‘Live At Roadburn’ is Papir’s fifth full length album and first ever live album. Known and loved for their awe inspiring live performances and intense live studio albums, it makes perfect sense for these cosmic, Danish stoner rockers to produce a live album that captures their explosive blend of post rock drone, pounding bass lines, intricate math rock drumming and uplifting, effects-heavy guitar wailing.
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Progging me softly with their song. Papir are a krautish, longform-obsessed trio of rock constructionists who mainly exist to please Ian, our techy, highly conceptual lamb on broadway. Their show at Roadburn is everything it should be from a contemporary prog viewpoint: firstly, it’s like an hour and a half long, but also there are only six songs, and they’re split over four sides. These dudes play with repetition and make it sound like a burning fire, while forever incrementally building their sound with marching beats and euphoric crescendos. Listen to “Lykk Trep-R Hi-Lose” and you’ll be hooked, and from nothing but an oscillating chord sequence that refuses, point blank, to ever fade away.
Papir thrive on stage, frankly: the riff noodling is marvellous, but more than that, everything sounds perfectly put together hashed out live. The interactions have real utility, with the bass being heard loudly as a navigating force for guitar that can get so hypnotic as to get lost on the kraut atlas. With bass intertwining and reappearing at choice moments, it’s as if Papir are able to clear the air after a series of misdirections, to bring us back to reality after covering us in a haze.
There’s plenty to enjoy here whether you stand for prog rock, think it died with Gentle Giant or that it never deserved to live at all; El Parasio’s output continues to bridge the gap between technical genres and inject life into otherwise needlessly pedantic musics -- there are clean and climaxing riffs on “Live I” to stun those with post-rock ears, and there’s enough treated, driven guitar to make psych fans salivate. Overall, it’s a performance that’s as pretty as it is impressive.
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