The Black Sand

November 10, 2018

The Black Sand

Endless Blue (2018)

The Black Sand passed so close to earth the other night, where like a vintage wayward satellite I could just about make out their reflection against the light of the moon as they floated overhead, jettisoning a lush intoxicatingly sonic message from the great beyond, a postcard of sorts from their hypnotic galactic travels. Standing there in the darkness I waved, knowing full well there was no way they’d see me down here on terra firma, yet I did. That silent wave was all I could muster as I stood there with my arms flung wide, as if to embrace the entire universe, and then, Black Sand signaled me with a blinking blue beacon, where in that moment I felt like crying as I fell under the weight of these warm delicious couch-bound tracks, simply whispering back into the vastness, “Shine On.”

What I’m holding here in my hands is perhaps the most significant and imaginative album released by Black Sand, a tripped out shimmering lo-fi adventure filled with brilliantly evenhanded guitar reverberations, woven with dreamy organ dronings and haunting lysergic lyrics that will comfortably lay over you like a like a handmade quilt, one embroidered with visions that seep into your dreams and expand your horizons. Endless Blue is as fragile and intrinsic as a hallucination, one in which you may live for the moment, yet in that same breath you’ll have difficulty shaking the notion that this music could possibly be anything more that a manifestation created in your own head to entice you into the nether regions of your unrealized desires.

Allow me to assure you, that while Endless Blue may seem like a dream, it’s one you may give yourself over to any time you wish.

*** Also available as a limited edition cassette (15 copies).

Into Forever (2018)

Black Sand has delivered perhaps their most contextual, evolving and softly haunting album to date, one filled with intoxicatingly delicious music that sits like jars of honey warming as the morning sun rises over a half forgotten roadside stand, where when you stumble across these evolving numbers it’s quite impossible not to hold them up to the light and dream, lost in their simple bewilderment.

Black Sand do something that’s nearly impossible on Into Forever, and that’s to tribute all of their influences, yet to do so without it sounding obvious or derivative, as in a book, often causing your hand to move back, tracing the words as you reread them again to insure with a sly smile that you’ve heard what you think you’ve heard. Black Sand actually do chart a clear clean course Into Forever with their hypnotic pastoral driftings that weave themselves around you with aspects of sheer pleasure, coming off like nocturnal songs of slumber, like bedtime stories that cause you to drowse, where your soul fills with a sense of beoss and enough entrancing beauty to allow you to see from the inside out, while emotionally staggering with an emancipated sense of freedom and inward delights that seem just too perfect for this world.

Into Forever is delicate ethereal couch-bound listening at it’s very best, with the only drawback being that these wondrous visions have not found their way to a vinyl release.

Chasing The Light (2017)

When Chasing The Light filtered its way under my door, I’d high expectations, as Lost In A Dream (released earlier that year) had laid wast to my listening space, entered my head with an ease and grace all too seldom found in today’s neo-psychedelic music.

I’m more than sure that others might find this outing totally irresistible, being everything they’d hoped for, though out of the ten tracks presented here, there were but four that I found compelling enough to call ‘keepers’ … as all of the material was either first rate in my mind, or not at all what I was looking for. Such albums make for difficult reviews, so allow me to bypass the material that didn’t wrap itself around my soul, and say that the four numbers I did dig were relentless in their bewildering ability to intoxicate my ears and leave me spellbound on the couch. Black Sand, which is actually a single gentlemen identified only as A. Evans, who creates lightly and evenhandedly layered sonic theme that comes across as expansive in the sense that the music resonates around the room without attempting to vaporize, break through the walls and dance across the velvet sky. These four songs for me are what I can only describe as proper couch-bound trippers, yet swagger and shimmer with the delight of hearing something entirely fresh and visionary.

Probably best that you take a listen for yourself and see how the shoe fits. Me? I’m dancing from foot to foot waiting on what comes next.

The Reverberation EP (2017)

The Black Sand’s Reverberation EP is a gently softly driven consistently good extended play release. The songs nearly hang in the air, dripping with lo-fi bewildering hypnotic emotional bliss, all designed to enrapture and comfortably hold you in place.

On this outing, Mr. Evans has written and recorded these organ laced and reverb drenched psychedelic lullabies himself, where the music comes across effortlessly and dream laden, with an organic passion of psychic emancipation. As with so many of the numbers by The Black Sand, these offerings ride a musical current that is staggeringly beautiful, creating a low-keyed soundscape of ethereal delight. This is not music from the hazed out 60’s, though perhaps fashioned for mind expansion, nor is Black Sand simply another step in the footprints of Spacemen 3 (as so many bands are), this is music that has taken a decided step forward, music that will need to be reckoned within on its own terms and of the time in which it lives.

The Black Sands have put down a thumbprint on the psychedelic musical map, charting a course that’s well worth following.

Also available as a limited edition cassette (11 copies).

Lost In A Dream (2017)

Floating in from New Zealand, The Black Sand deliver a hypnotic series of fuzzed out sustained neo-psychedelic songs that are heavily washed in reverb and effects to enrapture and waste away any evening, with the band referring to these sojourns as ‘lullabies’.

The Black Sand, drawing its name from the black volcanic sands of New Zealand beaches, is the project of a single person identified only as A. Evans, though he does gather others around him to work on this material and for live shows.

The music has been acknowledged by Pete Kember (late of Spacemen 3), and will certainly provide the atmosphere needed for any sonically stratospheric adventure, nearly stopping time, while wrapping you in the comfortable of warm blankets and cascading gentle hovering vocals. That being said, with eight releases that include singles and EP’s, this may seem like an extensive catalog to jump into. To that end, I’ve taken the time to walk through all of it, where indeed, there is some material that has been more well considered thought-out and expressed better the others. Since all of this material is available as downloads, you might want to consider, “Behind The Sun,” “Burn ‘n Fade,” “Inside Out,” “Into The Blue,” “Keep Holding On,” “See It Through,” “Carry Me Home,” “Leap Of Faith,” “A World Away” and “Lost In A Dream” as essential companions for the expansion of your wayward travels.

On a whole, Lost In A Dream delivers the most consistent sound of all the releases. If your head resides in that zone of tripped out bliss, there’s no way I can tell you how much you’re going to love this music.

*** For those of you who desire physical product, the albums are also available on cassettes.

Space Blues (2015)

Space Blues was another album that I have heavily combed through, yet having been so swept away by both of the later albums by Black Sand, I’ve revisited this release many times, hoping that there was some aspect I missed, that perhaps my ears were not attuned, or that I simply wasn’t ready for what was being delivered here.

All of that I can discount at this juncture, though I will forever keep “Carry Me Home,” “Leap Of Faith” and “A World Away,” all significant songs in catalog of Mr. Evans. At this point, where Space Blues has bestowed three songs on me, as with the album Chasing The Light, where another four superlative numbers followed me home, I sincerely believe that Black Sands were still attempting to find a solid footing, and of course to do that, musical meandering needed to be directionally and emotionally worked out and refinements made.

This again causes me to consider how highly to rate an album, as the material that I’ve kept is nothing short of stellar in my listening space, where I’d have scooped up these delicious tracks as part of EP just as quickly, and perhaps felt more comfortable with the advancement of Black Sand. But hey, I’m a patient person, Into Forever and Endless Blue wasted me with pure intoxicating bliss that were nothing short of sonic perfection, allowing me to smile, happy that I kept coming back.

This of course returns me to the question of how good an album is if all the songs aren’t wonderful … on a whole, if you didn’t like Sgt. Pepper by the Beatles (and many do not), based simply on the track “A Day In A Life,” there’s absolutely no way one can rate that album poorly, as that single song is nothing less than a historic musical masterpiece that defined a generation. So, find your way here, see how your ears respond, keep what you like, add those songs to a compilation of your own making and enjoy a couch-bound dream laden adventure into the vastness of a star filled night.

*** Also available on a truly limited number of cassettes.

– Jenell Kesler

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