A Journal Of The Dark Arts
You never know what yr gonna get, with an Acid Mother’s record. The infamous Japanese psych collective ply at least 3 unique genres: straight-up space rock/classic psych, a la Pink Floyd; sludge/stoner/doom, a la Black Sabbath; and what someone described as space folk, a mixture of acapella, acoustic instruments, and traditional music from various parts of the world, shot through with the music of the spheres.
Black Magic Satori falls heavily into the stoner/doom camp, with the band taking Sabbath’s leaden grooves into Hawkwind‘s space station. The band, dubbed Space Paranoid for the occasion, is a stripped down version of the sprawling collective, with a very rock ‘n roll line-up of guitars, bass, drums and synth. This is more of a streamlined, garage psychedelia, than the sometimes dense psychedelic symphonies of The Melting Paraiso UFO It tastes of cheap booze and bad speed; it reeks of gasoline and napalm and chromo. You’ll feel like you’re shooting through a wormhole on White Cross, white knuckles gripping the command console.
Each of Black Magic Satori’s 3 tracks, the title track, “Devil Inside”, and “Space Paranoid” (a spacey and far-out version of Paranoid, by Sabbath), follows a similar template – starts off with a solid and steady repetitive riff, either guitar or bass or often both, which then builds, loops and layers, crashing into crescendo, and finally, breaking free from the atmosphere, into the pearly night.
“Black Magic Satori” and “Devil Inside” are the main attraction here, with the former a colossal 16 minutes, and the latter coming in at 10. These are miniature sci-fi psychodramas, that could transport yr commute or Friday evening into intergalactic intrigue and adventure. The title-track is the higher-fi of the two, and i would dub it a staple to AMT’s cannon; truly thrilling stuff! The embellishments of Okano Futoshi trancey breakbeats and Higashi Hiroshi‘s burbling oscillators makes this some next level galactic tsunami, that is bound to pry yr third eye open with amethyst, leaving the taste of wet sabretooth tiger fur on yr tongue.
“Devil Inside” is the lo-fi twin shadow of “Black Magic Satori”; it’s a real crunchy bummer flick of mongoloid guitars, spasmotic drums, and canned incantations. This is like some interdimensional biker gang coming to yr town. Godspeed You! black wizard. H. P. Lovecraft meets The Wild Ones.
“Space Paranoid” is a lagniappe, a nice excuse to hear the musicians flail and freak. There’s some essential flying fretwork from Kawabata, and some intense Vishnu-work from Okano Futoshi – what an awesome drummer! I’ve heard permutations and ramifications of Paranoid in their live set, so it’s nice to have a version laid to wax.
The pared-back line-up really lets you hear and appreciate each individual player here, each one a top notch jammer. I really love the addition of the synth, on top of the biker grooves, which gives BMS a unique flourish. One lesson we can take from AMT is:
EVERYTHING SOUNDS BETTER WITH REVERB.
I also really like how the stable, repetitive riffs lets the drums slice up and subdivide each beat, giving a powerful thrash funk feel; loose and tight at the same time.
I’ve always been fond of AMT’s stoner/sludge side – it might even be my favorite of their manifestations. I love the power and force of the riff, cranked and jacked all the way up. It’s a heavy metal minimalism, a 150 W meditation. It’s a lovely (and essential) mixture of metal, retro SF and mysticism.
Acid Mother’s back-catalog is monolithic, so i just picked the second to newest, to get a flavor what they’ve been up to. Going to see them tonight at Mississippi Studios. If you live in Portland, you can too.
This might seem like a surprising leap, from the last 2 days posting, but the threads of witchcraft run through Black Magic Satori. It’s like some troupe of nature worshipers come across some extraterrestrial monolith in the forest, which spontaneously gives them electricity, as well as telepathic powers. The cult begin worshiping the monolith with electric instruments, frenzy and abandon.
Acid Mothers Temple are the quintessential 21st-century psych band, the prototype from which many have been cloned. If you were ever curious what has been new and interesting in the world of psychedelic rock in the last 50 years, start here.
Black Magic Satori wouldn’t be a terrible introduction to the band. It’s got more of a live document feel than many of their more studio productions, but it’s a nice slab of cosmic ritual to have around. Totally boss cover art, as well (wish the vinyl wasn’t sold out).