My Brother the Wind - Twilight in the Crystal Cabinet. 2010 Transubstans CD and LP
My Brother the Wind - I Wash my Soul in the Stream of Infinity. 2011 Transubstans CD and LP
My Brother the Wind - Once There Was a Time When Time and Space Were One. 2014 Free Electric Sound (USA) CD; 2014 Laser's Edge (USA) LP
Formed by guitarists Mathias Danielson (Gösta Berlings Saga, Makajodama) and Nicklas Barker (Anekdoten), My Brother the Wind (named after an obscure Sun Ra album from 1970) exists as the musician's vehicle for improvised space rock. I had feared initially that My Brother the Wind would join the Post Rock ranks, given the lengthy free associated album title favored by the genre, and the fact that Danielson had recently formed (and disbanded) a similar type group with Makajodama. But my fears were wiped away early on, as the guitar sounds are heavily affected in a psychedelic manner, and the group clearly is influenced by the 1970s masters. All the same, "Twilight in the Crystal Cabinet" takes some concentrated listening to work through the details in your mind. Because of the hour long length of the disc, there are many moments that probably could have been filtered out for a more compact and enjoyable experience. Like with many modern space rock bands, My Brother the Wind subscribes to the "if you can't find it, grind it" mentality to push an idea forward in a non-convincing manner. All the same, over time, I found myself enjoying the album more and more. There's something alluring about the psychedelic in music, a certain sound that makes you want to come back again and again. Interestingly enough, the one band that My Brother the Wind most resembles - and I haven't seen anyone mention this before - is the Californian group Djam Karet, especially if you consider titles such as "Still No Commercial Potential". Nearby Oresund Space Collective would also have to be considered a reference, especially in the overall approach department. That is to say: Record hours of improvised space rock, and then edit it down for public consumption. It will be interesting to see where the band goes from here.
While the debut album traded in on some familiar modern concepts of space rock, "I Wash my Soul in the Stream of Infinity" reaches further back into the recesses of time, and adds a dollop of atmospheric Krautrock to the proceedings. This is exactly what the band needed, thus providing the proper context for the inevitable psychedelic jamming parts. There's an art to setting the table before dinner, and it appears many bands just want to jump into a bucket of chicken, and call it a meal. While the first album appears to have been a spontaneous jam session, followed by the idea that maybe it would be worthwhile to edit and release - "I Wash my Soul in the Stream of Infinity" starts with the knowledge of why the band exists, and where it wants to go. It may be improvised, but this time it was "planned randomness". So a bit more thought was applied before starting, rather than just plug in, find a key to play in, and wail. The atmosphere here is much more dense and exotic, including a propensity to look East, just as their forefathers had done 40 years prior. My Brother the Wind is bordering on the brilliant here, and one hopes they follow this path further to release something truly incredible. I think this album also benefited greatly from an expansion of the instrumental palette - including Hammond, Mellotron, acoustic guitar, percussion, and electric sitar. So while I have rated both these albums the same (for now that is), "I Wash my Soul in the Stream of Infinity" is near the top of the range while the debut is at the bottom. Let's see what happens next.
Notes coming soon for Once There was a Time
Last update: March 7, 2015