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FARFLUNG

Psychedelic/Space Rock • United States


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Farflung biography
In 1992 Brandon LaBelle (drums) and Michael Esther (guitar) founded a band called HELIANTHUS and after some personal changes Tommy Grenas (vocals, guitar, synth) of PRESSUREHED came in. At this point - the year is 1994 - the band changed its name to FARFLUNG and started with the singles 'The Way The Sky Is / Daedalus' and 'Vision Of Infinity / Icarus', both released by Big Jesus containing Hawkwind similar space jams coupled with ambient elements.

The first full album '25,000 Feet Per Second' is offering a high energy blend of space rock, punk, krautrock and acid freakouts. The line-up at that time consisted of Grenas, Esther, LaBelle, Paul Fox (guitar, keyboards) and Buck McGibbony (bass) and they were supported by several guest musicians. It is said to be the band's essential work together with the following 'Raven That Ate The Moon' from 1996 where Fox already had left the band. Both albums were released by the Flipside label and a number of songs are taken from the HELIANTHUS legacy.

The next one 'So Many Minds, So Little Time' is a collection of singles and remixes containing the tracks appearing on the two early 7'' and a cover of Can's 'Future Days'. The band toured with Nik Turner under the moniker 'Nik Turner and Farflung as The Sons of Cydonia'. Buck McGibbony was substituted by Dan Meyer (guitar, bass) and Doran Shelley (guitar). FARFLUNG went on in 1998 with 'The Belief Module' including some of the band's heaviest acid jam and stoner space recordings. The rare 'The Myth Of Solid Ground' was a private release CDR that the band only sold at the Strange Daze 1999 Space Rock Festival. During the recording sessions both Shelley and Meyers left the group and were replaced by Ryan Kirk (bass, guitar, synth) and Scott Rusch (guitar).

After Michael Esther had escaped the band mates probably took it easy for a while until in 2002 new albums saw the light of day released by different labels. 'When Science Fails' was intended as a soundtrack to the movie 'Guardian Of The Frontier', a Croatian-German avant-garde supernatural film. It's containing the band's most atmospheric recordings. '9 Pin Body' is a fiery collection culled from the the 'Myth of Solid Ground' sessions. FARFLUNG toured as part of the Anubian Lights Tour in 2002, went over to Europe and played with The Earthlings?.

After another break of some years the band reformed and started to work at the new release 'A Wound In Eternity' (Meteor City, May 2008) appearing...
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25,000 Feet Per Second25,000 Feet Per Second
Limited Edition · Remastered
Cobraside 2012
Audio CD$9.99
$49.00 (used)
Live At 013 - Roadburn 2009Live At 013 - Roadburn 2009
Meteor City 2010
Audio CD$10.03
$8.99 (used)
So Many Minds So Little TimeSo Many Minds So Little Time
Cleopatra Records/Ka 1997
Audio CD$29.99
$9.49 (used)
A Wound In EternityA Wound In Eternity
Meteor City 2009
Audio CD$12.89
$6.00 (used)
The Raven That Ate The MoonThe Raven That Ate The Moon
Limited Edition · Remastered
Cobraside 2012
Audio CD$6.62
$6.99 (used)
White HillsWhite Hills
Single
Cobraside 2012
Vinyl$12.35
Belief ModuleBelief Module
2010
Vinyl$69.99
$237.44 (used)
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FARFLUNG discography


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FARFLUNG top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.92 | 6 ratings
25,000 Feet Per Second
1995
0.00 | 0 ratings
Raven That Ate The Moon
1996
3.67 | 3 ratings
The Belief Module
1998
0.00 | 0 ratings
9 Pin Body
2002
4.00 | 3 ratings
When Science Fails
2002
3.85 | 13 ratings
A Wound In Eternity
2008

FARFLUNG Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Live At 013 Roadburn 2009
2010

FARFLUNG Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

FARFLUNG Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.13 | 4 ratings
So Many Minds, So Little Time
1997

FARFLUNG Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Myth Of Solid Ground
1999

FARFLUNG Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 So Many Minds, So Little Time by FARFLUNG album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1997
3.13 | 4 ratings

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So Many Minds, So Little Time
Farflung Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The album's whimsical title carries a hint of fatalism, like something Victor Frankenstein might have ruefully muttered after a tough day at the lab. But what exactly is it trying to say? That there aren't hours in a day to annihilate our brains with shock doses of guitar reverb and echo effects?

The Space Rockers of Farflung had only been around a few years before releasing their first compilation: a generous collection of unreleased studio tracks and album samples, plus one live performance. Two decades later the band hasn't attained anything near the same galactic fame as their primary role models in HAWKWIND, despite having toured with Nik Turner, and collaborated with kindred spirits like Damo Suzuki, Helios Creed, and Lydia Lunch.

You can add each of those names to an itemized short-list of musical influences: not only Hawkwind, but also the Krautrock legends of CAN, the art-punk anarchists of Chrome, and the noisy No Wave subculture of inner Manhattan (transplanted here to a sunnier solar system called Los Angeles). But Farflung always had its own unique, deep-space aesthetic, rooted in hard rhythms, heavy guitars, and infrared cosmic vibrations, all on ample display throughout the eight selections in this set.

The album opens with their early trademark anthem "Landing On Cydonia": a fourteen-plus minute Floydian space walk with some killer riffing at its climax. Compare that to the later "Icarus/Daedalus", another long, one-chord kosmische jam, eventually falling into a black hole of pure ambiance before its sudden, explosive finish. Like the song's mythological namesake when he flew too close to the sun, prolonged exposure to this sucker at high volume can be fatal.

A surprising but effective cover of the title track from the Can album "Future Days" acknowledges another stylistic link. The choice of song was unexpected from this quartet of SoCal, sci-fi headbangers, revealing levels of nuance and subtlety rarely heard in the Farflung universe. No such refinement was necessary for the live "Mother Orbis", a companion of sorts to the tribal Krautrock stomp of Can's "Mother Sky" (Orbis is Latin for World...Mother Earth, in other words). The song ends the album in quintessential Farflung fashion, with an unstoppable Space Age groove, lifted wholesale from the 1970s but looking forward toward a dystopian future.

My conservative three-star rating is only a reflection of the album's piecemeal structure, where B-sides rub shoulders with alternate mixes, and so forth. But it may in fact be the best introduction yet to the alien charms of this extraterrestrial group.

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 Live At 013 Roadburn 2009 by FARFLUNG album cover Live, 2010
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Live At 013 Roadburn 2009
Farflung Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars If Hawkwind was the grandfather of Space Rock, Farflung is his pimply, adolescent stepchild, the kid with a chip on his shoulder and a loaded gun in the closet, hidden beneath his dirty underwear, assorted comic books, and a well-thumbed copy of Anton LaVey's Satanic Bible.

And this is what he does when mom and dad are out for the evening: takes a hit of acid, cranks up the stereo, and flops down on his unmade bed, ready to die in a Wall of Sound.

Throughout their long (and, on this site, largely unsung) history, Farflung has always straddled that razor-blade studded line separating Space Rock from Heavy Metal. The band's suitability to these Archives depends on which way their music is leaning at any given moment: a direction varying from album to album, sometimes from song to song. But on stage you'll hear the heavier, harder-rocking Farflung, playing shorter numbers at a higher volume to a younger crowd eager for total sensory obliteration.

The aggressive headbanger riffing in this set carries it about as far from the lofty ideals of Progressive Rock as you can get without losing your sanity. But there's an awesome energy here that needs to be acknowledged, audible even in a digital facsimile of the '09 event, held in the Dutch city of Tilburg (013 was the name of the venue, where Farflung shared the same stage with Motorpsycho and Amon Düül II). On record the music has serious punch. In person it must have been like receiving an undiluted blast of deadly cosmic radiation.

Farflung was flying closer to Earth at the time, but they hadn't forsaken their Space Rock roots. The longer selections ("Saint Anthony's Fire"; "Landing On Cydonia") often develop into massive interstellar jams, and even the shorter songs typically feature monster grooves. Check out the reverb-and-echo orgy of the concert opener "Breach of Eye", or the headlong thrash of "Endless Drifting Wreck", a title no doubt describing the band's mindset at the time. "Thank you for the acid, Colin..." drawls an obviously wasted Tommy Grenas during the lysergic intro to "Like It Has Never Been", but I like to imagine him winking while saying it, like a method actor in character making an aside to his audience.

At 74-minutes it's an overlong album, except to delinquent metal heads and other masochists. But the full show, from start to finish, is relentless in the best sense of the word. This is music for jubilant ass-kicking, in places making Hawkwind's classic Space Ritual sound like a playschool milk-and-cookie break.

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 When Science Fails by FARFLUNG album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.00 | 3 ratings

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When Science Fails
Farflung Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In my limited exposure to the Space Rockers of Farflung this 2002 release stands out as the anomaly in their catalogue. Instead of the guitar-heavy acid rock of other Farflung efforts, the album presents an altogether different, slow-burn brain-fry...crockpot psychedelia for the new millennium.

It was commissioned as a film soundtrack, for an obscure Slovenian feature named 'Varuh Meje' ('Guardian of the Frontier'), unseen by this cinephile but resembling in outline an outdoors adventure with mystical/sexual pretensions (imagine an eastern European update of John Boorman's 'Deliverance'). The film was barely released but managed to eke out a few awards on the festival circuit, despite lukewarm reviews on IMDB. The score might actually have been the best thing in it, although I'm guessing very little of the music survived the final cut. Was it just too far-out for such an earthbound allegorical narrative?

One thing is certain: whatever else it might be, this album ain't Prog. The sound is more a blend of Post Rock minimalism and Krautrock electronica, spiked with echoing guitar shards and ominous synthesizers. Information about the session is hard to find, but it's possible the drummer was on vacation at the time, leaving the various rhythms to be generated by other, non-human means: odd pulsations, and so forth. Note the hypnotic, mechanical groove under 'Something in the Water', recalling an early CLUSTER experiment. Or the sound of creaking oarlocks during the long, hidden epilogue, twisting a similar effect from the first NEU! album into something more anxious and malevolent.

The music was a welcome change of pace for such an otherwise aggressive band. It doesn't grab the listener by the neck and demand his attention, but insinuates itself under the skin and into your unconscious mind. Here's proof that even the noisiest headbanger can sometimes learn to use his noggin more effectively.

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 25,000 Feet Per Second by FARFLUNG album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.92 | 6 ratings

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25,000 Feet Per Second
Farflung Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Farflung emissions have been crossing my third eye for years, but only recently have I made an effort to explore their catalogue in depth. So imagine my surprise upon learning that the band, after churning out stellar Space Rock (pun intended) for almost two decades, hasn't received a single review so far in these pages.

Is our progressive net stretched so wide and so thin that it no longer captures those maverick fishes unwilling to swim in crowded, more conspicuous schools? Or does the band hail from an alien galaxy too far beyond our comprehension, in that alternate reality known as Los Angeles, California?

No matter, as Albert Einstein might have said. Allow me to introduce them, briefly and belatedly.

Farflung is a legitimate heir to the throne of early HAWKWIND, taking up that heavy cosmic scepter and carrying it boldly into the 21st century. Their first album, long out-of-print but now resurrected in digital form (with bonus tracks), saw the band escaping the drag of Earth's gravity using hard motorik rhythms beneath a wall electric guitars, all plugged into what sounds like every flanger, phase shifter and echo box between LA and Alpha Centauri.

The music is very loud and suitably spaced out, but has a certain tongue-in-cheek, retro (rocket) awareness: look at the Buck Rogers cover art, and listen to all the laser beam synthesizers. Or consider the fourteen-plus minute "Landing On Cydonia", an obvious album highlight, the title a reference to that Martian valley where gullible pseudo-scientists once imagined an uncanny human face carved into the extraterrestrial rock. From its atypically melodic, almost Floydian introduction, through the floating Krautrock mid-section to the kick-in-the-scrotum finale, this is quintessential Farflung, and worth the repetition of a bonus demo version, which adds B-movie sci-fi sound samples and a curious band dialogue.

"Farflung never actually sat down and wrote songs", said guitarist Tommy Grenas in a 2003 interview. "We always would get blasted and just jam..." an amusing observation, but not entirely true. There's an energy and focus here not often found in outer space, and the music carries too much residual booster-power for the Stoner Rock image the band likes to cultivate.

That same casual attitude, combined with an equally informal personnel roster, may have denied them the rewards of wider commercial success. But cult groups like Farflung are better suited to a surreptitious, below-the-radar flight plan anyway, and on this initial lift-off their trajectory was sure.

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