Buckle up, me beauties, while we explore the fractured flip-side of this
, and enter the strange Nu-Kosmische soundworld of Australian band Brothers of the Occult Sisterhood
If The Golden Oaks
play their music in the burnished 8pm light of late summer sunshine, then BOTOS are their luminous lunar opposites: generating silver smears of sound and expansive astral-noisescapes that seem to suggest the slow acceleration of star-fields…matter collapses, energy dissipates and dark shapes roll slowly away from us through vast rippling curtains of star-light…but, hang on a minute, maybe our binoculars are the wrong-way round: perhaps what we thought was the decaying echoes of The Big Bang is actually our own blood and brain-noise…the ebb and flow of internal micro-tides as the moon tows 42 litres of water around our body in a series of slow liquid orbits…
"The Rainship Ourbouros
" is a stunning 23+ minute journey thru inner/outer mind-space that inspires comparison w/ the early Ohr Records Kosmische Era (69-71)…I’m thinking of, oh lemme see… Tangerine Dream
when Klaus Schultz
was still drumming with them, or maybe Ash Ra Tempel
in meditative mode, rather than their infamous side-long cosmic-blues freak-outs…now, before the Doubting Thomases and uptight, unbelieving nay-sayers amongst ye can mentally write off this as insipid hippy driftscape or early ‘90s ‘Ambient’ mong-out, I’m gonna give you a psychokinetic wake-up slap: this music is big and bold…ambitious in both scope and scale…it may initially sound amorphous, but repeated listens reveal a coherent structure and narrative-flow that nudge the piece through a series of distinct-yet-interlinked phases or ‘moods’…this is not a passive listening experience; this is music that emotionally engages the listener. Well, it engaged me to the point that I’m still actively listening to it a month after I first heard it…it’s still dragging me in, still surprising me by spewing forth unexpected smudges of sonic detail…it’s got me running round, trying to find other stuff that might invoke similar feelings (of familiarity blended w/ surprise), but they all keep pointing back to that unique Cusp-of-the-Seventies period when Krautrock climbed out of the primordial day-glo goo (that was still stuck to the lizard’s tail of the Late Psychedelic Era) and started reaching for the stars. I’m thinking of cavernous spacescapes like Tempel's "Traummaschine
", or TD's "Sunrise in the Third System
Brothers of the Occult Sisterhood start this jam with a slow-rollin’ guitar lick underpinned by grinding, deep-throat cello-tones and an ambient macro-wash of amp-noise that sounds like the fucking Heat Death of the Universe. There’s a fantastic moment a few seconds into the track when someone starts whistling, but it’s muffled and distant, as if you’re hearing the whistler from inside his own body
. Sounds pile up, slowly gaining mass and momentum until we’re surfing the half-remembered ruins of an ancient acid-rock riff. At some point, drums start to gallop through the muddy bottom-end of the mix, but they’re far, far away, buried beneath the rumble of enormous imaginary celestial objects as they rotate slowly in the void. Drums were often placed low in the mix on early Seventies Kosmische tracks…Hawkwind and Amon Duul 2 also favoured this approach, allowing tones and textures to float free, seemingly unanchored by the rhythm-track: AMT’s Kawabata Makoto
seems to be a modern fan of this production-strategy.
There’s another great moment when the track suddenly sheds mass and slides free from a whole raft of frequencies, twisting and opening itself out into a spacious, but more earthbound panorama reminiscent of "In Den Garten Pharaos
" ("In the Garden of The Pharoahs
") by Popul Vuh
. Hand-drums, percussion, lush tonalities and distant birdsong suggest the sort of dense lysergic vegetation pictured on the gatefold of Duul’s "Carnival in Babylon
". Another sudden shift in focus delivers us into the music’s final phase and we seem to fall down through endless layers of sound, penetrating each sonic vista with a splash of echo whose decay-signature seems to follow us downwards until it too is lost in the depth of sound-shadow. Fields collapse…structures melt, fold and drip like liquid…objects fall and recede, creating a giddy, vertigo-inducing sonic illusion with no possible resolution, so the only sensible option is to fade it out.
And if this all sounds too good to be true, then don’t just take my word for it, go out and buy the damn thing: one superb CD/two superb bands/three superb tracks. Time to go astral-travellin’, boy. C’mon, you know you wanna…
BOTOS have a totally cool blog/site/label here
that will be permanently joining my link-list Roll of Honour…I thoroughly recommend that all you light-deprived subsurface-dwelling trogs go and check it out asap, as if yr very life depended on it, which it undoubtedly does. A whole bunch of brain-mangling, limited-edition releases are available direct from the band (as well as flipped-out side-projects and warped stuff by other like-minded individuals), so get on over there, right now, and give these people the support they so richly deserve. Get some weird, shimmering orange light into yr life. Trust me, you’ll wind up in therapy if you don’t.
(Oh, and don’t forget Brad
from The Golden Oaks
: there’s a multitude of goodies available from their sites too.)
Meanwhile, many thanks to Michael Donnelly
of BOTOS, who answered my dull and obvious questions like the Post-Kraut Cosmic Saint that he is. Cheers, Michael…Tell me a bit about where you're based...is there anywhere you can play locally, or an audience for what you do?
MD: I'm based in rural New South Wales (Australia), surrounded by rainforests and dairy farms. It’s a great environment for recording and existing. Botos rarely perform live, but the other projects I’m involved with, most notably 6majik9, do…and we play wherever they will let us…mainly in urban centres, although we do play the occasional gig in local bush halls or hippy communes.How far away from Sydney or other cities are you? (I'm just trying to gauge how physically/culturally isolated you are....)
MD: I live in a small village called 'Green Pigeon', about 30 kms from Kyogle, which is a small country town about 2 hours from Brisbane. Most of the recording and production work is done here in my spartan home studio, which is nothing more than a bedroom jammed full of broken gear and primitive acoustic relics.I'm interested in how you ended up playing the sort of music you play, especially if you're physically isolated from any sort of 'scene'…
MD: I guess it comes down to exposure to different musical forms at a young and impressionable age. Being somewhat culturally isolated, myself and the other collective members were forced to look further afield to satisfy our interests in music and art. As a result, I think a kind of customisation of our tastes occurred early on, thanks to some key moments of enlightenment bestowed upon us by older freaks and by each other, as we all would search out the weirdest, heaviest, most beautiful and fucked-up music to blow each others’ minds. We discovered the Butthole Surfers
etc, and, before long, we were eating fungus and searching for our own methods of expression...convinced that true art can be made by anyone who gives a fuck.Who else plays in Botos with you...?
MD: At the time of recording "Animal Speak
", "Lucifers Bride
", "Run from your Honey Mind
" and the latest Time-lag split, Botos was myself and my sister Kristna. We hooked up, apart from being siblings, due to our interest in open, free musical forms…Botos began not really as a band, but more as an experiment…we had never played together and had no intention of becoming a band as such, but once we finished recording we felt it needed to be shared with others.Is "The Rainship Ouroburos" typical of your recorded output...?
MD: We try to avoid falling into repetition, that's the beauty of improvised music: it is so linked with the time and space where it is created…if it’s done with honesty and mindfulness it will never be the same twice, yet inversely we seek a mindlessness.... as if we are but vessels for the infinite through which to manifest...hahaha...fucking bullshit really!...Personally, I just like to get toasted and make noise. In this context, I would describe our music as the mind seeking to understand itself through derangement and dislocation.... and any similarity to previous attempts at this are due to the collective nature of the human mind.You're also in 6majik9 and Terracid....are they solo affairs or with other people...?
is the collective in its ugly, multifaceted incarnation. It is our live craft, and has a floating membership of whoever is available at the time…its focus is ritualistic improvisation and noise. Terracid
is my solo operation, where I clean out my bullshit ideas and obsessions…most of the other collective members have similar vehicles: Dinmuck#f
are all such manifestations.What forthcoming stuff would you like to alert people to...?
MD: Corsican Paintbrush
- "twilight blue skies"
cdr (gorgeous ethnological forgeries from the husband and wife duo of Brad Rose and Eden Hemming Rose...honest music for the tired ears of a dying civilization...) Hush Arbors
- "death calligraphy
" 3"cdr (beautiful dark folk/drone from the black heart of america...) NaDa BaBa
- Ambient Time Arm
cdr (Centered around the ancient Didgeridoo this second CD from NaDa BaBa features more than 14 instruments, field recordings, spoken word, effects and samples over a dizzy 60 minutes. Forget about New Age, this is speed didge as inner fractal flight portal. Trance ON!!!) .....And, coming very soon, new cdrs by Rue Pente, Autumn Galaxy, Blondecobra, Aditi Tahiti, 6majik9, Terracid, Brothers of the Occult Sisterhood, Dinmuck#f