That Copenhagen Sound

I may have mentioned this little Copenhagen, Denmark outfit called Causa Sui a few times here. I may have, I can’t quite recall. If I haven’t, I’ll give you a quick rundown. If I have, well bear with me. You see, Causa Sui is this quartet of musicians(Jonas Munk, Jess Kahr, Rasmus Rasmussen, and Jakob Skott) out of the most excellent Copenhagen. I was introduced to them way back in late 2013 when their album Euporie Tide came out. “Check ’em out!”, this friend said. “You’ll dig ’em!”, this friend said. Well the friend was right. I did dig them. I came into the Causa Sui world just as they were hitting a most fruitful time. 2014 saw the release of drummer Jakob Skott’s masterpiece Amor Fati, Causa Sui’s brain melting Pewt’r Sessions 3, guitarist Jonas Munk’s Absorb…Fabric…Cascade, and right before 2015 took over for old man 2014 Skott put out another stellar solo effort called Taurus Rising. So if you were counting, that was four Causa Sui-related releases in 2014, and all on the band’s own record label, El Paraiso Records. I mean, what the hell? If ever there was a prolific group of dudes it’s these cats that hail from the same place as some of my other favorite creative people; like Lars Von Trier, Mads Mikkelsen, Lars Ulrich and Nicolas Winding Refn(if things get too bad here, I’m trying for dual citizenship in Denmark, people. I think the kids will love it there.)

fullsizerender-1Here’s the thing with Causa Sui, they feel like this true art collective. All of them work outside of the band on solo projects, they create music communally with mood lighting, lots of cool electronic toys, and plenty of longnecks of IPA. They record other artists they dig and want to help share with the world via El Paraiso Records(check out Papir, Mythic Sunship, Brian Ellis Group, Landing, and Videodrones for further proof of El Paraiso’s stellar lineup.) There’s just this loose, earthy vibe with the band that draws me in. Everything they do is interesting. There’s this sort of hippie vibe going on, but without the patchouli, peace and love overtones. These guys create a sort of practical magic. The art that they commit to cd and vinyl is a real journey, man. Causa Sui explores the far reaches of the universe in the course of an album. It’s heady, trippy musical explorations that are far beyond dudes just “getting buzzed and jammin'”. You want Miles-influenced musical mazes to get lost in? Put some Summer Sessions or Pewt’r Sessions in your skull. Feeling the need for some breezy summer vibes to surround your noggin while you’re checking out beach bods at the local dunes? Euporie Tide will suffice nicely. Needing a triple shot of espresso-fueled music juice that’ll remind you of both Sabbath and Joshua Tree? Hell, Return To Sky will abide. All of these are done earnestly and from an honest place. Nothing feels contrived with these guys. They take their influences and inspirations and mix them with their own brand of musical paint to create a whole new musical hue. The practical aspect of Causa Sui comes in the form of always working. Always expanding and evolving their sound. They never seem content to stick to a formula. They’re also regular dudes with regular jobs. They punch a clock, then blow minds after work. They know the value of time and properly spending said time.

For my money, they’re one of the most innovative rock bands working today that don’t make the world stop turning when they drop from social media(hello, Radiohead.)

So why am I going on and on about Jonas, Jess, Rasmus, and Jakob? Well I guess it’s because they’re putting out a new live album. Now I’m not much of a live album guy. I think most fall flat because the magic of that space, the heat of the moment, and the electricity that burnt through the air just doesn’t come through on live recordings. There are a few exceptions, and Causa Sui’s first live release Live At Freak Valley is one of them(the other is Papir Live At Roadburn.) Causa Sui’s Live In Copenhagen is a 3-LP boxset that was recorded at two shows: the release show for Euporie Tide and the release show for Return To Sky. From the look of the set lists it’s a smorgasbord of classic, deep cuts and the latest and greatest. They’re joined onstage by Danish saxophonist Johan Riedenlow for some dynamic accompaniment, as well as Papir guitarist Nicklas Sørensen who adds some of his tasteful musical chops into the proceedings.

Did I mention it’s 3-LPs?!?! And there’s 300 bonus 10″s that are available with extra studio goodness for those quick on the buying draw?

If there was one band I could bankroll a trip to the US for some shows it would be Causa Sui. What I’ve seen of them live they seem like a band that likes to get it on live. They bring it. They explore plenty on record, but live they slice open those tunes and explore even more. When you’re going to a show that’s what you want to see. At least that’s what I want to see. I don’t want the hits and some extended jams. I want serious exploration and Causa Sui are all about that.

Want to know more? Well that’s all I got, but here’s some cool words from the El Paraiso site:

This limited boxset captures Causa Sui at two very special nights: At the release parties of Euporie Tide (2013) & Return To Sky (2016). While the two albums are tight and meticulous sizes, that helped propel the band to the very pinnacle of European stoner-psych, this heavy package documents the band at their most free and adventurous. Since the band seldomly performes live, this may very well be your best chance to experience what the band is capable of at their best! One show is recorded at avantgarde institution extraordinaire Jazzhouse, while the other captures the sounds of legendary underground venue Dragens Hule in a warm summer night of 2013, where the band played in front of a small, ecstatic crowd until the wee hours. Both shows were recorded multitrack with an A-grade selection of mics and mixed and mastered by Jonas Munk.

During these three discs Causa Sui aren’t merely running through classic cuts from the catalogue. Each track is explored, reinterpreted and given new life – often straying far away from its original roots with a fervent energy. One minute the band is bluesy and heavy, the next they’re repetitive and blissed-out or venturing into a cacophony of Albert Ayler-like sax bursts, free-form electronics and feedback. Swedish saxophone player Johan Riedenlow joins both shows and Papir-guitar player Nicklas Sørensen occasionally adds his magic to the Dragens Hule set – including a towering 13-minute version of Eternal Flow, that seems to channel the energy of mid-1970s Popol Vuh, as well as a breezy cover version of Agitation Free’s ”First Communication”.

Want to know more? Then go here.

fullsizerender-2This wasn’t a paid endorsement, guys(though I do have quite a collection of Causa Sui stickers.) This one is from the gut. I’m a big fan of Causa Sui and pretty much everything they do. I will gladly wax ecstatic about these guys ad nauseum(like I just did here.)

I think in light of this great live set coming out next month, I’ll revisit some of my favorite albums from the Copenhagen crew over the next few weeks and share with you all. Cause, why not?

Happy Monday.

16 thoughts on “That Copenhagen Sound

  1. I was looking at this one and mulling the preorder over. Whole load of awesomeness there. Great band… would love to see them hit the road for some sort of worldwide tour shenanigans.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, yeah. I think Denmark looks pretty great. In the meantime I’ll have to settle for that Copenhagen set (which I’ve done gone pre-ordered).

        I actually haven’t heard the last live album. Might need to explore that a bit further.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You betcha. I’ve been listening to Return To Sky quite a bit this week. Soundtracked a few journeys to and from work… looking forward to hearing how the songs evolve in the live setting.

        I’ll check out Freak Valley soon. Hopefully it’ll be still available to pick up, as I know a lot of the stuff (most of it?) is limited.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Return To Sky is so good. Love that album.

        I’ve got a feeling Live From Copenhagen is just going to be massive. I just listened to Freak Valley earlier this evening. Definitely worth looking into if it’s still available.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’ve got a similar feeling. Looks like a really special set too and I know I’ve said this before, but those dudes at El Paraiso really know how to do things.

        I’ll have a look at Freak Valley. If it’s still available I dare say I’ll nab it.


  2. Wow, listening to the embedded videos after reading your perfectly-targeted prose and really being pulled in. I hope I’m not too off base in saying that my personal touchstone as I listen to this is Earthless, a band I love. Looks like I’ll be boarding the Causa Sui train at Freak Valley!


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