Tuesday, March 30, 2010


A short LP follow-up to last year's massive brainfuck on Aurora Borealis, which was one of my favorite records for 2009. This time the Fang are in a more organic mindset, turning in 6 songs across 40 minutes and turning the intensity waaaaay down. This sounds like what it most likely is-a bunch of long-hairs getting together in barn and jamming out. Gone are the AMT-worshiping torrents of electric guitar scuzz damage, replaced by hand drums and lackadaisical chord strumming alongside an attitude of pointless meandering. It's much more in league with the band's original incarnation, the more occult themed Sylvester Anfang (and yeah, they're different. look it up.) Here you're reminded that this is indeed a commune of people living together out in Belgium dabbling in drugs and the outer fringe waste of extreme psychedelia.
The goal of "Commune Cassetten" seems to be a demonstration of natural improv without the need for things to build up to anything. It's probably the result of lots of editing and a shitload of late night stoner jams, where ability is thrown away in favor of chasing down a feeling and a place in time. There's nothing epochal about what's happening here, but there are the beginnings of something transformative if you're receptive to it. You are lulled into a very easy going sort of space-there's a lot of disconnection on display here but nothing approaching real dissonance or atonality. Even the more wicked bits are played with a sense of calm; this is a group so in tune with one another that the process of making music becomes an endless walk through the night and the fire. Nothing is verboten; everything is allowed.
The songs themselves all hover in a very Krautrock place. Constant keyboard drones hover in the background and sometimes take center stage, leading into a hypnotic trance state while soft and robotic drums propel everything over the hill. Guitars rarely reach distorted levels but solo endlessly, moving all over the neck hitting both right and wrong notes with equal aplomb. The bass lines are the key here, locking everything down and holding these bonfire revelations to the loosest grasp of reality; if you figure that the rumbles are closet to the earth then it all makes that much more sense.
Sylvester Anfang II are one of my favorite groups in modern psychedelia; this record just serves to whet my appetite for more, perhaps something harder and more damaged, perhaps something more drifting and removed from this earth. Only time and whimsy will dictate the group's next major manifestation. Until then we're left to bask in the damage and try to make sense of it all, or surrender to it utterly. Whatever you feel like, i guess.

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