BLACK MOON CIRCLE-THE STUDIO JAMS VOLUME I: YELOW NEBULA IN THE SKY.

BLACK MOON CIRCLE-THE STUDIO JAMS VOLUME I: YELOW NEBULA IN THE SKY.

Norwegian psychedelic space rock band Black Moon Circle are one of the rising stars of the Norwegian music scene. Their previous album Andromeda was released to critical acclaim in October 2014. A great future was forecast for the Trondheim based trio. No wonder. Black Moon Circle are one of the most talented bands in the Nordic music scene. They’re also one of the most ambitious. Why? 

While most bands don’t plan any further than their next single or E.P., Black Moon Circle plan to release a trilogy of albums in the next two years. They’re no ordinary album. Instead, they’re a trilogy of studio jams. The first instalment is The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky. It will be released on limited edition vinyl, on the 14th August 2015, on Crispin Glover Records, and is the perfect introduction to Black Moon Circle.

Founder member of Black Moon Circle Øyvin Engan, describes  The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky as an album: “all about intensity. “Intense heavy fuzzed out guitars, blasting bass and drums and spaced out synthesisers. This is an intense instrumental trip with some killer jamming from the entire band.” And what a band Black Moon Circle are. They’ve been together since 2012.

That was when brothers Øyvin Engan and Vemund Engan formed Norwegian psychedelic space rock band, Black Moon Circle. This wasn’t the Engan brothers first band. No. They were previously, members of Trondheim-based punk rock band The Reilly Express. That was the past.

By 2012, the Engan brothers were ready to form their own band. However, it wasn’t another punk rock band. Instead, Black Moon Circle would become a psychedelic space rock band. Øyvin, plays bass, guitar and takes charge of vocals. His brother Vemund is also a guitarist. Now all that Black Moon Circel needed was a drummer.

Completing Black Moon Circle’s lineup was drummer, Per Andreas Gulbrandsen on drums. He was the final piece of the jigsaw. Now Black Moon Circle could set about honing their sound.

Gradually, Black Moon Circle’s sound began to evolve. It’s essentially a combination of lengthy jams, searing guitar riffs and a myriad of effects added to the bass and guitar. This Black Moon Circle describe as space rock band. They’re not alone.

Black Moon Circle are just one of many Norwegian space rock bands. Earthless and Colour Haze are two other Norwegian bands, who are flying the flag for space rock. In Black Moon Circle’s case, they’ve been doing this since 2013.

That’s when Black Moon Circle recorded their eponymous, debut, mini-album, at Nautilus studios in 2013. Black Moon Circle was then released in February 2014 by Space Rock Productions, the label run by the Øresund Space Collective from Copenhagen, Denmark. However, Black Moon Circle aren’t the type of band to let the grass grow under their feet. 

No. Black Moon Circle returned to the studio in April 2014. That’s when Black Moon Circle recorded Andromeda. They worked quickly and efficiently. As a result, the five songs on Andromeda were recorded in one day. Six months later, and Andromeda was ready to be released.

Black Moon Circle’s sophomore album, Andromeda, was released by Crispin Clover Records, to critical acclaim in October 2014. A great future was forecast for the Trondheim based trio. They were already hatching a plan that sounded like something from the seventies, the golden age of rock.

What Black Moon Circle had in mind was a trilogy of studio jams. The first of this trilogy of albums is The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky. Fittingly, it features a trio tracks. One of the tracks was recorded during the first jam session in April 2013, while the other two tracks were recorded in 2014. Joining Black Moon Circle were Scott Heller Scott Heller  the synth player in Øresund Space Collective. He plays an important part in the three tracks which became The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky, which showcases the hugely talented Trondheim trio, Black Moon Circle.

Closed Loop Circle opens side one of The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky. What sounds like a howling gale is accompanied by a bounding bass. It reverberates into the distance while drums add an element of drama. Synths beep and squeak, like a siren sending out a warning. A blistering, searing fuzzed-out guitar cuts through the slow, moody, cinematic arrangement. Soon, a fuzzy guitar unleashes a wall of feedback. It’s controlled though, in a Hendrex-esque manner. Meanwhile, the bass bounds along. By then, Black Moon Circle are seamlessly combining elements of electronica, experimental, free jazz, psychedelia, rock and space rock. As musical genres combine, Black Moon Circle are locked into a groove, creating a rocky, psychedelic, space age soundtrack for a film that’s yet to be made. In doing so, Black Moon Circle showcase their considerable skills.

Sea Of Vapors is the other track on side two of The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky. Futuristic, space-age sounds are scene setters, before the rhythm section enter. They lock into a groove, playing within themselves. As they do, Black Moon Circle sound like a power trio from the seventies. That’s no bad thing, as it was the golden age of rock. Listening to Black Moon Circle is like being transported back to another time and place. Meanwhile, a scorching guitar and bass cut through the arrangement, and drums provide the heartbeat. The futuristic synths give the impression that Black Moon Circle are under attack from an alien nation. When the synths drop out, a blistering guitar solo is unleashed. It soars higher and higher, and is best described as a gravity defying masterclass. Later, the arrangement takes on a darker sound. However, there’s another surprise is store. It’s another scorching guitar solo, which is accompanied by space invader synths. Together, they lighten the mood, as Black Moon Circle drive this musical Magnus Opus to even greater heights. Psychedelic space rock doesn’t get better than this.

The whole of side two of The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky is given over to Yellow Nebula in the Sky. It’s a twenty-two minute epic where Black Moon Circle stretch their legs. There’s plenty of opportunity to head off on a musical voyage of discovery. Washes of whirling synths set the scene for a crunchy, rocky guitar. Soon, Black Moon Circle unite, and become a power trio. They unleash a dramatic, rocky backdrop. Atop the arrangement a myriad of futuristic synths float. These sounds are twisted and transformed. Meanwhile, a blistering, crunchy guitar threatens to feedback and Black Moon Circle’s rhythm section relentlessly drive the arrangement along. Later, sirens sound, squeak and beep. They’re the perfect foil to Black Moon Circle as they kick loose and get into the tightest of grooves. Everything from electronica, psychedelia, rock and space rock melts into one. The result is music that’s gloriously loud, rocky, dramatic and mesmeric. Black Moon Circle never miss a beat on this epic track, as they show why they’re one of the rising stars of the Nordic music scene.

That’s no exaggeration. Black Moon Circle are, without doubt, one of the most exciting, talented and pioneering Norwegian groups. Considering how rich and vibrant the Nordic music scene is, that’s high praise indeed. They remind me of their fellow countrymen, Motorpsycho and Moster! That’s not all. It sounds as of Black Moon Circle have been influenced by Led Zeppelin, Hawkwind, early Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix’s guitar playing. All these influences shine through on The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky. 

Black Moon Circle’s third album, The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky will be released on limited edition vinyl, on the 14th August 2015, on Crispin Glover Records. It’s the first of a trilogy of albums of studio jams Black Moon Circle will release during the next two years.

If the next two volumes of The Studio Jams are as good as The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula In The Sky, then they’ll be well worth buying. Black Moon Circle are a 21st Century band, but musically, their roots are in proudly in the past. 

Black Moon Circle are, essentially, a power trio, who create their unique brand of psychedelic space rock. The basis for this, is the classic rock of the sixties and seventies, psychedelia and space rock. To this, Black Moon Circle add elements of electronica, experimental music and free jazz. Seamlessly, these disparate musical genres and influences merge into something new and innovative. It’s cinematic, dramatic, futuristic, moody, rocky and as Øyvin Engan says, “intense.” 

This intensity is deliberate. It comes courtesy of the three members of Black Moon Circle. They deploy layers of fuzzy guitars, spacey, lysergic synths and a mesmeric rhythm section. When all this is combined, the result is the next instalment in the Black Moon Circle story, The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula In The Sky. It’s without doubt the best album of Black Moon Circle’s three album career. That’s why, for anyone yet to discover Black Moon Circle, The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula In The Sky is the perfect introduction to the Norwegian psychedelic space rock pioneers at their hard rocking best.

BLACK MOON CIRCLE-THE STUDIO JAMS VOLUME I: YELOW NEBULA IN THE SKY.

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