Comets Ov Cupid “Viking Spacecraft”


“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)


Superior Elegy


I remember playing this and it was a very cool event. 3 members of Skye Klad came to participate (myself -Jason Kesselring, Erik Wivinus, and Matt Zaun) You can actually see Erik at about 15 mins into the film playing. guitar. Matt played drums and I played Electric Saz. See Erik’s description below.

Travis Wilkerson’s film, Superior Elegy

Documents a collaborative 25-hour drone performance at the NorShor theatre in Duluth Minnesota circa 2002 with a rotating cast of musicians as a memorial to a young man murdered at twenty-five.

I went up there with my then-bandmates in Skye Klad to participate, and appear briefly around 15:15-15:30; our good friend Jesse Petersen also makes an appearance. Hadn’t seen this since it screened just after it was made over ten years ago.

Vortex Navigation Company “10 miles wide”


Music recorded at Kindred North Dakota
Video recorded at Duluth Minnesota January 2009

This music was recorded in a Barn in Kindred North Dakota, September 2008 Adam Backstrom, Dave Onnen, Erik Wivinus, Jason Kesselring (aka Comets Ov Cupid) and Sean Connaughty.

Vortex Navigation Company – Son


A few years ago Sean Connaughty made this video out at my family’s ranch in Kindred North Dakota. The music is from an improvisation between former members of Skye Klad, Salamander, and Vortex Navigation. Definitely Kosmische! See Sean’s description below.

This music was recorded in a Barn in Kindred North Dakota, September 2008 Adam Backstrom, Dave Onnen, Erik Wivinus, Jason Kesselring and Sean Connaughty. Video is from Kindred ND

Salamander – Vessel Is Vacant


Salamander’s “Birds of Appetite” was possibly the most epic of there releases and by this time had therhythmic bedrock of Dave Onnen and Matt Zaun both coming from Skye Klad. This song is one of my favorites from that album. Check out the review below. 

“Birds of Appetite” was Salamander’s most consistent and definitive work to date, refining their mix of eastern-influenced acid folk and giant Ash Ra Tempel-ish cosmic improvisations. It marked the end of a trilogy that documented the first phase of the band, and its rarity led to a 2003 CD release for those that missed out on the vinyl version. By this point, Bryce Kastning had departed to pursue ambient solo work (though he still occasionally contributes to the band’s efforts and remains a good friend to the band as well as a member of Vortex Navigation Company). Skye Klad’s Matthew Zaun took his place on the drum stool. After the recording of “Birds of Appetite” and Salamander’s short East-coast tour with labelmates Primordial Undermind and the Japanese psych monsters Overhang Party, bassist Doug Morman also moved out of state and decided to bow out of the group in order to settle into his life as an avid horticulturist and devoted husband and father of two. His position on bass was ably filled by Skye Klad bassist Dave Onnen, who along with Zaun forms the precise rhythm-section that is the bedrock of Salamander’s music to this day.

Vortex Navigation Company live at Sacred Heart Church in Duluth, Minnesota.- “let’s light a light”


Vortex Navigation Company live at Sacred Heart Church in Duluth, Minnesota. March 6, 2010 as part of Dioramarama. Sean Connaughty, Scott Puhl, Jason Kesselring (aka Comets Ov Cupid) and Brad Nelson. Engineering by Eric Swanson. Thanks to Sarah Heimer for organizing this amazing event. Video imagery is from Bigloo version 16 Minneapolis winter 2009/2010.