The Cosmic Dead - The Exalted King

Given it’s 30 odd minutes long you’ll think I was thick by saying this is an essentially patient piece of music but that’s how it strikes you – a powerful and serene cosmic jam in no hurry to blow its steam.

A stoner classic this: a brilliant record that soothes as well as kicks open doors. This is an ideal record for a lazy afternoon’s slouching about as the opener, The Exalted King, takes up a good 34 minutes of your time and frankly, needs you about all the way for its magic to take effect. It’s not something like Zeit or any Tony Conrad LP that you care to mention: you can’t just dip in to it, or play in the background. And like most of these kinds of tracks, it starts at a ponderous pace, ruminating on just how to best cook up your brain, and picking the correct platter to serve it up on.

The Exalted King’s got a very simple clanging guitar effect that works like a very slow pendulum, lulling you into a drowsy state. The rusty, metallic texture of the guitar starts to dominate over an increasingly rich and swelling backdrop, the only hint of real movement coming from the drums about seven minutes in. Soon things start to hot up, rumbling around a bit like a muted Ash Ra Tempel, the guitar screeches and scrapes through a whole host of effects whilst a seemingly endless bass pattern continues to ground the whole thing. Given it’s 30 odd minutes long I can imagine that you’d think I was being daft by saying this is essentially "patient" music but that’s how it strikes you – a powerful and serene cosmic jam in no hurry to blow its steam. Things start to get a bit tribal round the 25 minute mark but fine, and the chanting at the end Is an impressive denouement.

A few words about the other two tracks are in order: Anatta is a fine meditation which grows in power over its lifespan, the steady rumble of the synths coming on like the distant drone of aircraft engines: it’s got something of a live Cosmic Jokers feel to it. Anaphora comes from somewhere deep in space, a dismembered conversation put through a whole gallery of effects; about 5 minutes it the drums and bass sneak in on the act, sounding like one of those snakey Rallizes Dénudés bootlegs. The track rumbles on in orbit, tracked in some sort of compression chamber or space debris for a further 15 minutes sometimes indulging in the odd lazy drugged-out arpeggio to pass time. It’s a classic.

As I said a brilliant release, and they’re a good, good band.