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27 July 2009

Astral Blessing (Mad Monk)

Some Sunburned Hand guys are in this band, I think; Astral Blessing is a free rock guitar-based ensemble. Two side-long improvisations with guitar squeals galore and swirling messes of fuzz, avoiding crunchy Sabbathy riffs in favor of flowery, organic soundrings. Side one is almost hilariously lo-fi, not distorted but just thin. It begins with echoing guitars that ring out a lot before the rhythm section kicks in, and it builds up to something nice but there's altogether no focus. But that's the idea, right? Side two is a bit better sounding and follows a similar pattern, and at some point you realise that it's not hard to listen to and it's actually pretty good, like listening to an anti-jam band jamming. There's a short track at the end, a nice coda to what we've heard before; it's intensely nervous, a buildup to some release that never comes. And it kinda reminds me of 90s guitar indie bands like Come or Crain or something, though I'm sure they weren't going for that. I'm not sure how this ended up in my collection and it's not something I ever have the desire to listen to, but as another vinyl byproduct of the free-folk/psych thing that was big a few years ago, I guess it's a nicely electrified version of it.

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