Chief Mart's - "Imhotep's Galactic Cubism Theory" (self-released 1999, CDR)
Chief Mart's - "Cosmic Hope Indian Eskimo Fellowship" (Own Records 2000, ownrec#009)
From Aural Innovations #19 (April 2002)
Coming out of Luxembourg, Chief Mart's play very inventive spacey instrumental music wired for those who like the taste of LSD. They form their own sound but draw influence from many bands with similar vibes. The music is very trippy and it also has an uplifting feel to it, rather than the darkened nature that tends to raise its head. Chief Mart's creations are interesting and offer a part ambient trancey sound as with Banco de Gaia and Tortoise, as well as similarities to the Ozric Tentacles. These are a few of the bands that Chief Mart's list as influences, and they do evolve a certain similar feeling as the aforementioned. Chief Mart's are: Fabien-Bass & Synth, Sylvian-Guitar & Synth, and the brothers Richard-Drums & Drum Machines, and Gerard-Guitar & Synths.
Imhotep's Galactic Cubism Theory is a 50-minute album, which was recorded live in their rehearsal room. It is a journey that grasps hold of you and guides you through the corridors of its world, a world created in the form of 6 very long atmospheric tracks, and I have got to say that I like them all. Without trying I found myself inside their world, and that to me is a sign of good music.
The opening track 'White Tea Union' is a 12.36-minute ambient number that moves through phases like a Banco De Gaia/Eat Static style track without the pumping drum beat. The Synth work is locked in the Space Rock mould, but often ventures elsewhere in search of new ground. It is sort of ambient trance as it slowly emerges; a main piano sounding riff comes and goes giving a feel of a Tortoise track. While the beat rolls in the mould of Banco de Gaia.
'125 Medusa Crash (live)' is very much in the Ozric Tentacles vein of Dub. The sound is uncanny but you can tell that it is not the Ozric Tentacles. It just sounds similar. 'Rotundity' and 'Gidget part 9' both have that Tortoise edge to them as they flow mellow through their motions with atmospheric tinges. 'Psotta-Miko' and 'Ostentatious Space Rodeo (live)' both begin with a Tortoise style, and are almost Pink Floyd in mellowness until they branch out to become more positive explosions of sound. You can tell that Tortoise influence this band in a big way. The Bass & drum style is very much the same, but both tracks offer more to me in the way of synths and atmospherics than Tortoise do, and here is where they lean more towards the Ozrics.
I've got to say that I liked this album a lot. It was fresh and was played with conviction and energy. The fact that it was live helped me to get into it more, because I like stuff to be how it is rather than being enhanced by the wizardry of the modern age. It showed that Chief Mart's are good musicians with a good ear for good music. I'll say no more.
On Cosmic Hope Indian Eskimo Fellowship, I can sense an Ozric Tentacles orientated edge as soon as it starts. The opening track 'Tibetan Ukrainian Mountain Troops' is in a very similar mould with its Arabic scales and its atmospheres. And at 1.57 minutes in length it makes a perfect intro to an album that is full of Space and is littered with cracking tracks.
'15' is a 12.20 minute Ozrics Dub style piece that is awash with Bass & Drum poundings. The Guitar and the atmospheres make it almost Pink Floyd 'Careful With That Axe' in feel and ambience, and with the added Dub vibe it makes an interesting sound that is original and powerful. Much like the 8.33-minute 'Tut-Ench-Amun'. I swear it is Michael Fish spouting about the weather over the top. 'Ursa Martan' on the other hand has the harder Ozrics edge to it in every shape and form. Too Ozrics sounding perhaps? But none the less it is done very well indeed.
'Spacetimetranslation' offers Eat Static traits, rather dancey in nature. It has Implant style sounds and is full of great Synths and Sequencer patterns. It leans more towards the Drum Machine rather than the played Drums, but still it gives a laid back sound. 'On Greed We Ponder', 'Allein Im Baum', and 'Tetris: K-Modul' all have a feel more like the first album with that Tortoise slant to them. Not as good as the more Ozrics sounding songs. While 'Jupiter Renewal' has a medieval feel to it somehow, possibly Floyd in certain motions. The line up is still the same as the first album, with the addition of Chris on Flute & Synths on the track 'On Greed We Ponder'.
These are all better recorded tracks than the previous album and this one offers a lot more I think. Considering that this was recorded on a 4-Track, I think that it has a good quality to the sound. It is well produced and it gives the feel of a band that could go on to better things. I personally would love to see them in England, who knows maybe? Looks like you've got another fan lads, keep it moving forward.
For more information you can visit the Chief Mart's web site at: http://www.chiefmarts.cjb.net.
Contact via snail mail c/o Gerard Johanns; 17 Rue de la Fontaine; L-3768 Tétange; Luxembourg.
Reviewed by Albert Pollard