I’m not sure whether it’s the thing that Cosmic Fall are going for, but I find the band to be very re-assuring. Although, as far as I know, this is only the third recording in but I already have them down as one of my go-to bands. So far they have brought out a studio album (First Fall, which I went for from the first few bars), an album of improvs (Kick Out The Jams), and now a split LP with fellow Berliners Aphodyl; a band who are new to me.
For some reason then the Cosmic Fall sound resonates with me at a deep level. It feels to me to be perfectly pitched between the laid back blues wah wah, and the more aggressive solo guitar flights that soar into the stratosphere in a way that I just find so exciting. Nowhere is this more the case than on the opening track ‘Overhead Intelligence’ which begins in such a subtle and nuanced way before building into a a full on stoner space attack. The second track on the vinyl ‘Blues at CME’ is more groovy and, if anything, more laid back allowing you to really melt into the music while extra, CD only, track ‘Sleeping Pandora’ also hits the rocket firmly in the booster making the CD a realistic additional purchase for those who are so inclined.
Flipping over Aphodyl provide three tracks for this collaboration; respectively entitled ‘Parts I to III’, again the third of which is only available on the CD. The first thing I notice is that Aphodyl are less veiled and more direct than Cosmic Ground, for whom they act as a really good foil. This is especially in terms of how the bands respective sounds can be seen in contrast with each, other while both being within the same (very) broad template of psych/ stoner/ space rock. So although they have a similar laid back attitude, Aphodyl feel more earth-bound, and more prone to taking left turns in their music. There are times here when ‘Part I’ threatens to disintegrate, nowhere more than just before it segues into ‘Part II’, at which point it climbs into the cosmos with shredding guitars and a mind period Pink Floyd vocal which weirdly grounds the track at that moment.
From there the track ascends and almost breaks up on re-entry several times in a way that you are never really sure what is going to happen next, as Aphodyl gradually strip back their sound until its really just the rhythm section before what you hope is going to be the final flourish towards the end. What I didn’t expect was that it would be the sound of sax that would be leading the way…
After this bonus CD track (‘Part III’) hits the ground running with a fab funky bass and a melange of what sounds like acoustic and electric guitars that provide a varied, if always emerging, mood that is clearly taking the listener on a sharp blues rock trip that can only really end in weary satisfaction… as it does.
It’s often difficult when you get a split LP and you know one band much better than the other. In this case it was certainly Aphodyl that had to do more work to win me over than Cosmic Fall. That they have done shows to me both that they are more than well worth a listen, but that they will appeal to followers of the Cosmic Fall. As for fans of Aphodyl (who have been going the longer of the two bands), if you haven’t heard of Cosmic Fall before I’m sure you’ll be wanting to find out more.
‘Starsplit’ is released by Psyka Records on marbled/colored vinyl (random colours) with inlay and a download code for all four songs are included. Limited edition of 450.
The CD is released by Clostridium Records.