Krom Lek - "A Breath Of Fresh Air"
(Stone Premonitions 2001, SPCD-030)
From Aural Innovations #17 (September 2001)
Krom Lek return with their third collection of Ozrics/Gong/festie psychedelic songs and instrumentals. The songs are all very much in the style of their last release (Psychedelic Dot Krom), though the Ozrics influences are more overt than before and the band make cautious but effective use of dancey rave beats.
"Sarsen Jam" is my hands-down favorite track, consisting of totally cosmic screaming space guitars and tribal percussion, similar to the classic Gong jams. This may well be the most intricate space jam I've heard on any of the Krom Lek CD's. It's also got a bit of those dancey rave beats, though they aren't overpowering. "Stop Starting" and "The Love Of Flying" are short trips to somewhere with lots of pretty colors and a fairly dosed view of the world. The former consists of droning didjeridoo and strange tripped out voices. And "The Love Of Flying" is a freaky electronic tune with a chorus of collaged and efx'd voices. Wild! "Dance Then Breathe" and "Release And Let Go" are two more cosmic instrumentals I enjoyed.
Krom Lek excel at good songwriting too. "Free (The Future's Now)" is one the stronger songs featuring soulful psychedelia that once again traverses through Gong and Ozrics territory. You can also tell from the production style that this is a Stone Premonitions release as many of the studio embellishments that we've come to love on the Census Of Hallucinations CD's are present throughout. "Top O The Tor Revisited" is a jamming psych song with Ozrics styled guitars, a thudding bass, and wistful keyboards that open the track. But the band soon break into song, with the flute carrying the melody, and Dick Clark agrees you can dance to it if you like. Actually the only difference I can detect between this and the original "Top O The Tor" (on Psychedelic Dot Krom) is the instrumental intro. The song seems pretty much the same. Also noteworthy are "Prevolution" which is a great rockin' trip tune with a catchy song and ending with a dancey bit of Ska. And "Heaton Jazz" is a very tightly played cool jazzy psych song.
In summary, Krom Lek continue to excel at creating spaced out psych songs and instrumentals. If you haven't heard them yet then this is a good place to start. Gong and Ozric Tentacles fans are guaranteed to be pleased.
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Contact via snail mail c/o Stone Premonitions; 271 Park Road; South Moor; Stanley; Co Durham; DH9 7AP; UK.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz