Various Artists, Turn Century Turn - Space Rock and Psychedelia From Around the Globe Cyberhome: http://motherwest.com/tct/ (page w/no frames) or http://motherwest.com/ (with frames) Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org How does one review a compilation album? Turn Century Turn is a compilation of widely varying contemporary bands around the world who play Krautrock, Acid-rock, and all other manners of spacey/trippy music. My experience with the genre is somewhat limited, but I'll do my best to give my (I'm sure) totally biased opinions on the bands included. Chameleon, "Starskater" - Trippy guitar-led psychedelia that overstays its welcome a bit too much. Nice atmosphere, though, and makes for good background music, just not something I can focus on for too long. Extroverde, "Kalkutta" - Begins with an Eastern-type rhythm loop over which flute and synth make careful explorations. Unusual, eerie, and is short enough to sidestep monotony. I'd like to hear more from them. Alien Planetscapes, "Prince Chubbs" - One of the three bands I'd previously heard of, Alien Planetscapes track stands out admirably, complete with heavy reverb atmospherics, electronics, Can-like guitar work, and frenetic acoustic drums. This piece really builds and builds and builds and only occasionally comes down. A definite highlight. Zen, "Lady in Red" - The first track to feature vocals, which are appropriately incomprehensible and Gong-like (and, possibly, in the band's native Chinese tongue). The drums carry the majority of the song, which grooves along nicely as ominous guitar and intense ethnic percussion carry it to its conclusion. Nice exotic feel throughout. Chateau de Fleurs, "Our Moonband's Farewell" - A short and extremely spacey, almost tempo-less at time, piece with some sweet synth work. Halfway through the group breaks into an exultant march which conveys the song's title very well. F/I, "Space Station" - Another vocal piece, only in technicality, since the vox just provide ambience like all the other instruments (not a bad thing, mind you). This piece is anchored by a pseudo-electronica/disco groove which works better than it would seem on paper. Extremely good piece, in fact. Escapade, "Under an Intrusive Glare" - One of the other bands I'd previously heard, Escapade develops this song very subtly, starting with a freeform almost-drum-solo then adding synths and mallet percussion, then bass, then (mellotron?) choir and other atmospherics. Things start to get to a cool, dark groove towards the end. An interesting piece, no doubt. Volcano the Bear, "Cornutopia" - Seriously twisted and dissonant, these noisy rawkers are a force to be reckoned with, and they add enough acid-drenched atmospherics and electronics to sound like they belong on the album. Well-done. Tangle Edge, "Dxui" - At 10 minutes, this is the longest track on the album, which usually means either very good or very bad things. I'm not really sure which in this case, since the piece is one of those whose atmosphere is the most important, making it unnecessary to have 100% focus through the whole piece. It does well for what it is, though. Tibra Komal, "Oriental Orchid Spinned of a Silkworm" - Unsurprisingly, considering the band and song names, there's a strong Eastern influence in this piece. Some almost normal vocals (slightly undermixed lest anyone actually make out the words) appear, but the real highlight is the intense instrumentation and thematic material - even melodies. Probably the most composed piece on the album, the intelligent construction serves as a nice and appropriate contrast to the other pieces on the album. There is enough atmosphere to keep it from seeming out of place as well. Another big highlight. Iron Bong, "Grey" - A nice groove and delightfully burbling synths highlight this piece, which seems to be curiously similar to Gong's "A Sprinkling of Clouds." One of the more mediocre tracks, in my opinion. Beyondomatic, "Family Chi" - Trippier than anything else on the album, this piece begins with electronics invading all side of the stereo spectrum with whispered vocals somehow put just far enough in the background to (you guessed it) be indiscernible. The piece never really does anything after the vocals finish, leaving an oddly static impression in the listener. Holy River Family Band, "The Force Comes From the Strength of a Horse" - The other band I'd previously heard, this track is very subtle and not at all goofy (as you might expect given the band and song names). A good gradual build to an appropriate climax. On the whole, this compilation is very successful, and I would recommend with varying degrees of enthusiasm any band on it. ~ this epic review by ~Jon~ Dharma!
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