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Secret Chiefs 3 – the long-awaited Book of Souls

3rd Apr 13 (Wed) Leave a comment
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
Trey Spruance - Secret Chiefs 3 at WOW Hall, Eugene Oregon 2012
Secret Chiefs 3 announce the release of two full-length installments of their long awaited Book of Souls album, and two USA/Canada tours in support of them. The first [Book of Souls: Folio A] comes out in late May, and the second [Book of Souls: Folio B] comes out in September. BOOK OF SOULS: FOLIO A (CD), RELEASED IN MAY

Listeners have come to expect a lot from Secret Chiefs 3, and for Book of Souls, second in the band’s mega-trilogy (first being Book of Horizons, 2004), they expect nothing less than a vertigo-inducing follow up. True to expectation, Book of Souls: Folio A is a full-length album densely-packed with musical skyscrapers. Over a decade in the making along with Folio B, Book of Souls is Secret Chiefs 3’s most elaborate work yet. Following the 7-band schemata laid out in Book of Horizons, both Folios of Book of Souls thoroughly establish the depth of SC3’s journey into otherwise lost musical possibilities. With productions based in studios in the SF Bay Area, NY, LA, Seattle, UK and France over the last 11 years, the band’s leader Trey Spruance enlisted a small army of musicians — or actually not so small, since the orchestral tasks demanded by the music seem effectively unlimited in number.

But familiar names in the SC3 canon form the backbone of the recording-band: Timb Harris, Ches Smith, Shahzad Ismaily, Anonymous 13, Danny Heifetz, William Winant, with live-band initiates Matt Lebofsky, Kenny Grohowski and Toby Driver adding extra life among the zillions of enlisted musical enablers.

On Book of Souls: Folio A, it is evident that Secret Chiefs 3 continues to operate in blissful ignorance of current musical fashions, remaining enchanted only by what can be unlocked in modern mediums by applying a specific recipe of pre-modern (often ancient) processes to them.

While it’s true that the album represents the kind of titanic, almost Faustian undertaking that one would expect as being uniquely appropriate to Secret Chiefs 3, for all the pomp it’s easy to forget that everything having to do with the recording is DIY to the core. Book of Souls: Folio A is a fully organic production. Everything is honed with love in one of the last hermetically-sealed laboratories. Some may snort at the notion that there even could exist such a cauldron of limitless fascination extending so rigorously beyond the time/space boundaries of modern occidental groupthink; a place in-between, suspended, where the simplest motifs have the freedom either to radiate upward into geometric complexities that are beyond description, or to refine downward to a state of simple musical essence. But it’s the usual thing at the SC3 lab.

This press-release is offered as a summons to the impartial jury of all earthly ears. All snorts and scoffs will be answered with a supra-sensory choir. Coming in May and September.

MAY RESIDENCY TOUR – more details here

Two USA/Canada tours are happening in 2013 (May and October), one in support of each Book of Souls release. The first has already been booked: Secret Chiefs 3 will play multiple-night ‘residencies’ in select USA/Canada cities in May, in support of “Book of Souls: Folio A”. These residiencies will involve multiple sets per night. The music of SC3 “Heptad” bands FORMS, Ishraqiyun, UR, as well as other Secret Chiefs 3 material will be performed, including works arranged for John Zorn’s Masada. Check listings soon to see which configurations SC3 will be in on which night.

Seattle, WA
Tue May 7, 2013 @ The Sunset – tickets
Wed May 8, 2013 @ The Crocodile – tickets

San Francisco, CA
Fri May 10, 2013 @ Cafe Du Nord – tickets
Sat May 11, 2013 @ Cafe Du Nord – tickets

Los Angeles, CA
Sun May 12, 2013 @ Bootleg Bar – tickets
Tue May 14, 2013 @ Bootleg Bar – tickets

New York, NY
Fri May 17, 2013 @ Mercury Lounge – tickets

Brooklyn, NY
Sat May 18, 2013 @ Union Pool
Sun May 19, 2013 @ Union Pool

Chicago, IL
Tue May 21, 2013 @ Schubas Tavern – tickets
Wed May 22, 2013 @ Beat Kitchen – tickets

Toronto, ON
Fri May 24, 2013 @ The Drake – tickets
Sat May 25, 2013 @ The Drake – tickets

For a band that has been busy playing over 300 shows in over 30 countries in the last few years, one could imagine how well-seasoned a unit it might’ve become. And yes, the lineup has stabilized over the last few tours into the following elite team, who can handle everything and then some for both tours in 2013:

Trey Spruance, Timb Harris, Matt Lebofsky, Toby Driver, Kenny Grohowski

Timb Harris - Secret Chiefs 3 at WOW Hall Eugene Oregon 2012OCTOBER NATIONAL TOUR, SUPPORTING “BOOK OF SOULS: FOLIO B” (CD) RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER

After a brief pause to digest Folio A, listeners will hear the second installment, Book of Souls: Folio B in  September. Intimately thematically-intertwined with the previously-released Folio, Book of Souls: Folio B has more Autumnal sheen. Darker, in some ways more ballistic, but also intoxicated with Beauty and high on diabolical humours, Book of Souls: Folio B remains unquestionably secure at SC3’s well-established fulcrum between rationalistic chaos and anarchistic elegance.

* NOTE  A deluxe vinyl edition of the complete Book of Souls corpus, with expanded artwork and comprehensive conceptual material will be released in October.

** artwork and preview mp3s forthcoming

Secret Chiefs 3 & Dengue Fever – West Coast Tour 2012

15th Dec 11 (Thu) 1 comment

Trickling in via the venues and/or ticketing sites, the official announcement has finally come in…

World metal phenoms Secret Chiefs 3, led by Mr. Bungle guitarist Trey Spruance, is hitting the road this winter with Cambodian/Los Angeles fusion pop band (and former Web of Mimicry labelmates) Dengue FeverConfirmed dates below, more details will be posted shortly:

  • Jan 24 – Denver CO – Bluebird Theatre
  • Jan 25 – Santa Fe NM – Santa Fe Brewing Company
  • Jan 26 – Phoenix AZ – Crescent Ballroom
  • Jan 27 – Los Angeles CA – El Rey Theatre
  • Jan 28 – Santa Ana CA – Constellation Room
  • Jan 29 – San Diego CA – The Casbah
  • Jan 31 – San Luis Obispo CA – Club SLO Brew
  • Feb 1 – Santa Cruz CA – Moe’s Alley
  • Feb 2 – San Francisco CA – Great American Music Hall
  • Feb 3 – San Francisco CA – Slim’s
  • Feb 4 – Sacramento CA – Harlow’s
  • Feb 6 – Eugene OR – WOW Hall
  • Feb 7 – Portland OR – Dante’s
  • Feb 8 – Seattle WA – Neumos
  • Feb 9 – Bellingham WA – The Wild Buffalo
  • Feb 10 – Vancouver BC – Rickshaw Theatre

If you’ll be at either Oregon date, let me know.  I’ll be there for both Eugene and Portland!  Last time I saw them was 2008 (Aug 2008 – Doug Fir, Portland); so it’s been a long time coming…

~Dan – np: Marketa IrglovaAnar

New Secret Chiefs 3 vinyl (Ishraqiyun & FORMS) {sound samples now posted}

29th Aug 11 (Mon) Leave a comment

Update 8/29: Sound samples for the two songs on the 7″ are now posted at the WOM store.

~Dan

New Secret Chiefs 3 vinyl (Ishraqiyun & FORMS) Just posted to Web of Mimicry’s store… The new 7″ vinyl single from Secret Chiefs 3.  This time the tunes come from the satellite bands Ishraqiyun & FORMS.  It comes out September 13th, is limited to 1000 pressings, and the physical edition will contain lossless digital download links. Side A: Ishraqiyun “Saptarshi” Side B: FORMS “Radar”… Read More

via pacificlectic : pacific northwest concert reviews & eclectic music news

New Secret Chiefs 3 vinyl (Ishraqiyun & FORMS)

2nd Aug 11 (Tue) 1 comment

Just posted to Web of Mimicry’s store

The new 7″ vinyl single from Secret Chiefs 3.  This time the tunes come from the satellite bands Ishraqiyun & FORMS.  It comes out September 13th, is limited to 1000 pressings, and the physical edition will contain lossless digital download links.

Side A: Ishraqiyun “Saptarshi”

Ishraqiyun

Side B: FORMS “Radar”

FORMS

~Dan – np: StavesacreAbsolutes

Secret Chiefs 3 – Satellite bands video

20th Jun 11 (Mon) 1 comment

Behold, the fan-made awesomeness dedicated to the sound and logo elements of the seven satellite bands in the Secret Chiefs 3 oeuvre…

The seven satellite bands are The Electromagnetic Azoth, UR, Ishraqiyun, Traditionalists, Holy Vehm, Forms, and NT Fan.

~Dan – np: The RootsThe Tipping Point

Secret Chiefs 3 – 2011 North American Tour (wave 1)

8th Jun 11 (Wed) Leave a comment

Posted this morningSecret Chiefs 3 tour dates…

really looking forward to playing the US again!
thanks to bookers and all promoters for making it happen well!
(don’t worry west coast, it’s being planned)

  • 8/31 Hamilton, ON @ The Casbah
  • 9/1 Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
  • 9/2 Ottawa, ON @ Mavericks
  • 9/3 TBA, QC (details in Aug),
  • 9/5 Montreal, QC @ Cabaret Mile End
  • 9/6 Quebec City, QC @ Le Cercle
  • 9/7 Portland, ME @ Space Gallery
  • 9/8 Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
  • 9/9 Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Lounge
  • 9/10 Milford, CT @ Daniel Street
  • 9/12 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
  • 9/13 New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge
  • 9/15 TBA
  • 9/16 Ferndale, MI @ The Magic Bag
  • 9/17 Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
  • 9/19 Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
  • 9/20 Raleigh, NC @ Local 506
  • 9/22 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
  • 9/23 Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle
  • 9/24 Lexington, KY @ Buster’s (Boomslang Fest w/Swans and Sir Richard Bishop)

News about Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson’s next solo album, Grace for Drowning, coming tomorrow…

~Dan – np: Red Hot Chili PeppersStadium Arcadium

Secret Chiefs 3 U.S. Tour 2011

19th May 11 (Thu) Leave a comment

Secret Chiefs 3 – Europe 2011

26th Jan 11 (Wed) 7 comments

Trey Spruance and the Secret Chiefs 3 haven’t really swung around the U.S. since 2008 (Portland review linkfrom their last full US tour?).  Lately South America and Europe are getting some love.  While I’m bummed for no chance to see them as of late, I’m glad they’re active…

SECRET CHIEFS 3 Europe tour
from 16th June to 18th July 2011
Confirmed dates TBA
Booking contact : europe@webofmimicry.com

I think that’s also their first new press photo in a while.  If my brain is working correctly, that’s (L-R) Jai Young Kim, Trey Spruance, Ches Smith, Toby Driver Rich Doucette, and Timb Harris.  Will we see Book of Souls in 2011?  Here’s hoping!!

~Dan – np: Yuka HondaHeart Chamber Phantoms

Secret Chiefs 3 in Italy 2010

13th Dec 10 (Mon) 2 comments

So, a new video has just surfaced… possibly for an upcoming DVD from the Secret Chiefs 3‘s jaunt in Italy earlier this year?  Here is their cover of John Carpenter’s “Halloween” at Grottarossa in Rimini, Italy:

Slow start with the drum intro and the drums being a bit high in the mix, but I like the way it was shot.  Needs some more strings (Timb Harris) and more variation (I’ve never been all that fond of Halloween’s repetition)… anyway, I’m hoping something comes out.  Regardless of the choice of leading off with this song on vimeo, I’m stoked for new SC3 on the horizon.  No clue on the legitimacy of a future release.  Just rumor mill at this stage.

Will it come out before Book of Souls?

Um… yeah, Jesus will come back before Book of Souls… said the atheist.

~Dan – np: CelldwellerKill the Sound

Secret Chiefs 3 in the studio

9th Jul 10 (Fri) 1 comment

Well, it’s official… Secret Chiefs 3 are in the studio.  Per a tweet from Brooklyn-based Studio G / Joel Hamilton, “Secret Chiefs 3 with Joel at Studio G. Rock never confused you so well.”  And here’s a picture (from Ches Smith’s FB) to prove that Trey Spruance is there, too. :)

Book of Souls by year’s end?  Well, I ain’t hatcheting my counts before they chicken, but I’d say it’s possible…

~Dan – np: Beak>Beak>

Secret Chiefs 3 – Satellite Supersonic

7th Apr 10 (Wed) 2 comments

In conjunction with their upcoming European tour, the Secret Chiefs 3 (led by Mr. Bungle guitarist Trey Spruance) are releasing a CD made primarily from their vinyl-only offerings back in 2007…

(pre-order now, out May 25)

Satellite Supersonic Vol 1 – Tracklist:

  1. UR – Circumambulation
  2. ISHRAQIYUN – Balance of the 19
  3. ELECTROMAGNETIC AZOTH – Ubik
  4. UR – Kulturvultur
  5. ISHRAQIYUN – Balthassar : Melchior : Kaspar
  6. ELECTROMAGNETIC AZOTH – The Left Hand of Nothingness
  7. UR – Anthropomorphisis : Boxleitner
  8. ?

The long-awaited Book of Souls is due out by the fall… hmm… heard that before. :)

~Dan – np: JónsiGo

no free download or torrent available

Secret Chiefs 3 – Traditionalists: Le Mani Destre Recise Degli Ultimi Uomini

27th Apr 09 (Mon) 9 comments

Well, so much for the long lost Book of SoulsTrey Spruance and Secret Chiefs 3 snuck one out under our noses over on the Web of Mimicry message board. The new SC3 album, Traditionalists: Le Mani Destre Recise Degli Ultimi Uomini, is being shipped near the 3rd week of May. 2009. (!!!)

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/secretchiefs3

Pre-Order: the CD / the LP

Sound sample: http://www.webofmimicry.com/label.php?band=sc3

Tracklist

1. Faith’s Broken Mirror
2. Sophia’s Theme
3. What’s Wrong with Cytherea?
4. Mourning In Ekstasis
5. He Hates Us
6. Psychism 1: Cytherea’s Possession
7. Love Spell
8. Agenda 21
9. Subcutaneous Solution
10. Abyss of Psychic Enchantments
11. Subdermal Sequence (Nano-Correction)
12. RFID Slaverider
13. Dionysian Dithyramb (Eros-seed of the Egregore)
14. Zombievision
15. Perfectly Reasonable
16. Psychism 2: Fear is the Great Teacher
17. Abolish Believers by Abolishing Belief
18. Funeral for What Might Have Been (Sophia’s Theme)
19. Codex Alimentarius
20. Putting Forth the Hand to Take
21. Psychism 3: Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind
22. Hypnotopia (Obey your Passion)
23. Nano-correction / Human Migrations / Faith Realizes
24. Chapel by the Sea (a Heart That is Broken and Humbled…)
25. The Strength to Sever
26. Baby Hedone (Harvest of the Egregore)
27. Zombievision 2012
28. The Great Die Off (He Mocks Us All)
29. Cytherea’s Awakening / Martyrdom at Romiou Point / Return to the Foam
30. To Love God is Sweeter than Life (Sophia’s Theme)

Blurb from the webpage

From out of nowhere Secret Chiefs 3 (operating here as Traditionalists, one of the seven ‘satellite bands’ introduced on Secret Chiefs 3’s album Book of Horizons) presents an elaborate “colonna sonora paranoica” — a paranioac film soundtrack. The film is imagined, but the horror is real. This entire project, as you might expect from this band, is a spiralling allegory that extends itself well-beyond its starting-point cliché as a “soundtrack for a non-existent film.” But that’s always been one of those potentially good clichés, in theory anyway. Pursuant to that potential, this particular work remains singularly, decidedly faithful to its sworn genre, the Giallo Horror Film Soundtrack.

At this point, it’s fair to assume we can take the dizzying conceptual maelstrom that comes with anything SC3-related as a “given,” right?
Alright, so we won’t go into that here.

But a word on the strictly musical side of things is warranted. The first thing to note is that Giallo cinema music has the distinction of having been graced by nearly all the great masters of Italian film music in general: Bruna Nicolai, Stelvio Cipriani, Ennio Morricone, Goblin, Pierro Piccioni etc. And though this area of “B cinema” certainly has its appreciators, one still-underplayed element is that when considering the music, Giallo’s harmonic language was developed by brilliant people who, by current musical and aesthetic standards, set the bar very high. For any of us wannabes to share in the magic of this lost artform, we have to bring a bit more more to the table than some vintage amps & keyboards and vague undeveloped musical ideas based only in hipster aesthetics. Because if you ignore the deeper intricacies of the music theory at work, the orchestration, the arrangement, etc., you’re really only asking to make an ass of yourself (which is likely anyway no matter what you do). But the usual thing is to sample stuff or simply borrow themes from the masters and to then repackage them in a new “updated” context. Well, in a climate like that we should emphasize that Le Mani Destre Recise Degli Ultimi Uomini is quite simply an album of original compositions. The process should be likened to when someone is learning another language and begins to have dreams in that language. It’s the same process in any style of music, really. So to state it plainly, these are original compositions that were dreamt into being in the harmonic language of the Giallo Horror Film Soundtrack. It’s that simple. The point is not to be strictly period-specific, or culturally-specific, but to be psychically specific — caring first and foremost about how to convey things that will affect the psychic state of the listener in the intended way. After all, the point of dreaming in this particular language, with all its sophistication, elegance and beauty, is to go that much more deeply into the territory of nightmare… and um, let’s just say SC3 feel it’s necessary to pursue this particular range of the human experience at this moment.

The album itself is a full orchestral score that fully capitalizes on SC3 stock of musical manpower (Trey Spruance, Ches Smith, Timb Harris, Shahzad Ismaily, William Winant, et al.) and adds to that a broad cast of A-list hired musicians (among them Laurie Goldstein and Hans Teuber). The material runs the gamut; dissonant violent strings receding to beautiful textures with flute and female vocals through echoplex; analog synthesizers, harpsichords and celestas over a tight ’70s-style rock band rhythm section; crazed psychedelic freakouts with major payoffs; church organs granting repose, until tape treatments and a chorus of possessed shrieking voices force the listener to reconsider his position on the existence of Evil… If you can imagine all that produced to the standard found on any other Secret Chiefs 3 release, you’ve pretty much got the idea here.

The album was mixed analog to 1/2 inch tape. LP comes in 180 gram vinyl. CD is a mock gatefold LP, with a printed sleeve. Pure win.

The album title, roughly translated, means “The Severed Right Hands of the Last Men.”

OMG.  For me at least… Caveat: Based on the sound sample, it doesn’t appear to be one of Trey’s more “accessible” SC3 releases; so I suppose maybe wait on Book of Souls if you’re not already a fan of SC3 or movie music.

~Dan – np: Circle of Dust Circle of Dust

Note: This blog does not have a torrent or free download for this album (never have, never will).  Support independent muasic and buy this Secret Chiefs 3 record from the band directly at Web of Mimicry.

Isis, Geo 100, and a Secret DVD

24th Jan 09 (Sat) Leave a comment

A trio of music news about Isis, George Hrab, and the Secret Chiefs 3…

As foretold in Pitchfork, post-metal band Isis is due out with their follow-up to the amazingly great In the Absence of Truth (2006) on May 5th on Ipecac Recordings.  The release is April 21 for the special edition vinyl.  Wavering Point is their 5th full-length album, and it features TOOL guitarist Adam Jones on a coupe of songs.  The blurb in Pitchfork cracked me up…

And this is just a wild guess, but I’m thinking most of the songs will start out really quiet and pretty and they they’ll get epically loud and crunchy and they’ll last for about eight minutes. Call me crazy.

…because it’s true.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

George Hrab‘s Geologic Podcast (i.e.- the best free thing on the internets) just turned 100.  With one every week (give or take), that’s roughly 2 solid years of putting out an almost album’s worth of comedy and musical goodness every stinkin’ week!?  Check him out:

http://geologicpodcast.com/
http://geologicrecords.com/

Oh, and he’s working on album #6… which is oh so nice

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

And according to the prophecies and the motto of “screen shot or it didn’t happen,” I present you with this gem of “based on their track record, it probably won’t actually come out on time“… the Secret Chiefs 3 have a live DVD coming out in “March” on Web of Mimicry:

sc3dvd

We shall see…

~Dan – np: Baby AnimalsShaved and Dangerous

Scrt Chfs 3

11th Jun 08 (Wed) Leave a comment

If vowels didn’t exist, this sentence would be idiotic. If vowels also didn’t exist, it would seem that Scrt Chfs 3 were opening for Scrt Chfs 3… or perhaps… Scrt Chfs 3 wr pnng fr Scrt Chfs 3. Gd thng thy d xst…

The Portland show (Oregoneff you, Maine) of the Secret Chiefs 3 mini tour has openers of the Diminished Men and Secret Chefs 3 (a tribute band who play the SC3-style of world metal/rock with kitchen utensils).

Sunday, August 3rd. Doug Fir Lounge. 3 grt bnds.
Assuming I’m not far away for work, I’m planning on making it up from Eugene for the show.

http://dougfirlounge.com/
http://www.myspace.com/secretchiefs3
http://www.myspace.com/secretchefs3
http://www.myspace.com/DIMINISHEDMEN

Nooch.

~Dan

new Secret Chiefs 3 tour dates

14th May 08 (Wed) Leave a comment

I imagine these tour dates, as they trickle in, are all about “making their way back home after a festival.” Alas, the fact that they’re swinging by my way is FANTASTIC…

Secret Chiefs 3

Fri, 7/25/08 – Detroit Lakes, MN -Soo Pass Ranch “10,000 Lakes Festival
Sat, 7/26/08 – Milwaukee, WI -Turner’s Ballroom
Sun, 7/27/08 – Chicago, IL – Double Door
Thu, 7/31/08 – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater new date
Fri, 8/01/08 – Salt Lake City, UT – Club Paladium new date
Sun, 8/03/08 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge new date yay!

http://www.webofmimicry.com/
http://www.myspace.com/secretchiefs3

Their latest record, Xaphan: Masada Book Two Vol 9, is FANTASTIC

Secret Chiefs 3 Xaphan

~Dan

REVIEW: Estradasphere @ 2nd Story Nightclub (Bloomington, IN – – 10/6/06)

7th Oct 06 (Sat) 2 comments

Estradasphere‘s show last night at the 2nd Story Nightclub in Bloomington, IN was PHENOMENAL.

I arrived in Bloomington and about crap my pants with how crazy the traffic and people in town were… apparently it is a HUGE Lotus World Music Festival this whole weekend… oy… anyway, I grabbed grub at the excellent veggie restaurant ROOTS (mushroom-patty burger, fried tofu cubes with homemade sweet plum sauce, cinnamon-or-ginger-spiced sweet potato fries, and a fresh (I saw him make it) orange and carrot juice). I was too stuffed for dessert. If I ever bring the wife to Bloomington, we’re totally hitting up ROOTS again.

Anyway, I head to the venue by about 9:30pm. The band hasn’t showed up yet. They were supposed to be there at 5pm to set up. Ru’ Ro’. I lie down on the couch in the venue, and by 10pm the band finally shows up.

The 1st opener (Das Trio) starts around 10:20pm. They had some skills (at least the bassist), but they were very muddy as a group… and the songs and vocals were not memorable. I’ve seen worse bands, but I’ve seen better. I apologize if they do a google search for their name and come upon this review. They showed potential, but the songs just seemed generic.

After Das Trio’s set, I walked around town again to kill time. I got what might have been the best double shot of espresso ever. Seriously. It was so flavorful. I totally recommend the Crystal Parrot in Bloomington. Wow. Yummy.

The 2nd opener was playing by the time I got back to the venue. Floating Hand was a three-piece, growly, death-metal slow-grindcore type band. I thought they were fantastic. Unfortunately, since Estradasphere showed up sooo late, E-sphere was setting up behind Floating Hand… which caused some ill-will (to say the least) between the bands later on in the evening (FH heckling loadly during E-sphere’s first few songs — even after E-sphere publically apologized and thanked FH for their music).

Anyway, after Floating Hand, I walked around in the cool air again… came back by 1:10am and Estradasphere was finally getting ready to start. For those who don’t know Estradasphere, they’re a sibling band (shared members) to the Secret Chiefs 3, which is a sibling band to Mr. Bungle. Anyway, they’re middle eastern-influenced progressive, jazzy, gypsy-folk, classical-tinged, insanity-for-compositional structure metal band from the San Francisco Bay area. There are 6 members in this incarnation of the band… Timb Harris on violin, trumpet and good-looks; Kevin Kmetz (aka God of Shamisen) on guitar, keyboards, and most notably the Japanese banjo-like instrument, the shamisen; Jason Schimmel on guitars (electric, acoustic, flamenco), banjo, and keyboards (including melodica); Lee Smith on drums (fast, too); Adam Stacey on accordion, keyboards & synthesizer, rhodes and melodica; and Tim Smolens on contrabass (aka upright bass) and electric bass.

The near-hour long 1st set (again, starting at around 1:10am) was seemingly mostly covers and/or new compositions. They (Estradasphere) have three full-length albums (and 2 live albums with add’l material) prior to their most recent release this year, Palace of Mirrors; yet they didn’t play anything from those albums. Odd choice, but regardless, it was fantastic to see and hear. World music with some pep.

The 2nd set, after a (literal) 2-minute break, was allegedly Palace of Mirrors in its entirety. I say allegedly, because for those tracking time, it was probably close to 2:15am when the first set ended. I had a two+ hour drive ahead of me (didn’t want to stay in a hotel — too busy this weekend to get home later). I left after the halfway mark of the album… basically after the whirlwind, violin & shamisen metal-in-your-face attack(!) of the standout track from Palace of Mirrors, “Smuggled Mutation.” I’m bummed I had to bail, but I think the club (or the police) might have shut them down anyway if they passed “bar closin’ curfew.” Sweet glory… almost an hour and a half of wonderful live music (not including FH’s great opening set).

I strongly recommend Estradasphere to anyone who likes world music, and also likes (or tolerates) harder music… but, really, the harder edge is drastically out of their live show (and album) when compared to their earlier stuff (like on Its Understood or Buck Fever).

http://www.estradasphere.com/
http://www.myspace.com/estradasphere

~Dan

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