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Ancient Sky

Ancient Sky — Mosaic (June 9th, 2015)

                                       Ancient Sky — Mosaic Ancient Sky — Mosaic (June 9th, 2015)•≈•  Pro mne korunovační klenot toto album; český chlév ať si ty své tretky strčí za klobouk nebo do masokombinátu. Brooklynský heavy–noise–psych band s poměrně slušnou dynamikou posiluje mé přesvědčení, že v muzice je stále co objevovat. Based in New York and centered around two fellow Virginians, this hard, neo–psych space rock act has evolved constantly since 2007.
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Album release: June 9th, 2015
Recording dates: November 3, 2014 & November 5, 2014
Record Label: Wharf Cat Records
Duration:     42:58
1 Sing Swing     5:15  
2 Two Lights     4:54  
3 Garbage Brain     4:45  
4 Know     4:14
5 Induction     6:13 
6 Protection     4:46  
7 Ancient Tape     6:24
8 Poverty (Bonus Track)     6:27
Written by:
•   Brian Markham / Ancient Sky     1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7
•   James Armstrong / Brian Markham / Ancient Sky     5
•   Kobe Abe Quotation Author
•   Ancient Sky Composer
•   James Armstrong Composer
•   Jaime Boddorff Photography
•   Josh Bonati Mastering
•   Patrick Broderick Group Member
•   Adam Bulgasem Group Member, Layout
•   Brandon Evans Group Member
•   Ben Greenberg Mixing
•   Kevin Lamiell Group Member
•   Brian Markham Composer, Group Member
•   Ryan McLennan Paintings
•≈•  A. S. is : Brian Markham, Pat Broderick, Adam Bulgasem, Brandon Evans and Kevin Lamiell
•≈•  Recorded november 3–5, 2014 at Future/Past Studios in Hudson New York and mixed early Eecember, '14 at Kutch 1 Studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn by Ben Greenberg
•≈•  Mastered by Josh Bonati
•≈•  Paintings by Ryan mMcLennan and photographed by Jaime Boddorff
•≈•  Layout by Adam Bulgasem
•≈•  Music by Ancient Sky
•≈•  Lyrics by Brian Markham (except "Induction" by James Armstrong and B.M.)
Warwick Stubbs
•≈•  There’s a lot to like about the droney psych–rock of Brooklyn’s Ancient Sky. From the occasional stoner–rock riff to psych jams, the band never lets the tempo drag, or extended jam moments become tedious.
•≈•  Kevin Lamiell’s bass bubbles away on ‘Know’, while the guitar branches out into long reverb and echo–driven notes. The album emphasises the ‘drone’ more than than the stoner–rock, which might be a bit off–putting for those who heard the first song ‘Sing Swing’ and liked how the bass and distorted guitars locked into their climbing riffs — one of the highlights as the second–half prepares the listener for the transition into more one–riff, drone–focused songs.
•≈•  ‘Induction’ sees that drone come forth and the psychedelia mixed with even more rock, provided amply by the tom–toms, while the guitar picks an unassuming pattern for three full minutes. Through it all, the vocals take prominance like they were slowly crawling forward on broken glass, but eventually the song picks up and races towards the end.
•≈•  ‘Protection’ generally goes nowhere, and the wah–wah drenched guitar drowns much of the space that could have helped the lines the song exploits stand out if they were less spread across the stereo picture. Although it is far from uninteresting or boring, this song is probably the most forgettable, despite a promising beginning.
•≈•  The same can be said for the second song, ‘Two Lights’, though here they seem a bit more focused on the dynamics, as the vocals yell, sliding themselves into the music rather than standing out over top of it. However, it all ends up as a mess of noise.
•≈•  It takes the third song, ‘Garbage Brain’, to truly stand out, feeling like it’s an actual song rather than an extensive jam with dynamics. Here, the vocals demand attention on the verses, and strongly compliment other sections with a lead rock harmony. I might be willing to suggest there’s a few too many effects happening, as the phaser pedal is buried in amongst the already heavy vocal reverb.
•≈•  Overall, this is possibly a small flaw in the album — that the effects are what give it the ‘drone–psych’ tag rather than the abilities of the players, which are showcased with great enthusiasm on almost every track. The effect is noticeably absent on the fourth track, 'Know', where the heavy rock influence manages to come through so much stronger, and one can only wonder how much more powerful this song could have been with less effects–pedals, more focus on bass and drums, and with cleaner guitar distortion doubled on each side.
•≈•  Perhaps that would turn them into a straight–up stoner–rock band, but it certainly wouldn't be a bad move production–wise — it's practically what the intro and verses of the song demand to have done, while the chorus feels truly secure in all those effects. Brandon Evan’s keyboards are rarely heard, or noticeable, but they do make a distinct appearance taking out the tail–end of ‘Garbage Brain’, after the guitar has already disappeared and the drums, bass and vocals end their parts on the final verse.
•≈•  ‘Ancient Tape’ brings the drums to the hard–hitting foreground, though it’s still hard to tell they have a second drummer in the ranks. But the song does well to break up the slower pace with pauses and re–entries that help give the final song a dynamic variety somewhat lacking over the rest of the album. However, for the latter half, the song drifts away in its desire to be drone–pysch before ending without much fanfare.
•≈•  While there is nothing that really stands out, there is also nothing to dislike or feel particularly negative about. All musicians, including singer/guitarist Brain Markham play their parts well and make you feel their music is worth something — and it is. It just hasn’t quite reached the point of attaining an identity uniquely their own, though ‘Sing Swing’ and ‘Garbage Brain’ are very close to achieving that. •≈•  http://soundblab.com/
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek;  Score: ***½
•≈•  On Mosaic, Ancient Sky’s founding guitarist Brian Markham and drummer Pat Broderick have expanded their ever–evolving lineup into a quintet. Keyboardist Brandon Evans returns from 2013’s All Get Out as a full–time member, joined by bassist Kevin Lamiell and second drummer Adam Bulgasem (who also plays with Markham in Dommengang). Where earlier records by these neo–psych navigators relied heavily on dark–edged stoner rock as a cornerstone, this is the most varied offering by Ancient Sky to date. It was written and rehearsed for an entire summer prior to recording with producer Ben Greenberg in upstate New York. In the process, the band wove a slew of different influences into their sound, from the astral exclamations of Brainticket to the minimal Krautrock of Cluster; from the proto–metal space rock of Hawkwind to the sprawling debut by Black Sabbath; from early electric Delta Blues to the two–chord feedback splatter of Loop. "Two Lights" contains a hypnotic, minimal blues vamp with moaning vocals, dueling tom–toms, hand drums, and cymbals. Pasted on to the power guitar riff and bass throb are sitar–esque fills while doomy keyboards spike the margins. In the second half, the tune gathers force, crunching, cracking, and splitting with blown–out distortion as vocals struggle to climb above the squall. "Induction" offers a minimal, spidery guitar riff balanced by spiraling synth and a haunted tom–tom chant. The vocals are a narcotic prayer groaning away in darkness. But it too changes shape, transforming into a biker rock jam in the final minutes, perversely adorned by a rave–up, hard-grooving organ to become a nightmarish elastic wall of sound that never loses its center. The single "Garbage Brain" actually contains a bona fide hook. Markham lays out a melodic riff, appended by a propulsive bass vamp that repeats endlessly through the changes. The swirling organ (reminiscent of Jon Lord) soars in the backdrop above ragged, multi–tracked vocals. The double drum kit attack shows one man playing just a shade of a beat behind the other, adding weight and dynamic force, and pushing everything into overdrive. There isn't anything on Mosaic you haven’t heard before, but that doesn’t matter. It’s Ancient Sky’s skillful assemblage that does; it’s a collective imagination at work, all governed by intuitive feel for traveling the spaceways. These recombinations of rock history are as visceral as they are exploratory, making this set a must for fans of freaky, driving, post–psych rock.
Artist Biography by Thom Jurek
•≈•  Ancient Sky are a hard, neo–psychedelic space rock band based in Brooklyn, New York. Their music is a hybrid of sounds that reveals the influences of early Pink Floyd and Hawkwind, Black Sabbath, droning electric Delta blues, Krautrock, and dark 21st century ambient electronic soundscapes à la Demdike Stare.
•≈•  The band was founded in 2007 by Virginia natives guitarist/vocalist Brian Markham and drummer Pat Broderick, the only two permanent original members and principal songwriters. Upon meeting in New York, the pair began to discuss mutual acquaintances and music. Having much in common, they decided to play together almost immediately. With a constantly shifting landscape of players, they rehearsed and played local shows. Their self–titled debut album appeared from Sons of Vesta in 2009.
•≈•  More personnel shifts occurred alongside a wealth of live playing experience. Over the next three years, the band developed a dark, moody sound, which was documented on 2012’s T.R.I.P.S.
•≈•  Ancient Sky began playing out and rehearsing even more as they embraced new musical ideas, and all the while their recording was garnering favorable notice in the international independent press. They signed to Wharf Cat for 2013’s All Get Out, a set that featured a guest appearance by saxophonist Danny Fisher–Lochhead and also marked the first appearance — also in a guest role — of synthesizer player Brandon Evans.
•≈•  Broderick and Markham focused on reflecting the band’s live persona on a recording and adding to the force of their attack. Evans and bassist Keith Lamiell (both native Virginians) came on board, and second drummer Adam Bugalsem (who, along with Markham is a member of the Holy Sons and Dommengang) was added. This quintet rehearsed for a year, and played a few select shows before recording Mosaic for Wharf Cat. It was released in the early summer of 2015 and followed by a tour.
•≈•  http://www.allmusic.com/
Bandcamp: http://ancientsky.bandcamp.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ancientskyband     _____________________________________________________________

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