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Sula Bassana – The Night


Sula Bassana ‎– The NightThe Night is a CD reissue of Sula Bassana‘s 2009 LP and finds him playing some of his finest space rock on what could be seen as almost a concept album, all wrapped around by Frank Lewecke’s luscious cosmic sleeve design.

“In Space” opens the album and has more than a nod to ’50s sci-fi in its lush groove — the feel is more like The Tornados hitching a ride on the Metaluna space craft from This Island Earth. All instruments on the album are played by Sula and this just goes to show the man’s versatility on this wonderful, smooth opener. “Lost In Space” sets a motorik rhythm over which a 1967 Rick Wright freak-out organ sets its controls for outland in a silver-suited alien rampage around the galaxy whilst hushed vocals call to the void.

The magnum opus for the album is “The Night Parts 1-4” which starts with ethereal eerie keyboard chords (not too dissimilar to Barry Grey‘s closing title music for UFO) before the song hits in proper with choppy chords and vocals. Here we drift in to ’70s Hawkwind territory, and at points it even reminds me of Japanese psych rockers Ghost. Steady drums clatter over Martian sands and the lead guitar has touch of softer Opeth as we move into the second section. This is a night with twin moons that hang in an orange sky as the track hits a slightly more proggy section reminiscent of Topographic Oceans-era Yes. Sula manages to keep the cosmic feel without ever dropping into pretension and builds up the tension nicely with some wonderful psychedelic guitar chords. Part 4 is bitter-sweet and melancholy, as wobbling synths hover above the ground and Bassana plays some rather beautiful lead guitar with power.

“Meteorritt” opens with crashing chords and swirling synth sounds, and we soon kick into a great straight-ahead space rocker with an infectious bass line and some wonderful volume pedal-playing lead guitar. The guitar does have a touch of Steves Hackett, Howe and Hillage at points, but we are soon hitting high Gong-feeling heaven as the music uplifts as it climbs. The album ends with the massive sixteen minute “Kosmokrator”, which begins with echoed guitar forming the pulse of the track as we enter the rainbow dome of inner mind visual nirvana. There’s a little touch of early Ozric Tentacles in there as the guitar sweeps across multi-coloured vistas, but when the vocals come in though, we are in pure Hawkwind land again as its chant-like rhythm sets us off into the space ritual. The synths at points almost have a touch of techno about them as they scatter underneath the main action of the guitar work. This is head music for the Kosfest crowd, an urgent space rocker like the sound of travelling light years to find a galactic empire; a must-have for cosmic travellers and outer space beings everywhere.

-Gary Parsons-

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