ALBUM REVIEW: vert:x – from now to now
Psychedelic music has been around for as long as anyone can remember, but its revival and the renaissance of its popularity during the last decade has become impossible to ignore. It hit the mainstream spreading out in all directions and infiltrating into all styles, getting its own festivals such as Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia or Austin Psych Fest Levitation, filling in newspapers columns, becoming inspiration for haute-couture fashion collections, expensive art galleries like the recent ‘Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains’ exhibition at V&A Museum, movies and documentaries about famous people of the 60s like Jimi Hendrix. It fits the revival of buying records and turntables as well as the current society preoccupation with modern well-being through meditation and mindfulness. It’s one of our nowadays trends. And it promises to bring the space and the universe right at our door steps.
Nevertheless, real things are always somewhere else beyond the superficiality of our mainstream culture. And it’s sufficient to find one piece of the puzzle and wonder about it and the whole universe will expand until you’ll forget about the little bubbles outside your door. A band or a record can do that for you. It can open doors to a brand new world that also has bands, radio stations, festivals, record labels and magazines. And then you step into a total different wonderland. Where online radio stations like Dandelion won’t play back to you the music you usually listen on your radio car while driving but it will replace it with excellent shows made by real people about real music. You can find wonderful weekly selections of psychedelic, garage rock, prog, spacerock or krautrock and much more on shows like DJ Bazza’s ‘Earth Calling’ on TBFM or Nick Saloman’s ‘The Scene’ on WMBR. One click away, webzines and blogs, such as Dayz of Purple and Orange, Psych Insight Music, The Oscillating Sun, can guide you through what’s new and interesting. If your soul is not too old, festivals like Kozfest, Blind Cat, Cosmic Puffin, Raw Power, Onboard the Craft, Unorthodox Paradox, The Dream of Dr Sardonicus and Dionysus are there to light up your life. And labels like Fruits de Mer, Drone Rock Records, Unwashed Territories and The Weird Beard can bring to you pieces of this breathtaking universe called underground. Who needs mainstream anymore …
I’m well aware I do an injustice to everything I cannot mention above. And I apologize for my ignorance and limits. On one hand, I guess one of the blessings of the underground music is that it’s unknown to a greater majority, and that makes it special and keeps it safe. On the other, my unifying thread for all things I mention, my fil rouge as the French name it, is a band called vert:x, who have always been miles away and part of a different culture and a different universe and imagination than mine and still spoke to me through music, and revealed on their route so many wonderful things and associations that re(de)fined mine. With them, I have discovered a scene that is happening now. Like in … today. Nowadays. You don’t read about this stuff, you don’t see it on TV or documentaries. And you might never find it for what it is worth.. So the best I could do was to just mention what I could find out about it during the last five years since vert:x have been taking me on a new journey. From their Dandelion Radio Festive Fifty appearance to this The Weird Beard release. From ‘then’ to now. Five years for me, more than ten for them, and they’re still here … so I guess it is indeed from now to now.
‘from now to now’ is a vert:x full length vinyl album. But their album catalogue goes back to 2007, with self-released CDr, splits, EPs and exclusive tracks for various compilations. A vinyl record was just a matter of time and considering the amount of great songs they have circulated all these years, I can only imagine that one of their greatest challenges was which ones to choose for pressing. Therefore, the selection of songs cannot be random and deserves consideration and further exploration into vert:x discography. And the winners are: ‘Space Junk’, a pure explosion of sounds built with krautrock drumbeats and guitar dexterity that starts with hypnotic bass lines and other synthesizers delights plus an exquisite touch of saxophone. You can think Neu!, Hawkwind and any of the punk holy spirit bands all together but that’s only for gathering some references before you take-off on an emblematic vert:x orbit of energy, acceleration and expansion. It’s more than worth mentioning here the contribution and the support of the artists coming from Seven That Spells. ‘Space Junk’ is a lengthy track but it just stimulates tastebuds for ‘ Suns of Ra’, a track that can certainly redefine the designations for pace and loud, as what is slow pace is intense and what is fast is absolutely drifting and ethereal. ‘Planet of The Mindstealers’ benefits from the collaboration and contribution of Fred Laird from Earthling Society, and draws the journey back on side B at high speed through space and sound.
Three lengthy wonderful tracks, and if you have the same feeling, as many others, that they have left you in need for more, the solution is very simple: try to explore some more of what is continuously ongoing on this psychedelic scene. A brilliant start could be two divine compilations issued by Dayz Of Purple And Orange, one released in May 2016 and one this year. They are nothing more but two projects born out of generosity and kindness. The two compilations contain tracks submitted by 40 bands part of the current psychedelia scene worldwide for the benefit of raising funds to fight back cancer. If this is not a representation of the strength and the spirit of this scene today, then I don’t know what that is.
So, you see, this is not just about buying another record (with brilliant artwork, by the way, on transparent green and red vinyl.), it feels more than that. It’s about supporting a whole scene that has as only purpose celebrating music and art in its pure form. Buy this vert:x album, support the other bands, find more about them and share the information in any way you can. Acknowledging a good cause when you see it is very simple: a good cause is when there is no hidden agenda behind it!
from now to now
- release date: 2 June 2017, on sale here via The Weird Beard Records
- limited and numbered run of 250 copies on transparent green and red vinyl
- special contribution from Seven That Spells and Earthling Society
- Vince C. – Guitar
- Neil Whitehead – Guitar, Bass, Synthesizer
- Barry Mart – Synthesizer
- The Other One – Synthesizer
Dandelion Radio http://www.dandelionradio.com
DJ BaZZa https://www.mixcloud.com/barry-mart/
Dayz of Purple and Orange http://dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.be
Psych Insight Music https://psychinsightmusic.com
The Oscillating Sun https://oscillatingsun.wordpress.com
Fruits de Mer Records http://www.fruitsdemerrecords.com
Drone Rock Records http://dronerockrecords.com
Unwashed Territories https://unwashedterritories.bandcamp.com
Dayz Of Purple And Hope & Dayz Of Purple And More Hope
Facebook EVENT Showcase
vert:x Album Launch Gig