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ěresund Space Collective - Entering Into The Space Country CD (album) cover


ěresund Space Collective


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.59 | 17 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars `Entering Into the Space Country' sees improvisational instrumental space-rockers the Oresund Space Collective at their most intense and intimidating, playing with a true sense of danger and fearsome psychedelic tension. Like the invading alien ships on the front cover of the LP, the band themselves seem to be raiding the senses and asserting their control over the listener, and it's not for the faint of heart! This is one of their best so far, and they've never sounded so focused and dynamic. In addition to the occasional and expected little moments that have a Hawkwind or Ozric Tentacles influence (which the band leave further behind with each new release), this time around they even seamlessly work in elements from the early albums of Porcupine Tree, ambient dance group The Orb, and most surprisingly Steve Howe and Yes. But most surprising is that they've also developed a serious case of the deep space blues!

Head Oresund visionary Dr Space achieves superb results with his chosen associates this time around (and for the companion album from the same sessions, `Phaze Your Fears'). In addition to the three amazing guitarists I'll mention below, thanks to Troels Drasbech, never has the drumming sounded so varied, unpredictable and propulsive. The bass playing of Jiri Jon Hjort is given a thick and upfront place in the mix, creating a truly commanding and trace-like sound. Dr Space himself and fellow synth player Mogens Pederson actually take a less prominent role this time, preferring to colour the backgrounds with restrained electronic washes while letting the other great musicians take the centre stage.

Opening with a galloping `One of These Days'-like Pink Floyd rhythm and lots of short sharp guitar stabs over drifting synths, side-long piece `Born Between Stars' is one most draining works the band has composed so far. There's a fiery intensity, a real harshness to the ragged guitar soloing from Claus Bohling and Stefan Krey that just goes on forever, reaching out to the furthest reaches of space, taking on a snarling menace. You'll have the sensation of being totally overwhelmed, isolated, slowly slipping into madness, and the band has never sounded so darkly groovy before. Half way through we arrive at a slightly calmer passage, full of lulling repeated sleepy bass lines, shimmering synth programming loops and delayed guitar jamming. But it's all a deceptive calm before the storm, as Troels rattles off a machine gun drum attack and the band goes berserk, full of thrashing scorching Hawkwind meets Ozrics face-melting guitar intensity and thunderstorm whirling keys. After a few minutes of sonic menace, the band retreat back, and I'm sure for a few seconds they're almost channeling Yes from the opening of `Soon' off their `Relayer' album. Some sedate and soothing final moments with an almost skipping guitar melody, before a spontaneous final comeback run from Troels that picks up the tempo, you almost get the feeling this piece could have taken off in yet another extended direction here...and even after 22 minutes, it still seems to end too soon!

After opening like The Orb's `Spanish Castles In Space', full of floating loneliness and synths groaning heavy sighs, the energetic momentum begins again as `Rising Tides and Floating Nebulas' sees the band kick off with some very relentless dirty bluesy slide guitar playing from Mathias Danielsson, almost sounding like Yes' Steve Howe in his noisy 70's live prime. Every O.S.C albums brings something new to their sound, and this is quite an interesting direction for them to wander down! Add in some Ashra-influenced electronic looping, plucky foot-tapping bass, sprightly up-tempo drumming, Steve Hillage-like delayed chiming guitar work and swirling hypercolour synths bubbling all around for your perfect outer space voyage! The final drifting passage is one of the most triumphant themes the band was achieved on disc so far, managing the sort of grand melodic extended guitar solo that Steven Wilson used to perform on the early Porcupine Tree albums so beautifully.

7 minute finale `Red Earth Calling' makes you think you're going to get a nice come-down to end the album on, but very quickly that hint of threat and menace slowly creeps back in. Full of middle- eastern mysticism, we're initially blessed with hypnotic waves of trilling guitars and phasing whirlpools of synths, it almost even resembles parts of Jefferson Airplane's classic rambling `Spare Chaynge' instrumental. But very soon the music takes a bad turn, weeping bending guitar lines start to resemble tormented wailing cries, the atmosphere turning thick and brooding. It ends the album and the listener in a dark place, very confronting and quite brave for the band.

The darker elements of `Entering Into the Space Country' makes this one of the more challenging releases from the Oresund Space Collective, but it's also inspiring just how good they're getting, every album bringing them one step closer to releasing that truly perfect album. Fans of overwhelming spacerock and involving improvised music will find much to appreciate here.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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