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lauantai 23. maaliskuuta 2019

El Hombre Al Agua - Oumuamua Parts 1 & 2

NoiseAgonyMayhem (NAM 051)

Oumuamua Parts 1 & 2 is the second solo album by Dave Read, the bass and synth player of excellent Canadian space/psych rock group Moths and Locusts. He's also involved in other projects like the experimental psychedelic doom band Anunnaki. His first album as El Hombre Al Agua was released in 2017 on super limited  CD-R and LP (just 67 copies!) editions that are both sold-out. This new one is somekind of homage to the peculiar shaped interstellar asteroid Oumuamua that was first sighted in 2017 and has probably been cruising through the Milky Way for hundreds of millions of years. There have also been some speculation that it is a probe sent by intelligent alien species, who knows... Anyway, it's a perfect theme for a psychedelic, cosmic and spacey ambient drone album like this one.

Part 1 (side A) is divided into eight and Part 2 (side B) into four, shorter segments that fuse into each other seamlessly. The album starts off very quietly and slowly with "The First Distant Messenger" and all you have to do is close your eyes and pay attention and you are flying through distant space. The creative use of a vast array of instruments (guitar, bass, bass synthesizers, singing bowls, cymbals, electronic tampoura, synths, pedals etc.) assures a lush, enjoyable, full and very spacey journey through the galaxies. I like the track titles like "Vega, In The Constellation Lyra", "Towards Earth At 315000kmh", "600000 Years Alone With Nothing But Space Dust", "Oumuamua Speaks" etc. The overal vibe is very tranquil and ambient, but there's still enough stuff going on to keep you interested. It's not just drone since there is also some rhythm and melody in the mix. The album is fully instrumental and I prefer it that way. All in all, this is a great, adventurous and dark album of cosmic ambient space music that you should really check out. If you want the LP you must hurry up, though. The deluxe edition with cool, huge poster and CD-R (40 copies) is already sold out, but there are some copies of the standard issue (just 60 of those made) available. Both are on "space gas green" coloured vinyl...

torstai 21. maaliskuuta 2019

Lamp of the Universe - Align in the Fourth Dimension

Sulatron Records (st1808-2)

Okay, it's no secret that Lamp of the Universe has been one of my favourite bands (well, one-man-bands, anyway) ever since I first heard the first CD Cosmic Union released on Cranium Records in 2001. It was a perfect blend of Eastern mysticism and spirituality, cosmic vibes, acid folk, space rock and psychedelia and that's what still makes LOTU so special.  Multi-instrumentalist Craig Williamson from New Zealand has been busy with music since then and even before with his stoner rock band Datura. Be also sure to check out his recent, a lot heavier but just as hypnotic and mesmerizing band Arc of Ascent. Anyway,  Align in the Fourth Dimension is the 11th album by LOTU if you don't count the split LP's with Krautzone, Trip Hill and Kanoi. As always, Craig plays all the instruments (including guitars, sitar, bass, drums, percussion, organ, synthesizer and mellotron) by himself. The limited LP version has seven new tracks and the CD version has one extra track.

"Visitors" opens up the chakras with beautiful, melancholic acoustic guitar, analogue space sounds and soft, wonderful vocals. There's also some mellotron later on and I'm already floating deep in space! "Rite of the Spheres" is a heavier, hypnotic stoner rock mantra that works really well too.  "Light Receiver" is an Eastern-tinged acoustic piece in a more ethnic folk style, very nice. Then it's time for a slow, droney "New Forms" that has lots of cool ebow guitar too. Mellotron gives a nice, ethereal touch to the pretty and sad "The Leaving", sort of an astral ballad. We also get some fuzz guitar and drums later on. "Absolution" is a great, hypnotic sitar/acoustic guitar/percussion/vocals track that gets you in a trance. The CD-only track "Call from Beyond" is rather minimal with just acoustic guitar and beautiful vocals. It's also rather short (but sweet) at just 3:39. The album is finished off with the almost nine-minute "Seasons of Love". It somehow reminds me of The Spacious Mind from Sweden, very trippy, spacey, other-wordly and tranquil stuff. Amazing ending for yet another superb LOTU album! Warmly recommended.

keskiviikko 20. maaliskuuta 2019

L. Don Ōkami - Judgement Day at Pyynikki

Hulina Records (hulina-019)

Judgement Day at Pyynikki is the first solo album by  L. Don Ōkami, a pseudo name for singer and banjo/bouzouki player Prof. Donald Lupo now living and working in Tampere, Finland. He's aided by many Finnish musician friends here and the music varies from happy bluegrass (the opener "Road Dust") to traditional folk and even experimental avant-garde with psychedelic touches. Most of the compositions are self-penned, but there is one traditional ("Wife of Ushers Well") and two are covers ("Riding" by Roy Montgomery and "Veins of Coal" by Richie Stearns).

Needless to say, I prefer the bit psychedelic numbers. The longest of these is "Crystalline Light" at 9:32, you might have already heard this hypnotic psych folk piece on my Astral Visions Mixcloud Show #84. Another highlight for me is the 8-minute Roy Montgomery cover that takes you to places and has a rather chaotic and heady ending. I also especially enjoy the bit mystical and psychy "Unikeko" as well as the last, experimental spoken-word piece "Jabberwocky Recital". The more standard folk pieces are okay too, so I'd like to recommend this CD release to all lovers of a bit more challenging and psychedelic folk music.

tiistai 19. maaliskuuta 2019

Banj o))) - S/T EP

Hulina Records (hulina-018)

Okay, now this is something different... Three guys in Finland playing Sunn o))) styled experimental, distorted metal drone with banjos! In addition, the two, long tracks "Oh Death" and "Boil Them Cabbage Down" are originally both old traditional American folk songs but here butchered almost beyond recognition! Somebody might at first think that this is but a bad joke, but it actually works and I guess the guys have actually been (rather) serious about it...

The macabre vocals of "Oh Death" of course go hand in hand with the dark, low-tuned and distorted banjo drone, they really are a perfect match. "Boil Them Cabbage Down" was originally associated with African slaves brought from Niger and it maybe has even a bit more avant-garde vibe in this context. But hey, the slaves also made some very doomy and gloomy music so I can easily see the reason to use this one here too! I don't actually see any problem with Sunn o))) themselves playing either one of these songs either. Anyway, you can listen to both of these tracks on the Hulina Bandcamp site and make your own mind, I'm still sort of confused... The 25-minute EP is available on limited CD and cassette.

lauantai 16. maaliskuuta 2019

Astral Visions Mixclooud Show #86 online

Astral Visions Mixcloud Show #86 now online with cool tracks by Moon Goose, The Janitors​, 3rd Ear Experience with Dr. Space, Los Mundos, Jupiter​, Sonora Sunrise, Kungens Män​, Minami Deutsch & Damo Suzuki, Lamp of the Universe, Waste of Space Orchestra, Acid Mothers Temple and the Mealtin Paraiso U.F.O., Wasted Cathedral, The Spacious Mind & Organik. Close your eyes and enjoy the ride!

Electric Crayon Set - Laughing in the Clouds

Psychotron Records (PR1009)

Laughing in the Clouds is the third album by Pori, Finland based indie/mod/psych pop/rock band The Electric Crayon Set. I have reviewed their two first, CD-only releases in my previous net zine Psychotropic Zone (not online anymore, sorry). The band is led by guitarist/singer Timo Pääkkö (ex-Penniless People of Bulgaria and Kinsky, also in Love Messengers etc.) and other members are Seppo Tyni: bass, Timo Lilja: drums. Timo's daughter Vilma Pääkkö is singing georgiously on one track and there are also some other guest musicians on board. This time the album is released only on vinyl, limited to just 300 copies.

As always, the music is a sort of mix of 60s mod/psych and 90s indie pop. The album has eleven rather short songs beginning with the happy and up-tempo "Pete Is Laughing in the Clouds". "Dreams of the Rain" is slower and includes some cool vocals and guitar work bringing to mind The Bevis Frond a bit. Sung by Vilma who really has a nice, clear and professional sounding voice, "Calling On The Cards" is a pretty ballad with some keyboard orchestration. Nice! The faster "Ignis Fatuus" rocks out again, and I gotta say that I also really like Timo's voice. Great harmonies on this one, one of the highlights. "Where We Are?" is slower stuff again, a sort of bluesy number with some acoustic guitar as well. "Isthisthewaythatyoufeelthatyouwantmetofeel?" starts of with some psychedelic sound effects and then the fast, cheerful pop beat begins. "Back To The Spaceage" is an interesting progressive pop composition with maybe some ELO or BÖC vibes. "Music to Watch Accrington Stanley by" is rather cool and original as well, I like it. The emotional and atmospheric "After The Show" is next and has a bit weird, sort of jazz-rock-fusion or Zappa kind of twist also including some spoken word. The album's longest track "Moonlit Graveyard, Pt. 1 & 2" ends it with melancholic but beautiful vibes, just wonderful. I like this album since it is at the same time pretty easy to listen to but also includes more clever twists and turns that you at first can realise. Progressive pop, maybe? I think the highly limited edition is almost sold-out already so be fast if you want one!

perjantai 15. maaliskuuta 2019

Sounds Of New Soma ‎– Zwischen / Durch

Tonzonen Records ‎(TON050)

Zwischen / Durch is the latest release by German cosmic ambient / electronic krautrock duo Sounds Of New Soma (SONS). In a way, this can be considered as an "in-between-work" since it was originally recorded in the process of preparing for the next masterpiece and not intended for release. Anyway, these two, long tracks were so great in their own right that they deserved, and needed, to be released on their own right. The vinyl release is also even much more limited than before: just 100 "standard" copies and two different special versions both limited to 50 (of which the wooden box edition is still "under construction" I think). Then there is always a CD edition for those who missed out!

Anyway, let's get into the music. Personally, I don't in any way get the vibe that I'm listening to a demo recording or anything like that. The production quality matches the high standards of their previous releases, no worries. It's even possible that without any stress of how the end result might sound to the public the guys have been more at ease and so also more creative and free. On side A, "Zwischen" features a guest performance by their friend Armin Schopper on pretty light percussion. Other than that, the very ambeint track flows in space without much rhythm or clear stucture. Like usual, you can make out some hazy guitar, synthsizers, electronics and psychedelic effects. I love the floating, out-of-body experience this track gives me! "Durch" on side B starts off with some manipulated human voice saying he title again and again, and then the "kosmische musik" begins in a rather Berlin-school mode. Simple, but sort of sinister sequences penetrate your consciousness and soon you also hear some dreamy, laid-back guitar. Later on the track gets more guitar-oriented but in a trancey way, then it's pure organ drone and then there's more sequencers again. It has an experimental, free-floating vibe to it and I'm enjoying the ride! If you are a fan of this kind of music and a vinyl collector I'd say you have to act fast to secure your copy. This is a future super rarity and Holy Grail!