For Aarhus’s own Spökraket’s 3rd album, the local psych outfit have totally nailed what it means to play this type of music in 2014. I mean – c’mon! They certainly waste no time on this record getting down to it at all. While their previous two releases were (and I quote myself) “authentic” – In A Witch Forest is more concise and contains much shorter pieces than what seemingly had become the norm for these guys, and the genre as a whole.
I say ‘pieces’ referring to the tracks on this record, because, really they really seem to be carefully thought out, yet raw in their approach, not likely just jams and monotonous drones and full-on regurgitation of The Brian Jonestown Massacre or Velvet Underground like so many artists of the neo-psych genre totally pretend to do.
If they hadn’t have told me on Bandcamp just below the streaming applet for Witch Forest, I definitely would have nattered on about how their influences are pretty plain (to my ears) – north African desert music, Krautrock, Madchester and Shoegaze – genres from totally different continents and decades, yet somehow mashed up masterfully in a druggy haze. If you were to isolate tracks like “Lord Drug My Mind” from the running order, you could plainly argue that they were heavily into pre-Loveless My Bloody Valentine and 90s baggy bands (early Blur or Inspiral Carpets for ex.) but then change pace quickly and delve into ambient territory with “My Mind Is Going” and the wonderful “Electricity Comes From Other Planets”. I’m fucking interested in asking them about how scientifically this is possible, but the mind wanders past the Earth’s atmosphere on it’s own with this section of the record.
The second half (I would guess) of the album kicks off with “I’m Enjoying Insanity”, a funky Can meets African nomad jam with more gloomy and brooding vocals by front-man Jonathan Højgaard. The title track “In A Witch Forest” breaches into some acoustic stoner-rock territory, still conjuring up visions of being swaddled in desert garb and watching the sunset with camels on the horizon by a fire in Tunisia or something. It’s a comforting place to be as winter is still kicking us in the chode here in town. The dimming of the day references are still prevailant on the final two pieces – “Distant Light” and “A Tribute To Ride Into The Sun” – actually a possible Velvet Underground reference, a little on the surf/western side, yet fleshed out with perfectly trashy synths and drenched in effects.
Spökraket seem like their own band. I mean that in the best way possible, they obviously have been working on this in their own analogue studio for over a year and a half without much outside input (help) or concern for anything other than what they can create together. That’s good. I’m glad they are doing it this way, it allows them to do whatever the fuck they want, whenever they want, but sill put it out there for people to hear if they want. If you are into hi-fidelity over-compressed pop shit by beautiful people who do exciting things, this is not the damn record for you. What this is though is another real great piece of creative mind expanding underground music for real people. Dig it.
Download it for (minimum) 42 krone from spoekraket.bandcamp.com or pre-order a projected April vinyl release for 120. It’s really a deal, and being that this is a trashy analogue recording, you really can’t have it any other way.
"I say ‘pieces’ referring to the tracks on this record, because, really they really seem to be carefully thought out, yet raw in their approach, not likely just jams and monotonous drones and full-on regurgitation of The Brian Jonestown Massacre or Velvet Underground like so many artists of the neo-psych genre totally pretend to do."