My Brother the Wind –
Once There Was a Time When Time and Space Were One (Free Electric Sound / The Laser’s Edge, 14 October 2014)
Hey there, folks! How’s your day going? Hopefully better than mine. Normally Tuesday mornings have me feeling like I’m sleepwalking anyway, and when you add in the fact that I’m basically trying to do the work of three people right now instead of the usual two (at no point this month will my department at work be fully staffed — they’ve all scheduled weeklong vacations over the next several weeks — but on top of that, we’ve also had people call in sick the past couple days). So my mind is racing in countless different directions all at once, nonstop all day long. And just when it seemed like it couldn’t get any worse, our network goes down for nearly two hours, leaving me without access to my e-mail, phone, or most of the files and programs I need to use to do my job. Sometimes it’s enough to make you just want to throw your hands up in defeat, and just scream.
But whatever, there’s shit to be done and I’m getting it done. And plus, a little bit of downtime gave me the opportunity to throw together a few words about some music I’ve been listening to. This will be a pretty brief essay, but a few days ago I discovered a cool album that I think a lot of people out there might enjoy, so I wanted to pass it along…
This music comes courtesy of the Swedish instrumental/improvisational band My Brother the Wind, who (not coincidentally) share their name with a pair of 1970 albums by the avant-experimental artist Sun Ra. The group — a collection of musicians who also appear in such bands as Makajodama, Magnolia, The Greencoats, Animal Daydream, and Anekdoten — recorded the material that appears on Once There Was a Time When Time and Space Were One in a single day (live, without any overdubs) back in January 2013. Consisting of around forty-five minutes of spaced-out psychedelic exploration, this — their third album overall — was then released last October by the New Jersey prog-rock label The Laser’s Edge via its instrumental imprint Free Electric Sound.
For a time, I’m reminded of being a kid and listening to records I borrowed from my dad — specifically, I remember lots of bands like the Allman Brothers Band, Steppenwolf, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. In many cases, these records would have at least one song (which, it seems, was usually near the end of one or both sides) that, while it started out typically enough with some bluesy riffs and singing and that sort of thing, would eventually unravel into a lengthy mess of guitars and bass and drums, having very little direction or cohesion to speak of. These extended jams would usually at least start out having some semblance of relationship to the earlier portions of the song, carrying over some kind of melody or at least sequence of chords, before completely heading through left field and on beyond the horizon.
Well, if you were to remove the “song” part of these songs — all the words, melodies, and structure — and just jump right in midway through the chaotic latter portion, with a formless mass of acid-blues guitar leads, wandering bass lines, and clattering drums and cymbals? That’s approximately what My Brother the Wind presents to the listener, at least during the first few songs (both parts of “Song of Innocence” as well as “Into the Cosmic Halo”). Later, things turn a bit more drone-y and mellow, adding flutes and a touch of ethnic percussion in “Misty Mountainside”; from here on — particularly in the 12-minute-plus, vaguely middle-eastern-tinged “Garden of Delights” — through the dreamy, synth-dominated title track and “Epilogue,” the music is now far less reminiscent of old psychedelic-blues-rock bands than it is of the free-form space explorations of folks like Nik Turner and Hawkwind. Ultimately, this whole album represents a cosmic journey that’s just perfect for escaping from the tedium of your daily struggles — at least, that’s turned out to be the case for me!
“Song of Innocence”:
You can check out Once There Was a Time When Time and Space Were One by visiting Bandcamp (see below). The album is available in CD, vinyl, and digital formats. You can also find more My Brother the Wind here.
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