The album closes out with a magnificent final track. 'Event Horizon' bounces along on an absolutely immense bass signature that acts as sonic glue thus holding this entire track together. Soaring synth swells carry beautifully intense guitar progressions up into the ether as it's ground dwelling drum patterns pound and echo into the sonic firmament with relative ease. Instrumentally sublime, this track carefully envelopes it's vocal lines like a mother caring for a new born baby, buffering it from punishing sound waves and relentless resonating frequencies with aplomb. A very impressive finale to a masterful sophomore release thus showing that the dreaded second album needn't be so scary.
Bravo Clustersun .... now lets go for album number three!
RELEASE DATE: 26th May 2016
Post-punk combines with coldwave, darkwave, a bit of ethereal wave and perhaps, arguably, most importantly; experimental music on the self-titled debut release by Swedish project NONN (the solo moniker of The Orange Revival's Christian Eldefors). Drum machines and programmed beats guide the way through reams of both light and darkness; to create something akin to classic 80’s style post-punk, but with a little something extra. Experimental music has always been a next-door neighbour of the music commonly associated with punk music, but NONN have decided to push it further, applying it deeply to the music as well as the production and mixing. 'Nonn' gets it's full release on the 26th May 2016 via the ever reliable purveyors of sonic discourse Fuzz Club Records and it is available to pre-order right now from www.fuzzclub.com
The album opens with the brilliant ‘Walls’ which features one of the greatest elements of the album; the attentiveness and experimentation with the instrument of voice. The song opens with heavy, darkly ambient program beats and noises that form into a airy and wide ranging soundscape backing for the song. The reminisce of a bass guitar churns away in the background before the fantastically obscure vocals ooze into the song, sounding like the vocalist is singing with echo and reverbed drenched effects underwater. There is a fantastic synthetic feel to the instrumentation and the kind of murmuringly weird musical backing that compliments and adds another dimension to the album as you listen more closely each time. ‘Lost’ begins with a similar kind of programmed frequency (which remains in the background of the song for the whole time) that is then given a backseat to the drum machine-laden post punk beat of double-snare tapping. The vocals this time are more recognizable and the song itself sounds like a kind of darkwave tune; re-fitted into a post-punk context by the coldwave like guitar that enters the song just after the intro.
‘Stay’ omits a similar feeling and stylistically does not really leap from where ‘Lost’ left off, although it's significantly darker. The bass lines, thick and consuming, guide the robotic-vocals along to the beat of another post-punk drum beat that seems to be taken straight from the eighties. ‘Gone’ is a brilliant track that slows things down, returning to the programmed beats, wizzes and noises of the first few songs. The drum beat borders on trip hop while the whole structural elements of the song sound like the echoing sound of an 80’s synthesizer guiding a character a film along a dark highway. ‘Cold’ takes this even further, offering layers and layers of moody but somewhat danceable synth FX and the churning slow beat of programmed rums in the background. Up next, ‘Need’ injects more of the airy soundscapes of the albums earlier tracks, while maintaining a similar style drum track. The synth within the track steps in for what would have been the guitar; creating a wavering effect that truly pushes the tempo and rhythm of the song strongly. ‘Hills’ is a very similar track, but alters things with the inclusion of small passages of what could be samples held within the music; mostly in the form of background whizz and churn and the synthetic sounding hi-hat of the drums. The vocals feature more visibly within ‘Hills’ as well; differing from other tracks on the album. ‘Time’ borders on a time of warped disco; altering between the dance-induced rhythm of the drums and the even further warped vocals on the track. The song truly shines just after the half way mark; highlighting the engaging production properties of NONN’s music. ‘Fear’ is by far one of the most experimental tracks on the album; it acts as one big long crescendo, backed by an alternating tempo and a wild ringing in the background. The vocals, hushed and wild, fit well with the context; harkening back to the hey days of acid house and other forms of electronica music that relied heavily on the FX of the voice. ‘Wait’ concludes as a fuzzingly loud outro of sorts; a ringing synthesizer hums in the background of some keys being played slightly and softly.
NONN as an album is at times an uphill wander; several tracks sound similar to the one before and the general song structure of several tracks sound thrown together or still in draft form. Still, I believe there to be an interesting focal point to it all; washed somewhere deep within the influence and the context of the music’s background. Listening to the whole album is like a conceptual walkthrough of one lengthy devoted song, where the tempo alters and then resurfaces back within itself the music stays honest enough to keep the listener interested. The production is clear and does the instrumental and lyrical elements of the album many favours. Its an interesting listen, achieved through performance and design, but perhaps most obviously through sound.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.