Antroprophh - Outside the Circle


Compared to the self-titled release, on the newest release the members of the Bristol psychedelic rock band Anthroprophh stay much closer to the bombastic, overdriven spirit of The Heads, the main vehicle of the band’s members. While the self-titled sounded like a psilocybin fueled soundtrack to a spy movie with low-profile, crawling music, Outside the Circle is an explosion of energy, an ecstatic upwards spiral, which walks triumphtantly through different shades of psych rock with disarming ease: there’s a bit of krautrock, space-rock, druggy post-punk and God know what else here. Vocals, guitar soloes, fuzzy sound, trippy effects and everything else a psych rock fan migtht need to have their receptors blown. Recommended!

Anthroprophh - Anthroprophh


Anthroprophh are an offshoot of a legendary Bristol psychedelic high-rollers The Heads, yet the sound of the new project is devoid of The Heads’ bombastic energy and general rock glamour. Instead, it goes even more for the psychedelic aspect, while reducing their sound to a series of crawling, slithery droning space rock compressions, switching between burned-out cavernous guitar solos and slowly paced, organ-based shamanistic excursions in the vein of early, VU-inspired incarnation of Religious Knives. In fact, I wouldn’t be suprised if Anthroprophh turned out to be one of Skullflower’s numerous side projects. Same extremely murky vibe with a bit of hasheeshian haze to it.

Todd - Big Ripper

Riot Season label gets some eternal cool points in my eyes not only for releasing albums from such kick-ass bands as Acid Mothers Temple or Shit & Shine, but also for putting all their catalog on Bandcamp for streaming and download (with quite low prices, too!). Now, here comes this 2009 sludgy, dirty gem from the London based distortion caveman team Todd. On Big Ripper they refine their style, combining relentless, unforgiving hxc vibes with super-amplified hyper-distortion, offering a good combination of psychedelic energy and punk nihility to destroy everything in sight. “The (R)wub” is a stand-out here, my absolute favorite, tearing through everything in its acidic heroin blues mode, piercing the ears and the skin with not-giving-a-fuck solos and mangled vocals. This is album is not only a big ripper. It’s a huge ripper. Highly recommended!

Basic House - Ambrosias Vol. 1

The heavy buzz of countless bees welcomes the listener in the immersive, droning sonic experience “ABC Ambrosia”, where the hive sounds get worked into a heavy, Vibracathedral-styled drone filled with lovely little pieces of feedback and the heavy hum of the beehive. And then it gets better. Ambrosias Vol. 1 collects various recordings from 2004 to 2009 made by Stephen Bishop - who’s also the founder of the Opal Tapes label. His work as Basic House may not be as rhythm-based as most Opal Tapes stuff, but it’s still a carefully crafted sonic experience, mixing hissy ambience with field recordings, where moments of silence or quietness are just as important as walls of drone that sometimes drown out everything else. And wait for side B’s 18-minute “Panasonium / Matrioshka Brain”, which sounds like a kosmische musik synth jam played in a wet cave and we might have a winner. Recommended!

Tuluum Shimmering - The Sky Tree

Damn, I knew for a while that Inner Islands label was on the rise, but the newest cassette from the master of all rainforest drone, Tuluum Shimmering, is a total monster - 120 minutes (!!!) of inner temple folk and psych meanderings that any contact with the outside world may not be welcome now. This is no light ride - quite the opposite; it’s a heavy, smokey meditation that drills deep into the unconscious and works well on a threshold between the waking world and the world of dreams. This is music conjured by a bunch of shamans under the influence of psilocybin mushrooms ingested in some pre-religious ritual, when animism reigned and every object, tree, animal, and person had a spirit. So the world was a tight patchwork of souls and spirits, all vibrating with life energy - imagine how intense the world must’ve been for a shaman - something like how Neo saw the world in the Matrix series!

The Sky Tree is a monumental cassette hidden within a more-than-modest cardboard packaging hiding its potential. Two sides, each 60 minutes long (who makes cassettes like these anymore!?), sprawling between several different styles - from primeval moss drone to lo-fi piano minimalism in the vein of Super Minerals’ Clusters tape, then starting side B with meditative morning ragas in Hindustani tradition with drawn out sitar drones and flute music-painting. The slow, ambiental jam get slowly transformed into a huge, long piece of motorik drone folk (is that a thing? If it’s not, it should totally be a thing) accented with looping pianos, conjuring some sort of unholy mash-up between SimCity soundtracks, Ferraro’s Far Side Virtual and Neu! circa 1975. Add some Blues Control-styled cascades of jazzy pianos at the end and what you get is a masterpiece of repetition, a crowning achievement in huge, all-consuming psychedelia that could give a lot of potential to 5, maybe 7 good cassettes. Highly recommended, music to get drowned in!

The Michael Flower Band - The Michael Flower Band

The heavy drone rock of Leeds ensemble Vibracathedral Orchestra owes much of it unique hypnotic sound to the skills of Michael Flower, whose own band presents the even heavier and dronier approach fo rock music, presenting their own, mescaline-fueled version of Harley heavy metal. Somewhere between Alasehir and Flower-Corsano Duo, the Michael Flower Band shape a rugged, orient-tinged approach to 70’s hard rock with heavily distorted, dusted muscley edge. The three last tracks take on a more “acoustic” approach - acoustic, as in a “slightly less amplified, but still pretty goddamn skin-peeling”, where a single riff is extended into a series of wildly vibrating feedbacks and jazzy improvisations with a droney marathon style only Vibracathedrals can shape. A must have for y’all drone stoners.

Robin Allender - Foxes in the Foyer

Boy, I do sure like listening to two completely different new albums one after another. Because the ambience of Bristol, UK based guitarist Robin Allender is about as detached from the coldness and inhumanity of Oddgrad. It’s warm, summery, even more like early autumn. Probably I’m guessing that because of the cover. Nature themes run high on this record, as Allender (who’s primarily a member of Yann Tiersen’s band) provides meditative, cinematic pieces of American Primitivism. The opening track, “Klondike”, sounds like the Spring itself (just like the La Morte Young said: “You Must Believe in Spring!”). That’s correct - after listening to this piece I was blown away like a pile of stale old leaves, exposing the fresh growth. With shimmering dronescapes thrown in between sprawling fingerpicking emotional vistas. This is a hugely relaxing album, providing a meditation on man vs. nature kinda stuff and thinking about going hiking for the next weekend in the nearest bushes. Good folk. Get it.

Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura - Dieter Dierks Jerks

Sweet Christ, how do these fuckers do that? This is what Bardo Pond would be like if they did amphetamines instead of weed or something. This is a recording of those Manchurian brain-eaters playing a concert right in their lair. Even though side A begins slowly and carefully, this 8-strong hairy monster gets its groove locked and it switches into rapid fire, full-automatic hyper-krautrock mega boogie expanding in all directions at once; like a think tank pushing all their brain power into creating the most ecstatic sound ever made. This is like a slightly less noise rocky, less obnoxious Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. But the atmosphere stays, and it fucking slays. Whether you’re stone sober or in the stratosphere, it will still sound like the inside of a furnace, where all the instruments fuse together into a fuzzed-out, heavy metal Boredoms tribute.

tl;dr It sounds like a TGV flying straight up towards the Sun.

Karen Gwyer - Kiki the Wormhole

The work of the Iowa-born, London-based electronic producer Karen Gwyer has been hypnotizing ever since discovering her debut LP Needs Continuum about two months ago. From the first seconds of the opening "Sugar Tots" I knew I was in love. Droning, monotonous melodies crawl up and down while the deconstructed & slowed down techno/house beats unveil into a nearly Gas-like hypnotic, dazed state. This release by Karen was released via the leading mutant techno label Opal Tapes. Three lengthy tracks evolve and grow around slowly, like the fungus in the corner of the room over time. Or mold. The sounds of this tape are paradoxically clear and murky, the endless two-note shuffle in the background gives a propulsive, while the main melody expands and mutates into a sort of ever-repetitive, minimalistic version of Amber era Autechre (or a similar work from early Warp Records). Each track is longer. The time gets stretched, the sounds grow busier and more enveloping. One keeps listening until their entire body is disintegrated within the ambiental drone techno. Higly recommended!

Battery Face - What’s What Stuff

It seems like there’s something huge and noisy brewin’ up in the music underground of Northern England and Scotland, because some of the most guitar-damaged and unhinged psych acts of the last few years seem to be coming from that region - Desmadrados Soldados, Chalaque, Moon Unit etc. etc. The Glasgow based anarcho-noise unit Battery Face kick things off from the very start into a dizzying distortion worship, plunging into ampetaminic depths of Gravitar-styled formless hyper-rock improvisations, sprawling across several minutes and having no apparent beginning or end. Fully DIY, celebrating the spirit of ecstatic jamming with no limits stated from above. Rock on, stay free, smoke weed, fuck school. Highly recommended!

Petrels - Onkalo

If you were ever thinking “Is there anyone else quite like Sean McCann in this world?”, then the work of the London resident Oliver Barrett, operating under the moniker Petrels might be the answer. Operating in the very similar area of morphing and modifying modern classical instrumentarium for the needs of glitchy drone and ambient music, he molds the walls of strings into shimmering, solid crystalline towers that seem fragile and delicate at first but turn out to be nearly indestructible, immune to weather or wars. It’s a raw, slowly emerging sound, like a cleaner version of Tim Hecker or a harsher Christian Fennesz, with a bit of choir beauty thrown here or there among the nearly post-apoc war drums or searing white noise textures. Deep, dark and unrelenting. Highly recommended.

Housewives - Housewives

If one was to guess the looks and the overall mood of a certain city or town where a band come from from their sound, then guessing by the nihilistic, atonal sound of the Brighton based band Housewives, this seaside town must be one hell of a depressing place to live in, consumed by fear and urban decay, kinda like New York City in the 1970’s and 1980’s, at the peak of its no wave period. And certainly, Housewives borrow a lot from the harsh traditions of the no wave genre, filling their hard-hitting tracks with avant-garde leanings and post-punk energy, propelled forward by mathematic rhythms and razor-sharp guitar notes, fuelled by anger and paranoia. A must-have for fans of both DNA, No New York comp and This Heat. Highly recommended!

Áine O’Dwyer - Music for Church Cleaners

Once in a while, there comes an album that helps you discover (or rediscover) a certain instrument. In case of Áine O’Dwyer’s Music for Church Cleaners it’s the simple church organ - I first fell in love with this instrument after hearing Fantasma di Peralolo by Burial Hex, a series of lengthy, monumental church organ improvisations recalling the heaviest organ drones of Popol Vuh circa 1971. Áine O’Dwyer, the Irish harpist and composer recorded her intimate, minimalistic album in a London church in the presence of a cleaning staff (hence the name). It may not be psychedelic at all (contrary to this blog’s usual music choices), but it’s nevertheless deeply mesmerizing and highly intimate, hailing back to church music traditions but still adding some drone and avant-garde classical tones to the organ-based masterpiece. It’s a bit modern classical, a bit field-recording - you can hear various sounds, like the sounds of the cleaning staff themselves or some kids’ shouts in some of the pieces - which lend it the idea of a “site” and “time” specific recording. It’s filled with echoes and droning tones, and it’s magnificent. It almost makes me feel like going to my own local church just to hear the sounds of its organs. Highly recommended!

Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura - Interpenetrating Dimensional Express

Let’s kick off the year 2014 in style: The newest album by the Manchester based free-psych monsters Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura is the sonic equivalent of the entire world’s stash of fireworks going off all at once at the same time: it’s a seemingly endless series of colorful explosions, a wild ride through even wilder colors and textures, all sprawling over more than 80(!!!) minutes of some of the most off-the-hook acid rock jams played on four(!) guitars, two basses, one set of drums and some additional vocals which try to fight against the titanic storm of endlessly soloing string orgasms, shredding all the way to Nirvana. If “psychedelic” means “mind manifesting”, then these guys’ minds must be seen from the orbit. This is fucking Las Vegas of psychedelic rock. LISTEN TO IT NOW, GET YOUR MIND BLOWN FOR A GOOD START OF THE YEAR!

Perfume Advert - Tulpa

I sure loooooove analyzing album covers and comparing them with the music that can be found inside. The artwork of Tulpa by the Middlesborough, UK duo Perfume Advert (Aaron Turner + Tom Brown), released by the very promising 1080p label, features a thrashed living room, with knocked over chairs and shattered glass all over the place. It’s almost like a spontaneous house party gone horribly wrong, with accidental drunk guests entering rage mode and destroying everything in sight (I’ve been to house parties like that, furniture went flying, armchairs were burned, I don’t remember much). Then the host wakes up in the morning with a huge hangover and a dozen random people sleeping in random locations around the house and reminds himself that their parents are coming back in the afternoon and is feverishly thinking “shit, shit, shit, what do do now!??!?!”. The sound of Tulpa is like a house/techno music soundtrack to such a party, where the catchy, pumping tunes are consumed by washes of white noise, distortion and industrial grime. It’s all noisy and rough behind the premises of four-to-the-floor beats, like the guests to the party, who seem like nice guys in the beginning but are beginning to get nasty after the 6th beer. Recommended!