The Lava Experiments
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The Lava Experiments

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | SELF

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | SELF
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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Artist of the Week:- The Lava Experiments create music that sucks you in like a tourbillion"

The Lava Experiments are no stranger to the Scottish music circuit, having established themselves in 2005 they have gone on to build up their reputation as much as their consummate sound. Podcart's first live introduction to this cluster of talent was in 2009 at Glasgow's V Club. Since then front man Fraser Rowan has remained the nucleus, however, his line-up has changed to create a rapturous membrane around him. Glasgow Podcart's Artist Of The Week goes to The Lava Experiments and I will now attempt to tell you exactly why! The Lava Experiments release Blackbody Volume III this week and in my opinion it goes a phenomenal way to showing the potential of this band. Over the last year I have seen and heard the band grow in sound and that essentially is what Artist Of The Week aims to show and represent. The Lava Experiments create music that sucks you in like a tourbillion. Songs build and before you know it you are within a sonancy that is like putting on the best headphones you can find and the music becoming part of you.

'Never Been Lost' is the opening track to Blackbody Volume III and creates visionary psychedelia in places. As the track progresses all its individual eclectic accomplishments add up to create something truly enthralling. The entire EP moves in a way that like most excellent short collections of music, tells you a story from start to finish. Blackbody Volume III is patterned with ethereal beauty and can lift you to giddy heights when crescendos hit their highest peaks. I just urge you to take the time to listen.

The Lava Experiments are a powerful machine; they have taken a massively significant step forward. They pull sublime sounds from the most core recesses of their imaginations and turn them into transport mechanisms for you and I to experience. I cannot wait to see what is next.
- Glasgow Podcart

"Lurking amidst the darkness there's no shortage of hooks and melody, spine tingling riffs and drumkits being beaten into submission"

Roughly a year on from the release of Blackbdy Vol. 1, The Lava Experiments have completed their promised trilogy of EPs with the release of Volume III. When listened to back to back you can really hear progress with each release. Blackbody I was good, Blackbody II was better generally with a couple of real standout moments and now Blackbody III has arrived and takes another step up. I love my music to be atmospheric, and The Lava Experiments deliver in spades. They make dark, at times cinematic, shoegazey soundscapes that are just dripping with atmosphere. Like previous releases (and funnily enough The Release from Blackbody II in particular) the songs on this EP draw you in and trap you in their midst as they swirl around and wash over you as you listen. Atmosphere is all well and good, but of course there needs to be a bit more about songs than just that to hold my attention. Lurking amidst the darkness there's no shortage of hooks and melody, spine tingling riffs and drumkits being beaten into submission, while listening to this EP there's little danger of my mind wandering. Great stuff, from a band that seemingly keep improving.

- Aye Tunes

"By the end of their allotted half hour, the audience are as emotionally battered as that snare"

"Once the clutter of synths is removed, the stage looks almost empty for the three Lava Experiments. But they needn’t rely on much hardware to make some of the most beautiful and powerful noise to have ever graced the [13th] Note: guitar, bass, some samples and a drum kit battered to a membrane. Frontman Fraser Rowan doesn’t say much, but what he does almost doesn’t matter – his voice is another instrument to be bent to his will in the creation of his atmospheric soundscapes, echoing like a scream in a haunted crypt among the clatter of drums and guitars.
'Piecing Memories Together' is of course the reason we are here. The set pivots around its understated, haunting melody, and as the song builds itself into a powerful, desolate frenzy I swear my heart actually hurts. By the end of their allotted half hour, the audience are as emotionally battered as that snare. " - Lisa Marie Ferla - Under The Radar Blog

"Blackbody Vol II EP Launch Nice n Sleazy 4/9/09"

The Lava Experiments are a band I have been watching with interest for some time now. Anyone who hasn’t caught the band live for a while will have missed their evolution as they are barely recognisable to the band I first saw nearly 2 years ago. Sure, the laptop is still there, as is guitarist and songsmith Fraser, but the addition of drummer Alan and the passing of bass duties from Roddy Pooch to new boy Rory has transformed the Lava’s. This massive physical and aural overhaul has turned The Lava Experiments into a sonically powerfull, 6 legged groove machine.
The launch of Blackbody Vol 2sees the band in fine form. Sweeping soundscapes dripping with reverb laden guitars hang in the air, floating above full on beats that focus the mind and the feet. There were times at the gig last night were I had great difficulty preventing my shoulders and ass from comming off the leash! I really was battling to contain myself but I was fairly isolated in Sleazy’s and with Alpha Hidden Master sitting to my left and Kirstin and Laura Pooch just in front of me, my shape throwing dance style could have been distracting for everyone. Luckily I wound my neck in and enjoyed the Lava’s brilliant set.
I am loath to compare bands but I reckon if you are the sort who likes a bit of Boards Of Canada, or the Beta Band, or even the Primals at their most groovy then you could do a lot worse than checking out The Lava Experiments. The EP is available through their myspace and also from iTunes, Napster etc.
- Glasgow PodcART

"Blackbody Vol II EP Review - Compulsion 2/9/09"

Glasgow's The Lava Experiments appear to have come a long way from the ambient soundtracks and downbeat electronic of their initial releases. Originally the solo-project of Fraser Rowan the past year or so has seen the Glasgow based group expand to include a bass player and a drummer. With new members has come a new sound, and although they deal primarily with ethereal downbeat electronics, there's a distinct move towards elements of shoegaze and post-rock. Blackbody Vol II, follows the initial sold-out volume on Antimatter Music, and should help expand their profile outside of the ambient electronic scene.

By far the highlight of this EP, the second in a planned trilogy, is the captivating 'Piecing Memories Together'. Opening with a windswept drone, it gently unfurls through lush repetitive acoustic guitars, framing the hushed, melodic tones of Fraser Rowan, as it continuously swells to incorporate keyboard chime and haunting atmospherics before bowing out on distorted guitars and windswept atmospherics. It's a beautifully arranged and mature track with a hazy Spiritualized feel, which taps into post-rock mannerisms and even carries feint traces of the fabled Glasgow sound.

There's a distinct eighties sound to 'Sun Flies'. Even though it opens with ambient electronica I can't help but hear tinges of Depeche Mode in the rhythms, bleepy electronics and massed vocals. The guitar lines seem to smack of New Order. These aren't lightweight pop melodies though as The Lava Experiments are dealing in textured, moody atmospheric music. The instrumental piece, 'River Shape' snakes through stuttered electronic rhythms and atmospheric synths. 'Ring To The Dark Place' places Rowan's calm, earnest vocalisations on loneliness against clean rhythmic electronics and atmospheric synths. There's a layer of synthetic strings and a gentle recurrent processed guitar motif woven through the moody arrangement that adds an element of post-rock/shoegaze to the overall electronic sound.

Just listening to Rowan sing "Set my soul free" on the darkly seductive 'The Release' you realise his deep and soothing tones are perfect for this sort of music where ringing electronic guitars and mammoth slabs of buzzing electronics slide off into shoegazey guitar territory.

With a sound based around guitars and analogue synths The Lava Experiments quite often appear to be looking back, but listening to 'Piecing Memories Together' and 'The Release' it's obvious that this is a band who are at their best when looking at their shoes rather than looking behind.

The Lava Experiments launch Blackbody Vol II at Nice n Sleazy, Glasgow on Friday 4 September. For more information go to - Compulsion

"Blackbody Vol II EP Review - 22/10/09"

With an almost glowing neon blue butterfly, juxtaposed a jet black background gracing the cover of Blackbody Vol II, the chosen image proves to be somewhat apt, as the following mix of natural delicacy (acoustic guitar, sincere fragile vocals) are enshrouded in synthetically appropriated melancholy (swathes of dark electronic ambience) to mesmerizing effect.
The opening and most engaging track ‘Piecing Memories Together’ begins in an ominous almost industrial fashion, before giving way to a steady calm flow of delicate piano and acoustic picking, underpinned by the equally steady bass and warm vocals, with a stunning ethereal backdrop of soaring angelic beauty. However these peaceful overtones masks the troubling existential questions and personal demons that lie within the lyrics “I’ve no idea what I did last night, it’s happening all over again, - Can’t stop theses feeling destroying me, there tearing apart my insides”, reinforcing that no matter how soporific the music becomes, these songs were never intended to be surrogate lullabies.
The whole album floats along effortlessly never quite peaking, but at no point boring or tedious. At points the captivatingly brooding soundscapes, trip hop beats, sampled strings and swirling synths wash over you like a refreshing spray of sea air, calling to mind Air’s lush pocket-symphonies, there’s also a strong Beta Band influence, permeating throughout, while final track ‘The Release’ leans more heavily on the electric guitar riffs, calling to mind Death in Vegas and Vanishing Point era Primal Scream, without loosing the moody electronic character that holds the album together.
The Lava Experiment offer a remedy to an often hectic pace of life, prescribing a sonorous, sonic reverie, leaving you feeling dazed and wondrously woozy as you gradually float back to consciousness, parting with whatever tranquil solipsistic vision this aural tonic conjured in you mind’s eye.
- Is This Music

"Blackbody Vol I EP Review - 2/10/08"

So really, anyone who’s read a few of the reviews I’ve written already knows that I’m going to like this EP. It verges on retro, yes, but glorifying one of my favourite eras well is obviously a good move. We’re in early 90s shoegaze territory here, but not as pastiche, more as distinct influence.
Some fizzing static gets us moving, a nod to the technology that The Lava Experiments has at his disposal, which is where he mostly differs from the guitar dominated originators of the field. Over the next 25 minutes, various washes of synth, guitar, bass, vocals and processing build and fall expertly. A key to succeeding with this kind of music is to have some decent melodies in order to keep things from just becoming pretty walls of sound, and Fraser Rowan, who is The Lava Experiments, can concoct these as instrumental motifs or as vocal lines. Reverb is used, as can be expected, but never as a lazy default, and it is constantly contrasted with flows of close-up static, or the sounds of acoustic instruments in a small room. The highlight track of the EP is undoubtedly ‘Organise The Box’, which builds from plaintive piano and glitch into a morose, epic minor key synth dirge.
The closest touchstone I can think of would be something like Underlapper, with their building and sustained atmosphere, and especially in the use of vocals. Unlike that group, however, The Lava Experiment’s main weakness is a reliance on fairly insipid drum programming - where drum machines seem to just make a beat, trying to sound vaguely like real drums. I’d much prefer to hear either real drums and the humanness of their groove or the exploration of the sonic possibilities of synthetic percussion, as is done on the intro to ‘Check The Eye’ before it settles back into generic-ness midway through.
Having said that, though, it’s only a small element of everything that The Lava Experiment is doing. I’m enjoying the EP a great deal and will definitely be looking out for the second and third installments of this promised trilogy.
- Cyclic Defrost


Love Lust & Loss - out May 2011 (Hanamuke - cd and digital release)
Blackbody Vol III - out June 2010 (Hanamuke - cd and digital release)
Piecing Memories Together (Remixes) - Released 25th Jan 2010 (Hanamuke - cd and digital release)
Blackbody Vol II - Released 31st Aug 2009 (Hanamuke - cd and digital release)
Blackbody Vol I - Released May 2008 (Hanamuke - cd and digital release - cds sold out)
Wavelength (Album)- Released Nov 2006 (Self release cd only - sold out)
Solar (EP)- Released July 2006 (Herb Recordings - digital release only)



The Lava Experiments are a three piece band from Glasgow, Scotland that started out as a solo project by Fraser Rowan writing ambient electronica (mostly with a guitar, a moog and Ableton on a mac). Initially Rowan played solo gigs creating ethereal sounds with his guitar, vocals and laptop. When Alan Wond joined playing live drums around Dec 2008 The Lava Experiments developed a more raw, live/edgy sound. Rory McGregor joined July 2009 playing bass and gelled immediately with Alan creating one of the most innovative drums and bass duo you are likely to come across. It was at that point our sound transformed entirely.

Our influences vary considerably across the band and include:- Boards of Canada, Deftones, Dextro, New Order, Sigur Ros, Swervedriver, Taking Back Sunday, This Will Destroy You, Ulrich Schnauss and UNKLE, to name a few

As a result of these influences, our sound is distinct, original and difficult to tie down. A recent review of one of our gigs described us as “Evolutionary dark shoe-gaze” & “Heart-achingly beautiful post-rock”. It’s the most accurate description of our sound to date. Some Shoegaze can be a bit poppy and formulaic. ‘Dark’ hopefully removes all ambiguity as to which side of the fence we sit on there and the use of ‘evolutionary’ hints towards something new; not the resurgence of another My Bloody Valentine clone. In the same way, there’s a fair amount of Post-Rock that’s just bland. ‘Heart-achingly beautiful’ again clarifies where we sit within the spectrum quite eloquently.

Our shows are anything but static. We put everything into our performances and play till there’s nothing left to give.