MENIMALS
'Menimals'
catalogue # REPOSELP050
format: Limited Edition Vinyl LP
(75 copies only - First in the private stock series)
barcode # N/A

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LIMITED EDITION 75 (FOR THE UK) ONLY BLACK VINYL LP HOUSED IN FULL COLOUR PRINTED SPINED OUTER SLEEVE WITH DOUBLE SIDED INSERT. COMES WITH DOWNLOAD CODE. THIS A CO-RELEASE WITH ITALIAN LABEL PHONOSPHERA. I AM COVERING THE UK ONLY HENCE THE LIMITED AMOUNT OF COPIES (75) FIRST IN THE PRIVATE STOCK SERIES OF RELEASES ONLY AVAILABLE DIRECT FROM ME

LP Tracklisting :

 
A1. In This Unforgiving Heat (6:45)
A2. Dodecahedron, The Window Sphere (4:51)
A3. Tetrahedron (7:07)
 
B1. Transition From A Cube To The Octahedron (9:56)
B2. Bird On The Wing As A Hinge (9:57)

 

The four musicians are the sonic representation of the cosmic beauty and symmetry embodied in the Platonic solids, the classical elements of alchemy, and the symbolic animal spirits whose masks they wear:
 
For Menimals, melody is the medium to delve into the mysteries of chaos and creation.
 
Menimals opens a gate through which Doctor Forge and the creatures he engineered deliver their luminous messages of myth and truth to the world. Their improvisational investigation of kraut-rock with strong ambient influences reflects an experimental worldview that reveals itself in the lyrics, visual aesthetic, and in the hypnotic live performances.
 
Menimals offers not just concerts but cinematic events in which they reconnect with the mysticism of nature. Breaking the boundary between men and animals, they interact with the audience through the psychedelia of their soundscapes. Live performances are rare due to the frail state of Dr. Forge's health and the fact that he lives secluded upon another continent, North America, while his creatures toil in the hills of Northern Italy.
 
The man/animal musicians are specifically designed to be the sonic representation of the cosmic beauty and symmetry embodied in the Platonic solids, the classical elements of alchemy, and the symbolic animal spirits whose masks they wear:
 

The Rat: Drums/Hexahedron/Earth

The most stable element, the layer on which the other instruments stand.
 

The Chimera: Bass and Additional Guitar/Icosahedron/Water

Is complementary to earth and is the most mobile element.
 

The Gryphon: Guitar and Production/Octahedron/Air

The water lies on the earth, the air lies in the surface of the water. Constantly flies between melody and noise.
 

Doctor Forge: Voice/Tetrahedron/Man/Fire

The most mutable and unpredictable element. May be a spark or a blaze. It carries the light. It's the lantern in the dark that shows the way.
 
The four Elements together create the Dodecahedron – aether, void, or quintessence, the most subtle and incorruptible element. The medium of sound, it is inaccessible to all other senses. This is the MUSIC of Menimals.
 
Menimals' debut album is "a symphony of solids in five movements" -- a reference to the five shapes that make up the Platonic Solids and from which each of the Menimals was conceived. Dr. Forge, with his scorched lungs and frail bones, weaves an archetypal story of the hero's journey through the five shapes related to the elemental root symbolized by each of the characters of Menimals. From the known to the unknown, each unknown becomes a familiar -- a spirit-creature of mysticism serving as spy and companion and jester. In the music, the listener is given both solace and a challenge to transcend.

WATCH THE PROMO VIDEOS BELOW

REVIEWS

It’s not everyday you encounter a band like Menimals, either in terms of visual or cerebral stimulus. Their high-brow descriptor intones of a band, “Experimenting the psychotropic properties of sound and exploring the power of the Elements in relation to the Platonic solids influenced by the Monomyth.” No less.
 
Further, that they comprise the following elements, “Doctor Forge , the TETRAHEDRON, the Man – Fire – Ancestral Voice. Rat, the HEXAHEDRON – Earth – tribal fury. Chimera, the ICOSAHEDRON – Water – low frequencies generator. Vulture, the OCTAHEDRON – Air – noise painting.” Wrapped up in the bow of, “The four elements/solids together create the DODECAHEDRON – the universe, the music.”
 
Lofty aspirations, which they more than deliver, with all the high drama of a three-quarters, Varesino Carnevale.
 
On the back of a sold-out tour EP, the good people at Riot Season Records have thankfully bathed in the celestial light, blessing us with a vinyl release.
 
‘In This Unforgiving Heat’, introduces sparse, oscillating giallo strings, unleashing a sirocco bolstered, fantastical flight, a dromedary caravan odyssey, summoning visceral vocals from beyond the mirage; ‘Dodecahedron, The Window Sphere’, provides an aperture on the divine will, tortured distended vocals, conjuring metaphysical, Cassiopeian musings; ‘Tetrahedron’, soothes whilst enveloping the four aspects, a pyramidal initiation, rapt in soaring creation…
 
‘Transition From A Cube To The Octahedron’, opens a spatial breach, a softly delivered, golden glowing, diamond studded time-shift; ‘Bird On The Wing As A Hinge’, weaves amid ambient thermals, a ritualistic exploratory feast, an unravelling hierology…
 
SONOFMARKETING
 
 
OK so here’s a new album from Riot Season records, so be prepared to be sonically blasted sphincter first into the next universe. Right? Well actually, wrong because this is a Riot Season release like none other that I can remember. Instead of the usual rush of blood to the fret there’s an easy avant garde jazz-like beginning that opens up into the subtle middle eastern rhythms of ‘In This Unforgiving Heart’.  As the track, and album, progresses I also begin to realise that it is like none other that I have heard…full stop.
 
To explain where Menimals are coming from on this release would take me a huge number of words to explain, so I’m taking the unusual step of extensively quoting the press release:
 
“The four musicians are the sonic representation of the cosmic beauty and symmetry embodied in the Platonic solids,
 
the classical elements of alchemy, and the symbolic animal spirits whose masks they wear:
 
The Rat – Drums
Hexahedron – Earth – The most stable element, the layer on which the other instruments stand.
 
The Chimera – Bass/Additional Guitar
Icosahedron – Water – Is complementary to earth and is the most mobile element.
 
The Gryphon – Guitar/Production
Octahedron – Air – The water lies on the earth, the air lies in the surface of the water.
Constantly flies between melody and noise.
Doctor Forge – Voice
Tetrahedron – Man – Fire – The most mutable and unpredictable element. It can be a spark or a blaze.
 
It carries the light. It’s the lantern in the dark that shows the passageway.
 
The four Elements together create the Dodecahedron – Aether, void, or quintessence, the most subtle and incorruptible element.
 
The medium of sound, it is inaccessible to all other senses.”
 
At this point I have to admit that I’m usually quite wary of such descriptions, however when the results are as sublime, disruptive, challenging and beautiful as this album I am prepared to make an exception because the four elements of Menimals clearly have a deep understanding of each other which comes together to produce something that is deeply atmospheric and other-worldly. When you listen to this album you get it, you see that the press release isn’t just the usual bullshit.
 
Returning to ‘In This Unforgiving Heart’ as a case in point, the music flows into you like soothing medication or a calming balm, yet when the vocals kick in well into the track they add luminosity while at the same time disrupt smooth rhythms in an unusual and beguiling manner. This continues with ‘Dodecahedron; The Window Sphere’, which opens with a vocal which is at the same time unsettling and mesmeric, taking centre stage and drawing you into the music. This is not an easy listen, but it is rewarding as the vocal continues to ensnare you as the track gradually builds around a central bass riff whirling like a dervish into an ever frenetic speed before slowing and disintegrating into a single chord and that voice again…hypnotic.
 
‘Tetrahedron’ begins almost imperceptibly with a low hum, simple riff and child-like voice, and then begins to grow as each of the the musicians begin to add their layer of meaning, and the vocal slowly matures. At around three minutes it breaks out into the open and mutates into something resembling a recognisable song structure, or at least as close as this album gets as each element of the band builds in what feels like an improvised and organic manner…yet combining in a strange coherence.
 
After this almost conventional interlude, ‘Transition From A Cube To An Octahedron’ sees a return to a more abstract approach with mythopoeic vocals that sound like they are channeling the dawn of creation itself over a relatively simple yet etherial backing track. As the track progresses it becomes even more stripped back as the words become spoken rather than sung, and the music too becomes more stilted and abstract; it feels like creation turns to destruction in a chilling and disturbing manner.
 
After this the sultry beginnings of ‘Bird On A Wing As A Hinge’ provide a false dawn with the track’s vocals once again providing the focus for the track as they seek to warp and cleave the music from the listener. If, as the press release suggests the vocals “…carries the light. It’s the lantern in the dark that shows the passageway” there is also a sense on this track that that light is being shone in our faces providing some sort of immutable barrier between listener and musicians, something that is only slowly resolved as they dissolve into the mix and we are permitted once again to hear the sheer beauty of the music. In a sense this is frustrating, yet through this comes challenge and, ultimately, an intrinsic appreciation of the art of this singular collective, and the aurally confrontationist nature of this album.
 
The last words on this album are “the experiment is over…it’s over…it’s over” as ‘Bird On A Wing As A Hinge’ dissipates into what seems to be a unusually empty silence. Through Menimals we have witnessed a moment in time, an experiment which somehow seems to change with every listen of this quite unique album, an album that demands to be listened to in a state of studied contemplation. This is an album to escape into and live through…it is an album that grows.
 
BACK SEAT MAFIA
 
 
Riot Season have, in recent years, been the UK's equivalent to Amphetamine Reptile; their releases have been noisy, heavy and top-shelve quality wise. This release, the debut from enigmatic Italians Menimals, sees them taking the step imto more esoteric, avantegarde territory. Menimals, made up of The Rat (drums), The Chimera (bass/guitar), The Gryphon (guitar/production) and Doctor Forge (vocals), " are the sonic representation of the cosmic beauty and symmetry embodied in the Platonic solids, the classical elements of alchemy, and the symbolic animal spirits whose masks they wear". Alchemy would be an apposite description of the album, the melding of experimental, ambient and psychedelia...it is the latest in a succession of thought provoking, enthralling albums from Italy, following on from Heroin In Tahiti, Squadra Omega and other luminaries of the Italian Occult Psychedelia scene.
 
Album opener 'In This Unforgiving Heat' immediately transports the listener to arid, sun-baked climes with an evocative, exotic melody that sounds like it came from a middle eastern souk via the Andes. Underpinning it is an hypnotic bass line, sounding very 1950's noir. The vocals, when they appear, are hushed and sultry. Certainly one of the most atmospheric tracks I've heard in a while. 'Dodecahedron, The Window Sphere' has another insistent bassline, but the onus of this track moves from the exotic to the dark; from the hushed female voice countdown at the beginning to the hushed male vocals the track drags the listener into a dark place, mesmerising them and holding their attention captive. It has the feel of some of JG Thirlwell's 'Foetus' material; that same mixing of the everyday with the seedier side of life. 'Tetrahedron' starts in a very Floydian way - soft, lilting guitars and gently throbbing bass with the addition of some male and female vocals. The tempo gradually increases along with the intensity and by the end the track has evolved into a glorious cacophony of psych guitar, crashing percussion and impassioned vocals. 'Transition From A Cube To The Octahedron' is another track rich in atmosphere and texture. The whispered vocals both reassuringly comforting and and yet dripping with dread and foreboding. The guitars provide a backdrop of rich tone and depth and some fuzzy drones add to the vibe. It is deeply sinister number, full of mystery and allegory....great stuff. The album is closed with enigmatically titled 'Bird On The Wing As A Hinge' - a drone filled, darkly ambient track. More hushed vocals and lush swathes of synths give this a spacier feel than preceding tracks..but the dread and the ethereal spookiness remain. It has the feel of 10CC's 'I'm Not In Love', if 10CC had become satan worshippers instead of dew-eyed popsters.
 
I've waxed lyrical in these pages before about current Italian music, and this only adds to that. An album that is oozing with atmosphere and ideas. It is dark and sinister and yet with an assured lightness of touch, experimental enough to be challenging, but not so far as to be up itself. A fine addition to the canon of work coming from Italy, and kudos to Riot Season for giving it a physical release
 
DAYS OF PURPLE AND ORANGE
 
 
New ear gear imminent from the much fancied riot season sound house will find italian sound collective menimals doing all manner of weird hair shadowy shape cutting on the hi fidelity player if that is the track ‘in this unforgiving heat’ is anything to judge by. Pulled from a self-titled set in conjunction with the phono sphera imprint and limited to just 300 wax copies, this album on early previews may well be preening itself to being one of the early year stalking horses, described by riot season’s head honcho as being ‘quieter than most of the stuff I've put out of late, but definitely fitting in the weird / psychedelic bracket’ – this six-minute salvo emerges from the stoned haze of an as were acid mothers come down, a mutant mantra forged in the ways of the old, spiked and spliced in dub cultures and the sultry snake wind of arabesque charms oozed in off balanced folk rituals and primordial psychedelics resuscitated from a late 60’s outsider scene one whiff of which and your flying and certainly something that ought to appeal to those who prefer their melodic mystical eye tweaked and fried by the tripping tonalities oft found heading out of the shadowy backwaters of both the boring machines and rise above imprints
 
THE SUNDAY EXPERIENCE
 
 
Strange things are happening in Italy……..from that county’s thriving psychedelic scene come Menimals, a force of nature exploring the mysteries of chaos and creation. Shrouded in an enigmatic cloak of inscrutability, the four musicians are the sonic representation of the cosmic beauty and symmetry embodied in the Platonic solids, the classical elements of alchemy, and the symbolic animal spirits whose masks they wear:
 
The Rat: Drums/Hexahedron/Earth
The most stable element, the layer on which the other instruments stand.
 
The Chimera: Bass and Additional Guitar/Icosahedron/Water
Is complementary to earth and is the most mobile element.
 
The Griphon: Guitar and Production/Octahedron/Air
The water lies on the earth, the air lies in the surface of the water. Constantly flies between melody and noise.
 
Doctor Forge: Voice/Tetrahedron/Man/Fire
The most mutable and unpredictable element. May be a spark or a blaze. It carries the light. It's the lantern in the dark that shows the way.
 
Menimals' debut album is "a symphony of solids in five movements", a reference to the five shapes that make up the Platonic Solids and from which each of the Menimals was conceived. Behind the masks, myths and magic is a band whose improvisational investigation of Krautrock with strong ambient influences reflects an experimental worldview that reveals itself in the lyrics, visual aesthetic, and in the hypnotic live performances which are not just concerts but cinematic events in which they reconnect with the mysticism of nature. Breaking the boundary between men and animals, they interact with the audience through the psychedelia of their soundscapes. Live performances are rare due to the frail state of Dr Forge's health and the fact that he lives secluded upon another continent, North America, while his creatures toil in the hills of Northern Italy. This is quite a remarkable debut album blending together the dark ambience of experimental Psychedelia, free Jazz and Trip Hop as Dr Forge, with his scorched lungs and frail bones, weaves an archetypal story of the hero's journey through the five shapes related to the elemental root symbolized by each of the characters of Menimals.
 
“From the known to the unknown, each unknown becomes a familiar -- a spirit-creature of mysticism serving as spy and companion and jester. In the music, the listener is given both solace and a challenge to transcend”. A looping, double bass line introduces ‘In This Unforgiving Heat’ as the Menimals' debut album opens with a track not unlike Barry Adamson’s future noir imaginary soundtracks. A dark trip hop flavoured track not a million miles away from the shadowy, bluesy ambience of Portishead, blending Middle Eastern motifs with a heady jazz vibe…………it’s psychedelic, but not in a conventional way. The sinister, ethereal Future Jazz feel of ‘In This Unforgiving Heat’ spills over into ‘Dodecahedron, The Window Sphere’……..again a track that evokes Portishead at their most experimental. Imagine if the whole 90s Trip Hop scene had been fuelled on powerful hallucinogens and not big blunts then you may possibly get a handle where Menimals are coming from on these two strange but beautiful opening tracks. There is a change of pace and atmosphere as ‘Tetrahedron’ is probably the most “conventional” Psych Rock track on the album and is a slow burning ethereal swirl of a song which builds and builds until sparking into a high octane flame-out of scorching guitar noise. ‘Transition From A Cube To The Octahedron’ is a dark psychedelic masterpiece…………………somewhat akin to the tracks Bill Laswell recorded with William Burroughs in the mid 80s, Dr Forge’s cracked, vocal gravel whispering spoken text over an minimalistic soundscape of guitar, abstract white noise and sparse percussion serves to offer up a rationale of knowing in an increasingly convoluted world. Closing with ‘Bird On The Wing As A Hinge’, another beautifully constructed soundscape of pulsing bass, synth drone and delicate guitar figures, although experimental in structure, melody is never sacrificed as Menimals open a gate through which Doctor Forge and the creatures he engineered deliver their luminous messages of myth and truth to the world. Although not redefining the genre, Menimals are certainly pushing hard at its edges with their unique style of mystic multi-media at a time where psychedelic music is in danger of becoming very conservative, taking any preconceived notion of what modern psychedelia has evolved into and tipping it on its head. If there is such a thing as a psychedelic rule book, Menimals have torn it to shreds after scribbling all over the pages. It takes a few listens for the majesty of this record to really hit home but for the more inquisitive Psychonaut spending time in Menimals world of magic and mystery is a must.
 
THEE PSYCHEDELICATESSEN / STRANGE THINGS ARE HAPPENING

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