Exposé Online banner

Vibravoid — Mushroom Mantras
(Stoned Karma Records SK011, 2017, CD)

by Henry Schneider, 2018-03-21:

Mushroom Mantras Cover art

I first encountered Vibravoid about 10 years ago, I think from a YouTube video, but I cannot be sure. I rapidly discovered that no one in the US carried any of their releases, causing me to explore locations in Europe, which led me to Fruits de Mer records, barely a year old at the time. They had just released Vibravoid’s Krautrock Sensation EP with covers of Kraftwerk’s “Ruckzuck,” Amon Düül II’s “Eye Shaking King,” Can’s “Mother Sky,” and Mashantra’s “Rauchkraut.” I was hooked, and over the past decade the prolific Vibravoid has continued to produce incredible trippy psychedelic progressive Krautrock jams both in the studio and playing live, never shying away from challenges. They’ve covered Eddie Cochrane’s “Shotgun Wedding Theme,” Pink Floyd, and even Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” So I have been eagerly waiting to hear and review their latest effort Mushroom Mantras. This time around Christian and mates have produced ten different psychedelic mantras, with two of them running on for 20 minutes, opening up a whole new musical realm for Vibravoid. The disc opens with an Indian religious mantra to the elephant god Ganesh “Om Gang Ganpataye Namah.” You can find some YouTube videos of this mantra, a sedate and slow chant that can last up to 36 minutes. What Vibravoid has done is taken this mantra, mixed in some shrooms, sitar, and Krautrock to create drugged-out psych masterpiece lasting four and a half minutes. The Hindi mantra is mixed with English lyrics and a couple of outbursts of “Mushrooms!” The second song “Legend of Doctor Robert” is a four minute trippy psych mantra with reversed tapes, sitar, and echoed and reverbed vocals. “Echoes of Time” is a crazed psych jam with fuzzed guitars. Then we have the Indian peace mantra “Sarveshaam Svastir Bhavatu,” which is usually slow and sedate. If you remember back to the tribute Concert for George Harrison in 2003, the concert opens with this peaceful mantra. But not for Vibravoid! Trippy guitar effects, sitar, and heavy doses of psych make for another blissful mind trip. Track five is their first instrumental, “Apollo69,” with fuzzed sitar, swooping electronics, and glorious washes of sonic colors. “Purple Pepper” dials things back a couple of notches for a floating and dreamy journey with a fuzzed tremolo guitar. With “The Orange Coat,” they brin us chirping birds, sitar, and drones to create a masterpiece of Krautrock laced raga rock. There is a bit of Popol Vuh in here along with Jerry Garcia’s “Dark Star.” This circular music continues for roughly ten minutes before the vocals enter and eventually an electronic tabla rhythm to round out this 20 minute meditative piece. As I listened, I wondered what it would be like for Vibravoid and Acid Mothers Temple to collaborate. That would be very interesting! And the disk ends with the three-part “Krautfaktor.” Each part is different. Part I is calm cyclic washes of sound. Part II is a 21 minute extended drone instrumental that at times recalls Harmonia, but mostly Faust’s collaboration with Tony Conrad on Outside the Dream Syndicate. And Part III, that closes the disc, is an eerie experimental track with prepared piano and a distorted rumbling bass synth. Mushroom Mantras is definitely a new direction for the band, but one that is sure to please their fan base.


by Peter Thelen, 2018-02-12:

Vibravoid. Even their name by itself sounds psychedelic, and if that’s what you are looking for you’ve definitely come to the right place. From Düsseldorf, they are a trio led by guitarist Christian Koch, along with a drummer and bassist, and although the liner notes are long on verbiage about each of the songs, they are lean on credits, so the bassist and drummer are more or less anonymous (even their website and Facebook offer no clues), and even less the credits for sitar, organ, mellotron, theremin and other vintage trippy sonic embelishments that permeate their music. One thing is certain, the seven tracks of the album proper (the CD version has three bonus tracks, we’ll get to those later) are extremely dense and multi-layered, certainly more than three guys could do without studio overdubs. The opening track is “Om Gang Ganpataye Namah,” which reveals their strongest influence, which is late 60s Pink Floyd, centereed squarely on A Saucerful of Secrets. I swear they got this organ from the late Rick Wright — the sound is so close it’s unbelievable. The harder rocking pieces like “Doctor Robert” sound like the heavier rock pieces from More, with sitar added for good measure, hinting at some of the Beatles off-center songs from the Magical Mystery Tour period, but with more of a garage attitude (Electric Prunes from their first couple albums could have done this also). An everpresent swirling psychedelic fog and dweedly vintage oscillators and theremin create a cauldron of sound that obscures the vocals somewhat, but certainly that’s the point, to make this sound as vintage as possible. The first five tracks are more succinct, mostly with vocals, but “Purple Pepper” and and especially “The Orange Coat” at close to twenty minutes, offer the band an opportunity to stretch out even more, as the piece builds slowly.

Now for the CD version, there are three additional tracks titled “Krautfaktor 1, 2 and 3” that the band recorded way back in 1992, not long after they formed, attempting to create the kind of Kosmische Music pioneered by their heroes. These three cuts are very different from the others preceeding them on the disc, taking on a more mechanical and droney repetitive sound without as much development, sometimes stretching out to the limits of tolerance; think Kraftwerk on their first two albums, or like that. Interesting, but nothing that will overshadow the main course. Overall, not that groundbreaking, but might cause spontaneous hallucinations nonetheless. if you always wished that Floyd would have made another album in 1968, Mushroom Mantras is your ticket.


Filed under: New releases , 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Vibravoid

More info
http://vibravoidofficial.bandcamp.com/album/mushroom-mantras

Latest news

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

2018-02-26
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ukab Maerd - The Waiting Room – Spelled backwards it's Dream Baku, a shaded reference to Djam Karet's A Night for Baku CD from about eight years ago. This is an improvisational project featuring founding DK members Chuck Oken and...  (2011) » Read more

A Triggering Myth - Forgiving Eden – For their latest effort, keyboardists Tim Drumheller and Rick Eddy present a single suite divided into eight parts, sometimes with no break between them. Part one starts quietly with a slightly jazzy,...  (2003) » Read more

Latte e Miele - English Papillon, Live & Vampyrs – These albums make up the present archives of previously unreleased Latte e Miele music. Latte e Miele are best described as an Italian ELP and have a very big sound for a trio. They released three...  (1996) » Read more

Paul Dunmall Octet - Great Divide – Tenor saxophonist Paul Dunmall has followed his acclaimed release from 1999, Bebop Stardust, with the next logical step, Great Divide. As a jazz composer, it's a challenge to clarify the...  (2001) » Read more

Mystery - Destiny? 10th Anniversary Edition – This is a reissue of Mystery’s second disc, Destiny? Originally issued in 1988, it features original singer Gary Savoie along with main song-writer and guitarist Michel St-Père. When it...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues