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Monday, 27 May 2019
JuJu's third album, Maps And Territory, reaffirms and at the same time transcends JuJu's unique formula. Refining JuJu’s signature textured wall of sound of pulverizing bass lines, heavily reverbed guitars, hypnotic grooves, gospel drones and crooning vocals, the new record is a linear progression in multi-instrumentalist Gioele Valenti’s singular take on modern Psychedelic Rock. Adding more 1980’s New Wave influences and elements of Jazz to the potent mix of Neo-Psychedelia, Mediterranean Folk, Krautrock and African tribalism of the first two records, the sound of JuJu is now deconstructed, reassembled and expanded, pushing hard against the boundaries of any possibilities. Gioele Valenti’s JuJu project is essentially a blend of his many influences and the six outstanding tracks here fully illustrate this, with contributions from American avant-garde composer and improviser Amy Denio and Goatman from Swedish “Whirled Music” titans Goat, Maps And Territory is the sound of a musician taking a journey deep into a hazy musical hinterland guided by instinct and imagination.
Mixing together groove heavy funk, moody Post Punk/New Wave textures, New Order’s shimmering, propulsive Synth Pop and avant-garde experimentation with the sounds explored on the previous records, Maps And Territory is the obvious next step for JuJu. Opening with the dense, guitar laden ‘Master And Servants’, the new LP segues seamlessly into where Our Mother Was A Plant concluded before taking a series of exhilarating sonic sharp turns along the way. It’s a wild ride as tribal beats are expertly melded with a European Post Punk sheen. There is some really excellent music here………..’Motherfucker Core’ is a metallic, pulsing, almost Industrial sounding, 80s mutant disco groove where Kraftwerk meets chugging guitars and throbbing bass while ‘I'm In Trance’, featuring Goatman, is a heavy Afro-Funk workout that echoes Goat at their shamanic best summoning spirits from down town Lagos. While the current Psych Rock scene is somewhat stagnant and samey, JuJu are continually evolving. Although always pushing forward, JuJu have not abandoned the core sound that has gained the band a growing fan base since the 2015 self titled debut album, however the sense of sonic exploration remains undiminished. The most striking development is the collaboration with Amy Denio……..bordering Jazz territories “Archontes Take Control” is JuJu heading into the strange and beautiful realm of improvised fusion music. At nearly 10 minutes long it’s an intense slow burning instrumental moving from an atmospheric opening, through a polyrhythmic middle section before gently fading into the ether and the perfect was to close this record. No doubt certain to be included in everyone’s end of year “best of” lists, this is one of 2019’s essential albums. You can check out Maps And Territory/stream selected tracks here……….
Due for release on 31/05/2019 via the good folk at Fuzz Club on vinyl and CD, Maps And Territory will be available from all the best record shops, the usual online traders or from the Fuzz Club store.
Monday, 6 May 2019
3RD EAR EXPERIENCE with DR. SPACE - EAR TO SPACE (Space Rock Productions LP, CD). DR. SPACE featuring MARTIN WEAVER - DR. SPACE’S ALIEN PLANET TRIP Vol. 3 (Space Rock Productions LP).
New from Space Rock Productions a epic galactic love-in between Californian Space/Psych Rockers 3rd Ear Experience and the Øresund Space Collective's main man Dr. Space. Ear To Space is a transatlantic meeting of minds where digital files were bounced from from the Mojave Desert to a secret location in snowy Scandinavia and then beamed back to the 3rd Ear Experience’s remote desert hideaway where this brilliant double LP was finally assembled. Created from a series of jam sessions where the 3rd Ear Experience reached stratospheric heights channeling the sounds of Gong, Hawkwind, Amon Düül II and Pink Floyd before passing the tracks to Dr. Space to add atmospheric texture to the sonic soup from his banks of analogue synths. For the fourth side of the album Dr. Space provided Krautrock inspired synthesizer sounds to which the band jammed along to. Ear To Space is a total trip mixing together 3rd Ear Experience’s passion for exploration than a respect for boundaries, blending elements of Psychedelic and Space Rock along with touches of Prog, Krautrock, and World Music with Dr. Space’s love of the old school modular synth sounds of Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh.
The first two sides of Ear To Space feature full on Space Rock jams………’Screams of Eagle Bone’ is the sound of early Hawkwind snatched from Ladbrooke Grove, dosed with peyote and dumped in the Mojave Desert while ‘Anam Cara’ blends elements of Pink Floyd, free Jazz and trippy West Coast vibes before exploding into a face melting Acid Rock freak out. ‘Dreams Of The Caterpillar’ takes up the whole of side three and is far more experimental……….built on a trance like synth pulse and a steady 4/4 drum beat with soaring lead lines and slinky glissando guitar it’s a distant cousin to Steve Hillage’s System 7 records from the early 90s. From the same school as early Ozric Tentacles, ‘Dreams of the Caterpillar’ is a more spaced out trip than the other tracks on the LP. Side four features the tracks built on Dr. Space’s synth explorations………’Coin In The Desert’ is an excellent mix of spacey synth/guitar textures and tribal drumming expertly fusing elements of Gong and Afrobeat together into some totally far out space jazz with the album closing with the 3rd Ear Experience and Dr. Space channeling Tangerine dream on the atmospheric ‘Sue's Dream World’. Ear To Space is a wonderful melting pot of grooves and textures as the 3rd Ear Experience and Dr. Space spin off into different parts of the psychedelic universe not afraid to experiment with any sonic possibilities. Well worth your time, available on vinyl or CD you can check the album out here……………
Also new from Space Rock Productions is the third volume of Dr. Space’s Alien Planet Trip releases. Featuring guitarist Martin Weaver, Vol 3 is a throwback to the the late 80’s/early 90’s ambient/crusty dub scene where the PsychHeads started doing E. Mixing together Electro/Ethnic drum programming, ambient synth compositions and Techno beats Dr. Space and Martin Weaver recreate the vibe of the chill out room at Club Dog circa 1991. ‘Lost In The Desert’ is an excellent track built on layers of sampled African percussion, echoing the early days of Transglobal Underground and Loop Guru. You can check it out/stream/buy the vinyl here………..
Both albums are out NOW and available from the usual online traders.
Sunday, 5 May 2019
Previously described as “wandering between lazy Mazzy Star/Cowboy Junkies atmospheres and more gritty moments reminiscent of Mark Lanegan”, Italian duo Alice Tambourine Lover (guitarist Gianfranco Romanelli and singer/guitarist and……erm……tambourine player Alice Albertazzi) are back with an new LP of stripped down ethereal and hauntingly beautiful Spook Blues. For their fourth album for Go Down Records Alice Tambourine Lover have added vivid psychedelic hues to their sonic palette, wrapping their songs in layers of reverb and Shoegaze textures giving Down Below’s minimal Folk/Blues sound a glacial sheen. It’s a record dominated by Romanelli’s guitar collection, mixing together rootsy dobro/resonator guitars and shimmering electric guitars with Alice Albertazzi’s guitar and gorgeous voice finding spaces in between, Alice Tambourine Lover take the idea of the Male/Female Folk/Blues duo into strange uncharted waters.
The first impression of Down Below gives credence to the Mazzy Star comparisons with, for example, the woozy Psych Blues and Folk hybrid ‘Follow’ channeling David Roback’s languid guitar style, however with further listens the record opens up to reveal previously unheard depth and subtlety. Built upon layers of guitars and then immersed in a lake of reverb, Down Below is a beautifully crafted blend of heavenly voices and a swirl of acoustic and electric guitars. There are some wonderful songs here…………..’Dance Away’ is an absolute head rush of guitars twisting around Alice Albertazzi’s strong Bluesy vocals while the mesmerizing ‘Into The Maze’ wouldn't sound out of place on Mazzy Star’s So Tonight That I Might See. The record’s last three tracks, ‘Rubber Land’, ‘Train’ and ‘Surround You’, are a fantastic mix of raw Desert Blues and dreamy Psychedelia that are possibly the best tracks on the LP. Although Alice Tambourine Lover are not doing anything really that new they are able to expertly weld their own idiosyncratic sound onto a Psych Blues/Folk chassis making Down Below one of the more interesting albums we have heard so far this year. You can check it out yourself/stream the album here……………
Out NOW via Go Down Records on vinyl and CD and available from all the usual on line outlets.