Mythic Sunship

Wildfire

Written by: AP on 02/01/2022 16:15:19

Although the band is a prominent fixture in the country’s small but dedicated psychedelic rock scene, Mythic Sunship remains something of a well kept secret of Denmark’s. Still, their three performances at the 2019 edition of Roadburn (two of which were spontaneously put together during the weekend) tell the story of a band with a unique penchant for turning curious listeners into fans, and when one listens to their fifth and latest album “Wildfire”, it is easy to understand why. Concocting their name from two classic free jazz albums, Sun Ra’s “Of Mythic Worlds” and John Coltrane’s “Sun Ship”, and calling their own music anaconda rock, the Copenhagen quartet is renowned for adding an improvisational, avant-garde touch to the psych genre, and after welcoming saxophonist Søren Skov into their fold on their 2018 effort “Another Shape of Psychedelic Music”, their music has only grown wilder.

The roughly 43 minutes of runtime are divided into tracks ranging from six to eleven minutes, all of which come across like single-take jam sessions that, were it not for the revenant stoner rock influence dating back to the band’s earliest work, sound like pure free jazz. Indeed, the opening track “Maelstrom” lives up to its name, kicking up a whirlwind of buoyant instrumentals, all going off on their own maverick tangent and resulting in music that is as aesthetically pleasing as it is perplexing. The style of this free-wheeling track is similar to Earthless, albeit it has a lighter tone and a significantly more impulsive complexion, which fully comes to light during the rampageous vortex of sound it ends with. It spells out the formula for the rest of the record still to follow and is likely to throw all but the most devout connoisseurs of psychedelic music off considering that there is almost nothing tangible to latch onto in these five songs. Alert ears will notice a number of nods and bows to various genre luminaries like Hawkwind in the second track “Olympus”, the eastern vibes that “Landfall” is imbued with by virtue of some astute high sax notes in its middle section, and the undercurrent of blues that flows beneath the closing piece “Going Up”. But for most listeners, “Wildfire” is likely to sound pretty uniform and devoid of those genuine standout moments that every album benefits from.

The skill of musicianship, not to mention the subliminal connection that the four musicians seem to share and be able to distill into ever crazier, ever more bewildering acid trips, are undeniable. But their lawless approach to writing music also renders “Wildfire” far better suited to the live setting than listening to it on record. For yours truly at least, it is difficult to imagine many scenarios that would benefit from having this record in the ears that do not involve the intake of some kind of euphoric substance; it is simply too intense to function as dinner music, and far too serpentine to provide the soundtrack for a social get-together. No — Mythic Sunship creates music that has to be heard in an introspective state and a concert delivers the perfect setting for losing yourself in “Wildfire”’s kaleidoscope of bright colours and dizzying patterns. A trippy and colourful album, “Wildfire” ticks all the right technical boxes, but it lacks some anchor points to return to when the space odyssey takes the listener too far out.

7

Download: Maelstrom, Landfall, Going Up
For the fans of: Causa Sui, Colour Haze, Earthless, Papir
Listen: Facebook

Release date 02.04.2021
Tee Pee Records

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