Tower of Spacious Karma
(2011, Mind Expansion Records)
It’s called Tower of Spacious Karma
, but instead of spires to heaven, think more horizontally: expansive fields of sonic love, and 14 flavors, to boot. Gently head-nodding psychedelia is the unifying conceit on Venture Lift’s second album, but the focus is squarely on diversity. Hudson resident Stanton Warren seems dedicated not to meat-and-mushrooms psych-rock so much as the hazy glaze that seems to settle over such sounds. The music here isn’t lightweight, just presented with a light touch.
The opening track, “Bukowski on the Brain,” instead of evoking some alcoholic mania, draws on the holiest of rock ’n’ roll founts, the Velvet Underground’s repetitive guitar strum (perhaps by way of the Brian Jonestown Massacre), to conjure a long day of sun-dappled bliss. But Warren follows with a series of left turns that reflect a casually restless mind, at least when it comes to “head” music: “Distance” employs a synthetic beat underneath a lattice of tremolo-ed guitar lines, while “Do You Hear It?” is desert dry and about as illusory. If Warren occasionally strays a bit—the title track sounds like something of an exercise in yoga soundtracking—he more than redeems himself with the layered, shadowy tension of the 10-minute-plus “It’s Not Safe” (with the record’s most effective vocal work, by guest Ingrid Sertso) and the soft chug of “Helios,” which resembles Moon Duo on a helium bender. www.venturelift.com