Drunken Gunmen - "Live & Improvised" Volumes 1 & 2 (Spaced Out Sounds 2003, CDR)
Uploaded to Aural Innovations: February 2004
The third release from this Aussie duo, Live & Improvised, departs markedly from the heavy stoner/space rock ethos of the group’s previous releases, and like all live recordings, there are both virtues and vices here. The vocals often get submerged in the mix (though this may be intentional), the overall sound quality is hit and miss, and there’s not much variation in the rhythmic backbone to anchor the deranged synth sounds and twisted guitar improvisations that crash and burn through the mix like zooming meteors on a collision course with Earth. The first volume features long spaced out jams in the early Hawkwind/Gong/Amon Düül II mode: primal, acid-drenched space garage rock from the edge of the galaxy and beyond. The Gunmen do a totally drugged out version of Steve Hillage’s “Om Namaya Shiva,” which adequately represents the overall conceptual thrust of the first volume. The second volume has some high-voltage guitar-driven cosmic rockers (“Deeper Underground,” “Sun to Your Moon”) that mine early Chrome/Farflung territory while maintaining the exploratory vibe of the first volume. If you like High Times or being stoned in space, this collection of far out interstellar excursions is definitely for you.
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Reviewed by Charles Van de Kree