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Goat - World Music CD (album) cover

WORLD MUSIC

Goat

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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stefro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars If you stretch right back to the mid-sixties, to a time before Jimi Hendrix, The Doors and Iron Butterfly, you can chart some of the earliest appearances of what would soon come to be known as 'psychedelia'. Initially found in the radical new sounds of New York's esoteric folk collective The Holy Modal Rounders, the fuzzy electric garage-rock of the seminal Texas-based outfit The 13th Floor Elevators and the heady, mind-rippling literary musings of a one Timothy Leary, the first shimmering wave of what we now characterize 'psychedelic rock' burned brightly throughout the latter half of the 1960's as it seemingly does now in 21st century Scandanavia. The latest offering from Sweden's psychedelic scene, Goat whipped up a fair amount of curiosity during the summer months of 2012 thanks to their genre-straddling debut 'World Music', an album that hitches afro- beats, ethnic fusion flurries and deeply-layered tribal melodies onto the fledgling group's Dungen-tinged psych-rock origins. As a result, 'World Music' belongs to that ever-growing collective of 21st century psych-rock crusaders - the likes of Wooden Shjips, The Black Angels, Dungen, 120 Days, Gnod, Tame Impala etc - who have managed to blend the funky camouflage of modern hip-rock with old-school acid-rock dynamics and their own tripped-out characteristics. Although Goat lack the dance-laced edge of the Swedish contemporaries, 'World Music' - never has a title been so apt - works a colourful mixture between cosmic poppery and more experimental avenues; progressive this ain't. It's also a surprisingly short album, though those who discover the African-blessed opener 'Diarabi', the heavy, beat-blustering catch of the excellent 'Let It Bleed' and the final, drowsily-toned epic 'Det Som Aldrig Förändras' will surely make 'World Music' last that bit longer. Imagine a heady brew of Fela Kuti-sized rhythm chops and Sky Saxon Seeds-drilled guitars, all drenched in a gutsy experimental coating, and what you have is a thoroughly contemporary take on the ever-mutating 'psychedelic' sound from this oddly unique Swedish group. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013

Report this review (#900682)
Posted Monday, January 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars The World According To Goat

This new group, who call themselves a collective and essentially formed from a commune, hails from Korpilombolo and Gothenburg, Sweden, and until recently, they had reportedly not performed outside of their commune. A rare 7″ exists, but World Music is their first LP, released in August 2012, and went three weeks on the Swedish charts no less. From their physical appearance to the music on the LP, they appear to be very intense individuals. African and Indian clothing with Mardi Gras-ish masks and voodoo priest-type outfits contribute to their dramatic performances that appear to the viewer as a secret cult ritual as much as a rock show. The LP artwork is also quite amazing, a beautiful die-cut geometrically psychedelic pattern of African origin with large windows of "W"s and "M"s letting the similar, but differently hued pattern inside show through.

The record is a strong debut of colorful, acidic, textural blasts of neo-psych, with enough different cultural musical references thrown in to become a sort of perfect melting pot. This is not world music as in the music genre of traditional sounds from the geographic world, but rather a reverent combine of the world of psych, from all points of the globe from where it came. With a simple acid-folkish feel, "Goatlord" evokes a candlelit meloncholic disquiet with a bit of spiritual chant. In some moments, one's reminded of the strange cult records of YaHoWa, and the never-ending free jams of Amon Duul, but Goat actually know how to play their instruments well and put together what one might call a "song".

It's not Metal though, this is Psych, Acid Rock mixed with influences from the Caribbean, Africa, Germany, and Vietnam, among others. "Let It Bleed" has a very strong Afro-Beat influence particularly in the repeating guitar melody line's interplay with the percussion. The standout track, "Det Som Aldrig Förändras/Diarabi" floats along in a semi-raga drone, but with a more danceable beat. It eventually settles down into a reprise of the first track to bring the whole album full circle. Although the record is not without its hiccups, particularly in sections that channel too much of the drum circle vibe, it begs for repeat listens, particularly for fans of Os Mutantes and WITCH.

LP issues: Stranded Rekords, Sweden, EKO 154 LP, Colored vinyl: 1st issue: Purple, Repress: Blue/Yellow Rocket Records, UK, LAUNCH048 LP, Colored vinyl: 1st issue: Orange, Represses: Green, Red, Yellow, Clear

Report this review (#1044320)
Posted Wednesday, September 25, 2013 | Review Permalink
Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I am a Goathead.

I admit that (if you'll pardon the choice of words) a little sheepishly, as an introverted ex-garage band drummer with two left feet who recently fell, after only a slight nudge from a Fellow Traveler in these Archives, under the spell of this young Scandinavian ensemble. Hardly surprising, given the colorful mystique the band has created for themselves, extending beyond the music itself toward some sort of arcane ethno-spiritual connection with the inner experience of communal song and syncopation.

Like THE RESIDENTS, the Goat collective understands the attraction of myth and mystery. You'll notice a lack of individual credits here, because the band insists on masking its shared identity...literally, using homemade masks and gaudy costumes. Even the total number of musicians is a dark secret, with (maybe) four employed in the studio but seven (or more) on stage. "All the members of Goat will never be seen together", says a spokesperson for the herd, adding a lot of portentous mumbo-jumbo about the past lives of the band in earlier generations.

So where does that leave the music? Their debut album is eclectic in design but totally uniform in quality, despite being released on vinyl in a rainbow of editions matching the kaleidoscope of influences behind it: Krautrock psychedelia; "Maggot Brain" Funkadelic grooves; Talking Heads intelligent dance circa "Remain in Light"; Scandinavian Black Metal; and the Beach Boys (the last two in their own words: personally I don't hear it). The female vocalist(s) tend to shout in exuberance instead of actually sing, but it's all part of the ongoing Dionysian frenzy of funked-out rhythms and freaked-out guitars.

The band may hail from Sweden, but are travelers on every continent: northern Europe, central Africa, creole America. Their backwoods hometown, supposedly a nexus of ancient voodoo sacrament and early Christian witch-hunts, is located above the Arctic Circle less than 30-kilometers from the border of Finland, which may explain the slight edge of insanity. Don't be surprised to hear a wild, Hendrix-inspired guitar solo give way to a gently unplugged acoustic coda. Or a heavy Space Rock adaptation of a Boubacar Traoré folk song. Or the sort of one-chord power raga not heard since the heyday of AMON DÜÜL II and AGITATION FREE, forty years earlier.

More than simply energetic, the album is celebratory. This is music ideally suited to forbidden rituals in dark forest glens: the perfect diversion for extroverted pagans. Which, of course, makes it very appealing to a flat-footed, freethinking wallflower like yours truly.

Look for the ceremony to continue with a new studio album, due next month as of this posting.

Report this review (#1252327)
Posted Sunday, August 17, 2014 | Review Permalink

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