“How does one put the spiritual significance of music on paper? Music transcends all languages and barriers and is the most beautiful communicative skill one can have. Music makes us all experience different emotions or the Navarasa as we call it. Different types of music, whether it is vocal or instrumental, Eastern or Western, Classical or Pop or folk from any part of the world can all be spiritual if it has the power to stir the soul of a person and transcend time for the moment.”
Those are the words of Ravi Shankar - and while truer words have never been spoken, we feel compelled to point out that Mr. Shankar, to the best of our knowledge, never engaged in the type of ritual abuse of fuzz-boxes that has long been our primarily mode of time transcendence.
Not that he needs to. There seem to be plenty of bands willing to travel time, at a cruising speed somewhere near interstellar overdrive.
Case in point: Spanish Moss, a group of astral travelers hailing from the visionary state who appropriately and undoubtedly went green during the recording of their debut release, “KELP.” Then again, the color of the day may not be green, or even algae-brown, but perhaps orange – that being the hue of the picture sleeve that protects this massively satisfying record, and the hue of the amplifiers that drove directly into the over-driven, deafening, divinely-demonic rock and/or roll music contained therein.
All the pieces come together in the Spanish Moss fuzz puzzle, even the ones that we didn’t expect – as complete as their amplifier assault is (and make no mistake – it is), the band finds ways to be memorable within their dedication to blowing minds. As the comet-tail of the seven-minute incantation “Witch Rings” insists, over and over, “always remember.” We surely will, as Spanish Moss have dropped one trip that’s unforgettable.
We’ve no chance of forgetting Electric Flower, fellow time travelers in the freaky, fuzzy universe – not since our introduction to the band’s monstrous, memorable and more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts sound on their debut EP, and certainly not since we received word from friends in California who, upon seeing the two-piece tear a hole in the fabric of time and space live, reported that drummer Josh Garza is involved in an abusive relationship with a bass drum large enough to house the UC Berkeley freshman class. It’s details like that one fails to forget.
Yet we’re guilty of failing to realize just how blown away we would be by the follow-up, the reasonably Zep-esquely titled, “EP II.” It’s an appropriate reference, not merely for the way that guitarist Imaad Wasif uses his six-strings and (we’re assuming) seventy-seven fingers to conjure sounds so creepy and crafty that the great magus himself would give a ceremonial ring of a white bell-bottom out of respect, or for the Bonham-by-way-of-the-astral-belt bashing that Garza offers in compliment.
Rather, it’s the group’s stated dedication to the occult deception of recording that delivers us to the zoso-zone when listening to “EP II” – a calculated balance between the invisible vibrations of sound and the earth-bound blossoms that surround. Taken together, it’s a sound that astounds – Electric Flower power. And the brilliant Scott Walker cover doesn’t hurt things a bit, either.
Clear across the country, in the land where a King once balanced upon the earth, that same phenomena of two becoming one – and the one becoming an awesome sound – that Electric Flower represent is represented by our old friends, Ttotals. Long-time readers of the Apes (both of them) may recall the chat we had with the band last year after receiving custody of their “Drum Is Our Parent” release.
The recent pleasure of seeing the band perform live confirmed our total Ttotal admiration. And just as much, it’s the band’s recently released 10″ EP – “Silver On Black” – that has been in constant revolution at the Revolt of the Apes headquarters. This is the outer blues.
Life and death. Art and science. Darkness and light. This is the sound of four hands clapping. “So it means oneness of the duality. Not two, not one. This is the most important teaching.” Ttotally, dude. We’re all one. Look in the magic mirror.