. issue XIV : viii .

by barathron

. artist : earthling society .
. album : zodiak .
. year : 2012 .
. label : nasoni .
. grade : a .


Mixed live from one day’s work at Blackpool’s Rock Hard Studios and split into two cosmic jams with a short interlude (or intermission) in between, ZodiaK is the seventh outing from psychedelic progenitors and progeny Earthling Society. A big outing. Through their sonics, Earthling Society “take you on a journey through the mind of a drifting serial killer (ZodiaK) to the altar of the Satanic occultist in the ‘Astral Traveller’”… and a few other places if you’re sticking in more than your timid toe. You can take ZodiaK in as two spiral galaxies of a streaming narrative or a set of songs that disregard hard edges and thrive on increasing overlap. Whatever the approach (who knows the mind of a killer?), the time invested provides maximum return.

Because recorded live, there’s a tougher unprocessed sound that never gets in the way of the ebb and flow of the sprawl, just as the sprawl doesn’t get in the way of Earthling Society. Through all the waves of psychedelia, prog and incarnations of space rock, Earthling Society keep the herd focused and driven, careening off a cliff only when intentional. For something so encompassing and absorbing in scope and size, it may seem odd to say that a good share of the glue that holds ZodiaK together is Earthling Society’s moderation. There’s nothing rigid or constrained about ZodiaK, but the fact that it doesn’t implode or dissipate into a formless gas says volumes about Earthling Society’s stewardship. Like any good captain, they lead and explore through ZodiaK’s multiple horizons…nooks, crannies, vistas and vastness reconnoitered equally. ZodiaK unfolds and unrolls like a map of not only where Earthling Society might go, but also a guide to where these voyagers are coming from. There’s Hawkwind-flavored lock-tight drives, progressive leanings that take in watery washes of sound, to the more histrionic edges, straight-up barn-burning space rock and some guitar jams that sound like The Grateful Jefferson may have fast-forwarded from the launchpad. It’s a dizzying display and delivery that distills a black hole cornucopia of fruit as well as itself at certain points.

The title cut goes through as many changes as dynamics, starting out in a dreamy haze that begins to bubble quickly. It doesn’t take long before ZodiaK himself edges the flow further off into a meeting between the rubber and the road as Earthling Society head to one of many apogees. Beginning the coast out in a similar way we came in, Earthling Society ease out naturally into a tastefully charged closing. The short “Silver Phase” picks up the crumbs and rebakes a small portion for you to do the same or check the tank. There’s no finish line, so “The Astral Traveller” is in no hurry as he drifts on a long, languid and syrupy sail that eventually takes on some rapids head on. Earthling Society blossom into full flight (again) for another fiery exit that uses the last minute in the oxygen tank to come full circle. Turn it over and start again because like any good trip, you can’t take it all in the first time around. ZodiaK is a psychedelic E ticket ride in many ways: engaging, engrossing, exciting…but never exhausting, or exhausted.

by Mr. Atavist