Sunday, August 30, 2009

Richard Wright - Wet Dream [1978]

At this point obviously Richard needs no introduction, we're coming up to 1 year since his passing. Thinking on that got me listening to this amazing album again recently. I'm not usually one for over-comparisons but 'Wet Dream' certainly ranks high amongst the other solo member's own albums. Out of all of them it probably demonstrates the most accurate display of that good old "Floydian style", if there is such a thing.

The album is richly laden in deep textures of prog and jazz, and it's all spaced out so beautifully. Kind of a strange thing to say, but i think some of the direction that went into creating the score for the video game Super Mario Galaxy was based on Rick's playing, and perhaps some stuff from this record. Just a feelin', ya know! Besides Rick and his amazing-as-ever performance here, Mel Collins is on fire! Some of his best work i've heard. Snowy White chips in on both acoustic and electric guitars (the man behind the rare Pigs On The Wing solo) and does a fantastic job.

If you're a fan of the band or 'Dark Side' in particular, you should already have this. It's really amazing to learn just how much of Rick's style and direction contributed to the Floyd sound we all love. This record, trunk-filled with emotions is very telling of this. R.I.P.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sometime World & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.

Strange picture eh? Let me explain. Two or three times a year we get these bush fires throughout the hills surrounding our humble abode. Decided to snap some pictures of them while playing around with a few exposure and flash settings. Whatever that 'thing' is, it was invisible to the naked eye. Only did i discover it upon uploading the images to my pc. I'm pretty sure it was a bug that flew past my frame, 300mm or so away from my lens. Whatever that path line behind it is.. really sells it. Pretty cool isn't it? i actually have the President on hold while i fudge up this post. If the government want to sit on this at least my faithful readers will know!

So what else is new? Have not posted in a few weeks, coming soon. Black Bonzo released a teaser video for their upcoming album "Guillotine Drama", due out September 19th. Can't wait for that one! Elsewhere, i really hadn't ever heard anything from the Arctic Monkeys. Decided to give their new record a spin and was pleasantly surprised. Josh Homme produces, and boy.. is it obvious! Also been frequently playing the new Imaad Wasif album, amazing folk/psych rock. Label? Tee Pee, of course. And lastly, Rory Gallagher's debut album is so damn good. Had it heavily in the rotation last few weeks. A true classic!

That's all for now, i better go check on that fire before i burn up.

- Marcus

Monday, August 10, 2009

Assemble Head in Sleepy Sun! cont.

Try It - Buy It - Myspace

A week or so ago i mentioned the September tour Sleepy Sun & Assemble Head are about to set off on. Figured what better way to fire some of you up who might be deciding to go, than with these sweet live recordings from each band. I can't see either of them stepping foot over here in my native Australia any time soon, so sadly i gotta make do with this for now.

The Assemble Head here is an unofficial recording of their set at Roadburn last year. The quality sounds great, as they work through material spreading from all 3 albums. I quickly dodged up this horrible cover, using a photograph taken from the performance and a shitty res image of their band logo (feel free to dispose of it at your own will). These guys rock!

The Sleepy Sun iTunes Exclusive recording is most excellent. It has only been available from the iTunes store so i got myself a copy. They work through some 'Embrace' material, extended and even adding a new song ('Mating Season') to the end of 'New Age'. If you need a reason to get this, it's their amazing cover of Fleetwood's 'The Chain'. The harmonica used towards the end of 'White Dove' here sounds so much more powerful than on record, really really cool!

Enjoy. Go see them if you can!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ancestors - Of Sound Mind [2009] [Review]

Over the last few months I have briefly conversed with band guitarist Justin Maranga through blog comments and the odd email with regards to the band's first release, and this, their sophomore release - due out October the 6th on Tee Pee Records. Judging from his opinion and my own excitement, i had huge expectations for this record. I was lucky enough to score a full preview the other night.

I really enjoyed 'Neptune' last year. It was so different from everything else i'd heard at the time. I came into this one expecting to be surprised and certainly was. For starters the riffs are just as gigantic as Neptune, but we knew they would be! This time around they have tightened it all up.. adding and including all different sounds, dimensions and themes to keep it fresh. Structure wise, there are 4 monster tracks - each clocking in at around 15 minutes give or take - and a series of short and contrasting interludes.

The opening track 'From Nothing' is the shortest on the album and is filled with all kinds of bizarre fidgety sounds, as if the band were preparing to deliver the collective wallop you know is on it's way. It leads into the doomy beginning of 'Mother Animal', which after 3 minutes of slow thunder turns into a short funky desert-like groove you can't help but smile and nod along with. The song builds and builds with momentum. You think you're at the peak of it and bam! Things eventually simmer down as the vocals re-appear, returning us to the stable gravity pull we know - if only for a moment! The bass and percussion keep it driving slow and doomy throughout, while the mesmerizing guitar and haunting organ paint all over the open canvas.

'Not The Last Return' is the first of two short and great piano pieces, letting your ears adjust. You can be sure another ass-kicking is waiting for you in a few moments. 'Bounty of Age' is currently streaming on the Tee Pee site, check it. The bluesy guitar playing in the middle parts is absolutely breath taking. It actually kinda reminds me of something from Neil Young's 'On the Beach' album, one of my favourites. Again the organ is just pushing the entire thing along from the background, it seems to be a common theme throughout the record and works very well. 'A Friend' is a new and interesting dimension to the band, making use of electronics and synthesizers, sounding like a lost part to Jean Michel Jarre's 'Oxygene'.

It leads in to arguably the greatest song the band has created to date, 'The Trial'. The moment i heard the guitar come in i was amazed, the tones are just so damn powerful and majestic. This is clearly Justin's time to shine and he does as it slowly burns along. It's truly incredibly how these guys can turn the most sonically beautiful sound into such an evil, menacing beast. Such is the case as the song dips down into uncharted darkness, at which point Sera Timms of label-mates Black Math Horseman enters. I've been obsessed with their own album since it's release, and needless to say the Ancestors setting suits her to a tee! Never mind the fact i can't understand a word she says, she possesses one of the most distraught and powerful voices i have heard in a damn long while. She seems to be buried a little low in the mix, granted she still sounds great.. perhaps just a little quiet. I'm sure this was the sound they were going for though, and therefor is but only a minor quibble.

'Challenging', much like 'Not The Last Return' sees the return of the lonely piano as it's chord patterns pulsate throughout the quieter track - this time accompanied by some lovely acoustic guitar playing, which was a pleasant surprise. It serves as a great intro to stylistically, the most straight-forward of the longer pieces. Consider it the melodic ending to the insane trip, the rockin' journey back to our home planet! It moves quick, stays just long enough and kicks a great portion of ass before slowly coming to a close. This really sounds like all that 70's hard rock influence just gushing out. An outstanding closing to an outstanding album.

You can really tell the production has been amped up a few notches here. I absolutely love the keys spread all over this album, the bluesy guitar solo's are very tasty as well. Every track was firing on all cylinders, but if i had to I'd say 'The Trial' definitely blew me away the most. It's not very often you get that stunned in amazement feeling that this song left me with. Running in at just over an hour usually pushes it for me, but i still didn't want this one to end. I can tell i'll be revisiting it over and over again.

Be sure to pick this one up when it drops. Album of the year material for sure.

Tee Pee Records
Ancestors Myspace

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Terje Rypdal - Whenever I Seem To Be Far Away [1974]

Terje Rypdal is a marvelous, fluid guitar player, who manages to sound natural in every setting in which he appears. On this one we get a few radically different styles throughout. First up it's heavy and fuzzed, technically weaving in and out very sparingly and tastfully. Towards the end of the album though is some full-flight Gilmour-like playing, complete with the backing of the Sudfunk Symphony Orchestra.

Pete Knutsen (Electric keyboards and Mellotron) is amazing on this record, reminding me of Ian McDonald.. as if he had come straight out of 'In The Court'. Odd Ulleberg on the French horn also blows a whole lot of awesome! I'm not really familiar with these backing guys but i'm interested in seeking out some of their other works after hearing this.

It's an interesting mix of free jazz and the jazz fusion flavour of the time. The use of Mellotron gives it a unique European symphonic-proggy kinda sound, progressive jazz? I don't know.. tags are stupid but this is great, check it out.

Sky Delights Over Sweden

"This night was a sky enthusiast's delight. Many a cosmic wonder was captured with a single snapshot. They are described here from near to far. In the foreground are nearby trees and more distant snow covered mountains. In silhouette, Clouds can be seen just above the horizon, and a careful eye can even discern the more distant green and red auroras which occur in Earth's upper atmosphere. Red emission nebulas dot the sky, including the Heart and Soul Nebulas, IC 1396 and the North America Nebula.

Running diagonally from the upper left to the lower right is the majestic glowing band of our Milky Way Galaxy's central plane.. More distant than everything else, appearing as it did over two million years ago, is the Andromeda galaxy, visible above the horizon toward on the lower left."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Titan - A Raining Sun of Light & Love, For You & You & You [2007]

So we now have the incredible NASA astronomy images (seen below) to kill some time, now all we need is a suiting soundtrack to explore the cosmos! This excellent Tee Pee release will do the job just fine. I'll just put this right on out there for you. If you're a fan of the big-time, grandiose, space rock epics.. the extended track lengths, big ass bass, big ass riffs and one hell of an atmosphere then A Raining Sun of Light & Love.. is for you, & you, and yes.. even you! However if by some off chance this ain't your kinda thing.. drop it and walk away now. Come to think of it, what the f*** are you even doing here?

Serious, we're talking the big-time space rock influences here. Hawkwind obviously come to mind first, perhaps even mixed with a little bit of krautrocker's Can. The pounding bass and guitar is reminiscent of some of the desert scene stuff, which is certainly a plus! The production is a little bit murky throughout which might limit repeated listens.. but i guess it's just another one of those ass-kicking, brain-melting records you throw on at that perfect moment.

Another solid Tee Pee gem. These guys have been quiet for a few years now.. heres hoping some new material surfaces sooner rather than later.

Horsehead and Orion Nebulae

"Adrift 1,500 light-years away in one of the night sky's most recognizable constellations, the glowing Orion Nebula and the dark Horsehead Nebula are contrasting cosmic vistas. They appear in opposite corners of this stunning mosaic taken with a digital camera attached to a small telescope. The magnificent emission region, the Orion Nebula (aka M42), lies at the upper right of the picture.

Immediately to its left is a prominent bluish reflection nebula sometimes called the Running Man. The Horsehead nebula appears as a dark cloud, a small silhouette notched against the long red glow at the lower left. Alnitak is the easternmost star in Orion's belt and is seen as the brightest star to the left of the Horsehead. Below Alnitak is the Flame Nebula, with clouds of bright emission and dramatic dark dust lanes. Pervasive tendrils of glowing hydrogen gas are easily traced throughout the region in this deep field image of the same region."

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Behind the Sun - Behind the Sun [2009] [Preview]

First of all.. it's an interesting story, an unusual path of discovery for me. You see in the middle of all this blogger copyright nonsense it's nice to see some bands are still willing to turn to blogger to advertise their craft. If you regularly visit my blog you may recognize a few comments by a poster named Aaron Lieber, who i'm told has been a regular visitor here for years now. One afternoon a few months back Aaron sent me a link to his bands myspace page and i really dug a few of their tracks. Their sound really took me back to the Alternative 90s. I heard spices of AIC and Pearl Jam mostly, but the more i listened i started hearing some amazing guitar work in the style of Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt. Hell, Kyuss even come to mind in parts on the track "Running Water".

Don't get it twisted though, these Israelis have a sound that is still very much their own. The music and lyrics speak of their personal trials and tribulations living in their own heavenly but harsh land, says their myspace. It's heavy, electric, tube driven riffing, blended with progressive styles and sensibilities and their own skeptical, cynical, but in the end positive philosophy as written word and amplified sound.

Granted i looked through every blog i could for a download link, ultimately i found nothing. Since Aaron had been a regular visitor, and generally a nice enough dude to discuss music with, i decided to buy his band's album through Amazon. I gotta say i'm very happy i did so. The album kicks ass, and the entire situation has been very rewarding.

It's with Aaron Lieber's permission of course, i give to you the first half (6 songs) of the band's debut album. To be honest i actually enjoy the second half of the album, particularly the beatiful instrumental piece "October '77". Just another reason for you to purchase this scorcher! If you are into some of the bands i mentioned.. do Aaron and Behind the Sun the ultimate favour by picking this one up from Amazon, and even turning it onto a friend you know who might enjoy it.

Consider me a fan, can't wait to see what these guys do next!