Tag Archives: Psychedelic Rock

Der Blutharsch – What Makes You Pray

(WKN, 2017)

Der Blutharsch – the already 20 years old lovechild of the psychedelic visionaire and an all around jolly fellow Albin Julius – continues on the same progressive road which has taken form on the groups latest releases. In the empire of Der Blutharsch, the roads have been lately paved with some trippy vibes indeed, and they all lead to inner worlds of cosmic and magickal proportions.

The first song starts with a hypnotic sampled clanking sound and some buzzing riffing from the stoned guitar, slowly adding some percussives and jamming leads. When the song has already cast it’s trance-inducing spell upon you, Marthynna’s eerie whispering and preaching vocals suddenly shake you a bit, while the song continues to jam away very slowly with a bit more eventful drumming and synth-effects.

The second song continues along the same lines as the first one, built on top of a cool retro-sounding synth-bass-line, adding a bit more rhythm and speed to the ritual, and a bit more melodic singing from Marthynna, ending in a weird awesome spoken sample.

The thrid song goes a bit more experimental with the synth-lines and riffing, being almost comical, but it gets you in a good mood for sure. However, the fourth song is the best one yet, with it’s epic synths , tribal percussions and moody guitar leads. The fifth song is again a bit more tongue-in-cheek and amusing deliverance of psychedelic Rock, and makes you realize how well the more dark and slower songs work great next to these more cheerful songs.

The sixth song is an awesome ambient piece while the seventh song is again a quite tribal-oriented, with a massive crushing bass. The eight song has an extremely beautiful and atmospheric piano-like melody coupled with buzzing guitars, basses  ambient synths and weird choir-like singing. Altho without any percussions, this song is definitely one of the highlights of the album.

The ninth song features a pretty weird heavily effectizied and almost disturbing percussive sample and organ-sounds, and the tenth song consists of a synth-sound so bassy, heavy and vibrating, I thought my speakers are going to explode. Definitely a powerful way to end this album with a bang.

The soundscapes of the album range from pretty murky and mysterious frequencies to clear outputs, keeping the two worlds in a good and atmospheric balance. Mastered by Thomas Tannenberg (of the Austrian experimental Black Metal band Abigor), the overall audial quality and mentality of the album is great for trippy stuff like this.

This release gives you the safe (?) and sound Der Blutharsch psychedelia we have grown to love in the last years, with no big surprises, but the trip is again high quality ritualistic stoner ambience and groovy jamming. Fans of the band will naturally get this release, and if you haven’t yet been exposed to the music of the band, this album is a splendid introduction.

Der Blutharsch.com

Bandcamp

Facebook

Advertisements

Wyatt E. – Exile To Beyn Neharot

(Shalosh Cult, 2017)

Wyatt E. is a three-piece from Belgium (consisting of guitars, synths and drums), recently brought into my attention with their awesome display of steady and hypnotic, yet intense and deeply colourful Psychedelic and Doomy Prog-Rock jamming, with strong nods to the desert ways of classic Stoner. Before this release, they have apparently released one album, similarly containing two about 20min songs such as this one, but after a quick listen of the first one, it is evident the band has progressed musically and aurally even further after their first release.

The first song “Nebuchadnezzar II” starts with ambient whirling synth-effects reminiscent of an ominous wind or a swarm of insects, before adding ritualistic percussion and sitar-sounds, as well as some flutelike synth-effects. A very minimalistic start for the album, yet the listener gets the feeling of high quality and strong emancipation for something mind-blowing, and the listener is not wrong. As the song explodes into a slow and Doomy beat, loud guitars with heavy effects invade our minds. Sounding a bit out of place (like from an old Western movie) at first, the ear gets used to the idea of this section of the song quite quickly, and the trip is on. Going quite intense at parts due to background guitars of heavy audial aesthetics and other synthy effects, the song keeps the listener in it’s grasp nicely to the middle part of the song, where the journey slows down into a Middle-Eastern melody from the guitar (and a cool organ in the background), before exploding into new realms with quite heavily distorted guitars. After yet again a short and more calm part, the song ends in truly awesome sounding Oriental tremolo melodies from a very atmospheric guitar, ending the song in great style. The whole experience lives up to it’s name, bringing to my mind the Babylonian king’s dreams of doom and apocalypse, as told in the biblical narrative.

The second song, “Ode To Ishtar”, starts with some minimalistic but tribal sounding drumming and low thumping basses, backed up with various vintage-sounding synths and howling and chirping synth-like effects, which bring to my mind an astral Babylonian river of futuristic and retro aesthetics. As Ishtar descends further and further into the collective unconscious, the underworld is revealed to be a vast and cosmic place of many layers and plains opposite from anything claustrophobic. As the drumming turns more complicated adding some snares and crashes into the ritual call, more wavy synths and Egyptian-sounding guitars appear, joining the caravan floating on this cosmic river. The whole experience is so pleasant I can imagine spending hours and hours tripping here, letting the river take me to more and more exotic sceneries of the vast and forgotten subconscious. As more drony synths appear and the drumming intensifies further, guitar leads jamming naturally Middle-Eastern melodies take over the experience almost completely, placing the final trance upon the mesmerized listener. A bit halfway through the song, the awesome displays of the musicians and instruments halt down into a stoned transition, before morphing into a quite groovy and jamming beat from the drums, as the other instruments continue their hypnotic riffing while growing slowly into yet another mental climax. The end of the song cuts some of the aural layers down, ending the experience in quite serene states.

While both of the songs deliver perfectly what they intend to do, the second song is a bit better than first one when it comes to overall harmony of the various psychedelic sounds. Both songs have a strong feeling of live-recording into them, which naturally suits this kind of music perfectly.

Altho hypnotic and trancelike, this stuff might be too much as a casual meditative experience for most people, but everyone experienced in psychedelics (and/or longer meditation sessions) will recognize instantly the great psychedelic and spiritual potential of this music.

A heartily recommended release for all fans of intense yet patient aural psychedelia, especially for those with a soft spot for eighties and nineties synth-vibes, classic sustained and hypnotic Prog Rock, and mental Middle-Eastern aesthetics.

I wish a great future of touring and jamming in the studio for this band. They totally deserve it.

Bandcamp

Soundcloud

Facebook

Shalosh Cult

Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand – Sucht & Ordnung

(WKN, 2016)

At this point of his artistic career, Albin Julius probably is not that interested in answering questions about his musical past under the name Der Blutharsch. After the pretty much total audial transformation of the band (altho certain vibes and attitudes came along for the ride from the previous incarnation of course), the audiences of the group have now been accustomed to the Psychedelic Rock version of Albin’s musical visions, and there is no doubt he will continue to change and progress his musical identity in the future. But right now, we have this new album in our hands.

“Zucht und Ordnung” in German means “Discipline and Order”, a term associated with for example Christian or Fascist authority in society. “Sucht und Ordnung” however means “Addiction and Order”, and as an album stands for quite different mentalities, in its improvised and jamming ways. Recorded live at Pure Sound Studio (Vienna), this album features three songs and about 30 minutes of intense Psychedelic Rock the Der Blutharsch way we have become so familiar with in the recent years. Of course there is s certain discipline and order present in the song structures and performances of the recent material of the band, but nevertheless this is fucking psychedelia, which stands for total assimilation of control.

The album lifts off calmly with moody oriental melodies from the reverberated guitar, backed by ride-cymbals and the ever-expanding synth. But when the drums and basses kick off, I am surprised to hear a Surf Rock beat from the drums, together with an extremely heavy bass jamming sweet melodies with the already jamming distorted guitars. As the song progresses the synths change colour and texture like splashing various paints on a canvas, making me wanna be high as fuck on weed while listening to this song. After a break-like calm sequence the song ends in a sweet rocking beat and high guitar solos, which together with the organ-like synth makes me feel very classic seventies. This is the exact alchemical stuff the godlike albums of old were made from. This band gets it.

The second song starts off more heavy, not quite Doomy but nearly. Here were are introduced to the powerful majestic and almost preaching vocals of Marthynna. There has always been real dominance and sweetness at the same time in her voice, and this song is no different. However, if I was a bit surprised about the Surf Rock drumming in the first song, I am most definitely lifted off my chair when the song turns into a cool intense blast-beat and tremolo-riff driven Blackened kaleidoscope, before sinking again into slower currents. This was something I did quite not see coming from this band, not yet anyway.

The third song is a bit longer than the previous two, starting out really slow, before kicking off with a pretty minimalistic damping guitar riff and steady rocking drum-beat backed with a cool organ-sound and heavily phasing synths. Very classic Stoner (or just ancient Progressive) stuff here, staring at the night sky in the desert high on mushrooms. Marthynna’s chanting vocals fit the song again very well, as do the electrified howling effects taking the hypnotic riffing further into the mind’s eye. The song starts to fade towards the end only making an intense comeback, giving me spiralling chills down my spine. A very steady and well made song ending the album in extremely positive vibes.

In this age of music softwares one tends to forget the awesome power and magic of organic music. This album is a must for all fans of the previous albums of the band (especially after the musical “transformation”), and for all fans of hypnotic, psychedelic and hallucinatory jamming music in general. This album is my personal favourite among the band’s discography of the last five years.

Der Blutharsch

Bandcamp

Facebook

Youtube

Interview with Albin Julius (Der Blutharsch)

To anyone familiar with the Neofolk, Dark Ambient or Martial Industrial genres, the work of Albin Julius needs no introductions. Having released many highly influential and even pioneering albums with his projects The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud and Der Blutharsch, Albin has always been an artist full of controversy. Having (most likely) surprised many by steering his music towards more traditional Psychedelic realms a few years ago, this immensely talented man is full of interesting ideas. I’m am more than happy to have a chat with him.

Greetings Albin! How has this year of 2015 begun for you?

Phantastic! We for the first time ever spent New Year evening in the studio recording. Was amazing and gave us a good groove. I then already felt that 2015 will become a great year – much better than the last years – which all have been great as well. This year will be terribly busy, which is very good, as I need to be busy to feel alive. After a nice holiday in Laos and Cambodia with loads of new inspiration and recharging the batteries now I am working on various projects at the same time. The new Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand album named “Joyride“ is now recorded and I will start mixing it next week, besides I work on a very limited handmade 10inch but also on 2 collaboration albums, one with White Hills and one with Urfaust and 2 Jastreb albums. Life is Good!

I imagine you to be a passionate traveler. Where have you been traveling last, and did that change you in any way? There are always something new to discover even to the most experienced adventurer on this globe?

Yes. I consider traveling as a very important part of my life. Fortunately my wife Marthynna loves to travel a lot as well and we mostly manage to do at least 3 trips a year. In winter we have for the last 3 years went to Asia – this year Laos and Cambodia which was amazing. In summer we have been in east Poland which was great as well, visiting all the Templar castles and some nice lakes. This year we have planned to fly to Dublin for a few days to visit friends in May, in summer we want to travel south Poland and visit some weird places of interest there, in autumn Venice for our 5th wedding day – yes – we go romantic and in November our annual visit to Wroclaw for Wroclaw Industrial Festival. So, some plans for this year as well, and already thinking about where to fly next Jan/Feb. Let’s see… Traveling is very important to open your eyes towards other cultures and also for inspiration. Well, at least for me.

DB 05

One of your first musical projects was the magnificent The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud, which you started in Austria in the early nineties. What can you tell me about the ideas behind forming this project, or the musical atmospheres surrounding Austria during those times? Do you still get a lot of question about the band, or requests to publish material etc.?

We had serious talks about rereleasing the whole material again, but this due to various reasons didn’t work out, and for me it’s OK. It’s somehow sad as loads of people seem to crave for it, but well. For me it’s the past and it remains the past. I do not really think about it nor do I listen to the music. I anyway never listen to my own music. Listening to own music is like swallowing your own sperm. And also, after having finished an album which means having listened to every song at least 500 times I can`t simply hear it anymore.

At the times we started TMLHBAC I was studying arts and politics and was very much interested in medieval times, so it was only logic to have recorded the kind of music we recorded. In Austria at that time there was no real scene – only very few good concerts and no other bands except maybe Allerseelen which then had already released some great stuff. But we had no contact then and were more or less isolated, which then seemed a bonus somehow and did allow us to do what we want without any restrictions. It was a good time then and very exciting, I mean recording, mixing and releasing your own music is always good, but the first album is the most exciting. And we did all ourselves.

After the Medieval audial aesthetics of The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud, you took some of the more martial aspects of the music and formed Der Blutharsch. If Martial Industrial was (according to many I’m sure) perhaps started back in the day by Laibach, you certainly were one of the first to popularize this kind of music, as many artists followed you on this similar path (with many of them copying you ruthlessly). What can you tell me about the first years of Der Blutharsch in these times of Martial Industrial uprising?

I, when starting Der Blutharsch was also studying politics and was quit interested in Europe’s newer history, and at the time it just seamed a good concept. Mostly it was about provocation and it worked well. Also I have to say at the times I started Der Blutharsch it was really different. There were a lot of weird and interesting people in this scene – if you consider all the good bands on World Serpent Distribution. I got to know many funny and damn interesting people and it was really a weird and crazy time. I think I could write a book. Later it turned more into boring and more and more of the crazy people dissapeared and new boring and untalented bands showed up. Also I got really bored about provocation – I mean.. It was about music and I think it simply was time to move on and discover new territories. And I have to say.. It was for a better!

DB 03

During your years with the more militaristic version of Der Blutharsch, you collaborated and toured with many respectable artists from for example the Neofolk or Noise/Industrial -scenes, with people like Douglas Pearce and Boyd Rice. Considering the nature of these personas, you must have had a hell of a time?

Oh yes.. It was crazy then. We had a lot of fun and a weird time. But same… You move on and for me it was time to go.

The latest incarnation of Der Blutharsch is very Psychedelic Rock -oriented. Pictures of mushrooms and such have been present in for example pictures related to Der Blutharsch in the past, so I guess it’s safe to assume you have experience with psychedelics and the states of mind they produce? Would you say a certain mindset present in the Psychedelic-scene is closer to what you do today, more than for example the atmospheres surrounding the Neofolk-scene, or is there any need to make a distinction?

Well… Hard to say as I ever really analyse what I do. I do music for myself, I have to do music. I start to feel really bad if I didn`t go to the studio after a few days. For me it’s passion and I just have to work on music. But somehow I think even the old Der Blutharsch were somehow psychedelic, but not that much than these days. Of course.. If you experience some “opening up“ of your mind you see things different. Meanwhile loads of things which seemed important for me 15 years ago are not important at all. For me music is just a way to have good times with good people… More or less.

As your music today is called (among other terms) “Neu Kraut Music”, you can probably see yourselves as a continuation of the wonderful Krautrock tradition? What are the most important aspects of this culture in your opinion, compared to the other Psychedelic scenes of those times?

I think and always was thinking that the most important thing for doing music is to stay open and curious. I never gave myself any restrictions towards what I am doing, and somehow this worked out well. It was always a good ride. Also I am very open towards music.. For me there’s only bad music and good music, and I decide for myself what is good and what is bad. And I think what really was the main target of Kraut Music back then was to not follow any restrictions or rules. This is what I think is still important.  And these days it is REALLY important for me to find other bands who give a shit about all and do their own unique work. I have to say that i.e. Pharao Overlord is one of the bands I discovered via Niko a few years ago and which REALLY impressed me a lot and still does – and as long as I am able to discover new bands which impress me… Life is good as well. There is loads of good concerts going on in Vienna… And this makes it a good place for me!

DB 02

Your 2013 full-length was titled “Cosmic Trigger”, a title used also by the late great Robert Anton Wilson, featuring what appear to be wooden penises on the cover. What does this title and cover-picture represent to you? What can you tell me about the themes of your latest full-length “Today I Want To Catch Clouds”?

As I said. I do not analyze my music and honestly I do not really think a lot about it. For me creating music is a process. It’s like a journey. When you start you never know where you will end and if you finish I find myself really surprised where it did lead me to. For me the process of creating music is more important than the result – somehow. So… I have no clue what else Cosmic Trigger represents to me than a good time I had. I remember when I heard about this penis shrine in Bangkok and went there to take the cover picture… This is more important to me. Good memories about good times.  “Today I Want To Catch Clouds” is not a real album, it’s a collection of songs we recorded or remixed for or with other bands and it was a good thing to have all of them together on one album. But the songs date over 5 years.

What’s the story behind your latest release “Sous l’Arbre De Science”, and does the name Josef Dvorak mentioned as one of the artists of this release have something to do with the movement of Viennese Actionism?

Yes. Josef Dvorak is a satanist expert, philosopher and psychoanalyst and one of the founding members of Wiener Aktionismus. I got to know him via a friend and he did 2 vocal tracks on an album for us. Then we thought we should do a proper release with him and so we did. I talked about this idea to another friend – Didi – the singer of well known Austrian band Fuckhead and he liked the idea so we joined forces. Josef is a very funny guy and I really am very thankful that I could work with him. Also I have to say – Jörg B is a great fan of him and his books influenced him a lot when he was a teenager – so I think for him it was even more exciting. And thats also nice for me…

DB 04

Your releases have usually been printed in various versions and many different sizes of pressings. Do you see this kind of “collector”-mentality essential to releasing music in concrete formats these days? Does music even sell these days in the way it supports the people involved? Can you personally live on music?

I think not about music as a business. I am privileged that I can survive with what I am doing and more that I can work with other people I adore, that’s the best about doing music. I never think about it commercial. I had some offers of bigger labels to sign but then I always decided to stay with Tesco, as they always supported me and they do not really care as well about my weird ideas – au contraire. If I want to release something I just release it. I am working on a limited 10inch now which will be released in a very ridiculous edition of 16 copies. All will be made by hand – so I work with friends directly.. One will do the artwork, another the print – we will do all by hand together. That’s what interests me… The process – not the result. As soon as I have an album or release out I am not interested in it anymore. But luckily also some people like what we do.. So I can not complain about sales, although really – I do not care. Also with playing shows. I prefer small intimate shows rather than big ones. Better to have 200 people who really like your music than 600 who just come to see you.  Success is relative – and I think doing music since over 25 years now and still being around and having more passion for what you do than before… That’s success… At least for me.

Thank you very much for this interview! What can you tell me about the future of Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand? Does it involve a lot of playing live?

No, I am right now in the process of seriously thinking if we ever will play life again. I have many projects now and some more in my mind for 2016. And you know – Time is thee enemy!

Der Blutharsch (Official)

Der Blutharsch (Facebook)

Bandcamp