Moon Trotskij - I Fell But Andromeda Rose to the Stars
In the grand tradition of one-track albums, such as Tull’s Thick As A Brick and A Passion Play, Sleep’s Jerusalem and Acid Mothers Temple’s La Novia, along comes the debut solo album from Spacious Mind guitarist/vocalist Henrik Oja. With the exception of some percussive assistance from David Sandström, Oja plays all the instruments, including bass, keys, tapes, samples, and digital treatments. From the shamanic opening, Oja is the tribal elder, summoning us to prayer with acoustic guitar and glockenspiel-ish keyboard effects slowly building to exquisite guitar lines familiar to those with spacious minds. After about 9 minutes, the skies burst open with heavy-metal thunder, and the second segment begins as a contemplative aerial view of the spoils of war as Huginn and Muninn (the all-seeing ravens from Swedish mythology) survey the carnage and prepare to report back to Odin. Ending with a soft stroll along the beach, Oja’s synths and sound effects direct the aerial dance of flocks of seagulls, as they kiss the water’s surface, signaling the rise of whales, dolphins and other aquatic sealife on the horizon. A short vocal segment (lyrics courtesy Spacious Mind keyboardist Jens Unosson) ends part two as the door (literally) slams shut on the outer world. The third segment begins with tinkling keyboards and meditative tablas, and proceeds into an extended exploration of inner space, highlighted by mandolins gently plucking at the brain tags we’ve sprinkled throughout our mind to identify and remember our most enjoyable experiences.
(Goddamn I'm a Countryman)
I long ago championed Oja as one of the most underrated guitar gods in our midst, and there are times when I was reminded favorably of Disintegration-era Robert Smith, Silver Wheel of Prayer-era Roy Montgomery, or Makoto Kawabata’s meditative solo pieces (Infinite Love and You Are The Moonshine). So if you are thinking, “Guitarist solo album... must be a 45-minute wankoff,” I must report that you are sadly (and gladly) mistaken. Oja is simply not that type of guitarist and this album is that much better because of it. It’s both free-form and structured—breaking it into three segments helps the listener’s fatigue factor, and moments of headache-y, stoner metallica are tempered with floating, cloudlike passages of exquisite beauty.