Our Ceasing Voice “Free Like Tonight” Album Review + Stream + Music Video…

Our Ceasing Voice

Free Like Tonight – Limited Vinyl // CD // DD

Self Released: August 25, 2017

Reviewed by Andy “Dinger” Beresky

 

Austrian Ambient / Alt. Rockers Our Ceasing Voice have been at it awhile, though this is my first encounter with them.  Folks are always surprised when I haven’t heard of this band or that band, especially if it’s something that is well within the realm of what I usually find myself listening to.  The fact of the matter is just that there’s a whole slew of music out there, and there’s simply no way for me to keep up with it all.  Nearly everyone these days is in a band, or two, or three, or five.  With that kind of saturation, it’s easy for even really good bands to slip through the cracks.  That’s the case with Our Ceasing Voice, and I’m honestly surprised that these cats don’t have a bit more exposure.  Their sound is both unique and accessible, though perhaps the vocals are a bit of an acquired taste.  Also, Free Like Tonight was only released about a month ago, so this album hasn’t really had enough time to get out there and reach a wider audience. In truth, I’m not sure how their back catalog compares to their latest, so this album is my only point of reference.

When talking about this album, I think that it’s important to write about the vocals first and foremost, as they’re the center point; they’re what stands out and drives the music.  It’s the kind of style that’s going to be polarizing: a deep and tortured baritone, goth-inspired and pain-strickenly emotional.  For me personally, they work and totally make the album, and I can see how others may be turned off by them, especially as they veer towards the melodramatic more often than not.  Still, vocalist Dominik Dorfler delivers his poetic lyrics with both poise and power.

The songs themselves are fairly simple in structure and instrumentation.  They’re focused on texture and atmosphere rather than any form of musical pyrotechnics – layers of reverberated piano, subtle guitar parts echoed for emphasis, and airy washes of synthesizers float in and out of the mix, laying a backdrop for the vocals, and minimalist drums form the bedrock and foundation underneath.  It’s tough for me to tell if there’s an actual bass guitar playing, or if the low end is simply carried by the guitars and synths; if there is bass, once again, it’s subtle.  There’s no bassist credited on the album, so there very well may not be one.

Now, as much as I like this album, it’s not without faults, like most albums.  While I can appreciate the shifts in dynamics that break up monotony within the songs themselves, on a whole, there’s not a lot of diversity within the album.  Every song is extremely similar, and the tempos are all in the same ballpark.  There’s not a whole lot to differentiate them, and perhaps that’s why these guys have kept a relatively low profile.  This isn’t a deal breaker for me, and it shows a clear area for growth.  Moving forward, if they incorporated something different every third song or so, or even used some interludes to break things up a bit, I think that they could have a lot of success with future albums.  Their basic formula is solid – they just need a little bit of tweaking so that their albums really stand out and don’t start to feel tedious or repetitious halfway through.

Band Pic

I can see fans of ambient music, post-rock and goth rock getting into Our Ceasing Voice.  The vocals make their music fairly unique without being wildly experimental, and what they do, they do extremely well.  As I’ve noted above, I’m more concerned with what they don’t do.  Namely, they do need to fix things up a bit.  It’s tough for me to even identify a standout track because….well, they’re all pretty good, and they’re all pretty similar.

A band like this has all kinds of options – add some more experimental elements  and really abstract sounds, rev up the tempos for a tune or two, add some vocal harmonies, get some guest musicians.  Hell, even add some more traditional rock elements like a fitting guitar solo, adding more hooks in the vocals and instrumentation, or just some bridges.  Getting a bassist may help with this by beefing up the rhythms and offering opportunities for interplay between the bass and drums.  Like I’ve stated over and over – Our Ceasing Voice have developed a unique sound, and they’ve got a ton of potential.  If they can carry that approach over to the treatment of individual songs, so that each song on an album stands as its own individual statement, then I think they’ll really start to go places.

Our Ceasing Voice at The Great Wall of China during their last Tour!Our Ceasing Voice at The Great Wall in China!!


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High Brian “Hi Brian” – Album Review & Stream…

HIGH BRIAN

Hi Brain – Vinyl // CD // DD

Stonefree Records – released April 7, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Band Members: Paul – Drums + Vox, Pat – Bass, Nils – Guitar, Bene – Guitar + Vox

From: Graz, Austria

Formed: Autumn 2013

Previous Releases: “Aquanautic Smoke Live Session” (Sept 2015) / “Surrealistic Pillow EP” (July 2016) / “Helsinki Live Session” (March 2017)

This record is High Brian’s first full-length outing for this quartet that represents an amalgamation from all over Europe that came together in Austria and realized they needed to create music together and went about that by spending many days and nights in lava-lamp infused light, weaving  their tapestry of ultra-delay and phase-shifted distortion-saturated meanderings of musical madness, tempered in that glow of green haze that true psych/stoner bands just seem to flourish in.  Tracks like opener ‘Liquid Sweet’ with the slow fading keys that lead right to the double guitar hit at 11 seconds in, show the 70’s psychedelic roots these guys wear proudly on their sleeves and there is the added clarity of in-studio production values that let EACH note ring out and every word be able to be heard. Each track on here has been previously included on one of the live releases and the one single for ‘Surrealistic Pillow’ b/w ‘Time’ – (see Video of ‘Time’ Below).

 

“Free like a stone, and far away from home” is how we are welcomed into ‘All But Certainty’ after an opening section showing the prowess of each member as they instantly gel with the staggering tempo that never falters. From the sky-high leads that fade off into the plucky notes opening ‘The Sun & I’  that build and build into a crescendo of fuzz and wah before another galloping pace is set.  The flow from one song to the next is truly smooth as glass. The over-pumped 70’s wah-pedal gives that retro-warmth that High BRIAN, as they themselves refer to the aggregate, use to their advantage. The revamped ‘Surrealistic Pillow’ is tightened up and the guitar-edge is even sharper than the original release letting this song shine brighter.

 

Pro Band Pic

‘All The Other Faces’ instantly made me think FRANK MARINO (Mahogany Rush) had entered the building with the spaced-out first minute plus that seriously felt like a time-shift back the 1970’s and permeates the entire five minutes plus with a lavish dose of heavy slathered on midway through. ‘Aquanautic Smoke’ is truly another slice of the unique visions that High BRIAN love to weave, asking you to “light up with them” as they traverse the billowing presence that surrounds. ‘The Conversion’ comes out of the gate with backwards drums/cymbals for the first four measures and the band hits hard with enough fuzz to make the air hum and as always, deep bass rumbles dark and pounding. ‘Blood Money’ is a more blues based track this studio treatment is as stellar as either of the other versions and gives the added benefit of that clarity mentioned earlier. The nuances of the guitar lines, including soft touches and hearing the keys haunting the background are things that may get lost in the mix live but are present to take in and allow for the full flavors to be enjoyed like the funked-out bass tone entering the last segment before the mini drum spotlight. The tempo keeps increasing from this point until it just… stops.

 

Hi Brain_Promo Kit

 

‘Time’ is the perfect bookend for this album as it allows High BRIAN to show how much, as a collective, they have grown together during the last four years. This version is the personification of a band that has pushed themselves hard to get to this level and it shows. The more you listen, the more it grows on you and sticks in your head.  So go get it NOW and support them if/when they come to your town!!  Highly Recommend!!!

 

 


Fairtrade Floyd – “In Money We Trust” Album Review & Stream

FAIRTRADE FLOYD

In Money We Trust – CD // DD // Band Shirts

“Worthy Of A Further Look”…Review

Words by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

Legend has it…

“Thousands of years ago, Chickeater Joe the Banana-Head, (he’s one of your lower-ranking demigods), “Chickeater Joe had invented the Diddley Bow to save rock’n’roll, but he couldn’t find anybody to play it and left planet Earth to explore the greatness of the universe. On the 21st of December 2012 he finally came back, only to discover the damage the human race had done to themselves and their planet. Pissed off, Joe searched the globe for musicians, to spread his word of enlightenment through the mass manipulating medium of pop music. But then he discovered an awful truth; ALL the famous musicians also worship another  god of humanity, the so-called “Money“.

 

Diddley Bow_2

 

Somewhere in the backwoods of Austria, after a long journey around the devastated planet, he finally crossed the path of three young musicians who had just formed a band called „Fairtrade Floyd“, and Chickeater Joe liked their music, but most important he liked their attitude. So he gave them the ancient instrument, and sent them out to save mankind from the mess they are in.”

Quite the backstory for something that had almost slipped through the cracks. After reading this and knowing a diddley-bow is a usually homemade stringed instrument with typically one to three strings, strung over a cigar box or some such size piece of material and a guitar pickup mounted to electrify. I was indeed intrigued… 10 items and 27 minutes… engage.

From the very first 10 seconds of ‘Outbreak’, the pace is set and you’re already on your way feeling the need to get the fuck up and MOVE. “Listen up, this is how the story ends. An economic re-set; think again.” and if you are breathing, you are standing while this insane hook drags you along as the bass and drumline push you back and forth with equal force. The last minute took me back to MINISTRY of the 90’s with the inserted oddities and the fury of this track never falters until the very last note. Not metal, but heavy as shit and I am impressed at how big that one string has just appeared.   ‘How & Where’ show a more pop-type structure laden with dark humor and demonstrate a virtuosity of style hey ban handle with each, not losing the edge they run along.

 

Live Band Shot

 

‘Peace Like Gandhi’ has a more ‘spaghetti-western’ twangy guitar tone but still a complex arrangement, still keeping that dark-side in this tlae asking what else can they do and they remind that they are “Back to save mankind” as the aforementioned legend proclaims’ Great solo to close out the last portion of that leads right into the knock of an engine coming to life in ‘Engine 56’ with a nice even driving-pace SET for driving, ride cymbal fading as the engine drops off and next thing you hear is the sudden appearance of a full string acoustic and could those be maracas in ‘Three Saints Bay’? “Come close to me, watching the scenery” the seeming chorus of what could be direct from some island beach.

‘Great Panic’ has a haunting bass intro before the almost ghostly harmonics ring and the gruff voice beckons you to “Barricade your windows” and the thickness of that ultra-distorted hyper modulated guitar screams to the front of this tale of never giving up fighting, even as the news voices fade back and forth as they do in our everyday living giving credence to this outing. ‘Dunkirk’ hits immediately with am ugly/thick wall of strings that permeate from all sides, ringing off of each other until the melody snaps your neck with the singularity of the body of Fairtrade Floyd, our seeming warrior in this quest to save mankind from itself.  The speed and complexity makes this the standout track for me.  The use of such minimalism and making it so just HUGE sounding is incredible and I did not want this track in particular to stop. In a live format, this could go on for 20 minutes as a jam song and would not be enough as the frenetic ending they use suggests… they just weren’t DONE yet.

Live Shot_Diddley Bow

 

And speaking of live, we are given the treat of a LIVE version of the second single release ‘In Money We Trust’ and the sound is just as ‘big’ as the rest of this album.

If you have not found this one on your own, get it and crank it up and support them if they come anywhere near you!!

Link:


New Album Review – My Sleeping Karma “Mela Ananda – Live”

MY SLEEPING KARMA 

Mela Ananda – Live – Vinyl / DVD / CD / DD

Napalm Records – Release Date: 2/24/2017 

 

Aschaffenburg, Germany is home to the four men that make up MY SLEEPING KARMA. The town is located in the southwest part of Germany, 41 kilometers (25 mi) southeast of Frankfurt, Aschaffenburg lies in the far northwest of the state of Bavaria. This is referenced only to give you an idea of where they hail from and give some perspective into these master musicians that proclaim they are “Not beginners or amateurs and when they take the stage, you will forget everything around you as they take you by the hand into the deepest, hidden corners of your soul” enquote. Tough to imagine from a band that has potato chips showing as the band interest and list SLAYER as another band they love…

 

Band Live Pic

 

Five studio albums later, beginning in 2006, sporting two singles and an appearance on Napalm Record’s Christmas compilation, MY SLEEPING KARMA has put together a ‘Greatest Hits’ of sorts ranging from the first self-titled 6-track record all the way through to 2015’s release “Moksha” and the result – “Mela Ananda Live,” is simply stellar!!  Classifying their musical style as a conglomeration of Psychedelic / Stoner / Instrumental / Space / Progressive Rock, it is awe-inspiring how they move between lush almost-jazz tempered cool into near metal-thundering riffs ripping through you, never dropping a beat throughout this 68-minute beast, traversing of what can best be described as inner catacombs.  Each track exposing its own light across the shifting shadows of drums / bass / keyboards and guitar, keeping your attention as you hear every word that is never spoken by the voices of this quartet, each voice offering its own color.  I barely noticed the audience between songs with the flow of the performance being as smooth as tempered glass.

 

Touring Schedule with Images

 

Each of the ten tracks included would have been the ones I would have selected from their extensive library if I had been asked to design the set-list, personal favorite ‘Psilocybe’ especially and the running order lends to that smooth-as-glass tempering making this offering almost as good as being there yourself!!  Great introduction to a veteran band that seems to tour nonstop as their schedule for March 2017 they have posted shows; every day booked from 3-16 to 4-1-17. If you get the chance, go and reward yourself to this near-transcendental experience offered to you. If you cannot, immediately add this album to your library and enjoy the inner-ride. As they further state, “My Sleeping Karma offers the perfect movie soundtrack to everybody’s own inner journey. Just be warned, you may never want to leave again!!” enquote. Nothing better than ‘truth in advertising’ and this record is exactly that. OUTSTANDING accomplishment!!

Words by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr