Sensory Overload: Brujas del Sol

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From the May 10, 2012 edition

In the beginning, there was noise. Guitar strings screeched, a tambourine shook and various drums rattled chaotically.

Out of the ruckus, rhythm emerged — driving, steady, locked in. Textures materialized and morphed. Effects-laden high-end solos left airplane streaks across the stage then bottomed out into dense low-end grooves. The entrancing mesh seemed to cycle on into infinity, with just enough variation to keep me tuning back in.

Whether this is what the beginning of the universe sounded like, I can’t say. But I can proclaim with full assurance that the beginning of a promising Columbus psych trio sounds like this.

So it went when Brujas del Sol played Kobo last Wednesday. The mostly instrumental ensemble burned through four lengthy compositions, each song showing off their skills from a distinct angle.

In charged “Conquistadors” with raunchy blues-rock swagger. The gnarly, filthy pentatonic groove (this band is built on grooves) built itself into a cyclone, band MVP Derrick White holding down monumental bass riffs while guitarist Adrian Lee Zambrano proved you can indeed rock in shorts. Eventually it all melted into a dreamy slow jam, White’s bass shifting from aggressor to masseuse, rock-solid all the same.

Then came “Ships in the Distance” on some Hendrix “Third Stone From the Sun” jazz. Saturated with so many effects, the guitar solo hit like a sheet of noise. A motorik beat out of 1970s Germany kicked in courtesy of perpetually smiley percussion wiz Jason Green (seriously, the guy looks like he’s in The Monkees he’s so happy to be there). The song surged ahead krautrock-style until coming full circle with a return to the topsy-turvy E-F progression that started it out.

Closer “Baba Yaga” transformed some standard Pixies surf-rock maneuvers into psychedelic spy music over the course of eight minutes.

There was a looseness about Brujas del Sol that suggested they haven’t fully mastered these songs yet, nor have they developed the kind of chemistry that only comes from marinating together. But the raw materials on display were more than enough to intrigue.