Sula Bassana – Organ Accumulator / Zone Six – Forever Hugo

As the owner of Sulatron Records, as a multi-instrumentalist member of Electric Moon, Krautzone and Zone Six and as the brains behind his own semi-solo Sula Bassana project, Germany’s David Schmidt is an unashamed champion of all things krautrock, kosmische, motorik, psych-rock and all that fits in-between.  Luckily for him, a cult-like Europe-wide fanbase exists that just can’t get enough of his curated and authored wares.  Which means a healthy stream of limited edition releases that often disappear before some of us even know about them… like these two new long-players unleashed in conjunction with the UK’s hyperactive Deep Distance label.

Sula Bassana – Organ Accumulator

Released in two already scarce colourful flavours of vinyl via Deep Distance and as a bonus track bolstered CD edition on Sulatron, Schmidt’s latest outing as the ridiculously prolific Sula Bassana – in the shape of Organ Accumulator – is certainly one of his most hypnotic and evocative statements in any guise to date.  Primarily eschewing guitars for a bewildering array of keyboards, synthesisers and electronics, the album ticks a comfortingly familiar range of sonic boxes without slipping into lazy pastiche or blatant hero-worship.  This means blending-in shades of Harmonia-like grooves (the title-track), immersion in Spiritualized’s Lazer Guided Melodies/Pure Phase-era minimalism (“Nebelschwaden”), exploration of darkened Tangerine Dream expanses (“Lichtbündel) and soaking-up balmy Clusterisms (“Morgentau”), all with infectious confidence, calming warmth and endearing DIY invention.

Zone Six – Forever Hugo

In contrast, Schmidt’s latest outing on drums and keyboards as one-third of Zone Six is far less intimate and soothing but no less worthy of attention. Featuring two wordless side-long vinyl pieces recorded live in Austria’s legendary Graf Hugo venue, the beautifully-packaged Forever Hugo – available via Deep Distance – finds the trio (fleshed-out by guitarist Rainer Neeff and bassist/sleeve-designer Komet Lulu) stridently sprawling into entrancing heavy psych-rock terrain.  Side A’s “Surfin’ Shiva” may begin as a coiling meditative affair but steadily builds and builds into a towering jam full of distended wah-wah, prowling low-end and pummelling percussiveness that might even make the likeminded Bardo Pond feel over-awed.  The flipside “A Million Shivas” unfurls with a tweaked but similar formula; opening with reflective synth warbling and Persian-scented guitar figures before gradually escalating into a churning enveloping colossus that part-recalls Eternal Tapestry’s slow-building eruptive epics.  Forever Hugo may not be the most original psych-meets-trance-rock LP you’ll ever hear but there’s an intensity and steely focus at play that makes it worthy of some hefty respect.  Existing followers won’t be disappointed.

Deep Distance / Sulatron Records