Friday, April 27, 2012

777: Sect(s) and 777: The Desanctification -
Blut Aus Nord (#4, 2011)

I'm going to break it down by parts, because that's what builds into the whole. At the macro level, these albums are the most recent parts in the Blut Aus Nord journey - from roots in early European Black Metal, through industrial electronics, through drone experiments, through back-to-roots cosmic psychedelia, to here.

Then, these two albums comprise the first parts in the 777 trilogy, of which each track (all titled "Epitome") are subcomponent parts. And many of the individual tracks are clearly assembled from distinct sections of music, often jarringly. And those sections of each track are made up of various musical parts - guitars, rhythms, vocals, etc... Down to the atomic particle level, and maybe beyond.

What you're getting here is some high-grade avant-experimental Black Metal, from France. (Might take some effort.)

777: Sect(s)
Like some twisted, multi-part, disorienting palate-cleanser, Blut Aus Nord begins the trilogy with "Epitome I".

"Epitome I" from 777: Sect(s) (2011)

This track serves as a microcosm of the entire suite (so far), sort of like the early laying-out of themes in a classical piece. The themes are "do not let your expectations come to rest." What happens here: frenzied, howling, blast-beat and tremolo-riffing blow-out; doomy, dissonant creepy-crawl through an evil cathedral; spiraling psych guitar interlude with lurching rhythms; more frenzy, with lizard-demon chanting; drop out to an ambient trip-hop outro. Within each section, so many nooks & crannies have special little details. Like the way the blast-beat sections have different percussion effects incorporated, or how extended the riff pattern is during the second frenzied part. The guitar playing in the slower parts sounds really good, and just the fact of how the song goes out.

"Epitome II" from 777: Sect(s) (2011)

C'mon, let's start over... Definitely a favorite, in a more traditional mold. Good mid-tempo pace, droning guitar figure, dark ambience, majestic melody, moving beween the synths and guitar - very dramatic. Great composition, very nice production!

"Epitome III" from 777: Sect(s) (2011)

But a whole album of that would become boring. Part 3 seems to be deconstructing its opening riff while the song plays on, with a choir in hell bemoaning its fate. The breakdowns keep the listener on your toes. The false stop brings a major shift in tone, into space, where the bendy guitar lines roam.

"Epitome IV" from 777: Sect(s) (2011)

Here's the centerpiece of album 1, and it goes all over the place (again). The opening back-and-forth between asymmetric guitar with reverse-vocals and more structure works very effectively. In the spot where I'd expect a guitar solo breakout, only a background lead guitar line is incoporated - moving into a different (non-solo) section. The chugging middle part goes deep into Neurosis/Isis post-metal territory, but the spidery guitar interlude afterwards pulls way back into clear BAN airspace. I've definitely noticed the thrashier style takes me longer to apprecitate fully, but the other end of the spectrum (slower, groovier) is much easier. Beyond just being styles the band likes to write in, I can see how both sides function to illuminate each other. And I usually come around to enjoying most of the blasting eventually.

I was just going to link to "Epitome V," but appropriately no-one's bothered to put it up. Definitely the least on Sect(s), although still passable.

"Epitome VI" from 777: Sect(s) (2011)

And Blut Aus Nord decided to leave us with another relatively trad post-rock-metal style tune. They do it well, "II" and "VI" are definitely the places to start for this - or Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars (#1 Metal Next 10, 2009). However, I also wouldn't want six straight 7-minute tunes like these all in a row. Dual guitars at the very end are still really haunting.

So April's 777: Sect(s) was pretty awesome. 777: The Desanctification came out in November, and it's better.

"Epitome VII" from 777: The Desanctification (2011)

More drone-guitar, more backwards-vocals, more machine-drums, more synth-choir. But much more than the sum of its parts. The most Near East sounds that I've heard from BAN, then things go soaring, and then dive into weirdness. The last section swoops and swerves and does everything but crashland. The double-bass drum parts! The freak-out guitar trajectory!! I sometimes wonder if "Epitome" is supposed to portmanteau in something about "tome," like an ancient book of forgotten lore.

"Epitome VIII" from 777: The Desanctification (2011)

This section has two main parts, with slight offset. I don't know why, but I really really dig the first half of "VIII" - reminds me of punk, noise rock, prog, metal obviously, horror soundtracks/sound effects, plus... more. Just relentless. Then parts change, and the guitar goes into a completely different mode. But lots of the structure continues for awhile, shaded differently by the guitar. Then everything else catches up, and it's all new over again. And again, the end provides something almost (but not exactly) distinct - I'm just now recognizing "the payoff" pattern with these late-game heroics.

"Epitome IX" from 777: The Desanctification (2011)

Bet you weren't expecting that, huh? Blut Aus Psych'arabia.

"Epitome X" from 777: The Desanctification (2011)

#10 ("X") starts off pretty standard, then quickly takes it up a big notch. Clean vocals? Laid-back riff? What?! It circles around a bit until the midpoint breakdown(s) throw a few more curveballs. (Somehow I don't think the trilogy is about baseball...) So much awesome stuff coming in such quick succession down the stretch. (... nor about horse racing.)

777: The Desanctification (tree)
Seriously, I think the lyrics are all in French. I have no idea what's actually going on. But I'm going to say that 777, "Epitome," Sect(s), and Desanctification, lead me to intuit some kind of grand pattern resolving to ultimate perfection and/or debasement, orthodoxy and/or heresy. Sound good? Okay...

"Epitome XI" from 777: The Desanctification (2011)

See below...

"Epitome XII" from 777: The Desanctification (2011)

See above... #11 ("XI") and #12 ("XII") might be a little too similar to stand side-by-side - but perhaps not. "Epitome XII" gets the slight nod overall, with "XI" having the better end-of-times payoff.

"Epitome XIII" from 777: The Desanctification (2011)

Pretty heady ending to the first two parts. Kinda running out of stuff to say, but "XIII" is as good as you'd expect the 13th "Epitome" to be in a 777 trilogy of esoteric numberology.

According to the BAN Wikipedia page, part 3 will be called 777: Cosmosophy (2012). But according to Debemur Morti Productions, it won't be until after May - but maybe by the end of September.

777: The Desanctification (world)

Genre - Industrialized Black Metal
Official/Myspace -
Location - France

Review - Treble Zine
Download - Amazon, iTunes
Purchase - Eitrin Editions

Austin Psych Today!!

In addition to the original APF 2012 Mixtape, Al Lover has now made some additional mixes for each stage and day of the fest - which starts today!

Austin Psych Fest 2012 mix tapes by Al Lover by reverberationappreciation

So, even though I have not kept up with the daily Fest-post schedule... (No excuses - I can't really explain it.) We'll have some Al Lover videos! From stuff that's probably available at his Bandcamp.

"Black Magick Starter Jacket" from Satanic Tambourines (2011)

You can actually get this one on physical cassette tape. Also with "Smoke Filled Thrills."

"Swamp Donkey" from Heavy Hippies: Cheapdrugsfreelove (2012)

The free-download sequel to Satanic Tambourines!

"If I Stay Too Long" (Thee Oh Sees) from Distorted Reverberations (of Reverberating Distortion): Psychedelic Reinterpretations of Contemporary Rock 'n Roll (2011)

Hey, both of them are playing this weekend. Niiiice...

"Born to Lose" (Woods) from Woodsist Remixed (2010)

From the early & controversial Woodsist Remixed collection. Hey, both of them are playing this weekend too!!

Satanic Tambourines
Hope there are no "bad vibes, man."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Veil of Ritual

Found this when checking about the Portable Shrines Magic Sound Theatre, Vol. 1 comp (2011), mentioned in the recent Night Beats post. Midday Veil isn't playing the Austin Psych Fest (that I know of), but anyway...

"Moon Temple" from Subterranean Ritual II (2011)

One long drone-out, from this 2-tracker cassette:

You can actually download both of these tunes from the comp label's SoundCloud: Side A / Side B. Apparent follow-up to the original Subterranean Ritual (2009).

And also something a bit more to-the-point...

"Asymptote II" from Eyes All Around (2010)

Pretty tripped-up vid there! Plus another official one for "Anthem" off the same release - and here's something live!

Midday Veil
Check out the band's website, with a link to a Ptolemaic Terrascope page with review of Eyes All Around (2010) - couple of free tunes over at Bandcamp.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Beyond Beyond Is Beyond

Hey, everyone!!

Bang Bang Boogaloo
I have to suggest that you check out this free online compilation from Bang Bang Boogaloo. It's called Beyond Beyond Is Beyond, and it's worth the track-by-track downloading, because it's good. That might work better directly from SoundCloud.

Check it out:

Starting with a Woodsman track off the #2 EP of 2011 makes a good start. Includes upcoming Austin Psych Fest artists The Paperhead and Brooklyn Raga Association, plus lots more.

"Worried Mind" by Hopewell, from

I was looking for more info on Hopewell when I found it, investigating a possible $6.66 purchase...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Pure XXX Video Ecstasy

This one time, I popped into Rudyard's fairly late. And because it was so late, they let me in upstairs for free. And it turned out that I'd just missed the conclusion of Pure X's headlining set. But the soundman said they were really good.

"Surface" from Pleasure (2011)

They're from Austin, and Altered Zones was really hyping them for awhile. Google tells me there is a musical genre called "slowgaze" - I didn't bother to figure out whether it sounds like that... (But it should.)

Here's some official video for like half of "Twisted Mirror," or maybe I'm misunderstanding. Seems more like music used for backing the video...

"Heavy Air" from Pleasure (2011)

You can listen to the whole thing at AZ's SoundCloud or on YouTube (while supplies last).

Here's the band's website, and that one video I'd linked to before...

"Easy" from Pleasure (2011)

This must have been the only one I'd listened to, because it's more in line of what I thought their style was. But those other songs don't really do the same thing... Anyway, their album's out from Acéphale Records.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Ringo Deathstarr Jukebox

Also from Austin comes Ringo Deathstarr. I was thinkin' punk rock, but notsomuch...

"Kaleidoscope" from Colour Trip (2011)

I do applaud Ringo's efforts in "just killin' time at work, editin' a li'l video together, to be better than those weird ass slideshow videos or ones with just a picture of our album."

"Imagine Hearts" from Colour Trip (2011)

Sorry, I don't really know anything. There's a Shadow EP (2011) up for streaming over on SoundCloud. And another official video?

They've got a website and a label. What? One more? Okay...

"Some Kind of Sad" from Ringo Deathstarr EP (2007)

That's from their debut, with the album cover shown immediately above the video.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Brooklyn Raga Austin Psych World Music

The group's name might tip you off to their style and location. If you want more info, why not Revolt of the Apes?

Stream or free-download their self-titled 5-part elemental work at Bandcamp. Lovely album cover and Tarot background.

B.R.A. live at The Living Theatre, NYC, 4/10/2011

That's pretty out-there and full-on spacey.

B.R.A. live on East Village Radio's "Beyond the Beyond"

Live in a radio studio in the East Village. Check out the station's channel - lots of stuff. I saw White Hills, Dandy Warhols, The Black Angels...

Booklyn Raga Assoc
Click the major cover art to embiggen. Yeeaahhh.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Calling The Asteroid No. 4

Posting might be light over the weekend, so enjoy something from The Asteroid #4. From Psychedelphia!

"Hei Nah Lah" from These Flowers of Ours: A Treasury of Witchcraft & Devilry (2008)

This was the main record I had of theirs. Definitely worth checking out. They do a lot of psych-y things very well. (I almost forgot the subtitle.)

"Be Yourself By Yourself" from Hail to the Clear Figurines (2011)

I didn't realize there was a new album as recently as last year. And thanks to the video-maker... better 'n me!

"Egyptians & Druids" from Introducing... (1997)

Great song title - that's old-school there! You can stream this album and the 2008 one up top at their Bandcamp.

Hail to the Clear Figurines
The Asteroid No. 4 have a website, and here's a 1999 interview with Aural Innovations.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

UFO Club Surveillance Camera

The UFO Club... probably named after some psychedelic club, in the '60s, maybe London? I dunno, the place Syd Barrett & The Pink Floyd jammed it up. Yeah.

"Chapel in my Mind" from the Night Beats split-10" (2011)

The band includes key members of both The Black Angels and Night Beats, so no doubt they're playing Austin Psych Fest.

"Hex" from the Night Beats split-10" (2011)

The Night Beats split-10" comes to you from The Reverberation Appreciation Society label - also Black Angels and Austin Psych-related. Family style!

"The Wolfman" from the Night Beats split-10" (2011)

I was a teenage wooly-bully freak-out. Hey, they even do a Ronettes cover!

Night Beats split
You know I gotta keep linking to Revolt of the Apes, right?

The Story So Far - Blut Aus Nord #4

So, Blut Aus Nord are a long-standing, well-respected French Black Metal act - focused on main dude Vindsval. Throughout their nearly 20-years history, the band has incorporated electronical styles like ambient, drone, and especially industrial.

For the completely uninitiated, I'll also point out that BM can take some effort and repeated listening - preferably to really good albums in full. The trebly sonics, lo-fi production, and atypical structures can seem strange and off-putting at first. A background in punk or noise (or metal) helps, or just an open mind. Blut Aus Nord's genre-infusions might provide a bridge into this grim and frostbitten world.

If you prefer your Black Metal introduction more fun & thrashy than serious & experimental, stick around for #6.

Ultima Thulée
Fair warning: I am not a true Black Metal fanatic. I'm arriving late to the party, and am only a dabbler. The upside is concentrating on the cream of the crop (and hopefully being a decent introducer). The downside is that I don't own any of these earlier BAN records. So this exploration was as much for me as for you, the hypothetical reader of this post.

And since I have only a general idea of Blut Aus Nord's overall progression, I'm going to mine user reviews over at Encyclopædia Metallum for key themes as we go along. Let's start in the ancient mists of time... 1995.

"The Plain of Ida" from Ultima Thulée (1995)

About Blut Aus Nord's debut (96% avg rating), one Metallum reviewer mentioned:
a grim, wintery landscape - the winter theme - more of a heathen flavor - rawer sounding black metal - quieter ambiance featuring keyboards - black metal screech - like some epic wintry journey ... across the rocky mountainside during a blizzard - scenic bleakness and majesty.
Yep, that describes a lot of early Black Metal to a tee - with the prominance of keyboard ambiance already being taken further. Read about the concept of (Ultima) Thule - which clearly nods to the genre's Norway/Viking roots, as well as more metaphysical destinations.

"Sons of Wisdom, Master of Elements" from Memoria Vetusta I: Fathers of the Icy Age (1996)

The progression of the early phase continues (94% avg rating). Reviewing many fans' overall favorite, one Metallum user talked about:
soul crushing wall of noise - Endless oceans of melodies - the harrowing distortion that cloaks the record - a hidden beauty - more expansive, allowing sublime melodies to sweep - the bass still remains audible - highly melodic - reach a more progressive state - harmonious chanting - The production terrifically masks the instrumentation in surprise.
Audible bass? That's progress. A vinyl edition is finally being released by Debemur Morti. You can listen to the entire album in one YouTube video.

"The Fall, Part V" from The Mystical Beast of Rebellion (2001)

Here's where things get dicey for some fans (78% avg rating), as BAN takes a large step away from more trad Black Metal. Thus, you encounter even the good Metallum reviews discussing:
mostly instrumental riff-based ... minimalism / drone - unusual guitar chord progessions - considerable repetition and monotony - half the guitars lurching up and down - a deep buzzing drone - passages of subsonic throbbing hum or murky ambience - Constant changes of key - a certain sinister majesty befitting a fallen angel - drowned in the maelstrom of guitar noise - mind-bending (and maybe vomit-inducing) - the riffing vecomes drawn out and drone-like - Atmospheric interludes.
That's no way to turn on a hardcore Black Metal audience. The track embedded above is apparently the most oustanding and appealing. There's a quite recent re-release with bonus materials, which I think I saw at Sound Exchange.

"Axis" from The Work Which Transforms God (2003)

I'm pretty sure "Our Blessed Frozen Cells" was my first exposure to Blut Aus Nord. Their 4th album raises widely divergent opinions (84% avg rating), high quality or beyond-the-pale. From Metallum reviews:
constantly active, rhythmic and complex percussive structures - a transcendental depth - evokes a gloomy, almost post-apocalyptic dimension - the guitar sound maybe somewhat indebted to early Cocteau Twins - dissonant guitar chords ... reminded of 'Daydream Nation' by Sonic Youth - almost shamanistic, and somewhat 'Tibetan' sounding background voices - constantly spiralling guitar chords ... complex blastbeats ... quick double bass ... rather odd syncopated rhythms - textured and harmonized guitars ... distantly reminded of the German band Neu - it is atavistic yet it is complex - humanized, ethereal and mechanical at the same time.
You had me at shamanistic, Cocteau Twins-, Daydream Nation-, Neu!-reminding Black Metal.

"Chapter VIII" from MoRT (2006)

Whereas The Work polarized listeners, MoRT just made them angry (62% avg rating). Let's listen to a very negative reviewer:
a dull, industrial corpse - painfully monochromatic album - uneven industrial drum beats - herky-jerky dissonant guitar noodling - always heavily processed with electronic overtones galore - vocals sound sloppy and muddy - like being on shrooms inside automobile factory - when the actual music so robotic - more than a mere disappointment - a historic bust - intolerable.

On the other hand, a generally positive review (85%) instructed that "The whole work is ugly, plodding, and mindbendingly weird... This is really fucking weird music. That cannot be understated." Hey! I like weird music.

"The Sounds of the Universe" from Odinist: The Destruction of Reason by Illumination (2007)

The tides start to turn back (78% avg rating), and Blut reassures the remaining fanbase with Odinist. Sayeth Metallum:
return to a more traditional songwriting - wicked antics of British occultist Aleister Crowley - a revalorizing arsenal of melodic and mesmerizing riffs - an almost Arabic texture - more melodic and somewhat harmonious - misses that devilish and industrial decay-like atmosphere - absence of the shock factor - a transition album though.
This is the one older BAN album that I almost never hear mentioned or opinionated upon. It's not a classic, or reviled... just transitional.

"The Cosmic Echoes of Non-Matter (Immaterial Voices of the Fathers)" from Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars (2009)

Now I appear on the scene, naming the sequel to Fathers of the Icy Age (1996) the #1 Metal Next 10, 2009. Although the previous album had backed away from the abyss of avant-electro-industrial "sonic miasma," MVII was widely hailed as a return to Blut Aus Nord's Black Metal roots (90% avg rating on Encyclopædia Metallum reviews).

Truly a massive, excellent double-album epic - ranging from really sweet quiet sections to explosive pummelling. Check out the whole thing!

"Chapter 1" from What Once Was... Liber I EP (2010)

This EP made it to my #16 overall for 2010. Vinyl-only, with no Liber II announced that I've heard of. The rawest BAN in a very long time - leaving EN reviewers to wonder at "filthy, furious death metal riff backed by thunderous, echoing drums" (74% avg rating).

Despite no follow-ups in that EP series, the first two parts of the 777 trilogy (???) came out in 2011. Unfortunately 777: Cosmosophy has been delayed beyond May 2012, but hopefully still this year.

In the next Top 10 installment, we'll talk about the #4 releases from Blut Aus Nord.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Red Buddha of Bandcamp

Check out Red Plastic Buddha over at Bandcamp. Chicagoan retro-psych folk-pop, in the vein of The Pillbugs or The Asteroid #4 - with Electric Prunes coverage.

"Seahorse" from All Out Revolution (2011)

They're currently offering that album for Free Download! Stream a full preview, order a physical CD, almost anything is possible.

They also have a extra-Bandcamp official website. Although not paying Austin Psych Fest, Revolt of the Apes has featured them!

All Out Revolution
And even a Foxy Digitalis review (7/10) - nice job on getting the word out!

"Forget Me Not" from Sunflower Sessions (2007)

I'm still chewing on the new one, but they also have their debut album for sale as well.

O yeah! and here's the RPB appearance on Chic-a-go-go, Chicagoland's best cable-access music show... that I'm aware of. The episode originally aired on 08/26/2008, according to this show archive.

Austin Power Plant

The Golden Dawn were 1960s International Artists labelmates and fellow Austinites with The 13th Floor Elevators - in the original Psychedelic Era.

"My Time" from Power Plant (1968)

The lead singer came by his 13th-reverberating vocals as honestly as you can. He was apparently high school friends with Roky.

"Every Day" from Power Plant (1968)

They will be playing their 1968 record at Austin Psych Fest at the end of this month. Here's a British I.A. revival website's album page.

"Evolution" from Power Plant (1968)

Whoa... Those chimes!!

"This Way Please" from Power Plant (1968)

George Kinney and the New Riders of The Golden Dawn have a follow-up album over on Bandcamp: Texas Medicine (2006).

You can also stream Power Plant, which obviously features one of the most fried-out album covers in an era particularly known for them...

The Golden Dawn

"Starvation" from Power Plant (1968)

I'm pretty sure that was their main regional hit - to such an extent that any of them were.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Baby Jesus... Acid Baby Jesus.

Greece... Athens, Greece.

"It’s on Me" from Hospitals EP (2011)

You can check out the 7" EP on Bandcamp. The title track was featured as a free download on Altered Zones, from a 2010 self-titled cassette.

"I’m A Baby" from LP (2011)

Both of those tracks are featured on the 10/18/2011 ABJ set from Live At Shea Stadium (BK).

"Tomboy" from LP (2011)

That LP is also available for stream or purchase from the Slovenly Bandcamp.

Acid Baby Jesus
Here's a Revolt of the Apes post. Recently, I realized that all these Austin Psych Fest bands had been featured over there - it was eerie. So I checked the "About" section at the site:
This site was originally created to spread the word of Austin Psych Fest 2010. It has since continued with content directly related to the bands and artists involved, content tangentially related to the bands and artists involved, and content not at all related to the bands and artists involved...

Our relationship with Austin Psych Fest is strictly unofficial and largely platonic. Our headquarters are not in Austin, or even Texas, but a small town in central Virginia.

It's all so clear now!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sleestak Invade Bandcamp

Get ready to rock out to the Milwaukee psychedelic doom of Sleestak! They didn't just name their band after the Land of the Lost resident badasses, the entire theme of songs and albums revolves around Altrusia (ancient worldname of the sarisa-taka).

Skylon Express
Go immediately to their Bandcamp collection (for Name-Your-Price action), and/or visit their official website. Here's some examples:

"The Fall of Altrusia (live)" [edit] from Altrusian Moon: A Lo​-​Fi Collection of Psychedelia and Space Rock (2012)

Or check out the official full video instead... (I didn't like the way it embedded.) Download the live track, via Trippy Jam blog - or just get the whole collection from Bandcamp.

The Fall of Altrusia
If song titles like "Library of Skulls" or "Pakuni Shaman Chant of the Altrusian Moth" don't mean anything to you, it might be time to revisit LOTL TOS. Holds up pretty well!

"Enik's Lament" from Skylon Express (2010)

Everyone knows Enik though, right? Beige carapace, ruby eyes, so well-spoken? He understood the pylons, he knew the secrets of The Lost City. He knew...

The cycle is now complete.

Radio Control Mind Spiders

The Mind Spiders, surf-garage-punk from Ft. Worth, TX... I'm not sure why they got the second-round advance announcement along with Meat Puppets. But they do seem like a fun act to check out.

"Don't Let Her Go" from Mind Spiders LP (2011)

From the stuff I've found around, sounds like mostly high-energy no-nonsense old-school - if that rings any bells.

"Wait for Us" from Meltdown (2012)

That's some Thriller-esque video-intro there! Overall, like a mash-up of The Twilight Zone's "The Lonely" (11/13/1959) and The Flaming Lips' Christmas on Mars (2008).

"Time Sucker" from Mind Spiders 7" EP (2010)

The EP sounds promising - also with another good one, "Worlds Destroyed." Unfortunately, the vinyl's sold out at the label. I think everything so far has come out on Dirtnap Records.

Here's a recent local-ish write-up... from next-door in Dallas.