Saturday, May 15, 2010


Totally flooring, supercool three way split release celebrating the psychonauting psychedelic explorations of Hawkwind. I've never been a huge follower of the 'Wind-of course i know who they are and i know what they do but i've never delved deep into the catalogue the way i should. Maybe it's the era, maybe it's the fact that AMT are more or less my own personal Hawkwind-i've just never felt the need to go upriver with these guys the way some people have. I think Ben may have more experience with them and might even channel them a little in his shit with Yog Sothoth but i really can't say; all i know for sure is that they were brainfucking warlords out for devastation and transcendence and as such were ridiculously overdue for such a focused tribute.
The three bands here do not disappoint. This split plays like a composed and cohesive album, with each band bringing its best to the show with nary a misstep. For me the gold medal goes to US Christmas; already an under appreciated entity in the modern psychedelic underground (why i don't know because their debut album was a fucking destroyer) they turn their attentions to just having fun and rocking the fuck out and the result is a massive floating headtrip through devastating wormholing timewarps. Each of their tracks grows steadily more expansive, culminating in the twelve minute tearthrough of "You Shouldn't Do That," wherein every piece gets warped and mutated into some free-floating bend of stupifying head-nodding drivel, as pure a piece of krautrock as has ever been laid to tape. For me they do the best job in channeling the true spirit of Hawkwind-pointless jammed out excess with no regard for time or audience.
Harvestman do only slightly less well. Their last album was an amazing regression into 70's style acid folk/psychedelia and here Steve von Till allows that devolution to continue, turning in four tracks that showcase both the versatility of his anti-Neurosis conglomerate and the distinct attention to psychedelic grotesqueness. Here the mind-bending parts of Neurosis are obviously shown to be the work of von Till; i can only hope that future Harvestman releases continue down this path of darkened brainwarping. Only one song clings to the simple progressions and muted vocals-everything else is full-force parallel electricity shifts with a strained, cracking, non-yelling vocal that makes me wish Neurosis leaned a little more in this direction as opposed to the all out deathcrush of everything they do.
Minsk fill out everything else in appropriately thick and crushing fashion. Of all the bands involved i see the most restraint and temperance here. Make no mistake- Sanford Parker and crew turn in a levelling set of dirgedeath-but also on display is a newfound appreciation of dynamic and timing, a much more organic and natural approach than their usual "quiet/loud" assault, resulting in another three expansive songs that sufficiently warp time and transfer dimensional properties. It's not overbearing in any way-it just works fucking perfectly, as intended.
All three bands here understand the mission. It's not reinvention, it's pure fucking TRIBUTE. You don't need to mess around with shit that already works, especially when it works this well. Too many bands fall prey to the idea that you have to inject some sort of personal touch into a cover to make it worthwhile. You don't. It just has to be a band you love that writes songs you love to play. I know this firsthand. The Kafka Dreams do little else to our cover of "Youth of America" than speed it up; we just have so much fun playing it that it makes its way into almost every set list. It's a tribute to aggression as much as it is songwriting. "Hawkwind Triad," and every band involved, get that mentality. It's an outstanding effort. Buy it and zone the fuck out and thank your lucky stars that Neurot Recordings is such a great label.

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