Mechanik – “Velut Stella Splendida” (R.A.I.G. 2013, R080, CD/Download)

After a few digital EPs and a contribution to the recent Fruits de Mer Records Strange Fish compilations, we have the first full length by Madrid, Spain based Mechanik. Velut Stella Splendida consists of newly composed tracks and newly recorded versions of tracks from their 2012 released EPs.

The album opens with Wherever You Are Is The Entry Point, a heavy driving acidic space rock instrumental with a minimalist, slowly developing pattern, and a principle melody that sounds like a sci-fi TV show theme. In The Faith That Looks Through Death is just as heavy rocking and includes haunting vocals and keys, pulsating space electronics, a cool throbbing bass line and guitar leads that sound like Robert Fripp gone acid rock. Pills is a schizophrenic tune that’s part bouncy dance rhythmic space rock song and part acid-demonic prog-psych. I really dig the contrasts and especially the manic alien freakout finale. De Tepenecz starts off very atmospheric, and when the vocals kick in the pace gradually picks up and a cool rolling groove takes over. This is a solid example of accessible song and DEEP space mind massage. Zum Traum is another hip shakin’ rhythmic space rocker that is adventurous yet accessible. I love the full band rocking finale with ripping psych guitar lead. BliSS & GloSS is a slowly drifting, acid-atmospheric tension laden song. Russian Doll has a similar effect, but slowly builds to a mucho intense psych-metallic rocker in the last couple minutes. I love the disorienting throb, white knuckled intensity, anguished vocals, and electronics that sound like alien beetles crawling down that back of your cranium on Inner Temple. And wrapping up the set we have the 23 minute Most People Were Silent. It starts off dreamily meditative, with a slow calming beat, howling soundscapes, trippy guitar melodies, Frippoid leads, astronaut voice samples, strolling space synths and a parade of sundry effects. Then around the halfway mark it settles into a minimal, hypnotic, and somewhat paralyzing electro pattern that carries through to the end.

In summary, there’s lots of variety on the album though not so much that Mechanik stray from a sense of cohesiveness. I especially like the tracks where the band create adventurous space rock that is also highly accessible, something I think can be a challenge to do. This will be a strong candidate for my best of 2013 list.

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Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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