Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Oresund Space Collective - The Black Tomato

Oresund Space Collective

The Black Tomato (CD)

Transubstan Trans032

Oresund Space Collective is a grouping of Danish, Swedish and American musicians that formed in 2004 and The Black Tomato is its third studio album following on from their eponymous debut disc and the double CD It's All About Delay. Longtime observers of the space rock scene will know their synthesiser player Scott Heller (formerly of Gas Giant) who, when not jamming for the OSC works at editing the Aural Innovations website for Jerry Kranitz. The band are dedicated free-form space rockers, releasing volumes of studio improvisations on their website as well as maintaining a web archive of live recordings downloadable in MP3 format for their followers. "My philosophy is that once we have played the music, it belongs to the fans" Heller has said.

OSC came together at Heller's instigation when he approached members of Copenhagen-based Mantric Muse and Sweden's Bland Blanden (from Malmo) and created this collective to operate as a regular jam-band, alternating between bases in Denmark and Sweden and following the music wherever it led them. There's an Ozrics overtone in there, a bit of Krautrock and an acknowledged taste of 90s and more recent space rock stirred in as well with Heller nodding in interviews towards Hidria Spacefolk and the much-missed Doug Walker's Alien Planetscapes.

Recorded over two days in November 2006 'as live' at Black Tomato studios and divided up into three distinct movements, The Black Tomato veers from industrial-edged space rock (that heavy space freighter sound that characterised the Vert:X release previously reviewed on this blog) mixed with more intricate sounds. Yes, there's parts that blast their engines into infinity but there's also music for the spheres and it's a changing, evolving and texturally dense soundtrack that characterises the work of the musicians here. Hypnotic in a Can or Amon Duul way at one point, spacey and tripped-out in a more Hawkwind tone at another. It's extremely high quality musicianship being employed here, OSC are indeed a class act and with the complexity of sound achieved it's hard to remember that here are eight musicians in a studio following their muse and improvising on basic structures rather than a well-rehearsed and overdubbed ensemble. There's a strong vibe, a real groove that draws you into the recordings so that whilst it's a CD in three acts (and the first two acts are broken down into smaller chunks to enable to listener to track through the album as required) it really works best if you switch-out your mind from it being a nine track sequence and embrace and absorb it as one compelling head-trip.

Appropriately named after the Oresund bridge that connects Malmo in Sweden with Copenhagen in Denmark, OSC is a real meeting of minds and talent and The Black Tomato as impressively accomplished space rock as you're likely to find in this part of the Galaxy.

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