Causa Sui : Vibraciones Doradas

When I think of Denmark’s Causa Sui I think of vast open spaces. I think of widescreen grooves and vacuum tubes a-glow with the orange of humming fuzz. This four-piece have made it their mission to not be pigeonholed by any one genre or mindset. They explore the dark corners of Sabbath-ian dirges to the highfalutin ambient worlds Eno and Froese to the sizzle, cracks, and headiness of electric Miles. Causa Sui serves not one master, but whichever muse shows up at the studio door. And with that “whichever way the wind is blowing in Odense” vibe, these four sonic explorers add their own secret recipe to the bubbling, musical cauldron. They turn their influence and inspiration on its head and serve it up as something new and weird and beautiful.

Return To Sky was the last studio LP to come from Causa Sui, way back in 2016 before the world began to crumble apart. And earlier this year the guys laid on us the massive Live In Copenhagen, which was a massive 3-LP set that captures two very unique live sets from 2013 and 2016 respectively. So now, the Sui bois snuck back into planet El Paraiso studios, taking with them only various fuzz boxes, drums, amps, and plenty of Danish lager and worked out the excellent and teeth-chattering Vibraciones Doradas. They’re calling this a mini-LP, but at well over 30 minutes this is a full-fledged mind-melting long player.

“The Drop” greets you at the door and quickly blows the hat off your head. It’s a massive flashback to early 90s scuzz and stoner rock, but with a little more muscle mass. Jakob Skott and Jess Kahr lay down a massive, chugging foundation to which Jonas Munk does his best to outdo Kim Thayil in the fuzzy riff department. Seriously, this track blows the barn doors off and explodes like a nuclear-powered freight train. As the seven minute track winds down Rasmus Rasmussen adds som tasteful keys that lull us into the stick-to-your-ribs behemoth that is “El Fuego”.

I suppose you could say that “El Fuego” is the core of this collection. It’s an 11-minute fuzzy, psychedelic epic. It roars and lashes like some angry sea and then calms in the middle, giving a false sense of security. Soon enough things build back up as the drums become more unruly and feedback and sci-fi explosions become more prominent. Rasmussen’s keys sound as if Ray Manzarek is somewhere out in that violent swirl of noise and desert rock riffage. Munk almost sounds to be summoning the Siamese Dream-era Pumpkins towards the end. It’s an elegant, sonic world they’ve built here.

If you blink(or get up to grab another beer) you may miss the wonderfully dreamy “Viborera”. It’s a space-y, two minute interlude that brings to mind the work of Rasmussen’s Aerosol and more recent Astral TV(hell, even Munk’s exquisite noise excursions with Ulrich Schnauss come to mind as well.) It’s one of those tracks that you must play it a few times in a row to savor it.

We’re then treated to a guitar crunch meltdown with the bone-crushing “Seven Hills”. There’s nothing ambient going on here. This is pure, molten, bedrock fuzz rock. This is Roadburn-worthy rock and roll sludge. I’m thinking a show with Earthless, Mugstar, and Causa Sui somewhere near the equator might just set the earth back on its axis and things might start to improve. “Seven Hills” is just an all-out monster rock mind melter.

We close this album out with title track “Vibraciones Doradas”. It’s about as doom-laden as I’ve ever heard Causa Sui. There’s some serious Big Muff vibes going on here, with Matt Pike smiling somewhere in the universe as this is played. I really can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to 2017 than playing this at high volume, annoyed neighbors be damned. But so as to not end on a chugging note, the song seems to melt into the universe and rise back up as something new, much like the Phoenix rising from the ashes. Munk and Kahr add some tasteful fret work halfway thru and the song begins to morph into something less doomy; something lighter that seems to take off into the atmosphere.

Vibraciones Doradas shows Causa Sui continuing to build upon their musical journey, blazing through genres, styles, vibes, and moods with ease. For the most part this record is a barn burner, a rock and roll feast for the ears. It showcases the band’s ear for riffs and grooves, but also their willingness to pull back and let the universe expand our brains a bit. Munk, Kahr, Rasmussen, and Skott continue to be one of the most vital musical forces creating today. Vibraciones Doradas is proof of that.

8.4 out of 10

Impetus

I’m looking down the barrel of a 3-day weekend. What better way to celebrate that than partaking in a couple libations? Founders’ ‘Backwoods Bastard’ was my first delight. 11.2% of barrel-aged loveliness. It’s sweet, syrup-y, and just enough kick on the low end to let you know you’re not drinking something mass-produced. I’m currently enjoying a Samuel Adams’ ‘Maple Red’, which is part of their fall sampler collection. This is probably the best seasonal collection old Sammy Adams has put out, at least since that Winter Sampler from like six years ago where they had ‘Ol’ Fezziwig’ and their delicious ‘Chocolate Bock’. Good stuff, guys. Seriously.

Anyways, I took tomorrow off because I’m taking the two-hour drive south to pick up my oldest from school. She wanted to come home to see us(actually, she wanted to come home and see her friend but a dad can dream.) Mom usually makes the trek to pick our girl up, but my wife started a new job so she wouldn’t be able to head down till late. I have plenty of vacation time left for the year so I said what the hell and took the day off.

I’m sitting in the living room, enjoying the beers, and thinking about music. I thought I had my music year pretty much summed up, but then I hear Causa Sui’s brand new mini-album Vibraciones Doradas  and now all bets are off, people. Holy moly what a monster that is. You’ll be hearing more about that album from me next week. Right now, we’re going back to last year.

Impetus – the force or energy with which a body moves

If you’re lucky enough to jump on Causa Sui’s releases early, occasionally those Danish mind melters offer a bonus 10″ record with a couple bonus nuggets of psych rock heaven that don’t end up on the album. They did it in 2014 with their Pewt’r Sessions 3, and they did it with Return To Sky last year. Of course I devoured it when it hit the front porch, but then it gets situated among the other LPs for a later listen. Well, in honor of Vibraciones Dorados, I thought I’d pull Return To Sky‘s bonus 10″ out and give it a re-listen.

So here’s the thing, just because these tracks don’t make it on the official LP doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of that official release. I’ve got a feeling that Causa Sui go into the studio with lots of lagers and candles lit and vibes for miles and just let things flow. With four cats like Jonas Munk, Jess Kahr, Rasmus Rasmussen, and Jakob Skott the mojo must get flowing pretty quick. They’re all more than proficient at their instruments, and their solo output only proves they are one hell of a creative lot. So I’m sure everything they put to tape(or hard drive) is worthy of our ears. But albums, at least the great ones, need to flow in a certain manner in order for the right vibes to bubble to the surface. Return To Sky is perfect just the way it is. Any more or less and it would’ve been an entirely different beast altogether. So that goodness that doesn’t get used still deserves to be heard and devoured, hence the bonus 10″.

Side one is a 12-minute scorcher. Skott pushes the song along on a jazzy, breezy rhythm while Jonas Munk pushes a psychedelic trip with phaser-infused guitar. Kahr holds down the fort with some incredible bass lines while Rasmussen adds some Ray Manzarek-like keys to give the whole jam a grounded feel. The beauty of Causa Sui is that they sound so much larger than their 4-piece should. They create this universe of noise within the context of a 12-minute jam. Even with a song that doesn’t end up on an album, there’s more than enough mojo to go around.

Side two opens like Sleep, with Munk’s guitar getting as scuzzy as it gets(Matt Pike is smiling somewhere right now.) The track keeps the doom vibe up while Skott and Kahr lay a foundation the Empire State Building would be comfortable standing on. Rasmus adds to the psychedelic vibes with his keys that are like a mix of Moody Blues and King Crimson. Pretty soon Munk lays down some heavy blues licks down while the rest of the band continue to keep the psych fires burning. The track keeps that up through another 10 or so mind-melting minutes.

So sure, these two tracks were better left off the album. Return To Sky is a perfect entity the way it is. But with a bonus 10″ like this I feel like we’re given this inside look into the process of Causa Sui. There is this wide open space where the band let loose and jam on instincts and feel and it’s pretty fucking amazing. For my money, this is more along the lines of the great jazz greats. You have cues and keys and time signatures, but within those general lines you let the spirit take you where it may. Causa Sui amaze me every time I listen to them. There’s something new to explore and something new to discover on each of their records. And knowing their solo work very well I can say quite confidently that they’re pulling from all corners of the universe(how many corners are in the universe, anyways?) to create that all-immersive, all-encompassing sound that they create in their tiny corner of Odense, Denmark.

Enjoy the weekend. See you on the flip side. And keep an eye out for Vibraciones Dorados. It hits in two weeks. My review hits next week.

Causa Sui : Live In Copenhagen

So one day last week I arrived home from work to see a cardboard box waiting for me on the front porch. When I went to pick it up I thought at first that someone had sent me a set of Encyclopedia Britannicas from Denmark as this thing was heavy. Like, really heavy. After further examination it dawned on me that I was holding Causa Sui’s Live In Copenhagen and dropped everything in my hands and made a bee line for the turntable.

It’s been a few weeks since the preorder went up for this mammoth 3-LP set, but we’ve made the most of it(Petty once said the waiting was the hardest part. He must preorder albums, too.) I went back and revisited some Causa Sui LPs I thought you good people should definitely check out if you hadn’t already. It was a swift reminder for me that these musicians from Denmark have done some major expansion in their sound since those early days. From stoner fuzz rock to experimental and expansive, the quartet known as Causa Sui have opened their brains and let some freaky sh*t get in, which is all the better for you and me. And with the studio wizardry getting better so has their live set. Live In Copenhagen shows the band in 2013 and in 2016. LP 1 is live at the Jazzhouse for the Return To Sky release show, while LPs 2 and 3 are live at Dragens Hule for the album release of Empori Tide. Both sets are on fire and show a band hungry to spread their gospel to as many ears as they can. Highlights? You want highlights? Well okay then.

Let’s start with Live at the Jazzhouse from April 29th, 2016. This set opens with “Rip Tide”, a fiery explosion of cry baby wah, drums being beaten into submission, and organ that sounds like it’s on fire with wailing saxophone joining the cacophony of noise. Imagine Jimi Hendrix and the Experience, with special guests Ken Hensley on organ and John Coltrane freaking out on acid. That’s the scene going on here. I can only imagine the faces melting in the audience. This Summer Sessions Vol.2 track never burned and smoldered quite like this before. Return To Sky’s “Mondo Buzzo” sounds like an ancient tribal incantation used to bring the Gods of Rock back from their eternal slumber(which started right after the release of Sabbath’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.) Munk, Kahr, Rasmussen, and Skott pull this one off beautifully. If there was a 90s album that I feel Causa Sui channel it’s Soundgarden’s Superunknown. That record’s ferocity and visceral slap in the face is alive and well with Causa Sui, and this live version of “Mondo Buzzo” is sonic gut punch for sure. The breezy vibe of Euporie Tide’s “Ju-Ju Blues” is a welcome respite from the massive crunch we experienced up to this point. It has an almost Doors-y vibe with Rasmussen’s organ and Skott’s jazzy drumming. But in this version Krieger was replaced by Jeff Beck. Pretty soon the earth is cracking open and molten lava is spraying everywhere. This is an epic 10-minute banger, people.

Face. Melted.

When we move to LP 2 we step back in time to August 9th, 2013 at the release show of Euporie Tide. This was the album I was introduced to Causa Sui by, but it took the Pewt’r Sessions to pull me in completely. That’s not to say Euporie didn’t impress me. It did. In fact, they play an amazing version of that album’s “Eternal Flow” at the start of LP 2. It’s amazing the volume four guys can get on such a small stage. They could be at Red Rocks by the sound of this. Then they jump into a brain-melting version of “El Paraiso” that would delight fans of anything from Santana to Graveyard. It’s both a balls out rocker and a psychedelic journey. Side D sports “Portixeddu/Tropic Of Capricorn”. It’s over 15 minutes of psyche-melting noise. Put on some headphones, drop the needle, and you’re welcome.

LP 3 opens with a great cover of Agitation Free’s “First Communication”, followed by a powerful “Homage” from Euporie Tide. “Red Valley” ends side E on a high note with one of Causa Sui’s most doomy tracks in their repertoire. You can almost see the stage morph into some post-apocalyptic desert scene as the song blows into a Sleep-like dirge. Side F is taken up by a Causa Sui-approved version of John Coltrane’s masterpiece “A Love Supreme”. The band welcome Johan Riedenlow back to the stage to sit in for the legendary Coltrane and they take the jazz epic on a ride through 50 years of music history. Instead of attempting a “paint-by-numbers” version of the piece, Causa Sui and Riedenlow open the song up into a psychedelic jam session. It’s a massive piece that pays homage to a legend while still maintaining the essence of these four lads from Odense(don’t worry, you can still chant “Love Supreme, Love Supreme” right along with it.)

I was never a big fan of live LPs. I think something is lost in the translation from stage to stereo. You may get an accurate take on a band’s work, but the sweat, aura, and buzzing heat of that magical space is lost. There have been a few live sets that I’m glad to have in my collection as they do have the ability to pull you into that evening, even if you’re just buzzed on the couch at home. Wilco’s Kicking Television, The Allman Brothers’ At Fillmore East, Television’s Live At The Old Waldorf, and now Causa Sui’s Live In Copenhagen. There’s a few other great live LPs, but these are the handful I swear by. Causa Sui’s other live album, Live At Freak Valley is well worth your time, but sonically Live In Copenhagen is just amazing. It shows just how much of a force these guys are live.

Put this one in your ears.

9.3 out of 10

Want to hear this but you’re not into antiquated forms of music delivery? No problem, you can download this over at El Paraiso Records in MP3 or FLAC form. There’s extra tracks as well that aren’t included in the vinyl version. So go get it.

 

Causa Sui Revisited Part Three : Return To Sky

I’m not really sure how I revisit an album that came out less than a year ago, especially one that I loved right off the bat. But really, this is a series not of albums I’m going back to and seeing if they’re a better fit after some time has passed. No, these posts are for the benefit of you, dear reader. Yes, I’m writing these in the hopes of helping guide you on your journey to Causa Sui enlightenment. A psychedelic road map that will take you on an existential journey to find some serious space rock, brothers and sisters. I want to help you blow your mind in the best way possible. Causa Sui wants to blow your mind, and I’m here to help you find the right record to do that. Open that head of yours and let some light in.

So Summer Sessions seemed too daunting of a task you say? Information overload you say? And Pewt’r Sessions 3 was just a bit too much of a mind f*ck? Too heady and dark for your bright, sunny days? Well, that’s okay. You see, I’ve got something here that even the lightest and cheeriest of space travelers can get into. Return To Sky, Causa Sui’s newest album(released spring of 2016) feels like a wave of both 90s alternative rock and breezy early 70s pastoral Big Muff noise. It feels like what I’d call Causa Sui’s gateway album. It’s the one that pulls you into the Causa Sui universe and from there you begin exploring. It’s 5 songs -tightly wound and beautifully chaotic- headphone-ready and catchy as hell.

“Dust Meridian” blows out of the speakers like “Spoonman” on mescaline. It’s a heavy groove joyride that pulls in tribal beats, Sabbath riffs, and trippy Doors-like interludes thanks to Rasmus Rasmussen’s keys work. It’s a microcosm of classic and modern sounds coming together and working things out in the eye of the musical storm.

“The Source” is a mainline of chugging boogie and stoner rock abandon. Jonas Munk about blows this one through the roof with a megaton rock riff that would make Matt Pike cower in fear. There’s a great mix of mystical vibes and sludge-y doom in “The Source”. Causa Sui sort of throw all their strengths into this one and just go for it.

“Mondo Buzzo” is the sound of the natives getting restless. War drums are beaten seductively and with purpose. The slinky guitar riff is the warning shot across the bow, and the bass and keys press on like good soldiers. The song explodes into big riffs and Kyuss-like purpose.

Desert rock in the heart of Copenhagen, folks.

If you didn’t guess, Return To Sky is a rock and roll banshee. Causa Sui went into the studio to record an in-the-raw rock monster of an album. Little overdubs and big riffs. Where previous records sprinkled in dreamy atmospheres and psychedelic shadings, Return To Sky turned the amps up to 11 and laid down some serious grooves. There’s no pastoral wanderings or dreamy soundscapes. With this album it was all about the visceral push.

“Dawn Passage” does have a bit of a “break in the clouds” feel with phaser-effected guitars and a ride-driven drum part, but it doesn’t go all navel-gazing. Underneath the breezy disposition there’s still a kinetic flow. Munk, Kahr, Rasmussen, and Skott work together musically on a gut-level here. It’s an instinctual thing between these four.

“Return To Sky” sounds like some fuzz box version of the Midnight Cowboy theme. It’s got a bit of an open horizon vibe. It seems to capture this technicolor space where sky and earth meet, just before they explode into swaths of red, pink, and orange hues. Fear not, kiddos, this day doesn’t end before some serious guitar power pummels us into submission.

If you’re looking for an easy way into the Causa Sui world, this is it. Return To Sky puts you into the studio with the band. You can feel the electricity as the music is being pulled from some other plane and arrives in our world through buzzing amps and the joy of creativity. Raw power and seriously heavy melodies grab you and pull you in.

Nuff said. Put it in yer ears.

 

 

Causa Sui Revisited Part Two : Pewt’r Sessions 3

It’s Friday. What better way to start your Friday than to melt your frontal lobe with some time and space-altering, free-form psych jams? Sure it’s only 7am but who cares? Get that coffee with a triple shot of espresso and soundtrack that morning commute with Causa Sui. In particular, let’s get the weekend going with Causa Sui’s head expanding 2014 Pewt’r Sessions 3.

img_2863Causa Sui’s Pewt’r Sessions were a series of three albums the band recorded with American musician Ron Schneiderman. Where Summer Sessions basked in sun-baked jams and spaced-out bliss, Pewt’r Sessions indulged the darker side. Krautrock vibes and motorik beats permeated tracks like Pewt’r Sessions 2‘s “Gelassenheit”, while Pewt’r Sessions 1′s “Mating Call” sounds like The Stooges on a “Walk Don’t Run” kick with some blots of acid thrown in for good measure. “Wasted Milk” is serious guitar squall. Imagine The Experience jamming with the Mothers Of Invention. Hear it? Good. “Garden Of Forking Paths” off Pewt’r Sessions 2 is a mind-expanding journey to the heart of the astral plane. This is very much in the vein of Eternal Tapestry’s weedy, soggy jams, but with less humid funk and more fiery indignation.

So the first two Pewt’r Sessions were heady sonic experiments that went from languid, Haight-Ashbury acid fixes to Berlin sound excursions at the drop of a needle. On Pewt’r Sessions 3 I feel that things got deeper, darker, more meditative, and just more precise on every level.

When I first heard opening track “Abyssal Plain”(here’s my original review of the album from 2014) I immediately thought of electric Miles. There’s this feeling of electricity that hovers over the song, like tension that builds before a great storm hits. It’s that place where sheering light and bruised black come together to offer the most beautiful and complex contradictions in nature. The song builds and cymbal and tom fills as guitar lines slither around each other before the song comes together into this almost doom metal wall of noise. It feels more purposeful than what we’ve heard before. There’s fire in there.

“Eutopia” is a break in the clouds. It’s bouncing buoys in stuttering waters as the next build of crushing waves, shattering thunder, and eviscerating lightning hit. The drums, guitars, organ and bass all come together quite beautifully. They prepare us for what comes next.

“Incipiency Suite” could very well be the most epic track Causa Sui have committed to tape. Coming in at over 26 minutes, “Incipiency Suite” is carried initially by the fusion-infused rock drumming of Jakob Skott. He brings layers of noise and dissonance into sharp focus as the song works its way into a hell of a rocker. Once again Bitches Brew-era Miles comes to mind as electric piano becomes wild and woolly and the guitars begin to emulate Miles’ Crybaby Wah-effected horn. This is chaotic and numbing. Skott’s drums and Kahr’s bass lock in to give us some serious voodoo and On The Corner-like funk while Munk, Schneiderman, and Rasmussen kick it into interstellar overdrive with otherworldly noises that feel like a panic attack painted with stompboxes and buzzing electrical circuits. The song finds this peaceful center eventually, allowing the song to breathe and rise over the chaos.

fullsizerender-5Clocking in at only three tracks this is the shortest Pewt’r Sessions, but in terms of dense layers of sound and overall heady atmosphere this one feels like the most epic Pewt’r yet. By this point the guys in Causa Sui had ventured out to explore on their own, creating new sounds and vibes. When they returned to the Causa Sui fold with fellow music explorer Ron Schneiderman things came out on a whole new level. Pewt’r Sessions 3 took the Causa Sui sound and turned it inside out. Free-form, exploratory, and acid-burnt musical madness abound, it plays like a slow burn psychic meltdown.

But in the best way possible.

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Causa Sui Revisited Part One : Summer Sessions Vol. 1 – 3

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.

img_2841Would 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

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That Copenhagen Sound

I may have mentioned this little Copenhagen, Denmark outfit called Causa Sui a few times here. I may have, I can’t quite recall. If I haven’t, I’ll give you a quick rundown. If I have, well bear with me. You see, Causa Sui is this quartet of musicians(Jonas Munk, Jess Kahr, Rasmus Rasmussen, and Jakob Skott) out of the most excellent Copenhagen. I was introduced to them way back in late 2013 when their album Euporie Tide came out. “Check ’em out!”, this friend said. “You’ll dig ’em!”, this friend said. Well the friend was right. I did dig them. I came into the Causa Sui world just as they were hitting a most fruitful time. 2014 saw the release of drummer Jakob Skott’s masterpiece Amor Fati, Causa Sui’s brain melting Pewt’r Sessions 3, guitarist Jonas Munk’s Absorb…Fabric…Cascade, and right before 2015 took over for old man 2014 Skott put out another stellar solo effort called Taurus Rising. So if you were counting, that was four Causa Sui-related releases in 2014, and all on the band’s own record label, El Paraiso Records. I mean, what the hell? If ever there was a prolific group of dudes it’s these cats that hail from the same place as some of my other favorite creative people; like Lars Von Trier, Mads Mikkelsen, Lars Ulrich and Nicolas Winding Refn(if things get too bad here, I’m trying for dual citizenship in Denmark, people. I think the kids will love it there.)

fullsizerender-1Here’s the thing with Causa Sui, they feel like this true art collective. All of them work outside of the band on solo projects, they create music communally with mood lighting, lots of cool electronic toys, and plenty of longnecks of IPA. They record other artists they dig and want to help share with the world via El Paraiso Records(check out Papir, Mythic Sunship, Brian Ellis Group, Landing, and Videodrones for further proof of El Paraiso’s stellar lineup.) There’s just this loose, earthy vibe with the band that draws me in. Everything they do is interesting. There’s this sort of hippie vibe going on, but without the patchouli, peace and love overtones. These guys create a sort of practical magic. The art that they commit to cd and vinyl is a real journey, man. Causa Sui explores the far reaches of the universe in the course of an album. It’s heady, trippy musical explorations that are far beyond dudes just “getting buzzed and jammin'”. You want Miles-influenced musical mazes to get lost in? Put some Summer Sessions or Pewt’r Sessions in your skull. Feeling the need for some breezy summer vibes to surround your noggin while you’re checking out beach bods at the local dunes? Euporie Tide will suffice nicely. Needing a triple shot of espresso-fueled music juice that’ll remind you of both Sabbath and Joshua Tree? Hell, Return To Sky will abide. All of these are done earnestly and from an honest place. Nothing feels contrived with these guys. They take their influences and inspirations and mix them with their own brand of musical paint to create a whole new musical hue. The practical aspect of Causa Sui comes in the form of always working. Always expanding and evolving their sound. They never seem content to stick to a formula. They’re also regular dudes with regular jobs. They punch a clock, then blow minds after work. They know the value of time and properly spending said time.

For my money, they’re one of the most innovative rock bands working today that don’t make the world stop turning when they drop from social media(hello, Radiohead.)

So why am I going on and on about Jonas, Jess, Rasmus, and Jakob? Well I guess it’s because they’re putting out a new live album. Now I’m not much of a live album guy. I think most fall flat because the magic of that space, the heat of the moment, and the electricity that burnt through the air just doesn’t come through on live recordings. There are a few exceptions, and Causa Sui’s first live release Live At Freak Valley is one of them(the other is Papir Live At Roadburn.) Causa Sui’s Live In Copenhagen is a 3-LP boxset that was recorded at two shows: the release show for Euporie Tide and the release show for Return To Sky. From the look of the set lists it’s a smorgasbord of classic, deep cuts and the latest and greatest. They’re joined onstage by Danish saxophonist Johan Riedenlow for some dynamic accompaniment, as well as Papir guitarist Nicklas Sørensen who adds some of his tasteful musical chops into the proceedings.

Did I mention it’s 3-LPs?!?! And there’s 300 bonus 10″s that are available with extra studio goodness for those quick on the buying draw?

If there was one band I could bankroll a trip to the US for some shows it would be Causa Sui. What I’ve seen of them live they seem like a band that likes to get it on live. They bring it. They explore plenty on record, but live they slice open those tunes and explore even more. When you’re going to a show that’s what you want to see. At least that’s what I want to see. I don’t want the hits and some extended jams. I want serious exploration and Causa Sui are all about that.

Want to know more? Well that’s all I got, but here’s some cool words from the El Paraiso site:

This limited boxset captures Causa Sui at two very special nights: At the release parties of Euporie Tide (2013) & Return To Sky (2016). While the two albums are tight and meticulous sizes, that helped propel the band to the very pinnacle of European stoner-psych, this heavy package documents the band at their most free and adventurous. Since the band seldomly performes live, this may very well be your best chance to experience what the band is capable of at their best! One show is recorded at avantgarde institution extraordinaire Jazzhouse, while the other captures the sounds of legendary underground venue Dragens Hule in a warm summer night of 2013, where the band played in front of a small, ecstatic crowd until the wee hours. Both shows were recorded multitrack with an A-grade selection of mics and mixed and mastered by Jonas Munk.

During these three discs Causa Sui aren’t merely running through classic cuts from the catalogue. Each track is explored, reinterpreted and given new life – often straying far away from its original roots with a fervent energy. One minute the band is bluesy and heavy, the next they’re repetitive and blissed-out or venturing into a cacophony of Albert Ayler-like sax bursts, free-form electronics and feedback. Swedish saxophone player Johan Riedenlow joins both shows and Papir-guitar player Nicklas Sørensen occasionally adds his magic to the Dragens Hule set – including a towering 13-minute version of Eternal Flow, that seems to channel the energy of mid-1970s Popol Vuh, as well as a breezy cover version of Agitation Free’s ”First Communication”.

Want to know more? Then go here.

fullsizerender-2This wasn’t a paid endorsement, guys(though I do have quite a collection of Causa Sui stickers.) This one is from the gut. I’m a big fan of Causa Sui and pretty much everything they do. I will gladly wax ecstatic about these guys ad nauseum(like I just did here.)

I think in light of this great live set coming out next month, I’ll revisit some of my favorite albums from the Copenhagen crew over the next few weeks and share with you all. Cause, why not?

Happy Monday.