The New Alchemy — On the Other Side of Light
(Subliminal Sounds SUBCD0000101, 2013, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2014-02-19
On the Other Side of Light is the limited edition LP (also available in CD form) by Swedish band The New Alchemy (Per Svensson and Ebbot Lundberg). Both Per and Ebbot started their careers as artists in the 80s. Per released sound art and poetry and Ebbot was the lead singer for the band Union Carbide Productions. Over the intervening years both artists continued honing their skills and they finally decided it was time to form The New Alchemy with Mats Gustafsson (from Sonic Youth and other bands) and Patrik Caganis (also from Union Carbide Productions). The band’s goal was to create a new mix of psychedelia. The result, On the Other Side of Light, is a bit hard to describe, but something akin to a kinder and gentler Acid Mothers Temple. The A side contains four tracks in the four- to six-minute range and the B side is one long 24-minute track. The disc opens with “Solar Eclipse,” a hard industrial noise number with sound bites, reversed cymbals, squeaks, and wails. There is no melodic structure to this track, just amorphous noise that after fourminutes you finally realize is a saxophone. An odd choice to open the disc as it could turn people away from listening to the remaining tracks that are quite enjoyable in contrast. The second song, “Creatures,” has a definite 60s West Coast garage-psych vibe with some vague hints of Jefferson Airplane. The third song is the excellent title track with its post-Dark Side Pink Floyd elements blended in with an overall garage-psych aura. The side closes with “Silver Chain,” another excellent song that starts with a tolling church bell and then moves into dark Gothic western territory with chanted vocals and trippy electric guitar referencing The Doors’ “The End.” “Extra Terrestrial Blues” on the B side is another slow moving, trippy garage-psych tune that is like Acid Mothers on downers mixed with a bit of HP Lovecraft and early Pink Floyd. To sum it all up, The New Alchemy were successful in creating a new psychedelia and I expect to hear more from them in the future.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more