”…shimmers with psychedelic goodness…”
Released separately these two albums should be looked on as companion pieces as they were recorded at the same sessions, the LP containing six shorter pieces, whilst the CD contains four more extended pieces. Long time fans of the band should know what to expect, a laid-back West Coast vibe that shimmers with psychedelic goodness, a rural take on acid rock that drifts effortlessly across summer skies the sound beautifully realised on “Roll Away The Stones” the albums introduction that sets the mood before “We Cast Our Lot With The Waves” takes us deeper within, a gentle drone that sparkles with melodic beauty throughout sounding like a sea shanty for the mountains, saxophone and synths trading sounds that roll softly by. Adding a loose percussive texture “Staring Down the Gullet of the Great Beyond, Part 1” moves the sound into Kosmiche lands, the musicians distorting time in their quest for the perfect phrase, reminding me of Ash Ra or a soft focus version of Acid Mother Temple as they reach for the stars and beyond.
Over on side two, things start strangely as “Space Mountain” emerges out of a cloud of free form space noise, nicely lysergic and definitely good for you as it displaces your senses. Taking the accolade of title of the week “Too Many Ravens, Not Enough Corpses” has a droning violin at its heart, guitar and synth adding to the distant noise the song echoing through the trees before reaching you in a fractured hallucinatory wave of sound that is easy to love, a pulsing drum adding a ritual element to the track. To end, “Staring Down the Gullet Part 2” is a slow burning piece of space exploration that begs you to lie back and simply enjoy, ending a magnificent collection in majestic style.
Housed in a lovely cover with great artwork, the strength of this album is the fact that the whole band shine together, each an essential part of the whole and that ethos continues on its companion album which begins with the pastoral vibe of “Big Farmer Big Jesus” a slice of Cosmic Country that is beautiful and sweet as cherry pie, the music swaying like wheat fields in the summer the ever present drone tinged with sadness as autumn approaches.
Throughout these recordings the musicians use a wide ranging collection of instruments meaning that although the pieces have a cohesive feel, changes in the sounds give each track a different texture or tone with “There is No Going Without Returning” having a bright, flickering feel to it, a rumbling bass adding another layer to a full sound that never becomes too overpowering, each instrument adding something to the track. Different again “Unaussprechlichen Kulten” has a darker more menacing atmosphere, an overloaded guitar, possibly a violin, squealing through the piece with intensity, cutting its way through a dense fog of noise, the track harking back to the early days of electronic experimentation especially when some haunting chords burst forth adding a spectral beauty to the mix.
Ending it all, “Staring Down the Gullet Part 3” takes us back to the mellow West Coast vibe easing the listener back to reality and doing so with a great big grin.
2015 is proving to be a great year for music and these two album are right up there, highly recommended. (Simon Lewis)