THTX - The Flickering Sky
(Sulatron st0902)

From Aural Innovations October 2009 update

This is a US band that I have never heard of but am very glad that Sulatron has. Wow. This is some intense spaced out mostly instrumental psychedelic rock stuff. This is apparently the bands fourth record and it was previously released on vinyl only before now. It is also the bands heaviest and most intense to date, I am told. It is basically Mathew Smith (on all instruments) and Kerry Gluckman on the drums. The sound quality of the tracks differs quite a lot and is sometimes highly manipulated like on Zentra Childe. The CD starts off with the title track and takes us out on a 10 minute journey with droning synths, acoustic guitar, spacey sounds, and a building driving rhythm as this amazing track unfolds. Next up the sound becomes more low fi psychedelic and features some really cool guitar with a bit of an eastern flair at times. This reminds me of Sundial a bit. Osidias features some horns, drums and really is mystical and trippy, like the Nik Turner’s Sphinx vibe. Ultraviolet Twilight slows it down and is pretty trippy with sitar like guitar (but it is not). Infiltrating Light is like a psychedelic noise collage with some cool psych guitar and a very special sound mix. Collective Mind Anarchy takes us on yet another trip for almost 10 minutes and the sound changes completely, yet still manipulated but now the band is going uptempo and rocking out with long freaky guitar solos, spacey sounds and a driving pace. Son of Mu-tron is a short melodic spacey guitar piece. Darkness (11/11) is the only track with singing and features some very cool wah wah space guitar. Once before in the Future again features some nice acoustic guitar to augment the really spacey guitar playing that is in multiple layers on this track. The CD ends with the short Hawkwind inspired piece Shadow at the Gates of Nothingness. Brilliant psychedelic space trip.

Reviewed by Scott Heller

THTX, the Michigan duo of Matthew Smith and Kerry Gluckman, return with their latest space rock opus. Picking up where The Lost City left off, The Flickering Sky goes even further, the duo exploring more diverse sounds, textures and ideas than ever. Smith's acoustic and electric guitars wrap together into microcosms of intense sound while his trumpet and organ add cosmic space textures and trippy, exotic solos. And it's all propelled along by Gluckman's fascinating and complex drumming, which combines both elements of rock and jazz as it shifts rhythms and time signatures, phasing in and out. I'm not sure if the songs on The Flickering Sky are composed or improvised, but it sounds to me like it's probably both, because there are some terrific moments that gel so nicely, tight and focused, interspersed with exploratory fusions of psychedelic craziness and jazzy but intense noodlings, like different colours of threads all whirling around each other, intertwining and breaking apart into explosions of tripped out lunacy. This is what John Coltrane might have sounded like if he was a space rocker or what Third-era Soft Machine may have become in the 21st century, revved up and spaced out, dancing with the ghost of Jimi Hendrix to a cosmic jukebox playing the long forgotten sounds of tomorrow. The duo even throws in a cover tune, the Van Der Graaf Generator classic Darkness 11/11, appropriately moody and over the top. It's a slight diversion however, as THTX is at their strongest playing their own particular synthesis of space/rock/psych/jazz madness. And at almost 70 minutes, The Flickering Sky delivers plenty of that.

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

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