The ever-elusive alpha brainwave. This state of consciousness (or semi-unconsciousness) has been the focal point of traditional meditative practices and is considered by some to be the doorway to true creative inspiration, outer body experiences, astral projection, and third eye insights. This emphasis on introspection as a tool for ultimate mind expansion and liberation has been the driving force behind many of the more avant-garde drone/doom/psych rock acts of the past decade. This journey, although popularized by the drone movement, has inspired other musical acts to show us the different paths from point A to point B. France’s Domadora have carved their path, and they host an unadulterated psych-blues clinic on the epic ‘Tibetan Monk’.
Imagine an interstate with an infinite number of ‘freak out‘ exits, each seemingly interconnected and essential for reaching the ultimate destination; Domadora (La Domadora, Spanish for female lion-tamer) apply this metaphorical template to their ‘structured’ compositions. Often relying on improvisation as the sole guide, this French trio expounds on the notion of the ‘jam‘ as a majority of the 7 tracks define their identity by a slow, steady transformation (or sublimation) from mind bending blues tangent to hook.
‘Ziggy Jam’ and ‘Nairoya’, in particular, yield two distinctly different visions of the same journey. The former opens with a solid blues hook, seductive in its slow tempo sway, which serves as an anchor for 10+ minutes of insane blues shredding. Conversely, ‘Nairoya’ hides behind a 3+ minute intro of quiet blues progressions before the main driving riff takes hold. The cool thing about this track is the ‘development’ of that main riff…it’s as if the riff creates itself from the controlled (beautiful) chaos of the song’s introduction. Domadora shows us here that there can be an underlying order to the universe…but only on their terms. But this ‘order‘ appears and disappears, falling in and out of view; it’s elusive nature makes the track ultimately more appealing…the band teases the listener, promising everything but giving back only small glimpses of the prize. The band takes a risk, because the strength of the track is predicated on the impact of the main riff…but luckily for all involved, the reward is worth every minute of the wait.
Immediate gratification is the order with ‘Chased And Caught’, a more straightforward trip into traditional hard rock. The band displays a vocal-driven, radio friendly side here with a compactness and accessibility fit for the masses. While this track lacks the innovation and ambition of others on offer, I can’t help but find myself craving a repeat listen…a sign that Domadora clearly nailed it. This song shows that the band has the ability (and discipline) to truly ‘rein it in’ where the emphasis IS on traditional structure. Some could view this as filler, but viewing it as a ‘gateway track’ to reel in less adventurous listeners is probably more appropriate. Regardless, it’s a well-placed detour in what is otherwise a wild ride of an album. On a side note, the band put together a video clip for the song that’s worth checking out…revenge and a pair of shades makes all the difference (watch the video, you’ll know what I’m talking about).
In the wake of releases such as this, music has become an exercise in psychological exploration; song structures are less defined, compositions are to be heard AND experienced. This apparent quest for intellectual and artistic refinement has redefined the current concept of “heavy music,” and while somewhat trendy these days, one cannot deny its impact on the scene. While ‘Tibetan Monk’ won’t be considered the definitive statement in trance inducing psych rock, one can’t question the talent and potential displayed. With so many avenues and exits to explore, Domadora has an endless road to show us what they’re really made of.
Scribed by: Jeremy Moore