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BETA-LACTAM RING RECORDS
What if the Voyager space craft became sentient? Would it destroy humanity? Who is to say it wouldn’t become the most far-out musician of the galaxy? Expo ‘70’s sonic reach seems to extend past even the concept of space/time itself. One Eno Eon past normal, the patter of Expo ‘70’s dark matter squeaks and moans in wave forms, like the Doppler buzz of an armada of flying fortresses piercing through the black vacuum. A fiery comet tail of piercing Kraut flavored psych trails behind. The whistles of cosmic winds commingle with acid fury as the Expo ‘70 command craft slowly leads the armada in for a truly great gig in the sky. Ambience morphs into a monstrous, heavy psychedelic blaze colour of Big Bang proportions. Eventually, the searing doom-crush folds in on itself until, once again, only the spheres patiently whisper from the deep. After which, a quantum of solace resonates with the frequency of the earth below us; drifting, falling; floating weightless; calling, calling home.
AQUARIUS RECORDS List No.335
More epic and dense heart-of-the-sun blissed out heavy space drones from Expo 70. And the thing is, we're running out of superlatives, we can only gush so much before we run out of new things to say, which is especially difficult when every record is as good as if not better than the last. So do forgive us if we're repeating ourselves, but hell, any one into spaced out heaviness, and droneprogbliss, who hasn't heard Expo 70 is missing out on one might just be their favorite band EVER.
Like past records, Expo 70 suck the essence out of every Hawkwind record, the soul of every Tangerine Dream record, and filter it through filter of SUNNO))) black hole heaviness, and come up with their own unique psychedelic space rock krautdrone, a sound we just can't get enough of. Expansive and sprawling, dark and meditative, washed out and dreamy, heavy and layered, the opening track on Sonic Messenger is a crushing chunk of low end rumble and pulse, which immediately gives way to some ultra hushed bliss, which smolders and flickers and expands in slow motion like a time lapse film of a planet being birthed. And so it goes, rhythms surface and blink out, guitars groan and whir and weep, synths wheeze and unfurl glimmering sheets of sound, the guitars sometimes coalesce into psychedelic almost-leads, but more often than not fade into clouds of hazy reverb and ethereal delay, the record closes with a 21 minute slow burn that is subtly fierce, a muted ominous swell of sound, wrapped in airy tendrils of fragmented melody, and swaths of gritty texture, a brooding and intense stretch of dreamy darkness.
Once again Expo 70 deliver the divine drugged out sonic space drone bliss.
And while they last (only 150 copies!!), included is a whole extra disc, an actual cd, not a cd-r, 50 more minutes of blissed out krautdrone space psych ambience. Three long long long songs, much more hushed and almost new age sounding that the record proper, except for the first 22 minute jam, that builds to a frenzied psychedelic freak out coda.
Deluxe packaging too, a glossy full color mini hardcover book-like sleeve, while the bonus disc comes in a cardboard sleeve, but there are instructions how to get some bonus stuff for the limited cd via the label's website. Cool!
MY RECORD COLLECTION dot org
If it weren't for the doom-oriented side of the band's sound, you could easily have told me that Sonic Messenger was actually some unearthed curiosity released in an edition of 5 by some pot-smoking german teenagers from Kühnhardt Am Schlegel back in the early seventies and I would believe you. But of course what makes Expo '70 so special is the way they take these classic sounds and expands on them. Expo '70 have never sounded as varied as they do here. A bit of doom here, some motorik there, a dab of psychedelic folk here and some truly kosmische everywhere. I love almost everything by this band, but I believe I've found a second favorite after Animism. Not a single dull track to be found here and too many favorites to list. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on the deluxe edition of Sonic Messenger, you will also be getting a bonus CD: Infinite Macrocosm, an epic drone masterpiece in and of itself. Hurry! Only 400 copies out there.
ALBUM OF THE DAY ON ROADBURN JANUARY 2ND 2010!
Somebody throw a bucket of ice water on me! “Sonic Messenger” is a trip! It’s a fallen comet that has left a crater in my soul, deepening my appreciation for this brand of psychedelia! Expo 70 has impressed us with each and every release thus far, but Justin Wright, the man behind the music, has graced us with an unparalleled offering. “Sonic Messenger” is by far his magnum opus. Everything that has come before has only been a taste of his true creativity. “Sonic Messenger” proves to be the telos, the fulfillment, of his work as far as I’m concerned. All of his other work points to this epic masterpiece, but only “Sonic Messenger” delivers the fullness of Expo 70’s glory. It has the best of everything that makes Justin Wright one of the best artists of our time. The drones are as weightless as ever, evoking the hum of a spacecraft. The effects are as otherworldly as ever, like the emissions of a ray gun from some unknown planet. And the guitar is as poignant as ever, reeling like urgent transmissions of lost extra terrestrial life forms. This is absolutely mesmerizing…I think I’ve lost a few brain cells after listening to this thing so much. As Wright’s label is aptly named, this is no doubt a “Sonic Meditation.” I love the light and flakey spaced out layers with flecks of unpredictable guitar magic. Mostly airy, but sometimes a bit fuzzy like a radio communication from Ground Control.
Something absolutely must be said about its package format and bonus release. This could very well be one of the nicest package jobs I’ve ever seen. It definitely does justice to the tracks. Hardcover book-style with slick glossed photos of Wright doing his thing. Simply superb. I love the whole aesthetic of Expo 70. It’s like some kind of 60’s/70’s space myth. Maybe it’s because the whole vintage thing is cool right now, but both the vibe and the art have never seemed so fresh. Anyway, I’d pick this one up for the bonus “Infinite Macrocosm” CD alone. It delivers three more long tracks that make it a solid release in itself. It’s also a stunner.
“Sonic Messenger” is absolutely out of this world! I think Neil Armstrong would say, “One small step for [Justin Wright]; one giant leap for [drone-kind].” 10/10 -- Dave Miller (26 January, 2010)
BAD ACID Blotter
"This music has to be the work of some immortal group of dronelords,
sitting in their multidimensional fortress, atop some mysterious lost mountain,
who in their infinite wisdom, allow their dreamlike drones and angelic ambience
to fall from the sky and settle over us like a light dusting of snow..." - Aquarius Records (San Francisco, CA)
I fetched up these sentences at the myspace site of EXPO70 and despite the fact that I love to to be creative with words to describe music, I couldn´t have done better. In fact U considered about only to write the second statement in huge letters on the page and finished the review with: "That´s what it is." Perfect description.
But to give you some hints furthermore: If you´ve ver been to Alpha Centauri in a Tangerine Dream, on board of the sonic vessel DAS BLUUL, while the stereos played Tarentel VS. Earth:HEX, your science engineer was converting light into the audible range to conduct the tenth volume of "The Symphonies of the Planets"* and in the cargo bay was a whole Ash Ra Tempel monastery complete with monks invoking the silent OM, you might get a slight impression to where the journey floats. The overdronelord is Justin Wright battered up with a Hiwatt sonic unit clamped to a huge two stack 4x12"speaker/combo powered by a rack of effects and vibed by his Gibson SG (using residual arms to operate analog drums and Roland Synth). At his sides he gathers his sonic priests Matt Hill (chosen tools: electric base, analog drum machines, Korg Synth) and David Williams (master in auxiliary percussion, singing bowls, gongs) to conjure resonance mantras from the center of the universe.
Surely, if you´re about to go on a trip and lack the desired converter, that twitches your synapses, pick up EXPO70, sink down into lotus position and begin to meditate. Even if you´ve never learned how. Doesn´t matter. O now in the End I did find some own words. Sometimes yer just get carried away. M
Conclusion: let´s get a grab at any "wellness/new age/meditation"-synthie CRAP made up for the mass-market you come across, BURN it, BREAK it, EXTINGIUSH it from this world. And if anyone looks suspicious about your activity, approach him/her, ask "Wanna meditate?" and hand over a copy of EXPO70.
Si espande l’universo Expo'70. Per l'ennesimo dilatatissimo trip space-rock, Justin Wright, deus ex machina del progetto, prende con sé Matt Hill (basso, acustica, synth), David Williams (percussioni, gong) e Jam (percussioni e guida spirituale) allargando a dismisura il proprio universo. Più che una svolta stilistica - referente principale è sempre quel kosmische sound da buco nero - è l’interazione di un quartetto di musicisti (seppur in modalità rigorosamente impro) ad aggiungere sale ad una proposta che altrimenti rischierebbe di fossilizzarsi sulle volute psych della chitarra di Wright.
Episodi come I Nzambi Awaken e Your Beard Is Growing Psychic sfruttano non solo i cavernosi e dilatati riverberi della chitarra, ma anche strumenti apparentemente altri come gong tibetani e percussioni etniche, innestando un pulsare ritmico alieno al contesto. Oppure Chandra che rimbalza flutti di synth in una atmosfera priva di gravità, come fossero segnali radar lanciati migliaia di anni-luce fa nel profondo del cosmo. Si sarà capito che, nonostante una mole impressionante (79 minuti l’album a cui si aggiunge un bonus cd con tre lunghe composizioni per altri 50 minuti di musica) e un suono ormai fortemente caratterizzato (la trasversale cosmica dei suoni kraut, acid-rock, spacey dell’ultimo trentennio che fa bella mostra di sè in Journey To The Sun, Amplifying Umbras, The Gathering), Sonic Messenger è più di un seguito ben fatto: sposta i paletti del genere verso nuove dimensioni e tenta un approccio personale nel rivitalizzare il kraut tanto in voga ultimamente. Nella kosmische infatti, Expo '70 è un classico con tanto di podio assicurato. (7.5/10) - Stefano Pifferi
ASTRAL HEADSPACE Blog
Somehow you might have guessed that song titles like "Analog Dreamscape" and "Your Beard Is Growing Psychic" would reel me in. Throw in a bonus ltd-ed cd titled Infinite Macrocosm and I'm sold! Also, I was heartened by photos of disembodied guitar headstocks, someone with a guitar, stacks of guitar amps, and so on.
Well, it's drone. However... whereas a lot of drone is keyboard-based and/or dark and haunting, Expo '70 uses mostly guitars and grooves the space-psych terrain of late-'60s/early-'70 Pink Floyd. And some more modern sounds to boot. So, it stands out from the rest of what I've been on, and there's a lot to dig into here.
Opening intro "The Gathering" is all roiling distortion waves with a prickly lead part and fever-buzz ending. The next one goes on too long once it settles into a (arrhythmic) groove, but experiments nicely with multi-guitar drones and weird, percussion-interruptus loops. "Analog Dreamscape" might be based on actual analogue tape delay, because it seems like the guitar repeats everything only once. Or maybe the decay is just set real high. Not the greatest guitarist, but he manages to keep the psych flowing over a tribal drum-machine beat. "Hamadryad" is the epitome of space-synth psych-guitar ambient-drone, which doesn't make it the most interesting track on the album. Still cool, though.
"I Nzambi Awaken" sounds perilously close to some heavier track from Harvestman's In A Dark Tongue (#5 , 2009). Heavy, repetitive riffage droning out and minimalistic tribal rhythm under exploratory guitar soloing. Plus the title almost has "zombie" in it, and practically references "Ye Uttuku Spells" from Absu! Embedded above, "Your Beard" should be the selling track instead of edits of "Hamadryad." Sure, it's not very representative, but it's damn groovy. Plus the title would sure get people talkin'. Couple more songs - one more dark and chugging, one more bright and pulsing. Then the concluding epic (21 minutes), "Temple of the Shadow," uses all the tricks introduced so far: roiling, quietude, delayed guitar, space-noise, amp overload, minimalist drum loops, psychedelia!!
The ltd-ed companion disc Infinite Macrocosm (2009) consists of three lengthy tracks, which defy description - at least by me, at this time. If the main disc still leaves much to be explored (and it does), then this requires deep-deep-space exploration. Maybe outtakes, maybe improvised experiments, but it goes all over the place - at least within the bounds of what Messenger introduced. It's pretty trippy, though! "Velvet Prisms of the Shoshone," indeed...