Review: Earthless ‘Live In The Mojave Desert – Volume 1’

First of the Heavy Psych Sounds releases from the concert series and an outrageous set from the psychedelic power trio to end all psychedelic power trios. No sign of Isaiah Mitchell’s more concise and structured recent songwriting here, this is a classic Earthless live performance – three songs, no vocals, 77 minutes of ecstatic exploration. Experts in this freewheeling improvisational mode, the Mojave set shows Earthless building from a solid foundation in the form of Mike Eginton (bass) and Mario Rubalcaba (drums), and it’s just as well this rhythm section are indestructible as Isaiah’s guitar would melt most materials known to science.

Review: Earthless ‘Live In The Mojave Desert – Volume 1’

The band swing into a groove, from here to infinity, building a platform and working the theme through, using that base to lift off into wildly swirling solos. Hot winds blow through as the sun sets and rises, first rays here as they call to freedom. Hendrix references abound, both in any writing about Earthless and in their music. Here, I hear more Band Of Gypsies than Experience, Mario’s drums locked-in and propulsive, Mike adding endless groove.

Motifs coalesce, touch base with the movement of the song, and flame out. Momentum is endless, there are moments it seems like the jam must pull itself to a resolution, but this is revealed as just another evolutionary stage. Hearing the musicians cue each other, and trying out new progressions to nudge the music along into another phase highlights that this is a live recording, the immediacy of ‘creating in the eternal now’ as The Heads put it. And of course, to finish the song title, when working in that space it ‘is always heavy’.

it’s just as well this rhythm section are indestructible as Isaiah’s guitar would melt most materials known to science…

As I would have hoped from this recording, it’s almost impossible to encompass in any sort of linear description. Sat with pencil in hand I realise I have been sat in mellow reflection or meditative emptiness for who knows how long. I remember the Roadburn main stage set, with the good green-white haze, where it seemed they had been playing all weekend and I couldn’t imagine any other kind of living.

Of course it sounds like this, it’s only what is necessary, a map of the wilderness, a manifesto for a new freak nation. Play it from the rooftops to make things right or go get lost in the desert. There’s space for everyone out here. Like all responsible sitters, Earthless take care to bring us back down as the set comes towards a close, cooling and calming, but we are not back to quite where we started.

As ever, this is not going to be for everyone, but somehow it is strangely accessible for what it is. It may just be nostalgia for the feeling of seeing a band play like this in person, but I had already ordered the double LP before the desert dust that had seemed to blow through the room settled. This feels like a life-giving record that will nourish the spirit, as much as feed the head.

Label: Live In The Mojave Desert | Heavy Psych Sounds
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Scribed by: Harry Holmes