|NASA / A Recordings|
"Aufheben" by The Brian Jonestown Massacre
By Andrew W. Griffin
Red Dirt Report, editor
Posted: June 25, 2012
The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Aufheben (A Recordings) 2012
Hypnotic and trance-enducing, the latest album from Anton Newcombe’s quirky, psychedelic rock collective, the ever-esoteric-and-interesting Brian Jonestown Massacre, titled Aufheben (Hegel says it means something like the “result of interaction between thesis and antithesis” … deep, man), gets off to a particularly good start with “Panic in Babylon,” a bit of Middle Eastern-flavored rock that Brian Jones himself would have definitely enjoyed, were he here with us today.
Newcombe, we should note, has reunited with founding member Matt Hollywood, the guitarist we last saw leaving a gig in a huff in the brilliant 2004 BJM/Dandy Warhols documentary Dig! (Coincidentally, the new Dandy Warhols disc, This Machine, was just released as well). Will Carruthers (Spacemen 3, Spiritualized) also makes an appearance here. Newcombe is in good company on this latest musical outing.
With Aufheben, the follow-up to 2010’s Who Killed Sgt. Pepper?, Newcombe and co. seem to be in comfortable territory – territory trod in their early years when they garnered a pretty rabid following for revisiting Sixties-styled excess musically and otherwise.
The track “Viholliseni maalla” has a dreamy, atmospheric European vibe about it (Newcombe is now based in Berlin, Germany) while “Illuminomi” is in the same vein albeit a bit punchier.
The druggy hazy psychedelic groove BJM is famous for is full form on “I Want to Hold Your Other Hand” while the classical Indian instrument, the beloved sitar, (one of Newcombe’s best quotes in Dig! was “You f*cking broke my sitar, mother*cker!”) accompanied by flute and drums really take you on a trip on the song “Face Down on the Moon.” This is one of my favorite tracks on the song (glad Anton got his sitar repaired!).
“The Clouds Are Lies” continues to take listeners into familiar-yet-ethereal musical territory while “Stairway To The Best Party In the Universe” swipes the opening sitar-chords on The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black,” ever so gently. This song is probably one of the closest examples of a new Brian Jonestown Massacre song that could have actually been recorded in 1967 via an Anton Newcombe-crafted time machine or included on the Psych-Out soundtrack, nestled next to some Strawberry Alarm Clock hallucination. More grooviness.
The last three songs – “Seven Kinds of Wonderful,” “Waking Up to Hand Grenades” and “Blue Order / New Monday” – bookend Aufheben quite nicely, starting off with the Renaissance Faire treacle of “Waking Up …,” which quickly takes off in a rockier direction, and that last track, “Blue Order/New Monday” which embraces the inner journey as much as the outer journey.
Oh, and the album cover? It’s the famous “Pioneer plaques” that were attached to the 1972 Pioneer 10 and 1973 Pioneer 11 spacecraft. It’s humankind’s message to the universe. I think that was part of the message Anton Newcombe is trying to convey through his increasingly timeless music. Bravo, Brian Jonestown Massacre!
Copyright 2012 Red Dirt Report