Lay Llamas - Thuban LPRocket Recordings (UK)
Dwelling in the night sky of the Northern hemisphere, Thuban (named after the Arabic for ‘snake’ also known as Alpha Draconis, and sometimes as the ‘dragon’s tail’) was the star closest to the North pole from the fourth to the second millennium BC. Yet in a migration that perhaps allows us to consider our own insignificance in the realm of the cosmos, its never-ending trajectory will mean that it will once again become the polar star by 20346AD. It’s a star system powered by mystical significance enough for both Matt Groening to include it in Futurama and for David Icke to consider it the homeland of the shapeshifting reptiles that he maintains secretly control Earth. For Nicola Giunta of Lay Llamas however, this mysterious point in the night sky offers pause for thought. “A polar star is something that drives the travellers towards a safe place. But in the age we’re living now it seems hard to recognise a polar star. Do we have to wait for that? How many times? Do we have to look in another direction?”
Nonetheless, the personal journey Giunta has embarked on in the four years since Lay Llamas’ Rocket Recordings debut Østro has been characterised as much by forward motion as cosmic drift. A number of smaller releases on labels such as Backwards, 4 Zero and ArteTetra followed, as the live band that notably supported Goat at London’s Roundhouse and effortlessly managed a psychic demolition job of considerable force at Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia was replaced by a different constellation of musicians. Yet following the departure of vocalist Gioele Valenti, Thuban is very much Nicola’s brainchild, involving as many of twelve different musicians yet with him writing lyrics, singing, producing, mixing and recording at his home, whilst utilising new instruments from marimba to sax to kalimba to pilot this craft to dimensions unknown. The result has been a step beyond the kraut-damaged psychedelic mantras of Østro into a realm seemingly without boundaries, one in which a pan-global fascination with rhythmic hypnosis and an unquenchable experimental zeal manifests hermetically-aligned revelations aplenty.