It has been a while since I featured something from Germany’s Adansonia Records, a label with a back catalogue that is growing in its breadth and heft. With multiple releases from the likes of Electric Orange, Guru Guru, Fungal Abyss, and Psych Insight favourites Kungens Män (and watch this space for more on them later in the summer); it’s a reliable source that in all fairness tends towards the longer improvised sort of music that we know and love.
Perhaps, I thought, this release is a bit different; certainly at first glance. But the more I listened and thought about it the more I saw how Cosmic Triggers fit very will into the Adansonia oeuvre. Their origins would certainly fit the psychedelic space rock of many of its releases since, although the band currently hail from St Petersburg, they apparently “…were born outerspace. Then began to play music. Recently we`ve been traveling around the Sun.” There is certainly a spacey and etherial quality to the Cosmic Triggers’ music which makes this album something of a find… a real kosmiche gem to be discovered.
A five piece, comprising Anastasia Skabelkina (vocal, analog synth), Vladimir Skabelkin (guitar, ethnic, synth), Vladimir Kolbin (guitar), Russel Petrov (drums), and Tagir Khisamov (bass), Cosmic Triggers set out their otherworldly stall from the beginning with album opener ‘Introduction’ sounding very much like the overture to a narrative that had been lying latent for some time. And it is here that you can immediately see the novel approach that the band have set out. Space rock, for me anyway, is normally about a journey; about moving the universe spacially, temporally and, often, spiritually. Here there is a narrator and the story is unfolding in the music.
After the calm of this opening of the opus the band explode into ‘Homo Fractaliens’, with a sharp psych guitar and a vocal that could be from the Stranglers Menninblack album… Cosmic Triggers giving the alien voice in a similar way. It’s an opening that sort of throws you off balance, but once the band drop into the groove we are left with almost a dub beat, with the synth adding to the rhythm section, underneath a series of guitar and electronic excursions which take you out into the cosmos, but very much one with soul.
We were created to create
So do it…
We can hear to make sound
We can see to be artist
You know it…
We are leaving to give life
You`ll do it…
We are fractals of ourselves
We were created to create
So do it…
In ‘Undermind’ we find ourselves in a dank mysterious place, flailing around in the dark to find something on which we can focus. Except that focus doesn’t come. This is a deeply unsettling track which is less spacey and out there, more representing an inner journey, the narrative now pushing deep into the psyche… if this is about alien encounters then these are very much of the psychological kind. As the ‘Undermind’ progresses you really do begin to feel violated, less comfortable by the moment as the sonic pulses drill into your brain… really creepy.
Wonderful, effective and thought-provoking as that was I am not sure I could have taken another ten minutes of it, and so it is with the much more open and upbeat ‘Syndicate’ which combines a dark psych beats with an overlay of Eastern rhythms. This track becomes more and more etherial as it progresses, the introduction of the female narrator adding a sense of mystery and otherness that continues to set this album apart from many others of a similar genre I have heard. Fans of Australian band Dreamtime will very much appreciate this I think.
Next up is ‘Quant Um’, which is different again… and this is the thing… while this is in many ways a concept album, and there is a shared mood to the different offering here, the tracks are all very different in their approach. ‘Quant Um’ is much lighter on its feet, more outward looking than anything else so far, and (don’t say it too loud) the most conventional on the album. Here, though, is a case of the more orthodox acting as a contrasting break from the unorthodox… a cipher that turns convention on its head and magnifies the underlying theme of the album.
You are evolving
Vision of light
Seeking for spline
New kind of people
Make it unite
Future is chaging
Reflow the now
Mirrors the mind
The endless time
Aware of no limits
After your I
After your eyes…
After that it’s back to the otherworldly weirdness of ‘Shutsuryoku’, a return to the twilight zone of the narrators… perhaps their encounter is done. At this stage of the album I very much feel as if I have succumbed to the Cosmic Triggers world-view (or should that be space-view) and there is a certain soporific element to this last track that is both mesmerising and mournful. There is a sense of ending here, but also a sense of completion as the album tails off in a way that suggests more stories in the future… maybe somewhere and somewhen they have already been told.
This is one of those albums that stands out as different from the first time you hear it. There are elements of much of the music that I write about here regularly, and I should also mention the very engaging organ/ synth sound that weaves its way through this album giving atmosphere and a certain roundedness to the tracks, but put together in a way that is both unsettling and captivating. This album is like a siren leading you into unexplored and, occasionally, uncomfortable places. It is an album that revels in its unconventionality and, as a debut, shows a great deal of promise for future of Cosmic Triggers.
Out now on Adansonia Records as follows: 200 x black/pink vinyl, 180g, 200 x clear vinyl, 180g, hand-numbered, 100 x transparent blue vinyl , 180 g, hand-numbered label edition incl. extras; 500 x CD Digipak.
LP’s are coming in matt fully-laminated thick sleeves and black padded inner sleeves. Mastering by Eroc.
Any vinyl purchase includes a high-quality download.