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Øresund Space Collective - Different Creatures (2015) review


Øresund Space Collective “Different Creatures” (2xCD, 3xLP on Space Rock Productions, 2015)

You’re familiar with the term ‘binge viewing”, but you may need to do some “binge listening” to fully absorb this mammoth triple album/double CD (the CD contains extended versions) from the Scandinavian psychedelic supergroup that has benefited from participation of over five dozen different musicians across its decade-long existence. To mark their 20th release, Scott Heller and the improvisational Øresund Space Collective have edited numerous hours of tapes recorded in Copenhagen back in October 2014 down to the more manageable, yet still daunting 2½ hours presented across theselengthy jams, several exceeding 20 minutes and a monstrous 45-minute finale that’s practically an entire album unto itself.
           ‘Ride To Valhalla’ kicks things into overdrive, with an energetic blast of space rock. Simply strap on your jet pack and set the phasers on stun – it’s going to be a bumpy “ride” across the universe “to Valhalla”. Supercharged drumming, headswirling synth action, throbbing basslines...they’re all here in abundance. Toss in some sweltering, wah-wah guitarlines, serpentining violins and you’re in for a hell of a journey to the infinite ... and beyond.
           Following this 20-minute take-off, ‘Juggle the Juice’ is one of two experimental sound collages that break up the sonic assault on the senses. Not necessarily to everyone’s taste, the percolating synths and tribal skinpounding certainly acted as a sonic sorbet for me to catch my breath and regain my senses to prepare for the 20-minute ‘Digestive Raga’ (expanded to a full half hour on the CD set). Pure sonic bliss awaits fans of sitar loveliness, as this contemplative naval-gazer floats effortlessly around the room, soothing away the day’s transgressions, tensions, and worries. Just sit back, close your eyes, and breathe deeply as its medicinal comfort envelops your body and transports you to another plane of existence, where pain and suffering have vanished and marshmallow clouds soar by, wrapping you in a mushroomed haze of warmth and inner beauty. Aaaahhhhhhh....
           Fans of Welsh psych monsters Man will freak out (in a good way!) to the beloved tribute ‘The MAN from Wales’, a swarming, throbbing blur of tasty guitar licks (a MAN specialty), swirling keyboards, and hard-driving rhythms. To paraphrase the masters, “Yes, we like it here now and we are settling in quite comfortably”! ‘Bon Voyage’ is another extemporaneous detour, featuring a bunch of speak and spell type toys (think Experimental Audio Research’s Data Rape album), we’re welcomed to sit back and enjoy another raga, this one for the mysterious Jerry G. It all begins with a weeping violin that reminded me of the more countrified selections on The KLF’s Chill Out album, and then brought in some heady sitar embellishments to transport me to another universe inside my head. Breathless...and endlessly fascinating! Country raga?!? Like, way grooovy, MAN! I can almost feel my face melting off my head!
           Now about that 45-minute album, er, song that makes up the third LP in the set (and most of disk 2): Boy Howdy! I can almost guarantee you’ll stumble a few times whilst attempting to take those ’20 Steps Towards The Invisible Door’, but it’ll be an enjoyable trip along the way. The band toss everything in their arsenal into this bad boy, from throbbing gristle to bubbling cauldrons of medicated goo, all in search of the lost chord that tethers us to this universe and keeps us from falling though that “invisible door” to the worlds that lie on the other side. While almost impossible to experience in a single setting without venturing off the deep end, pace yourself and sit back and enjoy the ride. Not since The Bevis Frond’ssimilar experiment in album-long songs (White Numbers’ ‘Homemade Traditional Electric Jam’) have we been so impressed that a band could sustain the momentum without losing the plot a few times, but OSC manage to keep their feet on the ground and their (and your) heads in the clouds. A fascinating climax to an incredible journey to the infinite...and beyond.

Review made by Jeff Penczak/2015
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