Laniakea: A Pot Of Powdered Nettles album review

Ulver man Daniel O'Sullivan’s brilliant strange brew.

Album cover for Laniakea's A Pot Of Powdered Nettles

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Laniakea comprises Massimo Pupillo, of Italian experimentalists Zu, and Daniel O’Sullivan, whose multi-instrumental talents grace Ulver, Grumbling Fur and early Guapo. Together, this self-described “galactic gospel duo” make an awesome post-rock racket. Their album’s four lengthy pieces open out into a much larger maze of sound that is at once ancient and modern; it’s almost like eavesdropping on some arcane, occult ritual dedicated to summoning the very spirit of electricity itself.

On The Contagious Magick Of The Superabundance, undulating bass drones modulate constantly but glacially. The cavernous environment they gouge out of the air fills with jagged, slack-stringed descending bass lines and chattering high-end frequencies from which hymnal notes gently percolate their way toward a vanishing point of light. This is not ambient music. There’s simply too many provocative details applied to their vast sonic canvas. And just in case you think Laniakea take themselves too seriously, how can you not love a record whose instrumental credits feature “Theosophical girls” and “The feuding cats of Nuneaton”? Let’s hear it for them.

Sid Smith

Sid's feature articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications including Prog, Classic Rock, Record Collector, Q, Mojo and Uncut. A full-time freelance writer with hundreds of sleevenotes and essays for both indie and major record labels to his credit, his book, In The Court Of King Crimson, an acclaimed biography of King Crimson, was substantially revised and expanded in 2019 to coincide with the band’s 50th Anniversary. Alongside appearances on radio and TV, he has lectured on jazz and progressive music in the UK and Europe.  

A resident of Whitley Bay in north-east England, he spends far too much time posting photographs of LPs he's listening to on Twitter and Facebook.