(New Album Review) Lay Llamas and Tetuan [Split EP]

Here’s another great one from a few months back you may have overlooked: an excellent split by Lay Llamas and Tetuan, put out by my friends at ArTeTetra. Label heads Babau support all kinds of ecstatic and strange psych sounds, and many of them are a far cry from their own (check: Alegrìas y Duelos de Mi Alma by the Spanish surreal free-folk guy Futeisha). Here though, we’ve got something that is really in their vein– droney psychedelic rock characterized by an experimental hunger and strong ties to a wide range of trans-ethnic influences. We need more of that these days, less of the tired revivalism. Put this one on and you’ll feel as though you have stepped into the torrid air of an oneiric greenhouse.

On Side A, Lay Llamas’ “The Big Calm Sea of Transition” fleshes out an ethno-ambient soundscape of probing drone that might throw you back to certain offerings of Sun City Girls, Pelt, and Vibracathedral Orchestra for its enveloping psychical unease and mystery. An electric guitar sounds like a sarangi, a flute sounds like a voice calling from a dream, and when it is over you are left feeling it was over too soon.

No sooner than the transitory sea has retreated, Tetuan bolts you upright with the cosmic dervish “Juju”before ushering you through the slow progression into night that is “Lame Rosse”. Slowly surfacing ambient textures on keyboard and murmured chants are anchored by thundering, insistent percussion and a muscular bassline that all at once bring Latin, North African, and Celtic vibes into confluence with that krautrock evocation of suspended time. Fantastic stuff.

I could go on, but I shouldn’t! Fall into this weirdness and let it speak through you for a bit. Highly recommended.


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