Ancient Astronauts – reviews

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      Review from Progwereld (Dutch – through Google Translate):

      The men of Motorpsycho certainly did not sit still during the pandemic. They released “The All Is One” and “Kingdom Of Oblivion”, a film project was started in collaboration with the Norwegian theater group De Utvalgte, the result of which will be released in the near future, and they wrote the music for a dance performance by Homan Sharifi and his Impure Dance Company: Sacfificing. The latter project is important for this review. Some of the music for that performance already existed, N.O.X. of “The All Is One” turned out to fit wonderfully, but a part also had to be rewritten. Those are, according to the information the band provides with the music, Mona Lisa Azrael and Chariot Of The Sun – To Phaeton On The Occasion Of Sunrise (Theme From An Imagined Movie). In the summer of 2021 the music was recorded in Oslo by Ryan, Sæther and Järmyr, together with producer and former band member Helge “Deathprod” Sten. Reine Fiske was not there, according to the band because international travel was still a problem at that time (Fiske lives in Stockholm), but now he is also marked as 'Best Friend' on the band's website and not as a current band member. The band played the music almost live, only the vocals were added later. You can also hear the live dynamics well in the music. Motorpsycho is not a tame band anyway, but this adds a nice layer. You can immediately hear that in The Ladder, a piece that apparently has nothing to do with the ballet, but was added to the record anyway. It's furious music with a starring role for drummer Järmyr, who I've never heard better drumming before. Sæther adds such a typical Motorpsycho vocal line, accessible and yet completely blown away. The Flower Of Awareness is actually a prelude, two minutes of ambient doodles, the importance of which escapes me. It flows seamlessly into Mona Lisa Azrael, which brings us to the main body of this record. The piece starts with beautiful Mellotron chords and a waltz, which immediately made me think of Epitaph by King Crimson. Very nicely done. After four minutes, the gentlemen put their socks in place a bit and the waltz gives way to a fast 6-quartz and a clearly improvised guitar solo. Handsome guy who can dance to that a little sensible, by the way. Here too Järmyr's strong playing stands out, what a world drummer he is. After ten minutes the piece is actually over, but the guitars are still buzzing for two minutes.

      The last piece takes up half of the plate. Chariot Of The Sun – To Phaeton On The Occasion Of Sunrise starts quietly with a rhythm guitar over an electronic arpeggio, a nice resting point after the previous violence. Gradually more melody lines are added, but only after four minutes a theme starts to emerge, aided by dreamy vocals. That sleepy atmosphere lingers for another minute or so, but then the band kicks in. Lots of fanning guitar parts above that characteristic, overdriven bass guitar. And just when you think: “Now something may happen,” then the men transition into a piece with many accents and the music slowly gets wilder. Because yes, the sun is rising, isn't it? The stirring rock is getting fuller and fuller, after 14 minutes you even think you recognize the influences of Yes at its busiest. Then the whole thing collapses and it slowly builds up again to a new climax, until four minutes before the end we are back at the dreamy atmosphere of the beginning. An opus with a head and a tail, what more could you want? That's the beauty of Motorpsycho: at first hearing it looks like a psychedelic space-rock band with the volume knob at 11 and the gaze at infinity, but if you listen more closely you discover new layers, new themes that inevitably arise from the previous. Brilliantly done, beautiful album.


          Funny review, that last one – especially through the filter of google translator. Barclay James Harvest 1971 comparison, ha! There's a mocking chariot, driving wheels through the trees, driving wheels, just for astronauts…


              Snah "stunning"


                I find that Rhyme Signatures review stunning itself. The guy really knows his stuff and listened very intensively. Delivering his mammoth review without any cuts would probably be too much to expect, as it parallels its topic (at least "Chariot") in lenght and richness of content ;-)


                  From Klassekampens musikkekstra 5/6


                  Kosmisk mystikk

                  Arvid Skancke-Knutsen

                  Trønderne i Motorpsycho ligger vel på rundt førti album nå, hvorav flere er doble og triple. I løpet av drøyt tretti år de har bevegd seg fra rufsete indierock til symfoniske prog-verk, men fremdeles med mye av den samme energien i bunnlinjen. Og de har stadig røffe kanter, samtidig som de har utviklet seg som musikere og musikktenkere.

                  Her har de gått tilbake til trioformatet, med Bent Sæther, Hans Magnus og Tomas Järmyr som grunnleggende kjerne. Det skyldes nok delvis pandemien, som gjorde det vanskeligere å invitere med seg gjester utenfra. «Ancient Astronauts» er spilt inn i Oslos Amper Tone studio i fjor sommer, og er hovedsakelig blitt til live i studio.

                  TREHODET RINGREV: Motorpsycho holder på og holder ut. FOTO: TERJE VISNES

                  «Ancient Astronauts» viser et band som i stadig større grad stiger opp i kosmiske mytologier, noe også de mystiske fotografiene på omslaget tyder på. Dette skal være stillbilder fra et kommende filmprosjekt – samtidig som plateselskapet Rune Grammofon har annonsert «The Salad Days»-boksene: de samlede utgaver av Motorspychos plater, som til sammen utgjør syv lp-er og to ep-er.

                  Det koster å være Motorpsycho-komplettist, men til gjengjeld får du inngang til en helt egenartet verden.

                  So different all, yet still the same / All travellers on the astral plane / In that vague space beyond the night / We look for our place in the light / All equals here beneath the sun. Det synger Bent Sæther på åpningssporet «The Ladder». Vokalen skinner klarere i lydbildet enn før, og verken musikk eller tekster er redde for å knytte seg til det psykedeliske og esoteriske.

                  «Den voksende katalogen ligner et stadig større landskap som avdekkes.»

                  For hvem kan seile uten kosmisk vind? De første minuttene av «Mona Lisa / Azrael» må være en av de vakreste balladene som Motorpsycho noen gang har lagd. Den starter opp med en nydelig Barclay James Harvest-aktig intro, med historiske ekko av symfoni-rockerne i Moody Blues – og med en nordisk-lyrisk klingende folkemelodi i bunnen.

                  Og så ville det vel ikke vært Motorpsycho om de ikke også føyde til et viltvoksende rocketema etter hvert, slik at sangen til slutt strekker seg mot elleve minutter, inkludert en stillere, lett stakkato utgang.

                  Det er derfor ganske mange av oss beundrer dette bandet. Fordi hver eneste utgivelse som regel holder mål opp mot deres egne standarder, samtidig som den voksende katalogen ligner et stadig større landskap som avdekkes, full av nye detaljer. Lik en hemmelighetsfull hage som er mye større enn du først tror, som et fjell som vokser mens du bestiger det.

                  Det skummelt skimrende, eksperimentelle lydsporet «The Flower Of Awareness» varer bare i drøyt to minutter. Den avsluttende «Chariot Of The Sun» er mer enn ti ganger så lang. Begge deler er essensen av et av Norges fineste og mest konsistente band.

                  Guybrush Threepwood

                    Sorry double post. Please delete.


                    Wow, Rhyme Signatures articulates my thoughts exactly, though more profound. Great find, great review.


                      @Johnny: @Bartok: Yes, that Rhyme Signatures review is what a review should be! (Metal Temple: take note!) And now I see there's a nice comment there from our friend punknotyet!



                        google translate:

                        Motorpsycho on a long trip

                        Massive, epic and exploratory from a band that never stands still. This time they have set course for the heart of the sun.

                        Motorpsycho's most exciting album is always their next. Although the back catalog has song favorites from several decades, there is no other band where I want only new songs at a concert. They are always evolving. They always maintain high quality, and they always make it interesting for themselves, and thus for us.

                        "Ancient Astronauts" has four tracks, and the gold itself is the last two, "Mona Lisa/Azrael" and "Chariot Of The Sun…". Like the suite "NOX" from "The All Is One" (2019), both have their origins in the dance performance "Sacrificing" – which was again inspired by Stravinsky's "Spring Sacrifice" and the question of what humans must sacrifice for the climate cause, in order to maintain their own existence.

                        Musically, this band is prog at its best. The majestic 12-minute "Mona Lisa/Azrael" can be interpreted as an homage to King Crimson's "Starless", complete with a lovely Mellotron theme, chimes, gongs and quivering Rhodes. Hans Magnus "Snah" Ryan unfolds inspired on an unrestrained middle part that borders on free jazz. Wildly ecstatic, noisy, atonal and delicious! Before the theme is repeated and developed in a harder version.

                        With "Chariot Of The Sun…" they travel even further into the universe, perhaps all the way to the heart of the sun. This too is synth-heavy and elongated (22 minutes), and with the exception of a wordless chorus, entirely instrumental. It is deliciously liberating when the song – or should we say the work – after six minutes turns into a heavy, hard minor part, before they calm down again and slide in and out of different themes with an ambient feel.

                        The opening track, six-minute long "The Ladder", becomes a lightweight in comparison. The song has a catchy weird riff and grooves fiercely, while "The Flower Of Awareness" is two minutes of soothing noise. As if to let us catch our breath before the spaceship leaves the atmosphere.

                        The album was recorded live in the studio with Helge "Deathprod" Sten as producer and without Reine Fiske this time. While "Kingdom of Oblivion" (2021) was to a greater extent a straight hard rock record, here we meet the exploratory version of the band. In terms of form, the album has similarities with "The Crucible" (2019), but with greater calmness and a completely different atmosphere. At the same time, this feels more like a record they needed to get out of their system, rather than hinting at a new direction. But what a journey it was!

                        Reviewed by KAI KRISTIANSEN


                          He loves Motorpsycho. Plenty of amusing facial expressions as the album plays, not least when Mona Lisa / Azrael really kicks in. His verdict at the end of side 1: "Famazing!"

                          Part 2, side 2 to come.

                          Listening to Motorpsycho: Ancient Astronauts Part 1:



                            ,,,and Part 2:

                            He's not dissuaded by some negative or uncertain comments there have been.


                              That section 7:23 – 8:02 in part 1, The Ladder, that was exactly my reaction. And still is after the umpteenth listen.


                                Since Bent mentioned living in that old farmhouse in a couple of interviews, I thought I might pay them a visit. I found Only Tomas at home though, the others where out and about.

                                Nice place! :cheers:


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                              …hanging on to the trip you're on since 1994