Sulatron Records has been ploughing a pretty impressive psychedelic furrow (I wonder what that would actually look like) for over a decade now. Founder Dave Schmidt (also known as Sula Bassana) has been been releasing his own music, both as solo work and through collaborative projects such as Zone Six and Krautzone; as well as some great albums from other bands most notably for me Polska Radio One and Yuri Gagarin. However you stack it up the label has been responsible for consistently high quality psychedelic/ space rock output over the years and you can guarantee that any of its releases it going to be at the very least interesting (and two Sulatron releases made it onto our ‘Essential’ list last year).
As a result Sulatron releases tend to get snapped up rather quickly especially, it seems, on vinyl; a medium that is tailor-made for the label’s output of side-length jams and groovy intricate artwork. This, it seems, is particularly the case for Electric Moon, Sula Bassana’s principal musical outlet after his solo work, which is why it is so gratifying to see that the label has recently re-released one of my favourite Electric Moon releases, the live album ‘Flaming Lake’; recorded at and the Open Air Festival in Battenberg on July 2nd 2011.
The double vinyl album (it has also been released on CD for the first time) is on coloured vinyl (one red and one blue) is made up of just four long tracks all of which are beautifully recorded, somewhat belying their live status. This is by no means a criticism since the set is a great balance of immediacy and polished production. It is the sound of a band that is totally on it and sharper than a particularly well-honed pin (no battenburg sponginess here).
This is an album that you can get totally lost in, with its jazz improvisations, droning cosmic repetition, trippy psychedelic languidity, and topographic angles. It is an album that soars and sweeps through your brain taking you on the sort of internal journey, creating and then taming inertias of the mind as each track builds and builds again and again. This is an album that is at times as heavy as any space rock you will hear (‘Lost and Found Souls’), yet is also highly nuanced…it pounds you but in doing this does not neglect the detail which, especially for a live album, is focussed and panoramic.
It really is no surprise that ‘Flaming Lake’ quickly sold out on its initial release in 2011, and this re-issue is a welcome addition to the Sulatron catalogue; but you would probably be well advised to grab a copy of this one because I doubt this limited run will be hanging round for long.
The Cosmic Creator (17:28)
Flaming Lake (16:28)
Lost and Found Souls (23:41)
Burning Battenberg (18:43)