Windborne by Kanaan

Release date: November 28, 2018
Label: El Paraiso Records

For the initiated psych lover, El Paraiso has become something of a go to label now, with their schedule of releases taking in some of the more intriguing psych jazz noodlings on offer. Hitting a curve-ball with the brilliant Mythic Sunship, a fine mix of jazz and doom if ever there was one, they now deliver another tripped out excursion for the free thinking with Kanaan.

On hearing Windborne for the first time, perhaps the most surprising thing is that it is their debut album. So assured is the playing, and so in tune with each other, this Norwegian trio explore the gaps between space rock riffs and jazzy vibes to create something truly cosmic. It’s real head music for heads who like to take considered trips out into space, rather than the full on throttle of most space rock.

Having ushered us in slowly with ‘A Hausenbecken’, laying the template for the music that follows, with its easy going vibe teasing us with notions of heaviness from the repeated motifs that crop up, It’s on ‘Roll Beyond’ that we get the full impact of Kanaan. Turning up the riffs to 11, the music careens off into the space usually reserved for the likes of Hawkwind or Cosmic Dead at their most exploratory. By the time the ending turns up it’s reached a state of complete deconstruction, as if the riff has finally fallen apart into a million screaming notes.

It’s up to ‘Harmonia’ to pick up the pieces and again Kanaan surprise us with a rather melodic motorik display. It’s a wonderful moment which brings to mind Tangram era Tangerine Dream. This side-step soon reverts to the funk-laden ‘Act Upon the Mundane World’ which allows the bass to go off on different tangents, taking the track into more exploratory routes. When a squealing guitar rises up from the murky depths, it shakes the whole experience into new realms of blues-filled joy.

‘The Groke’ offers nothing new other than to cement Kanaan’s place as prime explorers of a tradition set in place by the doom genre. It’s slow moving and ominous, and simply serves as a moment of filler before the album comes full circle with the atmospheric title track whose free-form rhythms pursue a keening melody. It’s the perfect ending to a rather exemplary album, and we look forward to hearing much more from these guys in the future.

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