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Black Bombaim And La La La Ressonance
Black Bombaim and La La La Ressonance Ben Graham , April 7th, 2014 03:26

Oh, this is good. Two bands from Barcelos in Portugal, Black Bombaim and La La La Resonance recorded this collaborative album live in a forest outside of Meifumado Studios. Go to their website- or youtube - and you can see video clips of the recording of each song, the two bands playing together in a circle. The chemistry and intense, slow-burning energy at work is hypnotic.

Black Bombaim describe themselves as a "heavy psych trio" who've worked with members of the Stooges, Earthless and Comets on Fire. They also recorded a whole live, improvised album with the legendary Gnod, as 'Black Gnod,' released on Cardinal Fuzz back in 2012. La La La Ressonance meanwhile are a post-rock / post-jazz collective whose credits include composing original soundtracks to Georges Melies' La Voyage Dans La Lune and FW Murnau's Faust. Altogether, there are nine players on this recording; three guitars, two drummers, two bassists (though Andre Simao sometimes switches to percussion), a synthesiser and a saxophone.  

'Bruce Lee' begins with two duelling bass guitars. They tease and flirt, refusing to gel into the satisfying-if-predictable heavy stoner groove they constantly promise. In the video clip of the recording, Tojo and Simao walk into a forest clearing from opposing sides and face each other like samurai in a circle of amps and equipment. They face off, summoning the pastoral doom psych of Arbouretum, mixed with the restless improvisation of Ben Chasny; falling away on an unresolved note whenever things seem to be going too far. Like a pair of cautious lovers on an awkward date, they stay resolutely, tantalisingly at first base. When the drums finally crash in, after three minutes or so, the music meanders into a more sun-dappled space, trancing out when you expect it to lock into heavy, train-like focus. Oh, that's coming, don't worry. But first – a samba drum solo?

The trick, as ever, is delay. To keep anticipation high, to hold out for as long as possible before mainlining that direct hit to the sun; the monochordal space rock vinegar strokes, if you will. Together, Black Bombaim and La La La Resonance are masters at keeping you, and each other, hanging on; but when they do put out, they're worth the wait as well. Yes, two drummers and a percussionist playing a samba beat below three wailing, distorted guitars is a wonderful thing, especially when joined by jazzy, Terry Riley style analog synth action courtesy of moog-man Luis Fernandes.

'Kapra' again mixes steely samba-tinged percussion with a rock steady beat, as synths shimmer and quicksilver guitars chase them down molten, mercury highways. The moody, magnificent 'Kin' suggests Mogwai scoring a noir detective thriller. Grinding twin basses wrench a wormhole through the cosmic storm of guitar noise so that Paulo Araujo's squalling alto sax can blast on through. Across this whole album, the mood and the music is constantly shifting and mutating, like speeded-up film of clouds racing across the sky, the weather changing from storm to sun at an unnatural rate. Sci-fi Hawkwind attack becomes languid John Martyn folk-dub-jazz, becomes loping Amon Duul II mung-out.

Final track of four, 'Tsunami' crackles, wails, pulses and oscillates, a haunted ocean liner listing and keeling on a moonlit ocean. Like Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd on 'Interstellar Overdrive' or 'Astronomy Domine', but rolling with the cyclical currents of the sea rather than taking off towards the cold and infinite trajectory of outer (inner) space. In the last three minutes we finally collide into a heavy, clanging Kraken of a riff, slow and remorseless, a drowned and water-bloated Black Sabbath, dead-eyed and briny pale as they rise to the surface and burst open, noxious gases ripping apart their barnacle-encrusted ribcages.

The separate recordings of both Black Bombaim and La La La Resonance are well worth checking out, and they have enough common ground for the stitching not to show in this collaboration. It's hard to tell who brings what to the table, and the nine musicians exhibit the kind of telepathy that would make you think they'd all been playing together for years. Possibly their differences keep them all on their toes; broadly, Black Bombaim are the heavier band, La La La Ressonance the more lithe and agile. Together they parry and feint, heading each other off whenever generic clichés approach, but locking together as one when a passage of joyous abandon opens up before them.

Barcelos, you are one lucky city, purely on this amount of talent alone. Don't stop now; I'm looking at flights, I'll be over as soon as I can.

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