Going to extremes: Flying Saucer Attack and Black Rainbows | WBEZ
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Jim DeRogatis

Going to extremes: Flying Saucer Attack and Black Rainbows

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Here are two more “Buried Treasures,” following up on this week’s episode of Sound Opinions. Stylistically, these are about as far apart as music gets. But hey, we all have our moments at the extreme ends of the aural spectrum, don’t we?

A leading light in the space-/post-rock scene of the mid-’90s, the Bristol, England-based minimalist duo Flying Saucer Attack was characterized by two sonic hallmarks over a rich discography of a half-dozen studio albums into the early 2000’s: the ethereal, otherworldly vibes conjured by David Pearce’s guitars (which many mistook for synths), and the equally disembodied and seductive vocals of his then-girlfriend Rachel Brook. After more than a decade of silence, Pearce is back where he started, as a solo bedroom recording auteur, with a new set of 15 instrumentals. Comparisons can be made to Eno’s ambient work, but as in the past, Pearce often has a slightly menacing undercurrent disrupting his lulling trance music; comparisons to the bad-trip psych of Spacemen 3 or the black magick vibes of some of the Krautrock bands are not unwarranted. But as in the past, FSA accomplishes the rare feat here of making ambient music that does no deserve to be relegated to background sounds, and that bears the hallmarks of a unique sonic architect whose work ultimately sounds like no one else’s.

Flying Saucer Attack, Instrumentals 2015 (Drag City)

Rating on the 4-star scale: 3 stars.

Shifting now to turn the volume up to 11, the sixth release from Roman stoner-rockers Black Rainbows is one of the freshest slabs of filthy noise that genre has produced in a decade. Again, the touchstones for Hawkdope are obvious; guitarist, vocalist, and producer/auteur Gabriele Fiori says the band was shooting for “a perfect mix of Monster Magnet, Hawkwind and Fu Manchu—a psychedelic, lysergic storm of heavy space-rock.” But the enthusiasm and sheer joy with which the band dives into the maelstrom will have you banging your head as if you’ve never sipped this particular mushroom brew before. Crank it up and try not to smile, I dare ya.

Black Rainbows, Hawkdope (Heavy Psych Sounds)

Rating on the 4-star scale: 3 stars.

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