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Darxtar - Aged To Perfection CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.48 | 10 ratings

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3 stars Swedish band DARXTAR has a history going back to the start of the 1990's and was initially a band that sought to revive space rock as it was made in the 1970's, with Hawkwind as a distinct and stated influence. A total of seven full length studio productions have seen the light of day since then, of which "Aged to Perfection" is the most recent. An album seven years in the making which was released by Swedish label Transubstans Records in the spring of 2012.

One aspect of this disc that is a striking feature right away is the lack of distinct references to Hawkwind's brand of space rock, and in particular the 70's sound that was so inspirational in the early stages of Darxtar's history as a recording artist. The harder edged riffs, pumping bass and spaced out, energetic or intense atmospheres of early Hawkwind are just about non-existent. As far as resemblances go in that direction, they are closer to what Brock and his crew explored on "Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music", although without any direct references as such. Just about the only instance where we're treated to a sound and atmosphere comparable with the early ideals of Darxtar is on Tired Nature, and even there the classic space rock style is explored in more of a careful and subdued manner.

Title track Aged to Perfection crystallize the extreme of what this album is all about I guess. A composition based on a basic acoustic guitar and vocals arrangement, careful and dampened in expression, surrounded by a careful arrangement consisting of rhythms, futuristic sounds and fleeting violin textures. And while the core foundation of the following compositions all deviate from this one, the surrounding arrangements are of a fairly identical nature throughout, in construction as well as intensity.

As this disc unfolds, associations to Pink Floyd starts appearing pretty soon. The subdued, careful nature of the themes and arrangements and the effective use of darker textures increasingly points in that direction, with In Time as the most distinct example. But a take on their sound generally void of any major dramatic excursions, stark contrasts and majestic soundscapes. Think mellow late 70's Pink Floyd, flavoured with gentle ethereal violin textures and just as gentle futuristic synths and sound effects. And with a nice and efficient use of organ backing textures.

For final piece Fiska På Grasmattan Darxtar pulls out in a slightly different direction again though, ending this disc with an epic length, improvisational affair. Again a construction that merits descriptions along the lines of careful and gentle, with a steady repeating rhythms foundation and dampened more or less fragmented instrument constellations employed in a creative and less structured manner on top.

In sum this makes for a production that explore the gentler parts of the space rock subgenre. An almost lazy, slightly detached overall sound, where the edges are as soft as the contrasts and the arrangements are dominated by nuanced effects of an ethereal fragmented character rather than a majestic and dominating presence. An album that invites and inspire to careful and deliberate reflection of an introspective kind rather than whisking the listener away on adventurous journeys into inner or outer space. An album that merits a check by those who feel that mellow space rock sounds like an interesting product to investigate.

Windhawk | 3/5 |


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