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'The journey is the reward, and we recommend riding a motorcycle', Pretty Lightning's Delta Blues

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The Rhythm of Ooze is the fifth release by the adventurous german duo: Pretty Lightning; they've been together since 2007, and they continue to bring something fresh, something twisted to the table. Influenced by delta blues, krautrock, psychedelic rock, and even stoner, they deliver, as a glistening gift, a very intimate journey, and to quote their description at their Bandcamp page: 'it's both traditional and unexpected'.

A soft haze descends responding to Thunder Mountain Return; as this haze parts, a calling pulls through; the ground shivers and stretches to reveal a wide landscape. An exotic and attentive amount of flowers and fruits respond to the trail left by the sunlight for they start sprouting all over the place. All sort of elements accept this invitation, an invitation of crude psychedelia, as they attend to the Sun's pace through this mountain pass: fluorescent and reverberant textures twirl, evaporating around this stimulant awakening, and they come to a stop, at the edge of Willow Valley Blues. The whole atmosphere is torn and we're sliding down; their delirious blues are the ones to drag us provocatively up and about. Our entire surroundings start to thaw, and this shapeless mountain wrecks after us. Out of the blue, we find ourselves at ease again: Tangerine Steam, a definitive highlight, wriggles, shedding a reverberant mantra that repeats itself solemnly. The voice ripples, impalpable, to unusual melodies; it glides and merges with the guitar's. This impalpable, electric quality might remind us of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard's early days. Loops shakes away this solemnity, as it hurries playfully; its march responds to the effect and the weight of the distortions around it; each distortion seems to have a physical manifestation of its own, and as we get used to these waves, we've come to the realization that there is something very psychedelic about their raw blues. From track to track our destination and their beat shift drastically. When This Machine Is Running begins, we realize its flow, not only resembles a river's, is gushing backwards, up, into the mountain; its water is as light and as abundant as foam; everything around it, even gravity responds to this reversed race, which brings me to an important subject: gravity. Gravity is very present throughout the album because it is constantly adapting to every song; its dance is definitely worth our while. A rather sensual bassline seizes us in Rainbow Fantasies, a shimmering guitar follows right through, towards the middle of the song; we come to a stop. There is something exotic about this one, more than blues, it has an Oriental taste. Our surroundings begin to oscillate: the trees, the soil, as we remain still at the center of this unusual spectacle. Pale Yellow exhales abruptly, spilling dismal amounts of steam that erases what it hits while revealing some sort of character: a strange, limping hunter who's beyond death's grip tows like a weary mountain. The ground shudders with Moles as it cracks. This cracks will swallow everything still standing, and after this delicious display of dismay and debris comes to an end as this forever-changing scenery gets lost in a trance. 

-You’ve come a long way from There Are Witches in the Woods, how would you describe this journey?

Actually the journey doesn't really feel that long, at least until someone calls our attention to it. But you're right,  “There Are Witches in the Woods” is quite a while ago and some things happened in the meantime, still feels allright though. While thinking about the past years, I notice that we were very lucky for having the possibilities to collaborate with these nice labels (Fonal, Cardinal Fuzz, Sound Effect, Fuzz Club), as the small act that we are... In a nutshell: steadily moving. I mean, it´s what we do and keep on doing it has never been in doubt.

-Has your approach to composition changed along the way?

I don't think so, it's always been pretty standard since the beginning. Having an idea, jamming around for a while, changing, adding or removing parts until you reach the point: keep or toss and start from scratch. Some ideas just work straight away, others take time and need alteration, some (a lot) are doomed from the outset. There's no conceptual approach, proper musicians presumably work that way, but with us it's all trial and error, the concept for dabblers. What certainly has changed is our perspective, mainly because of being in DATASHOCK, a group or collective of friends who exclusively play improvised music and explore experimental sounds. Being part of this neo-hippie-spook gang definitely has a huge impact, it's fun and can be mind expanding. If you're into krautrock or any weird sounds far from common structures, then DATASHOCK could be worth a listen.

-What was the process behind The Rhythm of Ooze?

Like it's predecessors, we recorded it by ourselves in our rehearsal room which is cheap, almost comfortable and spacious enough to achieve the sound we're looking for. As you gain experience with every new session, you try to improve your skills and avoid the twists and bends that have not turned out the way you wanted them to in the past. Or you try to repeat them, because they have not resulted in what you were aiming for, but in something different, surprisingly good or interesting. As an example: recording live in the same room can sound really cool, but in some cases separating the amplifier to leave the whole room only for the drums can sound even better. I'm aware that this is a current method, yet we had to discover it by ourselves...  Again, trial and error. We've never been  100%  satisfied with each and every detail of an album, but that's ok. Being 100% satisfied would mark the end presumably. Let's look joyfully into a faulty future of next level mistakes.

-Your music is rather hypnotic, is the process of making it hypnotic too?

If hypnotic roughly means the absence of consciousness, then yes, from time to time. Those are the moments when you get the feeling of being on the right track.

-The blues you play seems to come from outer space, what do you think of this assessment? 

We´re fine with this assessment. Delta blues is what it all started with a century ago and it hasn't lost it's magic. Then there was Sun Ra from outer space, so it only was the next logical step.

-What’s the story behind Tangerine Steam?

Imagine a story. Now add orange colored steam surrounding you. There you are.

-There is also an adventurous feeling to this album, how adventurous are you? Which places are you taking us throughout The Rhythm Of Ooze?

That's totally up to you. But wherever go, the journey is the reward and we recommend riding a motorcycle.

-Would you tell us more about your cover?

It's made by Jake Blanchard from Todmorden, close to Manchester. A great guy we first met at a very small festival in Vienna a few years ago, but we didn't know anything about his art that time. A few years later, we met again in Todmorden, where Jake and his girlfriend Sophie arranged a show for us and Bridget Hayden, which was amazing, because we've been fans of her for years and didn't know that she's good friends with Jake and Sophie and lives just around the corner. Todmorden gang ftw! It was some time in between when I bought the Pelt – Effigy LP with that cover artwork I was so excited about, but it still took a while until I realized by whom it was made, that the artist was Jake Blanchard who we fortunately knew. We began discovering tons of his designs and got more and more excited (check out: http://www.jakeblanchard.co.uk).Then it went fast and easy: We asked, he agreed. We sent the record and wrote down some ideas, he answered with the cover.

-You’ve been together since 2007, how has it been working together for more than ten years?

It's been cool. Brothers from different mothers style.

-Which are some of your favorite places you’ve visited with your music? Which places are you looking forward to visiting in the future?

We've been to very nice places during the past years, still grateful about the opportunities we've had so far. Even if it's hard to name favorites, it seems like the longer the ride, the longer it stays in mind. Trips to Finland, Israel, UK, Portugal etc will be remembered forever, that´s for sure. For the future, we don´t think about anything specific, we´re just curious where it may take us. Anyone interested? Please call El Borracho Bookings.

Don't forget to check their discography out!

https://prettylightning.bandcamp.com/

 

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