In lieu of the boxset Live From Copenhagen dropping next month, I thought I’d hit up a couple of my favorite Causa Sui albums. You know, chat ’em up, break ’em down, and generally just wax ecstatic about some of the amazing records that have been bestowed upon this world by these rock and roll Danes. So by all means go grab a beer, your favorite Danish snack, or put on your favorite pair of party slacks and dig in.
Would it be wise to recommend to the uninitiated listener a three volume record set as their first foray into the Causa Sui musical world? Hell if I know, I’m not all that wise. So instead of playing it safe and throwing Euporie Tide out there, I’m saying you should jump head first into it and dig into Summer Sessions Vol. 1-3. These albums, for me, are where it’s at. The first Causa Sui record, self-titled, was a toe dipped into the psych and stoner rock waters. Lots a Fu Manchu and Kyuss love happening on that album, but had these guys kept on that road(complete with fuzzed-out guitars and vocals) I don’t think I’d be sitting here talking to you folks about Causa Sui. While they were very adept at the genres, they were merely sewing their oats. They got the crunchy rock out of the way so they could crack open their heads and let the serious mojo ooze out. Summer Sessions Vol. 1-3 take you on a musical journey. Intellectual noodling. Free form psych. Interstellar jamming. Three records that have it all, and then some.
Summer Sessions Vol. 1 opens with a psyche crusher called “Visions Of Summer”. It’s like early Santana, the Doors “Riders On The Storm”, and Miles’ Bitches Brew all rolled up into this exquisite and tasty delight. Latin-flavored rhythms intertwine with dreamy keys, tasteful big riff guitars, and some punchy bass. It ebbs and flows between heavy moments and atmospheric horizons. It flows between late 60s idealism and early 70s “f*ck it, lets burn it down” machismo to stunning effect. If you’re looking to make a statement, “Visions Of Summer” is a hell of a way to greet folks. And at nearly 25 minutes you’ve got time to step away for a smoke(or make an omelet) and come back before you miss anything good. “Red Sun In June” has a nice jazzy feel in the tasteful drumming of Jakob Skott, while Jonas Munk lays on some heavy phased-out guitar. This track feels like a companion piece to a hella summer buzz. Bloodshot squinted eyes look past a blazing sun burning its way down into the ocean as you melt into the summer sand. Smooth. As. F*ck. “Portixeddu” is this spaced-out exploration into the heart of the sun. Whizzing noises and some serious grooves(more cowbell, please) fly past your ears as the Causa Sui crew mine some serious desert rock voodoo. “Soledad” sounds like some heady Meddle-like Pink Floyd haziness. I also think this track hints at future endeavors and vibes the Sui cats will explore with their Pewt’r Sessions.
Summer Sessions Vol. 2 greets us at the door with some Andre Segovia overtones in some classical guitar vibes and specter-like sounds before getting all dirge-y with the behemoth called “Rip Tide”. Imagine a cross between Black Sabbath and Hendrix’ Experience and you may have an idea of what you’re getting into with this hell of a track. Munk finds his inner Jimi while the Skott and Kahr do a damn fine job of laying down some serious Redding/Mitchell vibes. Then when you least expect it Johan Riedenlow lays down some seriously squanky sax that brings on the Interstellar Space vibes. “The Open Road” is this intense psychedelic freakout. Munk, Kahr, Rasmussen, and Skott can make some of the best freakout noise out there. Riedenlow shows up once again to lay down some serious bebop sounds. It’s 14 minutes of heady noises to clear the cobwebs from your tired minds, folks. “Cinecitta” is nearly a new age vacation from all the noisy grandeur and bombast. You can almost feel the breeze coming off Kattegat or Skagerrak as you let the mellow vibes come over you. The epic ending to Vol. 2 comes in the form of the atmospheric and expansive “Tropic Of Capricorn”. Whether Henry Miller’s classic novel or the December solstice was the inspiration remains to be seen. Regardless, this 23-minute epic ride that sounds like a cross between Hawkwind and At Fillmore East-era Allman Brothers Band will satisfy every aspect of music lover. It’s a beautiful mix of classic rock and jam-inspired musical exploration. You can’t go wrong here. Not one damn minute is wasted.
Summer Sessions Vol. 3 kicks off with “Eugenie”, a doomier track than we’re used to hearing from Causa Sui. Riedenlow shows up for some more nuanced saxophone, but the real star of the show here is Jonas Munk’s guitar display. He makes good use of the Crybaby pedal and let’s the dirge do the talking. “Red Valley” hints at Euporie Tide and its ability to go from doom-laden riffs to more upbeat, head in the clouds optimism. “Red Valley” has become a staple of Causa Sui’s live show and for good reason, it rocks. “Lonesome Traveller” feels like a “Red Valley” reprise, while “Santa Sangre” opens like Billy Thorpe’s “Children of the Sun” on mescaline. There’s a feeling of earth and soil with this one, as if the music is emanating from the cracked ground under our feet. This is one where the sax should’ve sat out, as it feels like it breaks up the massive tension created from the rhythm section and Munk’s guitar work. Still, that’s a small complaint. “Venice By The Sea” sets us off on a course into the sunset. It’s an adios to the explosive riffs and crystalline expanse of the world Causa Sui created for us to exist in.
Now these three records were originally meant to be listened to separately, as they were all released at different times. Last year all three records were sold together as a box set and I have to say that I think as a whole the three different Summer Sessions volumes compliment each other quite nicely. You really get the vibe of this massive journey. Waves breaking in the distant background, voices carrying over the valley below as music swells and builds along the lakeshore. Late night jams lift into the blackened sky as synapses pop and spark in minds being blown. Causa Sui’s Summer Sessions Vol. 1-3 feel like a musical microcosm of the death of the Summer of Love and the birth of the darker era known as the 1970s. Jams took on darker tones. Music was more about satisfying the artist than the listener. If the listener dug it, then great. If not, well that was their problem.
Summer Sessions Vol. 1-3 are the point where Causa Sui let loose their most creative tendencies and never stopped.
Up next: Part Two