New Comets Ov Cupid EP. Over the last few years Comets Ov Cupid has taken on a power trio formation to play more metallic instrumental Space Rock pieces. Erik Wivinus (bass) and Matt Entsminger (drums) both hailing from the legendary Minneapolis Space Rock Band Thunderbolt Pagoda. Erik and Matt bring forth a volcanic energy that really moves Comets into some exciting new territory. I hope you enjoy. Dave Onnen of Thunderbolt Pagoda at the recording helm. Best when played loud.
Comets Ov Cupid – Vril Kosmische Urkraft
On his Bandcamp page, Comets Ov Cupid mastermind Jason Kesselring describes the project as “gothic space rock.” It’s a concise description, and not wholly inaccurate, but Vril Kosmische Urkraft encompasses quite a bit more in terms of genre. The Minneapolis-based project’s third full-length is a wild chariot ride through buzzing hollow-earth drones, meandering krautrock riffage, black metal influence, and fuzz—fuzz everywhere. Though the album’s title and thematic inspiration might lead the uninitiated to expect something in the neofolk vein, it’s an entirely different interpretation of Norse mythology and the work of Edward Bulwer-Lytton. And that’s not to say that it doesn’t occasionally delve into folk territory as well. Sure, you could slap the album with the “space rock” label and be mostly correct, but it would also be a massive understatement and a great disservice to the artist.
Vril Kosmische Urkraft is a lot to absorb, to say the least. Kesselring has an interesting method of layering textures that can be imperfectly compared to building a harsh noise wall. Although the project is primarily guitar based, there are all kinds of good things buried underneath the thundering riffs: drum patterns and vocal samples, more riffs, and a muted guitar solo. All of it coalesces, more often than not, into a seething barricade of fuzz. While tracks like “Sleipnir,” with its frenetic fretwork and breakneck drum loops, carry a strong metal influence, the album’s finest moments come when the artist dives headlong into psychedelia. The uneasy bad-trip drones of “Ultima Thule” segue perfectly into the finger-picked intro, haunting and resonant, of “Valknut.” Though clearly adept at experimentation and pushing the boundaries of sound and genre, Kesselring’s talents are most evident when he incorporates traditional elements into the mix.
Purists of any stripe won’t be thrilled with the release, but being a purist isn’t very much fun. There are elements of Hawkwind and Can in there, but also some nods back to the English prog-folk that inspired Kesselring’s earlier project, Skye Klad. In some ways, Vril Kosmische Urkraft draws comparison with the frantic genre-hopping of Yussuf Jerusalem; in other ways, there’s little to compare it to. Despite drawing from a large pool of often disparate influences, one is never left with the impression that these are employed for novelty’s sake, or as devices meant to distract the listener from one flaw or another. Vril Kosmische Urkraft has its share of flaws like any other album, but a lack of cohesion isn’t one of them. The album has a clear sonic purpose, and it fulfills that by incorporating the right amount of experimentation at exactly the right times.
01) Mysterium Cosmographicum
03) Viking Spacecraft
04) The Hollow Earth
05) Ultima Thule
09) Eternal Ice
Written by: Rebecca C. Brooks
Label: Independent (United States) / None / CD, Digital
Space Rock / Kosmische / Drone Ambient
COMETS OV CUPID – VRIL KOSMISCHE URKFRAFT (CD from https://cometsovcupid.wordpress.com/)
This is the third full course release, then, from Jason Kesselring in his Comets ov Cupid guise and who serves up an often mesmerising not to mention exhausting mix of drone/metal and cosmic noodling. Opener “Mysterium Cosmographicum” supplies the drone while “Sleipner” which follows supplies the manic shredding that screams “speed metal” at full voice. We’re two numbers in (from nine) and I’m not sure I’m going to be able to take the pace. Respite comes in the spectral form of “Viking Spacecraft” but only for the first couple of minutes before rolling drums and more fret mangling hurls us Valhalla bound once more. Actually I’m not sure if the title is a reference to Norse explorers/pillagers of yore or NASA space-exploration or both. I suppose it matter not.
The more subtle, restrained moments come from the likes of “The Hollow Earth”, featuring muted vocals although still with an intensity which offers little let-up but does hint at Kesselring as being more than just a noise monster. Such notions take further shape with “Ultima Thule”, which supplements the artist’s metal leanings and shows him more than capable of some capable cosmic dark-folk while “Volknut” sees Kesselring swapping megavolts for an acoustic workout that might surprise the Blackshaw/Basho fraternity out there. “Ginnungagap” (oh my poor spell checker) drones over some native American chanting and is, blow for blow, one of the real album highlights and which segues into “Jormungand” another jolly romp showcasing Jason’s searing axe work. It might have all ended rather noisily at that point but sensibly the coda comes courtesy of “Eternal Ice”, a highly atmospheric slice of ethereal, Arctic Circle chill-out which melds the Comets drone and Nordic folk trademark signatures most effectively and, I might add, gratifyingly.
“Viking Spacecraft” is a track from Comets Ov Cupid’s new CD “Vril Kosmische Urkraft”
available here for purchase
Comets Ov Cupid is a gothic space rock project by Jason Kesselring : cosmic music evoking a sense of eternal twilight with a sonic landscape of distorted voices, cosmic pulse and hazy drones. Guitar based in composition that goes from full blow metalgazer bliss out to melancholy astral folk. “Vril Kosmische Urkraft is the third release featuring 9 faustian tone poems. A descent to the middle of the earth to the outer reaches of infinity.
“Vril Kosmische Urkraft,” the third full-length effort by Comets Ov Cupid, finds rural futurist Jason Kesselring paradoxically producing his most varied and yet cohesively-focused release to date. All the sounds he has been working with for years are there, but amalgamated and paced in such a way as to make a complete Work, rather than a collection of pieces that each showcase different aspects of Jason’s considerable command of his instruments. The album begins with a heady Branca-esque spaceward-looking introductory piece before diving headfirst into the most metallic pieces of the bunch, which show a somewhat more blackened and blasted side of Kesselring’s metal leanings than previous efforts have done. These two pieces are still very atmospheric and expansive in nature however, and show a virtuosity seldom apparent in straightforward black metal while using its atmospheric nature to achieve a more cosmic end (all the while the lack of vocals on this all-instrumental album keep things from veering into caricature or pastiche of any kind). From there things follow an arc into a true Kosmische sound art form, using sonic extremes both painful and meditative to explore outer and inner spaces alike (or indeed simultaneously). Previous releases have employed the acoustic guitar as a break or interlude, but here we find the instrument used in fuller effect in a couple of longer pieces, and Jason’s Jansch-influenced playing really adds a layer of depth and scope to a part of the record’s arc that could have delved lazily into “drone” territory for too long. The album once again veers into heavier territory toward the end before going out in a haze of “Eternal Ice” at its closing.
It bears mentioning that Jason’s virtuosic command of the guitar is a means to an end and not an end in itself; throughout the record his technique is undeniable, but it is only brought to the fore with speed and volume when necessary to the whole and his playing does not ever veer into mere pyrotechnic display. Very few releases manage to combine such disparate elements as Cosmic Music, black metal, noise and acid-folk while still retaining a cohesive and total vision and purpose. A rare thing indeed. The tundra of North Dakota is indeed a fruitful place.”
– Erik Wivinus (Thunderbolt Pagoda)
Comets Ov Cupid – “Vril Kosmische Urkraft” (self-released 2013)
Comets Ov Cupid returns with its third release, following Metalgazer (2007) andWestern Lands (2010). Vril Kosmische Urkraft finds the former Skye Klad and Satyrswitch frontman Jason Kesselring expanding on the territory he plumbed inWestern Lands, a mix of noisy drones, quaking metal, and cosmic folk. This time out, the mostly instrumental album explores the depths and chasms of Germanic and Norse mythology and mysticism, taking the listener on a journey deep into the realms of the hollow earth and beyond.
Vril was the ancient cosmic power harnessed by the advanced beings that dwelled in the hollow of the earth in The Coming Race, the 1871 novel by British writer Edward Bulwer-Lytton (and indeed, kosmische meaning ‘cosmic’ and urkraft meaning ‘ancient power’ fall in line with this). It certainly does seem that Kesselring is tapping into some kind of power as he unleashes the shivering drone attack of Mysterium Cosmographicum, the opening track on the album. It’s a brief piece, less than two minutes, before we’re flung full force into the throbbing intensity of Sleipner, featuring Kesselring’s trademark sound: a roar of hazy noise; enormous, fuzzed out bass; drum loops buried deep, deep in the mix, and relentlessly creative guitar soloing. It’s a thundering anthem for Odin’s steed. Viking Spacecraft, both a nod, one would presume, to ancient Norse explorers, and the unmanned vessels that landed on Mars in the 1970′s, takes a similar direction, but this time replaces the galloping rhythm with more of a zoned out interplanetary vibe. It’s pure spacerock for the cosmically inclined, perhaps one last glimpse of the outer cosmos before Kesselring turns the listeners attention inward with the brooding soundscape of The Hollow Earth.
It’s as if he’s provided us with a map (Mysterium Cosmographicum) and the transportation of both ancient myth and the space age, then set us on a course into the unknown (something he did well on Western Lands too). Here, besides the aforementioned The Hollow Earth, the unknown manifests in the hauntingly melodicUltima Thule; the weird, psychedelic folk of Valknut; and the eerie dronescape and restless chants of Ginnungagap (the name that the ancient Norse gave to the vast, primordial void that existed before the universe was created). The album concludes with the rollicking heavy metal stomp of Jormungand and the desolate, empty landscapes evoked by The Eternal Ice (a reference perhaps to the Norse end of the world?). And although that may leave the listener a bit chilled, it’s a good chill, the kind of chill that sends shivers up one’s spine, say, after having witnessed a manifestation of the unexplained, touched the cosmic or dreamed the endless dream.
Kesselring takes a very unique and intriguing approach to mixing his music, like an alchemist experimenting, often inverting the typical mix, burying drums and muting melodies in favour of textural explorations. It serves his music well. One always gets a sense that there is something hidden beneath, some ancient secret or lost wisdom swirling under the surface. It makes the listener want to dig deeper, to find what lies within. But there’s the magic of Comets Ov Cupid: one can never quite find it. It remains elusive and mysterious, as all great cosmic secrets should remain.
For more info, visit: http://cometsovcupid.bandcamp.com
Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald