Øresund Space Collective-Entering into the Space Country

Review by Gary Hill

I believe this album from OSC is a vinyl only release. However, I was given a CDr of the music from which to write my review. As always from this group, we’re given a slab of improvised space rock. In a lot of ways, though, these jams wander into different territory than a lot of their other discs. Hawkwind is seldom a reference here, even though that band really defines space rock in the minds of many. At points this moves towards fusion. At other times you will likely hear early Pink Floyd. Other parts of the disc call to mind The Allman Brothers. All in all, though, this is a highly enjoyable set of space rock jams.

Track by Track Review

Born Between Stars
While Hawkwind is always an easy reference when discussing the music of Øresund Space Collective, this builds up gradually in something that’s closer to a mix of early Pink Floyd and Nektar. As it continues, the space rock explosion is preserved, but it seems to wander close to fusion at times. Then around the seven minute mark it drops down to a mellower motif. The cut grows out from there moving through a number of changes and alterations. As all good space music, though, nothing happens quickly, rather the music transforms in a steady, but almost unnoticed way. It’s kind of like clouds changing shape as they float through the sky. You don’t really notice the change as it happens, but then find yourself in completely different musical territory. There’s some killer instrumental interplay later in the tune. This is a stomping hot space rock jam. Around the seventeen and a half minute mark it tears out into a screaming guitar solo section that calls to mind Jimi Hendrix and others. It turns out to more atmospheric jamming from there. Later a bouncing sort of interplay ensues to take the cut out. At almost twenty two and a half minutes in length, this is an epic length piece and the longest track on show.

Rising Tides And Floating Nebulas
This comes in tentatively and feels more like Hawkwind at the onset than the previous piece ever did. An almost old school rock and roll bass line enters and the cut moves out in different directions with hard edged jamming over that driving rhythm section. As it builds up from there it takes on a mode that’s almost like a space rock take on the Allman Brothers. This thing really rises up toward the stratosphere as it continues. It’s certainly one part jam band and one part space rock, but those two styles are never that far removed from one another. They drop it way down around the eight and a half minute mark and as it comes back up it resemble Pink Floyd’s “Careful with that Axe, Eugene” a bit to my ears. Eventually that’s transformed into a slow moving groove that’s very much more standard progressive rock than space rock. There is even a little fusion mixed in there. The piece weighs in at almost fourteen and a half minutes, making it short compared the opener, but still quite massive.

Red Earth Calling
Eastern tones bring this in and the cut grows in understated ways at first. Comparisons to Hawkind have merit as it begins to rise upward. Psychedelic and Eastern sounds swirled around in a space rock motif as this piece continues to evolve. At less than seven and a half minutes in length, it’s the shortest track of the set.



Oresund Space Collective
Entering into the Space Country

In 1969 the United States government, in cooperation with the USSR and the Republic of China, began work on a secret probe which, once launched into space, would begin broadcasting various sound bites and bits of information at an ultra-high frequency in the hopes that any sentient life with equal or greater technology that might be listening in would pick up our signal and transmit back. The goal was to establish an interstellar dialogue for the first time in the history of mankind, and they succeeded as in 1978, nine short years after the secret launch of Hermes I, a transmission in the form of a 45 minute sound loop, repeating endlessly and coming through on an ultra-low frequency, was first received by analysts at the station base situated atop Gangkhar Puensum. Thirty-two years later the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence remains the best kept secret among our world governing bodies, but as a way of gauging the public’s reaction to a revelation of this magnitude, the recording of that first contact has been declassified and made available under a false name: Entering into the Space Country.
None of what you just read is true, but it’s the best way to describe the aesthetic of the Øresund Space Collective to someone who has not had the distinct pleasure of experiencing it firsthand. Their sound is out of this world. Entering into the Space Country is the Collective’s third of four records released this year (their eleventh since 2006). If nothing else, the band deserves praise for their prolificacy. My ØSC introduction came when Dead Man in Space, which dropped in April, was sent to me for review. I became a fan immediately of the improvisational approach they took to creating grooves so deep they might be mistaken for ruts.
Space Country is less amorphous than Dead Man, due in no small part to the prominence of the guitars. This album is driven by actual notes rather than defined by textures. Notes coaxed, cajoled, coerced and downright strangled out of several electric guitars. There are major (and by major I mean noticeable) changes at roughly seven minute intervals throughout “Born Between Stars” the albums opening track. In fact, this album could almost be broken down perfectly into seven-minute intervals, six of them in fact, with subtle or sometimes very drastic changes occurring at or around each one: three for “Born Between Stars,” two for “Rising Tides and Floating Nebulas” and wedged right in between is the runt of the litter at just seven minutes: “Red Earth Calling.”
What sets Entering into the Space Country apart from previous ØSC efforts can be summed up succinctly in one word: Noodling. Guitars steal the show here. The synth textures and tones take a back seat to riffs and licks in what is considerably more of a jam band sound than I had come to expect, but it is not surprising considering what the Collective has in common with many jam bands: a rotating line up, complex and extended improvisation on simple themes and motifs, they’re probably way better live than in a studio setting, &c. If these guys make it to the states, I see them making a splash on the festival circuit.

4 stars

Key Tracks: Red Earth Calling, Rising Tides and Floating Nebulas
Drew Vreeland - Muzikreviews.com Staff
November 26, 2011
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