Void Generator ‘Phantom Hell And Soar Angelic’ CD 2010
Space, as Hawkwind once told us (but heavier on the umlauts), is VAST, clearly a fact that Italian astronauts Void Generator are WELL aware of. This, their second full-length release, is awash with the swirling, swooshing pulses of deep space, amidst riffs the size of gas-giants and truly meteroric solos. Think early Queens Of The Stoneage on a Krautrock bender, flying a UFO-mounted Orgone Accumulator between your ears and you’ll have some idea of what planet Void Generator hail from.
Opening transmission ‘Message From The Galactic Federation’ blasts out of the speakers with a guitar tone that Josh Homme would kill for and proceeds to dish out lashings of Kraut/Stoner groove, MASSIVE bass-undertow and whirring oscillator interjections. Vocally, frontman Gianmarco Iantaffi has more than a touch of Josh Homme’s louche delivery but has the ability to stretch his voice a little further than the QOTSA mainman, as showcased so well on this track. As a whole, I don’t think it would be too far amiss to liken ‘Message From the Galactic Federation’ to a perfect melding of the hypnotic rocker ‘Regular John’ and the krauty ‘You Can’t Quit Me Baby’ from QOTSA’s immaculate debut LP. Throw in a touch of space dust, and there you have it!
Second track, ‘The Morning’, takes that QOTSA/Krautrock groove from ‘You Can’t Quit Me Baby’ and pares it right down, leaving only a throbbing bassline, quietly motorik drums and shimmering touches of guitar, over which Gianmarco croons his lyrics in a beautifully sedate way until things become a shade more forceful halfway through its thirteen minute length, with the drums stepping up a notch and stereo fuzz-tone guitars coming in, panned wide across the whole track and thickening up the whole shebang. The band then proceed to notch things up one more time as the fuzz guitars become more prominent, the vocals become more strident and a beautifully liquid vibraphone-sounding guitar part becomes the focal point and the only thing left after everything else fades.
‘The Eternaut’ is the end of the album proper, moving from a deep bass and drum groove into what sounds like a slow-mo version of Kyuss’ ‘Whitewater’, from ‘And The Circus Leaves Town’ with some wonderfully impassioned vocals from the increasingly impressive Iantaffi. This monstrous riff soon breaks back down to the bass and drum shuffle again, over which a synth meanders and sounds uncannily like a glass harmonica, before joining itself in a beautiful stereo play-off. This, in turn is broken up by a series of jagged R ‘n’ B guitar chords and the colossal riff from earlier comes crashing back in over everything else. Eight minutes into a sixteen minute epic and we’re already overwhelmed, sonically. But wait, there is MORE!! A beautifully understated guitar solo leads us into a total cosmic freak-out of crashing drums, whirling organs, deep-space pulses of oscillating synth and huge thunderous guitar chords, and all the while, processed sounds drip like rain around our ears. Like, WOW.
As I said, that is where the album proper ends, but there is another, unlisted, track that comes along after ‘The Eternaut’, building ever so quietly for three and a half minutes before leaping from the speakers in a treacle-thick orgy of kaleidoscopic Mars Volta-esque guitars, laser-like synths and stratospheric soloing. The vocals here are delivered in that slow melodic crooning drawl that Josh Homme does so well and are surrounded by a halo of gorgeous guitar solos, climbing up into the heavens and beyond, into uncharted regions of outer space.
Just……..wow. Truly a cosmic experience. I have no idea what this final track is called, but it really is the crowning moment on what has proved to be an excellent release from Void Generator.
If you’ve missed QOTSA’s trippier explorations, are a fan of the less deranged Mars Volta material or just love space rock, then you NEED to seek out Void Generator and get lost in their universe for yourself.
Label: Phonosphera Records
Scribed by: Paul Robertson