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LISTEN: New MUGSTAR Album
Christian Eede , February 29th, 2016 15:17

MUGSTAR stream new double-album in full; listen below

Liverpool's MUGSTAR are currently gearing up for the release of a new double-album in the form of Magnetic Seasons and above you can listen to the album in full ahead of its release this Friday.

The album comes from studio sessions which saw the band working more freely eschewing limits on time giving themselves the space to experiment more than they may usually be able to leaving them with a new double-album. Magnetic Seasons follows in the wake of their 2015 collaborative album with Can's Damo Suzuki.

You can pre-order the album here and get tickets for an upcoming MUGSTAR show here. The album is out this Friday via Rock Action Records and you can read a track-by-track guide to the album by the band below.

Side 1

UnEarth

The opener and very much the most MUGSTAR sounding track of Magnetic Seasons. This starts the album with a sequence of delayed reverb guitar, eerily atmospheric. Then distorted bass lines, pounding drums and ritualistic chanting kick in. This leads on to Sabbath-style riffage before jolting into stabs - briefly evoking Zeppelin and Sabbath once again – at this point the track shifts gears one more time. Breaking the pace down as guitars work their way across the reconfigured rhythms to the fade.

Flemish Weave

'Flemish Weave' is a two-headed beast, drawing the listener in with intricate finger-picking, immersing you in gently played waves of sound, before introducing a driving motorik groove. Over which the guitars wig-out and a melodica improvises – negotiating its way through this extended passage. Whilst undeniably MUGSTAR in its taut psych-kraut formulation, 'Flemish Weave' embodies the fresh aural adventuring of this new release.

Time Machine

'Time Machine' starts slow, but somehow carries a darker sense of anticipation, pre-empting what is to come. As it is then rhythmically catapulted through moves that lift the energy and power levels again and again. The track really takes flight and is really enjoyable for us to play. Racing through riffs and WahWah freak-outs into territories that could be described as Earthless vs. Neu.

Side 2

Remember the Breathing

This is a drifting living being taking us on a journey. This is the beginning of the second side / season - and a very different mood and atmosphere is being set, maybe the beginning of spring, the emergence of light after the darker power of the first side of the album. This track has space allowing the listener to reflect and focus.

The drums and bass climb and dissipate against the swells of keyboards and pulsing guitar movements. There’s an ebbing and flowing across the fourteen minutes or so that it takes for this track to formulate and dissolve away.

La Vallée

This song is an example of what emerged from the improvisations that took place in the studio during these sessions. Deep bass and rhythmic drums drove most of the tracks. Think early '70's Floyd-guitar searing and scything over Evol-era Sonic Youth and you get 'La Vallée'.

Side 3

Magnetic Seasons

The seasons change again as we move onto side three of the vinyl. This explodes out of the speakers, but it is gentle; it's a concise, smooth ride. The introduction of Fender Rhodes piano at this point adds depth and a lushness that has not been explored before, it rises and falls, as do the synth lines that overlay it. The track flows, glides on the skipping beats, breathes and eventually falls away.

Regency Blues

This track grows in a swell of delay. An over-driven bass riff propels the movement, with rolling toms and snare to underpin the spangled motion of cascading guitar notes. Like most of the tracks, this suggests shifting horizons and has an expansive cinematic feel.

Sky West and Crooked

The Fender Rhodes returns here to again add spacey atmospherics. Sparse bass and drums drive the keyboards and distant layers of voice, providing a ground surface for the lead guitar to freely move in clear air. There is a tension and weight released at the point where crashing guitar chords strike out – calling to mind the Crazy Horse slab guitar shards of Neil Young – before the track drains away to the run out groove.

Side 4

Ascension Island

One track with which we are particularly pleased is the side-long “Ascension Island”. It came completely without preconception, an extended piece of improvisation and - one might say - instantaneous composition. On playback, it was apparent that the track has a life and trajectory that feels organically “right” and complete as is. Somehow, producing atmospheres that seem to embody a sense of eeriness and yet be seductive and embracing all at the same time. Underlying this, MUGSTAR’s rhythmic drive is ubiquitous as ever. Albeit, in more subtle and muted guises. The overall effect emerges as being one that is ultimately engrossing and captivating.

This track is the final and ultimate part of the album. It is a song of movement and time. The careful repetition of drums, bass, guitars, Rhodes and keyboards, work together a unit, as a frozen lapse of time and space. The moving landscapes of the song bleed into each other and dissolve into nothingness. This corrosion is the perfect end and resolution to the album.

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