Jan 30, 2015 – Drone Not Drones with Pagoda Ov Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt Pagoda is a progressive space rock group from Minneapolis and are absolutely fantastic. So when they asked me to collaborate with them for Kosmische Drone set for the Drone Not Drones (http://dronenotdrones.com/) event I jumped at the chance. Here are some pics of our performance that night.


IMGP1206 IMGP1207 IMGP1210IMGP1211safe_image


The Satyrswitch Review – High Bias 10-24-2004

The High Lonesome Sound of the Satyrswitch
(Camera Obscura)
Not unlike his labelmate Sharron Kraus, Jason Kesserling filters folk music from both the U.S. and the U.K. through his fertile brain and nimble fingers into wonderfully captivating acid folk. Sometimes he reaches beyond; his version of the venerable warhorse “Ghost Riders in the Sky” evokes the Wild Hunt of Norse mythology as much as the Wild West spirits most people associate with it. Aside from astute song choices (“Boys of Bedlam,” Poe’s “El Dorado”) and strong originals (“Angel of Wolves,” “Kindred”), Kesserling has his melodic guitar work and commanding baritone working in his favor. Not to mention the best album title I’ve read in a good long while.
– Michael Toland

Skye Klad review – Chaos Realm webzine

by Ray Dorsey

“Skye Klad II”

You probably figure you’ve got me pegged, got this ol’ scribe nailed to the wall when it comes to the way he reviews a record he really digs. He makes a couple semi-clever analogies, then tries to home in on a description of the album by trotting out a few comparisons. Well, sorry to disappoint you good ol’ folks, but this time I can’t accomodate your expectations, so different & out-of-left-field is this band. Not to be confused with the Skyclad from England, who’s exciting brand of Celtic metal has long been a fave in these quarters.

SKYE KLAD hails from Minnesota and this disc, in keeping with it’s shocking (lol) title is the band’s 2nd CD. I must say, it’s been in my player a whole freaking lot. Jason Kesserling & Erik Wivinus amp up their guitars with layer after layer of distortion &, with tuning slightly askew, then procede to concoct melodies that would make most pop hooksmen weep in envy for just long enough before they plummet down the rabbit-hole of the unusual, bringing it all back to square within 2 to 4 minutes.

Dave Onnen (bass) & Matt Zaun (drums) alternately drive the bus & hang on for dear life as SKYE KLAD run the gamut with “Reign Song,” “Outrider” & “Sunwheel,” not to mention the Irving Berlin cover, “Blue Skies.” Kesserling’s vocals are always odd, perpetually interesting & never quite sound like anybody else as the band careen through glowing songs that bring together everything from mega-jangling metallic punk pop to heavy prog-psych (“Lex Talionis”). An album like “Skye Klad II” is the kind of breathtaking, wonderful surprise that makes me constantly look forward to that next brown package in the mailbox. Stunning!

NOTE: Dave Onnen was also kind enough to send me SKYE KLAD’s eponymous debut from 2000. Concentrating on longer cuts, even odder proggy moments & less of the maddeningly wondrous catchiness of “…II,” it’s another kaleidescopic view of this ultra-cool band & highly recommended.

Ray is the author of the Chaos Realm website

Skye Klad review -Dream Magazine #3 (Spring 2003)

skye klad

by George Parsons

Skye Klad – Skye Klad II

Heavy very earthy space rock trimmed into seventeen slices of dark thunder. There’s still an almost goth feels to some of this; and it all feels dressed in black. Sullen, nocturnal and a little crazy too. The first six songs seem determined to prove how resolutely rough they can be; the fairly tender instrumental Meechmit is a bit of a turning point. Golden Dawn follows with a dark B.O.C. in slow motion sound. The stark instrumental intensity and grandeur of Lex Talionis is a high-light. Overall I’d say this maintains a consistently dark atmosphere throughout, with passing lighter moments like the graceful instrumental Skye Boat, and the almost classic garage pop of As It Is So Be It. I’m not sure what Irving Berlin would have thought of the 500lb version of Blue Skies they do here, and neither am I, but I love how they set Baudelaire to music on Lethe. I with they had shown more of the melodic subtlety of the closing Faster on the rest of the album.

George is the editor of the excellent Dream Magazine

Skye Klad review -Zoopa Loop – 12/16/2002

by Zoopa Loop

Skye Klad – II

I had barely discovered the music of this Minneapolis based space rock band with their excellent debut album that I already received their brand new record simply entitled “2”. On their first full length release, their music swirled around a space rock core which absorbed a multitude of sounds being made up of industrial sensations, psychedelia and even noisy oscillations. All these vibes are still present on “2” but the band have enclosed them in some more classic structures, have condensed their various sources of inspiration into songs 2 / 4 minutes in length whose immediate impact on the listener is stronger than their previous long pieces.

Their boiling psychedelism and adventurous style which were both important parts of their material up to now stay from now on in the background on behalf of some more dissonant distorded textures which remind me of Sonic Youth which would have listened too much to Chrome ( “To the new dawn”, “Absynthe Opaline”, “Lethe”, “Reign song” ). Although all these elements can make you think of an album which might follow a more experimental line, the whole is scatterred with some references to David Bowie ( “Sunwheel” ) or Frank Zappa ( “Evening star”, “As it is so be it” ) whose influences on the architecture of the songs give them an unrivalled touch rolled up in quite marked catchy style.

Sometimes the dissonant and rough textures of their tracks lean on some tasty dopey walls of sounds consiting of the above-mentioned influences ( “Little nemo”, “Lightbringer 6”, “Skye Boat” ). The collision between a colder form of psychedelism which would only like to extend within woollier outlines and the pop / rock nature of most of their numbers breeds a certain rivalry where Skye Klad excel in combining both of their desires which are to explore music in a free way and to keep this way of playing inside more rigid bounds to appeal to some potential new ears ( “Fall angel”, “Golden dawn”, “Reign song”, “Outrider” ). Some extended pieces would have surely failed to achieve this goal. I didn’t expect a such maturity in their songwriting from their second album whose main attraction is to unite different musical genres after the manner of Frank Zappa, Sonic Youth or Chrome. A succesful result from a talented band.

Zoopa Loop is an excellent French website – Zoopa Loop Website

Skye Klad review – The Big Takeover – 08/30/2001

Skye Klad

by Tucker Petertil – The Big Takeover – Fall/Winter

First impressions can be misleading, as this excellent disc of psychedelia opens on a throwaway surf music note, but then proceeds straight to the center of your mind. If you keep buying supposedly Psychedelic music CDs only to be disappointed when you finally get the plastic wrap off and listen to them-then Skye Klad is the music for you. This band delivers the most mind expandingest bit of psyche since Terrastocks roamed the earth. While the band’s name may conjure up images of naked pagans dancing in the woods the actual music is 60s psych filtered through a 2001 sensibility. Skye Klad claims members from both Salamander and Vortex Navigation Co., two of the most melodic psych bands operating today. Listen to Skye Klad and you’ll never hear surf music again.

Tucker Petertil writes a regular music column for the Olympian and also writes for the Big Takeover

Skye Klad review -Fred Mills – Phoenix New Times 09/27/2001

Skye Klad, Salamander

by Fred Mills – Phoenix New Times 09/27/2001

Skye Klad (Mutant Music), Birds of Appetite (Camera Obscura)

The last time we checked in with the lusty psychedelic scene of the Twin Cities, there were such bands as . . . er, uhh . . . well, Prince, and Soul Asylum, and of course those space-rockin’ Replacements . . . whew. In any event, better late than never. Minneapolis and surrounding burgs have been quietly stashing away LSD for a decade or so, finally getting up the nerve to spike the community water supply a couple of years ago. The results? A ground swell of lysergic musical investigations that peels back the inner eyelid with great finesse. Witnesses for the prosecution: Skye Klad and Salamander.

The former group has been around since about ’99, combining the churning dissonance of Can and Sonic Youth, the full-on fuzztone skree of Hawkwind and Spacemen 3 and the arena-size heaviness of Floyd and Sabbath. Skye Klad is psychedelic in the classic sense. The singer in particular helps keep things grounded; his baritone provides a Bauhaus/Doorsian edge to the songs, although his flair for the extemporaneous might suggest former Can vocalist Damo Suzuki at times as well. The compelling “Toxaphene” perfectly sums up the group’s modus operandi: throbbing rhythm section powered by a neo-surf bass line, insistent maracas and tambourine, zooming/arpeggioed guitars, and chanted vocal incantations draping things in dark drama. “Drama” in fact is an operative term for Skye Klad, and when listening to this debut album one readily imagines liquid light shows and laser displays accompanying the sonics.

Salamander, by contrast, sets its controls on a subtler, more impressionistic path to the heart of the sun. The band is no less psychedelic, however, simply unconcerned with velocity or volume, similar at times in tone and texture to both Bardo Pond and Bevis Frond or, to cite older precedents, Quicksilver and Ash Ra Tempel. Densely echoed multitracked strings (acoustic and electric guitars, hammered dulcimer, bass), treated percussion, whispery samples, loops and E-bow, snatches of space-whisper voices — all collide and coalesce in a globular prism of sound before being sucked down through a wormhole of blissful drones. There’s a pervasive raga-rock vibe, too — Middle Eastern-tinged pastoral folk-rock has always enjoyed its close kinship with psych — making a song like “Minutia Divine” the perfect contrasting chill-out to the interplanetary whoosh of preceding number “Ithsmus” [sic]. This is Salamander’s third album since ’97, a double-LP (or 65-minute CD) with hints of non-grandiose conceptual sci-fi unity; one cut, “Trench of Fire,” runs for 20 minutes, while “Yomin” contains passages featuring Leonard Nimoy reciting words penned by Ray Bradbury. It’s easily one of the most accomplished and riveting slabs of mind expansion to turn up in recent memory, a high-water mark for any locale or period, not just for Minneapolis circa 2001.

Note that the two groups are more than just water brothers musically and spiritually. They’re joined at the hip literally as well, sharing a couple of members. For that matter, multi-instrumentalist Erik Wivinus, of both outfits, has his own side project, an ambient folk-psych duo called Gentle Tasaday, and he also guests on a fellow Salamander’s side project, Vortex Navigation Company, which no doubt by now has spawned additional side projects . . . you get the drift. Psychedelia’s funny like that. It just keeps replicating and mutating, and the Twin Cities space-rock scene appears to be a fertile Petri dish of musicality.

The Phoenix New Times