Well, four-way splits don’t come much more cosmic than this, do they? Immune have put together a stellar line-up for this, with Pulse Emitter, Date Palms, Expo 70 and Faceplant each getting a full side of vinyl to really stretch out and make themselves comfortable. With this type of music it’s hard to really settle in with anything less. It was intended to be an RSD release but delays mean that it is just a regular mortal record instead. Also, if Date Palms and Faceplant were to collaborate, should they go by the name ‘Date Plant’ or ‘Facepalms’? Food for thought.
Anyway, on to the records. First one starts with Pulse Emitter, the solo project of Daryl Groetsch, and it’s pure astral synth all the way. His pieces seem to revolve around a descriptive one-word title for an almost soundtracky sense of narrative, and there are two tracks on here - ‘Bioluminescence’ and ‘Photosynthesis’. The former is more trebly and twinkly, the second more laboured and gradual and middy, with the twinkles not coming in until fairly late on; end to end harmonious synth bliss throughout this side ultimately.
Flip it and Date Palms drop a side-long offering ‘Night Riding The Skyline’ which is a drawn out bit of dusky East-meets-West mystical cosmic drift. Halfway through a repetitive fretless bassline with a real filthy Om-esque distortion on it brings us into a shuffling, hypnotic groove. Absolutely stunning slow-burner, this one, with smooth synth drones and organic tanpura ones blending together sensuously over that round, rolling bass riff. Super sweeet.
And just when you didn’t think it was going to get any better we’re onto the second LP, starting with Expo 70. This is not the Expo 70 I was expecting though! This is Expo 70 in rock trio form, with mainstay Justin Wright joined by Aaron Osborne on bass and Mike Vera on drums. It’s straight down to business with a crunchy repetitive stoner jam ‘Closet Full of Candles’, with Wright able to fully let loose with his cosmic shredding skills. The second track opens with a bit of cosmic droney tones which are more in line with what we’re used to from Expo 70 but a shuffling drum groove slowly creeps its way in, quickly blossoming into pedal note psych riff action with a big round bass tone while Aaron gets righteously soulful with his restrained psychedelic guitar moves. Dronier than the first track but still certainly firmly in the stoner rock camp.
This is fucking immense and entirely unlike any previous Expo 70 recording I’ve heard. It’s more like Black Sabbath crossed with Six Organs of Admittance. Me and Phil both want to know why Wright doesn’t play stoner rock more often because he’s totally in his element here. Phil says, “It’s raunchy, it’s sexy. I’d say it’s sexy rock.” Why do I even bother reviewing this stuff myself when the people around me are coming out with such pearls of wisdom?
Finally on side four we end our cosmic travels with three tracks from Faceplant, which is Aaron Coyes from Peaking Lights but without that girl who sings and plays the maracas. In these tracks he’s building up hypnotic, stumbling modular loops which wrap their spidery fingers around your synapses and trick your feet (and maybe more) into doing things they shouldn’t. It’s a swirling, densely rhythmic psychedelic sprawl that manages to be simultaneously manic and monged out. A party for your entire face to close off a phenomenal four-way love-in.
I was hoping everyone would’ve phoned in their appearances on this LP because I’ve already spent too much money on records this week, but this is some of the strongest material any of these guys have ever done. A truly splendid team effort.