BAND OF THE WEEK: CORNERS

25 Sep

Every now and again – if you’re lucky, if you’re open to it – an album may drop into your life and strike you not merely as enjoyable, but as obsession-worthy. “Maxed Out on Distractions” – the soon-to-be released new album from Corners – is not merely enjoyable; it’s obsession-worthy.

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Or so it would seem. It’s been just four days since “Maxed Out on Distractions” dropped into our life – not much time for a full-scale obsession. Yet not much time is needed to tune in to the warped-wavelengths provided by Corners (in fact, the simple, solid, stand-alone ten-note bass line that opens the album may be all you need – it certainly was for us).

And if you’ve ever found yourself drained by frustration, overwhelmed with boredom, or filled with neurotic cravings, Corners warped-wavelengths may sound something like a warm welcome home. Yes, you may already be “Maxed Out on Distractions” – who isn’t?

Describing Corners’ sound is no easy task. Void of the mythical, “Let the Sun Shine In”-vibe carried so carefully by their Californian comrades, Corners trade in the dark stuff that bubbles under the skin and through the brain, their bass, drums, guitar and synths – mighty, monolithic synths – somehow crushing that confusion into compact song-gems of unlimited power and instant memorability.

There’s much more than merely a scent of goth-gloom throughout the proceedings, just the faintest echo of the surf guitar born of their West Coast birthplace, and enough “BIPPP” to make you flip. “Maxed Out on Distractions” is the rare, remarkable record that is able to take lyrical lacerations like “Held up in and booted from the house built within polarizing glares / big X’s in the sky for fear” and turn them into songs that fill our strained head endlessly (or at the very least, for four obsessive days). It’s the farthest thing from a “feel-good” record, and it feels great.

“Maxed Out on Distractions” may be a flawless record. It’s impossible to say for certain – but it sure sound that way.

“Maxed Out On Distraction” is available for pre-order from Lolipop Records.

 

“How unsatisfactory desire can feel can be gauged by considering our more obviously neurotic cravings, those emerging out of a dull feeling of frustration, boredom, and emptiness. We look for something pleasurable in order to fill that void and relieve the boredom, at least partially and temporarily. You eat a chocolate or drink a cup of tea or put on a piece of music not so much for the positive enjoyment of such things but more because you don’t know what else to do. It is these kinds of craving that should concern us most, more than those that arise out of a strong, healthy appetite. And the way to deal with them is to regard the boredom itself as a positive opportunity. It is like having to deal with fear, anger, or indeed craving, or any other negative mental state. It is an opportunity to experience the energy that is usually drained away by distractions. When you are really bored, the best thing you can do is sit down and let yourself experience the boredom more fully. It may not be a deep or satisfying state, but at least you are not indulging in the things with which you usually cover up this kind of experience. Your real state of mind is more nakedly exposed, because for the time being there are no distractions. If you can stay with the experience of boredom, you can try to feel your way through into something deeper, truer, and more spontaneous within yourself.

This is likely to be more helpful than trying to force a more positive state into being or rushing to alleviate the boredom with a distraction. After a while you should find that the boredom passes. You will start to feel more positive simply by virtue of experiencing yourself more truly. And feeling more positive, you will probably want to get on with actually doing something positive. But if the minute you start feeling bored you turn on the radio or pick up the newspaper or ring somebody up, then you’ve lost the opportunity that the boredom has presented you.” – Sangharakshita, “Living Wisely: Further Advice from Nagarjuna’s Precious Garland

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BAND OF THE WEEK: TOLCHOCK

11 Sep

They are called Tolchock. They are from Japan. They are two people who like to play loudly, for extended periods of time. Their cassette, on Sky Lantern Records, is called “After Fog Open,” and the first of three songs clocks in at a length of eighteen minutes and forty-four seconds.

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It’s possible that along your way through “After Fog Open, you’ll hear bass and drums and guitars and howls and moans (of the type that arouse suspicions of Daughters of the Sun-worship, though that’s really just us doing the worshiping). It’s possible that you’ll at one point hear a flute that seems to come alive, Freddie-style, and just as soon appears to perish in a swell of volume.

Anything is possible with Tolchock and we find their sound to be extraordinary.

Everything else is up to you.

So let’s talk about something else.

And make no mistake – “After Fog Open” is perfect, absolutely perfect, for something else. For contemplating something else. For doing something else. For going somewhere else. And that something else, of course, can only be this, can only be what is right here. Only “things as it is.”

And what’s right here is Tolchock. And Tolchock is something else, indeed. It is the insistent pull of the drone that dominates the duo’s doings, igniting crushing constellations of sound from modest parameters, creating these inconceivably monolithic songs quite literally out of thin air, manifested in patterns that quickly turn in on themselves, repeat themselves, double themselves, become unmoored from themselves, contradict themselves, unleash themselves, see themselves through.

You may find yourself – or your lack-of-self thereof – following a similar pattern. But as we say: everything else is up to you.

“After Fog Open” is available on cassette from Sky Lantern Records. A digital version is available at the band’s Bandcamp page.

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“So if you think enlightenment is just a personal experience, this idea of enlightenment is like collecting only square stones or only round stones. If someone likes beautiful stones, in which you can see something blue and some­thing white, if that is his enlightenment, he will keep collecting the same stones. But with so many of the same stones, you cannot build an interesting garden. You should use various stones. Enlightenment is the same. If you attach to some par­ticular enlightenment, that is not true enlightenment. You should have various enlightenments. And you should experience various experiences, and you should put more emphasis on relation­ships between one person and another. In this way, we should practice back and forth, according to the position in which we find ourselves.

This is the outline of our practice and how you attain it. If enlightenment is just collecting, or just being proud of a kind of experience, that kind of ex­perience will not help you at all. And if that were enlightenment, there would have been no need for Buddha to strive hard to save people after he attained enlightenment. What is the purpose of wandering about the dusty road of illusion? If attaining enlightenment is the purpose of zazen, why did Bodhi­dharma come to China from India and sit for nine years on Shaolin Mountain? The point is to find our position moment after moment, and to live with people moment after moment according to the place. That is the purpose of our practice.” – Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

BAND OF THE WEEK: PSYCHOTIC REACTION

27 Aug

There was a moment. We had a bad reaction to Psychotic Reaction. It wasn’t psychotic (it wasn’t even neurotic) – it was worse. It was a knee-jerk reaction.

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There was a moment, a brief moment, when it struck us as a bit too easy, a bit too unimaginative, perhaps a bit too on-the-nose, to secure the title of what we can universally agree is one of the greatest achievements of humankind, to attach yourself to the singular, extraordinary achievement of the Count Five and take it as the name of your band.

Yet thanks to the sound of Psychotic Reaction – here referring in general to the trio hailing from the reportedly uninhabitable planet known as Oklahoma, and in particular to their recently released unhinged howitzer of an album, “The Sound Out of Space” – we remained open and calm, we let go and watched as this moment, like all moments, passed.

And then we lost our fucking minds.

Or maybe we found it … in the sound of “The Sound Out of Space.”

It took about two seconds of the sneering, stomping opener, “She’s In Black” for the moment to pass and the transmission of Psychotic Reaction to take hold, for us to find ourselves within “The Sound Out of Space,” a sound and space that we find comforting if never quite comfortable.

The sound of Psychotic Reaction is the sound of the steam-driven train just barely staying on the tracks, and we mean that in the most complimentary way possible. There’s velocity here, the songs hurled forward like a hot iron ball, an urgent delivery right between the eyes, an awesome antidote to any moments in time when you feel your rock and roll has gone flat, lifeless and detached.

Ugly, urgent and uncontrollable rock and roll – no surprise when viewing the album’s liner photos of the leather-clad trio drinking beers, kicking out the jams and (apparently) attempting to eat a rototom. But wait – there’s more!

Yes, “The Sound Out of Space” is ugly, urgent and uncontrollable. But it’s also memorable, from a purely musical point-of-view. “She’s In Black” isn’t just sneering; it’s endearing, an anthem for disaffected, dissatisfied volume junkies the world over, with a hook that lodges itself in your brain before announcing, “Let’s stay here for awhile.” And the same goes for “Oklahoma City Mainline Paranoia Blues.” And the same goes for “Long Hair and Painted Faces.” And the same goes for “No Way Out.” And the same goes for “Call of the Abyss.” And …

You get the point. You can’t miss it.

They could have called themselves “Pushin’ Too Hard,” or “Complication,” or “Knock, Knock” or “insert your favorite lid-flipping tune here” and achieved the same result. In this way, Psychotic Reaction have done a great thing – they’ve done much more than simply take the name “Psychotic Reaction”; they’ve taken the spirit. Highest possible recommendation.

“The Sound Out of Space” by Psychotic Reaction is available via Bandcamp.

Tomtom-eating rock and roll.

Tomtom-eating rock and roll.

BAND OF THE WEEK: THE GOLDEN DAWN ARKESTRA

21 Aug

Throughout the stunning six-song debut from the super-sonic, solar-centric Austin, TX, cosmic collective known as The Golden Dawn Arkestra, the intent feels solidly unambiguous. “Come and join us” goes the call, both directly and discreetly. Manifesting itself in the form of album-as-invitation, this Arkestra offers an overture that’s both unassailable and undeniable.

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“Come and join us,” coos the Arkestra as they unfurl their bananas banner of interplanetary influences, under which we find the rhythm, the raga, the bop, the hop, the surf, the skank, the keys, the space-bass in your face, the sound of the funky drummer(s) and an absolutely magical, possibly inhuman horn section that couldn’t play a bum note if they tried. Forget one nation – this is the sound of the ten-thousand universes, wrapped tight under a million grooves.

“Come and join us,” is the enticement unleashed by The Golden Dawn Arkestra, heard clearly on the opening invocation, “Afropocalypse. The opening seconds are momentarily, solidly spooky (an entrance appropriate for a delicately-dancing Vincent Price), before the wheel turns and we’re thrust directly into a grandly grinding, slinky, serpentine slice of swagger – The Selecter by way of Saturn, all hail Ra and a “Rama-Lama-Fa-Fa-Fa,” too. The invitation has been made.

“Come and join us,” stands the invitation from The Golden Dawn Arkestra, though by the time the musical mirage known as “Oasis (The Legend of Nathanial Horne)” dissolves seamlessly into “Dimensions,” the listener may have the distinct feeling that they’ve entered into an alternate dimension. And you have. There’s no need to accept the kind invitation of the Arkestra – you’ve been along for the ride the entire time. Welcome aboard, shipmate.

The debut release from The Golden Dawn Arkestra is available here.

 

“However young,

The seeker who sets out upon the way

Shines bright over the world.

 

But day and night

The one who is awake

Shines in the radiance of the spirit.

 

Meditate.

Live purely.

Be quiet.

Do your work, with mastery.

 

Like the moon,

Come out from behind the clouds!

Shine.”

—From the Dhammapada

ANCIENT OCEAN

19 Aug

We could try to describe the music of Ancient Ocean. Really. We could.

We’ve done it before, on the occasion of Ancient Ocean’s split EP with the comparably indescribable Expo ’70. There, we described Ancient Ocean as existing within “the deepest realms of deep listening, droning soundscapes both ambient and astral in nature, weaved together with a sense of a serpentine stream of consciousness.” We also said the music of Ancient Ocean brings forth a certain set of emotions – “pleasantly puzzling, stimulating, and enthusiastic emotions, brought about by a warm exploration of individuals slowing time.”

The individual slowing time in this case is John Bohannon, the sea-worthy steward of the Ancient Ocean sound, and the occasion of us revisiting our inability to describe that sound owes its existence to the release of “Through the Fear of Aging” EP (via the always-excellent Fire Talk Records). It’s a truly extraordinary set of four songs, slowing time for thirty minutes or forever, and we found ourselves unable, unwilling to listen without feeling transformed.

Perhaps you’ll feel the same?

We could try to describe the music of Ancient Ocean. Really. We could.

But you can take a more direct approach and listen for yourself. And instead of describing the music of Ancient Ocean, we’ll focus on some words about time written by our friend Dan.

“In the realm of “being time” that is elaborated in the writings of the great thirteenth century Japanese Zen master Dogen, time does not only flow from past to present to future. Time moves in mysterious ways, passing dynamically between all ten times and beyond. Time is not some intractable external container we are caught in. We are time. When we fully express ourselves right now, that is time. We cannot help but fully express our deepest truth right now. We cannot avoid being time. Even a partial, half-hearted exertion of our being time is completely a partial being time.

When we realize that we are ineluctably being time in this very body and mind, we can choose to be and act from our deepest and noblest intention. We can choose to express our being of time in a way that connects with all beings here now, and also connects with all beings, all of our ancestors, throughout the generations of past and future. We can intend to be a time that accepts the support and guidance of all beings of all times.”

We are truly thrilled to present John Bohanon’s answers to our ridiculous questions below, and we truly hope you’ll take some time with “Through the Fear of Aging.” Enjoy.

What is the first word (apart from the word “aging”) that comes to your mind when you think of the songs on “Through the Fear of Aging” as a whole? How do you think the final versions of the four songs on the cassette differ from your earliest thoughts in relation to that title? What evolution do you hear in the songs that excites or surprises you the most?

Nostalgia, I think would be the word. When I create something, it’s my way of kind of capturing that period of my life, and while many people don’t like listening back on their earlier works, for me, its the perfect recollection of a specific period of time in my life. The title didn’t really come until later. I spent the past two years creating music at a very slow pace because other aspects of my life got in the way, and I quit my day job to focus on creating music just recently. Listening to these songs now, several months after they were conceived and after major life changes, it really speaks to the healing quality they had on me at that time. I play things on loop for days before I let them out into the world, so they must have had a very calming quality on me at that period.

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Considering the time span from adolescence to today, as both a musician and a music fan, is there a certain period of time in your own life in which you’ve felt a deep connection to music – in a way that’s perhaps more intense than your “normal” obsession with sound? Is that period defined by an obsession with any particular artists or albums?

I think it comes in waves, to be honest. I wish I could go back and listen to everything with 13-year old ears, but that’s just not the way it happens. It’s almost more impactful nowadays when I hear something that blows me away because I still get that mentality from when I was a teenager of listening to something 300 times in a row until I wear it out. But again, that’s what captures certain periods in my life the best – I’ve developed a very intense emotional and physical attachment to music from a very young age.

What was your very first experience playing music with other people? How do you think that experience impacts the music you create today with Ancient Ocean? Is there an aspect of your own musical creativity that you would like to see change, or that you feel creates an obstacle for what you wish to accomplish?

I’ve played music with others since I was a teenager. Ancient Ocean is really a pretty insular project in that I rarely record with others. But that will be changing, as a lot of the material over the years has been largely improvised layers, while these days, I’m starting to develop greater frameworks that require the talents of others. I don’t think it’s an obstacle, its just something that wasn’t necessarily called for until now.

Can you recall your earliest recognition of what we might broadly term the meditative qualities of music? How have your thoughts about both the meditative and the improvisational elements of Ancient Ocean’s music (in the broadest possible definition) evolved over the past few years? How has getting older impacted your music in a way that you never could have predicted?

My earliest recognition of meditative music was a pretty young age. I bought one of those rainforest sounds cassettes at a target or something when I was probably 8 or 9 – they had the little sound stations where you could sample all these various sample cassettes. I used to listen to those all the time going to bed, and was always more interested in making mix-tapes I could fall asleep to than party to. As for the development, I had to create an identity that was my own through the project, and now I feel comfortable with it. Taking a few years off from really pursuing it has actually turned out to be for the best because I feel a lot more confident in what I’m creating than I did at the project’s conception. As for getting older, I think it’s allowed me to be a lot more patient with the evolving of pieces.

What is the significance of the name Ancient Ocean for you, and how do you think that significance has changed since the earliest days of the band? How do you prefer to describe the sound of Ancient Ocean to someone who has never heard your sounds previously?

The name came about years ago through the last monologue in the Jean-Luc Godard film, “Week-end.” I have a weird relationship with it these days in that I don’t feel I relate to it the same way I did then. To be honest, I don’t really like describing the sound of it, because it relates to everyone in a different way. I like for it to be accessible to a non-music diehard audience as well. I’ve played yoga classes and meditation courses that have been light-years better and more enlightening than many of the shows I’ve played. It’s just shown me that I can’t really box it in to one particular thing.

Can you tell us a bit about the origin of the song, “The Illusion of Being Eternal,” which we find to be an extraordinarily beautiful song? What thoughts led you to that title? Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “All things return eternally, and ourselves with them. We have already existed in times without number, and all things with us,” … but then again, what do you think was in his record collection?

I think it’s just dealing with this idea that a lot of people create for some greater purpose of becoming eternal. It all comes with the fear of death, which doesn’t particularly concern me; rather, the process of time passing is what scares the hell out of me – it’s something that has been very hard for me to cope with over the past couple of years, and has created a lot of anxiety in my life. Fleeting moments and the days go by a hell of a lot quicker than they did when I was younger, and I’m doing everything I can to capture them through my music. I look forward to creating relationships to other mediums that can help me deal with the process a little better. For the first time in my adult life I have the space of mind to really allow myself to grow creatively and let go a little bit, and it’s a very euphoric feeling.

What music have you been listening to lately? If push comes to shove, what is your favorite Danzig album of all time and why?

I find myself going back to the same things a lot. A lot of early country and bluegrass, Brazilian music from the 50s and 60s, things like that. All the modern incredible guitar players like William Tyler, Glenn Jones, Daniel Bachman, Bill Orcutt – that stuff inspires me tremendously. Recently, I have gotten a lot more into early industrial music and darker music – I’ve been a metal fan my entire life, but a lot of the stuff like Coil and early Swans didn’t hit with me until a few years ago, and it hit really hard. Tons of amazing dark music going down in NYC right now; it’s really inspiring, and coming out a lot in a bunch of the things I’m recording.

How was your experience playing as one of the campsite artists at Austin Psych Fest earlier this year? Were there any bands in particular that you got to see perform during your time there that made a particular impression on you? Did you happen to meet a strange man in a monkey mask, handing out Revolt of the Apes stickers?

It was good! I was the first person that made sound for the weekend so I played a particularly ambient set so that the people that saw it could feel some sense of peace and positive energy going into the festival. I had a bunch of friends playing there, which is my favorite thing about Psych Fest – real strong communal vibes. I think I was most blown away by Bardo Pond, who I’ve seen a ton, but just the fact that their dedication to what they do is so unwavering and timeless, really hit me hard that weekend. I somehow managed to fall asleep during the two loudest sets of the weekend – Liars and Loop, but both were some kind of demented lullabies that just knocked me clean out. And yes, you gave me a sticker! But you didn’t have the monkey mask on – ha.

Author Susan Moon wrote the following:

“Impermanence is what gets us old. And thank goodness for impermanence. If we just stayed the same, like a plastic flower that gathered dust and never wilted, how attractive would that be? How much fun? I’m here now, petals curling, alive.”

Your thoughts?

I think there is a lot of truth to that, specifically in my current state of life. I was very much feeling the routine of life creeping up and it really ate at me harder and harder as the days passed. It’s really the first time I’ve let myself live a life with freedom to create, travel, and live the way that I want to. Don’t think I’ll ever be able to live a life of permanence, which is a huge blessing, and a huge curse!

What’s next for Ancient Ocean?

Touring in the fall with my good friends Woodsman in the UK/EU. Some more US dates to come, but I’m going to hole up a good bit and record and work on what’s coming together as likely the first proper Ancient Ocean full length. I’m working on a record of all acoustic guitar compositions that I will likely put out under my own name in 2015.

Ancient Ocean’s “Through the Fear of Aging” is available from Fire Talk Records, both digitally and as a limited-edition cassette.

THE MOVEMENTS

16 Jul

Graying memories not withstanding, we’re confident that it was during our initial introduction to the band’s music that these apes fell in love with The Movements, a love affair brought upon by the relatively unassuming release of a seven-inch on Crusher Records, entitled “The Death of John Hall D.Y.

Over and over we listened to “The Death of John Hall D.Y.” And while it’s slightly tempting to follow convention with undue humility here and declare that from such humble, two-track beginnings, we never could have imagined the not one, but two, magnificent, magical full-length albums (“Like Elephants 1” and “Like Elephants 2,” conveniently) that would soon manifest from The Movements, never could have imagined that the music of The Movements would soon approach a place of true, unsurpassable resonance in our hearts, minds and ears, never could have imagined that the two albums would be joined in holy record-nerdery as the debut release from Sunrise Ocean Bender Records, the recently animated venture of long-time honorary ape Mr. Atavist.

Actually, we did know. We knew … something. We knew from the very first time that we heard The Movements that their sound was special, that their songs would remain in our lives for years and years to come, that we would be compelled to keep an eye on their musical path for as long as The Movements remain in motion.

That’s not said to sound pompous – this is no humble brag. This is simply an expression of how wondrously moving we find the music of The Movements, and perhaps you will, too. We couldn’t be more proud to have Thomas Widholm, drummer of The Movements, and guitarist Christian “Krita” Johansson respond to our ridiculous questions below. Enjoy.

What does the word “movement” represent for you, in regard not only to your music, but in a broader context as well? How has your relationship to this word evolved over the years? Does your current state of mind have you yearning for more movement in your life, or less?

The Movements are starting to have kids nowadays, so life is definitely moving, after standing more or less still some years ago. So it has definitely been a lot of movement in our lives these last couple of years. I guess that the word movement is a quite important aspect of life. To be aware that everything is always changing, whether you want it or not, and for your own sake you better try and keep up with it. Otherwise, you might get stuck. We have always tried to follow the movements our music makes. Mostly we don´t change it consciously, but we have gone along with it and I think that is why we have been able to play together for so long. It has been creative.

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Can you pinpoint an album or artist that you view as absolutely critical to your musical development? What was it about that music that such an impression on you, and how did it alter your way of thinking about your own potential as an artist … if at all? How have your thoughts about this music evolved since you first heard it … if at all?

I can say that 13th Floor Elevators, Hawkwind and The Byrds have been very important for this band, but in different periods of our development. I don´t think it has changed our way of thinking about our potential, but digging in to the music of these bands has happened in periods where we needed to develop. It made us want to learn how to create new vibes. These are great bands but now we have gone through them and need to find more music that makes us wanna go further.

In what ways do you find that your physical surroundings impact your music? Are their specific environments that you search out, feeling that they are conducive to thinking about or creating music? Are there environments that you consciously avoid?

For me there is no specific physical environment that makes me more creative or less. It is more about where your minds at. And that is always moving.

Our rehearsal room / studio is located in the harbor. So if some environment affects us, it’s that environment. When we rehearse and need a break we usually go out and sit on the dock and watch the ships leave port and head out to the open sea.

When do you think you first gained confidence in your abilities as a musician, or at least, as a part of a band? Do you think you still maintain a sense of innocence with regard to making music, and do you find that is a difficult thing to maintain?

I have always had good confidence as a musician but it has definitely grown with the years. And, of course, innocence is almost impossible to maintain. That lies in the process of becoming older and wiser. You win something but you also lose something. You just have to accept that that is always the case. But try out new things is a way to keep your mind less aware of what you are doing and that keeps your mind younger, I guess.

How would you compare and contrast your emotions when it comes to performing live verses constructing The Movements music for recording? They seem to be reliant on a different set of skills – but is there a different emotional response in your mind as well? Does one make you feel closer to the music than the other?

For many years I thought recording was a process that was necessary to do to make good live shows. I have always enjoyed recording but before it was not the main thing for me. But now it is the opposite. I still enjoy playing live but recording is where I now feel creative and where I lose myself in the music. I have totally gone mad about this the last four years and made more recordings than ever before. We have our own studio so that makes it easy. I think making an album with the right flow is an art form. There are so many pieces that shall fall into place and I love that process. How instrument sounds and playing with overdubs is what gets me high nowadays.

We would rarely be so blunt about this, but because of the magnificence of the albums “Like Elephants 1” and “Like Elephants 2,” both as separate entities and as a collective whole, we’re hoping you’ll tell us everything there possibly is to know about the album’s opening song, “The Death of John Hall D.Y.” From where does the title originate? What does the song mean to you? Would you be willing to tell us a bit more about the lyrics to the song in general and the lines, “Out of time / And in to the shadows / I’ll be fine / With God on my side / I’ll be leaving the earth today / But where it’s too hard to say / I know we’ll meet again someday”? Without exaggeration, this is one of our very favorite songs of all time, by any band, anywhere. It’s a miraculous start to a miraculous album.

Big thanks!! It is one of the songs I am most proud of, of all songs I have written. The lyrics were first about taking your own life but being OK with it, if you know what I mean. Not having anxiety about it but accepting that I can´t reach further with myself so I end it with peace of mind. But then I read a book about this dude John Hall, son of one of Gothenburg’s most successful businessmen in the 18th century. He tried to follow in his father´s footsteps but didn’t have his father´s nose for business. He was instead interested in music, art and science. He was quickly fooled of his fortune and died on the streets as a homeless man. His way of seeing things and his death fit right in to the lyrics so we named the song after him.

What music have you been listening to lately? If push comes to shove, what is your favorite Swedish band of all time and why?

Lately I have been listening to a lot of African music. Both with all these collections of 70s African music but also contemporary bands like Tinariwen or Bombino, for example. But the best Swedish band of all times is Träd Gräs och Stenar. Also Harvester, which is the same members more or less. You have to hear it. According to me there are not many bands that really manage to build their songs around long psychedelic jams, especially bands that don’t just rely on the guitar pedals to do the job. Then it often gets boring and uninteresting. Träd Gräs och Stenar is the exact opposite; they are one of those bands that have total feeling and total interaction with each other for the music they make. In my opinion they are the true masters of psychedelic jams.

Would you care to comment on the rumor (the rumor we are attempting to start right now) that the album title “Like Elephants” is a direct reference to how the band approaches a traditional Swedish smorgasbord?

Ha ha! Then we should have called the album “Like Pigs”!

In “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” Milan Kundera wrote the following:

“The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man’s body. The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life’s most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?”

Your thoughts?

You shall always try and choose the path between. In all things in life the truth lies between. It might sound boring but if I have learned something in my life, this is what I have learned. So don´t over-think things; go with what makes you happy.

What’s next for The Movements?

Don´t know, really. Some festivals and touring and then seeing what happens when Sunrise Ocean Bender releases “Like Elephants” as an double album in the US. I expect nothing but I´m happy about everything.

“Like Elephants 1 and 2″ is available now from Sunrise Ocean Bender.

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BAND OF THE WEEK: JJAAXXNN

22 Jun

Action JJAAXXNN is his name! Bold adventure is his game!

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Wait. Slow down – you move too fast. You’ve got to make the moment last, or so a wise man once advised us, which is advice we take to heart, especially in the emerging days of summer. For a perhaps even wiser man once asked the musical question, “Who loves the sun?” and when the surprising answer was revealed to be “not everyone,” we became awaked. Not everyone?!? That’s us! We’re all one, dude.

So when the summer sun asserts its dominance, we submit in the form of the worship of sound waves. Or something.

What we’re trying to say is that it’s really, really hot outside and “Space Case” – the debut cassette from JJAAXXNN, out now from Translinguistic Other – sounds absolutely amazing. “Summer time is here, kiddies,” the wisest man of them all (right?) once announced, “and it’s time to take a trip. Let’s take a trip!”

Listen: It should be clear at this point that we have no idea what we’re talking about. We don’t know anything about JJAAXXNN apart from his name, and we’re skeptical about whether or not bold adventure is really his game (if we had to put money on it, we’d say “high adventure” is closer to his field of play). Even when Translinguistic Other translates the secret symbols of JJAAXXNN to reveal the identity of “California drifter Joshua Bruner, formerly of San Francisco psych jammers Magic Leaves,” we’re no closer to the truth.

Nor do we know what to call his music. Four of the nine tracks on “Space Case” have the word “dub” attached to their titles, if that helps you out at all. There’s not a guitar in sight – in “Space Case,” no one can hear you riff.

This is what we do know: JJAAXXNN’s “Space Case” is our constant companion this summer, one that allows us to submit to the sun, to float alongside the clouds, and to enjoy sound waves that are as natural and powerful as the ocean waves. Regardless of the season, these songs compile to form an easy, enveloping grandeur, ass planted firmly on the earth, head exploding into an ever expanding universe, beats beaten by the heart. We heart this.

“Space Case” from JJAAXXNN is available on cassette from Translinguistic Other and as a digital download at JJAAXXNN’s Bandcamp page.

“Thoughts are like clouds and can vanish just as clouds naturally disperse into space. The expression, meaning thoughts, are like clouds, while rigpa, the awakened state, is like sunlit space. I use the metaphor of sunlit space to illustrate that space and awareness are indivisible. You do not accomplish or create the sunlit sky. We cannot push the clouds away, but we can allow the clouds of thought to gradually dissolve until finally all the clouds have vanished. Ultimate realization occurs when there is no trace of the cloud layers whatsoever.”

- “Rainbow Painting,” by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

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