Centrum - För Meditation - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Centrum - För Meditation

by Bill Golembeski Rating:9 Release Date:2019-04-19
Centrum - For Meditation
Centrum - For Meditation

This one is obvious.

It’s slow-burn psych that drones with mantra breath.

It’s from Sweden and features members of Hills.

There are three long tracks (and one other just under six minutes).

And the title is För Meditation.

I can hear the Red Seas parting. But for those of us who dig this stuff, there is only one question: Is it great Swedish slow-burn psych that drones with mantra breath?

I mean, just because a band follows the template of a certain genre doesn’t guarantee greatness. Jazz Guy (aka Mr. Radue) says there is such a thing as bad free jazz. And one time, while in some London pub, I watched as The Bonzos’ Neil Innes played a catchy country rock tune with perfect 4/4 precision, which after ten minutes or so of the very same perfect Take It Easy 4/4 precision, became an obvious parody that even the most ardent Eagles’ fan could understand and, possibly (at least for that moment) have a deep desire to get the hell out of Hotel California.   

But Swedish psych fans need not worry about this album. To quote Oliver Twist, let’s just say, “Please, sir, I want some more.”

Yes, indeed, this is the real deal. Now, it’s a slow-burn psych that drones with mantra breath real deal, but that’s all right for those of us who love the ritualistic sonic retreat of the “true happiness” that “lies within.” (Thank you, David Lynch!)

The record begins with the sound of motor traffic rumble. (And yes, also thank you, Ray Davies!) The music then pulses down into the veins of tranquility.

The first song, “Vid Floden,” dwells in the slow-paced vibrations of Third Ear Band violin/viola rhythmic sawing, and then a gentle guitar enters the inner universe. As my friend, Kilda Defnut, often says, “Patience rewards virtue.”  Well, this music requires patience, and it also sings with virtue. The vocals are (almost) a Gregorian chanted mantra that echoes from deep forests that have never heard of Christianity. And then an electric guitar tingles the brain with the sound of trees falling in a forest that are too sacred to ever be concerned with secular sound.

This music is definitive proof that Einstein was correct, and the ever-ticking hands of time can, indeed, in a cosmic sense, be slowed.

“Sjön” begins with a field recording of chanting. The tune barely breathes. It simply pulses with wah-wah sine waved vibration. There are more vocals that are ancient chants from that sacred forest. Acoustic sounds ground the heavens. And then the electric guitar reaches above the gravity of the Earth.  There’s a wondrous moment (about five minutes in the song) where the wah-wah pedal circles a sitar and a fuzzy guitar. It boggles the brain with the sonic colors of slow-moving lava. And the song ends, as it began, with yet another field recording from India.

To almost quote my friend, this is music of patience and it’s also music of weird virtue.

Odd: I never really thought Gregorian Chanting to be psychedelic. But the beginning of “Stjamor” is ritual music. And then that violin seesaws a much better precise pattern than any Eagles’ tune. Oh, and the wah-wah guitar bleeds religious conviction of German cosmic Guru Guru rock.

And yes, we have been here before. Déjà vu!  Other Swedish bands like Arbete och Fritid, Kebnekaise,  Trad Gras och Stenar, and International Harvester played with mantra grooves. The music also reminds me Popol Vuh, circa Letzte Tage-Letzte Nachte.

So, long live the inner musical and very cosmic soul.

“Som En Spegel” pushes its purity into the cosmos within the soul of humanity’s heart. Flutes play the sonic tunes to the universe that echo ancient cuneiform melodies. And the band is dramatic with its journey to the center of tranquility, while still subscribing to the ethos of a pretty great rock ‘n’ roll record, albeit one that is adhering to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

Yeah, the universe, both within and without, is tattooed with irony.

This music simply chants ritualistic mystery and beauty. It certainly doesn’t Rock Around any Clock. But it does slow that clock and chant around the sun. So, again, this one is obvious because it’s Swedish; it’s slow-burn psych with a mantra breath; it has four meditation infused tracks; but, sure, as the eternal rebellious youth, Oliver twist once said, “Please, sir, I want some more.” Yes, this record parts the Red Sea. And those on the patient and weirdly virtuous side of those sacred waters will certainly love this record.

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