Schroedinger's Cat - "Assassins From Outer Space" (self-released 2011)
Schroedinger's Cat - "Revolution in Outer Space-A Space Symphony Part IV" (self-released 2011)
Schroedinger's Cat - "Dark-Ages" (self-released 2011)
From Aural Innovations #43 (October 2011)
Iain Hawk Khan is a German musician who has been releasing albums as Schroedinger's Cat for many years. Iain plays all guitars, sitar, bass, drum programming, electronics, tape manipulations and vocals to create deep space atmospheric psychedelic excursions. The music is usually slow paced, meditative, and highly image inducing. Iain's discography is huge, but he has three new albums released this year that I've been enjoying.
Schroedinger's Cat - "Assassins From Outer Space"
Assassins From Outer Space include Iain's first Schroedinger's Cat recordings since 2003. Tracks like Alan Davey Song 1 (and part 2), Pulsares, and Magic Space 1 consist of slowly droning and howling guitars. They've got a very cavernous feel, though at the same time being ultra-trippy and with an interesting machine-like vibe; mind-melting but with mildly aggressive noisy elements. I like the combination. Alice's Dream is a standout track that is psychedelically serene, with bubbling liquid trip guitar that morphs into soundscape-drone waves. It's still got that howling cavernous feel, but it's an atmospheric piece that would function nicely as your meditative OM chant. Shining Star and Magic Space 2 flow with a kind of symphonic ambience. Spacers 1 is similar and sounds like there's some kind of alien string section accompaniment. Despite the aggression that the title might suggest, much of Assassins From Outer Space (the title track) is the most purely, and peacefully, space-ambient music of the set. I was floating on a cloud. It shifts gears about halfway through this 12 minute track, taking on a slightly darker and decidedly more dramatic feel. Yet it's still slow, peaceful and spaced out, with a lurking intensity. This is my favorite track on the album. Finally, She's A Kind Of Magic is a short piece that has the most song-oriented feel of the set.
Schroedinger's Cat - "Revolution in Outer Space-A Space Symphony Part IV"
Revolution in Outer Space is Part IV of what is apparently an on-going Space Symphony. It opens with Revolution, which is nearly 9 minutes of floating soundscape swirl and is a standout for pure ambient delight. The epic of the album is the 4-part Space Queen, with each segment scattered throughout the album. Part one is a psychedelic song about... you guessed it... a queen from Space! Part 2 continues the theme though the guitars get pretty noisy. The mood eases on Part 3 and focuses on atmosphere and melody. And on Part 4 Iain goes for emotional intensity as he winds down his tale. Land Of Cheese And Wine, continuing into Quasar, are highlights of the album, featuring atmospheric liquid and soundscape guitars and highly efx'd vocals. I like how Iain paints landscapes of pure spaced out sound yet also communicates a melodic sense. It's meditative, emotional, and intense. Pulsstars is a guitar and vocal psych song similar in feel to Space Queen Part 1. And then there are three tracks that are different versions of tracks that appear on Assassins From Outer Space. Of the three, She's Kind of Magic seems the most different, having an extended instrumental bit that nicely fleshes out the song.
Schroedinger's Cat - "Dark-Ages"
Dark-Ages is Iain's latest, freshly released at the time of writing these reviews. After a brief sitar intro we're into the nearly 14 minute title track. This is pretty cool. It's pure lysergic space excursion, with dense walls of guitar soundscapes, slowly jamming sitar, and barely audible, though still rhythmic electro beats. The sitar gets quite raw, almost like some old Delta bluesman picked one up for the first time, and the effect is interesting against the increasingly bubbling, pulsating, noisy space behind it. The sitar is later joined by highly efx'd acid psych guitar and the two trip along merrily side by side. Lady Of The Sea continues the theme, though in vocal number context. I listened to the album for the first time at my day job and this song jumped out at me as a pretty trippy start to the work day. The jam sections go all out for improvisational mind-fuck psychedelia. The same title appears later in the album, which I guess is intended to be a reprise and includes some almost Spanish sounding guitar. Endless Spaces (includes Gates to Hell) features more freeform chaos from the cosmos, dosed to the gills and jamming away like The Spacious Mind meets Captain Beefheart in Mumbai. One of my favorites of the set. The other standout track that I liked is The Last Dragon, with its sometimes whimsical beats that propel the otherwise completely spaced music.
Dark-Ages is my favorite of the three albums. It's got the best sound quality and I like the liberal and interesting use of sitar throughout. The sound quality does tend to vary on the other two albums, sometimes feeling a bit muffled, which makes a difference with the vocals. Overall, though, if you like free-wheeling spaced out psychedelia, Iain is creating some pretty cool stuff.
For more information you can visit the Schroedinger's Cat web site at: http://schroedingerscat.soundawesome.com
Reviewed by Spaceman33