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Limelight: New Keepers Of The Water Towers

Self-described “doomsday jazz”-playing Swedes take prog to cosmic new levels.

You may find yourself idly recalling everything from King Crimson and Hawkwind through to Neu! and Magma during Infernal Machine, the new album from Swedish space lords New Keepers Of The Water Towers, but the resemblances are fleeting and superficial. This band’s evolution from meagre ambition to brain-melting exploration has been one of the most intriguing phenomena the Scandinavian prog world has seen in recent times and at this point they barely even resemble themselves from 2013’s widely lauded Cosmic Child; a devotion to forward motion once again defining them as a hugely enticing prospect.

“We started this band two 17-year-olds wanting to play fuck-it-all style stoner doom and drink beer!” laughs singer and guitarist Rasmus Booberg. “Now I would define us as doomsday jazz and we’ve tripled that amount of members. The entire premise has violently changed. We look forwards at all times.”

A bona fide trip through dark, cosmic realms from ominous start to wild, lysergic finish, Infernal Machine feels and sounds like some mutant descendant of the moment where psychedelia lost its innocence amid the horrors of Vietnam. Although clearly a record made by men who have, at the very least, dallied with notions of altered states of consciousness, Booberg insists that his band’s music is not wholly drawn from nights spent cross-legged and crusty-eyed.

“It is absolutely not necessary to indulge in drugs or alcohol to experience really special things,” he notes, drily. “In my experience being sober works absolutely best when playing music. If you’re drunk or on drugs it’s hard to stay in the moment and to pace yourself to build dynamics and atmosphere. I guess it all depends on the music and surroundings, though. Ketamine with synths is a pretty cool mode to be in!

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