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Ear to the Ground: Planes of Satori’s “Son of a Gun”

This "psychedelic Afro-Kraut" quartet combines trippy leads with vibes that veer from Kraftwerk to Can and Ethiopian-tinged jazz.

When American bands take their queues from bygone Krautrock recordings, it’s quite common for them to take a lot of that inspiration from the analog-keyboard-based pioneers. For example, 21st-century artists like Jonas Reinhardt and Life Coach sound like they were spawned from the same DNA as seminal 20th-century groups like Neu! and Kraftwerk. But Planes of Satori are one of the few new Krautrock-inspired bands that lean harder on the guitar wizardry of yore.

The quartet describes its sound as “psychedelic Afro-Kraut.” Like their present-day contemporaries, they share an affinity for the nuanced flourishes birthed from rhythmic repetition. But Planes drummer Chris LaBreche can seamlessly segue from Can-inspired mantras to Ethiopian-flavored jazz grooves. Over this tectonically shifting foundation, 6-string luminary Raze Regal emits allocated bursts of lysergic, Uni-Vibed wah-wah leads.

“Son of a Gun,” the A-side of the band’s debut single for German label Who Can You Trust? Records, sounds like it’s dipped in the same acid found in those awesome World Psychedelic Classics compilations—the ones that home in on what was going down in Senegal and Cameroon during the Summer of Love. The song immediately resonates with the antiquated fidelity of a 1970 recording—especially when frontman Alejandro Magaña sings hypnotically through vintage tape delay like he was dosed with the same strain of microdot that helped Doc Ellis pitch a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres while tripping balls.