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lauantai 9. kesäkuuta 2018

Pharaoh Overlord - Zero

Hydra Head Records / Full Contact Records (hh666-225 / KRYPT-122)

"Muscülar avant äcid röck from the ever-topical Circle camp" indeed. As always, the Pharaoh Overlords buys have something new in their sleeve. This time it's the growling vocals of Antti Boman from death metal band Demilich. The music still is hypnotic, psychedelic and powerful krautrock, though. Faust's Hans Joachim Irmler has worked with the band before but is definitely worth mentioning as well.

The album starts off with the cover of Spacemen 3's marvellous and rebellious "Revolution". Die-hard Pharaoh Overlords fans have already heard the band's live version of this track on Horn, a live album recorded at Torvi, Lahti in 2010, but this new studio version is pretty different. And highly effective, I must add! Antti's guttural vocals and added keyboards also give it a whole new vibe. "Maailmanlopun Ateriana" is a cool track with hypnotic krautrock stuff and heavier, more in-your-face parts, it gets you in a heady trance. Then it's time to get more experimental with the slower but no less trippy "Meanwhile". "Lalibela Cannot Spell Zero" is the longest track on the album at nine minutes and it's an up-beat, Circle-like motoric juggernaut that shows no mercy. Your brains will melt during this one! It's good to have a few moments to breath with "Satavuotiaiden Salaisuus", but the atmosphere is rather wicked and twisted. The album is finished with another mind-blowing fast hard rocker "I Drove All Night by My Solar Stomp" that is one of the highlights for me. Lot's of stuff happening on this one on top of the steady basic riff. All in all, another magnificent and hyper-strong album by Pharaoh Overlord. This is absolutely one of their best releases, if not THE best, so go and get it!

pharaohoverlord.bandcamp.com

maanantai 28. toukokuuta 2018

Sun Dial - Science Fiction, A Compendium of Space Soundtracks

Sulatron Records (st 1802/-2)

Sun Dial, one of the most important and influential post-psychedelia bands from the U.K., has been among my favourites since the early 90s. Their debut album Other Way Out released in 1990 is a real corner stone in the history of psychedelic rock combining 60s psych with 90s style and the band have continued to pour out mind-blowing stuff ever since. New albums have been a few years apart during the new Millennia, but you can always count on Sun Dial to deliver the goods. Mind Control released in 2012 was a true masterpiece of hypnotic space/kraut/psych rock and on the latest album Made in the Machine (2016) the band had developed a more electronic but just as great and hallucinogenic brew of psychedelic sounds and beats. On Science Fiction the band have put together their Sci-fi / space oriented soundtrack music from the last 20 years and the end result is amazing. I knew that Gary Ramon & co. had done some film and television soundtrack work but I had never heard any of it, at least not knowingly. Here we finally have 12 previously unreleased tracks of atmospheric, instrumental and rather electronic but still rock oriented music of that stuff!

"Hangar 13" operates as a launch-pad to the space journey. A slow, droney, repetitive and spacey haze fills your mind. I love those Mellotron sounds. "White Stone" is a bit groovier piece and "Mind Machine" is a rather electronic juggernaut. "Saturn Return" has some early 70s krautrock as well as space disco vibes, cool. On "Space Travel" the journey into stars continues in a very nice way. "Alien X" is a beautiful space ballad and "Rise of the Robots" is a pure electronic piece. "Airlock" is closer to traditional psychedelia with sitar and percussion but still very spacey as well. "Aftershock" is another killer electronic rock number that also has some Air vibe I think. "Ghost Ship" is a bit darker and brings to mind Depeche Mode in a way. "Infra Red" is a groovy, funky and spaced-out piece and the album is finished with the more ambient, magnificent and gorgeous  "Starwatchers" that could almost be a Hawkwind out-take from Church of Hawkwind. Amazing! The LP version is limited to 750 copies and the CD limited to 500 also has the long version (15:29) of "Hangar 13" as a bonus track. All Sun Dial fans naturally NEED this album and everyone into spacey, psychedelic soundtrack music should also try it out. Marvellous!

www.facebook.com/sundialofficial

Uleåborg Festival Of Psychedelia 13.-14.7.2018

Okay, this must be THE festival for all psych lovers in Finland this summer! Uleåborg Festival Of Psychedelia will be organized for the fourth time in Oulu, Finland, on July the 13th and 14th. The festival has now published the timetables and there really are some amazing bands on the bill!


This is the facebook event of the festival:
www.facebook.com/events/139137806785307

And here is their website for tickets & info:
www.uleaborgfestivalofpsychedelia.com

Hotlist May!

Okay, the weather has been REALLY hot in Helsinki this month and so has the music.

Mythic Sunship ‎– Upheaval
Nicklas Sørensen ‎– Solo 2
Vive La Void ‎– S/T
Us and Them ‎– On Shipless Ocean
Minami Deutsch ‎– With Dim Light
Bong ‎– Thought and Existence
Øresund Space Collective ‎– Chatoyant Breath
Dr. Space's Alien Planet Trip Vol. 2 - Gloomy Horizon
Our Solar System ‎– Origins
Verstärker – Aktivität

 

lauantai 26. toukokuuta 2018

Sirkus - The Noise of Time

Nasoni Records (NASONI 195)

Sirkus is a bluesy indie rock band with hints of psychedelia from Germany. The Noise of Time is their second album following the debut album Dream Factory released in 2015 by the band themselves. This new, 40-minute album was released by Nasoni Records on vinyl and CD and includes 10 rather short songs. The band is formed by six musicians and there are also five guest musicians so the sound spectrum is rather full and varied but still guitar dominated.

"Goldmine of Truth" starts off the party with cool, gypsy music styled rhythms including percussion and rather heavy guitars. You can also hear some spacey effects in the background. The mellow and soulful "Leaving Ten Times" is one of my favourites. Pretty and melancholic stuff. "All Your Teachers" has a nice, summerly vibe. The singer has a rather unique, bit raspy sound. "Hotel Room" has an interesting, hypnotic thing going and "Cigarettes" is a slow, easy and bluesy piece. "Road Song" has some female voice and some cool lead guitar work. Another great, rather slow song. On "Last Year" there's more partying again, a bit Santana vibe I think. "Sea" sounds a bit like The Doors, not bad at all. The flute break is a nice bonus! "Mama" is again slow bluesy stuff. The longest track on the album is "Life Is Visiting" at 5:36. It begins with some minimal, experimental spacey sound effects and then the tranquil beat gets going. Sometime after the two-minute-marker the song grows and then we get some psychedelic lead guitar, cool! This might not be exactly my cup of (mushroom) tea, but I still enjoy it and if you like slightly psychedelic, bluesy alternative/indie rock you should try this out.

sirkus.love

Verstärker ‎– Aktivität

Tonzonen Records (Ton043)

Verstärker is a motorik, instrumental neo-kraut/space rock trio from Kentucky, U.S.A. They use guitars, bass, amplifiers, synths, effects and drums to create a hypnotic, cosmic soundscape mostly inspired by early 70s German music. There are also hints of post-punk, no-wave and drone for a good measure. This debut album was originally released on tape and digital form on their own SpaceLab Records in 2015 and has now seen a limited vinyl treatment on Tonzonen Records.

The over 11-minute "Mit Glück" starts off the A-side with rather hectic motorik beat, heavy guitars and spacey sound effects. This sounds like a harsher, noisier and faster version of Neu!, I'm loving it! "Abstrakt/Konkret" has a bit more laid-back sonic quality but the steady kraut beat is still going on. Things do get noisier and wilder along the ten-minute ride, though... On side B there are three more abstract pieces. "Übertragung" is an experimental, ambient and synth-oriented drone number. "Etwas Anders" has a more electronic, mesmerizing vibe and a slow beat. This is the shortest track at 5:06. The album is finished with the long title track that has a post-punk styled bass line and drum beat with noisy, very abstract sounding manipulated guitar stuff. This is perhaps closer to Joy Division of something but still psychedelic and spacey and I like it. All in all, a very enjoyable album of experimental space/krautrock and post-punk, check it out! The LP is released on clear vinyl and limited to 500 copies.

www.facebook.com/Verstarker


perjantai 25. toukokuuta 2018

Melody Fields - S/T

Kommun 2 (KOMMUN2-45)

Melody Fields is a new Swedish psych rock band who released this debut album of theirs earlier this year. The magnificent, mystical opener "Morning Sun" was already released digitally last Autumn and I was immediately in love. This Gothenburg-based group was formed by Thomas Widholm, Ramo Spatalovic and David Henriksson in 2015. Nowadays they have five members. You can hear some Oriental vibes in their wonderful, harmonic, sort of 60s and 90s styled, guitar-dominated music.

After "Morning Sun" we get the sunny and airy "Liberty", another amazing, melodic piece. I really enjoy the full guitar sounds and harmony vocals of Melody Fields. "Run" is a bit heavier and brings to mind The Black Angels, Golden Void and Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound a bit, but there's an obvious The Byrds vibe there as well. "Rain Man" is a very nice, jangly psych pop piece with echoes of The Soundtrack of Our Lives in addition to the previously named bands. Cool! "Fire" is a dreamy pop psych piece that could be a Verve out-take from the 90s. Great guitar lines, once again. The organ is also great. The longest track on the album is the 10-minute tranquil and soulful "Trädgränsen" that ends the limited vinyl version in a great way. Later on it has some loud & wild guitar solo freak-outs. The CD (on Sound Effect Records) and digital version also has "Morning Sun Revisited" that's a sort of acoustic, even more mystical and Oriental version of the opener. Amazing! This album will be a perfect soundtrack to your Summer dreaming and fun, so go and get it!

www.facebook.com/melodyfieldsband

maanantai 14. toukokuuta 2018

Desertfest Berlin, 4.-6.5.2018


 www.desertfest.de

It's been a while since I have been at bigger festivals abroad (DJ:ing at Roadburn 2014, to be exact), and even now this happened almost accidentally. Just one month before the festival I received a last-call email from Desertfest Berlin saying that they were closing their press accreditations soon. I filled in the form without thinking much, and was soon accredited. Okay, flights, hotel, some money and I was ready to go! I even had quite a lot of friends going, excellent. I had only heard good things about this festival before. This year the festival had moved to a new place: Arena on the other side of the river than the previous area. Arena is a huge, old buss terminal that can hold up to 9 500 people. All the bands were playing on two stages that were placed side by side. This meant that you could see all the bands without any overlaps. It also had a few disadvantages but I'll get back to that later.

This festival certainly focuses on heavy stoner/desert/fuzz/occult/hard rock & doom metal bands but there were also a few more psych or space rock bands on the lineup. Monster Magnet is an old fave of mine and since they were not going to play in Finland on this tour I was excited to see them. The band I was mostly looking forward to see was Swedish psychedelic space rock band Yuri Gagarin since I've really been enjoying their studio output and had not seen them live before. Most of the bands were at least somehow familiar to me but there were also some that I had never even heard of before.

It felt like Summer in Berlin for the whole four days I spent there. On Friday I met some friends at a park before the festival to get in the mood and this was to be the norm for the whole festival. The bands started rather early, so I sadly missed a few first ones every day. What I really feel sad about is missing Swedish female psych rock band MaidaVale on Saturday, since I really wanted to see them after just checking them out before the festival. Ordering a hamburger in town just before and not remembering the right starting time were my mistakes and I only made it there when they had just finished... Oh well, hopefully some other time.

I was most active on Friday arriving to see half of the second band Pretty Lightning. They were good and a bit different from the main emphasis of the festival (see my video below):



I of course really enjoyed all the rest of the bands and it was first time to see Nebula and Death Alley. Because of the huge size of the venue the sound got a bit muddy and echoed when you were at the back but getting closer to the bands helped a lot. Monolord were great as always, Monster Magnet played quite a lot of songs from the new album that I have not really got into so much yet but Dave was on fire anyway. I even had some stamina left to check out the cool dj who played until 3 in the morning. What a great night! I must also say that liked the outdoor area with bars, food-stalls, dj's, karaoke etc. Getting and paying with the "desert dollars" was pain in the ass for everybody, though.



After sadly missing MaidaVale on Saturday I watched most of the Horizon show before heading back to the sunny river bank outdoor area. Cool 70s styled hard rock band! King Buffalo was a very nice new find for me and I highly enjoyed Elder, Lucifer and Graveyard as well. Luckily I was still awake when Yuri Gagagarin played the last slot of Saturday after midnight. I was totally mind-blown and couldn't even shoot video anymore... We definitely need to get these guys to play in Finland!



On Sunday I was pretty wasted and tired although I still had a lot of fun... No videos were shot that day, but the highlights were Church of the Cosmic Skull (again, a rather different act than the rest), Jex Thoth, Eyehategod, Radio Moscow and the very energetic High on Fire.

All in all, Desertfest Berlin 2018 was an excellent festival and superb experience and I'm sure I will return!

Here's a few pics from the festival area that also of course featured merch stalls (cool posters, t-shirts, World of Sound & Burning World Records distros etc.) as well as a tattoo studio.










There was very little time for sightseeing this time but we did go to a few record stores and flee markets etc. The best second hand record store we popped in was Waxart on Gärtnerstr. 23. They had optic art walls and even a small bar in there! See the pics below.








Next a few pics taken at the parks & restaurants...



Just before going to the airport and back to Finland our Desertfest Berlin pioneers showed us around the old festival area where the first six or so editions took place. The next pics are from there, looking pretty groovy...

Thank you Berlin, Desertfest & the best of friends, I love you all!

























perjantai 11. toukokuuta 2018

April Hotlist

Okay, a bit late but I've been busy & on a trip so:

Monster Magnet ‎– Mindfucker
Hawkwind ‎– At The Roundhouse
Hawkwind ‎–  Dark Matter
Steve Hillage ‎– Düsseldorf
Sendelica ‎– My House Is Made Of Angel Hair
Star Sponge Vision ‎– Crowley and Me
Moonweevil Verticle Tide
White Hills / Gnod ‎– Aquarian Downer
Zone Six ‎– Live Spring
Electric Moon ‎– Live at Epplehaus

 

keskiviikko 9. toukokuuta 2018

Vibravoid - Vibrations from the Cosmic Void

Stoned Karma (SK012LP/CD)

Germany's number one psychedelic acid rock band keeps on pushing groovy, cosmic and mind-blowing sounds to the people. My brain has not even back to normal after Mushroom Mantras released last November. Now it's time to get TOTALLY spaced-out and even the catchy choruses and pop elements the band is famous for are lost in the trippy sea of  sonic mayhem.

This album sort of continues from the earliest Vibravoid recordings with "Vibrations From The Cosmic Void Part II". It's a great, short psych tune to get you tuned on the Vibravoid frequencies. Another shorter (well, five minutes or so) and up-beat track "The Modular System" follows and keeps a hypnotic, krautrock styled tension on for its whole duration. This instrumental turns into "Melodies Of The Stars" that also has a steady, groovy beat going on with tons of hallucinatory effects and monotonic vocals, this time in German which sounds very cool. Achim Reichel fans take notice! In the middle the beat fades out for a weird side-trip into the cosmos but it makes a return after a while. The end is chill-out stuff. On side B the band goes into a long, strange and relaxed trip with 20-minute dream sequence "The Cosmic Playground". This is very experimental stuff with sitar and Mellotron sounds and Lord Shiva only knows what else. As you might guess, the short ending tune "Frequencies Of The Cosmos" isn't one inch more "normal"... Wow, another killer album by one of my best-loved bands for sure! The CD version of Vibrations from the Cosmic Void has two bonus tracks: "Mirrorspace" (19:56) and "Milchstrasse 14, Cologne" (6:50) that stay in the experimental, instrumental ambient/spaced-out-of-your-mind state. If you were wise enough to buy the limited pre-order LP version you'll also get a bonus LP from Vibravoid's Rheinkraut Festival. This is only half of the gig that will be released as a 2CD later this year.

www.stonedkarma.com/vibravoid


torstai 3. toukokuuta 2018

Dj Astro's Desertfest Berlin Spotify playlist

Check out my Spotify playlist for Desertfest Berlin over HERE!

Some superb bands playing in there, can't wait to get there tomorrow!




lauantai 28. huhtikuuta 2018

Cosmic Fall - In Search of Outer Space

Self-released

This is the third album by Berlin-based psychedelic stoner rock band Cosmic Fall. I have somehow missed their two first albums as well as the split with Aphodyl that was released last year. I really should have payed more attention as this is great stuff! As my readers know, I tend to prefer the really trippy, out-there bands out there and Cosmic Fall might not exactly be one of them, but they have a cool, groovy and mind-altering enough style. Their line up is now just a three-piece of guitar, bass/vocals and drums so don't expect spacey synthesizers or full orchestration here. It's more like back to the basics but done with style and emotion. The jamming and use of guitar pedals make sure that there still is enough psych vibes.

This new album that is already out on CD (vinyl version will follow at the end of next month) has seven tracks on it. The lenghty opener "Jabberwocky" is a groovy heavy stoner rock piece somewhere in between Monster Magnet, Gas Giant and Earthless. This track also has vocals unlike most of the pieces. I'm a sucker for long guitar solos and this is one of the bands that I enjoy the most during those. There are also some more laid-back, dreamy moments in there to keep things interesting and varied. Very nice! "Narcotic Vortex" is another heavy, mid-tempo stoner rock blast with some very cool jamming. On "Purification" the band stays rather tranquil and easy and I like it. "Lumberjam" has some more energy and brings to mind Earthless a bit. Never a bad thing, mind you! One of the most psychedelic tracks for sure must be the hypnotic and experimental "Spacejam" where the band gets closer to space rock. The last track "Icarus" still wins my vote for the album's best track. It starts off in a rather intense way, then gets spacey and chilled-out with some vocals and then bursts out into heavy psych again towards the end. Excellent! If you are a fan of heavy stoner jamming then this band definitely should be on your radar.

www.facebook.com/cosmicfallband

Us and Them - From the Corner of My Eye 7"

Mega Dodo (Mega 17)

This is a brand-new 7" by my favourite Swedish psych folk duo Us and Them. As always with Mega Dodo this is a limited edition release and there are only 250 hand-numbered copies made. The actual 7" has just two beautiful, emotional songs but the download has two more. The melancholic title track "From the Corner of My Eye" is perhaps the one I love the most: it really is touching and pretty. Nice acoustic guitar and organ, slow drum beat, simple bass and amazing female vocals, what else do you need? Okay, some string sounds in the chorus and more instrumentation later on, of course! Just wonderful. On the B-side, "The Iron Maiden" has a more traditional folk vibe that I also really like. I didn't even first realise that it's a 1970 Barclay James Harvest cover.

The download includes one more original and one cover song. The just over two-minute "When Life Begins" has a more positive mood and David Bowie's "All The Madmen" has received a very cool folky Us and Them treatment. This one also features guests on flute and drums. Too bad that these bonus tracks are not on the vinyl, since they would have fitted on 33 1/3 RPM. Get this 7" soon before it's gone and while you're at it, the new full-length On Shipless Ocean is also now on pre-sale so you can get them both at the same time to save on postage!

www.facebook.com/usandthemmusic
 

maanantai 23. huhtikuuta 2018