Abronia are experimental psych six piece based in Portland, Oregon USA. Two guitars, pedal steel, tenor saxophone, bass, and one 32” inch bass drum. Their music is a mixture of free-jazz, Morricone-soundtrack twangs via German kosmische, 60s folk, and ritualistic drone envelopment. The band has recently been added to this year’s Supersonic Festival, so we thought it would be a great opportunity to ask the band about 3 releases that have influenced them a lot. The band’s drummer Shaver and singer/sax player Keelin replied with these 3 amazing releases…
Bixio Frizzi Tempera – Magnetic Systems
The Cinevox dream team. There’s ample phased out bass and wah guitar but the music is way more than just proggy, funky Giallo jams. Each piece is a scene, a mood, a landscape unto itself. Each one evokes a rich mental image. I’ve always felt this approach worked for our own music, where a song can really come to fruition when a cinematic image is mapped onto it – describing riffs or parts by framing imaginary shots etc. There’s also this conversational aspect of the music that, for me personally at least, resonates with what we do. You can hear styles talking to each other and reflecting one another until it’s like a hall of mirrors. It’s a maze of influences but also its own thing. Say how Italian cinema digested Hollywood and made it Italian and then Hollywood re-envisioned that Italian take on itself, or in another instance how African musicians found American funk and made it African and subsequently American musicians found African funk records and… well you end up with this endless conversation with all the cultural watermarks blended and thrown back into the fray. Anyhow, this record’s great!
Gila – Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee
This one is a heady ride through the songwriting landscape of Veit and Fricke and while I’m sure we couldn’t all get down with the journey in its entirety there’s at least moments for everyone here. Some sweeping pastoral vibes, soaring Strat peaks, some kraut-y grooves. I like to think Abronia can operate with a similar level of boldness, and it often leads us to places both familiar and not. Sometimes we journey onward, sometimes we backtrack. I’ve never delved into the Native American theme going on here, but honestly the music is doing most of the heavy-lifting. There’s a lot of guitar interplay being woven, which, with four stringed instruments in Abronia, is really key to what we do. Each person finding a voice, stepping forward when they need to, and stepping back when they need to. I’ve never been able to find out any other information about singer Sabine Merbach. Where did she go?
Malaria! – New York Passage
Reviewers like to lean on the Grace Slick thing when they talk about the vocals, but they never mention the Malaria ladies. They’re at least as much of an inspiration as Ms. Slick. Also they throw in saxophone! The music is angular and halting – things Abronia often is NOT – but it feels essential to the Abronia Way. You can bring a pretty guitar line or a catchy melody to the table but then again someone might take a screwdriver to their pickups over top of it or belt out a guttural shriek. I’d like to think it helps us ground ourselves in a primitive ferocity whenever we seem to be losing our head in the clouds. This album will help with that! It rips. And if it doesn’t scream “Abronia” well then we hope that Abronia can scream “Malara” in spirit at least.