Obskuria - Discovery of Obskuria. 2007 Germany-Peru-USA

Obskuria - Discovery of Obskuria. 2007 World in Sound (2 LP)

CD issue: 2007 World in Sound

Obskuria, a moniker that is most certainly appropriate, was born out of some impromptu jam sessions that took place in Mannheim circa 2006. The core group is made up of Peru's La Ira de Dios along with the keyboardist from native Karmic Society, and the guitarist from Cleveland, Ohio's Dragonwyck. So not only do we have an international space rock troupe, but one that crosses multiple generations. Most of the music is a fine example of instrumental Krautrock, with Hammond organ starring in a major role, and some fine acidic guitar leads with tribal drumming. It is this element that I would think will be of most interest to potential future buyers. The rest, including the two openers and closers, are cover tunes that give the project a novelty feeling, which is rarely a good thing. Though I have to admit the maudlin cover of Metallica's 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' was intriguing, and interesting to hear the tune swathed in organ. Overall, a very good album for fans of that early 70s German Krautrock sound, without too many surprises.

I currently own the LP, which is a 2 disc set, that comes in a fine high quality gatefold as one would expect from World in Sound. The LP does leave off the final track however, though it's one of the cover tunes as mentioned above, so I'm not sure how essential it is in any case.

Gestalt - Gomorrha Vs. Khan. 1999 Japan

Gestalt - Gomorrha Vs. Khan. 1999 Phalanx/Disk Union (CD)

CD reissue: 1999 Musea (France)

Gestalt were a band from Japan, who released this one long forgotten album, and into the mists of time they went. With a title like Gomorrha vs Khan, one might hope for a hard driven Krautrock sound melded with the melodic playfulness of the Canterbury scene. No such luck. Their sound isn't atypical of the 90s Japanese scene, and at first reminded me of Golden Avant Garde, a band that calls themselves "cyber rock". And the alien textures and clipped mid 70s King Crimson clinical sound does give off that impression. It's a bid tough sledding at first, but as the album goes, the ears warm up to it. And then comes the fantastic 'Wakt El Istikhad' which reminded me of the brilliant Happy Family. The Gomorrha side (latter half) has more of a Middle Eastern space rock sound, though again it's more crisp and darkly textured - not psychedelic in the least. 'Black Hole' is the highlight of the latter set. There is a Zeuhl underpinning here, but only in its most aggressive state. A fine album that will appeal to fans of turn of the century hard driving Japanese prog rock. Somewhere between Bondage Fruit, Ruins, Happy Family, and Koenji Hyakkei you will find the sound of Gestalt. Buy it if you see it, though product is scarce these days.

The Word of Life - Dust. 1995 Sweden

The Word of Life return with their sophomore, and ultimately last effort, Dust which is somewhat different from the predecessor. There'...