Commissioned: Kavus Torabi presents Lion of The Lord's Elect

Good luck trying to follow each and every tendril of creativity that has flowed out of KAVUS TORABI over his five decades on this planet (nevermind what may or may not have taken place on other planetary bodies). The vocalist and guitarist brings new meaning to the word ‘prolific’ and his work has spanned the length, breadth and depths of psychedelic music. It is his open-minded approach to experimental creative work that drew us to him with just one question in mind: would he be interested in performing an original, specially commissioned project at Roadburn? We’re honoured to report that the answer was an effusive yes, and preparations are now underway to present that piece, titled Lion of The Lord’s Elect at Roadburn 2024. 

In fact, the beginnings of this project stretch back to summer 2022 when we first posed the question to Kavus and secured his interest. However, life – and all his musical commitments – meant that it wasn’t until now that he would have the necessary time to dedicate to the project. Whether he’s touring with The Steve Hillage band, whipping up psychedelic maelstroms with the Utopia Strong, 0r leading Gong in a merry dance, amongst other endeavours, Kavus always has a jam-packed schedule, and no shortage of fresh ideas to present to audiences around the globe. As a solo artist and fruitful collaborator, Kavus has left his fingerprints on a varied and expansive body of work that transcends classification. 

So, with such a rich and varied back catalogue and unstoppable imagination to hand, what can we expect from this commissioned project? As is so often the case, the only way to understand the full scope of Lion of The Lord’s Elect is to show up on the day and see where the ride takes you. But what we do know is that Kavus describes it as “a large-scale musical project for six musicians in three movements.”. Those musicians will be selected from key bands in the Torabi-universe, namely The Utopia Strong, Knifeworld, Gong and The Holy Family.

Components of the sound of each of those musical vehicles will undoubtedly seep into Lion of The Lord’s Elect, utilising repetition, polyrhythms, angular riffs, and improvisation. What promises to be a thoughtful and thorough composition will elicit both dissonance and beauty – we’d expect nothing less! Here in the earthly realm, the project will be performed with two drum kits, guitar, bass, woodwinds, pipes, keyboards. Out there in the ether, we can only begin to imagine what mind-bending forces will be conjured to bring the whole thing to fruition. 

Of his forthcoming commission, Kavus tells us:

“Roadburn has always been at the top of my favourite festivals. The love, care and originality of the programming has meant the quality of the music has never slipped. Every year I have performed, the bill has been thrilling; an opportunity to watch some of my favourite artists in one place, get turned on by new ones and catch up with friends from around the world. Walter’s love of music and commitment to innovation is infectious. Being asked to compose something specifically for the festival is an honour. I’m looking forward to bringing something specifically tailored to Roadburn and working with some of my favourite musicians from my main projects in one band.”

With each and every one of the commissioned projects we have worked on, an element of leaping into the unknown has been present. For this particular performance, we’re putting our faith in a man that has made it his life’s work to traverse unchartered territories with confidence, enthusiasm and wide-eyed joy. We can’t think of a better guide to lead the way for this one…

But alongside that exclusive performance (titled Lion of the Lord’s Elect) we have secured a solo performance from the man himself to bookend the Saturday of Roadburn. We like to keep him busy… 

When he’s not creating for specially commissioned projects, Kavus is prolific in a million other ways. Cardiacs, Gong, Knifeworld, The Utopia Strong and so many more have been blessed with the fruits of his endeavours. But he also creates music under his own name, and his second album, The Banishing, will be released this Spring. Armed with just a guitar, a harmonium and his wonderful voice, Kavus will introduce us to more of his adventures through psychedelia. 

If you like your psych to be sprinkled with iridescent beauty, and infused with mind-warping melody, then Kavus has just what you’re after. 

– Becky Laverty

Date: April 20

Time: TBA

Stage: TBA