"Different Creatures"

By Dark Starr

To a large degree you really know what you are going to get when you spin a new album from OSC. I mean, their music is always improvised space rock. There is a decent amount of range within that picture, though. This new double disc set doesn’t have any huge surprises. It does have some great pieces of music. 

The first disc starts with “The Ride to Valhalla.” At over nineteen and a half minutes of sound, it is an epic. Classical elements start it. Spacey sounds join as the piece evolves in very slow ways. After the first minute elapses a new energy is added and the piece starts to really rock. It’s all space music at that point, with the classical things gone. Although nothing changes quickly, by about the six and a half minute mark, this thing is on fire. It’s scorching hot space rock that just plain jams. As it continues to shift and evolve, it really has some amazing moments. They know that you need to balance between faster and slower, louder and softer passages and make a great effort at doing that. It eventually drops way down for a pretty keyboard section at the end. 
Weird echoey synthesizer starts “Juggle the Juice.” It builds out from there as a particularly strange, but effective bit of space. If the opener was an epic, “Digestive Raga” (over half an hour long) is something in a completely different league. It starts with space music that has a lot of old school blues and psychedelia built into it. The cut grows out gradually from there. The ride is pretty cool from there. We get the kind of space rock one expects. It rides in waves up and down, while moving along the shoreline allowing us to see various bits of changing scenery. There really are some cool flavors built into this as different instruments take control at different times. Bits come back to the psychedelia. There is even a section that seems a bit like surf music. There are even some moments that make me think of the Doors a bit. There is a cool mellower section at the end, too. 

More of a harder rocker, “The MAN from Wales” feels a lot like something Hawkwind would do, really. This is perhaps less varied than some of the others. Still, there are shifts and changes. Parts of this cut also make me think of The Doors a bit. “Bon Voyage” is a spacey cut that is quite trippy really. There is a lot of psychedelia built into it. It’s mellower than some of the rest, too. I can make out a lot of Iron Butterfly at times, especially during the drum driven mid-section jam. 
“Raga for Jerry G” starts off the second disc of the set.  It really is an entirely different creature. It has a real bluegrass meets spacey folk music vibe to it as it slowly drifts through the first sections. It gets into more familiar space rock territory later, but still has a real Earthy kind of 60s rock vibe all the way through. At more than twenty minutes in length, this is another epic piece. 
The longest track here, “20 Steps towards the invisible Door” clocks in at over 45 minutes in length. This comes in tentatively, threatening to explode out as mellow sounds dance around. It definitely feels a lot like Hawkwind as it works through this opening segment. Spacey jamming moves around as this continues to build. It never really explodes like it seemed about to do. Instead, this is a slow simmer that gradually heats in cool ways. There are some hints of Middle Eastern music in a slightly more powered up section around the ten minute mark. Before it gets to the twenty minute mark the whole thing drops down in terms of volume, but doesn’t let up in terms of pace. It continues to evolve with a new rocking movement built around that backdrop. After another building process, it drops way down again around the twenty minute mark. The intensification process begins again with more powerful space music emerging over the next ten minutes or so. By around the 35 minute mark it falls back into particularly mellow keyboard territory. Eventually it builds back upward a bit. Violin echoes over the top and the keys bring an almost jazzy Pink Floyd sound to things. It manages to bring both Earthy and space-oriented elements into being at the same time as it continues to make its way forward.