Anyone who has been checking out Aural Innovations on a regular basis will have come across a few frequently recurring names – Hawkwind, Acid Mothers Temple, Ozric Tentacles – either through album reviews of those bands, or name-checked as influences. Another frequent flier on AI, perhaps less of a household name but extremely prolific just the same, is Oresund Space Collective, a constantly changing roster of players built around the synths of Dr Space and Mogens, and a shared love of improvised music. Now they are back again, releasing their 16th (!!!) album as a limited edition (500 copies) vinyl gatefold, entitled Organic Space Floatation. Last year’s Give Your Brain A rest From The Matrix featured guests from hard spacerockers First Band From Outer Space, while West, Space And Love showcased guests from Siena Root, jamming along with the ever-present Dr Space. Organic Earthly Floatation sees the arrival of yet more talented Scandanavians in the form of Kristoffer Brochmanns, Nicklas Sorensens and Christian Becher Clausen of the Copenhagen band Papir. Also along for the ride is American guitarist Daniel Lars, who breaks with Oresund tradition by bringing with him opening track Walking On Clouds, the first time that the Collective have utilised a pre-written track upon which to jam; up until now, everything they have done has been completely improvised.
The 19 minute Walking On Clouds, is the undoubted highlight of this guitar-based album, with lots of dreamy guitar over a chord sequence that brings to mind the opening notes of ’60’s supergroup Blind Faith’s Can’t Find My Way Home mixed up with Hawkwind’s You Know You’re Only Dreaming, although this is an entirely instrumental piece, as is about 99% of everything done by Oresund. There are bits of Grateful Dead in there too, as well as Neil Young and Crazy Horse – check out Drifting Back from 2012’s Psychedelic Pill for the evidence – but the most apparent (and most obvious, given the guest list) influence is that of Papir and fellow monolithic guitar trio Causa Sui. This is not hard rocking stuff, but rather huge guitar soundtracks, with waves of synthesizer periodically breaking through and then submerging again. Near the end of part one of Clouds, the guitars reach a screaming climax, before backing off again as the track winds down and fades into the second part, much shorter at just over six minutes. The Collective have never been about egos and solos, but rather a tapestry of instruments weaving in and out of the mix. Being a vinyl only release at this time (although it is to be hoped that an official CD release will follow), the track lengths are divided into approximate album length, with both parts of Walking On Clouds making up a 25 minute A-side. Carlos On The Moon starts out more organically, as one would expect from a purely improvisational piece, and drifts gently through its 17 minutes. Album closer Neptune Rising serves as a satisfying conclusion to 45 minutes of etherial spacerock.
It must be mentioned that the cover of Organic Earthly Floatation (drawn by Finnish artist Eetu Pellonpaa) is eye catching, to put it mildly – it looks like he has invited Hawkwind’s Stacia in to model – and a full size 12″ album sleeve would look even more impressive. Long time fans of Oresund are likely to enjoy both cover and contents, while it also serves as an excellent point of entry for newcomers. Causa Sui and Papir fans would also be advised to check out at least side one of this interstellar floatation device.
Reviewed by Pat Albertson