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Arzachel - Arzachel CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.65 | 213 ratings

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Francisco Perez
5 stars Warning: no delights with Soft Machine or National Health taste will be found in this garden.

'Arzachel'is an unique piece, due to their origin and results. If there's any classification for their music, it could be psychedelic rock. The musicians' comments in the inside sleeve reinforce this first impression. Steve Hillage believes in music as an 'only really physical art form (...) in a lifelong search for the ultimate musical power'. Dave Stewart says that music is 'expression of one's inner being (...) that leads to the spiritual liberation of one's persoality'. Almost existentialist words, that lead into songs that can scarcely stand the volume, distortion, textures of instruments in such electric form.

This album was recorded in just one day, and has a pretty deficient sound. Sometimes, the channels of the organ seem sodden, other times with volume sways. However, Arzachel uses this circumstance to give the work a rustic appearance, plenty of urge and explosion. And we have a rock band. A basic drum kit and a drummer with rhythmic skills, and an unmannered bass-wall (from Mont Campbell and Clive Brooks, future Egg members), are the base for Sam Lee Uff (aka Dave Stewart) and Simeon Sasparella (Steve Hillage) job. The first one with keyboard emulsions and an organ out of focus and scales, devouring any intend to convention and form. Hillage displays his contundent face with hard rock brushings, so near of the electric blues of Jimi Hendrix. This is how climates are no result of harmonic ensembles (like in Canterbury scene), but of exhuberance. The group gives more as a band than in their separate parts. 'Leg' or 'Clean innocent fun' are the highlights, together with the disperse jam 'Metempsychosis' and the advocation of 'Azathoth' the Mighty.

Arzachel is close to expressionism and psychedelia, (perhaps is the clearest example of this) in English rock music during the '60s. Just 'close': no San Francisco smells, or incipient Swedish scene are here, neither colourful visions. Any idea of 'instrumental landscapes' catch fire near the jams that surge in the songs (not 'out of' or 'in spite of' the songs, old clisés of psych rock). 'Close', but with no drugs, no lights, no men bathing on the fruits of Earth. Just 'close', because this collective of musicians don't know drama, and prefer to search for new shapes and forms under good will and mood instead of conceit.

Nothing more... turn up the volume and let the sound invade your body. Sorry for the common place, but current exaltations of vulgarity, sometimes forces unfair repetition.

Francisco Perez | 5/5 |


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