Rocket Recordings to my mind has one of the greatest back catalogues not just in modern psych, but also in modern music full stop. I am honestly struggling to think of a bad release, so many of their releases have formed cornerstones in my collection Gnod, Josefin Öhrn, Mammatus, Teeth Of The Sea, The Heads, Goat, Julie’s Haircut, Fuzz Against Junk and Hills, ah yes ‘Hills’. Of all the albums released on Rocket Recordings the two albums released by ‘Hills’ have had probably had the biggest impact on me. Everything about them appealed to me, the drones, the groves, the jams and just that air of mystery, it sent me scurrying off to my computer to dust old files of Pärson Sound, Baby Grandmothers, International Harvester, Träd, Gräs och Stenar and so on, these I had downloaded when Julian Cope mentioned them all those years ago. So why the focus on ‘Hills’? Well Centrum are made up of members of ‘Hills’ and ‘Weary Nous’ and if that hasn’t piqued your interest then what if I told you that this is one of the finest albums that Rocket has ever released!
The thing that has struck me most about this album is every time I have listened to it, it has the same calming effect. The music doesn’t seem to have any dark undertones massive changes of tact, it just kind of demands to listen and pay attention because if you don’t I guarantee you will miss something, in fact after dozens of listens I’m still discovering small details I had missed on previous listens. The albums opener ‘Vid Floden’ (By The River) may start with the hustle and bustle that comes with modern life but it soon takes you away on a gentle, peaceful trip. This eleven minute song is built around a slow steady bass line and slowly builds layer upon layer of sound. The five minute guitar solo at the end just adds to the music rather than overpower it and that’s just the first song. As the album shifts through the four tracks it becomes apparent that the album is about standing still as much as it is about the journey. So many albums today seem to be about blasting the listener into outta space, where as this album seems to be asking you to just stop, stay grounded, switch off and take in what is around you. There is depth and a warmth that is tangible throughout whether it is the Dark Folk feel of ‘Stjärnor’ or the chant like vocal of the drone heavy ‘Sjön.
This album has completely fried me but rather than leaving me frazzled and drained it feels more like my brain has been rewired and reset to a slower more peaceful time. I admit that may sound like a load of hippy shit but the cathartic effect this album has had on me over the last couple of weeks has been quite remarkable. Yes the album is rooted in legends of Swedish psychedelia and the outer fringes of Krautrock but it also has one eye on the future not only in a musical sense but also on a emotive level.