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Pewt'r jjjjj - byens lys 061217

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Artist: Pewt'r jjjjj

Album: byens lys 061217

Label: There is no Trouble in Denmark

Review date: Sep. 5, 2007

This is a mysterious item indeed, packaged in a flat black digipack adorned with a simple, colorful sticker on the front and a glued-in paper within. Three untitled songs, each exceeding 10 minutes, recorded live in Denmark in December of 2006. Five members, no instrumentation credited. The first release from the label, limited to 200 copies. And a flier included for the show documented in the recording, which notes that the players included "Ron from Sunburned Hand of the Man with 3/4 ofCausa Sui & Special guest Jorgen Teller." And a "band" called Pewt'r jjjjj, whatever that may mean. Presumably each 'j' represents one of the members (each has a name that starts with a 'j') but the Pewt'r? Who knows. Anyway, there you have it.

This show was clearly an off-the-cuff jam, with a good chance that the quintet had never played together before, and as such the first track takes a while to get going. After a few minutes of shadowy hum, a steady beat takes it intoNeu-like territory, until we enter a long, slow build-up of tranced -out note clusters and riffing. By the end of its 14-minute run the band attains escape velocity, crazed fuzz-guitar glory akin to Guru Guru andAmon Düül II, but with a noticeably modern heavy feel. It's pretty stellar stuff that earns the audience applause at its conclusion.

The common danger of group jams of this sort is the ease of replicating success, resulting in every song being more or less a variation on the others. Pewt'r jjjjj manage for the most part to avoid this. The second song begins with squawky woodwinds, then squeaks and buzzes for a while before a fast bass/guitar riff enters, kicking things into overdrive. They keep up a fairly free squall around the solid rhythm for a while, but later on someone channels "Voodoo Child" in a pretty serious way, and the overdriven leads and scree are very satisfying indeed.

The last song gives some time to a gentle psych-guitar melody, sounding clearly through muffled scrapes and clattering thunks. It grows into a thick blown-out guitar maelstrom that remains a bit amorphous but flows hither and yon in a nice, dreamy kind of way.

There's been a bit of a glut of free-form psych-jams recently, but fans of mind-melting rock should absolutely not miss this one. It reminds me a bit of the great Hash Jar Tempo project that brought Roy Montgomery together withBardo Pond and became more than the sum of its parts. There was something in the air when Pewt'r jjjjj hit the stage, and whether it was "mere" inspiration or something stronger, the listeners were the beneficiaries. Track this one down to share some of the magic.

By Mason Jones

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