CAUSA SUI-RETURN TO SKY.
CAUSA SUI-RETURN TO SKY.
Nowadays, not many groups manage to release eleven albums in eleven years. Instead, they spend two or three years ‘perfecting’ their future Magnus Opus. It’s changed days indeed.
Back in the early seventies, bands were often contracted to release two album each year. Groups like Yes rose to the challenge, and released The Yes Album and Fragile in 1971. The same year, Emerson, Lake and Palmer released Tarkus and Pictures At An Exhibition. Meanwhile The Faces released Long Player and A Nod’s As Good As A Wink…To A Blind Horse. Sadly, the days of releasing two albums a year are long gone. Or are they?
Danish rockers Causa Sui have released eleven albums between 2005 and 2016. Eight albums in eleven years is a pretty good average. Causa Sui’s latest album is Return To Sky, which was recently released on El Paraiso Records. It’s the latest chapter in story that began in twelve years ago.
The Causa Sui began in 2004, when five friends decided to form a band in Odense, in Southern Denmark. Originally, the lineup featured drummer Jakob Skøtt, bassist Jess Kahr, guitarist Jonas Munk and vocalist Kaspar Markus. This was the lineup that featured on Causa Sui’s debut album.
Just a year after forming Causa Sui, the band released their eponymous debut album on Nasoni Records, in December 2005. Causa Sui was an album of heavy psychedelia and stoner rock. It won over both critics, and then, record buyers. They quickly bought up the 500 LPs that had been pressed. Nowadays, they’re collectors items, and a reminder of the dawning of Causa Sui’s career. Their second coming came in 2007
Causa Sui returned in April 2007, with their sophomore album Free Ride. It was another album of heavy psychedelia, with elements of stoner rock. This was fitting, as the album was released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten a label specialising in stoner rock. Just like its predecessor, Free Ride was well received by critics and found favour amongst their ever growing fan-base. Things were looking up for Causa Sui. However, changes were just around the corner.
Summer Sessions Volume 1.
When Causa Sui returned in August 2008 with the first instalment in their Summer Seasons’ trilogy, both their lineup and music had changed. Vocalist Kaspar Markus had left the group, leaving just a core trio of drums, bass and guitar. This new lineup, would be responsible for the change in Causa Sui’s sound.
This became apparent when Summer Sessions Volume 1 was released in 2008. It featured a much more abstract, instrumental sound. Their influences were eclectic, and included everything from Can to Miles Davis’ electric period, plus psychedelia and stoner rock. The new sound was welcomed, and seemed that ensured that Causa Sui’s music continues to be innovative and relevant.
Summer Sessions Volume 2.
In June 2009, Causa Sui returned with Summer Sessions Volume 2. By then, Causa Sui were now a quartet again. Keyboardist Rasmus Rasmussen had joined the band. The third lineup were again, augmented by saxophonist Johan Riedenlow. The new lineup of Causa Sui didn’t just pickup where they left off on Volume 1 though.
Although Causa Sui started with the same ingredients, including psychedelia, stoner rock, fusion, Krautrock, they were determined not to remake Volume 1. So they moved the music in new and different directions. Musical boundaries were pushed to their limits, as Causa Sui combined disparate genres. It was another groundbreaking, genre-melting album from the sonic adventurers.
Summer Sessions Volume 3.
Not content with releasing one album during June 2009, Causa Sui released Summer Sessions Volume 3 simulataoursly. This was shades of Bruce Springsteen with Human Touch and . Again, Causa Sui were aided and abetted by saxophonist Johan Riedenlow, they recorded five new tracks. This included Manifestations Of Summer, a trilogy that fills side two of the album. It was like a mini concept album, from musical adventurers Causa Sui.
Hailed as ambitious and innovative, Summer Sessions Volume 3 completed the musical journey that Causa Sui began a year earlier. Now it was over, and so was another chapter in the Causa Sui story. However, a new adventure was about to begin.
The Pewt’r Sessions Volume 1.
By April 2011, Causa Sui were ready to release the first instalment in a new trilogy. It was obvious that Causa Sui were a band who had been weaned on the classic rock of the sixties and seventies. That was a period when trilogies and concept albums were de rigueur. Causa Sui it seemed were musical trendsetters in more way than one.
By the time Causa Sui were ready to release The Pewt’r Sessions Volume 1, they had formed their own label, El Paraiso Records. It was run by Jonas Munk and Jakob Skøtt. One of the new labels first release was The Pewt’r Sessions Volume 1.
Just like previous albums, The Pewt’r Sessions Volume 1 was a musical melting pot of influences. Everything from space rock, psychedelia and progressive rock shine through on The Pewt’r Sessions Volume 1, as Causa Sui continue to reinvent themselves.
The Pewt’r Sessions Volume 2.
Just four months later, Causa Sui return with The Pewt’r Sessions Volume 2 in August 2011. Again, the album had been produced by Jonas Munk who was finding Causa Sui’s producer’s chair comfortable. He had produced another inventive and ambitious album where Causa Sui fuse space rock, psychedelia and progressive rock.
The Pewt’r Sessions Volume 2 was the seventh album from Causa Sui. Every album was different. Causa Sui weren’t the type of band who would remake an album. They left that to lesser groups. While Causa Sui might have used the similar ingredients on the first two volumes of The Pewt’r Sessions, the results were very different. One thing stayed the same, and that the first two volumes of The Pewt’r Sessions would sell out.
An economist would’ve been impressed by what Causa Sui were achieving. From the Summer Sessions to The Pewt’r Sessions Volume 2, demand equaled supplied. Causa Sui had 500 LPs pressed, and quickly they sold out. Eventually, demand would be so great, that some of Causa Sui’s albums would be reissued. By then, Causa Sui would’ve released further albums.
Having released two albums in a year, two years passed before Causa Sui returned in August 2013 with their eighth studio album Euporie Tide. This meant that Causa Sui were averaging an album a year. They were putting many musical heavyweights to shame.
Unlike their five previous albums, Euporie Tide wasn’t part of a trilogy. Instead, it was a standalone album. Euporie Tide was also the first Causa Sui album to be released on CD. However, Causa Sui didn’t forget their fans who had been there since day one, and Euporie Tide was released on limited edition vinyl. There was something for everyone.
Especially, if psychedelia and progressive rock were your bag. They were two of the most noticeable influences. There was still elements of stoner rock and space rock. Mostly, though, psychedelia and progressive rock were to the fore as Causa Sui powered their way through this ten track powder keg of an album. For many critics and record buyers, Euporie Tide was Causa Sui’s finest hour. It was also the album that saw Causa Sui’s music finding a much wider audience. No longer were they one of Danish music’s best kept secrets.
Live At Freak Valley.
Buoyed by the success of Euporie Tide, Causa Sui released two albums during 2014. The first came on 7th April 2014, when Causa Sui released their first live album, Live At Freak Valley.
The album had been recorded at the Freak Valley Festival, in Netphen, Germany. It had been founded in 2012, and Causa Sui had unleashed a barnstorming set. Rocky and pyschelic, the lysergic warriors took the Freak Valley Festival by storm. That’s apparent on Live At Freak Valley, which was released a CD and double LP. It’s a tantalising taster of Causa Sui live and unleashed. However, after their debut live album, Causa Sui had unfinished business to attend to.
The Pewt’r Sessions Volume 3.
There was still the small matter of the last instalment in The Pewt’r Sessions. So four months later, on 19th August 2014, Causa Sui returned with The Pewt’r Sessions Volume 3. Unlike previous volumes in the series, The Pewt’r Sessions was released on LP and CD.
Fittingly, The Pewt’r Sessions Volume 3 featured just a trio of tracks from Causa Sui. However, the psychedelic rockers had kept the best until last. Incipiency Suite was a twenty-six minute epic that showcased Causa Sui at their very best. Now those that had just discovered Causa Sui knew what the fuss was about. With Causa Sui’s fan-base increasing, their next album would be one of the most important of their career.
Return To Sky.
Since the release of The Pewt’r Sessions Volume 3, Causa Sui’s fans have patiently awaited their tenth studio album. However, with Causa Sui’s star in the ascendancy, they’re having to combine touring with recording. So nineteen months have passed before Causa Sui returned with Return To Sky in February 2016. It features another five new tracks from the Danish musical chameleons.
For Return To Sky, the four members of wrote and recorded five new tracks. These tracks were recorded by what’s now regarded as the classic lineup of Causa Sui. This included the original rhythm section of drummer and percussionist Jakob Skøtt, bassist Jess Kahr and guitarist Jonas Munk. They’re joined by keyboardist and electronics virtuoso Rasmus Rasmussen. Jonas Munk recorded, mixed, mastered and produced Return To Sky, which features the welcome return of Causa Sui as they celebrate releasing eleven albums in eleven years.
Opening Return To Sky is Dust Meridian, a ten min track that literally explodes into life. At the heart of the arrangement are the pounding drums. They provide the heartbeat, before a bass synth enters. Soon, it’s playing a leading role. When it drops out, a bass and subtle wash of synths are added. They’re the perfect replacement. Soon though, a guitar rings out, wah-wahing and adding a gloriously rocky rue. It’s aided and abetted by the bass, and progressive rock synths. By then, psychedelia, progressive rock, classic and rock and space rock are melting into one. However, at 3.37 a jazz-tinged guitar signals it’s all change. The arrangement meanders melodically along, with Causa Sui playing within themselves. Before long, they’re straining at the leash as the arrangement builds, and the band jam. Together, they create an impressive and dramatic sound that has its roots in seventies rock. Later, there’s one more curveball left to throw, as the tempo drops and the arrangement meanders melodically and dreamily along.
There’s almost a nod to Led Zeppelin on The Source. The introduction sounds as if it’s a homage to one of Unholy Trinity. The arrangement literally prowls along, the rhythm section jamming, as if looking for an in. When they find it, Causa Sui kick loose, and a track right out of the seventies classic rock songbook unfolds. At the heart of the arrangement are the strutting, rocky rhythm section. However, midway through the track there’s a series of brief pauses, before Causa Sui are off and running. They add an element of drama, as Causa Sui unleash a dark, dramatic, hands in the air anthem. That’s until two minutes to go, when the arrangement slows down and meanders melodically along. It’s similar to the opening track, with a dreamy, almost ethereal sound proving a contrast to Causa Sui’s earlier adventure in hard rock.
Mondo Buzzo has a much more understated sound. Just a lone guitar plays, before the rhythm section plays. They play with a degree of subtlety. So do the keyboards as a mesmeric, melodic track unfolds. Then Causa Sui stir things up. They move through the gears, and suddenly, the rhythm section and guitars are delivering a hard rocking track. Again, it’s roots are in the seventies, a decade which has obviously influenced Causa Sui. Pounding drums, a driving bass and machine gun guitars combine as the band deliver a musical masterclass. Later, a familiar pattern returns, when the tempo changes and the arrangement becomes spacious and lysergic. Washes of Michael Rother-esque, guitars are added as the arrangement floats lazily along. By then, there’s a nod to Pink Floyd from Causa Sui on what’s one of the highlights of Return To Sky.
An urgent strummed, chiming guitar opens Dawn Passage. Meanwhile, the bass walks the arrangement along. Washes of ethereal synths are added, as the tempo increases. Still, the arrangement is floating along. Again, there’s a dreamy, lysergic sound. That’s until the driving guitars are unleashed. Suddenly, it’s all change. A blistering, searing, rocky guitar is at the heart of the arrangement as the rest of the rhythm section drive it along. After that sudden burst of energy, Causa Sui return to the earlier dreamy melodic sound. However, they’ve one last surprise, and kick loose one more time as if driving the arrangement to the finishing line.
Return To Sky closes with the title-tracks. After the band are counted in, they play slowly and thoughtfully. Washes of crystalline guitars add wistful sound, while the rhythm section play within themselves. This could change at any moment. When it does, it’s the guitar that provides the clue. They’re the last man standing, and play gently. Soon, something is stirring, and Causa Sui’s driving, pounding rhythm section can’t resist the temptation to kick loose. A buzzing bass, thunderous drums and blistering guitars combine seamlessly. Then after five minutes, the arrangement is stripped bare, leaving just the chiming guitars and washes of synths. This leaves time for the listener to ruminate, as the track heads in the direction of an ambient soundscape. Gradually, though, one gets a sense that Causa Sui are going to end on a rocky high. Although the rhythm section unite, it’s Jonas Munk Hendrix-esque guitar that steals the show. Then after a few sci-fi sounds, Return To Sky is over and Causa Sui are gone, leaving just a memory of what’s a career defining album.
Although Return To Sky is Causa Sui tenth studio album, and eleventh overall, it’s without doubt the best album of their career. Return To Sky features elements of Causa Sui’s musical past, music and much more. This included four decades of rock music. That’s why there’s elements of classic rock, Krautrock, psychedelia, progressive rock, stoner rock and space rock. Ambient and avant-garde have also influenced Causa Sui. So have Can, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Michael Rother and Pink Floyd. The result is a heady brew and musical genres and influences, Return To Sky.
It’s an album that veers between dark and dramatic and hard rocking to lysergic, dreamy and wistful to mesmeric and melodic. Return To Sky is all these things and more. It also features four hugely talented musicians as they reinvent their music yet again. This is a constant process that ensures that Causa Sui are one step ahead of the musical crowd.
That’s not all. Causa Sui are always one step ahead of the listener. They’ve always got a surprise in-store for the unwary listener. At any given moment, Causa Sui could throw a curveball that transforms the track. Suddenly, hard rock becomes lysergic and wistful. It’s case of expect the unexpected throughout Return To Sky, where musical chameleons Causa Sui keep the listener on their toes during what’s a career defining album.
CAUSA SUI-RETURN TO SKY.