OK, here’s the thing. I’m about to go away on holiday, the sun’s occasionally shining outside and I’ve still got a heck of a list of albums that I want to review… because I really rate them. In an effort to do at least some of them justice I’m doing a bit of a round up, with some shorter reviews (something that I’m going to find a bit tricky) with apologies to the people concerned that I cannot give their music more space.
Two Treatise on Gnostic Thought by Anunnaki
‘Two Treatise on Gnostic Thought’ is the third and probably most ambitious release by Nanaimo (Canada) duo Anunnaki. Formed of two long tracks this album is a dark and intense, well, treatise that the band describe as “Occult Psychedelia For The Initiated. Doom For The New Age.” The first track, ‘The Poimandres Of Hermes Trismegistus’, has a real post-rock feel to it, and certainly would not feel out of place were it released on Canadian imprint Constellation Records. Although having said that it would probably be that label’s heaviest outing to date. The other track, ‘The Valentinan Speculation’, has a more earthy feel to it in places and takes the listener on a diverse and often troubling journey into the inner psyche; and with a massive full-on guitar assault at the end. Both tracks are redolent with spiritual and ritualistic meaning taking the listener on a journey of discovery in a novel and interesting way.
You can check out ‘Two Treatise on Gnostic Thought’ on the band’s bandcamp page here, where you might be lucky enough to pick up a rare physical copy… or at least pay for a download.
Stardust Rituals by Electric Moon
‘Stardust Rituals’ is the fifth studio release from German trio Electric Moon, something that I was very surprised about given that the band seemed to be far more prolific than that. Then I realised that the vast majority of their releases have been live albums where their music takes on a life of its own with the band improvising the hell out of their sound to thrilling effect. This album is a testament to the spontaneous element of Electric Moon’s music in that it still feels very fresh and not over produced (although very well mixed by Sula Bassana and mastered by Eroc). The tracks themselves are refreshingly diverse, each having its own character and feel, with the final track ‘(You Will) Live Forever Now’ taking up the whole of the second side with one of those extended space rock epics that the band are famous for. If anything, though, its the shorter and more punchy tracks of side one that really set this album apart for me and provide me with a new way of appreciating their work.
‘Startdust Rituals’ is available now from Sulatron Records.
Obsidion by Barrows
Barrows is a spacey instrumentalist band from Los Angeles. What a monster of an album this is, stretching out over three sides of vinyl this is in turn a real rocker and something altogether more subtle and nuanced. One minute you’re flying round the room with your air guitar glancing at the mirror as it flashes by, the next you’re curled up in deep contemplation on the meaning of life, the universe etc… The former bits are hard and heavy, the softer bits hugely atmospheric… like the contrast between the mad roar of lift off with the almost silent emptiness of space. This is an album that keeps you guessing all the way through, but never lets you waver from it’s mission which, according to the band, is “about the experience of a man who is abducted from earth and brought to ’Obsidion’, a place where dimension is indefinable and the boundaries of human consciousness cease to exist”. Listen carefully any you’ll experience it!
Excursions To Cloudland by Dire Wolves
This is one of those albums that seems to be a bit of an outlier. It’s definitely psychedelic, but that’s not how it should be defined. It has elements of folk, but it’s certainly not folksy. It has a wonderful free-form jazz feel, but there’s also a heavier tighter thing going on here too. It has it’s rock moments too, but is also in many ways experimental. More than anything it’s all these things that somehow cohere together in an almost ineffable way. In short this is one of those albums that just works, don’t ask me why, and don’t think about it too much… just sit back and marvel at how Dire Wolves make the unusual and complex sound effortless. Rapidly becoming one of my favourite records of the year so far.