Urthona Power Trio Quartet—
No-Fi Alive!

Released 2021 on Heavy Rural
The Seth Man, April 2021ce
Urthona, here transmuted into a 4-piece power trio (one heavier!) are represented on this stellar disc/cassette/download by: Neil Mortimer on guitar, tapes and massive amounts of distortion and reverb; joined once again by Mark Pilkington (aka: The Asterism, also of Teleplasmiste, among half a dozen others) on oscillators with bassist Russell Graham and drummer Philippe Legènde (of the eternally mind-bending Dope) to round out an alternating universe of frenetic haze with tranquil stillness. This is one hour Space Rock and yeah, Motherfucker -- they are FLYING.

But what is it? It’s a group NOW, doing something from THEN, pretended to be from (nearly) HALFWAY IN-BETWEEN: the 1980’s. If this tape was making the rounds in the 1980’s, the underground would’ve been lit on fire by the news, then torched to cinders upon hearing it. Like on the level of hearing about the first Jesus And Mary Chain single, or buying the VINYL SESSIONS EP and wondering what the hell it was going to sound like the whole ride home from the record shop. But despite this harmless pretense of time travel, it’s STILL ahead of its time because of: its precision; attention to detail (when it matters); and letting loose (when it doesn’t). Pure unbridled abandonment erupts next to the quiet stillness of etudes constantly tripped up by static, spun radio dials, catching static, in-between signals caught or barely missed. It’s a hayride down the River Cam, especially with such high quality relentless guitar riffing, bejeweled as it is with electronic psychedelic detailing as the rhythm section just beat it all into the ground before it has to chance to establish anything remotely trance-like.

Once the guitar warms up, aided by oscillator spray and overlays, and continues with only few notes that carry forth in elongated shadows across the landscape of midrange noise and distortion. A maw opens up and suddenly, runs up and down the neck at top volume could be misconstrued as merely tuning up until Urthona lets the feedback hang extendedly in red and purple flashes across the sonic canvas to embarrass all neophytes. Sick oscillations wave stiffly and flap in the torrential sonic shitstorm like tattered pennants. The drums (and apparently: the bass, although it’s still too swamped in midrange to tell) shake on and on behind the guitar and blurred electronics. Once those oscillators tweet as Mortimer’s guitar unleashes barrage upon barrage of noise, skittering phrases, roaring forth from Selmer amps...Fender Esquire guitar adorned with silver reflective discs...A run across the fretboard, shuddering with Binson Echorec parameters that sculpt these signals down a tunnelvision hallway towards a staggered, trails-ridden loop-de-loop of perception that seems the true, higher content of reality like the times spent ping-ponging/flashing down the Tottenham Court Road tube station imagining how those earlier travelers of space and time would have navigated such a then (as now) futuristic environment, post-all nighter at UFO. Or All Saints Hall, Powis Square. Were these points of sanctified experience aligned on a different Spine of Albion, or was it just the intersecting right time / space / amount of open-mindedness that cleared human consciousness for long enough to assemble a new view on reality, existence and perception? WHATEVER IT WAS, it was brilliant, cut across decades with its vision, attack, poetic purity, and everlasting vibrations of beyond.

But soon...All is silent except for the becalmed, volume (back-) pedaled guitar tones. Soon, a bass can be heard swooping in the distance as if leaking through from the other side of the tape. Stillness reigns, with only small, abstractedly wrenched sonic spots left as rudimentary signs pointing towards an improvised conclusion. Oscillations expand and contract then shudder apart as they react with the very air, a explosion occurs: Oscillators freak, Urthona begins to plow forward against a relentless and repetitive beat for everything to shift slowly sideways down in approximately ten thousand years of freakout (aka: a few minutes in peak Rock experience time zone) with extensive riffing of the guitar pick grating variety and all the attendant, repeating surf runs that course through the space-time continuum. (Definition of the last word, just so we’re all on the same page: ‘a continuous sequence in which adjacent elements are not perceptibly different from each other, although the extremes are quite distinct,’ which I think nails this Motherfucker to the wall.) As, indeed, it does my mind for an hour’s duration.

On “Side B” at about 11:40, something very special happens.

A crack in the cosmos opens up and it’s...AHHHHH...But if...accompanied by Dik Mik on audio generator?!! Until…it slips and transmutes into [REDACTED SONG TITLE]. Oh, no: WHAT IS GOING ON? Nobody ever, EVER dared to touch this touchstone of psychedelic Rock because…it’s that epic and the wellspring of everything that ever mattered in Rock. This is mental: it’s handled with the exact amount of aplomb and skill to make it seem that between this and the skittering Hawkwind oscillations -- was this the recorded evidence of a freak wormhole opening up in at the Roundhouse several months ago and concurrently yielding only the two most vital audio trappings from that venue dating from 1967 and 1972 respectively? You coulda fooled me because it’s great. Like “The Neolithic Goddess” off L.A.M.F.’s AMBIENT METAL (2001) is great. It’s great like the Elevators are great. It’s noisy the way Les Rallizes Denudes are noisy. And great. It’s a collision the way innumerable freak outs are a collision. And great. Now it’s back to end with the ending of [REDACTED DESCRIPTION]. It’s fucking great the way Syd Barrett is (and always will be) great: The abandonment, the presence, the lateral thinking applied to guitar. The skittering, the noise, the distorted runs up the neck...

While ever-chiming “For What It’s Worth (Stop, Hey What’s That Sound)” guitar undulates on a sea of a less paranoid “Paranoia (Part 2),” is soon dissipated by radio interference but soon blaring outta nowhere comes the return of the ultimate sawn off garage riff of all time, Son of The Son Of “Steptoe And Son.” The Ur-Psychedelic riff. It all fits AND is unique in this setting and…game over. This album is a must.

Available in a limited edition custom manufactured CDR. 50 copies. Available here.