Anthroprophh “U.F.O.” (Cardinal Fuzz, 2015)
Well, this is certainly the weirdest way to start a new year: ex-Heads guitarist Paul Allen and his band of space explorers (aka Bristol’s Big Naturals, Gareth Turner and Jesse Webb) set off on a musical journey to capture the vibe at various UK U.F.O. sites, hence the title. But the fun doesn’t stop there – oh, no. They’ve even taken to naming each track after the date and location of said U.F.O. visitation, such that the track listing includes such ominous titles as ‘14/10/54 Southend-On-Sea’, ‘19/5/65 Warminster’ and the ever-popular ‘22/9/78 Weeden Bec’! The former (along with ‘23/1/74 Berwyn Mountain’) open with what sounds like a reading from one of those old Conet Project recordings of shortwave numbers stations that’s even eerier in this context. Add in some spaced-out electronics straight out of Doctor Who or The Twilight Zone and the odd guitar string plucking and be sure to pack an extra pair of smalls!
‘17/7/55 Bexleyheath’ is more, ahem, structured around throbbing bass, tantric drumming and Allen’s improvisational jamming and bears more than a passing resemblance to Hawkwind at their spaciest (read: Space Ritual era). Imagine actually trying to jam to a shortwave radio station and you’re only halfway to the insanity that awaits you within these cavernous concoctions! The ending is particularly brain-frying – like listening to spaghetti exploding! And I can practically hear the space craft taking off throughout ‘26/10/67 Owermoigne’, which sounds like something straight out of Close Encounters of The Third Kind.
There were a shitload more sightings than the ones Anthroprophh have elected to commemorate in song. You can follow along with the ones namechecked within here. Then play along to see if they’ve captured the eerie aura by playing each track whilst reading about the particulars. Personally, I think they just smoked a few bongloads and then turned on the recording machine and jammed away for an hour, a la Sleep’s Dopesmoker, the Twisted Villagers in Bongloads of Righteous Boo (aka B.O.R.B.), or those dope-smokin’ fiends in Bardo Pond and Hash Jar Tempo. Played sequentially, the album has that loose, improvisational feel and each song seamlessly morphs into the next. I bet it took them longer to think up the concept and select which visitations that they wanted to commemorate than it did to record the damn thing.
But that doesn’t make it any less worthy of your third eye’s attention. There’s enough krautrockian punk (no doubt the Big Natural’s influence), gads of extrasensory bleeps and bloops, and a soupcon of outer space noodling to satiate the most disheveled mind fuckers amongst you. To infinity and beyond!
Review made by Jeff Penczak/2015
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