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Papir - Live at Roadburn (2015) review

Papir - Live at Roadburn (El Paraiso, 2015)

The Danish trio’s groundbreaking performance at the legendary Dutch festival in Tilburg last year was easily the festival highlight – so much so that they were invited to perform three times! This double LP/CD captures their blistering first show in its entirety, so you can finally appreciate what their fans already know – that Papir are one of the premiere instrumental psych bands on the planet. The set runs the gamut of their discographical output to date, opening with a ferocious take on “LykkTrep-R Hi-Losé” from their eponymous 2010 debut before leapfrogging into the lead track from last year’s fourth album (rather lackadaisically entitled IIII). But there is nothing lazy or remotely boring about Nicklas Sørensen’sserpentining guitar runs around the solid rhythm chunks laid down by drummer ChristofferBrøchmann and fluid bass throbbing of Christian Becher. My best advice is to sit back and enjoy the trip, as the trio lead us down quiet back alley passages, roaming through the myriad twists and turns to explore flights of fancy at every nook and cranny along the way,
There are sections of immense beauty, followed by soaring heights of crystalline guitar and headbanging rhythms – a perpetual rise and fall of our senses as we experience the various tools in the band’s musical arsenal. The band get funky on “Monday” from 2011’s Stundum, as all arms fly akimbo through its intricate time changes, always leaving room for solid improvisatory flights into the stratosphere. Again, Sørensen’s guitar work boggles the mind with his steaming runs, followed by pastoral segments of immense beauty and relaxation. There’s plenty of time during its amazing 14 minutes for your mind to go on holiday and still come back to prepare for the next half hour devoted to two improvisational “new” tracks. To keep your head firmly planted in the clouds, they’ve elected not to trouble you with trying to remember their titles, opting for the band’s typically nondescript numbering scheme, “Live I” and, you guessed it, “Live II”.
The first one starts simply and pleasantly enough with a catchy little melody – like snowflakes fluttering to Earth, but within minutes the cat’s out of the bag and our friends are off for another trek around the universe on the back of Sørensen’s inventive solos and the solid rhythm section’s impeccable time keeping. I’m sure this went down a storm and must’ve been a joy to experience live – video footage must be AMAZING! The second track pulls out all the stops to leave the audience gasping for air and crawling on all fours in search of their collective jaws. Like, totally awesome, dude!
A brief respite towards the ten-minute mark settles things down before a 17-minute “Sunday #2” (there’s those catchy titles again!) wraps things up in a brain-frying onslaught of torrential psychedelic escapades that you won’t soon forget. All I can say is to be certain to catch these guys live when they come to your town so you can experience unbridled psychedelic mayhem first hand.

Review made by Jeff Penczak/2015
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