There is a terrible blight to which many arts journalists succumb; to believe, or at least project that each piece of creative media is not only a nice film, or piece of music or book or piece of erotic protest street art, but also a signal and a sign and a moment in wider culture. Some are worse than others and I’m a pretty bad offender, but it can’t be stated often enough that most artists have no interest in creating some sort of wave. Their back yard rumblings and filthy rock and roll fables are meant as pure entertainment, or perhaps an exploration of the human condition. They aren’t meant to signify a shift towards more drone-oriented rock and roll in the mainstream, and a new release isn’t always a “fall from grace” or a “return to glory” and much as it pains me, not every record by a reliably great artist is worth talking about. This year has seen two artists loved by this here blog place release so-so records, up to their usual standards, but look at our comments about their previous records and we’re pretty much still there.
Late discovery ZX Electric comes out with his second record, and aside from the excellent Tricyclic, which explores his synth background and makes it foreground, it’s pretty much business as usual. If you liked the new record, you’ll like this one too. Stormy emotions, darkness, power. There just isn’t too much to say I didn’t already say. The reason I’m less enamoured with it than his sublime debut is because the debut came out of nowhere, while this one, no less worthy of praise, by dint of being second is simply business as usual. Go give him your business, he deserves it.
Glasgow’s Cosmic Dead have featured here many times, check out the Cosmic Dead tag for reviews, interviews, features, the lot; because their frequent gigging and prolific releasing combined with their abundant Hawkwindian qualities and acerbic personalities make for a beguiling mix. Easterfaust is their latest; and as a band that makes Hawkwindian groove-pieces, not all of them are going to be the Scanners-style mind-blow that their debut was, with Father Sky, Mother Earth’s spectacular forty minute span; or Live at the Note’s tangible kinetic purpose. Easterfaust feels like it could have been made by the Dead at any point in the last year. There’s some more Gnodlike moments on here, but it’s pretty much business as usual. You should totally check it out if you were into what they were doing before, and Cosmic Dead? Keep on rolling.
Black Magic Satori is something different enough though. From Acid Mother’s Temple and Space Paranoid, and full of space rock channelling Black Sabbath. Culminating in an excellently Hawkwind-inspired Paranoid cover that sounds like the Sabbath classic mashed together with Silver Machine. Extended Sabbathean jams in a totally different vein to where modern doom and stoner goes, but yet linked. Acid Mother’s Temple and Space Paranoid have pulled off something slight, but revelatory. Yet another album from last year I missed until now.
Written under duress by Steven.