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23 March 2013

Dzyan - 'Electric Silence' (Bellaphon)

The cover of this Kraut gem indicates some seriously gross sci-fi territory, with melting scary aliens, the psychedelic version of TMNT's Krang (though let's face it, Krang is a pretty psychedelic character to begin with, or at least a cartoon embodiment of the late chapters of Joseph McElroy's Plus). But the sounds are much more varied. Admittedly, the opening cut 'Back to Where We Came From' starts things off with a very outer-limits vibe, though these affected mellotrons are of a more earthly source than they first appear. But while Electric Silence is a beautiful, lush record to get lost in, its influences are more Eastern than extra-terrestrial. Both sides of the record feature a middle track built around sitar atmosphonics, with the mellotrons making holy platforms, in layers, to ascend towards a collective jam. It's good stuff, sure, but not the extreme edge of prog-Kraut-freakout that you'd expect. A mellow 'out' is still a nice 'out', and Dzyan's sense of tension of mood is stunning. It's when they vary towards rock moves that they lose me - the middle section of the aforementioned opening cut is a funky jam that sounds like Malcolm Mooney-era Can, sans-Mooney. The exception to the placid eerieness is 'The Road Not Taken', which explodes into an extremely aggressive ball of free rock; honestly, this cut sounds like the Flying Luttenbachers by the end. It's an awesome track but sticks out like a sore thumb. The closing title track is not silent at all but features a similar call-and-response game to the opening cut, only in a more nimble, nervous style, making the entirety of Electric Silence feel like one complete cycle. This copy is in quadrophonic sound, and I lack the technology to accurately reproduce it, so maybe I'm missing lots. Even in stereo this is a keeper.