Happy New Year! As promised, we’re finally starting to dive into some new releases that are coming out. Today I also wanted to catch up on a slightly older release that I missed writing about the first time around, because — well, because 2020. Time to get fuzzy…
Stone Machine Electric – The Inexplicable Vibrations of Frequencies Within the Cosmic Netherworld (Desert Records, 04 December 2020)
Mud Spencer – Fuzz Soup (Argonauta Records, 21 January 2022)
Both of these records are instrumental monstrosities of stoner/fuzz/doom. The Inexplicable Vibrations of Frequencies Within the Cosmic Netherworld comes from a Texas-based duo who have graced the pages of this website on more than one occasion already. I’ve been a fan of these guys for years; in fact, I am literally wearing this hat on my head as I write these words. On the other hand, Fuzz Soup is the initial public offering from a musician who lives on the island of Java, Indonesia — and who describes the music as “Recorded in the bed and mixed in Ciremai mountain. No band, no live performances, more time for naps, massages, and relaxation, no stress.” I don’t know about you, but I can totally get on board with that.
Interestingly, in both cases the album title is absolutely a perfect encapsulation of the sound found within. The slightly more verbose Stone Machine Electric joint features three sprawling tracks averaging about fifteen minutes each. Lengthy, spaced-out introductions abound (especially in the central song “At Crystal Lake” — which might either be a reference to a small town just outside the band’s DFW hometown, or perhaps to the setting of the Friday the 13th series of horror movies). Otherwise, drums and guitar tend to meander their way throughout, seemingly almost at random, although the oft-repeated phrases and riffs do seem aligned as if by some higher power, with the pair of collaborators occasionally reaching zenithal heights in unison. Just a couple of dudes contentedly grooving together with some universal cosmic wave, and we’re all here grooving right along with them.
Although the overall length is about the same, Mud Spencer manages to squeeze an additional eight songs into his debut LP (so for you mathematics fanatics, yes that would mean eleven altogether, for an average of just slightly above four minutes). While these are mostly of the stoner/fuzz/uptempo-sludge persuasion, some of the later ones bring in some additional influences from funk to dark blues to a narcotic-sounding heavy doom. The arrangements too are a bit on the thicker and murkier side — despite having half the personnel (as the record in the previous paragraph), the songs here all have at least twice the instrumentation. This includes a gnarly, grumbly, fuzzy bassline (several times bringing to mind another old favorite of mine) underpinning the myriad lead and rhythm guitar parts; and frequently various types of keyboard and organ sounds hovering in the background, imbuing old-school psychedelic flavors throughout the warm, meaty broth.
Inexplicable Vibrations is available right now (Amazon / Bandcamp).
The Mud Spencer track below is available on Bandcamp as a sample, or the whole Fuzz Soup album is now streaming via the YouTube embed below that. Pre-order a CD copy here, or it will be available digitally here starting on Friday.
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