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Space Rock: Nog Cavanagh, Tracker, Uran, Vibravoid

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NOG CAVANAGH: Sombre Castles of Desire (CD on Angry Robot Records)

This release from 2011 offers 60 minutes of cosmic instrumental rock music.

Joining multi-instrumentalist Nog on this release is Astra Glyde (on theremin and analog ambience) on a few tracks.

A cosmic excursion is delivered with space guitar, growling bass, durable drums, and a bevy of unearthly electronics.

The guitars are spacey and vivid, belting out riffs of astral scope. Yet the performance is tinged with a residue of humanity, grounding the listener with reminders of their own earthly heritage. The performance is passionate and reliably flashy, coaxing a molten blaze from the strings, a glare that burns long after the songs end.

The basslines possess a tasty growl that is made even more interesting by the instrument's intricacy in expression. Rather than simply serving as a foundational tool, these basslines provide an agile undercurrent amid the rest of the soaring electric strings.

The drums are steadfast, lending driving locomotion for the tuneage.

The electronics function as the glue that binds everything together, frequently acting from a subtle vantage that is submerged in the searing fury of the wailing guitarwork. There are even instances of keyboards emerging with clarity to lead portions of the music to interstellar regions of pulsating wonder.

These compositions split their focus between galactic anomalies and terrestrial settings, often striving to blur the distinctions between such marvels as pulsars and a pastoral waterfall. Each is attributed a suitable degree of respectable awe, conveyed by Nog's fervent performance.

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TRACKER: How I Became an Alien (CD on Sulatron Records)

This release from 2010 offers 60 minutes of hard space rock.

Tracker is: Martin Fuchs (on bass and kaossilator), Daniel Walter (on drums, keyboards, and voice), and Maz Muelbacher (on guitar and voice).

This trio apply their instruments to a hard-edged space rock,

The guitar growls with earnest coarseness, each feedback-choked chord an assault designed to leave a lasting impression. The chugging style of performance generates a buzzing atmosphere of angry bees, then things switch to a more conventional (albeit grunge) mode of delivery, with the notes spilling like molten droplets guaranteed to scald.

The bass maintains a guttural undercurrent of seething force that strains to break out and overwhelm the music.

The drums offer a gritty locomotion with catchy tempos crafted in uncomplicated rhythms empowered with a mighty puissance.

Some keyboards lend a softer touch to the tunes, but these instances are swiftly dominated by the rest of the instruments' dedicated brutality. Meanwhile, the electronics ooze all over the place, bestowing an otherworldliness to the music.

The vocals are somewhat accessible and deal with alienation (whether it be interpersonal or cosmic separation).

These compositions are generally hard rock with a spacey touch rooted in the electronics. The band's enthusiasm is strong, clearly evident in their ferocious delivery.

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URAN: Uran (CD on Sulatron Records)

This release from 2009 offers 43 minutes of delightful space punk music.

Here we have a true oddity: space punk.

The bass and guitar are almost indistinguishable from each other, their sound meshing into an overbearing growl of subterranean character. There are instances in which the bass succeeds in emerging with a clarity, revealing a more pronounced guttural flair akin to the buzz of an irate insect the size of a house. While the guitar produces a mind-numbing savagery without concern for the safety of the listener.

The drums are in constant attack mode, delivering rhythms of monstrous vitality that refuse to stop or give the listener a breather.

The electronics swarm like agitated creatures of the darker side of the psyche, constantly edging their way into the mix and squealing with evil delight. Yet these infractions do not impact as intrusions but rather fit perfectly as embellishments of a hellish nature.

These instrumental compositions are actually quite enjoyable. Their ferocity is unquestionable, but beyond that wall of nasty teeth lurks a severe determination to mesmerize. The music is tight and remarkably contagious with its relentless efforts to pummel space and time. The real surprise is the way in which this Swedish band achieve a level of stunning appeal--if you can survive their sonic barrage.

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VIBRAVOID: Minddrugs (CD on Sulatron Records)

This release from 2011 offers 54 minutes of dazzling psychedelic music.

Take the psychedelic sound of the Sixties and supplant it into the modern world, and you have Vibravoid.

The guitars shimmer with a celestial flair that superbly captures the psychedelic sound in which notes blur together to form an undulant flow. And just when the glistening strings have achieved a funky pinnacle, they erupt into a churning astral chaos of ecstatic scope.

The electronics are abundant and unrestrained. They run free, filling every void in the overall vibration and generating a pulsating zone of hallucinatory charm that threatens to unseat reality with their wavering substantiality.

The percussion possesses a liquid quality as the pounding tempos mutate into an alluring propulsion buried within the mix.

Even the echoey vocals capture that remote character of immersion in a blazing lightshow.

As if the band's own dazzle isn't satisfying enough, this album includes a 23 epic version of Pink Floyd's "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" that will scorch your cerebellum with its interstellar mien.

More than a nostalgic tribute to a bygone era, these compositions flourish with a bewitching appeal of their own. Their vitality is spectacular and wholly satisfying. The band has achieved a sincere state of maturity in mastering this sound, and they offer a thrilling excursion into alternate realms with their passionate tuneage.

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