With his intense gaze and woodsman’s beard, Steve Von Till, vocalist/guitarist from Neurosis, looks like he spends a lot of time communing with nature.
Music For Megaliths, the fourth album from his solo project Harvestman, brings this contemplation to artistic life. It’s a pagan kosmische meditation on the primal energies of the Earth and at its best, weaves a powerful, senses-gripping spell. The Forest Is Our Temple pits the keening skirl of pipes against the throb of electricity, evoking images of a ghostly procession marching through the trees. The excellently-titled Oak Drone is a swirl of manipulated loops with brooding blues licks on top, like MBV collaborating with Neil Young. Levitation is the nearest thing here to a ‘regular’ song, a soupy space rock riff with live drums, echoing vocals and fat globules of synth, essentially Hawkwind at 16rpm. What Von Till clearly understands is the idea of music as creative magic, its ability to transform the listener’s sense of place and time. On the folky, epiphanic last track White Horse, he eulogises the standing stones of the title as ‘a gateway to the mysteries and pathway to my ancestors’, but he could just as easily be describing this album.