Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Review...LA OTRACINA - 'The Aquarian Wind'

It would seem, that this Brooklyn collective, travelled across vast desert landscape - drank the waters of some mystical lake of enchantment and upon their return, released their latest offering, The Aquarian Wind, and, played at the mighty Roadburn Festival in Tilberg. Firmly establishing themselves in a modern age of 70’s inspired, cosmic, heavy psychedelia.
The album in its entirety, has a traveling kind of feel to it, with each track documenting the varied paths to which the journey may lend itself. Our trip begins with ‘Voyage To Heldonia’ opening with an erratic episode of drum rolls, as if signaling to take your mark.  Then the bass kicks in and the Voyage begins.  A warm bass guitar and gentle drum taps set the pace of the opening track, soon followed by the curious finger tips of guitarist Philippe Ortanez.  The track flows like water, exquisitely recorded with the soft ssssshhhhimmer of the cymbals existing beneath a current of saturating reverb, exposing subtle waves of feedback.

‘Lost In The Sunrise’ takes the listener along a different road, introducing vocals to the ensemble from drummer Adam Kriney.  Once again, the drums along with some sweet sunburnt fuzzy desert bass lines, effortlessly hold the track in place, confidently spiraling off at their own discretion.  There is a gentle sound of single guitar notes, ringing out with the occasional glimpse of a dusty chord. Permanently on the cusp of braking into the menacing chorus riff, followed shortly by shredding guitar tones cloaked in wah and lush 70s fuzz. After a second chorus the heavy improv jammin’ continues, and rightly so. It sounds fuckin’ sweet.

‘California Orange Sunshine’ bares a strange schizophrenic melancholy. This is a relatively short instrumental meandering that would well soundtrack a moment of ritual confusion within an old psychedelic occult horror film.Emerging from the bass and percussion intro of ‘Cornfield’ come swirling effect laden strikes of the guitar that flourish into a lead melody line, gradually bleeding into the free from and progressive vibes familiar to each member of the band. One of the many great aspects of La Otracina, is the moments of improvised jammin’ the unrehearsed freedom of this band is something that has become somewhat lost in todays musical realm in comparison to that of their predecessors.

’Forgotten To Be Free’ has a heavy proto-metal feel to it, similar to that of pentagram.  Dark bluesy guitar riffs and slow heavy drums accompanied by colossal bass rumblings and Mr Kriney bashing out some more high pitch vocals.  We began our trip with an astral wave of psychedelia, only to finish with a final tale of triumph, charged with awesome valve driven 70’s doom riffage.

La Otracina were formed by Adam Kriney in 2003 and has since evolved into a gargantuan psychedelic cosmonaught - evoking spaced out grooves and artistic improvisational tendencies on a platform of sun kissed 70’s desert prog. This band is not to be overlooked.

Words by Dan S.

La Otracina Bandcamp

Interview with...BONGRIPPER

Many many moons ago, I stumbled across a dismal and relatively dormant band myspace page with a depressing grey background and an image of a Mountain Goat as a profile picture, despite this gloomy simplicity, the bands name was Bongripper. I glanced over at the music player only to find an 80minute gem, 'The Great Barrier Reefer' (2005).  Since then I have maintained an interest in these four doom slingers from Chicago and had the pleasure of seeing them play at this years Roadburn Festival in Tilburg.
We got in contact with Bongripper to find out about their recent experiences, this is what they said.

BS - Did you expect Satan Worshipping Doom to get the response it got and how has it changed the life and progression of the band?

Nick - We had no real expectations during the almost two year writing process, but it did feel like a new direction for the band.  This was the first time we were intentionally writing for a 2LP and the first time releasing any material on vinyl.  We wanted to take the different styles and influences of earlier work, but in a more focused and punishing way.  The goal was to make a album that had 4 separate parts while still retaining the journey aspect of a cohesive full album.  I think this formula allowed more people the chance to get into the music now that we didn’t have the straight noise and drone sections like on previous albums.  It also allowed us to write shorter tracks for the “Sex Tape/Snuff Film” 7” and the upcoming tracks for the splits with UZALA and HATE.

BS - Has the success of the album made any difference to your gigging opportunities?
Dennis - Yes, and no. On one hand we got to play Roadburn this year, and we have played on some bigger shows that have come through the Chicago area. On the other hand we are still a unsigned band, with no label support or booking agent. So that can limit some of our gigging opportunities.

BS - We attended the mighty Roadburn festival this year and it was a fuckin’ life changer, how was it for you guys?
Dennis - Well, I can’t speak for everyone in the band, but it was probably the best musical experience of my life up to this point. Not only were the shows, and festival as a whole, amazing, but everyone involved with the festival were amazing. From Walter, Jurgen, Marisa, Steph, Boris, the bands, to the fans. Everyone involved made us feel right at home. It was truly an awesome experience.

BS - How did it feel when you were first asked to play? 
Dennis - I had to read the e-mail a couple of times. I was in a bit of shock. We had a feeling that we might be asked, but I wasn’t going to assume anything. I also remember feeling very proud. Like I said earlier we are an unsigned band, so we do almost everything from setting up shows, to selling/ shipping our own records. So for us to get that opportunity was a lot of hard work paying off.

BS - How did you find the European crowd in comparison to the response you get back home?
Dennis - Well, i think the biggest difference I noticed was that the European crowd seemed to be a bit calmer, and not in a bad way either. I remember walking onto the stage for the first set at roadburn, and when I looked out into the crowd, everyone seemed to be very relaxed, maybe it was the heat, and in the middle of hanging out with really good friends.

BS - Since 2005 you seem to achieved quite a lot, generating a more enthusiastic response with each release as well as some pinnacle moments on the road, what do you expect the future may hold for Bongripper?
Nick - It has been amazing that we have reached as many people as we have.  We do not send our albums for review to magazines or websites.  We put out records ourselves and we are lucky that people are passionate to spread the music to their friends.  As for future releases, we already have our music recorded and ready for the splits with HATE and UZALA so we are currently writing for the next 2LP.  It is hard to say how the music will compare to previous releases, but we are aiming to put together a devastating doom album that will empty your colon and your prick.  No one left dry.

There you have it, thanks again to Nick and Dennis from Bongripper for answering our questions. Here is a track from their latest release:

Words by Dan S.