SATURNIA - "MUZAK"
Formed by Portuguese multi-instrumentalist Luis Simões in 1996, Saturnia plays a brand of space rock and psychedelia that incorporates a variety of progressive rock, ethnic and electronic influences. "Muzak" is their 4th album, recently released by Elektrohasch Records, and features a mind-bending set of space-psych-prog with a variety of 60s and 70s influences, including early Pink Floyd, but composed, constructed and produced in a uniquely Saturnia style.
Among the highlights on this 10 track set is the opener, "Mindrama", which begins with a brief heavy thundering prog organ intro. But soon a whoosh of alien synths shoots across the landscape and the band launch into a song that sounds like an ominous power rocking super psychedelic take on the Pink Floyd sound circa "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun." The rhythmic pace is head pounding, setting the foundation for the song and plenty of instrumental bits, with killer organ and liquid psych guitar.
"Organza" takes the music into a funkier chill-out atmospheric space-psych rock vibe that characterizes much of the album. A great combination of varied percussion, flute melodies [courtesy of Nik Turner], THROBBING basslines and an out of this world cosmic GROOVE!
"Infinite Chord" and "Aqua" are both spaced out combinations of lysergic space rock and mantra inducing chill-out pulsations and vibes. "Aqua" especially stands out for the way it lays down a 60s sound with an essence of Pink Floyd in the song, but really goes for creative broke with the variety of keyboards, percussion and stratospheric electronics they bring together to create the musical whole. Fans of heavily cosmic late 60s prog-psych will be swept away.
"Kite" is a mellow, drifting, dreeeeeeeamy magic carpet ride of a song. Part 60s styled dream-pop-psych and part prog Kosmiche, colored with lots of cool little freaky electronic bits. Beautiful. And rounding out the set is the nearly 11 minute "Syrian." It's got an Eastern theme, with sitar, ethnic percussion, vintage keyboards, and vocals by the inimitable Daevid Allen. Ultra trippy and jaaaaamin!
Wow, it's only February and already Iím hearing albums that are shoe-ins for best of 2007, and "Muzak" is most definitely one of them. Easily Saturnia's best effort yet. Highest recommendation to all space travelers and seekers of alternative consciousness.
Roadburn 3/2007 Jerry Kranitz