Here comes the Sun Araw: A former Pocahaunted and Magic Lantern member gigs the Smell
While the Low End Theory crew and their London colleagues loosely channel Lee Perry through smothering bass and sun god drums, Eagle Rock’s Sun Araw aims for a more mystic and mellow interpretation of the Jamaican sound.
But don’t mistake him for some pale poseur reinventing himself as a Rastafarian. The guitarist born Cameron Stallones has carved a spot for himself at the intersection of psychedelic, dub and drone music, recording witching hour-long jams live and then layering fuzzy wah-wah guitars, odd percussion and plaintive wails.
The results are full of humid and hypnotic groove, tranquilized tribal drums and a slow swamp water slink. If you shut your lids and listen hard enough, you can hear the faint hints of his idols: the cosmic slop of Funkadelic, the ferocious locomotion of Fela Kuti, the stoned shape-shifting of Sun Ra, obscure Swedish psych-rock and the sorcerer minimalism of Terry Riley. Of course, he’s not in that league yet, but he ranks with a-likes Brightblack Morning Light and his former band mates in Pocahaunted as some of the most notable purveyors of music for shamans, medicine men and the neon-clad crowds searching for purity in the primitive.
Listening to “On Patrol,” the latest from the prolific former member of Magic Lantern, you’d be forgiven for mistaking his recording studio, the Sun Ark, as being located in a sub-tropical paradise filled with pastel sunsets, rather than proximity to the smog-strangled shadows of the San Gabriel Mountains. Chalk it up to the nausea induced by modernity and an inherent revulsion to the mystery-snuffing nature of the Internet.
Instead, Stallones releases records only available on vinyl or cassette (and occasionally CD), soundtracks to imaginary yage binges, visions of chimerical beasts and the hard heartbeat of the Los Angeles sun. Sun Araw has a MySpace page and a website and a Facebook page, but I suspect he’d rather remain an idea, or rather a reaction to too many bad ones. He’s leaving his cave to play the Smell tonight. It’s only $5, but the hallucinogens will cost you.
-- Jeff Weiss
Photo via Sun Araw Myspace
Sun Araw, CCR Headcleaner, NASA Space Universe, Thursday @ The Smell, 247 S. Main St. $5