Sunday, 22 October 2017

PURE PHASE ENSEMBLE 6 featuring ANTON NEWCOMBE - LIVE AT SPACEFEST (Nasiono Records CD, D/L).

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of the Pure Phase Ensemble, it really is quite simple……………………as part of Gdansk’s celebrated SpaceFest held every December at the city's Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art in the post-industrial Nowy Port district, the festival organisers invite a renowned international artist to be the musical director, along with Anna Szynwelska and Karol Schwarz of Nasiono Records, for an eclectic rotating group of musicians drawn from various Polish alternative bands............previous leaders of the Pure Phase Ensemble have included Mark Gardener (Ride), Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab), Ray Dickaty (Spiritualized), Steve Hewitt (Placebo), Jaime Harding (Marion), Chris Olley (Six By Seven), and Hugo Race (The Bad Seeds, The True Spirit). A collection of songs are composed, rehearsed and performed live just the once, this one off event is recorded and released on CD by Nasiono records several months later. The line up for Pure Phase Ensemble 6 put together for the 2016 Spacefest was led by the illustrious Anton Newcombe from The Brian Jonestown Massacre along with with Emil Nikolaisen of Scandinavian rock band Serena Maneesh plus Polish musicians Karol Schwarz (7fazKSAS), Olga Myslowska (Polpo Motel), Maciej Karminski (Jesien), Marcin Lewandowski (Judy’s Funeral, Castlings, Soon), Jakub Zwirello (Oslo Kill City, Szezlong), and Kacper Graczyk (Aiodine, coding) and sounded not unlike the Velvet Underground trying to score on Mars.

No doubt one of the attractions of being invited to play with the Pure Phase Ensemble is that it is an opportunity to defy expectations and a chance to be more experimental than normal. The version of the Pure Phase Ensemble led by Newcombe sounds a little like BJM in parts and then again it sounds like the music has been beamed from space............with the songs developed in a workshop environment with the band improvising to produce a set of unique compositions for the SpaceFest set it's not Anton Newcombe plays BJM with a bunch of Polish guys but something more improvised beyond all the player's comfort zones. Pure Phase Ensemble 6 features four guitarists creating either a wall of noise or much more subtle atmospheric Space Rock textures as they twist and turn through 45 minutes of sonic exploration that sounds like a head on collision between Spaceman 3/Spiritualized and the Velvet Underground way beyond the stars. It's all wonderfully democratic with lead vocals split between Newcombe and the other singers in the band (Schwarz and Mysłowska)…………Newcombe sings lead on ‘Sorry Not Sorry’,  ‘God Drugs’ and ‘Getting Bored’ which all sound like BJM songs that have been torn apart and reassembled without taking note where all the bits go as they are fantastically loose and sprawling. Elsewhere tunes like the atmospheric ‘Popol Vuh’, the scorching ‘Bałwan’ and the darkly electronic ‘Tętno pulsu’ all lean heavily towards the sound of innovative modern Psych Rock where Krautrock and Space Rock melt together………………as usual, the pure thrill of experimental Psychedelia that the Pure Phase Ensemble create does not disappoint. SpaceFest has figuratively transformed Gdansk into the intergalactic capital of Poland, presenting psychedelic music at its best with Shoegaze, Krautrock and Space Rock plus cosmic energy, intergalactic cats, forest goblins, psyched visuals, pagan disco and more, with the consistent quality of the Pure Phase Ensemble more than adding to this. The Pure Phase Ensemble will return this year with it’s seventh incarnation led by local legend Maciej Cieślak.

Pure Phase Ensemble 6 featuring Aton Newcombe is out NOW and is available on CD and as a digital download direct from Nasiono Records or from the really tuned in record shops and on line retailers. You can stream/buy the D/L from the Nasiono Bandcamp page here……………………………

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