Magnetic Seasons sees MUGSTAR shifting through a whole range of newfound sonic gears. Recorded at Liverpool’s Whitewood Studios, the band approached the Magnetic Seasons sessions in an extended and open manner. Allowing time and space to experiment, improvising and feeling their way through playing, this free approach and method of working resulted in an extended body of material; nine intense and atmospheric soundscapes moving across an expansive and distinct four sides of vinyl.
With fresh layers and swathes of texture stretching out a much broader aural vocabulary than is often permitted during their explosive live shows, Magnetic Seasons is a game changer for MUGSTAR. Not just in terms of length, but in its fluidity and its breadth of moods and emotions locked within the songs. Lead track ‘Flemish Weave’ is a two-headed beast, drawing the listener in with intricate finger-picking, immersed in waves of sound before dropping effortlessly into a simultaneously tight and expansive psych-kraut groove. Where tracks like ‘Sky West & Crooked’ see MUGSTAR at their most mellow and laid back, with a Fender Rhodes blinking beside dusty guitar lines that float up into a soothing dream-like haze. Not to mention the engrossing, side-long, closer ‘Ascension Island’, an extended piece of improvisation and instantaneous composition. “On playback, it was apparent that this track had a life and trajectory all of its own. It felt organically right and complete immediately. Somehow it produced atmospheres that seem to embody a sense of eeriness, and yet be seductive and embracing all at the same time”, the band explains.
Underlying these forays into their bottomless cannon of creativity, MUGSTAR’s trademark rhythmic drive is ubiquitous as ever. Albeit in more subtle and muted guises, the overall effect of Magnetic Seasons emerges as being one that is ultimately engrossing and captivating.
MUGSTAR have been playing, performing and recording since 2003. Their tireless work ethic and astonishing, internationally renowned, live performances have earned them a much deserved status as cult heroes. Their first single ‘Spotlight Over Memphis’ caught the ears of late and great radio legend John Peel, who later went on to record them as his last-ever Peel Session in 2004. A subsequent string of singles, EP’s and several full-length albums make up the band’s back catalogue, not to mention a split release with Mudhoney.
2015 also saw a particularly busy year. With the release of Start From Zero, the hugely anticipated collaborative LP by MUGSTAR and Damo Suzuki (from legendary krautrock band Can) on Important Records, recording what has become Magnetic Seasons, playing Austin Psych Fest and completing a tour of the USA.
BETHANY HEART STAR
BEYOND THE SUN
CHILDREN OF THE GRAVY
DRONES ON DRONES
GOOD POSTURE VS BAD POSTURE
I AM A DROID
IT WAS TOO COLD TO GO LOOKING FOR BRANCUSI
MAN WITH SUPERSIGHT
MY BABY SKULL HAS NOT YET FLOWERED
REMEMBER THE BREATHING
SHE RAN AWAY WITH MY MEDICINE
SKY WEST AND CROOKED
SPOTLIGHT OVER MEMPHIS
SUNBURNT IMPEDANCE MACHINE
TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE AS A WEAPON
TODAY IS THE WRONG SHAPE
VEHICLES OF SPAIN
WIRE TO WIRE
ZONE OF ALIENATION