15 Jan 2015

Virgen Sideral "Virgen Sideral"

Reviewed by Nathan Ford

It's well past time I made mention of excellent Greek psychedelic label Garden of Dreams (G.O.D) Records. The truth is, since their relatively recent inception, they've released so much music that I can't keep up. Several things that I've intended to review have been buried under an avalanche of subsequent releases from the label, all of it good stuff too. So, rather than continue to be befuddled by the quality and quantity of their releases, I'll introduce you to one of their first releases and leave you to investigate the rest of their vast playground here, in your own time.

As is the case with a number of G.O.D's artists, Peruvian space-rockers Virgen Sideral were completely unknown to me when their self-titled CD arrived in the post, but that is certainly not a reflection on its obvious quality.

It's tempting to make comparison to another Peruvian collective (Montibus Communitas), who are popular among these pages. Yet while the two bands share a common bond and utilise similar tools (mood and improvisation), Virgen Sideral bypass the earthy, spiritual flavours of their fellow countrymen and head skywards into kosmische / progressive territory.

It could be argued that Virgen Sideral relies heavily on the teachings of "Saucerful of Secrets". Some may say a little too much, but these ears hear plenty more going on besides (including some mind bogglingly proficient work from the rhythm section), and the band's explorative side is more often than not fully engaged, showing that they intend to further the genre, rather than rest on another band's forty seven year old laurels.

The melodies are often nebulous and difficult to grasp, but Virgen Sideral's real strengths lie in their ability to build a huge, alien sound that really does sound like a broadcast from an unknown origin, complete with disembodied voices, cacophonous crescendos, and periods of eerie calm.

A real third-eye opener.

Available on CD or digitally here along with plenty of other goodies:

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