You want to go on a trip? You want to go on a space trip? You want to go on a mind-fuck intergalactic package tour? You want to go and live in a corner of the metaverse which was summoned into being at exactly the point that Jimi Hendrix dive-bombed his tremolo to a standstill during ‘Voodoo Chile’? Of course you do, otherwise we wouldn’t be such friends.
Well then step on board my New Cruiser folks and we’ll go Drifting Way Out Between Suns. Welcome to the world of Blown Out, my favourite three man psychedelic instrumental headfuck space guitar jam warriors from Newcastle.
All hail Mike Vest! Intergalactic guitar god. All hail Jean-Michael Hedley! Interstellar bass deity. All hail Matt Baty! Demigod of the drums of death.
2 LP’s, 4 tracks.
I got caught in Blown Out’s tractor beam one lunchtime at Probe Records in 2014 when I spotted Drifting Way Out Between Suns on purple vinyl. That, the Anthony Downie artwork and the fact that it was strictly limited to 500 copies on LP and the fact that the sole track on the B-side was called ‘Quantum Shift On Plague Mothership’ sold me to it and it to me within seconds.
I remember whacking it on when I got home and not being quite prepared for just how relentless it all was. This was no gentle genteel psych jam, everyone limbering up, doing all that peaking and troughing stuff. Nope. Blown Out just came charging out of the traps, smacked you around the face with some whammy bar worrying space rock and … kept on smacking you around the face with it.
There’s an urgency and an energy here that is uncommon, the tracks don’t progress as such, with new sections and melodies, they do shimmer charge and change but in a more tonal/modal way. I find these tracks deceptive, in that the more they change, the more they edge back incrementally to where they set out from in the first place; it just gives you the impression of being caught in the ship’s exhaust fumes, watching a slowly rotating galaxy-spanning Möbius strip.
Which I really hope does not make Drifting Way Out Between Suns sound boring, because it isn’t in any way other than like a drill bit.
Two years later I was waiting for New Cruiser to be released. Blown Out’s sound had changed slightly for their second proper LP. There was something shinier, heavier and harder, more urgent and precise about both side-long tracks this time. The drums and bass were much more prominent in the mix and the composition, sliding the overall sound more towards the likes of Monster Magnet.
Not that either ‘Phase II’ or ‘New Cruiser’ depart massively from what had gone before, we’re still bound for the stars in steerage. The fact that there’s slightly more chrome and velvet audible here does give the journey more resonance and much more of a sense of propulsion.
Make no mistake about it though this is music that is more indebted to Jimi Hendrix than anything else I own; taking his whamm-iest, most electric, drop-out moments as their starting point, wrapping it all up in some heavy heavy heavy heavy-duty FX-pedalling in order to reach escape velocity. It is really quite wonderful.
I really am going through a massive Blown Out craze phase at the moment and they do make particularly great lights-off listening at the end of the evening. Trust me, I’m a happy little cosmonaut tonight.