the ethos of free jazz in a doom setting

This quote from the press release for this album seems to encapsulate what Mythic Sunship are about, and why this is their third album for Danish label El Paraiso run by two members of Causa Sui, for whom this epithet could also apply. It’s through this run of albums that I first got to know Mythic Sunship, their debut for the label ‘Ouroboros’ being an immediate hit with me and landing itself a place amongst my favourite albums of 2016. The following year saw another epic release with  ‘Land Between Rivers‘ that I described at the time as “a super-intense set of songs that manage to bring together diverse musical genre and philosophies into a gestalt whole that is both fascinating and frightening.”

Photo by Trine Pihl Stanley

Which brings me to this latest release, just tipping over into 2018 and making it three albums in three years; a stat that doesn’t mean that there has been any drop in quality during this prolific period. This is evidenced from the opening bars of ‘Tectonic Beach’ with it’s twin guitar attack that slowly ramps up its intensity as the band quickly get into their groove. The first thing I noticed here was how tight the band were, clearly another year of playing together has furthered their understanding and the whole thing just feels solid as take off into another dimension ensues. As with the rest of the album you can really hear the band working off each other as they dig deep, the grooves here really are monolithic.

After that stone monster of a track it feel good to come down with ‘Aether Flux’, which has a free Krautrock feel to it. There is an essence of Electric Orange here, with subtle fissures of sound being exhumed… more delicate than the heavy mining operation of ‘Tectonic Beach’. So while this isn’t exactly Mythic Sunship as you’ve never heard them before there is a sort of veiled intensity here that feels different. Then, almost imperceptibly, like a frog in a kettle, the ante is upped and the band are really digging in with shades of light and dark being woven through the track… subtle and satisfying.

In a sense ‘Cosmic Rupture’ feels like a return to the ‘fascinating and frightening’ Mythic Sunship path… at least that’s what appears to be the case at first before the band just let go into a section that is more fast and furious, yet somehow always controlled. This is a real humdinger of a track that combines fast with very fast and just finishes… the way punk bands always used to. I really like this track a lot, it’s immediate and it is a welcome additional ray to the Mythic Sunship’s arsenal.

‘Into Oblivion’ is momentarily ponderous before pretty much doing what the title suggests, launching into nearly fourteen minutes of doom space rock that has the Kraut thrusters set on burn and the controls set for the outer reaches of the psyche. As you can probably guess from this description, this is a number that you can really immerse yourself in… and I did so much that I really forgot to write anything. But actually all there is to say is that if you like the idea of “the ethos of free jazz in a doom setting” you’re pretty much guaranteed to really dig this.

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‘Upheaval’ is released on El Paraiso Records on January 12th 2018, and is available here.

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