It seems that my ‘glowing’ endorsement of the Barcelona nihilist Krautrocker’s, Jinko Vilova ,has had a positive, and concatenate, effect. Their recent “Motor City” workout Cru! was just a window into a burgeoning Iberian scene of psychedelic and kosmiche imbued collectives and bands, which stretch across the Spanish east coast; from the capital of Catalonia down to Alicante.
Congruously drawn together in a fit of mutual appreciation, some of these outfits have bandied together to form a loose network under the banner of the ‘Barcelona Psychedelic Underground’. Driven by the Jinko themselves, under the miasma of Spain’s economic woes and threatened calls for regional autonomy, they’ve just put together a showcase compilation (featured below): a musical survey that travails explosive Krautrock; diaphanous traversing electronica; freaked-out day glow candy psych; and occultist drones.
In the spirit of this new enterprise and exposure to Spanish ‘head music’, I recently caught up with the Jinko’s navigator, Carles Esteban, to get some background on the featured groups.
Formed at the beginning of 2011 by Sais (vocals, synthesizer and programming), Jose Guerrero (Bass guitar) and Gonzo In Vegas (drums), the band come from the legacy of German experimental music, the kind that at some point stopped looking towards the USA and Europe and started to look towards outerspace, the kind that takes music forward with nerve and sweat.
Their featured track on the compilation, ‘Silver Constellation’, is a mix of Yeti Lane, Hawkwind and rippling cosmic electro space rock.
Za! are a multi-facted duo from Barcelona whose sound mixes colourful psych pop with African beats, noise, thick distortions, vocal loops, free jazz, the shepherds of Tuva, balinese polyryhtms, math rock, dadaism and drone.
They have played about 300 shows including international festivals (South by South West, Primavera Sound, Sonar Festival, Eurosonic, Trans Musicales, Milhoes de Festa, Fusion Fest, Zappanale, Canadian Music Week); tours in USA, UK, Brazil, Russia, Portugal, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Spain; and sharing shows and tours with noise bands (Lightning Bolt, Yellow Swans, Extra Life, Zu), rock bands (El Guincho, Delorean, And You will Know us by the Trail of dead, Mark Eitzel) and free jazz artists (Peter Brötzmann, Paal Nilssen Love).
Za! loves sharing stage with other musicians and creating new music together. They have peformed improvised and unique shows with Damo Suzuki, Angel Deradoorian (Dirty Projectors), Pony Bravo, Les Aus, Nisei and Estrategia Lo Capto.
Last year Za! released their 3rd album, MEGAFLOW, through Acuarela, Gandula, Discorporate (Germany), Moorworks (Japan) and Secret Hymns (UK). Their 2nd album, Macumba o Muerte, was rated number 2 of the year and one of the best spanish albums of the century by Rockdelux, and was awarded by the Spanish Independent Label Union.
The new Za! album, Wanananai, will be released on april 2013.
Our Spanish friends and Monolith Cocktail stalwarts, the Jinko Vilova have been playing it hard and nihilistic with their most excellent mini-LP Cru! Taken from that industrial post-rock record, the leading track ‘Gasoline’ is a s good as any an introduction to the band’s metallic bleak Krautrock.
Formed at the beginning of 2011 by the kosmiche day-dreamer Japhy Ryder in Barcelona,
the Celestial Bums template oozes a monotonous and hypnotic wall of diaphanous, liquid flowing, psychedelia. Though guided and navigated by Ryder, an accompaniment of like-minded transcendental travellers join him on these explorations :-
David In Furs (guitar and bass)
Charlie “Fuzz” Segura (guitar and keyboards)
Augusto J. Marchetti (drums and perscusiones)
Lotte Blum (percussion, vocals and keyboards)
Spiritual but earthy, each composition carefully traverses a sonic landscape, influenced by the poetic licence of Blake, Huxley and Whitman.
Notable performances include showcases at the Primavera Sound Festival and in Madrid (Nasti). They have also opened for numerous important bands like A Place To Bury Strangers, Lumerians The Argentines and Killed A Wheeler. They have also played in a handful of venues in Barcelona as La  de Apolo, Sidecar, Be Good, Electric Bar and Upload.
The Mondosonoro popular music magazine, placed their first release, Celestial Bums as the tenth best album Catalan April 2012.
“The return of this Barcelonan power trio Cuzo is like travelling back in time, a seventies orgy where the band infects us with their passion for different musical references a lot more diverse than you would believe at first sight.
A superficial description of their music would reduce it to psychedelic hard rock, but that wouldn’t be enough ‘cos all the members of Cuzo have eaten mushrooms found in the most unsuspected orchards.
The bands leader Jaume Pantaleón and his musical wisdom is legendary, and in this project the ex-member of 12Twelve (also a current member of Atleta) lets most of his musical obsessions fly free. The result, a kaleidoscopic and psychedelic album that surprise us with landscapes that flirt openly with scores and soundtracks – something that already happened with 12Twelve. Music from films like “Suspira” by Darío Argento, “The Beyond” by Lucio Fulcir or “Phantasma” by Don Coscarelli – always with the Italian band Goblin high up on the pedestal- remain strong components of the Cuzo sound.
Another cornerstone to understanding the bands sound would be German krautrock groups like Can or Faust, already present in previous albums (not in vain the band collaborated with Damo Suzuki, vocalist of Can on such emblematic albums as “Tago Mago” or “Future days”) in the joint album Puedo ver tu mente (Alone Records/Kromatik Musik, 2009) – and this event has a strong presence in Alquimia Para Principiantes (Bcore, 2012).”
Lubianka was formed at the beginning of the year 2009 from the union of several musicians that had previously met whilst playing in the band Venus Anadiomena. With Lubianka they enrapture themselves completely in the psychedelic sounds and the experimentation with several instrumentations and sonority.
The universe of Lubianka fits the conjunction of sounds and noises without apparent connection next to the abstraction, going through several jazzy passages, to ancient circular rhythms, with high doses of repetition and psychedelic tastes.
A pretty mysterious outfit, their contribution to the mix is a meditative George Harrison-esque, Deutsch Nepal trip into the mindscape of the yoga.
OK so not strictly from Barcelona, or even remotely considered a satellite town, Cabalgata Cósmica (Cosmic Ride) hail from Alicante, due south. Part of the, now lightly monikered, East Coast Psychedelic scene in Spain, they formed in early 2011, out of a love for caustic and hard-loving rock from the 60s and 70s.
Both their contribution to the compilation and their latest self-entitled EP, take in a diverse bearthed of influences and styles, yet maintains a free-spirited rocking theme. Lapping up the birth of heavy metal, garage band losers, blues and space rock they carouse down the main strip, stomping to the stoner psych of the Dead Meadows. Seemingly heavy as fuck, the raucous fuzz and alternated bending guitar riffs are surprisingly fun, and sound like a well intentioned throwback to the heyday of early Sabbath, Caravan and Deep Purple – free from the boring bits.
Like the Jinko they have also breathed in the toxic allure of the Motor City, with allusions to the MC5 and Stooges on every track. Play it very loud you heathens!
GUERRA DESPUES DE LA FIESTA
Mysterious to a fault, the Guerra despues de la fiesta are a curious find. Included on the Barcelona psych scene, there is scant information about this drone, noir shoegaze outfit.
A mixture of the Velvets, Dead Skeletons and BRMC, they pursue a morose course through Byzantium landscapes, and opium dank romanticised sets. Shrouded in black leather patented gloom, the group’s stoner doom and gothic grace is done with quite a passion – hell, they lose the Dark Horses in a heartbeat!
Their 2011 LP, G.D.D.L.F, is become a firm favourite on the Monolith Cocktail.