Causa Sui: Pewt'r Sessions 2
El Paraiso Records

Pewt'r Sessions 2 is the second volume of collaborations between Danish psych/kraut outfit Causa Sui and Ron Schneiderman of Sunburned Hand of the Man fame. He first played with Causa Sui members Jakob Skøtt, Jonas Munk, Rasmus Rasmussen, and Jess Kahr in December 2006 for a loose, improvised gig of free-form psychedelic rock (formally released a year later under the odd name Pewt'r jjjjj) and followed it up in 2009 with sessions in Causa Sui's Odense studio that resulted in the tracks heard on the Pewt'r Sessions albums. Though the material was later edited and mixed by Munk, it thankfully hasn't lost any of its live feel. Generally speaking, the music backs a roaring guitar front line of Schneiderman and Munk (aka Manual) with an equally energized rhythm section in three long tracks, the first a full album side-filler and the others perfect fits for the flip.

Emerging from a loose-limbed haze, “Garden of Forking Paths” gradually comes into focus in the form of a bluesy jam with the bass an anchor for the psychedelic lines traced by the guitarists. The generous amount of wah-wah gives the music a Hendrixian flavour, while the free-flowing, explorative vibe often recalls the sound of Miles Davis's band circa Get Up With It and Big Fun. The track's twenty-three-minute running time allows for ample twists and turns, and the band accordingly moves through episodes that are laid-back and mellow and others that detonate with a nearly out-of-control fury. An occasional electronic squiggle deepens the music's cosmic character, but such sounds pretty much stay in the background, with “Garden of Forking Paths” dominated by the guitarists' scalding attack and drumming that stays toe-to-toe with them. The result is a raw side of interstellar travel containing more than a few moments of incendiary freakout.

The B-side finds the group in true krautrock mode for the twelve-minute “Gelassenheit,” where the bassist locks solidly into the motorik groove, which in turn allows the drummer to pepper the ever-charging pulse with a generous number of fills and the guitarists to light out for uncharted cosmic territories. Truth be told, the intensity level rises to an even more furious pitch than is heard on “Garden of Forking Paths,” so much so that “Gelassenheit” risks imploding altogether at its most fiery. Speaking of Get Up With It, “Brassica Blues,” in its opening moments at least, sounds like a cover of “He Loved Him Madly,” and Causa Sui generally hews to a more subdued blues style for the track's eleven-minute run—a not unwelcome comedown after the exhilarating ferocity of the album's other tracks. I'm guessing but that Causa Sui must be an especially satisfying outlet for all of the musicians, but none more so than Munk, given that it allows him to fully indulge a freer side of his playing that isn't accommodated by the tightly controlled Manual tracks he otherwise produces.

October 2011