1 Apr 2009
ON THE DECKS #3
Mutant Music MMLP0024
There are many reasons why one purchases a particular album. Usually it is because of the music found in the grooves. Sometimes it is a recommendation from a friend…other times it might be the artwork or packaging. In the case of this album, Thunderbolt Pagoda’s S/T , for me it was purely a purchase based on its packaging. Upon going to Mutant Music’s website (http://www.mutantmusic.com) I purchased the album based on the packaging alone. Limited to 360 copies…housed in a box with silk screened cover and poster. At that time I could care less what the music was like…this was a great looking piece of art that I had to have! Once I received the album I was blown away by the music that rested in the grooves.
Thunderbolt Pagoda is one of those bands that is taking Cosmic Music into the 21st Century. The four tracks that grace the LP are fantastic space voyages that float in and out of punishing riffs and epic soundscapes that fly into the far reaches of the universe. This music is far-out! The opening track, Horizon on Fire, has an eastern twinge to it. The guitar work is reminiscent of a meeting between Erkin Koray and Syd Barrett during his Floyd years. Searing shards of guitar cut through the repetitive riff that the rhythm section so effortlessly raise and lower in intensity.
On the second track, The Watcher, the band kicks it off right away with a bombastic riff that quickly eases into a Krautrock-esque groove that is played with the intensity of street punks on a speed binge. Vocals are just where I like them…in the mix…layered with echo and reverb. Synths pop in and out adding a other worldliness to the proceedings. The rhythm section once again glues everything together with dynamics that are missing in so much music today. .Dynamics…what a wonderful thing!
Side Two, takes the trip even deeper with Release the Krakken Parts 1 & 2. Dark and foreboding…this is not music for the meek. The track begins with a mantra like montage of electronics and what appears to be guitar…summonsing the listener into a hypnotic state. Just when you have reached that meditative state the band kicks in full force with a monster of a riff. After being pummeled by the riff the track fades into deep space and floats away with another fantastic groove.
This album is spatial, heavy, and ominous. The stark artwork fits the music perfectly. I highly recommend this LP to anyone into heavy deep space music. Much thanks goes out to Chris Reeder for pointing me in the direction of this album. Without him I might have missed out on this masterpiece. Thanks Chris!
DAVE W (WHITE HILLS)
More information on Thunderbolt Pagoda can be found here…