Baltimore-based musician PJ Dorsey aka Tarotplane shares his five favorite Kosmische records.
After giving up music for almost 10 years in the late 90s to mid 2000s, Baltimore-based musician PJ Dorsey aka Tarotplane seems to have hit his stride in recent years. Between 2020-2022, the guitarist/producer released three full length LP’s along with a 53-minute-long cassette titled Panthalassa with all original material. His sound, often dubbed “new school kosmische”, is heavily influenced by krautrock and experimental psychedelic records from the ’70s. Fans of Robert Fripp, Popol Vuh, Manuel Göttsching, berlin-school sequencing, and drone music will fall immediately into his ethereal, guitar and synth driven psychoactive sound.
We’ve quickly become big fans of his work and, not surprisingly, PJ’s recent releases on Glasgow’s 12th Isle and NYC’s Impatience (a sibling label of patience) have been in heavy rotation at our headquarters and the ISC Record Shop. Listen to Light Self All Others below:
To celebrate his latest release, we asked PJ to share 5 selections with us. PJ included the following message with his picks: “These would be my 5 favorite Kosmische records. They push the boundaries of what most people would call Kosmische but that’s the point as far as I reckon. Kosmische to me is way more than ‘space music,’ it’s headspace music and it can take different forms.”
Maybe not the first record that pops up in conversations of classic Krautrock records, but make no mistake, it’s one of the greats. Deuter made an absolute Kosmische classic with this 1971 album. Lots of experimentation but entirely coherent with amazing sitar and organ. along with lots of echo, backwards tape & field recordings. He moved into an increasingly more “new age” direction with later records, but this one is actually a little unsettling in its deep trippiness. One of the records that really inspired my sound.
Älgarnas Trädgård – Framtiden Är Ett Svävande Skepp, Förankrat I Forntiden
This is the second record that is sort of one of my main inspirations. I don’t know of any other record that sounds like this. Pretty much immune to being copied because of its unusual collection of instrumentation and excellent musicianship. It’s sort of medieval influenced gothic psychedelia. I think for me its just the “vibe” it creates. At moments it is like a hippy commune version of Dead Can Dance but then it moves to a doomy version of Floyd or Hawkwind. You can use it as an alternative soundtrack to Tarkovsky’s “Andrei Rublev.”
Dreamies – Auralgraphic Entertainment
Bill Holt was a former executive at 3M during the early 70’s and was a great fan of the Beatles experimental side and was reading about John Cage and the idea of musique concrete and he decided to try his hand at it (without ever actually hearing him). He decided to start smoking dope at the age of 30. He then purchased a Moog Sonic 6, an acoustic guitar and a reel to reel and set to work. He recorded both famous news events off the TV as well as making his own home field recordings. A real home recording masterwork that blends the acoustic and synthetic amazingly well. An album very ahead of its time.
Franco Battiato – Fetus
I love almost all of his records but this one is my favorite. Perhaps this is the record Bill Holt from the Dreamies was imagining when he made his album. It was already done several years before. It’s a fusion of magnificent melodic songwriting, coupled with tape loops, snippets from TV and radio and some of the most effective use of the EMS VCS3 ever put to vinyl. The production is amazing and even though it moves from the more conventional to the extremely experimental (even during the same track) it holds together. Battiato was a famous and well loved singer at the time but it never affected his decision to really try something unusual. No doubt this album, along with “Pollution” influenced Brian Eno on his early albums.
Claudio Rocchi – Suoni di Frontiera
Rocchi was a popular Italian singer songwriter during the early 70’s. It seems that he looked at what his friend Franco Battiato was doing in terms of studio experimentation and Rocchi’s output became more diverse and unusual. This progression peaked on this 1976 LP. Rocchi played a wide array of instruments, but on this album, there were lots of short experimental pieces done on EMS Synthi A. This was a really difficult album to get for many years until Die Schachtel reissued it. Rocchi is too often overlooked. Rocchi is someone who also blended the organic and electronic to an extraordinary level.
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