Album Appreciation: Nugrybauti by Atlanta

NUGRYBAUTI (Lithuanian): to become distracted during a task, literally to get lost wandering in search of mushrooms.

This definition also sounds like something of a manifesto from Atlanta, a Dutch trio who have been around as a band since 2017. In this, their second recording, the three musicians (Bob Hogenelst: drums, Sebas van Olst: bass and Pieter Holkenborg: guitar) spent two days in with producer/engineer Sebastiaan van Bijlevelt (Yawning Man/Lambchop/Shaking Godspeed) in a recording studio; the result being this entirely improvised work.

This sounds like a manifesto because you can sense how much these three get absolutely lost in the music they are playing. There is no grandstanding and no ego here… just a tight unit who play off each other and basically just go for it. As Holkenborg comments:

Instead of a musical experience it’s more like a psychological game, or fight, between the brain and heart and the brains and hearts of the other two guys. When all three of us get on the same wavelength it can get really intense. It’s a weird combination of melancholy and sheer joy that strikes me on those moments.

And that’s the thing with this… there’s nothing new about improvising power trios, the threesome in space and psychedelic rock is arguably the most stable and exciting… but there is also a sense that groups of this nature can fall into something that is formulaic and stale.

I think that this is why Atlanta stood out for me when I heard the band quite by chance on a Bandcamp search one Friday. I was struck by the power of the music, but also by the subtle ways in which the members of the band work with and off each other… there are times in which the music feels like a steamroller smashing all before it, but then there are moments of melancholy and fragility which are really what takes this album up several levels for me.

This then is a monster of an album, but one with the emotional intelligence to take the listener not only on a journey into a sonic universe… it gives you a far broader perspective while at the same time being a genuinely exciting prospect, even when you have it on repeat. Definitely one of my albums of the year so far.

‘Nugrybauti’ is released on Lay Bare Recordordings, and is also available on vinyl and download here.



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