Wot Oz

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Across four LPs, Herbcraft’s trajectory has taken the form of an open-ended and perpetual trip, covering ground from the pining bedroom odes of Agartha to the psychedelic living room services of Ashram, to the full-band barn hoots of 2013’s The Astral Body Electric. On its fourth album, Wot Oz, the band undergoes another bold reinvention, shifting its locale to the Traummaschine A/B warehouse, where Matt Lajoie met with drummer Aaron Neveu and bassist / organist Joe Lindsey for the trio’s first-ever rehearsal in July 2013. The practice was intended simply as a warm-up for a live gig, but surveillance tape began rolling almost immediately, as the group’s chemistry imbued both abstract sound experiments and primitive rock- and blues-based numbers with the same heady waft of freewheeling possibility. The needle touches down on a slice of this initial meeting: „Fit Ür-Head“ lands at the feral, pummeling nexus of proto- and post-punk; a live-to-tape two-chord gob of lung-tar spat inches from a flea market snakeskin, while voices howl and wah guitar razes every inch of green. From this auspicious birth the album moves through the afterhours narco-haze of „Au’s Nation“ to the Zamrock-inspired groove of „Push Thru the Veil,“ with Neveu rolling off an endless stream of future-classic break-beats throughout. On the flip, „No More Doors“ finds a sunbaked cassette of tabla-and-bass loops melting as the band abandons Earth for hallucinogenic oblivion, and the album’s closing 12-bar blues deconsecration „Bread Don’t Rise“ spins a circular framework into a sweaty Fillmore dancefloor-filler strictly for the heads. Fittingly, this trip ends only when the tape falls off the reel. Wot Oz was recorded and mixed on 1/4-inch tape and four-track cassette, mastered by Timothy Stollenwerk, and is presented in mono for optimal blare. Turn it up.

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