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Samsara Blues Experiment: Long Distance trip

This Berlin heavy psych-rock quartet's debut album comprises organ, drums and bass to support Christian Peters who sings and plays everything else including sitar and synths. On guitar he is also joined by Hans Eiselt. The album features 4 (of 6) long tracks including the closing piece which clocks in at a whacking 22 minutes. "Singata Mystic Queen" is 11 minutes of mostly instrumental, pure psychedelic space-rock with oscillating organ and gyrating, reverb-heavy guitar. At times the bass gives hints of Lemmy-era Hawkwind and the little injections of sitar give it an Eastern tinge in places. The earthquake-like segue into track two is impressive as is the crackling, spitting, Sabbath-like beast which is "Army of Ignorance". The next long improvisation is "For the lost souls" which starts in a languorous fashion before ripping into an old fashioned and heavily over-used riff to support Peters' Hawkwind styled 'buried' vocal. There is a lovely bit of atmospheric Hammond toward the end before the guitar and bass build the tempo back up again for Peters to return with a further verse. Not unlike Hawkwind's Master of the Universe in structure.

"Centre of the Sun" is another long work which unfortunately uses that annoying idea of adding vinyl scratch effects to make it sound 'authentically 70s' at the beginning. It's only a few seconds though so let's not be too churlish given that this is another fine piece of ethereal space-rock with dreamy wah-wah and fuzz guitars competing for space with a very melodic bass. The bass becomes increasingly heavy as the track develops towards a central hiatus where sparkling guitar chords flitter eloquently about a stern drum figure and wallowing bass.

The penultimate number is a beautifully rendered, delicate acoustic guitar duet which acts as an introduction to the final epic work "Double Freedom". The 22 minute leviathan starts with a mixture of soft sitar and dual watery guitars supporting Peters echoing vocal and understated bass. Percussion gradually builds up over the guitars and then the peace is shattered by a thundering bass riff temporarily taking over and creating a cavernous atmosphere. The riff quickly disappear though leaving softly bouncing guitar chords echoing around the empty cavern. Mr big bass returns this time with his mate Peters declaiming just at the audible range. Even at 22 minutes the level of development and movement between reflective sections, song-oriented pieces, potent, rumbling bass eruptions and soaring guitar-dominated segments means that the music never becomes tired. Nonetheless I think a few minutes less would not have been missed.

Every track on this album features good development and superb musicianship which will no doubt make every punk rocker want to spit in his soup. The band's improvisation though is built on a rich history of psych, space and stoner rock. I read another reviewer describe them as "Syd Barrett, Jimi Hendrix and Dave Brock started a travel agency". You can book me a ticket then.


Track Listing
1. Singata Mystic Queen
2. Army of Ignorance
3. For the lost souls
4. Centre of the sun
5. Wheel of Life
6. Double Freedom

Added: August 31st 2010
Reviewer: Richard Barnes
Score:
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
Hits: 1529
Language: english

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