Vibracathedral Orchestra – Smoke Song

4 out of 5

Label: VHF Records

Produced by: Vibracathedral Orchestra (?)

The third of a set of single LP releases, Vibracathedral Orchestra deliver another bliss-inducing doze of hazy, folk-tinged psych and noise, offering up three tracks that give three particular “versions” of the group’s sound.

The opening title track is VO at clattering extremes, pushing and pulling its various sounds – whatever outre, world instruments they’re employing, consisting of various percussions and keys and guitars – across 12 minutes that grow and grow but never exceed a certain boisterous threshold. To me, this is the band at their best, improvising but maintaining something that feels like a throughline – staying on the map, if navigating through tricksy waters.

This offensive rush is then smartly abutted by the comparatively defensive wooze of Cholita Maria: it’s a step back behind the line, letting the “smoke” of the opener breathe and lulling us with calmer strums and folky warmth.

The seemingly definitively titled closer, Get It, Got It, Good, is more of a drone-ish variety. This one took me a few spins to find its rhythms, but even then, it may be a few minutes stretch too far. Operating in, to my ear, sections, the opening and closing portions of this are quite excellent: the muted former part slowly works in nuance in the guitars and drummings, creating appealing pertubances through small changes, and the latter, concluding section is when its 16-minute runtime starts to pay off in very loose-limbed, unleashed playing. The midsection’s repetition, though certainly in line with VO’s style and not at all unpleasant, simply bangs on for a bit too long, taking the muted cues from where we started and not adding to or subtracting from them. In a noisier variant, I like these tracks, but when it’s comparatively tonally dim, like this, I maybe need a whole album of it – Doldrums like – to get into it. Certainly to each their own, but this final track, tightened up, would’ve capped out this trio of tracks as perfect.