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torstai 9. toukokuuta 2024

Å - Åtråvärld

 Self-released (ÅLP003)


Åtråvärld is the third album by Swedish prog/psych rock band Å (meaning stream in English). I have previously reviewed also their eponymous debut album and second album Ånyo.  After those there was quite a long pause, but this one was released in December 2023, maybe this vinyl version limited to 300 copies came a bit later. The main band is still Joel Öhlund (vocals, guitar), Milovan Fredriksson (bass, guitar) and Erik Wallin (drums) with some quests on sax, flute, synth etc. The album was recorded in their home town Uppsala and the band still sings in their native language.

The strong folk roots are very clearly audile on the first song "Fredmans epistel 9" that is actually written by traditional Swedish poet & musician Carl Michael Bellman (1740-1795). A very nice interpretion with also some World Music vibes! The almost eight-minute "G​å​ngl​å​t i femtakt" starts off with some farm animal sounds and then goes pretty mystical and progressive. The sax is a nice addition, and there's a cool early 70s jazzy prog vibe.  "Transversale varelser" has a nice acoustic guitar and brings to mind some of the more atmospheric songs by Dungen (especially when the flute is added) still sounding pretty original. It also goes rather psychedelic which is cool.

Side B starts off with "Elden" that goes in 7/8 and has some heavier guitar as well. Maybe some King Crimson feel in here and I like it. "Intryck och uttryckt" are two different tracks on the digital version but marked as one track on the LP. The first part is nice, acoustic stuff, but then things start to rock out more in a groovy, psychedelic folk rock way. Some cool jamming and hippie vibes. I really enjoy this album and it is definitely worth checking out if you like well produced, 70s styled Swedish folk/psych/prog rock with great vocals and skillful instrumentation.


maanantai 22. huhtikuuta 2024

Anton Barbeau - An Introduction to Anton Barbeau

 Fruits de Mer Records (intro 5)

I've been following Anton Barbeau's career for decades and reviewing a lot of his releases. I was also lucky enough to get him to play on two of my Astral Magic albums, Magical Kingdom and Sacret Mysteries. This CD-r is the first  compilation of Anton's pretty extensive back-catalogue, although only stuff he has relesed on Fruits de Mer Records. This of course means lots of cover versions too, but Keith even allows original tracks on his releases for his special artists like Anton, Bevis Frond, Nick Nicely etc.

An Introduction to Anton Barbeau is a massive, 76 minute album with 19 tracks. Three of the last ones are marked as bonus tracks. The album starts of with one of my Barbeau original favourites: "Psychedelic Mind of Moses". Then follows covers by Hitchcock and Cope, both big influences for Anton. The stream of Anton's own songs as well as more great cover versions (Bowie x 2, Orange Bicycle, Big Star, Traffic, Donavan etc.) is just perfect. The tracks have previously been released on 7" singles, LP's and CD's except two of the last bonus tracks. "Third Eye" is previously unreleased and "Trouble Was Born" has previously only been available on Fruits de Mer Records Live in Glastonbury DVD. The album also features two collaborations: "Dr. Crippen's Waiting Room" with another FdM sweethearts The Honey Pot and "Pleasant Valley Sunday" with The Fishheads featuring Astralasias Marc Swordfish. Nice! All in all, a great compilation to both long-time die-hard fans and new Barbeay listeners as well! Only limited numers available. 

maanantai 26. helmikuuta 2024

Soft Hearted Scientists - Waltz of the Weekend

 Fruits de Mer Records (winkle 50)

The magical Welsh psych folk/rock/pop band Soft Hearted Scientists is back! The recordings of this triple LP started already in 2019 but lots of things happened in between. I've been a big fan of the band for years so was really thrilled when Fruits de Mer announced this release somtime last year. The CD version of the album was already released last year on The Hip Replacement but this version has four extra tracks, most of them pretty long (especially "Waltz through the Weekend" at 16:42!).

Like always, the Scientists conjure up a magical combination of wacky, whimsical humour, simple but highly effective melodies and psychedelic soundscapes in the best tradition pioneered by The Beatles, Syd's Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues, the Stones and many other masters. The sound is still pretty modern and really great. Spreading 16 tracks to 3 vinyl albums is big task but the Soft Hearted Scientists really pull it off. I just love every moment of this album and I can play it several times in a row, no problem. There are some faster songs but mostly we get moody, melodic and atmospheric stuff with great harmonies and beautiful vibes. I've got no difficulties in understanding why Fruits de Mer's Keith is so much in love with this band since so am I... Totally mesmerising stuff and of course highly recommended. 

torstai 22. helmikuuta 2024

New manifestations in the Astral Magic universe


 It's been a while since I last told you about what's going on with Astral Magic. Since the release of Sacred Mysteries CD (still available!) there was the very limited lathe-cut 7" Virtual Fixtures / Kinder der Sonne on the Irish label Fuzzed Out & Astromoon. A side from the album We Are Stardust, B side a previously unreleased kraut oriented instrumental. Like before, it sold-out in few minutes.

Then I put out the second 7" lathe-cut single recorded with the Kultti-25 guys in analog studio: Mind Eater / Lurking in the Dark. Only 50 copies made but some still available so be fast! It's a heavy Hawkwind worship thing...

On the 1st of December something really special was released... I've been in contact with ex-Hawkwind singer Bridget Wishart for years and reviewing some of her releases but now it was finally time to work with her on an album! Ad Infinitum is a progressive space rock album that also features Vince Cory and Lauri Kajander on guitars. The CD includes the previous single as bonus tracks. The first 100 copies were sold out in a month but we now have the second pressing available from our Bandcamp site. Fresh news is also that a limited LP edition of 100 copies with new cover design is now on pre-sale in the US! Just be fast to get a copy as they are going fast.

This year's first release was The Hidden Way CD-R limited to 50 copies. As you know I've been working a lot with Shane Beck The Last American Poet. This album has several tracks that I have made for his solo albums as well as one compilation track and several brand-new ones. Musically it is more electronic and experimental but very psychedelic! It seems people have liked it since I only have two copies of the CD-R left, so again, act fast if you want it!

End of Time is an album that was already recorded in 2020-21 and planned as a successor to Magical Kingdom on Tonzonen Records. Since this never happened, I thought it was now time to put it out on my own!  It's a cool progressive and psychedelic space rock/pop thing with lots of input by the excellent Jonathan Segel on guitars, violin and mandolin. He also mastered the album again for maximum quality. As usual, only 100 CD's were pressed and for some reason lots still available over here!

I bet many of you are familiar with the author and psychedelic musician Paul Roland, right? He sent me some of his CD's and books about the occult for review years ago, so I sort of got to know him. Been a fan for years, of  course. It was still a bit of a surprise when he suddenly contacted me and said that he wanted to make psychedelic space rock with me! Well of course I was in. Within a week or two we had a five-track EP together. Again, Jonathan Segel joined in for some electric guitar, violin and viola, thanks for that my friend. I also want to express my gratitude for the amazing Andy Wainwright who does most of the Astral Magic art nowadays. Contact him if you need some cool psychedelic designs! The creative collaboration with Paul went so smoothly and fast that I'm sure this was not the end of it. 150 copies of the EP have been made on CD and they wil be released on the next Bandcamp Friday March the 1st. There is also a new T-shirt design and plans to also put four of the tracks on a limited edition 10" lathe-cut so follow the Astral Magic Bandcamp site regularly for updates... Check out the EP teaser video for now.

Over and out...

Dr Space's Alien Planet Trip Vol 7 - Space with Space III

 Self-released (OSC 2023-LSO18)

Okay, this is the seventh Dr Space's Alien Planet Trip album and the third with Norwegian bass player Hasse Horrigmoe. Dr Space (Scott Heller) plays synths, Mellotron and Hammon organ. The almost 70 minute albun has six long, very hypnotic, repetive and monotonous instrumental pieces. There are no beats, just some sequencers/arpeggiators give sort of rhythm at times. A simple bass line is often repeated to infinity with spacey synth sounds going all over the place. Mellotron and Hammond offer some variety. Some people might find this boring, but it gives a very weird, other-dimensional vibe that I enjoy! This is definitely not for you, if you want pretty melodies and standard song stuctures, but if you enjoy more abstract and out-there soundscapes you should definitely check this out. Extra points for the amazing cover design by Dave Graham! The CD is a limited edition of 100 copies. 

tiistai 13. helmikuuta 2024

Empty House - The Golden Hour

 Echodelick Records / Worst Bassist Records

The Golden Hour is the second solo LP by Fred Laird (ex-Earthling Society, Tara's Bulba, Artifacts & Uranium etc.) under this monicker. Fred has also recorded quite a lot of stuff for my psychedelic project Astral Magic. There are also a couple of tapes and a CD(-R?) I have not even heard. Unlike on Mushin (Echodelic Records 2022) that had three long, ambient pieces, The Golden Hour includes nine shorter tracks that are more in the vein of latter day Earthling Society stuff. So, experimental and World music /folk oriented but also more krautrocking. And I love it!

Fred plays guitars, bass, bouzouki, Turkish saz, organ, piano, harpsichord, pennywhistle, percussion, drum programming, samples, synthesizer, coral sitar, Hulusi, PO133 Street Fighter and electronic tanpur while Nick Raybould just adds djembe and shaker on "Invisible JuJu". The album has a wird, otherwordly and esoteric vibe, and although the instrumental tracks are relatively short they surely form their own universes. The sound is not too polished but rather home-grown that adds a charm of it's own. There's a wonderful loner psych vibe going on throughout the album and a suitable amount of variation on the music. My only worry is that it is already too late to find a copy of this lovely album since it seems to be very limited edition but I will start searching right NOW!

keskiviikko 7. helmikuuta 2024

Jupiter - Uinumas


 Uinumas is the fourth album by this great Helsinki based heavy progressive psych rock trio. I have been following them since the beginning and it's been an interesting journey. At least to my ears they have a style of their own but obviously they also have their influences. I guess it's safe to say they have gone into more progressive direction with this new album, but some of it is pretty heavy too. They have progressed as musicians and the vocals are getting bette rand better too. 

There are seven tracks on the album. The A side ("Relentless", "Lumerians" and "After You") follow each other seamessly forming a very nice, constantly changing arch. The energetic bass line of "Skylined" at the start ob side B brings to mind Rush. No synthesizers though, sadly... They would fit in perfectly. "On Mirror Plane" is had more energetic bursts as well as more tranquil parts in good mesure. It strange thet the band's songs seem longer than they actually are. Not because they are boring, on the contrary, bacause they are always evolving and changing with only some parts showing up again. That makes it hard to really get to know the music, but obviously there will also be more to dig into in time. Some Kingston Wall vibes flow by for a moment, and soon the album is finished after some full-energy blasting. I will need to listen to this many times to really get into the bottom of it, but I can honestly say that it's a great and interesting album with lots of talent! Release date for the LP limited to 300 copies is 29.2. and you cab pre-order NOW!