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Oresund Space Collective: Dead Man In Space

Oresund Space Collective are a space rock jam band that employ a revolving door policy with regards to who actually participates in the group with at times up to twenty musicians being involved in the end product, it is also vital to mention that the band's music is entirely improvised. When the group first started to work together the two venues used for the improvised sessions were in Malmo and Copenhagen so the musicians, whose number includes members of Mantric Muse and Gas Giant from Denmark alongside Bland Bladen and Carpet Knights members from Sweden (amongst others), used to travel over the Oresund bridge, hence the Oresund Space Collective!

Dead Man In Space is the band's sixth release, which was actually recorded back in 2008 before finally being mixed in late 2009 and will only be available in a limited vinyl pressing of 300 units. Therefore my first listening experience to the two, well kind of three, tracks will be reasonably unique unless you have a very heavy stylus and a long extension cable, as Dead Man In Space accompanied me on a snow bound drive as the promo version I received is a CD-R copy for review purposes. So first off I can't actually comment on how the music shapes up on a big black slab of plastic, or how the atmospheric cover art transfers into a 12" sleeve.

So with that out of the way, what of the music? Well, as their name and album title suggests this is spacey rock with elements of jazz and restrained prog all tied in a neat bundle with a jam band mentality. "High Pilots" makes up side one of the record clocking in at nearly 22 minutes and its clever blend of Hawkwind swishes and Grateful Dead groove make for an interesting journey that is all grounded by a deceptively simple beat that contains some wonderful hi-hat flourishes and ghost notes aplenty on the snare. Never obtrusive, the groove is both driving and laid back in places however more importantly it allows ideas to gently spark off with synth effects and guitar licks blooming into view before quickly being left to float off into the distance. With no vocals on either of the two main tracks the bass is actually one of the more obvious focal points to latch into as the rhythm line climbs and descends throughout the more disparate inspirations.

On flipping the record over (unfortunately this didn't work with my CD version) a more jazzy outlook and an even more freestyle approach is in evidence. The synths are really fired up now and it's the spacey effects that dance round the steady back bone of bass and drums while the staccato guitar fades in and out of reach. It's a mesmerising, heady mix that in the right circumstances could induce a trip of epic proportions and whilst there are the odd moment where little else other than the bass really carries the song, the fact that this is all improvised is really quite impressive and never a stumbling block to the music's free flowing attitude. With "Space Jazz Jam 2.2" not quite reaching the 18 minute mark, the rest of the grooves are filled with a short improvised spoken word outro that loosely describes how there came to be a "Dead Man In Space" and while the spaceship noises and Dr. Space's words are good fun and feel like something Hawkwind would have attempted, in truth it is a bit of a throwaway manner with which to close a hypnotic and involving listening experience.

Supposedly there is much more music from these jam sessions that the band intend to put out on a small silver disc instead of a big black one, however if the record does sell well then more of Oresund Space Collective's music will see the light of day on vinyl and considering the retro approach and sound, that somehow feels like an apt format for it to be appreciated on.


Track Listing
1. High Pilots
2. Space Jazz Jam 2.2
3. Dead Man In Space

Added: June 1st 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Band's Web Site
Hits: 2112
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Oresund Space Collective: Dead Man In Space
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-06-01 01:19:29
My Score:

The multinational collection of musicians known as the Øresund Space Collective formed in 2004. The band is named after the Øresund Bridge that connects Denmark and Sweden. Their self-titled debut was released in 2006 and is followed by their new album Dead Man in Space. The band has had many line-up changes through the years and on this album the players are Anders K (drums), Stefan (guitars, effects), Dr. Space (synthesizers), Jocke (guitar, bass), Pär (bass), Thomas (bass), Magnus (guitar, effects, synthesizers), Mogens (Hammond, synthesizers) and Anders H (saxophone, effects).

Dead Man in Space was originally released on vinyl in 2008 and was supposed to be their first release in Japan. This version contains one extra track. The album begins with the thirty-two minute epic "High Pilots", a meandering slice of space inflected improvisation featuring outstanding guitar and synth work. The riffs start to build in intensity and the music ebbs and flows at an even pace before the guitar gains a bit more bite. The fuzzier guitar rhythms adds some psychedelia to this journey through time and space. There is certainly a sci-fi vibe running throughout the piece. Hammond organ does start to creep in but is kept more in the background as it does in the free flowing "Space Jazz Jam 2.2". The title says it all as the song combines space music with a hefty helping of jazz flavoured guitar stylings. In the guitar drenched "Who Tripped on the C(h)ord" the mid tempo groove runs deep with lots of interesting sounds and effects percolating just below the surface. The album ending title track is mostly sci-fi sound effects and spoken word segments. It is a short offering that seems a bit unfinished as compared to the previous three tracks.

That said this is still a fine space rock album that is sure to appeal to fans of the genre. I for one enjoyed the ride.

*This edition was released in 2011 and has a different cover than the one pictured plus one extra track.*



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