Madrid’s Lüger follow-up their self-titled and hop over the sophomore slump with Concrete Light, another frenetic mix of krautrock and more progressive rock and psych leanings. Between the ‘concrete’ and ‘light’ ends of their spectrum, they have plenty of room to do the mixing, but hang more at the edges to push the dynamics and keep the energy level ramped. By no means a full-on assault, Lüger have a knack for keeping the tension high and tight, even in the quieter moments, and then knowing when to release it. It’s a thoroughly modern and stylish sounding outing (recorded live in 3 days) that drives home the focus and intent they made clear on Lüger; a fantastic successor and affirmation of the promise of that debut.
St. Petersburg’s set and setting follow up their late-night nychthemeron with their next step, trails. The title is plural and they take advantage of it. From big to subtle false stops and starts and a few side paths that always lead home, set and setting keep it all moving ahead, rolling themselves out over the cut’s almost 16 minutes. The focus is stronger, the production crisp and expansive. They play hard to pigeon hole, darting around through warm psych-tinges of post and progressive rock taking nychthemeron even further out.
They also have a couple live cuts from a live session at WMNF, recorded this past May.
As sweet as suites get, Monrovia Suite from Christopher Cavaliere is both an understated showcase and a showstopper. Primarily built with Cavaliere’s acoustic prowess, with occasional drums and vocals, Monrovia Suite is surprisingly accessible, challenging and downright beautiful. A singular voice and talent, Cavaliere offers up eight compositions (labeled etudes throughout) that blend everything from fingerpicking to progressive to post-rock tinged flights to…the list goes on…There’s not one point where it comes across as showy bloat or a dabbling in genres for the sake of…dabbling or showing off because he can. And he most certainly can. From a purely educational or technical standpoint, I’m at a loss as to where this comes from, or even hints at; Cavaliere is certainly a ‘musician’s musician.’ That said, Monrovia Suite is as inviting, open and warm as they come. There is a smokey mystery quotient that runs through it, a reflection of his talent of course, but also of where it was recorded and conceived:
“Monrovia Suite was recorded at the American Fabrics Building in BPT CT. The Building was built in 1908 and contains very acoustically unique properties. Having access to rooms with 17 foot tall ceilings to 40 feet. I was able to experiment with distance and dimension using conventional and alternative processes.”
It’s a dizzying array of pure playing, composition and execution, as well as experimentation. Usually, it’s ‘recommended if you like ________,’ but Cavaliere cuts a wide swath, through the whole record as well as the individual pieces, that it really should appeal to lovers of music over genres. Dynamic, incredibly thoughtful, and both thoroughly modern and traditional, Monrovia Suite is flat-out compelling.
Swedish collective Reform settle down to a stable core for their fifth outing, the 2-disc Reveries of Reform. For the most part, Reveries of Reform wades in progressive waters, with plenty of fusion ripples and some psych and space rock overtones. All blend together for a mellow and rolling listen that never comes across as lightweight. The production is rich and warm adding to the tumbling of the record. It’s mostly instrumental with a few tracks having some understated vocals. There is a definite whiff of old-school fusion with the jazzy flourishes throughout. Not too many outfits traffic in this stuff or bother bringing it into the modern light anymore, but Reform have got obvious chops at playing so it never comes across as hoary or moldy. To the contrary, it sounds refreshing; not only for what it conjures up, but for it’s tastefulness. Peter Åkerberg’s guitar is front and center, but everyone is mixed in in the right measure to back up their stance as a musical collective. Mattias Lennestig and Magnus Ramel share keyboard duties and find, as well as make, plenty of room to stand side by side. Jesper Bergman and Anders Bergman hold down the bottom end keeping it rooted and active. Don’t let 2-discs of ‘fusion’ scare you aware if the word evokes thoughts of musical eggheads or your arteries got clogged with the usual watered down treacle. Fusion always was an open mix of jazz, blues, psychedelia, world music, blah blah…to me, the good stuff was always about approach as much as it was flat-out technical prowess. Reveries of Reform should appeal those looking to step out of their usual comfort zone to find something that feels different, but not so alien you can’t relate to it or know where it’s coming from.
Another Happy Landing :: Reform :: Reveries of Reform (Transubstans, 2011)
Manchester’s Trojan Horse are launching a new site, hitting the road and to celebrate the 10,000 play mark are giving their debut, Trojan Horse, the free download treatment.
Formed back in 2007, Trojan Horse’s success has been long overdue, the group’s strong belief in a DIY aesthetic finally paying dividends this year with the sold out launch of Trojan Horse in Manchester, support from BBC 6music and Drowned In Sound, support slots with the likes of Vessels and Beecher and appearances at breakthrough underground festivals Sounds From The Other City and Fat Out Fest as well as playing for Love Music Hate Racism. You can now catch up on all the latest ‘Horse news at trojanhorse.co.uk including latest touring dates.
Made up of brothers Nick (vocals/guitar,) Lawrence (bass/vocals,) and Eden Duke (keyboards/vocals) as well as drummer Guy Crawford, the prog-rockers have a slew of Autumn gigs coming up, including shows with Secret Chiefs 3 and Zun Zun Egui as well as a brace of London shows including the Transient Constellations all-dayer at Brixton’s Windmill. Trojan Horse are a force that seem to be only gathering momentum, their penchant for the diverse and bombastic forging together with ever more exhilarating results, the next instalment set to be an EP to be released before the end of the year. For now don’t miss your chance to download, for free, one of the finest albums to come out of Manchester this year.
Sad news of Conrad Schnitzler’s passing from stomach cancer, August 4th. A true maverick of experimental and electronic sound, Schnitzler’s work with the likes of Kluster, Tangerine Dream, Gen Ken Montgomery and many others added a rather dramatic fork in the road in the avenues of progressive music starting as far back as the late 1960′s.
Point your compass north and get your head east. Toronto’s Eastern Magnetics put the drama and drone out, and above, on their self-released debut. Eastern Magnetics is a tumbling, brooding campaign more full of big omens than doom and gloom. Varanasi Sleigh Ride and Go Down I’m Ready are downright warm as they snake their way through, and cuts like Wild Seed and Rest Easy tip their hat to their shoes a bit. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re harboring a Six.By Seven fan in their ranks by the way they control their wall of sound. They got the insistent chug of touchstones like Spiritualized coupled with some of the more psych-prog thump of outfits like Hopewell or Apse. Throw in the drama played up by others like Lumerians and its pull gets stronger, as slippery as it is to nail down.
The slow climb of most of the cuts, restrained vocals that float in and out; drumming that keeps rolling and lends an almost tribal feel, big keys up front…it all adds a warm tension that runs through the whole thing. Full of psych, prog accents, a little post-rock angularity here and there and an almost mournful whiff, Eastern Magnetics pulls you right in. Eastern Magnetics say they are “a Toronto based psychedelic rock’n'roll band.” You bet, but we all know that “psychedelic rock’n'roll” covers a lot of ground. And they do just that, start to finish. Sounding like they’re playing in a planetarium-turned-cathedral, or maybe the other way around, Eastern Magnetics built an outstanding debut full of enough drama and lift to fill the pews.
"This show is 110% … one of the most consistently awesome programs we have come across."
The Sunrise Ocean Bender sets sail every Monday morning, 1 – 3 a.m. on WRIR lp 97.3 FM, to find something for your ears, and something for your head … From psych to prog to pop and whatever tributary we can find on the way … and right back around again. There might be a map, but the destination is up for grabs. If it all goes right, we may just get lost. Meet me at the muster station … it might be a long week.