BLACK MOON CIRCLE-PSYCHEDELIC SPACELORD.
Black Moon Circle-Psychedelic Spacelord.
Label: Crispin Glover Records.
New Album Of The Week.
Six years ago, brothers Øyvin and Vemund Engan founded the psychedelic space rock band Black Moon Circle, and since then, this talented band from Trondheim, in Norway, have released five albums. Soon, five will become six when the newly expanded lineup of Black Moon Circle return with Psychedelic Spacelord, which will be released on vinyl complete with CD by Crispin Glover Records on the ‘25th’ of May 2018. Psychedelic Spacelord marks the start of a new chapter for Black Moon Circle, who are also about to embark upon a ten date European tour.
The Black Moon Circle story began in the city of Trondheim, in Norway, in 2012, when brothers Øyvin and Vemund Engan decided to form their own band. It was a case of needs must, after the demise of their previous band, the Trondheim-based punk rock group The Reilly Express, where the Engan brothers served their musical apprenticeship. With The Reilly Express now consigned to musical history, the Engan brothers decided to form a new band, which would allow them to head in a new direction musically.
In The Beginning.
Having made the decision to form a new group, which the Engan brothers named it Black Moon Circle, which was going to play psychedelic space rock. Øyvin would play bass, guitar and take charge of vocals, while his brother Vemund would also play guitar. All that the nascent Black Moon Circle needed was a drummer, and this would be the start of a new and exciting chapter in the Engan brothers musical career.
Before long, Black Moon Circle’s lineup was complete when drummer Per Andreas Gulbrandsen joined the band. He was the final piece of the musical jigsaw, and now Black Moon Circle could begin to hone their sound.
After spending time honing their sound, gradually, Black Moon Circle’s trademark sound started to evolve. Initially, it was a combination of lengthy jams, searing guitar riffs and a myriad of effects added to the bass and guitar. This was Black Moon Circle’s now unique brand of described as psychedelic space rock, which soon found an appreciative audience.
Now that they had honed and tightened their sound, Black Moon Circle made their first tentative steps onto the local live scene. While they were the newest addition to Norway’s thriving and vibrant and thriving psychedelic space rock scene, their music soon started to find a receptive and appreciative audience. That came as no surprise.
It wasn’t just that that Black Moon Circle was a talented band whose popularity was growing, but by then, space rock’s popularity was growing all over Europe. Flying the flag for Norwegian space rock was Black Moon Circle, whose music was about to find a wider audience in 2013.
Black Moon Circle.
Although Black Moon Circle had been together less than a year, they had already decided to record a mini album at Nautilus Studios. Black Moon Circle recorded three tracks Plains, American Eagle and Enigmatic Superbandit, which would mark the debut of the Trondheim-based psychedelic space rockers.
The mini album Black Moon Circle was released as a limited edition of 300 in February 2014 by Space Rock Productions, the label run by the Øresund Space Collective from Copenhagen, Denmark. Black Moon Circle introduced the band’s music to a new and wider audience, and launched their career.
After the release of their mini-album, Black Moon Circle were already making plans for the future, and this included recording their much-anticipated debut album. Black Moon Circle weren’t the type of band to let the grass grow under their feet, and the recording began in the spring of 2014.
When Psychedelic space rockers Black Moon Circle returned to the studio in April 2014, they had been together the best part of two years, and were already a tight band who were capable of seamlessly creating genre-melting music. Black Moon Circle worked quickly and efficiently, recording the five songs on Andromeda in just one day. Six months later, and Andromeda was ready to be released.
Black Moon Circle’s debut album, Andromeda which showcased their psychedelic space rock sound was released to plaudits and praise by Crispin Clover Records in October 2014. Critics forecast a great future for the Trondheim-based trio, who were already hatching a plan that sounded like something from the seventies, the golden age of rock.
The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky.
Black Moon Circle had decided to release a trilogy of albums featuring studio jams, which was something that harked back to the seventies, when rock was King. It seemed that this was Black Moon Circle’s way of paying homage to the golden age of rock which had influenced their music. In mid-2015, Black Circle announced their intention to release a trilogy of studio jams, which was by far, the most ambitious project of their career.
The first of the trilogy was The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky, where Black Moon Circle were joined in the studio by Scott Heller a.k.a. Dr. Space who played synths on the album. It was released in August 2015, and was the start of a new era for Black Moon Circle.
Critics hailed The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky as Black Moon Circle’s as finest hour as they fused psychedelic space rock with elements of electronica, experimental music and free jazz. Seamlessly, these disparate musical genres and influences merge into something new and innovative that was cinematic, dramatic, futuristic, moody, rocky and as Øyvin Engan says: “intense.” However, for their third album, Sea Of Clouds, Black Moon Circle added two new ingredients to their successful musical formula.
Sea Of Clouds.
With The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula In The Sky recorded, but not yet released, Black Moon Circle’s thoughts turned to their next album, which wasn’t going to be another instalment in the Studio Jams’ series. Instead, Black Moon Circle changed direction slightly on Sea Of Clouds.
When Black Moon Circle recorded Sea Of Clouds in June 2015, they were again joined by Scott Heller who played synths, while new guest artist Magnus Kofoed played keyboards. During the course of just one day, Black Moon Circle recorded the four lengthy jams that became Sea Of Clouds.
When Sea Of Clouds was released, critics were won over by another album of hard rocking, psychedelic space rock that was futuristic, moody, otherworldly and featured Black Moon Circle’s trademark intensity. Sea Of Clouds was a carefully crafted fusion of avant-garde, free jazz, heavy metal, Krautrock and post rock which had been inspired by Black Sabbath, Can, Deep Purple, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Hawkwind, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Hawkwind, Moster, Motorpsycho, Radiohead and Yes. All these bands had influenced Sea Of Clouds, which was another ambitious and innovative offering from the expanded lineup of Black Moon Circle, who were about to record the most accessible album of their career.
The Studio Jams Volume 2.
Seven months after the release of Sea Of Clouds, Black Moon Circle returned with their eagerly awaited fourth album, The Studio Jams Volume 2. It had been recorded in June 2015 by Black Moon Circle who were joined by Scott Heller a.k.a. Dr. Space on synths
Just like previous albums, critical acclaim accompanied the release of The Studio Jams Volume 2, which found Black Moon Circle fusing the classic rock of the sixties and seventies with psychedelia and space rock. To this, Black Moon Circle add elements of avant-garde, electronica, experimental music, free jazz, Krautrock and post rock. Seamlessly, these disparate musical genres and influences merge into one on another album of ambitious, exciting and innovative music. It’s also cinematic, dramatic, futuristic, moody, rocky and features Black Moon Circle’s trademark intensity. However, The Studio Jams Volume 2 was also Black Moon Circle’s most accessible album, and was the perfect introduction to the Trondheim based musical pioneers, who were about to square the circle.
The Studio Jams Volume III: Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension.
This came when the four members of Black Moon Circle entered the studio early in 2017, to record the last instalment in their trilogy of Studio Jams, which featured two epic jams. When the time came to record the album closer Waves, Black Moon Circle were joined by Hans Magnus Ryan a.k.a Motorpsycho’s guitarist Snah.
With Snah onboard, the expanded lineup of Black Moon Circle ensured that the Studio Jams’ trilogy ended on a high with a genre-melting opus. Black Moon Circle took psychedelic space rock as a starting point, and added elements of avant-garde, Berlin School, blues rock, classic rock, electronica and experimental music, improv, Krautrock, post rock and progressive rock to the two epic jams on The Studio Jams Volume III: Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension. Black Moon Circle had saved the best until last instalment until last on their Studio Jams’ trilogy
By the time Black Moon Circle released The Studio Jams Volume III: Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension, the band had already recorded their next album Psychedelic Spacelord. It had been recorded during what Øyvin Engan described as “a spaced out session in March 2017” by an expanded lineup of Black Moon Circle.
Joining the core lineup of Black Moon Circle was keyboardist Magnus Kofoed, who had previously featured on Sea Of Clouds. Magnus Kofoed returned and played Fender Rhodes, Mellotron, Hammond organ on Psychedelic Spacelord. Øresund Space Collective violinist Jonathan Segel was the other guest artist who joined Black Moon Circle when they were recording their sixth full-length album. Later, vocals were overdubbed onto Psychedelic Spacelord, and added what was finishing touch to this much-anticipated album.
Psychedelic Spacelord is a much-anticipated album, with critics and record buyers wondering what the future holds for Black Moon Circle in the post Studio Jams era? However, what nobody expected was for Black Moon Circle to return with an album that features one epic track that lasts forty-six magical minutes, and is spread over two sides of vinyl and the CD that accompanies the LP. Quite simply, Psychedelic Spacelord is the most ambitious album of Black Moon Circle’s career and is the perfect way to begin the post Studio Jams era.
Futuristic, minimalist and otherworldly describes the introduction to Psychedelic Spacelord, where a haunting violin plays as a rueful guitar plays and squeal as gradually Black Moon Circle awaken from their slumbers. A blistering, searing guitar cuts through the arrangement which features just Fender Rhodes and violin play. However, the hard rocking psychedelic space rockers are pacing themselves as they’re about to embark upon an epic journey.
Sci-fi synths sound are unleashed and accompany the violin guitar and Øyvin’s vocal which is a mixture of confusion and despair. Around him, a wall of futuristic rocky and lysergic music takes shape which soon, becomes anthemic as Black Moon Circle don’t spare the hooks. As usual, guitars play a leading role and they soar above the arrangement as thunderous drums pound as the violin adds a new dimension to Black Moon Circle who move through the gears and soon are in full flight. This is a joy to behold, as a freewheeling Black Moon Circle play with speed, power and fluidity while futuristic synths provide the perfect foil for the guitars as this trippy, futuristic and über rocky epic track reveals its secrets.
This includes the vocal from Psychedelic Spacelord, Øyvin Engan, which just like the violin, adds a new dimension, as what sounds like part of a psychedelic rock opera takes shape. That changes when the vocal drops out, and Black Moon Circle to embark upon another lengthy jam where blistering guitars take centre-stage while keyboards and synths play a supporting role as the rhythm section power the rocky arrangement along. Black Moon Circle have never sounded as good. At the midway point the track fades out, and it’s as if the Psychedelic Spacelord is exiting planet earth.
Soon the arrangement to Psychedelic Spacelord rebuilds and Black Moon Circle are playing with speed, power, ferocity and an accuracy as they continue to unleash their trademark “heavy riffage.” By then, Black Moon Circle has never sounded as heavy as the guitars and bass play a leading role as they pay homage to the Unholy Trinity of Hard Rock and the new wave of British Heavy Metal during this flawless performance.
Later, the tempo drops and guitars and synths combine as the Psychedelic Spacelord adds a lysergic vocal as the arrangement starts to rebuild as Black Moon Circle continue to showcase their unique brand of psychedelic space rock. Meanwhile, the rhythm section, keyboards and synths combine with the vocal as Black Moon Circle continue to rock harder than they’ve ever rocked before, before the tempo increases and they end this forty-six minute epic on a dramatic high.
Psychedelic Spacelord which will be released on vinyl complete with CD by Crispin Glover Records on the ‘25th’ of May 2018, is Black Moon Circle’s much-anticipated first album of the post Studio Jams era. It finds the expanded lineup of Black Moon Circle sounding better than they’ve ever sound, and rocking harder than ever on Psychedelic Spacelord which is a very different album to everything that has gone before.
There’s only one track on Psychedelic Spacelord, albeit last forty-six incredible minutes where psychedelic space rockers take the listeners on a magical mystery tour as this genre-melting track reveals its secrets. Although psychedelic space rock is the basis for Black Moon Circle’s music, they also combine elements of avant-garde, blues rock, classic rock, electronica, experimental music, heavy metal, improv, Krautrock and post rock on Psychedelic Spacelord, which is a musical roller coaster.
During the forty-six minutes the music veers between dark and dramatic, to atmospheric, cinematic and futuristic as sci-fi sounds assail the listener before the music becomes anthemic and uplifting and other times, lysergic, trippy and for much of the time hard rocking. Indeed, Psychedelic Spacelord features Black Moon Circle at their hard rocking best .
So much so, that Psychedelic Spacelord is a reminder of the golden age of rock, when hard rocking groups like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin were among the most successful bands in the world. They’ve obviously influenced Black Moon Circle, as have Krautrock giants Can, space rockers Hawkwind and fellow countryman Motorpsycho who are still one of most successful Norwegian bands of the last twenty years. Iron Maiden and Judas Priest who were part of the new wave of British heavy metal movement, have also influenced Black Moon Circle on Psychedelic Spacelord, especially when the guitars are played with speed and power. These guitars play an important part in the sound and success of Psychedelic Spacelord where Black Moon Circle reach new heights.
Psychedelic Spacelord is Black Moon Circle’s finest hour and is a career defining Magnus Opus from the Trondheim based psychedelic rock pioneers who unleash their trademark “heavy riffage” on this career-defining album that is the first of the post Studio Jams era.
Black Moon Circle-Psychedelic Spacelord.
- Posted in: Avant Garde ♦ Electronic ♦ Experimental ♦ Free Jazz ♦ Improv ♦ Jazz ♦ Krautrock ♦ Prog Rock ♦ Psychedelia ♦ Rock ♦ Space Rock
- Tagged: Andromeda, Øyvin Engan, Black Moon Circle, Crispin Glover Records, Jonathan Segel, Magnus Kofoed, Per Andreas Gulbrandsen, Psychedelic Spacelord, Scott Heller, Sea Of Clouds, The Studio Jams Volume 2, The Studio Jams Volume I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky, The Studio Jams Volume III: Flowing Into The 3rd Dimension, Vemund Engan