Upgoer Overview
Upgoer simply represents humanities urge to look up to the stars. As a teenager, nestled into the corner of the room with volumes of the encyclopedia Britannica spread out in front of me, I searched for the topic of Quasars. Flipping through the Q's I stumbled across a stunning old cross-hatched drawing of Quedlingburg castle in Saxony-Anhalt Germany. I was instantly obsessed with the town, (7 or so kilometers from Hedersleben). Something connected images of Jovian moons or neighboring stars spread out in front of me with this early medieval castle and its surrounding tiled roofs. I didn't understand this at the time.
The image of magnificent castle, with its Collegiate Church of St. Servatius and cowering townscape below, is rendered from a small hill, then outside the town limits, now surely engulfed by its expansion. It eventually struck me that the stars, which have fixated me my entire life, would seem no less majestic from this hill in the year 1305.
The word Upgoer was taken from the web site Up-goer 5 which invites one to explain concepts using only the 1000 most used English words. This seemed the perfect fit to describe the yearning to leave the planet. (Up-goer 5 is a description of a Saturn 5 rocket using these restrictive methods).
The Reviews for Upgoer
If you don't know Hedersleben, then you're in for a real treat. They hail from California (by way of the UK & Germany) and they do an interesting and fresh take on krautrock & psychedelic rock without sounding at all derivative or phony. Led by guitarist Nicky Garratt, each album sees the band taking off on almost completely different directions from the previous one, while still maintaining a signature sound all their own, mostly driven by drummer Jason Willer and organist Kephera Moon. While "Upgoer" is Hedersleben's debut album, this is also their most avant-garde, freeform and somehow funkiest release. The titles and musical themes of this album almost suggest a nautical journey as opposed to the more space and time themed fare of their next 2 albums. In the opening "Upgoer, Pt. 1", we're greeted by a somewhat atonal intro filled with distant narration underpinned by waves of synth bleeps and bloops and organ drones. Then as the drones start to build and build, all of a sudden the drums kick in and we get that sense of movement we've been waiting for and within the next few minutes of the piece, we get a few different iterations of a single theme built on variations of the G scale. First we get the main iteration on organ, chugging rhythm guitar and whispered vocals, then changing gears quickly to an almost James Brown kind of guitar chord, and then again to a complete change of scenery to what I can only describe as a kind of Arabian ashram freak-out. As the last chords of "Upgoer, Pt.1" fade away into some well-placed sound effects of what I assume is grave-digging, we enter into the sound of thunder and the true centerpiece of the album, "Der Donnervogel". Sad & moody rainy day music built on an off-kilter A minor guitar arpeggio and a drum beat creating a waltz feel out of 11/8 and lead by the kind of organ sound that suggests influence from Rick Wright's Farfisa odysseys, but a tad edgier and more focused in Moon's approach to the instrument. Side 1 closes with "Dark Nebula", another short song graced by spoken word, bringing back the same funkiness that we first felt in "Upgoer, Pt. 1". But before we know it, the drums disappear completely into a pleasant bit of respite with a doubled piano sequence and some bluesy guitar punctuation on the fade out. Being the shortest track on the album, "Dark Nebula" seems to end all too suddenly, but the positive is that the theme and style of this particular tune would be greatly expanded upon on their next album, "Die Neuen Welten". Side 2 opens with "Upgoer, Pt. 2", and it's even more unsettling than it's counterpart. More atonal organ, assorted percussion and a curious violin sample that to my ears suggests the want for a real violin, which wouldn't come into play in Hedersleben's sound until their 3rd album "The Fall of Chronopolis". A slight re-imagining of the main theme of Pt. 1 enters, this time underpinned by 12-string acoustic guitar before everything falls apart into an almost bluesy 12/8 breakdown, before settling back into the 12-string theme again for the finale. The album closer "End of Love" is certainly the mellowest song on the album, it's also the most straightforward, percussion abounding with all sorts of cymbals, gongs, bells and whistles, while the guitar holds down the rhythm, re-iterating the off-kilter fingerpicking from "Der Donnelvogel", but this time in a major key, and graced by the presence of Nik Turner's flute intertwining with flute samples. It closes the album on a bit of lull, but that's not to say the piece is a downer, more like it's just a nice & meditative. The perfect thing to bring the listener back down to the ground after exploring much rockier territory. Overall, while it's certainly not Hedersleben's strongest effort, it's a damn fine debut album, and certainly a worthy addition to your record collection.
Prog Archives - International
HEDERSLEBEN are a new Krautrock band out of Germany named after a village in Germany where Nicky Garratt the brainchild of the project is from. He became interested in this style of music after jamming in Hedersleben with guitarist Uve Mulrich from EMBRYO. By the way this tradition of jamming with other musicians in Hedersleben continues to this day as a yearly event. Nicky and drummer Jason Willer were part of Nik Turner's band on the album "The Space Gypsey" which was released in 2013 just like this album. Nik actually guests on the final track here playing flute. Even more members of HEDERSLEBEN would be on Nik's latest album "Space Fusion Odyssey". Oh, by the way this band HEDERSLEBEN is now also part of BRAINTICKET, joining Joel in that endeavor. "Upgoer(Part 1)" opens with what sounds like the wind blowing and birds making noise as the organ floats in. Whispered words after 2 1/2 minutes join in as well. Sounds like synths in this experimental and somewhat dark intro. It kicks into a groove before 5 1/2 minutes. Some interesting sounding guitar follows as the female vocals almost shimmer and the drums pound. I like the keyboards before 8 minutes. It's all about the percussion and atmosphere 9 minutes in. This reminds me of Raga music here. "Der Donner Voegel(Dreamstate)" opens with the thunder rumbling as intricate guitar melodies join in. Drums a minute in, synths too. Organ late as we get thunder one more time. Spoken words join in to end it. Beautiful stuff. "Dark Nebula" has this catchy beat as spoken female words join in. This is very BRAINTICKET-like in my opinion. The beat and voices stop after 2 minutes as we get floating organ then piano joining in. The guitar joins in late. "Upgoer (Part 2)" opens with experimental sounds that come and go until around 4 1/2 minutes when a trippy groove kicks in. A minute later it's experimental again but it's brief this time as it kicks back in quickly. It's jazzy with paino 6 1/2 minutes in then we get a change after 8 minutes as female vocals take over as we get that trippy beat again. "End Of Love(Dreamstate)" has these relaxed guitar melodies as pastoral flute from Nik Turner joins in. Dreamstate indeed. Just a gorgeous soundscape that might be too long. A great start for this young band and not much thrills me more these days then hearing new Krautrock, Zeuhl or Canterbury. Bring it on! A solid 4 stars.
Mellotron Storm - Prog Archives
Hedersleben are a psychedelic Krautrock/space rock act from Oakland, California, featuring UK Subs member Nicky Garratt on guitar, Kephera Moon on keyboards/vocals, Bryce Shelton on bass, Ariana Jade on vocals, violin, and keyboards, and Jason Willer on drums, with Kyrsten Bean appearing on this album (keyboards/guitar/vocal) in place of Jade. Upgoer is the bands debut album from 2013, and you can instantly tell that they have mastered the art of both the British & German Krautrock/prog/space rock scene. Recording & touring with the likes of ex-Hawkwind member Nik Turner as well as Brainticket certainly has helped in that aspect. Most of the tracks here are long, meditative pieces, as dreamy keyboard washes permeate airy arrangements that don't often have a lot going on, but the brooding atmosphere and rich soundcapes provide for an often times intoxicating listening experience. You'll be reminded of vintage Tangerine Dream on both parts of the spacey title track as well as "Der Donnervogel (dreamstate)", while "End of Love (dreamstate)" offers up some of the more intriguing synth patterns on the album, squarely in the prog/jazz-fusion realm, with a brief flute solo courtesy of Nik Turner. Vocals are sparse, and more in the spoken word or whispered format, just drifting atop the tranquil arrangements. It's a shame that Garratt isn't given much to do here, his guitar more dedicated to textures and lilting chord or melody lines than anything daring. In a way it kind of represents the entire album; Upgoer just seems to float along, never really breaking into anything that grabs you nor turning up the tempo a bit. It's all fine and relaxing space rock, but let's hope they kick things up a notch on the follow-up.
Peter Pardo - Sea Of Tranquility - USA
Behind the very Germanic name of this group actually hide from the Americans, who took the name from a small German town in Saxony. The Americans would have become fortiches in geography? Would they quit confused Holland and Poland? Not necessarily, because the musicians Hedersleben took this name because they are fully aware of the reputation of this place. A Hedersleben, indeed, is the Kosmische Muzik Zentrum, that even non-Germanic languages can be translated easily. It is an old farm that became a center of musical experiments and encounters between musicians from jamming and go into the stratosphere. Old masters from Krautrock as Klaus Uwe Henatsch Nektar or Mullrich Embryo are regular visitors to the center. says Who says cosmic rock space rock and space rock that says immediately think of Hawkwind and one of its most prominent historical members ,Nik Turner . The indefatigable space saxophonist recently split an album called "Space Gypsy " , recorded with old monsters of rock profession as Jason Willer ( UK Subs ) and Jeff Miles ( Chelsea ) in the rhythm section, Jürgen Engler ( Die Krupps ) on rhythm guitar and keyboards. The guitar is held here by Nicky Garratt, a Californian who also serves as artistic director for the project. It was after this album was born the Hedersleben group. With Kephera Moon and Kyrsten Beanon vocals and keyboards, and Bryce Shelten replacing Jeff Miles on bass, Nicky Garratt working on a new album Brainticket Swiss group space rock always moderated by Joel Vandroogenbroeck indestructible. This is just after the making of this album qu'Hedersleben recorded his first album "Upgoer" . With space rock fanatics as Nicky Garratt and his group, it is not surprising to find in this album reconstructions identical sound and moods discs German Seventies prog. With"Upgoer" , it's like back in the ranks of Ash Ra Tempel or Brainticket right in 1973 ready to take off toward the ionosphere ultimate, never to return. The ethereal and trippy atmospheres extend over long pieces of an average of eight minutes (five titles forty minutes trip). It is an authentic astral travel, which is sometimes reminiscent of Pink Floyd, which are open to us, cosmonauts lost in the small orbit of Jupiter. We'll have to push hard on the satellite to locate the mother ship because the crew went high into outer space. It will be understood that the album"Upgoer" interest many astrophysicists rock and we can already and he has already announced a sequel, with the second album "Die neuen Welten" , which is the subject of another column.
François Becquart - Music In Belgium (Rock Folk Blues) - Belgium
Hedersleben was Nik Turner’s back-up band on his North American tour (two of its members were also in his studio band). Krautrock rhythms, hazy atmospheres and Ummagumma style psychedelic freakouts. What more could you ask for?
Jeff Fitzgerald - Aural Innovation
In 2012 werd gitarist Nicky Garratt de muzikale leider van Hawkwind’s Nik Turner. Op die manier kwam hij opnieuw in contact met drummer & percussionist Jason Willer. Beiden waren immers leden geweest van de band UK Subs, waarvan Garratt oprichter, medesongwriter en producer was. Ze trokken diverse muzikanten aan, en begonnen in Los Angeles aan een nieuw album en enkele shows te spelen. De band Hedersleben was geboren. Ze werden beïnvloed door de vroege Krautrock scène, en de line-up bestond verder uit keyboardspeelster/gitariste/zangeres Kyrsten Bean, bassist Bryce Shelton en keyboardspeelster/zangeres Kephera Moon. Dit is hun debuut uit 2013 en het bevat 5 tracks. Part 1 van de titeltrack duurt meer dan 11 minuten en bevat vogelgeluiden. Part 2 is tevens meer dan 10 minuten lang. ‘Der Donnervogel (Dreamstate)’ vangt aan met een donderslag. Op ‘End of Love (Dreamstate)’ speelt Nik Turner fluit.
Patrick Van de Wiele - Keys and Chords - Germany