In the words of the Sun City Girls – who would know – ‘this is a bad dream’. An utterly warped, brain-curdling psychedelic fist, smashing through your frontal lobes and rendering you powerless (but not psychic), Suffering Luna are lysergic powerviolence in excelsis. Butthole Surfers by way of Man Is The Bastard, Despise You by way of Hawkwind and a whole new level of fucked.
Those of you with long memories may well remember Suffering Luna as being on the fringes of the whole late nineties scene that centred around Bovine Records and Slap-A-Ham, and may even remember their split with their similarly tripped-out brethren in Gasp. Well, after a few years in limbo, Suffering Luna has returned and stepped up their game several notches by vomiting forth this here platter of synapse-frying hardcore tweakery.
Side A – yessir, ’tis one o’ those ‘record’ things of yore – throws up three bona-fide ‘songs’, in the shape of ‘Sea of Drugs’, ‘Paranoid Delusions (i. Up for Days, ii. Whipping the Horse’s Eyes, iii. Rising Moon)’ and ‘Oh, Black Pyramid’ (which I assume is NOT, in fact, a love song to the band of the same name), whereas side B is one long ‘live in the studio’ jam – no overdubs or trickery, just raw, undiluted Suffering Luna and, yes, it is exactly as fucked-up as you assume. Possibly MORE so.
Slithering in on a fuzz-infested bassline, a strangulated, aquatic-sounding vocal and all manner of percussive shenanigans, ‘Sea Of Drugs’ would seem to be a pretty self-referential title, alluding to exactly what the band had ingested in order to compose and play this far-fuckin’-out musick. The entire track is so utterly warped that it sounds like it’s running backwards.
The ‘Paranoid Delusions’ suite begins almost like a ‘normal’ song, coasting on a low-slung and menacing bassline, pulsing, shuffling drums, needling, hypnotic loops of guitar and electronically tweaked roaring vocals before dropping into a twilight abyss of throbbing, pulsating electronics that obliterates everything in its path. Slate wiped clean, a ghostly ambience sweeps through the track, suffused with twinkling, cascading electronics and dubbed-out bass and drum rhythms. The track sounds haunted. Clicking percussive sounds assume dominance as a recognisable guitar riff starts up and acid-drenched vocals holler out of the void. This is what Chrome would sound like if possessed by dead Venusians.
‘Oh, Black Pyramid’ is the parallel universe soundtrack to a Jacques Cousteau documentary, bubbling and bleeping squelches phasing in and out of hearing atop a spiky dubby shuffle, serenaded by the sound of whales in distress. Tweaked into another dimension.
After hearing all of the audio trickery on display so far, you’ll probably find yourself wondering exactly how the hell Suffering Luna manage to pull it all off in a live environment. Well, one listen to the twenty three minutes that make up the ‘Live In The Studio, Feb 2010’ side of the record and you’ll still find yourself none the wiser! Sonically, there is very little difference to be found between ‘live’ and ‘studio’ with these space cadets – the same depth of tone is there, the vocals are still fed through gawd-only-knows what effects and every bleep, bloop, swoosh and burble still runs through the whole shebang. Rather than being comprised of several separate songs, or one long jam, what we have here appears to be the twitching remains of several songs stitched together using a variety of electronically generated segues, so ‘Sea Of Drugs’ can be recognised in there, as can parts of the three ‘Paranoid Delusions’, but also – I am reliably informed by my other ‘alf – snippets of ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ by some band called ‘The Beatles’. Satan only KNOWS what else is buried in there. Listening to this sprawling epic, I am intermittently reminded of criminally-neglected electro-punks Six Finger Satellite at their most electronic, circa ‘Theory Of Ruins’, which is definitely NOT a bad thing to my mind. Having survived this lysergic onslaught I consider myself very fortunate indeed, a lesser man would have gone insane.
This record is most assuredly not for everyone, like LSD, but those who appreciate fellow cosmonauts as ST37, Bastard Noise, Chrome, Helios Creed and, most fittingly, Gasp – whose ‘Drome Triler Of Puzzle Zoo People’ LP is the closest possible fit to this record – will find themselves wallowing around like a pig in the proverbial cosmic slop. Turn on, tune in and drop tune.
Scribed by: Paul Robertson