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"America Here and Now Sessions"

ESSENCE MUSIC

2016

LP / CD

CS (2017 Sonic Meditations Edition of 100)

 

- LP: Limited to 160 copies on BLACK vinyl (housed on RED packaging) and 140 copies on GOLD vinyl (housed on BROWN packaging). Stunning and sturdy hand-screenprinted die-cut packaging, including a fold-out poster/innersleeve and insert. 180g high-quality wax displaying visuals by Erik A. Hamline, aka Steady Co.

 

- CD: Sturdy tip-on mini-LP gatefold packaging displaying utterly different artwork from the vinyl edition. Design courtesy of Justin Wright himself. Includes an OBI strip and a bonus track. Limited to 200 copies.

 

- SPECIAL EDITION: Strictly limited art edition of 119 hand-numbered copies, which comes with: The vinyl edition on an exclusive color variant - WHITE wax (housed on BLUE pack); A large hand-drawn/silkscreened fold-out poster; The CD edition; An exclusive bonus album called “Beyond From Where We Started From”, with recent trio-mode Expo Seventy free jams of the highest order. Everything housed on a beautiful hand-stitched/silkscreened cloth bag.

 

Mastered by James Plotkin.

PRESS

 

ESSENCE MUSIC

Expo Seventy is back on Essence Music with the mastermind Justin Wright bringing together a rare line-up featuring two drummers. The four-piece only lived during a short period of time and the thunderous experiments achieved by these unique sonic hypnotists are fully presented here.

 

With an impressive discography of transcendent kosmische drones, slow-burn psychedelic magnetism and heavier sounds behind him, Wright decided to set a new milestone with America Here & Now Sessions. Freely touching distant, dark corners of the cosmos where the sun shines timid, the band slowly builds two long movements of truly mesmerizing, free-form quality that propels the listener even higher to maximum altered state of consciousness.

 

Warm, harmonic, meditational analog synth explorations get eventually accompanied by bursting, ritualistic percussions and distorted guitar tones, while a gloomy welcome ceremony of heavier guitar jams paints a grand canvas of seriously dark psychedelia.

 

America Here & Now Sessions was recorded during the three-week art experience started in Kansas City featuring paintings, sculptures, poetry, plays, films and music from local and national artists called "America: Now And Here - A cross-country traveling dialogue about America through the arts". Local musician Ashley Miller spearheaded a recording project that featured a handful of local acts to record some music that would be later edited together and released as an album. The project lost funding, but Expo Seventy was able to record as part of the art experiment.

 

 

RAVEN SINGS THE BLUES

There’s never really a bad time to have a new Expo ’70 album on deck (two actually as of this posting) but somehow Fall/Winter seem to lend themselves entirely to the thunderous creep of Justin Wright’s doom psych. America Here & Now Sessionscaptures the band as a rare four piece, adding an additional drummer whose presence amps up the churning sea of rhythm that ushers along both of these sidelong epics. Wright has long had a habit of improvising heady studio jams and these pieces, recorded as a part of a cross-country traveling dialogue about America through the arts, find the band lashing out into the howling void with the best of their releases. In turn they wind up summing up the ominous vibes of current Americana in fine fashion.

 

The first movement rolls over the land like a tornado on treads, spreading a seed of fear that’s mirrored in the stark and spectral second movement’s more Kosmiche approach. Where the first is chaos shot through a keyhole and smashing everything under its eighty tons of terror, the second movement is desolation, and stunned shock ramping up to a meltdown moment that’s packed with 50 megatons of amp toned torque. Every Expo release seems to find a new storm within Wright’s soul and America Here & Now is as ferocious and bracing as his best work. Essence has gone above and beyond in the packaging dept as well, aside from the normal color spectrum, there’s a super deluxe edition that comes in a woven silkscreened bag with prints feeling like super ‘luxe has been taken to a new level.

 

 

NORMAN RECORDS

Amidst the slew of Expo ‘70 releases psychedelic troubador Justin Wright throws our way, this one is a keeper, for unto it was done a blessed thing we wish was being done all the time: it was given two drummers. ‘American Here & Now’ offers the same strand of patiently waiting, excruciatingly tense and undeniably Western psychedelia, but its drones feel punchier at their peak.

 

These reverberating guitar lines stick so hypnotically to their spot that they start to move around elliptically, until everything feels both in place and out of place -- it’s something that’s been championed by artists like Boris (on the tantalising ‘Flood’) and Nathan Amundson, though Wright plays around the edges of his drone rock, adorning it with choice solos and rebellious drum fills, as if raising the stakes while standing on the spot. “First Movement” and “Second Movement” seem to exchange emphases, the first primarily sounding like a psych rock jam given a droning structure and the second sleuthing from its sacred drone tone to a heady free percussive freakout.

 

It’s certainly a more intensive payoff for Wright, who’s psychedelics here continue to reward patience but also pack a punch. The textures, as ever, are total Expo ‘70 mud, so happy wading. 8/10 - Robin

 

 

BRAINWASHED

It occurred to me the other day that there was an incredible wave of great, experimentally minded solo guitarists several years back (Area C, Black Eagle Child, Talvihorros) that has either gone completely silent or moved into very different territory and that no one has quite risen up to replace them.  Thankfully, however, the wildly prolific Justin Wright has not gone anywhere and continues to be a tireless torchbearer, both through his Sonic Meditations label and his own Expo Seventy project.  Given the sheer volume of Expo Seventy releases, I tend to only check in on the major ones and this one fits the bill: recorded as part of a three-week art event in Kansas City (America: Here and Now), Wright was able to assemble a like-minded quartet featuring two drummers to back his slow-burning psych-rock pyrotechnics.  At its best, the results are surprisingly accessible and anthemic, like a time-stretched and deconstructed Black Sabbath jam experienced through a heady fog of drugs.

 

These sessions were originally intended as part of a larger and more ambitious project, as Kansas City musician Ashley Miller hoped to record multiple bands for a planned compilation.  Unfortunately, the necessary funding for that endeavor did not materialize, but Expo Seventy managed to record before it dissolved.  Aside from Wright and Expo Seventy bassist Aaron Osborne, the line-up for this album is expanded with a couple of recurring Sonic Meditations artists from Sounding the Deep and Shroud of Winter (David Williams and Mike Vera).  Interestingly, I would have expected Wright to immediately exploit the vibrant polyrhythmic possibilities of a two-drummer band, but the first half of the album goes in a considerably more restrained (but no less effective) direction.  There is admittedly a bit more cymbal and tom activity than a lone drummer could deliver, but the rhythm section primarily just focuses on providing a slow, heavy, and viscerally deep groove to ground Wright’s smoldering, drone-damaged shredding.  Eventually, the drums in "First Movement" snowball into something a bit more rolling and propulsive, but Williams and Vera generally just hang back in the pocket to make room for Wright’s blurred and lysergic strain of rock guitar heroics.  The drums do get a bit wilder in the more drone-based "Second Movement" though, gradually building into a roiling eruption of tribal toms and splashes of cymbals.  At one point, the percussion even reaches an apocalyptic and punky crescendo, but it quickly simmers back down into a throbbing avant-blues pulse.

 

While I am definitely drawn to well-done guitar drone like the proverbial doomed moth, it is the more conventionally "rock" piece ("First Movement") that strikes me as most essential here.  There are obviously plenty of great psych-rock and stoner-metal bands out there, but I have not heard any that sound quite like prime Expo Seventy.  Whereas other bands are sludgy, indulgent, wildly explosive, or prone to improv-heavy freak-outs, "First Movement" embodies trance-like repetition, simplicity, and simmering restraint.  All of that is appealing enough on its own, but Wright also has a real talent for anthemic riffage, casually tossing off bitchin' hooks, moaning string-bends, and dual-guitar harmonies in a haze of delay and just letting them dissipate as he coolly moves onto his next idea.  Of course, Wright gets a hell of lot of help from the rest of the band, as his layered haze of druggy riffs would not be nearly as compelling without the density and momentum of the underlying groove.  While it is probably just as good, "Second Movement" is considerably less distinctive as an artistic vision, as Wright initially focuses his attention on a simple, gently throbbing synth drone.  It is damn hard to sound unique as a minimalist armed with a synthesizer.  If the piece continued exclusively in that vein, it would be little more than a competent retro/kosmiche pastiche, but it ultimately becomes a showcase for some wild dual-drummer pyrotechnics.  Thankfully, Wright does not completely fade into the background, as he colors the percussion explosion with some chirping synth flutters and some nicely roiling and groaning guitar noise.   While it does not quite transcend feeling like a purely improvised jam session, the drumming is at least explosive enough to make it a compelling one.  Also, it may all just be an amusingly extended introduction to the throbbing and bluesy coda.  It is very hard to guess what was planned and what was not.

 

As I listened to America Here & Now Sessions for the first time, several successive thoughts flashed rapidly into my head.  The most immediate revelation was that "First Movement" was remarkably great, reminding me that I have been lax in my attention to Expo Seventy lately and have probably missed out on some similarly fine work.  Then I marveled at how cool and improbable it was that Wright was hard at work churning out experimental drone cassettes in Missouri instead of fronting a band like High on Fire.  It is all too easy to take an artist for granted when they have been around for a long time and seemingly have a new release every month.  Lastly, I reflected upon how wonderful it would be if Wright could actually keep a two-drummer band together long enough to write, rehearse, and record an absolutely killer studio album.  Sadly, I suspect Wright does not quite have a King Crimson-level budget, so there will probably not be any apocalyptic Mainliner-caliber opuses in his future.  I am certainly delighted that he got to record this though, as I like this direction quite a lot.

 

 

THE OBELISK

Yes. Yes. This. With extended two tracks – “First Movement” (22:17) and “Second Movement” (27:04) – unfolding one massive longform immersion that drones pastoral, delves into hypnotic bliss and fills the soul in that way that only raw exploration can, the America Here and Now Sessions from Kansas City (by way of the moon) outfit Expo Seventy is an utter joy to experience. Purposeful and patient in its execution, graceful in the instrumental chemistry – even with a second drummer sitting in amid the core trio led by guitarist Justin Wright – the album well fits the deep matte tones and nostalgic feel of its accompanying artwork, and is fluid in its movement from drone to push especially on “Second Movement,” which sandwiches a resonant cacophony around soundscapes that spread as far as the mind of the listener is willing to let them. Whether you want to sit and parse the execution over every its every subtle motion and waveform or put it on and go into full-brain-shutdown, America Here and Now Sessions delivers. Flat out. It delivers.

 

 

PSI LAB

"rare line-up featuring two drummers lived during a short period of time and the thunderous experiments by these unique sonic hypnotists are fully presented here. touching distant, dark corners of the cosmos where the sun shines timid, the band slowly builds two long movements of truly mesmerizing free-form quality. Warm meditational analog synth explorations get eventually accompanied by bursting, ritualistic percussions and distorted guitar tones, while a gloomy welcome ceremony of heavier guitar jams paints a grand canvas of dark psychedelia. Available on the following formats and editions: LP: 160 copies BLACK vinyl (RED packaging) and 140 copies GOLD vinyl (BROWN packaging). CD: mini-LP gatefold, different artwork, OBI strip and a bonus track. 200 copies. SPECIAL EDITION: art edition of 119 hand-numbered copies, WHITE wax (BLUE pack); silkscreened fold-out poster; CD edition; exclusive bonus album 'Beyond From Where We Started From' with recent trio-mode jams of the highest order. housed in a silkscreened cloth bag." - ESSENCE MUSIC

 

well the packaging sounds great, can't wait to see it up close and in person -- brazilian label ESSENCE MUSIC -dealing in "limited in house craft editions" of "darker nature esoteric sounds" and home to titles by ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE, MERZBOW and NADJA- unleashes this highly anticipated EXPO 70 side, right out of the gate i'm 100% in the zone as EXPO's plunky riff loopage hangs in the air over incessant tambourine / sleigh bells backdrop, before-and-after pedal board on steroids tinkering, a meditative bassline with bursts of stoned out licks and a slowly blossoming array of muscular kosmische percussion - it doesn't take long for this one-off four piece led by guitar wizard JUSTIN WRIGHT to get down to business and kick out the cosmic jams before jettisoning the massive "first movement" booster stage and settling into some glorious deep space drift on the "second movement" steeped in intricate improvisation and on-the-fly experimentation - mix equal parts ASH RA TEMPEL and KYUSS and that might give you a decent idea of what's goin on here, but EXPO 70 cannot be reduced to the sum of its parts - it's much more than that, a wholly singular entity - while "always the same, always different" goes a long way in describing EXPO 70's modus operandi (and that's just fine by me, being the fanatic that i am), AMERICA HERE & NOW SESSIONS is without question the finest hour of the EXPO 70 power trio (or in this instance, power quartet) metamorphosis, eclipsing VIRTUALLY FROM THE UNKNOWN and to my ears further ascending as perhaps thee premier meditative stoner nirvana in over a decade since SLEEP's DOPESMOKER or BARDO POND's ON THE ELLIPSE, depending on how you slice your "stoner" music

 

 

PSYCH INSIGHT MUSIC

One look at the Expo ’70 bandcamp page will tell you just how prolific Justin Wright is. Beginning in 2003. as Expo ’70, he has developed an international reputation amongst lovers of experimental/ drone/ space music as always producing something that is at the very least interesting and usually much more than that.

 

Now living in Kansas City, Missouri, Wright continues to put out music at an amazing rate with this latest release already sold out in several formats (see below for full release details) at the time of writing. According to the release details the ‘America Here and Now Sessions’ was:

 

“…recorded during the three-week art experience started in Kansas City featuring paintings, sculptures, poetry, plays, films and music from local and national artists called “America: Now And Here – A cross-country traveling dialogue about America through the arts”. Local musician Ashley Miller spearheaded a recording project that featured a handful of local acts to record some music that would be later edited together and released as an album. The project lost funding, but Expo Seventy was able to record as part of the art experiment.”

 

So while it is disappointing that the project was not fulfilled as originals envisaged, what we have here is an album of two long ‘movements’ (a third, shorter, movement is available on CD and download) which certainly fulfil the criteria of somehow depicting journeys across America.

 

Recorded as a four piece, the full line up being: Justin Wright: Guitar, Synths / Aaron Osborne: Bass, Percussions / David Williams: Percussion / Mike Vera: Percussion; these tracks, in very different ways, take the listener on a sonic journey of the imagination. As is always the case with these improvised flights of the imagination the perspective of these tracks will very much be in the eye of the beholder, and for me the ‘First Movement’ reminds me of a long stretched out version of Föllakzoid’s amazing track ‘Pulsar’ from the band’s second album. This, for me, is a very good thing since it provides a further and much more extended exploration of themes and sounds that I hold very dear. I really like its constancy, there is a sense of passing through the same sort of landscape endlessly while the mind adds variety and nuance to the experience. In this sense the track really does build, not necessarily sonically, but the kosmische uniformity of the track enables the listener to add layer upon layer of meaning to it.

 

The ‘Second Movement’ initially seems to be quite similar in this respect. A much more stripped-back sound, at least initially, with a central drone being orbited by sonic moons of drums rolls, synths and beats. There is deviation here but that  fundamental sound remains for around half the track, some thirteen minutes. Up to this point it serves as a great basis for zoning out to…yet, almost imperceptibly, you begin to realise that the sound has been slowly ramped up…the drone has become louder and deeper and the percussion, in particular, has become heavier to the point of bombast. From there the track just continues to build until around the twenty minute mark when all the abstract pent-up feeling gets released into a more melodious final section which takes the track home in a harmonious way. It feels to me like a difficult journey which somehow resolves tensions towards the end.

 

Overall this is a really satisfying album featuring to long tracks which really draw you in. I can see how these were inspired by journeys across a large continent, but they really work for me as opportunities to listen and think. Like the best long journeys they encompass an appreciation of time to think and wonder at new things, while also drawing on the familiar; bringing together new and existing perspectives. -Simon

 

 

DAYZ OF PURPLE AND ORANGE

Justin Wright is one prolific dude; under the Expo 70 (a reference to the 1970 World's Fair in Osaka) banner he has amassed a back catalogue of gargantuan proportions, but what is more impressive than the number is the quality..as the old cliche goes "all killer, no filler". Since 2003 Wright and Expo 70 have produced some of the best drone based psychedelia around - slow burning and evocative. Other band members have come and gone but Wright remains an ever present - he is joined on this outing by Aaron Osborne (bass, axillary percussion & cymbals), Mike Vera (percussion) and David Williams (percussion). 'America Here And Now Sessions' is an album that was only just made; initially part of an 'art experience' that saw, amongst other things, local artists in Kansas City get together to record some music, unfortunately the project lost its funding, but not before this gem of an album was realised. It has been given a home via the wonderful Essence Music.

 

Ostensibly made up of two long tracks (there is an extra track on the CD version), the album is a lesson in hypnagogic ecstasy in which the 40 minutes slips by in a reverie of existential bliss. 'First Movement' gets off to a sedate start; a tremulous guitar weaving hazy, almost nervous, pictures. The two percussionists add a modicum of tension with their skillful interplay and the scene is set for the birth of a soundscape cinematic in scope and depth. As the track progresses the bass subtly slips in almost unnoticed and the guitar gets stronger and more distorted. The grandeur of the track comes as no surprise who have heard Expo 70 before, but for a new listener I would imagine it will come as an epiphany of sorts. 'Second Movement' is more analog synth based and is, if anything, even more hypnotic than the first - layers of pulsating synth drones and shimmering cymbal open up the listeners third eye ready for the entrance of the twin percussion and distorted bass. It sounds a bit redundant to say that this is a sublime album because every Expo 70 (well, the ones I've heard...and that is by no means all of them) is sublime. The gift that Wright has is the ability and nous to mix drone and psychedelia in equal parts and to always produce something of exquisite beauty. This is real head music.

 

'America Here And Now Sessions' is available from the Expo 70 Bandcamp page in several formats: Limited edition LP (160 copies on black vinyl with a red cover and 140 copies on gold vinyl with a brown cover). These are sold out on the Bandcamp page but Essence Music may have some left in stock; there is a CD version, again limited, with sturdy tip-on mini-LP gatefold packaging with OBI strip and of course a download version.

 

 

HEATHENMOFO

The first thing that struck about the new Expo 70 album was the cover: it seems to be paying homage to the classic Flower Travlin Band album ‘Anywhere’ and that itself has me interested, because anyone who is a fan of that band is a groovy mofo!. That groovy mofo turns out to be one Justin Wright, who has been releasing albums since 2003. Now for most people an album a year is prolific, Mr Wright has released over 40! I have no idea how good the others are but after listening to this I will certainly be checking some of the others out.

 

Two tracks make up this album both clocking in at over twenty minutes there is a third track but that is cd and digital only, and is a mere eight and a half minutes. Within these two tracks or ‘movements’ we are taken on a sonic road trip across America. These are slow burning jams that stretch the listener and envelop them in a blanket of sound . It  had me thinking of that Cohen brothers kind of vastness that they use so well in their films. The opening piece ‘First Movement’ is carried by a chugging guitar that serves as a back bone to the music. This allows the other musicians to explore their own space and stretch the framework of the piece.

 

The ‘Second Movement’ is a synth driven drone that pulses and builds over it’s twenty six minutes. As the layers start to build a complex tapestry of sound comes to the fore. Drums clatter and crash and guitar feedback brings the music to a peak before starting its slow decent.

 

With a huge variant of releases available this is also a collectors dream/nightmare, but this is about the music and the music is essential and immense.

 

 

SOMEWHERE COLD

America Here and Now Sessions was part of a travelling art exhibition of the same name. Expo Seventy is the brainchild of Justin Wright who is joined here by Aaron Osborne (Monta at Odds and Mysterious Clouds) on bass with duel drummers Mike Vera (Shroud of Winter) and David Williams. Wright hails from Kansas City, Missouri and founded the project in 2003. Here, Expo Seventy brings a brand of experimental psychedelia in this set of improvisational tracks. America Here and Now Sessions is two compositions over twenty minutes in length each. Both pieces are long builds with drones, driving guitars, complex percussion, and experimental touches. The pieces here were intended to be part of a much larger art exhibition which the album is named after. However, the exhibition lost funding and the larger project was abandoned. Expo Seventy, however, was able to capture two tracks for the project that have been released on this album.

 

“First Movement” begins America Here and Now Sessions with delay heavy guitars and tambourine. The band begins slow, demonstrating a patience in their freeform composition. There really is no solid form here but rather Osborne’s bass creeps about among the repeating guitar while Williams and Vera pour over their percussion utilizing shimmering cymbals, tambourine, snare, and subtle toms. There is almost a rather ritualist feel here, evoking a meditative or, perhaps, metaphysical feel. Sometimes the looped guitar will burst in with fuzzed out drones and then fade. There is a rock-like core to the composition but it has a soothing, minimalistic repetition to it that contributes to an almost mystical sense in the piece. At around the eight-minute mark, the guitar gets more drone like with muffled thickness and spacey sounds floating overtop.  Osborne begins to play some prominent bass lines and they are more complex than earlier, contributing a slightly urgent feel. About 18 minutes in, the guitars get dreamy and the melodic phrases are reverbed out a touch with echoing, looped guitars. The percussion gets more complex and then the volume begins to fade out and the layers begin to strip away. The end is almost drone-like, with an ambient sort of anti-structure to it.

 

“Second Movement” begins with a drone and an oscillating synth sound on repeat. The drone fluctuates, changes modes, and varies slightly in different places. Swelling cymbals rise and fall amid the soundscape as robotic sounds begin to dot it. Toms also begin to be introduced against this spaced-out lunarscape evoking the vastness of space. The thing is, the mystical remains here, perhaps even more so, as the formless improvisation patiently unfolds. Eventually the toms become present, creating another sense of ritualized aural space. The drones don’t disappear but they become less prominent and the percussion takes the fore around sixteen minutes. The guitar hums and fuzzes under the beating of toms and the crashing of cymbals. This section begins the build as the wall of sound begins to erupt and Vera and Williams really begin to explode on the drums. Wright’s guitar work becomes chaotic and the band feels as if it is going to lose all sense of musical adhesion. However, they never get to that point as the drone once again becomes prominent and the drums increasingly sparse. Galloping toms enter the mix and rock-style guitar phrases become a part of the compositions. Sometimes Wright holds out the notes, stretching them as far as they will go before he returns to the brief guitar phrasing. The track slowly fades into the distance, ending the long, drone-like piece beautifully.

 

Expo Seventy has created extended, psychedelic soundscapes drifting from drones to rock and then back again. Their brand of long-form improvisation evokes ritualized aural metaphysics with heavy mystical leanings. These are jam sessions, but not with the gaudy solos and overwrote improvs that so plague the genre. America Here and Now Sessions demonstrates the experimental and patient expression of Wright and company on these two existentially potent tracks. - JASON

 

 

FREQ website

Recorded as part of a travelling art exposition of the same name, the sessions released as America Here And Now finds Expo Seventy in a rare four-piece configuration, mainstay Justin Wright joined for the sessions recorded in Kansas City by Aaron Osborne of Monta At Odds and Mysterious Clouds on bass alongside drummers Mike Vera (Shroud Of Winter) and David Williams.

 

Divided into two side-long movements (the album is available on all manner of lovingly presented vinyl and CD editions, including a limited art edition containing an extra CD-R of jam sessions, all wrapped up on the LP sleeve in Erik A Hamline‘s retro-psychedelic tropes of wavy lettering, chopped Harleys and the wide-open lysergic US skies), the album shifts gear easily and sublimely from the opening notes of Wright’s trademark soaring tones and Osborne’s clean, cyclical bass ruminations.

 

Carried aloft by the guitar, the first movement takes matters slowly, the two percussionists tapping off each other to build up the tension. Before long it’s quite easy to find that time has slipped into a different dimension altogether, the flowing ripples of six-string ecstasy and delay shrugging off the burden of gravity in exchange for a slow-burning dive into the furthest reaches of what for the sake of space rock argument might be termed either the cosmos or inner space. This reflective interplay between the passage of notes and rhythms soon renders the outside world to oblivion, provoking a concentrated hypnagogic state at times, the music fluctuating between lucid dream excursions and the sweetly scented flux of the spaces between. Did twenty minutes or more just pass in the blink of a rapid-eye movement?

 

Perhaps they were transferred into the dilated temporal spaces of the second movement, because here things move at a very different pace, the slumbers tumbling in cymbal washes and electronic pulsations that reverberate their own sweet way across the stereo spectrum. When the double-drummers kick in properly, they do so in an energetic — though restrainedly so — display of muscular interplay that Wright smears with textural vibrations that hold steadily to the head-nodding pace. When the tipping point is reached in a welter of rippling (a)tonal sparks, it curls back among folded-in recursive feedback, and rapid accretions and diminutions of percussive dexterity.

 

The fade here is lengthy and involved, and on the CD version of the album, there’s yet more still to come. The third (bonus) movement continues the trip in cosmically-stoned fashion, rising up from a substratum of electronic trails and rumbling drum rolls into a slight return to the heart of the psychedelic matter at hand; perhaps not essential, but it makes from a nice coda to the album, dripping and chirruping — no, that’s not the central heating at work — away to its home in the void of silence at the end of the disc. It’s a neat bookend to an album which is both another excellent addition to the Expo Seventy catalogue and to the annals of space rock in general.

 

-Linus Tossio- http://freq.org.uk/reviews/expo-seventy-america-here-and-now-sessions/

 

 

THEE PSYCHEDELICATESSEN

New from Brazilian underground label Essence Music, the release of some great “lost” tracks from the Kansas City Kosmische/Space Rock band Expo Seventy. Originally recorded in 2012 during the three-week art experience started in Kansas City featuring paintings, sculptures, poetry, plays, films and music from local and national artists called “America: Now And Here – A cross-country traveling dialogue about America through the arts”. Local musician Ashley Miller spearheaded a recording project that featured a handful of local acts to record some music that would be later edited together and released as an album. The project lost funding and the album was never completed, but Expo Seventy were able to record as part of the art experiment and the complete session had been released for the first time. Featuring a rare two drummer line-up of the band piloted by Justin Wright, the America Here & Now Sessions take Expo Seventy further out to the dark edges of the cosmos than ever before.

 

The America Here & Now Sessions comprise of two long improvised tracks of transcendent kosmische drones and slow-burn psychedelic magnetism (with a third much shorter bonus track on the CD).  Freely touching distant, dark corners of the cosmos where the sun shines timid, the band slowly builds two long movements of truly mesmerizing, free-form quality that propels the listener even higher to maximum altered state of consciousness. The first side of the album (the ‘First Movement’) is a smoldering psychedelic mix of guitar and analog synths that builds into an epic journey to the far side of space. Subtle and measured, Expo Seventy explore the same stars as bands such as Electric Moon and Sun Dial……free form and flowing but never boring. The epic ‘Second Movement’ is a warm, harmonic, meditational analog synth exploration, eventually accompanied by bursting, ritualistic drums and percussion with distorted guitar tones building into an explosive finale of seriously dark psychedelia. It’s a heavy trip People.

 

The America Here & Now Sessions are out NOW and available from the usual on-line distributors of heavy Space Rock and twisted Psychedelia...and your local, proper clued up Head Music emporium. Released as an LP on black vinyl (or special edition gold vinyl) and CD in very limited numbers, copies are also available from the Essence Music Bandcamp page https://essence-music.bandcamp.com/album/america-here-now-sessions where you can also buy the digital download.

 

 

SOMEWHERE COLD

America Here and Now Sessions was part of a travelling art exhibition of the same name. Expo Seventy is the brainchild of Justin Wright who is joined here by Aaron Osborne (Monta at Odds and Mysterious Clouds) on bass with duel drummers Mike Vera (Shroud of Winter) and David Williams. Wright hails from Kansas City, Missouri and founded the project in 2003. Here, Expo Seventy brings a brand of experimental psychedelia in this set of improvisational tracks. America Here and Now Sessions is two compositions over twenty minutes in length each. Both pieces are long builds with drones, driving guitars, complex percussion, and experimental touches. The pieces here were intended to be part of a much larger art exhibition which the album is named after. However, the exhibition lost funding and the larger project was abandoned. Expo Seventy, however, was able to capture two tracks for the project that have been released on this album.

 

“First Movement” begins America Here and Now Sessions with delay heavy guitars and tambourine. The band begins slow, demonstrating a patience in their freeform composition. There really is no solid form here but rather Osborne’s bass creeps about among the repeating guitar while Williams and Vera pour over their percussion utilizing shimmering cymbals, tambourine, snare, and subtle toms. There is almost a rather ritualist feel here, evoking a meditative or, perhaps, metaphysical feel. Sometimes the looped guitar will burst in with fuzzed out drones and then fade. There is a rock-like core to the composition but it has a soothing, minimalistic repetition to it that contributes to an almost mystical sense in the piece. At around the eight-minute mark, the guitar gets more drone like with muffled thickness and spacey sounds floating overtop.  Osborne begins to play some prominent bass lines and they are more complex than earlier, contributing a slightly urgent feel. About 18 minutes in, the guitars get dreamy and the melodic phrases are reverbed out a touch with echoing, looped guitars. The percussion gets more complex and then the volume begins to fade out and the layers begin to strip away. The end is almost drone-like, with an ambient sort of anti-structure to it.

 

“Second Movement” begins with a drone and an oscillating synth sound on repeat. The drone fluctuates, changes modes, and varies slightly in different places. Swelling cymbals rise and fall amid the soundscape as robotic sounds begin to dot it. Toms also begin to be introduced against this spaced-out lunarscape evoking the vastness of space. The thing is, the mystical remains here, perhaps even more so, as the formless improvisation patiently unfolds. Eventually the toms become present, creating another sense of ritualized aural space. The drones don’t disappear but they become less prominent and the percussion takes the fore around sixteen minutes. The guitar hums and fuzzes under the beating of toms and the crashing of cymbals. This section begins the build as the wall of sound begins to erupt and Vera and Williams really begin to explode on the drums. Wright’s guitar work becomes chaotic and the band feels as if it is going to lose all sense of musical adhesion. However, they never get to that point as the drone once again becomes prominent and the drums increasingly sparse. Galloping toms enter the mix and rock-style guitar phrases become a part of the compositions. Sometimes Wright holds out the notes, stretching them as far as they will go before he returns to the brief guitar phrasing. The track slowly fades into the distance, ending the long, drone-like piece beautifully.

 

Expo Seventy has created extended, psychedelic soundscapes drifting from drones to rock and then back again. Their brand of long-form improvisation evokes ritualized aural metaphysics with heavy mystical leanings. These are jam sessions, but not with the gaudy solos and overwrote improvs that so plague the genre. America Here and Now Sessions demonstrates the experimental and patient expression of Wright and company on these two existentially potent tracks.

 

 

ASTRAL ZONE BLOG

Expo '70 is a very prolific experimental drone/abstract/psych rock outfit who have released around 50 albums since their interception in 2003. The improvised music of this free-form band led by Justin Wright can be rather electronic or more rock oriented like this album. America Here & Now Sessisons were recorded in summer 2012 and was intended for a collective album with another band but this never materialized. Essence Music from Brazil released the recordings last December on limited vinyl and CD. The CD has a whole different art work by Justin himself as well as an eight-minute bonus track that didn't fit on the vinyl version. This release includes a short-lived line-up with two drummer (David Williams, Mike Vera), Justin Wright on guitar and synthesizer and Aaron Osborne on bass.

 

"First Movement" builds up slowly into a full-blown, slow psych rock jam that goes on and developes for over 20 minutes. This is rather heavy and mind-blowing stuff and I really enjoy the hypnotic, cosmic vibes! The even longer "Second Movement" is more droney while Justin plays the synth. The two percussionists still get a cool, tribal groove together at some point, and later the track speeds up and gets more intense only to chill out again in the end. The CD bonus track "Third Movement" is more minimal in nature and not really essential, although still very nice. I really think I should check out more of Expo '70's stuff since this blows your mind. There are still some copies left of this CD limited to just 200 as well as a couple of the rare black vinyl edition at the band's Bandcamp site.

 

 

LOST IN A SEA OF SOUND

Tightly woven sound tapestry. Resting in majesty, adding life to the immense density. Expo Seventy is the fabric of music. The details worked on meticulously. Time drifts on and listening to the quality of this craftsmanship is forever appreciated. Singularly a juggernaut of a composition combined with a body of work extending like silk threads from a spider's web. Expo Seventy has complete authority to work your spirit, pushing towards revitalization of the every day.

 

America Here & Now Sessions is divided into three movements, looming around the hour mark. The sounds bask themselves in the dense low rumble of primordial drone. Snake like grooves only showing their patterns in the filtered light. Theses sessions fall into the ambient abyss, percussion crashing in symbolic harmony as the notes thump against the steep descent of the aural escarpment. Pageantry in a glorious procession towards inner conceptions. Expo Seventy is a heavy weight prize fighter and America Here & Now Sessions will knock you down without hesitation.

 

Have been listening to Expo Seventy since first discovering them on the Sonic Meditations label. America Here & Now Sessions is released on Essence Music. A label from Brazil specializing in making music as beautiful to hold as to listen to. This release exemplifies the standards of Essence Music. There are three physical options, a compact disc version in an edition of two hundred, a long play version with one hundred and sixty on black vinyl and one hundred and forty on gold vinyl, and the sold out special edition of one hundred and nineteen copies. This write up and pictures are obviously for the cd version. For all Expo Seventy fans and any new to this project, get this, start here, and certainly check it out.

 

 

FONS IMMORTALIS

Unter dem Banner EXPO ’70 macht der Musiker Justin Wright seit 2003 Musik und brachte es im Alleingang auf zahllose Tonträger. 2013 gründete er eine erweiterte Version mit mehreren Musikern, die unter dem Namen EXPO SEVENTY musiziert. Mit „America Here & Now Sessions“ ist kürzlich ein neues Album erschienen.

 

Die Vinylversion enthält zwei überlange und schlicht betitelte Stücke. Auf der A-Seite ist das wunderschöne „First Movement“ zu hören, in dem EXPO SEVENTY eine Vielzahl an Stimmungen und Genres aufgreifen.

  In der ersten Phase des Liedes überwiegen sphärische Gitarrenmelodien das Geschehen. Sie wabern luftig, sphärisch und wohlklingend durch den Raum und stellen eine Verbindung zwischen Psychedelic, Kraut und Drone her. Besonders gut empfinde ich diese Darbietung wenn ungefähr in der Mitte des Mammuts eine Intensivierung stattfindet und sich Gitarre, Bass und Schlagzeug gegenseitig hochschaukeln. Die Bassgitarre kommt dann punktuell toll zur Geltung, sie hat nicht nur einen harmonischen Effekt sondern verleiht dem improvisierten Treiben auch etwas Rhythmisches, während das Schlagzeug polternd und scheppernd zum Einsatz kommt.

  „First Movement“ ist wunderschöne Instrumentalmusik, wo laut und leise, behutsam und schroff, aufeinandertreffen und miteinander kombiniert werden. Es ist ein Lied um sich fallen zu lassen, um in der Musik zu versinken und seinen Gedanken freien Lauf zu lassen.

 

Nach dem Griff zum Plattenteller und dem Wechsel der Seite geht es anders weiter. In „Second Movement“ ist alles wesentlich monotoner und minimalistischer. Es ist eine lange, langsame und zähe Dronenummer, die ich auf die Dauer etwas behäbig und ermüdend finde, zumal ich die tolle A-Seite so bewegend und lebhaft empfand. Ich bin ja ein großer Freund von Widersprüchen und Gegensätzen, weshalb ich solche scharfen Kontrastierungen erst mal per se gut und richtig finde. Doch hier ist mir der Kontrast zu hoch.

  Vermutlich würde „Second Movement“ live hervorragend funktionieren, da man dort das Drumherum; die Atmosphäre und das Fühlen vielfach besser inszenieren könnte. EXPO SEVENTY erinnern mich mit ihrem minimalistischen Drone in „Second Movement“ stark an SUNN O))), die ich live auf der Bühne auch wesentlich besser finde als daheim von der Platte.

 

„America Here & Now Sessions“ ist aber trotzallem eine sehr interessante Platte, zumal es mit „First Movement“ ein wahrlich schönes Lied gibt. Wer sich gegen Vinyl und für die CD entscheidet, bekommt übrigens mit „Third Movement“ ein exklusives Bonusstück dazu.

 

 

SLAVESTATE MAGAZINE

Justin Wright är mannen som sedan 2003 gjort psykedelisk, experimentell drone under namnet Expo '70, där han själv varit den enda konstante medlemmen. När "America here & now sessions" spelades in under den kringresande konstfestivalen America: Now And Here, bestod Expo '70 av en kortlivad och ovanlig fyrmannasättning med två slagverkare.

 

Inte så mycket stilmässigt, men däremot stämningsmässigt för skivan tankarna till den filmmusik som Trent Reznor och Atticus Ross komponerat under de senaste åren (The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo m.fl.). De två låtarna - eller "rörelserna" - som fått titlarna "First movement" och "Second movement" är var och en över 20 minuter lång, vilket enligt min mening inte ligger dem till last då det snarare känns som om en bråkdel av den verkliga tiden har förflutit när skivan är slut.

 

"First movement" inleds med en svagt pulserande tamburin tillsammans med ett ödsligt ekande gitarrplonk som efterhand blir alltmer distat. Bas och slagverk smyger sig in och växer mot slutet till en stadig rytmsektion.

 

"Second movement" följer ett liknande mönster, med en brusande analog synthmatta som framkallar ett ännu mera hypnotiserat och meditativt tillstånd. Nästan halvvägs in gör slagverket en gradvis entré i form av ett tribalt beat och i slutminuterna repeteras en hummande melodislinga som jag gissar är distad bas.

 

Det är som om Kyuss anslutit sig till en indiansk seansritual med gott om peyote och fått improvisera fritt, för att till sist få kontakt med Cliff Burtons ande. Expo '70 har med "America here & now sessions" gjort ett lysande avslappningsband för varje hårdrockare i behov av att flyta bort och rensa huvudet en stund.

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Published 2016-12-20

 

 

STEEMSWEDE via STEEMIT

Since 2003 Justin Wright has created psychedelic, experimental drone under the name Expo '70. The band members have varied throughout the years, and Justin Wright has been the only constant member. The name of the band refers to the world's fair held in Osaka in 1970.

 

The new album, "America Here & Now Sessions" was recorded during the festival "America: Now And Here" and consists of "only" two tracks simply named "First movement" and "Second movement"; two monster-long tracks of 20 minutes each. The names of the tracks and their length alone indicate that Expo '70 consists of a bunch of serious men who are not looking to attract a large audience with short attention span; their music is rather addressed to avid listeners of avant-garde music that are already fans of Sunn O))) or the more avant-garde stuff from Sonic Youth and similar projects. It's also music that brings you back to Germany in the early to mid 70s, when Krautrock bands such as Can, Neu! and Faust were at the forefront of musical innovation. All of the music from Expo '70 is free-form and completely improvised.

 

"First Movement" begins with a weak pulse from a tambourine along with a desolate echoing guitar which gradually becomes more and more distorted. Bass and percussion sneaks in and grows to a steady rhythm section towards the end. There's something cinematic about the music; their soundscape evokes bleak, desolate and wet industrial landscapes captured in slow tracking shots and zoom effects - before being hurdled headlong into space with colorful quasars and nebulae.

 

"Second Movement" follows a similar pattern, with an murmuring analog synthesizer that elicits an even more hypnotizing state of meditation. Almost halfway into the track the percussion gradually  makes an entrance in the form of a tribal beat, and in the final minutes a humming melody from a distorted bass is repeated.

 

The whole thing sounds as if Kyuss would improvise freely on an acid trip. "America Here & Now Sessions" is a wonderful and somewhat 'new agey' relaxation session for every metalhead that needs to float away on a pink cloud and clear their head for a while.

 

 

AURAL AGGRAVATION

The circumstances of this release are rooted in the kind of rock mythology that usually surrounds cult acts of the 60s and 70s: the kind of band known to only a few people, but spoken of with reverence and a messianic enthusiasm which, through time, finds the band achieving a legendary status which far exceeds their actual audience.

 

Unusually, Expo Seventy are a post-millennium band. Formed in 2003, this album captures a brief moment in their history from around 2010, when they featured a second drummer. Expo Seventy played only a handful of shows in Kansas City, and Chicago at the Neon Marshmalow festival in this four-piece iteration. Born out of a series of experimental jams laid down in the studio for an at ‘experience’ project in Kansas which would see the funding lost and the project dropped, this release accounts for the entirety of their recorded work. Recorded over the course of three weeks, the album contains two longform movements (with the CD version featuring a third).

 

The first section builds a steady desert rock vibe and a simmering groove emerges. Through a succession of meandering detours, breakdowns, breaks and diversions, the track holds down a thunderous rhythm, solid, and rides through a series of sustained, surging crescendos. The twenty-six minute second movement begins as a long, slow drone, an interminable hum throbbing on some six minutes in with no sign of abatement. It’s a real patience-tester, but gradually, one becomes drawn into the textures, and then, subtly, synth notes creep into the mix. A flicker of cymbals. Around the ten-minute mark, the slow build begins to step up, rolling toms building tension: it’s only a matter of time before the wall breaks. It’s all about time. And it’s all about the double-drummer lineup. They rumble like thunder, cymbals explode over the deep, augmented drone. The third movement picks up where the second leaves off, pitching a darkly atmospheric rumble. Tribal drumming thunders while analogue synths bubble through the battering beats.

 

For an album of its length, not a lot happens, but then, it doesn’t need to.

 

Finally, it’s worth mentioning the artwork and packaging. It’s truly outstanding: not only does it capture the vintage vibe beautifully, but the heavy stock makes this release feel like something special.

 

Christopher Nosnibor

 

 

ATOM HEART MUTHA

Expo Seventy return on Essence Music with the mastermind Justin Wright bringing together a rare line-up featuring two drummers. The four-piece only lived during a short period of time and the thunderous experiments achieved by these unique sonic hypnotists are fully presented here.

America Here & Now Sessions was recorded during the three-week art experience started in Kansas City featuring paintings, sculptures, poetry, plays, films and music from local and national artists called “America: Now And Here – A cross-country traveling dialogue about America through the arts”. Local musician Ashley Miller spearheaded a recording project that featured a handful of local acts to record some music that would be later edited together and released as an album.

The project lost funding, but Expo Seventy was able to record as part of the art experiment.

The album itself comprises of two long tracks 'First Movement' and 'Second Movement'.

 

'First Movement has a really nice hypnotic feel as it starts, somewhere between droning experimentation and borderline Spacerock; the beats slowly evolve and intertwine over cosmic sounds, theres something very early seventies Floyd going on too.

As it moves towards its conclusion the guitars have more fuzz tones and track subtly intensifies. 'Second Movement' is much more of a synth led piece that gently pulses it way forward, as it hits the halfway point it begins to introduce heavy mesmerising beats and crashes symbols and becomes something far more intense, its completely engaging and easy to get lost into it as evolves.

 

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