Country : United States Label : Ground Scores Genres and styles : Free Improvisation / Psych-Rock / Psychedelia Year : 2024

House Band – Aventurine

· by Louise Jaunet

The first psychedelic era from the mid-’60s has known many revival waves since its creation and is still nowadays an endless source of inspiration for the new current neo-psych rock bands. With its promise of a transcendental experience achieved through the use of drugs to attain spiritual peace and a collective transformation, the whole hippie movement can easily give a false idealized feeling of nostalgia to people who never lived that era. As a true Dead Head, who is still making tie-dye t-shirts and taking pictures with an old Kodak camera, artist Brian Harding, on the other hand, might have been influenced by real stories from that era. House Band is truly more than just a VHS feeling of anemoia.

The debut album Aventurine manages to open an authentic time vortex that takes a closer look at the alternative American values of the mid-’60s. By going on the road with Jack Kerouac, the group from Los Angeles travels to the period when the Grateful Dead became a house band at the notorious Acid Tests of counterculture figure Ken Kesey, a series of now-legendary public LSD parties and multimedia “happenings” mounted before the drug’s criminalization. Featuring a cast of players known for their work with Cat Power, Norah Jones, Sparks, St. Vincent, Tim Heidecker, Spoon, Grateful Shred, Bedouine, and Perfume Genius, House Band is composed of the psychedelic enthusiasts Brian Harding (keys, rhythm guitar), Jason Roberts (guitar, producer), Jay Rudolph (drums, percussion), Andrew Maguire (percussion, drums), Patrick Kelly (bass) and Alex Fischel (guitar, keys). Working as an entertainer and a social media machine, Brian Harding is also famous for his PHILM Instagram page, an absurd magazine of rare anecdotes, concert pictures, memes and videos. 

Coming out of the labyrinth of Argentine short-story writer Jorge Luis Borges, Aventurine musically manifests the colorful dizziness of a psychedelic experience and results in a long strange trip of messy jazz improvisations and spontaneous space explorations. The one-hour-and-a-half-long album seems to have been recorded by accident while having some friends over but is also much more than just a regular jam band session. Seamless, with no beginning nor end, the music stays humbly grounded in the human inability to grasp the infinite. Just like spinners who dance in circles, life has only a certain amount of predictability. Being alive simply means continuing to change. Live improvisation is here to open you to that magic, to take risks like a fool, to be open to all the possibilities, good or bad, and to let anything happen. Just between you and me, mainstream success is what might have killed the Dead. Eternity is supposed to be fun. Can you pass the acid test ?

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