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"Don't worry Mom, it's just a phase."

"But it already lasts for twelve years now!"

ELECTRIC MOON - Phase (2CD) (2021)

During their dozen years of existence Electric Moon have been jamming and putting out (in the majority live) releases quite diligently, making them a household name in psych circles rightfully.

With "Phase" bassist Lulu now looks back on their studio work so far with this compilation on her still young label Worst Bassist Records.

As so often now the record pressing takes way longer than initially expected. However the CD version has already seen the light of the full moon night, so there might be some vinyl enthusiasts out there contemplating about buying the smaller disc for a change. And of course there's the obvious question for any fan, who's already familiar with the tracks, whether this "best of" counts as a worthwhile purchase in the first place. Unless you're a completist collector and must have it no matter what... but are you guys even reading reviews?

But to give you an answer: I feel very confident to say that "Phase" is successfully aiming at the longtime and newly moonstruck crowds alike.

Starting with two cover tracks - "Madrigal Meridian" by Tangerine Dream and the most natural choice from the Beatles catalogue "Tomorrow Never Knows" - the compilation presents a little bit more obscure shorter tracks from samplers, splits and EPs with epics from their studio albums.
Since those are often ten or even over twenty minutes long, they take up most of the playing time. But since all of this stuff has been remastered and sounds better than ever, there's no super strong reason to complain about that déjà-vu. 

Yet if the music, which is sorted in a nicely flowing order, is not enough for you, there is still the artwork, design and packaging, into which Lulu poured lots of love. Often CD digipaks just feel like too simple "lesser" versions of albums, but this double CD doesn't belong into that category.

The booklet contains a humorous summary of the band's history so far. Given that there has been quite some circulation on the drummer's chair behind the core of Komet Lulu and Sula Bassana, the Spinal Tap references in here shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

I also shouldn't forget to mention that there are three CD-and-digital-only bonus tracks, which add up to a respectable forty minutes and would have demanded a complete third record in the vinyl version. 

All in all "Phase" is just a well-rounded, beautiful best of + rarities release, which does everything right to not be redundant to those already in the know, but which also provides a great starting point into the cosmos of Electric Moon or even the whole world of improvisational krautrock.

Levitate in the Electric orbit and chill!



"[...] blieb über unzählige Monate allen Bühnen dieser Welt fern, isolierte sich förmlich zu Hause und nahm im Laufe eines eremitischen Dreivierteljahres ein komplettes Album im Schlafzimmer auf [...]"

(aus der Biographie jedes dritten Musikers im Abschnitt über die Jahre 2020/2021)

SULA BASSANA - CV Sessions (orange/red marbled 2LP) (2021)

Nein, was die Umstände ihrer Entstehung angeht, können Sula Bassanas "CV Sessions" in diesen Zeiten nicht mit Alleinstellungsmerkmalen prahlen. Dies ist Dave Schmidts Corona-Album, welches das Virus sogar im Namen trägt. Zumindest ein bisschen, denn eigentlich steht "CV" hier für CV-Kabel, bei denen es sich um Vorläufer der Midi-Technologie zum Modulieren analoger Synthesizer handelt, und die sozusagen das Nervensystem dieser Veröffentlichung bilden.

Daves Soloalben bewegen sich ja von jeher mit wechselnden Schwerpunkten zwischen von Tangerine Dream beeinflusstem Ambient, mit mehr als einem Fuß im Krautrock steckendem Ur-Elektro und meditativer bis psych-rockender Gitarrenmusik.
Die "CV Sessions" nutzen die Doppelalbumlänge, um all diese Facetten zu beleuchten, wobei der von Analogsynthesizern und Drummaschinen bestimmte Teil ganz klar bei den meisten der zehn zwischen viereinhalb und über zwanzig Minuten langen Tracks im Vordergrund steht. Wenn Sula allerdings die Sechsaitige anfasst, dann zählt es umso mehr.
Denn was er in diesen recht spontan entstandenen Stücken an Gefühlen in sein Spiel legt, das ist verdammt beeindruckend.

Der etwas verschrobene, kauzig komisch Knöpfchendreher von "Organ Accumulator" hat hier definitiv Pause. Zumindest auf den ersten drei Albumseiten. Die "CV Sessions" sind bis dahin durchgehend ominös atmosphärisch und cruisen dabei auf der eher düsteren Spur der Autobahn. Kein Zweifel, dass sich hier sehr deutlich die diffuse, in ihrer Stimmung kaum greifbare, unsichere Befindlichkeit der Aufnahmezeit widerspiegelt.

Und so geht dann auch am Ende des Jahres 2020 mit allmählich erahnbaren Silberstreifen am Horizont auch auf diesem Album mit "They Have Landed and They Come In Colours" zwischenzeitlich mal ein wenig die Sonne auf, ehe "Der Traurige Essigfisch" am Ende doch wieder im trüben Wasser ertrinkt.

Da Sulas Soundtrackalbum "The Ape Regards His Tail" bei mir besonders hoch im Kurs steht, habe ich mit der Ausrichtung dieser ominös bedrohlichen bis unerwartet ergreifenden Sammlung von Instrumentalstücken natürlich nicht das geringste Problem.

Und auch wenn der Zeitgeist hier stark mitschwingt, würden die "CV Sessions" sicherlich auch für einen hypothetischen Jemand, der die komplette Pandemie magisch verschlafen hat, funktionieren.

Gewaltig gut wie die Musik ist auch die Aufmachung der vom norwegischen Label Panchromatic Records rausgebrachten Vinylversion des Albums (CD ist bei Sulatron zu Hause erschienen).

Abgesehen davon, dass die Pressung taugt und die superfette Produktion voll zur Geltung bringt, schätze ich es ja sehr, wenn man nicht auf Krampf alles als Gatefold gestalten muss. Das Cover sieht schließlich auch so klasse aus. Und dass die beiden rot marmorierten Schallplatten jeweils einen unterschiedlichen Obstton haben - Pfirsich und Orange -, finde ich auch sehr schmackhaft.

Fazit:  Meine volle Empfehlung. Spitzenalbum!


THE ACADEMY OF SUN - It Is Finished When It's Destroyed / Ghost Foxes

I guess there are some powers in this the world, which will always try to find ways to diminish every little one of our joys.

Yes, of course I'm talking about Brexit. And I'm not even British.

But come on: There's a special limited item from a band you like. It's not a huge investment, so you buy it without even having to check it out beforehand, and then you wait for it to show up one day and put a smile on your face. Sounds like a solid plan, right?

But now we have re-installed the lottery of customs, that relict from the past noone missed. Well, except Pro-Brexit voters appearantly. On top of that the German postal service has new regulations, which doesn't allow postmen to collect import charges from third parties if the recipient isn't present.

So one day you receive a package with four used records from England, which had been held at the Frankfurt airport for over a week, but ultimately arrives without any problems or payments.

And the other day you only receive a card saying that your package, which contains only one single 7" single, has to be picked up and paid for at the next post office outlet. Which is not only annoying, but full-on ridiculous, given that it means to drive twelve kilometers for a whopping 1,11 Euro of taxes. Plus fucking 6,00 Euro expanses flat-rate on top! If that's not robber baronry, then what is?

THE ACADEMY OF SUN - It Is Finished When It's Destroyed / Ghost Foxes (7") (2021)

Well at least I am a hundred percent confident that the members of The Academy Of Sun - self-description "queer, gnostic, orchestral post-punk" - don't fit into the demographic of closet bullshit voters, who made this happen.
Thankfully, since boy, that would seriously piss me off, given that "The Quiet Earth" is still one of my favorite albums of 2020 and I'm also a fan of singer / main songwriter Nick Hudson's solo material.

Between his new album (which I only haven's immersed myself in as much as it deserves yet, because I'm - as so often - still waiting and "saving myself" for my vinyl copy) and The Academy's masterpiece from last year, a seven inch with six minutes of music naturally can't seriously compare. 

It's good though, and especially the A side introduces a different tone to the band, since the guitars and keyboards on this piece from a parallel universe's 1980s sound more inspired by Hudson's musical soulmate Toby Driver than ever.

However the main takeaway of this release is that The Academy Of Sun is a a group for bigger pictures. This single passes by too fast and leaves the impression of randomly peaking into the middle pages of a story.
It is finished when it's destroyed, but it can never be destroyed, because it remains unfinished.

So while I enjoy the glimpse of greatness provided by the music, it's 1. the remarkably thick item itself, which is graced by 2. a cover painting by Hudson himself, 3. the elitist exclusivity of the limited hand-numbered run and 4. the fact that this made me look up and remember again, what a lathe cut actually is, which all adds up to the complete experience here.

Ultimately I definitely had a thousandfold worse unexpected extra expenses this month. Too bad those 7,11 Euro of bullshit money don't go to the artists though.



Let's talk tapes again! This new installment of my little look-what-I-got series starts with a couple of sensational albums which I had missed in previous years:

CLIPPING. - There Existed An Addiction To Blood (2019)
CLIPPING. - Visions Of Bodies Being Burned (2020)

Right now there are very few albums which I play on maximum volume as often as this conceptually directly connected double whammy of John Carpenter meets power violence and noise horror story hip hop. The experimental, often minimalistic, yet sometimes astonishingly sprawling and epic electronic instrumentals could carry most of both albums alone and would build a fantastic soundtrack to an imaginary murder flick.
But then there's of course the rap, which is said movie. Daveed Diggs' performance is absolutely breathtaking. I can't even comprehend how you can spit bars in this tempo with such a precise pronunciation. Even though the occasional vocal guests are also talented as fuck, this guy just runs the show on Kendrick Lamar level. And it really seems that everything is woven around and fitting to his rimes and the rythm and general musicality of everything bends and burns according to his will. It's amazing stuff.

As far as I know the vinyl versions of both albums are missing the atmospheric interludes between tracks, which are quite important for the overall impression and help establishing the murderous mood of everything. The tape version of "There Existed An Addiction To Blood" on the other hand is missing the whole twenty minutes long D-side track "Burning Piano". Which is indeed just the sound of a piano burning, haha.

Still think that I got the more complete versions here. Masterpieces.

BLUT AUS NORD - Hallucinogen (2019)

Never underestimate the power of a bad band name! But then, even if I wasn't a native German speaker and "Blood from North", this weird weather forecast from hell, which admittedly sounds more natural in English, wouldn't make me cringe a little, chances are actually pretty slim that I would have taken notice of Blut Aus Nord in the first half of the 1990s, when they started, because I was only listening to two-and-a-half more-or-less black metal bands back then anyway.

So without being able to put the new tape edition of their latest release from 2019 into the context of their discography, I just enjoy it for what it is. And that is a sprawling, melodically layered trip, taking black metal to its most psychedelic form while rarely cross-breeding it with actual psychedelic rock - like Oranssi Pazuzu or Aluk Todolo are doing it.
With all its ambient sounds and faint choral vocals "Hallucinogen" also falls into the blackgaze category, without really sounding like Alcest or any of their epigones either. One reason for that may be the way more classic doom/death influence reminscent of Paradise Lost prevalent in the lead guitars.

All in all the whole weirdly enrapturing nature of this album makes we wonder if this is what Botanist could sound like if they were a "normal" band using guitars instead of hammered dulcimers.
But then on the other hand Blut Aus Nord's transcendent metal beyond genre trappings is the kind of stuff which just makes me close my eyes in meditative bliss and stop thinking at all.

BLINDFOLDED AND LED TO THE WOODS - Nightmare Withdrawals (2021)

Now to some recent clobbering, which would have perfectly fit into my last cassette craze segment with Knoll and Pupil Slicer.

Just like those bands Blindfolded And Led To The Woods from Christchurch are rooted, but not trapped in the early days of deathgrind, So of course there have to be aspects clearly reminiscent of Napalm Death. Especially the vocals are quite barneyish. Musically however this goes more into the classic Carcass direction, especially since there's not only riffs and blasts, but also lead guitar madness and sick melodies, which point to Swedish melodic death metal, but also - just like the production of "Nightmare Withdrawals" - acknowledge the existence of modern dissonant death metal bands like the fellow New Zealandish countrymen Ulcerate.

Yet what I've tried to describe so far is just the brutal base of this album. It would be enough to make it a very good extreme metal ride, but Blindfoldes And Led To The Woods keep it interesting beyond that by weaving in other sounds like Cynic style latin fusion here, post rock guitar textures and epic synthesizers there - or of course some post Dillinger Escape Plan mathcore madness. All with unwavering focus on crushing neck and bones devastation.

From the three albums I put into context here, this sounds to me like the one which has the most potential to "make it big", as far as this is even possible in this genre in general.
The only thing missing for a perfect release is an extended J-card which includes lyrics (yes, "The White Of The Eyes" cites from the Twin Peaks season 3 cult episode "Gotta Light"), since otherwise not only the cover artwork itself, but also the fully printed design of the cassette are a thing of utter beauty.

NÁRODNÍ DIVADLO - Antropecén (2021)

Even though neither the artist nor the album are household names, Národní Divadlo's"Antropecén" is an album, which almost every band in the world has played in varying versions. Or at least every band should have played this during rehearsal sessions, as the spirit displayed here is indicative of a healthy band chemistry.

In a dozen tracks adding to a bold, not to say demanding running time of seventy-five minutes, the Czech trio is basically celebrating chaotic Jedermann's experimental jazz. Just do something! Don't burden yourself with musicality! Just throw somethimg out! Do it and see what sticks!
There's a certain low-fi aesthetic about this (and maybe the use of an acoustic instead of electric guitar along the bass and drums helps with that), which makes it impossible to guess with or without how much planning they went into these free improvisations.

Very often Národní Divadlo are even hitting that sweet spot where you cannot be sure if they are talented, skilled musicians just letting go of everything and going completely wild - or if they are just very lucky dilettants yanking out some mad magic of the moment which they couldn't possibly explain to anyone including themselves afterwards.

I'm a simple man. I'm just  highly entertained by this kind of sick shit.

Only 50 copies of this cassette from Stoned To Death Records are out there.


ESOCTRILIHUM - Dy'th Requiem For The Serpent Telepath

Come on! How can anyone be expected to listen and write reviews as fast as Asthâghul is putting out new ultra-long and and convoluted avant-garde black/death metal mind-melt infernos with Esoctrilihum?

ESOCTRILIHUM - Dy'th Requiem For The Serpent Telepath (CD) (2021)

So once again we listen to a strange tale of cosmic horrors, told in an ancient language noone alive and mortal understands, in twelve chapters of insane... let's call it I, Voidhanger Records madness.

And again his one-man project Esoctrilihum somehow pulls it off to create an album which exactly matches the mood of its weird nightmarish cover artwork.

Compared to "Eternity Of Shaog" Asthâghul uses less classical and folk instrumentation here, but in compensation for that all the more doubles down on the keyboards, which float above and within the blasting and shredding spiral of insanity in multiple layers at all times. Combined with an ominously droning bass this achieves a maelstromy underwater vibe, which also translates to the theme of demonic telepathy and almost feels like a hellish parallel universe version of "Aquaman". Except this inferno is not at all a horrible mess like that movie.

Yes, "Dy'th Requiem For The Serpent Telepath" is also way too much and I'll never be able to listen to this stuff often and attentive enough to fully comprehend it. But unlike the CGI shit sling from Hollywood, these lovecraftish black/death epics from France are always over-excessive in the best way.

The only hairs I can find in this soup remain the same as on the previous albums:

1. The very compressed sound sometimes makes it physically hard to continuously listen to this, so it always becomes somewhat challenging towards the last third of each album, even though the music itself is filled to the brim with great ideas and relentless, addictive extreme metal annihilation.

2. Fix your fucking fade-outs!
This one has grown to a serious, avoidable nuisance by now. Many tracks have fade-outs and they are much, much too fast. Especially when you're listening at high volume - which I assume is expected -, they sound terribly hasty, cheap and loveless. And given the enormous amount of work and creativity going into Esoctrilihum I just don't get why this weak point even is a thing at all.  

Yet as much as this annoys me, it doesn't stop "Dy'th Requiem For The Serpent Telepath" from being another masterpiece.

Once again I chose to the CD version, which comes in a DVD size digipak.

Of course I have broken off the tiniest piece of the holder when I took the disc out for the first time, so it doesn't really do its full job anymore. Fucking risk of all digipaks... But at least this shit looks good, right?



MIDYEAR TOP 15: my favorite albums of 2021 (so far)

Here we go again! No distinction between live and studio albums etc., only stuff which I already physically own... and a couple might not be in here, just because I haven't listen to them enough yet...

It's just a capture of the moment.

MY TOP 15 ALBUMS OF 2021 (so far):

    Imperative Interceptible Impulse


    Norwegian Gothic

    Black To The Future

    Chemtrails Over The Country Club

  6. 夢遊病者
    Noč Na Krayu Sveta

  7. CAN
    Live In Stuttgart 1975

    Kingdom Of Oblivion

  9. Dancing Spirits



    The Space In Which The Uncontrollable Unknown Resides,
    Can Be The Place From Which Creation Arises

  13. 夢東

    Solar Drone Ceremony


ÅRABROT - Live at The Church ("Norwegian Gothic Release")

First things first: Today I finally, finally received my "Feel It On" vinyl bundle of the (still?) new Årabrot album "Norwegian Gothic" and the EP "The World Must Be Destroyed"!

And what can I say? We already know that it's one of the best albums of 2021. But these physical versions of the LP and the accompanying 10" EP are extra dope:

How fitting that when the parcel service brought my Pelagic Records package, I was just rewatching yesterday's premiere of the album's release show. Half an hour of the band in trio format, playing in the church in rural Norway Sweden (damn, you bastards had me confused!), where they not only shot the cover photograph and several videos and played a great unplugged streaming show in September 2020, but where they actually live and preach the religion of Rock'n'Roll.

Even though I'm missing a little of the bass brutality from the record, it's pretty awesome.

Watch it here (as long as it's still online):



From a critic's point of view minimalism is really a glass half full / half empty thing:

On one hand it's hard to actually write about artists, who are grounded in a simple and very clearly defined formula. They only need to adjust their approach in little details from album to album to achieve a powerful effect and give it a distinctive vibe.

On the other hand it saves you from writing a whole novel. That's cool, too. More time for other stuff. Like working. Cursing the summer weather. Or listening to Big|Brave.

BIG|BRAVE - Vital (transparent olive LP) (2021)

So here's a new album from my favorite Canadian drone rock trio. [Insert the usual Swans/Sunn O)))/post something/no wave/punkishbjörkish female vocals description here.]

As always with this band it's fascinating how two guitars barely playing one and a half chords per song and desperately avoiding to appear too musical, drums despising groove and vocals feeling the same about the leash of melody can do this to such a degree of success, that those very ideas are almost completely turned on their own head, because it feels so big, so brave, vivid, vital, that your ears automatically assume that it all must be there in spades.

Big|Brave are just incredibly skilled at the maybe two most important aspects of music:

Pauses and sound.

The sound between their pauses has always been a crushing force, sharp and rich at the same time. It's like if you pressed your ear to a table surface, on which a circular saw blade is spinning - specifically that split-second of brutal buzzing before it comes to rest.

As always the band finds new subtle nuances within that sound. Not through inclusion of guest musicians this time, but mostly through the perfect layering of notes and frequencies within their noise. It's a you know it when you hear it thing, trust me!

And the bells. How bells are integrated into the rhythm here and there increases the dramaturgy so much!

The icing of the cake are the lyrics, in which Robin Wattie deals with very personal issues like the struggle of mixed-race identiy. I must admit though that I have to read along to understand her accent and intonation, which doesn't try to make it easy for none-native speakers. But that's ok, because the pain and the sound are so pure and raw.

I loved this band from the first minutes of seeing them live for the first time on, and every following encounter - on stage or on albums - only gave me reasons to love them more.

With "Vital" this trend continues as strong as ever. Love this band. Love this album.

Flawless cathartic awesomeness.




Only very recently I discovered the works of a jazz big band called Travis Sullivan's Björkestra, which exclusively plays long jazz renditions of - surprise! - Björk classics. It's quite brilliant. And it has nothing to do with the record I'm reviewing here.

Well, at least almost. Obviously this is also very jazzy. But then also when I heard it for the first time, with the Björkestra still fresh in my ears, I couldn't help but think that the chorus melody of the opener and title track "Days As Echoes" very much reminds me of "Venus as a Boy".

And now that I got this observation from my chest, let's see what else the Misha Panfilov Sound Combo has in store!

MISHA PANFILOV SOUND COMBO - Days As Echoes (LP) (2020/2021)

Led by Misha Panfilov, who makes the Estonian music scene look like a one man job, as he is also part of the krautrock group Centre El Muusa and the once funky, now rather space doom-jazzy Estrada Orchestra, the Sound Combo touches on some of the directions of his other projects, yet also adds some more.

While each of the six mostly instrumental tracks explores a different nuance, I think it's pretty save to overall categorize the album as a mixture of psychedelic rock with spiritual jazz, ambient sounds and library music. My teenage self would probably rather have rolled his eyes based on this description than be intrigued by it - and thus have prevented himself from listening to a brilliant piece of music. Sounds like Fickfilmmusik. Yet today especially the jazz in combination with library music part stirs my interest. Rightfully so.

Panfilow himself handles all synths, pianos, guitar, bass and more duties like percussion and "cassette effects". He is accompanied by two alternating drummers, a female vocalist , flute, saxophone and on one track also trumpet. Half of his bandmates here also performed on Estrada Orchestra's "Playground", which should already count as a guaranteed seal of quality. 

And "Days As Echoes" fully delivers on this promise. Actually quite similar to playground in that regard, we hear a flawlessly performed combination of musical styles, without the technicalities of instrumental skills and categorization standing in the way of enjoying the main attraction, which is the mood.

A mood which is rooted in longing melancholy, yet ultimately feels light and breezy like a feather. So the main takeaway of this album is mainly an overwhelming: CHILL!!!

And chill I must. It's just wonderful.

Something that mood-wise easily sits between Futuropaco's self-titled debut and the sheer beauty of Miles Davis' "Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud".

"Days As Echoes" was released 2020 and I have no complaints about the recent (simply black) second vinyl pressing from this year. The cover looks awsome too, so all in all Misha Panfilov's Sound Combo has earned my full recommendation.


SONS OF KEMET - Black To The Future

"Black is tired.
Black would like to make a statement:
Black is tired."


SONS OF KEMET - Black To The Future (orange vinyl 2LP) (2021)

I've said it before and I'll say it again: art thrives with urgency.

That's no brand-new wisdom at all, yet when I look at my record collection and weigh the albums of this millenium by the social importance of their message, it is strongly confirmed.
I'm not at all saying that there shouldn't be axe-wielding metal bands singing about dwarves, dragons and shit, but when it comes to true burning relevance of content, it's hands down undeniable that a lot of the artists standing out today are fighters for feminism, LGBTQ rights, gender and race equality.
(And if you're reading this and rolling your eyes about some white dude from rural Northern Germany being "woke", then you're clearly part of the problem(s) and I'm kindly suggesting that you'd better eff off.) 

Enter Sons Of Kemet!

Armed with saxophone / flute, tuba and two drumkits the London-based quartet around Shabaka Hutchings (also The Comet Is Coming) and Theon Cross continues its exploration of African diaspora and Black identity through a musical lense which melts together bebop jazz, funk, hip hop, Carribean and tribal music in the most infectious way imaginable.

On "Black To The Future" they are accompanied by more guests than before. Besides additional wood wind and brass players expecially the first half of the double album is informed by its rapping vocalists, among  them Moor Mother and returning partner from "Your Queen Is A Reptile" Joshua Idehen.

With vocals on almost every track the Sons are almost showing some kind of restraint on the first of the two discs, leaving the brightest spotlights for their contributors. Even though most of the lyrics are not by far as wordy as a feature album of the respective rapper would be, what is said has weight and makes the first half of "Black To The Future" feel like a hip hop album with an extremely vivid live instrumentation.

But then on side C comes "In Remembrance Of Those Fallen". And "Let The Circle Be Unbroken", "Envision Yourself Levitating" and "Throughout The Madness, Stay Strong", all longer tracks than on the first album half, all instrumental pieces, on which only through the combination of music and titles some of the most evocative and complex stories of the album are told.

It's here that Sons Of Kemet reach a level of timelessness that exchanges experiences with John Coltrane and Miles Davis, yet with a decidedly distinct stylistic approach.

It's sad and should make everyone of us angry that the struggles which fueled classic albums from over half a century ago still remain so frustratingly relevant today. It certainly saddens and angers Sons Of Kemet themselves.

Yet they still channel it through danceable positivity.

In a way Idehen describes the whole approach of the band in his final outcry "Black", which closes the double album, when he says:

"This black sorrow is dance
These black prayers is dance
This black struggle is dance
This black pain is dance
This black struggle is dance
And this black blaze is dance" 

Released by impulse! - and on which label would this belong more rightfully? - the orange double vinyl in a gatefold cover looks and sounds great all around. No nitpicking about anything from me.

And since "Your Queen" already was a masterpiece and "Black To The Future" as a whole finds an even better balance and rhythm and also improves on the compositional qualitiy, especially during the amazing second half, there doesn't need to be any discussion: of course this is one of the most important albums of the year, in contemporary jazz and beyond.

MAGMA dans Ground Control (ARTE concerts)

While slowly things begin to happen again and at least the vaccined among us are contemplating where and when to return to some kind of live music live, all with the menacing possibility of new mutations shutting everything down again, watching shows on the screen remains the primal surrogate for now.

Yesterday the French Arte TV premiered a stream of one of the best live bands (still) in existence of all times with a nothing short of mind-blowing rendition of their classic "Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh", recorded with a line-up including monster bassist Jannick Top's son Jimmy and six singers (plus one keyboard player on vocals and drummer/mastermind Christian Vander having his Coltrane-worshipping vocal improvisation solo) in Paris on July 22nd.

Just watch the video below my faux (screenshot) live photographs and witness a band founded in 1969 still at the top of their unmatched game!

There is just nothing in the world like it. Period.


MONG TONG 夢東 - 台灣謎景 Music from Taiwan Mystery

As some of you may or may not know, I'm living in a small Northern German village with a population of a little over seven hundred people. You can imagine my surprise when I recently went on a Sunday stroll and discovered that there's a part near the village centre which appearantly I had never been to before.

At first I thought that there was a flea market, because the street was getting narrower and filled with shacks and people hustling around them.
There were strange smells and spices in the air already from afar, and when I got there it was undeniable: There was indeed a whole Asian quarter, which I had always overlooked!
When I entered I soon found myself inside a vast puzzling maze of markets, bars and restaurants under the dark shadow of enormous buildings with uncountable inhabitants.

Overwhelmed by all these new impressions, yet still trying to soak it all in, I saw an old man - surely far in his nineties - pointing at me from beside the doorway of an ancient building, which was flanked by statues of a huge dragon and another weird creature which reminded me of a toad with a horse body.
I was irritated. Had I done something wrong without knowing? Had I broken some unwritten cultural code?
Luckily not, as the man - a short thin figure, clad inside a robe which seemed at least two sizes too large -, made a friendly face and beckoned me over to him.
Still a little hesitant I walked over, and just when I wanted to ask him what he wanted, he pointed towards the buildings' entrance. It stood wide open, yet I could barely see what was inside, because plumes of red glowing smoke - not caused by fire or any other source I could explain - hindered my sight. I took a deep breath and dared to walked into the mystic fog...

The last thing I remember was that after some moments of adjustment my eyes could catch sight of some kind of altar, on which a square red object was presented. Wait! This is a record, right?

What happened after that I don't know. I suddenly found myself at home, while an invisible hand had already dropped the needle on the record. Had all this just been a dream?

MONG TONG 夢東 - 台灣謎景 Music from Taiwan Mystery (LP) (2021)

Even though it probably wouldn't be too hard to guess that this record has been released by WV Sorcerer Productions, who already added several amazing releases to my collection, I somehow wish I could erase the specific memory of buying Mong Tong's enigmatic album "Music From Taiwan Mystery" from my mind, just to increase the uhm... yes, mystery around it.

Just how intriguing would it be to get your hands on this without any foreknowledge?
If you just look at the whole artwork of the gatefold, the obi strip, the poster that comes with it, there is barely any information other than the artist and title, at least if you cannot read Chinese ideographs.

The music itself also doesn't give you the straightest answers about what this actually is either.

Yet the collage character of almost clishé traditional Taiwanese folk, samples, field recordings, Asian takes on Kraftwerk and other modern electronic music snippets, drones, noise and cosmic waves and some at the point of its entrance almost surprising psychedelic rock, suggests that this is a kind of soundtrack to a journey through Taiwan, with radically shifting sights and moods alternating between modernism, tradition and anachronism.

Maybe this is a kind of homage similar to Saba Alizadeh's experimental ode to Tehran "Scattered Memories"?

Indeed that's not too far from the truth. Mong Tong, two brothers who form are a cross-media duo, centered mostly around sample-based electronic music, have released two art books collecting "Taiwan's cultural and mystic attractions, including special temples, purgatory facilities and Buddhist mummies". Those books were accompanied by soundtrack cassettes, both in a very limited run.

So technically "台灣謎景 Music from Taiwan Mystery" is a reissue compilation of those two tape EPs, but given the in itself mosaic-like nature of this music and how its timelessness defies pedantic format questions, it's probably also fair to (re)view this as an album, just like I am doing it here.

And as such I just find it utterly fascinating and captivating.
It throws me into the middle of a story, which I don't even come close to deciphering, yet it still transfixes me from beginning to end. Even though those may not even exist.

Magical mystery.

With the strong potential to positively affect Taiwanese independent tourism.