Friday, March 2, 2018

Stone Oak Cosmonaut- The Last Machine (Self Released)

Stone Oak Cosmonaut is a band I have followed since their inception in 2007 and so cool they continue to put our records every few years.  The band is from Holland but rarely play out live and are pretty much a studio project lead by Edwin von Trippenhof.  This is the bands 4th album and double CD with just over 80mins of music. The first CD  features 6 tracks , while the 2nd features 3 longer and mostly instrumental tracks. The CD starts off with Solaris (Ride out into the Sun), a track with a heavy groove and some space sounds and synths mixed in as the riff picks up. The vocal kicks in after a few mins and still reminds me a bit of Wino (ST. Vitus, Spirit Caravan, The Obsessed). Ancestor (Sent out to seek the Gods) slows things around but has another cool heavy guitar riff as the story continues to unfold. Later, a very cool guitar solo  is played after a section with some effected vocals. Entry Corridor (Alien Mötorsurfing) is a short 3min instrumental track with a long guitar solo. Until we meet again in Shadows (Things are not the same) has the most heavy guitar riff yet and more powerful vocals. Some whispery voices and spacey sounds make this one quite cool in the 8mins. Navigator (On board the craft, know your place, set your Course). The vocal is more relaxed but the pace is fairly fast. This one really builds in intensity over the 6mins. The Star Machine is a 16min track that ends CD1 and what a cool journey this one is. It starts quite slow and spacey and ends heavy and dynamic.  CD2-The Last Machine (Final) features 3 long tracks and starts off with Escape Velocity (Spinning, Whirling, until we drift away).  This starts with a phased out guitar and then the main heavy riff kicks in and a great instrumental sort of heavy space jam begins with some great guitar. Later the track becomes more slow and doomy and some space sounds are mixed in.  The Song of the Star Aldebaran (From the desert to the stars) is a 15min mostly instrumental voyage. It starts with a lot of synths, bass and slowly the guitars and drums build the piece up, while maintaining a sort of dark mysterious edge to it.. Later there is some nice harmony guitar parts. At 8 mins a long guitar solo begins. The vocal comes in around 10mins. The CD ends with Gyrovagus in Meteora (Wandering the desert Road, Reaches the rocks of Meteora. Rejoices in the glimpse of heaven and goes on).  Amazing track.

This is probably the bands most adventurous album while still retaining the same over all style. Nice double album.

The Dead End Alley Band- Storms (Clostridium Records CR036)

This Lima, Peru based band are back with a new album, their 3rd. I have reviewed both their record, Whispers in the Night and Odd Stories. Red Woman starts things off with a quite moody and dark feel to it. I love the organ playing on this one as it builds with some intense singing, almost strained at the limit of his ability. Lovely guitar solo and a very rockin’ ending! Headstone Fortress (See official video below) is a slow bluesy track. I really like the main riff on this one and the way the vocals are mixed with some long delays. It make it quite psychedelic when played loud. Great track. Need You is a pretty slow track with the main guitar line mixed more in the front, while the organ and other instruments support. There is a quite melodic and happy vibe to this one. Thunderbolts & Lace is the last one on side A and starts with a real classic rock riff as the uptempo pace kicks in and the organ supporting. A cool almost Electric Funeral like wah guitar for a brief moment before they kick into the first vocal section but it returns several times during this frantic song. The track relaxes at the end a bit and has a quite psychedelic ending.

Side B starts with The Clock has Stopped, which starts slowly with some passionate singing and nice organ playing. The track really gets more dramatic and some cool organ, guitar, bass and drum back and forth sections that are great. After this groove really takes off until the end. Great song and they really like their reverb on this one! Waiting for the Void starts slowly with some drums, spacey sounds and an eerie voice like flute (or vice versa). I like the guitar lines and vocals a lot on this track and the way the flute is used as well. It is pretty laid back and has a great guitar solo. It ends with a storm like sound. Something in the Water is a bonus track and has a vocal with a lot of tension. Some wah guitar plays into this moody final track with a female voice complimenting the wild lead vocal.

I have to say this is probably the bands best record, at least I have enjoyed it the most. Great job guys.

Unimother 27- Acido Xodica (Pineal Gland PG006) + Interview

Pierro is back with his 2nd record in 2 years. This is his 6 release under the name Unimother 27. Pierro has played bass in the cool Italian band, Insider as well. I really enjoyed the last record a lot. This album is based on a dream, a palindromic dream, which he based the songs on. The CD features 7 tracks.  Ossesso start things off with a very clean sounding drum sample or real things (not that organic sounding though and then Pierro plays a repeated guitar riff and some amazing guitar work over the top. Opporti a me non é mai Troppo follows and features a more melodic guitar solo. A quite simple bass line chugs along with the simple percussion and hand drum. Allunare era nulla starts with a synth drone and some guitar sounds and after about a min, a high hat kicks in underneath the solo guitar.  This was a pretty cool track. A Valle tra masse essa martellava starts with a main reverberating guitar and some synth drones underneath that slowly change. After a few mins, another guitar riff is recorded and a slow guitar over the top while a more funky bass line and the thin percussion sounds. This track has an interesting feel and vibe to it with the melodies of mystery. É corte e atroce starts with the simple tambourine and some hand drums and nice double layer guitars. They rhythm guitar track is really nice on this one and mixed a bit to the right side. Arte Tetra is the 7th and last track.

It is a real pity that Pierro does not have a real band. He is a brilliant solo guitar player but I just found something a bit lacking with some the rest of the instrumentation this time around. It just does not really feel that together somehow? He has to play them all one at a time and the play to the next layer. I guess he starts with the percussion, then bass and then solos? Check out the interview below.

 When did you start making music?

I started making music in 1989 with my brother Marco Ranalli.          The band was called “City Sewer System”, the music we did was a kind of psych garage rock, a style similar to The Stooges. With this project we recorded three demo-tapes and I played the bass. Then in 1991 we started playing as power-trio with “Insider” (SpaceDoom –Rock style) and also in this project I played the bass.

AcidoXodica is your 6th record under the name Unimother 27 since 2006.  Do you still play with Insider or other groups?

In the next Insider album, which will be released in spring, I recorded all the bass tracks. But I'm not part of the group anymore and I do not even play with other bands, so I will not be in live shows or in future works of Insider. It is my last participation in this project. I can not give my commitment to Unimother 27 and Insider in parallel. I would do two things superficially. So in the future I will dedicate my time only to Unimother 27, then if people will call me to collaborate on projects ... I will decide if I can!

How do you go about recording your Unimother 27 records since you play all the instruments yourself, often? Describe how you make a track.

In my first three works I was totally alone, from "Frozen Information" there is Mr. Fist on drums and percussions. I don’t use a fixed method to write the music. A song can be born from an emotion, from a melody that I have in mind, from a dream. I take inspiration from what surround me. I record in my studio (Pineal Gland Lab) with a multitracks digital recording. I haven’t problems of time, I can work in total calm. Sometimes happen some songs take form during recordings, others are already complete in my head, others directly grow from improvisations. So I record in my studio all the parts of guitar, bass, synth and when there is inspiration or the song requires also the voice ... then Mr. Fist in his studio records all the rhythm parts.

You new record came from a Palindromic dream. What do you think inspired this?

I do not know, I just remember that it was a very lucid dream. Even after I was awake I realized that it had left very strong and indelible signs. For several days I was obsessed with this dream and I thought that the best way to get rid of it was to give it life through music. This gave me the opportunity to observe it better with detachment and to appreciate it.

Have you ever played live as Unimother 27?

No, I've never played live with Unimother 27. It started as a studio project. I am considering this option more and more seriously because I receive proposals from people to play in their clubs or at festivals. we'll see ... I have to organize the live set! 

You wife makes some very cool artwork. I love the stuff on Fiore Spietato. You worked with another artists on the new record though.

Yes, it is true. My wife knows how to shape my visions, in "Fiore Spietato" that "AcidoXodicA" has worked really hard. It starts, of course, from a much larger format that is scaled to the CD. I collaborated with another artist in "Frozen Information" Donato Costantini, who created the cover by overlapping papers, newspaper or magazine clippings. In the first three works I made the covers with my photos.

What is the music scene like where you live in Italy?

There are really a lot of bands, as regards psychedelia, which is the musical genre closest to me, like In Zaire e Squadra Omega. In my city, Pescara, there are Insider, Zippo, Sherpa ...

Do you travel outside Italy ever to gain new experiences for music?

This is something that has never happened to me. I would love to use a year to go to other continents and absorb the vibrations of other cultures. How did Embryo in the 70s ...

Arc of Ascent- Realms of the Metaphysical (Clostridum Records CR030)

Arc of Ascent is a band lead by Craig Williamson (Lamp of the Universe). This is the bands 3rd release since 2010 and probably the heaviest one.  The band focuses on heavy grooves, hypnotic vocals and massive riffs. The LP starts off with Set the Planets Free and a slow droney fade up before the characteristic heavy riffs begin. Heavy constant, a bit hypnotic, as one has become accustomed to from this band. Vocal style is very similar as on other records with a bit of John Garcia thrown in! Some very cool lyrics. Eye of Sages keeps the pace about the same but kicks the heavy riff up a notch (hear the track below). Stoned! This track has a quite cool guitar solo on it and is mixed in a way it just gets into your head (when cranked up!).  Hexagram seals side A and has a very different vibe to start with the effected guitar and is more smooth and stoner rock like. Great vocals. Great song.

Side B starts off with In the Light and this reminds me of Sleep. Very heavy shit, man. IT has this choir like part as well and a nice solo section. Benediction Moon (hear the track below) continues with the mean heavy riffs and mid paced material as you sort of get hypnotized by the stoney doom. Later on some melodic guitar is played with a nice keyboard to compliment below. Temple Stone starts with a few sitar strums and a repeated bass line before the monster riff kicks in for one last journey. If you liked the first 2 records you will dig this one as well. The record comes in a very nice gatefold and there are several editions, standard black vinyl, very cool marbled dark green and a die hard edition with an AOA incense stick holder.