Sunday, August 27, 2017
The all instrumental rock trio from Copenhagen are back with their 5th studio album and this time it is a double LP or CD. I have been friends with the band since nearly the beginning and reviewed nearly all their records. I had spoken with the band a lot about this record. It took a long time to come out compared to when it was recorded but it is here now! The band brought in John McIntire (Tortoise) to mix the record over in the USA. The album features 7 long tracks (the shortest is 9mins) spread over about 90mins). As is quite common with the band, there are no song titles, just V.1, V.II, V.III, etc. Track V.I starts off with a mid-pace, a nice clean drum and bass sound, while Nicklas layers in with some very floating guitar. Later, he overdubs a lead guitar, every beautiful and melodic solo as the track builds in intensity. Some really cool delay guitars and some that sounds like keyboards at times. Cool track. V.II (one they used to call Acid Rock). IT starts off quite dreamy but Christoffer slowly drives the rhythm a bit faster and about 3 mins the track really takes off. At 6.2 mins Nicklas switches from the dreamy guitar to a more hard rock riff and just rips it up on the guitar. Amazing bass playing in this section as well by Christian. The track comes down after about a min or so to sort of where it started. Some keyboards also appear (not sure how plays them?) to compliment the guitar lines. It ends in a very dreamy and beautiful way. The live versions of this song are much more intense these days. V.III features some really cool interplay between the bass and guitar lines. I love the way they compliment each other as the track slowly builds again. A very lush sound with keyboard like guitars at times. Post rock is not a word I would have mentioned with Papir in the past but this track is a prime example of the genre, done Papir style. V.IV ends the first CD with a 15min track. It starts much like the others but the underlying keyboard sequence plays a bigger role at the start of this track. Nicklas plays some really cool guitar solos on this track. Sometimes a bit jazzy, some David Gilmour like stuff and then just some great lead runs. V.V starts off quite slow and a spacey with some nice delay guitar. It maintains this relaxed vibe throughout the track. V.VI has a bit of a drone at the start and slowly builds with some really cool guitar and again some keyboards (very airy). It later builds up to a more rocking state with some really cool wah bass playing. V.VII is 25mins long and ends the record. IT starts slowly and very relaxed. I love the section between 10-12 mins with the intense delays, swirling organ like keyboard. The track nearly dies completely but then steps forward again to continue in much the way it started.
This is a pretty amazing record and a bit more laid back and spacey with super cool guitar, bass and drums. They just have magic these guys. Each track is it’s own individual journey. Hope you enjoyed the trip..
Kungens Män is based in Stockholm and have been pretty active with releases the past few years and have played some shows outside of Stockholm as well. This is another self released double CD. It is also available as a limited double LP. The band has also released material on other labels but this is the 6th on their own label. IT features one CD (Dag= Day) and the song titles relate to the day and the 2nd CD (Natt= Night), relate to Night time. Mogenrodnad (13mins) starts things off with a slow growing start with saxophone, effected vocals and some guitar. Dag is a more uptempo track with a repeated guitar line and steady groove and after about 4mins a very nice guitar solo. Samtidigt is more floating and spacey. The electronics-keyboards are all mixed pretty low on this release but you can hear, feel, sense it more on this track at the beginning. It has a sort of mysterious feeling to the guitar lines, like something strange might happen. Aftonstärnan ends this first CD (or LP). Another more repetitive piece to start but you really get sucked into this one as it breaks the 13min mark. There are 7 guys listed as playing on the record but on this first CD it is mostly just two guitars, bass, drums (sax on the 1st track) and some electronics here and there but mixed very low.
Natt starts off with Natt and the return of the saxophone. This track is a bit boring not enough is going on really. Track two has the heaviest guitar on the record (the only really heavy intense guitar), while the 2nd guitar plays some very similar melodic stuff as he has on many of the tracks. This is a dark one and one of my faves on the 2LP set. Ett Tappat Perspiktir has a darker feel to it, a bit menacing at times. A few more wild and spacey sounds appear in this one. This track is the most psychedelic one on the album and you can really get lost in space. Cool stuff. Mara is a short 3min track and very spacey with an distorted drum, delay guitars, effected vocals. Vargtimimen again brings more dark theme to the evening. Cirklen är Slut (the circle is closed) ends your 90mins of fun with Kungens Man!
If you are lucky, there is an amazing 2LP version with one white vinyl LP and one black made in only 150 copies. It also has a cool silk screen, some stickers and other stuff as well. Very nice package.
The UK psych band, the Chemistry St are back with a brilliant new 7”. I was quite impressed with their full length album last year. The title track of this 7” is a quite funny and cool Kinks inspired track. Rubicon is something totally different with an almost punky attitude and energy to it but still sort of the bands signature sound. I would have liked this one to be a bit more stretched out as the guitar solo is cool. The highlight of this release though is the great cover version of the old Moody Blues song, Legend of a Mind (about Timothy Leary!). Wow.. what a super cool version of this song from 1968.
Ash Magna is a spaced out side project of Vince Cory (Alan Davey, Red Elektra, Sonic Shamen and others..). Vince sent me one or two other CD-Rs of this project and it is all pretty cool. This one is more advanced in the layers of sound and there are more people involed. Chris Meinhardt (Oglala overtone, bells) has been on another of the releases. Daneel Olivaw adds some synths, sound FX and Dan Schott provides the loops and beats. The first track, Neon Krishna f.m., is an uptempo electronic driven track with some nice melodies and it is very spacey. Veda is a drifting space track with no rhythms, just spacey drones, very airy, flight, fresh.. Desert Dancer features some electronic tabla like drums as it slowly takes form with some nice guitar and bells, etc… some cool layers in this track as it gets going. Very spaced out with some nice female vocals sung in a sort of mid-eastern vibe. Djong starts very spacey with some delay guitars and floating space synths and drones. Vince plays a really cool guitar solo on this track. This is a very long track. Voyager starts with some guitar, drones and spacey sounds but a very nice melodic thread but very short. Mandala ends the CD and starts with some acoustic guitar. I really enjoyed this one a lot…
Voyager (video of one of the tracks from the album)
I am familiar with the German band Daily Thompson (stoner rock) but I have never heard of the Danish band, Monkey Okay (even though I lived in Denmark for 20 years!). Side A features River Haze by Daily Thompson. I like the guitar riff that the song starts off with before the heavy bass and drums kick in. A lot of low end on this 7”, wow. I really dug this straight forward hypnotic stoner track. Monkey Okay’s track is called Cancerman. This is a catchy high energy rock track. I dig the singers voice and some great cool dual guitars on this track. This is a great 7”. Both bands kick ass. Released on Sept 22nd in 3 colours in 210 copies total.