By all accounts, Frankfurtian Psychedelic Stoner rock trio Nazca Space Fox live up to their imaginative name with the music they make and the ripples they seem to be making in the psychedelic jam scene. Their 2nd full length release “Pi” is a six track slice of rather expansive and expressive musical work which really plays into the genre trope of ‘creating a vast soundscape to aimlessly wander round’. With a host of tricks and tried and tested methods like clever layering of sequences, rich tones, meticulous arrangements, well placed effects and a variety of styles all find a place in this musical offering. So, enough circling round the issue, let’s just grab a slice and see what it’s like.
Experimental Instrumental music is a tricky subject for most to get to grips with. I am by no means a ‘specialist’ on this subject or someone who is immersed in this style of music myself; I tend to gravitate to the extended instrumental sequences within a song or maybe the occasional instrumental track rather than full length releases, which means very few bands of this style ever really grasp my attention. My Sleeping Karma and 11 Paranoias are two bands who put this style of music out and two bands who I hold in high regard with how creative their music is. Whilst Nazca Space Fox are on a different end of the experimental and psychedelic spectrum to these bands, the key elements are still there and they serve as a good reference point.
There is certainly no doubt about the level of expressiveness and creativity on this release. Nazca Space Fox know how to craft some real big sounds which are highly energetic and dynamic. Combining the US West coast style Desert flair, gratuitous use of thick fuzz, raw overdrive and crunchy gain sections with contrasting cleans which ring out or clever use of phase, echo, delay and flanger effects, the tone front of this release is well crafted. The way the tracks shift from subtle to loud, shifting suddenly into pounding fuzz with little warning in places or gradually building up with a memorable hook based progression which shifts through various levels of tone and distortion before peaking and then descending back down.
Musically, it works and does what the band intend it to do. The music on “Pi” is very easy on the ears, you can listen to it and get absorbed in the vast soundscape which has been generated. The experimental edge is expressed in free flowing solos, intricate rhythmic patterns from the drums and the deep and warm basslines, all working together to prop each other up and help establish a solid foundation. “Space Farm Blues” is the third track on the album and easily the standout one of the six songs. It is a clever blend of desert/stoner vibes and your standard blues rock. Much like the sounds of Samsara Blues Experiment, it has a slight exotic flair about it whilst it blends the typical expressive blues lines for melody and has the slow and steady pacing of laid back desert/stoner rock. There are some nods to Hendrix in it also, especially with the ripping solo which wails out beautifully, but it isn’t quite up there in terms of execution and status. The other tracks do have their moments, but they just don’t grab your attention quite like this one!
In all it is a decent enough musical offering but it doesn’t quite capture the imagination like other psychedelic experimentalists do. You can tell just by listening to “Pi” what Nazca Space Fox intend for the record; the composition is solid and the execution in terms of technique and style is there and delivered to a decent standard, but like I said, it just seems to lack that part which captures the imagination and keeps you really engaged. Musically, I can’t fault it, it works well for what it is and you have to give credit where it is due… Unfortunately, with psychedelic orientated things, the logical approach only carries so much weight, the imagination factor makes up the rest and it just lacks that spark to make it explode into a vast array of musical euphoria.