Listen to the latest Astral Visions Mixcloud Show!

maanantai 23. tammikuuta 2023

The next Astral Magic releases!

 Hello Earthlings & Aliens alike!

It's going to be a busy Spring for Astral action... We have already five albums ready and waiting for release. I though it might be a good idea to tell something about all of them already, since people often find my release schedule confucing and insane...which might just be true!

Wonderland CD-R (ASTRAL022), release date 3.2.23

Wonderland is an album with no guitars (except bass guitar), but there are still some rocking stuff on it in addition to the more electronic and experimental stuff. It's just me except Shane Beck does the spoken word on the last track "Seen through the Cosmic Eye". Includes for example "Thunder Rider's Last Flight", a tribute tune I did the next day I heard my old pal Nik Turner had passed away. Only 40 copies on CD-R as well as a digital release, of course.


 Deep Space Expedition CD-R (ASTRAL022.5), release date 17.2.23)

This album is unique since all the sounds were made by me with just analogue synths (Moog Grandmother, Moog Werkstatt, Make Noise O-Coast, Behringer DeepMind 12, Behringer VC340) with just a little improvised human voice on three of the eleven tracks. I realise that this is not perhaps for everyone since the style is pretty experimental and cosmic... So, only 30 copies on CD-R were made. If you dig the earlier albums A Crack in the Fabric of Reality, Transmissions from Outer Space and The Lost Transmissions, this is for you! Very far-out.

The Last Survivors on Planet Earth CD (ASTRAL023), release date 3.3.23

The next in line on the limited edition (100 copies only!) digipack CD series on Astral Magic Music. This is maybe the best so far since there are some killer songs on it and the sound is just superb! Space rock, psych rock, prog, pop, it's all there with just one more experimental piece. Jonathan Segel plays on all the music as well (guitar, electric sitar) and Shane Beck offers his cool spoken word for two of the tracks. Alisa Coral (Space Mirrors) makes her Astral Magic debut playing synth pads & synthi effects on the title track. Only one instrumental on this one and absolutely no fillers!


Mystic Dreams Reversed CD (ASTRAL024), release date 6.4.23

After Apparition's Breath CD Shane kept on sending me more great spoken word pieces so finally I had absolutely no other option except to make another Astral Magic album featuring him! This one started as cosmic, electronic ambient thing with also some prog rock and psych elements. Then I came up with the idea to ask Jonathan to overdub some acoustic instruments to add an acid folk layer to the album. Being such a bad-ass, multi-talented and professional musician as he is, he did a wonderful job very fast! Think of Popol Vuh mating with Klaus Schultze and Ash Ra Temple and you might be close... Master and cover art are ready to go, just waiting for the previous releases to get out of the way first... 


Am I Dreaming? LP/CD (ASTRAL025), release date 5.5.23(?)

Phew, this is a really special case in all aspects... I have made all kinds of psychedelic music with Astral Magic ever since the project started. One of my great musical loves is psych/garage rock & pop of the late 60s and early 70s and this album is definitely influenced by that stuff. You might hear echoes of bands like early Pink Floyd, The Seeds, The Byrds, The Who, The Zombies, The 13th Floor Elevators and more. This has also been a long project (in Astral Magic's terms, of course...) since the earliest songs on it were started at the very beginning of the project in Spring 2020. Also the guest list is pretty stellar: Dr. Koch (Vibravoid, he also planned the cover art in one day!) plays guitar on half of the tracks, Jaire Pätäri (Octopus Syng) on two and Fred Laird and Gregory Curvey both on one. Jay Tausig plays all the drums except for three songs where Perttu Lindberg does the job. There's also some narration on one track by Jasmin Anglén who will be featured on backing vocals on a later album called Strange Sensation...

It has always been clear that this album just had to be released on vinyl and I have offered it to several labels since 2021 to no avail. For years there have been rumours of a vinyl pressing plant starting in Helsinki, and now it finally is reality! Helsingin Levypuristamo Oy has just started and I just had to be one of their earliest customers! 200 copies will be pressed on black vinyl and I will probably also do a very limited CD/CD-R run with one bonus track. The title track was already released on the taster 10" lathe-cut EP A Peak into the Future featuring four of the peak tracks of four future albums. You can check it out here:


Also the track "Let's Take a Ride" has been previously released last year on a very limited lathe-cut single in Ireland, so you can hear that too:


lauantai 31. joulukuuta 2022

Jonathan Segel - Shitty Nuggets

 Self-released

 

Jonathan Segel is an American multi-instrumentalist now living in Sweden. I think people know him foremost for playing with Camper Van Beethoven and Eugene Chadbourne and his own band Hieronymus Firebrain, but he has been active also for example with Swedish band Sista Mej and playing gigs and doing studio sessions with Øresund Space Collective. Lately he has consentrated mostly on his solo stuff, not to forget his numerous contributions to around a dozen Astral Magic albums... I have previously reviewed his 2020 album Outside Inside. That one also included some electronic and experimental tracks, but Shitty Nuggets is more singer-songwriter oriented.

The album has 26 pretty simple and straight forward songs. Sometimes they feel more like demos, although the sound is great. Jonathan is also a great singer. Sometimes he reminds me a bit of Bowie, but not too often. Most of the music is rock or pop, but there are also some folky pieces like the pretty "Every Little Thing". There's enough psychedelic elements and experimentation to keep the freaks interested, as well. "In the Backroom" has some cool funk/disco vibe. I can also sense some Grateful Dead from time to time. "Ruth and Rhonda" has a ska beat. There is something very 80s on the synth & reverb department. Jonathan plays and sings everything very fluently by himself, but there are also a few guests mostly on vocals. This album has some similarities to Anton Barbeau's latest albums, I think. Pretty simple but great little tracks with some cool tricks and hooks to keep the listener instrested. Also good top hear Jonathan play some mean guitar solos like on the excellent and trippy "Waiting for the End Time", maybe my favourite. I also really enjoy the last, tragic ballad "World of Trouble", for example, but there are loyt of great songs in there for sure.

The official release date is January the 6th, so only some of the songs are playeble at Bandcamp at the moment. You can already pre-order the digital album, but there will also be a limited tape release soon. 

www.jonathansegel.com

 

maanantai 5. joulukuuta 2022

Astral Magic: Lords of Space limited LP editions and We Are Stardust CD now on pre-order!

This year's last Bandcamp Friday (02.12.2022) saw two new Astral Magic releases going on pre-order!

Lords of Space is the project's heavy, psychedelic space rock album thaty was released on CD on Clostridium Records (Germany) this Spring. Due to long pressing cues at the factories, the vinyl took a LOT longer to made, but they should be ready by December the 20th, the official release day.

There are two different editions, both limited to 200 copies, coming in magnificent open gatefold cover by psychedelic UK artist Dale Simpson and including a big poster, sticker and download code: black and blue-smoke coloured vinyl ("die-hard" edition). The blue-smoke coloured edition also has long Astral Magic smoking papers.

Pre-order from (the CD, 300 coopies only,  also still available):

Clostridium Records (blue-smoke)

Clostridium Records (black).

Astral Magic Bandcamp site.

 


 


We Are Stardust is a bit more song-oriented (just one instrumental included) new album with 11 tracks in one hour. The album has energetic, even punky space pop hits as well as Floydian/Porcupine Tree styled prog ballads and much more. Jonathan Segel plays guitars and violin and also guesting is Samuli Sailo on guitars on one track. The CD is limited to just 100 copies and comes in cool digipack. Check out the first promo video "Virtual Fixtures" above! Release date is January the 6th, pre-order right now from:

astralmagic.bandcamp.com/album/we-are-stardust


 

keskiviikko 9. marraskuuta 2022

Thought Bubble - Nowhere

 Echodelic Records (ECHODELIC020)

This is the new, great album by UK-based duo Thought Bubble. I have previously reviewed their debut album Around from last year, check it out here. Chris and Nick continue in the same vein with putting together psychedelic, electronic soundscapes with live drums in a rather unique style. We also get some cool male spoken word/samples on the hypnotic "Superficial" and trippy "Control Your Own Story". Fans of Fruits de Mer have probably heard the great opener "Now Boarding" on the Sound Clouds compilation 2CD just before Astral Magic's "Land of Mu". I've had the privilege of sharing spots with them on another compilation, the Bandcamp-only The Flash Benefit Comp., Volume 1, so our paths are connected, even if by mere accident...

There are eight tracks on the limited, very tasty looking purple vinyl and digital download. Nothing too lenghty, the longest piece being the aforementioned "Superficial". I don't really know how to describe the duo's music, but there are definitely some elements of krautrock in there, but without the guitars or bass. It's also pretty weird and somewhat experimental, but still rather easily enjoyable end not TOO strange. There also some guests on "Response", "Propulsion" and "Cloudbursting". All in all, a very interesting and original album that I'm sure a lot of people with soft spot for more electronic styled psych music will enjoy. Great cover art to boost! Check it out.

bubble.bandcamp.com

 

keskiviikko 2. marraskuuta 2022

Astral Magic - Apparition's Breath limited CD and digital album coming up this Friday!

 


It's another Bandcamp Friday again this Friday (Nov 4th), which means another new Astral Magic release. This time it's (again?) something pretty different, meaning spoken word and acid guitar work on top of electronic, hypnotic soundscapes. Shane Beck, aka The Last American Poet makes his debut as an Astral Magic collaborator while Jonathan Segel has been a steady participant for a long time now.

The CD, limited to just 100 copies, is a continuous 49-min trip with eleven parts of "Apparition's Breath", on the digital download the parts had to be divided for more fluent play on digital platforms like Spotify, iTunes and Youtube.

The cover artwork is based on the original digital image made for this project by British artist Andy Wainwright.

The Space Crew:

Santtu Laakso - all music, synthesizers, beats, mixing and cover design.
Shane Beck (The Last American Poet) - all poems and spoken word.
Jonathan Segel - guitar, violin & mastering.


Original cover picture by Andy Wainwright.

If you want to secure a copy on Friday, please head to:


astralmagic.bandcamp.com

 
www.facebook.com/AstralMagicMusic


All peace to you, galactic
brothers and sisters.

 

tiistai 1. marraskuuta 2022

Tribe of Cro - Hydroculture

 Adansonia Records (AR 046)

Tribe of Cro was one of the best instrumental, jam-based psychedelic space rock bands in the 90s. They were formed in Belgium with also some British members, including ex-Mandragora and future Hawkwind bassist/guitarist Nial Hone on guitar. The band released three great albums in the 90s, Potlatch LP on the German label Mushroom Runner Records in 1996, also in 96 a CD Sporadic Spiro-Gyra on Hawkwind's Emergency Broadcast System and another CD Hydroculture on their own U.F. Cro Records in 1998. The band used to support Hawkwind during these times and also played for example at the at the 2003 Hawkfest. I did not hear from them for a few years but in 2007 and 2008 a couple of digital releases were appeared out of the blue. Then, after another hiatus of many years, they now have a brand-new 24-minute recording "Force Orbit" on their Bandcamp site. So it seems they are active again which, I think, is great!

I remember in the mid to late 90s how much it sucked when my favourite bands started to release their new albums only on CD. I was a total vinyl freak back then, but also bought the CDs when I had to. Still do, if that is the only option. I'm so happy that some of those psychedelic masterpieces from decades ago are now being released on LP as they should have been in the first place! This is the right format for sure. Hydroculture is composed of 11 tracks that are all instrumental apart from some sampled, manipulated words every now and then. The band has a pretty original style, they don't sound like Hawkwind or anybody else, for that matter. This album has long, rather slow space jams, ultra-psychedelic experimental pieces and also some more rocking stuff for a great, trippy balance. The darkest, most psychedelic passages might be too much for some, but the psych heads will enjoy the whole trip, I'm sure. The new vinyl master by DJM sounds incredible so this is a must-have for all the lovers of freaky, spacey, mostly improvisation-based psych rock. I hope that the band will release some new stuff on vinyl as well soon!

www.facebook.com/tribeofcro/

 

maanantai 31. lokakuuta 2022

Jalayan - Floating Islands

 Adansonia Records / Sound Effect Records (AR 045 / SERC098)


 
Jalayan is a new electronic based instrumental space rock band from Italy. All the music is written by band leader, synth/keyboard player and programmer Alessio Malatesta, who also recorded, mixed and mastered the album. Other members are Vincenzo Calvano on electric and acoustic guitars, Matteo Prina on electric bass and Martino Malacrida on drums. This seems to be the band's second album. When I put the record on I'm instantly reminded of Ozric Tentacles, and they must have been a huge influence. It's not a pure copy-cat stuff, though, no worries. The sound is a bit different, but the music is very energetic and/or atmospheric, progressive and extremely well played for sure. These guys are very good professional musicians, no doubt about that! Other bands that come to mind are for example Finnish group Hidria Spacefolk, who also have enjoyed their share of the Ozrics of course.

There are eight tracks on the album that was released on CD by the Greek Sound Effect Records a bit earlier and now on two limited edition vinyl versions on Adansonia Records in Germany. All the tracks are from 5 to 7 minute in length. I really enjoy the whole album, so I really can't name any favourites! I love the pulsating, hypnotic sequencers and the soaring, superb guitar solos, as well as the ultra tight and groovy rhythm section. There are also some bit jazzy fusion elements as well as Ethnic vibes, but no Ethnic, acoustic instruments like on some of the Ozrics albums. Things get pretty trancey at times, I'd call this instrumental, psychedelic and progressive electronic space rock. The sound is crystal clear and polished. You can get the LP on clear splatter multicolor vinyl limited to 100 copies or the black one limited to 200 copies, both hand-numbered. A must have for fans of progressive electronic space rock with emphasis on programmed synthesizers!

www.facebook.com/Jalayan23/