Øresund Space Collective – Good Planets Are Hard to Find

Øresund Space Collective - Good Planets Are Hard to Find

Øresund Space Collective - Good Planets Are Hard to Find

Traditional jam bands don’t do much for me — sometimes I just want the damn song to end already! Lengthy instrumentals are most often background noise or unwanted annoyances in my life. But then, sometimes, a band comes along that breaks all of the conventions. The things that annoy you about its peers will perhaps endear you to it. This is the case with Scandinavian Øresund Space Collective, a group featuring Danish, Swedish, and American musicians. 

One of the most interesting things about this group is that all of the songs are completely improvised. The group gets together to play free-form space rock music and the members record each jam session. The result is hour after hour of recordings – offered up as mp3s, CD-Rs, and “proper” releases. Good Planets Are Hard to Find was recorded in 2007 with some musicians who had never been in the studio with the rest of the collective, and the recordings were subsequently sent to Steve Hayes (Secret Saucer) to be mixed.

The title track opens this collection of six. KG of Siena Root plays the sitar here, and on the final piece “Mtsst”. Six tracks may seem insubstantial at first, but two of them clock it at nearly 20 minutes and the shortest is a meaty 6 minutes. The layers of “Good Planets Are Hard to Find” are airy and subtle, leading to an interesting juxtaposition with “Space Fountain”, a much more rock-oriented, wailing blues jam. “Orbital Elevator” spins through even more progressive territory, with intergalactic synths and even thicker grooves. The same can be said of “Pp746-3” and “My Heel Has a Beard” as well. While the purely instrumental music is definitely jammy, there’s enough variation here to keep this album from landing in the background noise category. There is plenty of keep your attention, and the bookended sitar tracks are easily my favorites of the brilliant bunch.

It’s thoroughly amazing that all of Good Planets Are Hard to Find came out of improvisation. So many bands agonize over songwriting and have never recorded their music together in one room at one time. Certainly, Øresund Space Collective pick the best stuff to appear on a full-length release such as this, but I can’t imagine the “worst” stuff being very bad at all. Anyone who enjoys jam bands, progressive rock, or space rock should absolutely check out this group – even greater things will continue to come out of these improv sessions.

Transubstans Records