Exposé Online banner

Melodic Energy Commision — Moon Phase Compendium
(Vapor V-HIP2, 1980/1997, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, Published 1999-11-01

Moon Phase Compendium Cover art

Rarely does one uncover psychedelic music from the late 70s or early 80s, so when one finds a pair of albums as anachronistic as these, and as good as these, one is obliged to wax superlative. Melodic Energy Commission is perhaps best known for being Del Dettmar’s home after Hawkwind, yet the Vancouver-based group of musicians builds on a more diverse base than the grungy, swirly space rock style of Hawkwind. The CD incorporates both of their albums, Stranger in Mystery and Migration of the Snails, although inverting them and thoughtfully putting the better album first. Migration is truly a wonderful piece. It moves from the bizarre opener with great fuzz guitar solo, “Flight of the Dodo,” into a suite of undefinable and inventive electronic psych rock pieces. Guest Kathleen Yearwood adds her voice to the mix giving the overall sound hints of Pierrot Lunaire or Älgarnas Trädgård. Xaliman’s voice sounds uncannily like Steve Hillage, giving his appearances a tinge of Gong. The musicians play a wide array of different instruments, and the constant theme throughout is the pioneering of new sounds. Constantly and surprisingly original throughout, this is an album one can listen to again and again, noticing new subtleties to the mix. Stranger in Mystery is the band’s first album, and shows the Commission in a more primitive and early stage. Whilst on Migration the acoustic and electronic elements are well-integrated, on Mystery, they are often differentiated — a psychedelic folk piece next to an electronic experiment, rather than the merger of both. Nonetheless, this album also has its strange charms, and works well as bonus tracks to the vastly superior Migration of Snails. For those looking for a new experience, this CD comes highly recommended.


Filed under: Archives, Issue 18, 1997 releases, 1980 recordings

Related artist(s): Melodic Energy Commission

Latest news

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Klaus Schulze - Moonlake – Moonlake is the latest Klaus Schulze release of new music, and a welcome breath of fresh air it is! The title is not a reference to the classic Schulze of Moondawn or “Crystal Lake,” but instead...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues