It seems so long ago since I heard Drone Jams Vol. 1. It was the second release on Drone Rock Records, and I remember being tantalised by the strung-out jams that The Space Spectrum, a band new to me at the time, put out. That this was, in fact, only a couple of years ago is testament to the amount of really fantastic music has flown into my ears since then; to the extent that I have had to revisit that first album to remind me of the band’s sound. I felt annoyed with myself that I had not played it for ages, and will not be making that mistake again in a hurry.
For those who aren’t familiar with Space Spectrum, here’s a brief bio from the band:
The Space Spectrum are a Kraut/Psych/Drone/Spacerock-Collective from Rendsburg, Germany. They started off as the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Nico Seel back in 2011 but, after a few Bandcamp releases, he decided to get more people on board to add more atmospheric sounds and to form a full band. After several line-up changes The Space Spectrum were approached by the well regarded Greek label, Cosmic Eye Records, to record their debut vinyl release, “The Red Eyed Queen”.
That’s a pretty accurate description of what this four piece (Florian Bödeker – Synthesizer, Nico Seel – Guitar, Nils Seel – Bass, Kevin Klein – Drums) are about. What I can say is that, if anything, I think that this second Volume of Drone Jams even outstrips the first in its variety and quality. To my ears there seems to be a greater clarity to this outing, whether that’s down to the mixing or pressing I’m not sure; but be sure that if you liked Vol. 1 you’re going to love this one. Moreover if you missed out on Vol. 1, Drone Rock Records are re-pressing it and selling both as a package (see below)!
Vol. II opens with ‘Cosmic Highway’, this is really wonderful track to listen to in the evening sun (as I am doing at the moment). There’s a bright lilt to the whole thing, a melodious number with a jazz improv feel to the spaced out vibe. Here you really get the atmospheric sounds mentioned in the band’s biog. I really like how the band almost imperceptibly move up though the gears of this fifteen minute track that, frankly, could be twice as long and I wouldn’t complain.
After that ‘Godshaker’ is altogether shorter and heavier featuring a great interplay between the organ/ synth and bass, with some super guitar fills and pounding drums holding the whole thing together. ‘Dance Tambourines’ continues in a similar vein with the addition of a fab riff which drives the track forwards and gives it a great deal of shape throughout. Both of these tracks are the sort of heavy jams that have a deftness to them. Heavy but in no way dark.
The set is finished of with ‘The Head Nodding King’, but in reality you’re going to be wanting to do more than just nod your head to this monster. Centred around a heavy guitar riff, replicated by the bass this one really rocks out in a way that takes the album far away from the bucolic beginnings of ‘Cosmic Highway’. This is not just an album, its a improv trip into the higher reaches of, as the band put it ‘Kraut/Psych/Drone/Spacerock’… they’re all that and more.
Check out Drone Rock Records for further details.
Drone Jams Vol. II is limited to 300 copies and comes in two versions:
Special splattered-vinyl edition
150 copies on clear vinyl with red, orange and blue splatter effects. These special editions will, as is always the way with Drone Rock releases, be offered first to previous customers and mailing-list subscribers.
Ruby Red vinyl edition
150 copies on Ruby Red solid coloured-vinyl.
Drone Jams Vol. I re-press:
This will be released on clear vinyl and there is also an option to by the two Drone Jams records together as a bundle saving £5 on the price of buying the two separately.