Minneapolis Psyche Improv/Drone Collective
A live recording of a rare Salamander live performance on May 20th 2002. Two Drummers. Very high quality recording with great stereo separation. Hand printed sleeve featuring original artwork by Salamander guitarist Sean Connaughty. 12" vinyl - Limited numbered edition of 300. (Available Now!)
*New* Review from The Broken Face #15
Here's one of the most anticipated records I managed to grab at the recent Terrastock festival in Boston, a brand new recording from the much-beloved Minneapolis psych/improv collective Salamander. This all too limited (300 copies) piece of vinyl includes two sidelong jam-like pieces that were recorded at one of those rare Salamander gigs, this one dating back to May 20th, 2002. As always they deliver a nearly perfect slice of Krautrock insanity and zoned-out psychedelic guitar exploration that never could've been recorded anywhere but the States. I'm not exactly sure what it is that places these cats on the American sound continent, but there's definitely something about the curling guitar duels, vapor trails of feedback and general deep space mayhem that is distinctly American in its sound. I would lie if I said that I don't miss the occasional side trip into more folky compositional territories, which you can find on all their previous efforts. But seen for what it is, Live at the Soo Gallery is a monster album that probably will have you hallucinating or seeing expansive clouds of interstellar gas and dust some four million light-years away.
Review from fakejazz.com
- Jeff Penczak
Two sidelong instrumental jams make up this limited edition (300) recording of a rare live Salamander performance from May 20 of this year. The first, "A Thirsty End" begins like a Grateful Dead tuning session - the band doesn't seem quite sure what song to play, but soon Dave Onnen's throbbing bass picks out a groove and the twin drumming of Bryce Kastning and Matt Zaun fill in the gaps, allowing guitarists Sean Connaughty and (moonlighting from Skye Klad) Erik Wivinus (doesn't he ever sleep?) to weave their magic with a vibe that is closer to the heavy grooves on their Camera Obscura "Red" albums ("Mantra" and "Ampersand") than the more recent 2xLP Birds of Appetite. The tension eases somewhat towards the end when this listener had the sense that the weight of the world had been lifted off his shoulders.
The 15-minute "Trench of Fire" on the flip finds us in a wind tunnel with Erik's vibrating baritone guitar bouncing notes off the wall with the resulting distorted feedback crescending like tentacles of flame reaching out of the titular pit. Then it's Sean's turn to run swirling loop-de-loops up and down the guitar neck and all around the resulting maelstrom.
About halfway through, over a throbbing Sabbath-on Quaaludes stomp, Wivinus and Connaughty's guitars become flamethrowers spewing sparks at each other, into the audience, through your speakers, and into your face. I'm sure there are easier ways to get a tan, but they ain't half as fun. If long, psychedelic, improvisational guitar duels are your thing, Live at Soo Gallery should be also.
Other Salamander releases are available from [Camera Obscura Records]