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Mugstar – Centralia

Cardinal Fuzz

Mugstar - CentraliaFor their 2013 contribution to Record Store Day, Mugstar unleash eight tracks (previously available as a tour-only CD) which emerge over the space of two sides of vinyl in an almost continuous mix of muscular psychedelic rock. Each instrumental merges with the next, the fading-out split between each side providing a suitable point to remind any stoners who might just possibly be listening that it’s probably time to manufacture another herbal cigarette or throw a fresh lump of resin on the burner.

Not that Mugstar’s music actually needs drugs to appreciate its cavernous reverb, phased intros, recursively expressive percussion runs worthy of Jaki Liebezeit or the frenetic lange gerade rhythms, but they probably wouldn’t go amiss for those who find such stimulating additions an aid to their appreciation. It’s not called space rock (nor released on nebula blue vinyl) for nothing, after all, but that could easily apply equally the the band’s dedication to the roominess of their echo pedals as they swing effortlessly from slowly meditative guitar winds into full-blown intergalactic travelling mode. Weightless feedback and delay trails waft gently like the smoke of a burning chillum as a humming organ drones and flicks sustaining chords into the filtered swoop of a synthesizer in oscillatory action; while at other reaches the motion extends into the sort of deceptively effortless rhythmic intensity which has been known to provoke air drumming in the more enthusiastic sections of an audience.

It’s worth noting that on occasion it’s not so much Hawkwind, Can or NEU! who spring to mind (though all could to a greater or lesser degree) as does the expansively open post-kosmik instrumental workouts of the late-lamented Cul de Sac while listening to parts of Centralia. Obligatory comparisons aside, with each release it’s also become evident that Mugstar have firmly established their own distinctive voice within the ever-expanding canon of music made with other states of consciousness in mind.

-Richard Fontenoy-

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