LP / CS - Sonic Meditations
400 180 gram black vinyl
100 180 gram marble vinyl
Gatefold CD on ESSENCE MUSIC
Deluxe pyramid box set with bonus CDr on ESSENCE MUSIC
SONIC MEDITATIONS RELEASE
Expo ‘70 is mainly known for being the work of Justin Wright with the occasional contribution of other musicians, primarily dabbling in Drone, Krautrock, Psychedelic Rock and Kosmische music. This new release features a trio line-up of Wright accompanied by Aaron Osborne and Mike Vera. Wright has been working with the line-up for the last year and released a track on last years’ Immune Recording’s 4-way double split LP on Record Store Day.
This release is from a quick live recording at Fokl in Kansas City, Kansas the week before the first annual KC Psychfest this past May. Recorded live in the upper room at Fokl, the 3 tracks that total 58 minutes were edited down to fit onto the LP release. An original limited release was edited down to 2 tracks to fit onto a C40 cassette that was home dubbed to be available only in a limited edition for the KC Psychfest.
Music featured on the LP is not too far of a departure from the Expo ‘70 catalog. Rounded out by bass and drums, a heavier doom-inspired psychedelic journey from the drop of the needle takes the listener into the inner tangled web of sound and locked grooves from the rhythm section allowing Wright to express washes of textures and breaking loose on more rock-esque guitar playing. As the needle drops onto side B, “Closet Full of Candles” opens as a huge Sabbathy riff and get’s into stoner rock territory and quickly becomes dismantled by a wash of psychedelic jamming. The closing track features Wright and Osborne on synthesizers, composing a more minimal electronic piece with the addition to Vera’s washes of cymbals and light percussion.
A full version with unedited tracks will be issued in the near future by Essence Music with bonus material.
The reliable Justin “Expo ‘70” Wright is back this week with ‘Virtually From The Unknown’, his latest 12” slab with three lengthy tracks exploring his rise to universal fame and adoration through the medium of that slow psychedelic drone-rock choogling he’s so good at. On the back of the eye-popping sleeve we discover that he’s joined here by Aaron Osborne on bass and stuff and Mike Vera on drums and stuff, and it was recorded live at FOKL on May 12, 2012, which is where I presume the accompanying picture of a very shiny-looking Wright rocking out comes from.
On side A there’s ‘Figures In Black Turn Night Back Into Day’, which is heavy and straightforward psych rock jamming in the vein of The Cosmic Dead, White Hills, early Gnod or The Heads at their most frazzled, slowly building into a screeching, crunching momentum while the bass and drums carve out a hypnotic rumbling groove - good old-fashioned psych rock how it’s meant to be done, basically. I enjoyed the full stoner rock direction he took in that recent four-way split so it’s nice to see him making further inroads into that area.
Over on the other side ‘Closet Full of Candles’ has a pummelling repeato riff that’s part-Sabbath, part-Uncle Acid, with some mystical blown-out guitar shapes spidering around on top of it in a classy Desert Sessions-esque workout. Then in closer ‘Planet Ego, The Astral Return To Yourself’, Expo returns to familiar ambient territory with chirping, blooping analogue synth soundscapes accompanied by cymbal scrapes and low throbbing drones which go on for miles - it’s dark, spacey stuff, venturing into new territory whilst still remaining resolutely Expo ‘70. Fans of his will no doubt love it, and if you’re into dark, slow cosmic psychedelia and haven’t yet investigated his work, this is a great starting point. 5 /5 stars ...according to our ReviewBot3000 on Wed 22 May, 2013.
No strangers to the experimental community, Expo 70 show a different side with this full-length on Sonic Meditaitons. "Virtually From the Unknown" is the result of a newly configured live three piece that was recorded prior to KC Psychfest in 2012 and features improvisation and deep instrumental interplay. The LP is a jam-heavy outing that is steeped in wah-wah guitar lines and adept, imaginative drumming. Expo 70 has clearly studied and thoroughly investigated the krautrock and psych-leaning playbooks they employ here. The closing track, however, does away with much of the traditional instrumentation for an excursion of sci-fi synths that bubble, gurgle, and shimmer for its 13 minute duration. - Ryan Potts, Experimedia
RAVEN SINGS THE BLUES
Justin Wright and his juggernaut of dark psychedelia, Expo '70, have been kicking around for a good while now, and showing up in the pages of RSTB with a regularity that might rival some of my top obsessions. This new release was recorded in 2012 prior to Kansas City's Psychfest and with the current trio lineup employed by the band. Over the last year or so the band has transitioned from floating drone warriors to Krautrock hypnotists to a power trio of psychedelic doombringers. The current lineup has a gift for balancing ominous restraint with wrathful fury, a combination that leads to one of the darker releases of the year and a jewel in Expo '70's already bursting catalog. As with any Expo '70 jaunt, the tracks extend into side-long, or nearly side-long lengths, the band at its best when embracing their improvisation-heavy style of recording. Locked in like they're sharing a unified, burning need to set fire to the studio through the intensity of their playing, the band scorches the first couple of tracks here with their own brand of vicious flame. These two lock into cosmic force with a tendency to reach deep down into that Krautrock obsession that's reared its head in the past, but as they ease into the final chapter the band lets loose their sci-fi impulses and floats heavily into a Kosmiche journey through synth swirl that hearkens back to some of their early, drummerless beginnings, while dipping nicely into headier waters. Again, one of the band's highlights in a career of necessary releases.