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Spacerock: Darxtar, Litmus

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DARXTAR: Tombola (CD on Record Heaven Music)

This release from 2001 features 69 minutes of Swedish space rock.

Darxtar consists of: K. Soren, Bengtsson, Patric Danielsson, Marcus Pehrsson, Soren Martensson, Bjorn Jacobson, Fredric Sundqvist, and Tomas Wettainen.

The tuneage is a mixture of gutsy psychedelic rock and dreamy goth, performed with devotion and fervor that transcends the boundaries between these eclectic genres.

Searing guitars belt out blazing riffs that spiral and cavort with emphatic glory. Complex percussion provides a steadfast base of driving rhythm, enhanced by thunderous basslines. Organs and synthesizers generate spacey threads of sinuous disposition. Horns, flute and violins are employed to season the music with ancestral touches. The profuse lyrics are in English.

The compression of these instruments provides a dazzling excursion through dark galactic realms and terrestrial landscapes of fantasy. The songs are forceful and tender, blending dreamstates with rock-out tendencies and delivering enticing melodies that are cleverly crafted and melodically seductive.

Electric guitars conspire with acoustic strings to achieve a timeless quality, evoking moods that transcend modern or ancestral temperaments, fusing old and new into an appealing style of global proportion. Whether screeching or describing delicate passages, the guitars provide a tasty focal point for the crashing rest of the complex music. The overall compositions are aggressively engaging and feature attractive breaks and astounding crescendos of lavish charm.

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LITMUS: You Are Here (CD on Space Music)

This release from 2004 offers 62 minutes of explosive space rock.

This six-man British ensemble (consisting of Andy, Simon, Marek, Martin, Anton, and Matt) create some decidedly loud and forceful space rock that literally gives the masters a run for their sonic money.

The guitars dominate this music, blazing with unnatural fury and clarity, delineating riffs that quite literally eclipse a stellar nova with their assertive outcry. Energetic synthis explode everywhere, bubbling and gurgling like an army of unearthly sounds harnessed by demons determined to command the melodies. The drums pound with manic verve, providing relentless intensity and compelling rhythms. The basslines ooze like charged gluons, forcing a cohesion on the attack mode of the other instruments. The vocals are echo-treated and in-your-face, employing choruses and counterpointing leads expounding on the mysteries of the outer void while tickling inner space with mortal innuendoes.

Attack mode is quite an understatement when it comes to Litmus' music. The songs are compressed entities embodying greater volume that humanly conceivable. The music is dizzyingly dynamic, swiftly reaching a level of exuberance and maintaining an exhaustive pitch throughout their duration. The result of this is a deafened but happy audience, wide-eyed with shock and grinning with stunned pleasure.

Fans of primo Hawkwind will be astounded how rewarding this release is.

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