mug

photo by Steve Gullick

Mugstar are like a favourite armchair, a trusted confidante, a font of eternal comfort – one which can sprout wings, when flights fancy dictate, the one who always has your back.

For me, Mugstar are the latter day saints of a tradition conceived by Fairport Convention. Updating the electric folk ethic, reanimating it with their unique brand of “Psychedelic / Space / kraut Rock”. Not only do I sense the vibrations of this ubiquitous association, I am humbled by a connection to that hallowed ground, of the band who recorded the last ever Peel Session, in 2004.

Four sides of transportive vinyl, courtesy of Rock Action Records await…

‘Unearth’, extends it’s eerie clutches, unfurling a spectral banner, before launching it’s choral, free-form motorik broadside; ‘Flemish Weave’, plucks mediaeval kraut bow strings, a rich tapestry of subliminal intricacies, reimagining Flamskvavnod textures of old; ‘Time Machine’, recounts the Traveller’s unease, the unending riddle of the Morlockian Sphinx, catapulted through the eye of a wormhole maelstrom; ‘Remember The Breathing’, exhales in glacial, metronomic tribute, unfolding with the measured cadence, of rhapsodic ecstasy, an epic weightless sojourn, beyond the outer rim; ‘La Vallee’, revisits the mystical Floydian paradise, blowing away any obscuration by cloud, to reveal a dizzying new Eden…

‘Magnetic Seasons’, establishes it’s monolithic presence, a soaring symphony of Tesla flux; ‘Regency Blues’, evokes languid hues, an absorbing, affirmation mantra; ‘Sky West & Crooked’, is perhaps a homage to the 60’s film of the same name, a phantasmagorical essay, on the delicate nature of balance; ‘Ascension Island‘, closes an infinity loop, the spoken sample intro, tying Time Machine to Ascension Island – ordinarily a link that idiosyncratic, presents itself courtesy of the briefest of Google searches. On this occasion however, I later learn it to be a field recording of a mysterious, anonymous eccentric, overheard by Jason Stoll – if you listen carefully Regency Blues is in there too. The opening launch sequence, throbs with preternatural promise, illuminating the dark recesses of the seven caves of the Tolteca chichimeca, ebbing and flowing like primordial soup, an hypnotic shamanic overture, underpins this ascendent, psychoactive feast…

This double album delight, sees Mugstar effortlessly flexing their collective muscle. It’s subtle nuances, counterpoised by sheer weight, honed in the cauldron of live performance.

Magnetic Seasons was recorded at Liverpool’s Whitewood Studios, and is available via the Rock Action Records Online Store.

All hail, Mugstar – “The King In The North”…

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Written by admin