Taking its name from a German word with seemingly contradictory meanings, when most often used, it means “to abolish” but also “to preserve”. However, in philosophy it often directs to the sublational state of Becoming, the transcendence associated with Hegel’s concepts of Being and Nothing.
As The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s latest album Aufheben plays, a similar unifying sense of elements, themes, sounds, and influences becomes more evident. As sonic elements and textures come and go, the album (and the band by default) undergoes its own state of sublation, in a sense “becoming” Aufheben.
Named for Brian Jones, the founder of the Rolling Stones and his influence with regards to incorporating Eastern instrumentation with Western sensibilities, the earliest Brian Jonestown Massacre (BJM) material certainly wore the band’s major influence and namesake on its sleeve.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre | Who Cares Why
The rockin’ blues and raw sexuality associated with Brian Jones era Rolling Stones was embodied by BJM frontman Anton Newcombe and releases like 1996′s Take It From the Man! with its mid ’60s era Stones rock & roll feel and 1967′s Their Satanic Majesties Second Request, where the Eastern influences are more obvious and out front of the band’s trademark psychedelia.
As the band’s career progressed, the obvious Stones’ influence would ebb and flow, always present but sometimes taking a backseat to other influences with releases like 2008′s My Bloody Underground and 2010′s Who Killed Sgt. Pepper? Many of the fluid grooves found on Aufheben, BJM’s latest, can be heard on Who Killed Sgt. Pepper? through tracks like “This Is the First of Your Last Warning (Icelandic)” and “Super Fucked”.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre | Seven Kinds of Wonderful
Both albums also begin with an obvious tip of the hat to the influence of the Subcontinent on the band’s music; however, where Sgt. Pepper was BJM’s psychedelia sifted through a shoegaze filter, arcing back to the band’s debut Methodrone, Aufheben is a far more relaxed and hypnotic trip, with the shoegaze exchanged for a transcendent haze.
Recorded in Newcombe’s Berlin studio and East German radio station “Studio East”, Aufheben features original members Newcombe and Matt Hollywood alongside Will Carruthers (Spacemen 3, Spiritualized), Constantine Karlis (Dimmer), and Thibault Pesenti (Rockcandys). As the majority of the album is either sans lyrics or buries them within the texture, an additional element of the sublime is provided via vocal performances by Eliza Karmasalo, who sings her parts in Finnish. True to the album’s name, much of the music within exists in an ever-fluid, ever-changing state of sublation.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre LIVE
Monday, 11 June 2012 | 20:00 CET
C-Club | Columbiadamm 9-11 | 10965 Berlin/Kreuzberg