The latest psychonautical vessel from Canartic, "Modulotion", is an elixir of sensual-spiritual delight, a liquid journey for the listener's aural network. Through seven tracks of musical rapture, Canartic injects its potion of third-eye alchemy directly into the veins, a straight shot to the heart and soul. "Modulotion" is potent musical chemistry whose mind-altering attributes gently nudge the listener over the edge of the waterfall, sending signals to the brain to close one's eyes and see ...
Canartic's most recent concoction is a deep, lush fusion of guitar, electronica and dub (with just the right sprinklings of vocal samples). The metaphysical meeting of this trinity of elements gives birth to a sum greater than its parts. The ingredients of "Modulotion" coalesce exquisitely, blending into a new creature, every part absorbing the other until a lustrous new whole appears. All the pieces fall into place seamlessly, lucid and crystalline but rolling soothingly yet ecstatically like the waves of the Eternal Ocean.
The title track is centered by a smooth, crisp guitar line surrounded by an aqua cloud of electronica. Propelling "Modulotion" through the waters are the chilled, hypnotic beats, which lap in and out of consciousness as the track begins the album's arc toward psilocybin serenity.
"Modulotion" gives way sweetly to the cosmic revelation of the earthily named "Cleveland (Buzz)". It commences with center-of-the-universe space music ambience before lightly trickling into an understated but vivid dubscape enhanced by an electric guitar jam that crackles without disrupting the track's nurturing transcendence. Quietly progressive, "Cleveland" moves through a world that reflects the title vs. sound juxtaposition of otherworldly and down to earth.
Guitar and dub continue to assimilate each other in the ethereal but heady grooves of "Spring Reverb", which shifts and plays through a unity of diversity. This paradox is executed by subtle guitar work that seems to shift from a blues line to ambient surf to sheer trip; swirling washes of mesmerizing post-classical sounds by way of electronica; and by a morphine-laced tribal thrum.
Light, bright, rippling sparks of guitar speak out from the electric ether on "Pod Bai", a suitably spacebound track that slips in echoing snippets of dialogue from Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey". One of the more ambient-leaning tracks on an album that never strays from its chillout heart, "Pod Bay" continues the admixture of guitar, dub and electronica in a profound excursion into the mind's infinity.
Guitar-dub caresses return to the foreground on "Aux 1", a distinctly rhythmic foray through the filter of Canartic's gorgeous soundview. Appropriately enough, the vocal samples herein warn the engrossed listener of the long-term effects of exposure to the lotus-flowering beauty of this constantly unfolding track.
Granted that "Modulotion" is an already downtempo affair, it could be argued that "Hueman" is the ballad of the album. Seductive guitar, absorbing melodiousness, trance-inducing sounds and jazz-like percussion alive in its evolution - these all lead forever deeper into the place where Canartic and the listener and everything else enjoy timeless union.
"Overstanding" brings us to the climax. The guitar seems to stretch for vivacity while never betraying the ambient aesthetic; simultaneously, the percussion opts for sprightliness while also remaining loyal. Dub bubbles up from the deep. And all of this is swallowed in a diffused mist of electronic captivation.
"Modulotion" is a kaleidoscopic downtempo masterpiece from artists who have been praised by The Wire for their "slow-mo, psychedelic riffings, and airborne sonic curlicues"; the same reviewer declared them "smokey, spacey, and out-there, and ... for those who believe psychedelia never realized its true intent." Harp Magazine has hailed the "psychedelic dub warriors Canartic, an Austinite trio who, with all apologies to Orange Goblin and the like, lay down the real stoner rock ..."
Canartic, which has previously inspired listeners with "Headphone Test" and "Bouncing Radar Beams Off The Moon", represents the true nu-wave of headtrip music and "Modulotion" the newest wavy exclamation point for a band - as well as the colorful kingdom of sound they represent - that sets new standards of quality and creativity.
Kristofer Upjohn - DJFix.com / Corazine.com
I’ve always been a sucker for good bass guitar in any genre, and when I need a fix I can now reach for Canartic’s groovy-bass-thick new offering, Modulotion. Canartic is in full funky bloom here with their signature mashup of echo-loaded psychedelia, trippy dub and blissed-out guitar licks. And, of course, that bass.
One of the things I really enjoy about Canartic is how their sound owes as much to Motown as it does to Montego Bay. Randall Peterson’s guitar playing smacks sweetly of classic smooth R&B with a delicious funk frosting. The slow-played chords that lace their way through the smoke-filled space of “Pod Bai” are a fine example, lazy and seductive and familiar. Peterson gets quite jazzy in the center section of “Hueman,” and his playing there makes me stop whatever I’m doing to just be there with him. (There’s a sound bite in there saying, “Fabulous,” and I must agree.) Add reggae rhythms and cohort Jon Coats’ trippy soundwork backdrops and you’ve got a unique, infectious mix that just carries you along–and you’re happy to go. Dive into “Cleveland (Buzz)” for a tasty shot of Canartic at work…and play. That’s another thing. There’s a joy here, the sound of two guys working off each other’s leads and vibes, genuinely enjoying the creative process in motion.
While Modulotion is a solid CD all around, the duo really hit their stride in “Aux 1,” a dense froth of deep dub guitar and echoes, well-managed crunches of noise and frenetic guitar. It’s got a sense of wild abandon steered with a loose hand on the reins, and it’s simply fantastic.
I know from experience that listening to Canartic can leave you feeling a little high. So get your head ready and light up some Modulotion. It’s a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.