Trail Records seem to be finding themselves a good niche in the market, taking a chance on neglected artists in the psychedelic and "world" genres, and producing collectors' editions, rather than attempting to go for that (impossible) commercial market. Beyond-o-matic's Time to Get Up - originally recorded in 2002/2003 and only now given this lease of life – is the third of their releases that I've heard/reviewed and each has impressed. Elephantine-memoried readers will recall that the other two are Siddartha's excellent Trip to Innerself and Sky Cries Mary's equally excellent compilation Space Between the Drops. Time to Get Up may not be quite up to the same very high standard as those two but is nevertheless more than worthy of appearing on disc and fans of psychedelic, trance-like, slowish tempoed space rock will enjoy listening to this greatly. Fans of this genre of music should keep a look-out for this small company's releases as they are clearly adept at picking out good music.
Beyond-o-matic were (I'm not sure if they're still together) a San Francisco based improvisational space-rock outfit that released three albums in the late nineties before disbanding; only to reform again in the early 21st century to record Time to Get Up. The album has been mastered and re-edited in 2009 by George Dugan for this release. They self-style themselves as having "...a unique ability to spontaneously and instantly compose evocative, emotional, and musical music using a variety of instruments, amps and effects salvaged from society's junk heap".
Well, that may be so: along with the usual instruments associated with rock bands, one finds that the band played such items as Cross5 bariguitar, long stiff finger of doom, flute and accordion. In terms of effect, this still sounds pretty much like a rock band playing psychedelic, very relaxing, trance-like space-rock. Overall, the main facets of this music are its lightness, its trippyness and its grace. Peter Fuhry's vocals add to its mysticism: he begins by singing falsetto on the first couple of compositions, but his voice is still light and fairly high when he sings normally. There are pleasant harmonies that filter through occasionally; none of the other band members are credited with vocals, so they may be a studio artefact. "The Liquid Midnight" is particularly clever in this respect, being different in feel to the rest of the album as a pretty "a capella" interlude; the melody and harmonies are very effective. Its duration and album placing mean that the piece works well on the album, as opposed to sounding incongruous.
The other six compositions are straight trance space-rock, and all have singing as part of the music. The intensity of the compositions waxes and wanes as the trance weaves its spell: the fact that it does so does, however, mean that one tends to lose focus on the detail of the music, but I guess that's in its nature and is intended. The heaviest piece is "Trying to Find You" but, even then, this is all fairly relaxing stuff. "Plague of Bliss" and "Hawaiin Lady" are my favourites, the latter is particularly catchy and worms its way into your mind.
Like I said before, this is an album well worth saving, that is probably not as successful as the other two from Trail Records that I mentioned because it lacks their compositional variety. Nevertheless, worth exploring – listen to the samples on the link and if you like what you hear then you are likely to enjoy the whole as it is in the same vein.
1) Plague of Bliss (6:12)
2) Hawaiin Lady (14:18)
3) Starbong (7:41)
4) Trying to Find You (12:09)
5) Time to Get Up (11:09)
6) The Liquid Midnight (1:16)
7) Child of Fog (5:22)