1. Who is the band? What is their history? What motivates them?
“The undergroundest of the underground, Beyond-O-Matic is and/or was a San Francisco based improvisational space-rock band that has a unique ability to spontaneously and instantly compose evocative, emotional, and musical music using a variety of instruments, amps and effects salvaged from society's junk heap. They have made an impression on the few that have had the fortune (or misfortune) to be present at one of their live shows. Their 3 released albums contain extended works which push sonic limits and yet retain humor, musicality and a beauty that often seems lost from rock music. In addition to a scuttled 1997 recording (into the belly), the band re-formed in late 2002 and 2003 to create a 4th recording, Time to Get Up, which was completed but never released.... Until now. Or until shortly in the future, when it will be”, (Source: Beyond-O-Matic’s MySpace page, 2010).
Plague of Bliss – Spacey guitars and keys open this production. The vocals kick in with the title lyrics, “The stillness of the desert…are we so blind to fall for this the thinning shell the plague of bliss?” “The mystery of the ocean wind.” Cool vocals, very original sounding, like a cry from beyond, with bass, synths, and slowly plucked guitar. Very original opening that sets a dramatic stage for the rest of what will come on this album.
Hawaiian Lady – The big epic on the album follows the dramatic opening well. Cool synths, drums, and effects reverb as the groovy guitars enter, filling up the soundscape with magic. The first echoes of the title from the vocalist, “Hawaiian lady…she’s my lady.” This is a very long song and the repetition of the refrain will eventually either make this one interesting or make you want to fast forward to the next song. They repeat the title so many times it would be impossible for you to forget. In between there are some wonderful jams with all manner of percussion, drums, guitar solo riffs bouncing all over the walls, and the steady cool synths brooding and smoothing things out nicely. Very spacey, dream making music that should captivate any Pink Floyd or space rock fan.
Starbong – Some high charged synths ala ELP, supported with good bass, drums and lead electric to open this one. More of an early Pink Floyd feel ala Saucer Full of Secrets or even Ummagumma. Only not as epic because the masters already provided the template. But if you miss this kind of thing, this song will bring back lots of memories.
Trying to Find You – More cool spacey synths and bleeding guitar. The drum beat seems the same. This is a slow progression of sounds and dreamy spaced out vocals. “Trying to find you. Someone lost and far away.” Spacey synths, drums, and guitars jam in the background as the soundscape rolls back and forth around the speakers. The second of three epics at 12:09. Prepare to hear lots of spacey synths and guitar.
Time to Get Up – The title track and third epic off the album at 11:09. This one opens with a change. This time it’s the guitar, slowly plucked with great bass and drum support that leads the procession. Cool grooved guitar and more inspired vocals elevate this piece as one of the highlights of the album. Spacey music which ebbs and flows in time, like slow, calm, ocean waves.
The Liquid Midnight – A nice vocal – driven, almost Beach Boy harmonizing, kind of song. Very short and nicely out of place, giving the listener a surprise and break from the spaced out epics of the rest of the album.
Child of Fog – The closer. Lots of ways to go on this one, after the last intervention. But we’re back to spacey synths and guitars slowly plucked. The vocals sound very early Roger Waters, without the bite. Almost like John Lennon’s soft side mixed with Waters more reflective vocals. The guitar strumming sounds more like modern Floyd.
Rating: 7/10 – Good spacey, well played Floydian space jam music. If you miss the ancient days of Pink Floyd, or just wanted to hear a new interpretation of that era, you will celebrate this release.
Reviewed by Prof on July 30th, 2010