Stoner/psych fans are sure to get some pelvic region blood flowing from this unique pairing of six-string wizards and a jamming rhythm section are captured in this one time only improv set from the 2012 Roadburn Festival titled Earthless Meets Heavy Blanket/In a Dutch Haze.
The players involved are Heavy Blanket’s axemen J Mascis (yes that J Mascis) and Graham Clise along with the Earthless rhythm section of Mike Eginton and Mario Rubalcaba. This improve set was set to tape from the unforeseen circumstances where Earthless’ versatile lead guitarist Isaiah Mitchell could not perform so J and Graham stepped in on this Danish night. These titans of loud exploratory rock cut loose for an hour of purely instrumental energy; blistering ears, fingers, fretboards and drum skins along the way. The release is broken up so that you can hear individual “songs” called “Paradise in a Purple Sky Parts I-IV” which more accurately pieces of the jam all over 13 minutes, or just listen to the full hour straight through, the preferred way to absorb the mayhem.
The rhythm section do the laborious work of keeping things grounded, starting off with a slow build but it doesn’t take long for all of the excited players to pump the energy into outer space as the group rev’s up before relaxing a touch around the 16 and a half minute mark. The guitar players take a (slight) breather, but the rumbling bass and pounding drums keep pushing things onward leading to some mixed dynamics and interplay come 22 minutes. Dragging a bit the players take some time meandering around looking to sync backup for that killer power play again. That happens right around the 30 minute mark which finds the group lock step swirling in sonic chaos.
Mascis and Clise guitars are distinct in their phrasing and tone but it is impossible to tell who is who as they race off into the cosmic ether galloping around each other. The 4 players punctuate the proceedings at 42 minutes when they coalesce around a tight groove that allows flexing solos to be fired off with ease until the huge climax ending a whirlwind of musical dexterity.
This kind of release isn’t for those with short attention spans, but if you dig a bit of looseness and experimentation in your heavy rock, this recording can’t be missed. This in the moment nature doesn’t always lend to perfection and like any live recording it surely can’t hold up to that “Holy Shit” in the flesh feeling, but for those of us who couldn’t be there to witness it all go down, In A Dutch Haze serves a hefty slice of tasty experimental goodness.