Simply amazing Croatian psych with special assistance from Makoto Kawabata (Acid Mothers Temple, ...) If the metallic mettle of these men represents Dystopia, then forget Utopia, I wanna bang on Dystopia’s drum all day! The sweet ‘n’ sour smell of Kraut explodes in carefully paced salvos, and then goes completely off the rails. And then gets crazier. And crazier. And crazier. And crazier. Until it reaches an insane, almost unbearably heavy sonic crescendo, and then gets even crazier. And crazier. And crazier. A thick, unending firestorm of napalm psychedelia PUMMELS while its orbit decays into the swirling sounds of slowly going mad. An audio illustration of a mescaline trip that gets too close too enlightenment. Amon Duul II times ten to the fifth of Beethoven! A truly massive attack!
There's always a sense of a celebratory spot of bunting hanging in our gaff when a Beta Lactam Ring package rears into view on our door mat, trouble is we have so much fun soaking ourselves in the eclectic and often - it should be said - disturbing sounds of their catalogue that we almost forget to write up the reviews. There you go a moment of honesty never did anyone any harm until of course they chuck you off the mailing list.
The most recent dispatch from the BLRR stable features outing for perennial favourites here - Volcano the Bear, LSD March, Soriah and George and Caplin - though sadly the latter never made it to the parcel though the press release is intact (maybe we could review that) - all of course will be getting the critical once over shortly. However notwithstanding the gems within - and remember there is a VTB release which to momentarily ignore is akin to having an itch you can't scratch - the release that caught us square between the eyes is this little beast from Croatian ensemble Seven that Spells.
One for the psychedelic purists. Those much in love with looping mantras coiled in Arabesque swirls freewheeling upon a tripping odyssey towards mind expanding enlightenment should have these dudes on your cosmic radar and if not should be making a sharpish dash towards the nearest Tibetan travel ticket machine in order to book yourself a place on this volcanic and monolithic 73 minute cerebral cruise liner.
'the men from Dystopia' is an unrelenting primordial shake down feast of scorched freak outs, monastic grandeur, fried fret work sublimely melded into a titanic white hot 5 part firmament of brain mulching slow freak psyche that within reveals in Niko Potocnjak a guitarist cut from the same cloth as his talisman and sole inspirational source Makoto Kawabata of Acid Mothers Temple fame (who incidentally appears here applying some masterful and dare we say unworldly things with an electric sitar and hurdy-gurdy) and of whom it can be said has been sun kissed by the drug induced sonic white out spectre of Hendrix.
'The Men from Dystopia' is essentially one elongated suite divided up into 5 parts not so much with a view to relieving you of the endurance levels needed to tackle it head on but no doubt serving as some kind of concerned health warning fearing that a fair few passengers won't make the return journey.
In terms of texture and delivery its closest peer not withstanding the obvious comparisons to AMT are fellow Beta Lactam psych blues overlords Green Milk from the Planet Orange while in recent memory one only needs dip into the more out there moments of Psychic TV's recent 'Hell is Invisible, Heaven is Her/e' to locate a common ally in terms of venturing
Symbiotically threaded together each of the five parts exists in its spatial dimension, picking the baton left by its predecessor its shifts ever steadily with finite precision through the intoxicated states of lysergic flux towards of inner Karma reaching critical mass at 'IV' wherein the intensity and density that has so far been steadily gathering mass, form and dimension up to this point suddenly collides into a mammoth out there skull fuck. From the initial chilled out bliss personas of the ceremonial like spooked soft psyche folk chiming overtures of 'I' sumptuously adrift with key washes all the time adding the component ingredients (cosmika florets and chanting recitals delivered by trappist monks on a bad trip) to the swamping brew. 'II' ups the ante ever so gently incorporating a fixed set kraut throw back groove while decorating the spectacle with mirage like swirls. Yet its 'III' that provides the sets centrepiece, a superbly executed riff rampage - fractured and fried, visceral and volatile - it's a true 16 minute wig flipping freaked out fuzz core experience of barrier decimating proportions. Personally though - for me the albums best moment arrives with 'IV' - a frazzled and chaotic cauldron where for once the psyche-tropic rule book is lashed aside in favour of the unravelling, corrupting and corroding dissipating overtures spliced between nose bloodying tensely equipped drone montages scared by moments of rabid sonic assaults - listen a little closer and it sounds like a hallucinogenic highland fling. 'V' naturally brings everything full circle - the come down - unsettling and eerie the moods and textures evaporating and as with dream like states confused and concussed until the calming influence of the monastic chants bring all to a logical closure.
Immense stuff - a colossal substance free head trip - the man from Dystopia - he say yeah - oh bloody hell I couldn't resist it okay.
Hailing from Croatia Seven That Spells include in their ranks one Kawabata Makoto (for this release at least) who is confined to electric sitar, Tamburo and Hurdy Gurdy, such is the extraordinary power of guitarist Niko Potocnjak. Opening with a swirl of synth, an eastern guitar riff picks up the groove, the music sounding like U.S. Kaleidoscope, slowly however, the intensity builds, Ashra Tempel joining the party as the sounds get wilder and weirder, the guitar running across the piece like a golden thread to heaven. Suddenly you realise that 15 minutes has passed and you are deep into track two, a twenty minute epic sounding like Quicksilver jamming with every modern Japanese Psych band you can think of, a holy wall of noise that could stop wars and raise the Dead.
Just as you think the band are peaking, track three goes into freakout meltdown mode, the band holding onto an echo of the melody whilst throwing out everything non-essential to the trip, off into hyperspace and grinning wildly. Slightly slower and more drone laden, track four gives Mono a run for their money, a floating cloud of noise and derangement that cloaks everything in a veil of stars. Finally track five allows the band to dissolve, fusing their molecules into an endlessly drifting sphere of light, that shimmers across 14 minutes, leaving a single lotus petal waving in the breeze.
Goodness Gracious it's been a long while since I've heard such mangled beauty. It's as though these Croatian freaks (along with Kawabata and Tsuyama from the ALMIGHTY Acid Mother's Temple!!) have taken every rural folk song from their country, dipped it straight into some gooey psychedelic lightshow liquid and commenced to sprinkle it over their heads.
The going gets weird right away with some plucked sitar and tambura. These lines of brain massaging melody run smack into a pounding mono-riff from Hell and subsequently ride on waves of plinking, plonking and swishing synth lines. Although it's divided into 5 separate tracks there is no real division here. It's all one big MASSIVE meltdown and psychedelic endurance test. The guitar is a high light, letting loose with crazy and way over the top solos. These are of course some of the high lights of the disc. It's as though every Hendrix lick ever recorded has been condensed into one blurry laser gun blast and it's aimed at a pack of wild cavemen who scatter to the four corners of the Earth to found new religions based on feedback and volume.There's no real letup for the whole 70 plus minute ride. You simply sit down, strap in and hold on. Or don't… Maybe you should just crank this sucker up and let it blast all of the talk of recession/stimulus, Hilary/Obama, Love/Hate, Right/Wrong and any other notion right out of the folds of your over stimulated brain. Let the walls come crumbling down for a change. We could spend weeks analyzing this molten chunk of spiky psychedelia but why bother? It's more enjoyable to simply let these freak-power currents give your nervous system a reset and boost.
Seven that Spells:
Recorded during 2006 & 2007 @Psychedelic Dungeon and @Acid Mothers Temple