The latest from Scandinavian/American improvisational Space Rock ensemble Oresund Space Collective (OSC) is a 3-CD set documenting the February 20, 2015 celebration of the 10th anniversary of the collective’s first live performance. OSC have always had a fluid lineup, with the one constant being synth maestro and chief organizer Scott “Dr Space” Heller. Each CD represents one of three sets performed that evening.
The first set consists of members that started the collective in 2004. The second set consists of members who played frequently in the 2007-2011 period. And the third set consists of members who have played most recently. So many people have played with the band that it wasn’t possible to include everyone. What a problem to have, huh? Because it’s this talented array of like-minded musicians that has helped keep OSC exciting all these years.
Set 1 includes 5 jams in the 12-20 minute range. Open The Skies finds that ultra groovy point on the easy paced rhythmic pulse meets chill-out vibe axis. It rocks out loosely and dreamily in space and has a Bluesy edge that feels really nice. At times it brought to mind a Blues take on Ozric Tentacles. Tasty guitar soloing, synth melody and sci-fi electronics. Ditto for Flyby Guitar Hero, on which the bass takes the rhythmic lead along with light jazzy drumming while the guitars and synths create jamming meditative atmospherics and melodies. Has Anyone Seen Nick? has, at various times, late 60s West Coast Psych, grungy hard rock and jazzy vibes, and all within the trademark OSC Space Rock context. I love how The Man Who Ate Planets starts off like a deep space grooving Shaman call, but after a while starts to rock increasingly harder and gradually takes on an acidic intensity, eventually settling into a powerhouse space rocking groove. And the final Set 1 track, The Last Glide, opens with some lovely Gong influenced gliss guitar before developing into a heavy space rocking jam with some killer ripping guitar leads.
Set 2 also includes 5 lengthy jams, starting with Jamming For Your Mind, an appropriately titled mind-bending trip in space with the focus on acid ambience and rhythmically grooving soundscapes and effects. Stargate 7341 is a high intensity, cool grooving and totally ass kicking Space Prog jam which, as is so often the case with OSC, feels goal oriented and composed yet still loosely improv free flowing. This lineup is really cookin’ now and transitions smoothly to Circular Perimeter which starts off rocking harder with spirited uplifting intensity. I love the combination of Space-Funk guitar and rip rocking solo guitar. After a while it descends into a Space-Bluesy chill-out jam with more killer dual guitar and soaring electronic effects, before ripping it up again for the finale. Absolutely freakin’ awesome! Thankfully there is NO rest for the weary. These guys are on a complete roll as they quickly feel their way into the warp drive, Space Rock blazing Chocolate Orange Candle. The bulk of the tune is seriously heavy rocking, though it eases toward the finish with a nice extended Floydian/Space-Bluesy descent. Ditto for the final track, One More Space Out, which comes roaring out of the starting gate as a high intensity Funk infused Space Rock rocker. Damn, Set 2 is going to be tough to top, with music that stands alongside some of OSC’s all time best.
But we’ve still got Set 3, with 3 tracks, 2 of which are quite long, and the CD notes point out that due to technical issues there were two additional tracks that could not be included. But that’s ok because we’ve still got 70 minutes of music. The fun starts with the 34 minute A Long Night Amongst Friends, which quickly finds its groove as an acidic, droning, exploratory journey that gradually builds in rhythmic pace and rocking intensity. Once again we have killer dual guitars that play distinctive but cooperative roles, a hypnotic thump in your chest bassline, and electronic effects galore. And it just keeps rocking hard for the remainder, never wandering or wavering for a moment. There are of course some twists and turns which the band deftly veer in and out of. One I particularly enjoyed is a keys/synths dominated segment that has a Jazz-Fusion and even a wee bit of a Quarkspace flavor. 34 minutes of space rocking bliss. At this rate I would have hung in there with them all day. Let It Groove is next and does precisely that, with a fast paced Dub-like bassline and fiery drumming that lay the foundation for rocking guitar soloing and more ambient/soundscape guitar licks, plus a jazzy keyboard melody. Things get monstrously acid spaced out intense at times with both guitars soloing, swirling and generally circling the cosmic wagons around each other for what might be some of the most Holy Shit freaked out moments of all three sets. Finally, we’ve got the 23+ minute Find The Way Out Of Here, another high intensity space rocker (with a gorgeous cosmic lullaby segment) that brings the evening to a close.
What a night this must have been! In one of the announcements Scott says that some people came from Germany for the show and thought there was even someone from Greece. Note that the CDs come in a very nicely packaged quadruple foldout digipack with an 8 page booklet with details and photos.
For more information visit the Oresund Space Collective web site at: http://www.oresundspacecollective.com
Stream and purchase the CD or download at https://oresundspacecollective.bandcamp.com
Visit the Space Rock Productions web site at: http://www.spacerockproductions.com
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz