Written by: BV on 14/08/2013 15:05:00

The atmospheric and instrumental kraut-rock excursions seem to have risen to a point lately, where there is a rather large quantity of bands exploring these treacherous seas of sound. Granted, instrumental music is not to everyone’s liking, but those in the know will probably already have heard of Electric Moon or, to some extent, Hawkwind in all their space rock glory (odd reference though, as their music isn’t exclusively instrumental). Electric Moon’s Danish equivalent, the band Papir, have already created a certain amount of fuss around their eclectic musicianship and their rather skillful instrumental excursions. Their latest effort, “III”, is no different in that respect though it maintains a massively more focused approach to the space rock genre than its predecessor “Stundum”.

This nearly seamless flow between utterly lysergic expeditions to the borders of outer space and quiet, almost playful, melodic themes is Papir at their absolute peak and on tracks like “I” the combination of jazz-like drumming, playful melodies and psych-rock escapades shifts into a new gear that might possibly enable the ‘mortal’ listeners to, if not dig it completely, then at least be able to take part in a listening experience for a while. Granted, most of the tracks on “III” border the 10-minute mark in runtime, but the point where “III” stands in a stark contrast to “Stundum” is the obvious and highly noticeable shift from severely technical playing to a focus on highly haunting hooks and melody lines – leaving a vocalist somewhat obsolete.

Although the focus has shifted towards a more hook-based sound approach, Papir still seem to enjoy post rock-ish ambient soundscapes. Soundscapes like that can be heard on the track “III” which, coincidentally, also has the shortest runtime – thus again confirming their apparent shift towards a dynamic and hook-based melodic approach.

Closing with the longest jam on the album, “IIIII” seemingly blends Papir’s newfound love for catchy hooks with ambient textures that gives seasoned veterans Electric Moon a run for their money, as the power-trio’s skillful endeavors on their instruments blend uniquely together whilst never aiming to overshadow one another – in other words the final track of the album sees the three individual members of Papir blending together to a strong composite of highly talented musicians and their fondness of strong and eclectic melodies.

Whilst I am head over heels in love with this album, it does have certain weak points. I am a seasoned listener of psych, space, kraut and whatever kind of floating rock music one can imagine, but I’m still not feeling entirely convinced that this album will appeal to listeners at an entry-level of these particular genres. “III” is far more accessible than “Stundum” but I reckon there still might be a long way to go before any sort of mainstream breakthrough is on the horizon. Though, somehow I can’t really imagine these dudes yearning for that at all. In fairness, they can be content with having created a powerful and lysergic journey of an album that I’ll probably treasure for a good while.

Download: I, III, IIIII
For The Fans Of: Electric Moon, Hawkwind, Causa Sui

Release Date 11.02.2013
El Paraiso Records

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