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Zone Six – Love Monster / Electric Moon – Theory of Mind

Sulatron

Zone Six – Love MonsterKick out the jams and get your freak flag flying with two new releases from Sulatron. Zone Six are a mindbending mixture of members of Electric Moon, Modulfix and The Pancakes (who also get together under the name Krautzone) playing spiralling hypnotic psychedelic madness in free-form jams that have been condensed down to these four blistering tracks.

Komet Lulu’s bass kicks us into the title track, its deep, steadily pulsating rhythm fusing well with Sula Bassana’s drum pattern. Over the top of this krautrock beat, Martin Schorn gives us washes of synthesizer sounds while Rainer Reeff pulls along the perforations of acid tab lead guitar. Its heady brew of moonbeam highway sonic pulses scatters psychedelic tentacles into luminous stratospheric globes that circle planet Earth. The track slides between pulsating Ash Ra Tempel beats to Grateful Dead-style freak-outs. We drift between nether worlds of coloured conciseness that leaves us to drop between the gaps of reality as the guitar takes a very 1967 voyage to out there. By the time the track hits its 10 minute mark, ethereal synth lines begin to take over, sounding like an alien soundtrack for a cosmic drift to nowhere.

“The Insight” starts with Kraftwerk-sounding electronics over a low tone note (not float). When the guitar comes in for what sounds like an echoed sequencer pattern, the track takes on a light, airy mood as its steady rhythm moves beneath. It feels like the celestial hand of some elder god lifting you gently back down to earth through a series of kaleidoscopic rainbows. Reeff’s guitar heads into Gilmour territory as it wanders through notes that are kept in the secret garden of your mind. “Acidic” is a trance dance on the surface of Mars with strobe light effects lighting up Olympus Mons. Its rolling motorik beat crawls along underneath some lushly echoed guitar that transcends the red planet’s atmosphere. By the end, the guitar begins to play some sublime notes that get you high just hearing them and sends shivers down your spine.

“Cosmogyral” begins in a similar rhythmic guitar vein as “Dark Star” and prepares us for the next fifteen minutes of wig-out music to come. This feels like music for a summer’s afternoon lying in the grass watching the clouds move slowly overhead as the world spins imperceptibly beneath you. Its keyboard chords hang mid-air as the lead guitar skyrockets over the top. The sound of the band at times reminds me of early Quintessence live; it has that Notting Hill freak vibe to it and a feel of exploration into inner space. By the time the track reaches its end point, we feel that we have been on a journey somewhere quite strange that is full of ancient pagan themes, but is modern at the same time.

Wow; far out! Lets not beat around any bushes here, this is perfect music for all space travellers out there. Yes, it’s psychedelic and trips a light fantastic between mad freakbeat and drifting cosmic otherness, but it does so with such wonder that you can’t helped but get sucked in by its multi-coloured charms. Part UFO Club, part Haight Ashbury and a total experience that could only be created on this third rock from the sun…

(…meanwhile, transmitting from a nearby satellite…)

Electric Moon – Theory of MindFor starters, Electric Moon’s Theory of Mind has some of Komet Lulu’s most stunning album artwork to date. It harks back to the glory days of Hapshash and the Coloured Coat and the wonderful psychedelic art of the Seventies free festival movement: it is a thing of beauty to behold. This is a major point with Sulatron Records which I’ve not really address in my other reviews from the label; everything is so lovingly put out with stunning artwork and beautiful vinyl pressings; you always get excellent value for what you pay for.

So on to the music; this is the band live at the Kosmodrom in Heidelberg in February 2014. Now, anyone who’s seen Electric Moon live knows what a wonderful and magical cosmic experience it is to witness them and their live recordings are some of the best in the catalogue. So its time to turn on, tune in and drop out and watch the wallpaper move.

“Hypnotika” has a subtle and quiet beginning, rolling synth drones punctuated over some deep-meaning guitars. Cymbals roll gently behind as echoed guitar takes us on a drift through space, out by Pluto where the sun is a small star millions of miles away. Drums begin to roll in as feedback guitar picks up pace and the low buzz of Lulu’s bass comes into play. By the time the rhythm crashes in, you can almost see the audience swaying to the musical vibes being beamed to them from the cosmos. This pure acid rock, this is touch the sky and go beyond; it’s so good you can almost feel your stomach smiling. This is the place where the psilocybin grows as tall as trees amongst the purple grass. As the track builds, it really does remind me of the free festivals of my youth, dancing beneath that big old sun in a field waiting for the euphoria to hit you. But this is what Electric Moon does best: Sula’s guitar is always masterful and at points understated, but beautiful. By the middle of the track we are hitting into Hawkwind territory circa 1971 as we pick up some space rock chordal progressions and hit the outer limits.

“Theory of the Mind” has wah guitar creating atmospheres before launching into some wonderful psychedelic chords. The opening reminded me a little of some of the early Pink Fairies recordings, a kind of stroll into a magical wonderland where naked hippies constantly frolic at the top of Glastonbury Tor. Bass and drums pick up the beat and the vibe begins to change to that of night pyres burning on midsummer’s eve while creatures from the other worlds dance amongst the flames. The music becomes a hypnotic trance as the lead guitar leads you higher into the firmament. Then the sonic blast from Sula and the big bass riff from Lulu turns the track into a whirling dervish of a beast that spins upon its own axis and gathers in other smaller objects.

A hefty bass riff starts “The Picture”, which leads into a kind of “Time We Left This World Today” wig-out vibe that should get heads shaking. This builds up in layers, then slowly begins to disintegrate in to freak-out mode where guitar and drums battle it out against each other whilst all the while the heavy bass riff just keeps on pounding. By the time the track crashes to its halt, you feel almost exhausted from being on such a full-on trip.

“Aerosoul” starts out in a very light, airy and flitting nature, with notes hovering around like moths to a flame. The bass begins to give these flighty notes some gravitas as it smashes a single note away through masses of reverb as the drums stutter in. Here we are taken on a trip headlong into a fantastical world where all that we know is turned upside down. It’s like an aural version of Dave Sheridan‘s Dealer McDope strip from the late Sixties. A portal opens in your room and you step through to the other side and leave reality behind. “You should let go of yourself” is the famous Dealer quote and this is what this track helps you to do. I have it playing while I write this review and my mind keeps drifting elsewhere…

Another wonderful album from Electric Moon; this one is for the seasoned space travellers out there who are looking beyond and want to go further. It’s released as a double vinyl album and is worth snatching up while copies are still around as it’s a beautiful thing to behold.

-Gary Parsons-

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