Listen to the latest Astral Visions Mixcloud Show!

perjantai 24. toukokuuta 2019

Karakorum - Fables And Fairytales

Tonzonen Records ‎(TON058)

Fables and Fairytales is the second album by new 70s styled progressive rock band Karakorum from Germany. You can read my review of their 2017 debut over here. For some reason the band is often labeled as krautrock or psych rock, but to me the quintet's sound and music still mostly brings to mind the 70s prog rock bands, but with of course a certain kraut flavour and some psychy elements.

Just like the debut album Beteigeuze, Fables And Fairytales is formed by just three long tracks. The great "Phrygian Youth" starts off the album with cool rhythms and melodies. I like the organ and guitar sound and very 70s hard prog vibe in general. I think I can hear some Jane, some Uriah Heep, Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Eloy etc. in there. A very enjoyable song. The five parts of "Smegmahood" last for over 13 minutes and we dive deep into the epic, weird prog world of the 70s again. This track has more odd time signatures, quirks and imagination than the opener. It might be also harder to digest to to the more sober listeners, but I find it entertaining and also sort of funny. And these guys can play and sing! "Fairytales" take the whole B-side of the vinyl version (limited to 500 copies) at 23 minutes. Here things get even more out of hand and mind... It has a long vocal/piano intro that turns into pure weirdness. Around the five-minute-marker the heavy, slow and sort of Oriental/mystical rocking begins. Later we get also some floating, soft passages and then more of the heavy prog thing and even a purely percussive part etc. Phew! The album has a great sound too so if you are into the early 70s styled weird, hard progressive rock you should definitely check this out. Also available on CD and digital download, all versions released TODAY on the excellent Tonzonen Records!

perjantai 17. toukokuuta 2019

Øresund Space Collective returns to Finland!

Danish/Swedish/etc. improvisational space rock band Øresund Space Collective plays a couple of gigs in Finland again next month. Like last year, they are coupled with Black Moon Circle from Norway. The first gig is on June the 1st at Ääniwalli, Helsinki and this will be a sort of all-nighter with Helsinki-based psych bands Octopus Syng and Jupiter with Dj Astro spinning mind-altering, spacey vinyl!

Here's the Facebook event

Get your tickets in advance. 

On the next day, 2.6.2019,  Øresund Space Collective and Black Moon Circle will play at Vastavirta-klubi in Tampere together with local psych freaks Warp Transmission.

maanantai 13. toukokuuta 2019

Sabbath Assembly - A Letter of Red

Svart Records (SVART194)

Sabbath Assembly is an American occult rock band based in Texas and New York. I've been following their career since the debut album (Restored to One, 2010) and their gig at Roadburn 2013 was one of the highlights for me. Their original idea was to play the hymns of the Process Church of the Final Judgment, an Apocalyptic religious sect from the late 60’s U.S. That's what they did for the first few rather psychedelic albums that I really love. They have gone through several line-up changes including different female singers (Jessica from Jex Thoth being the first one). The music has also changed more into metal (especially on the previous album Rites of Passage) as the band has also written more original material in the spirit of the Process Church of the Final Judgment.

A Letter of Red is their seventh album and a good mix of both heavier hard rock and more atmospheric stuff. The album is opened with "Solve et Coagula", a cool mid-tempo hard rocker. It also has a beautiful, melancholic part where vocalist Jamie Myers shines. "The Serpent Uncoils" is a doomy and dark number that also rocks out. Another killer track! The heavy and somehow oppressive "Worthless" gets more progressive and has some excellent solo guitar work among other things. "Weighing of the Heart" is a lighter, slow and atmospheric piece. Then we have one of the highlights "Ascend and Descend" that is cool progressive heavy metal tune just like the next song "Hymn of the Pearl". The track I really am in love with is the beautiful, acoustic, magical "From the Beginning". Another favourite of mine is the last, long (7:51) and magnificent "A Welcome Below". This is a very emotional, atmospheric, epic and deep ending for this great album. Sabbath Assembly definitely is one of the best bands in the occult rock/metal genre and also fans of progressive metal should check them out. The band is on tour right now and will play three gigs in Finland this week: 16.5. at TVO, Turku, 17.5. at Bar Loose, Helsinki (with Dj Astro!) and 18.5. at Torvi, Lahti. Go and check them out live as well!

sunnuntai 12. toukokuuta 2019

Astral Visions #87 now online

Spend a lazy, hazy Sunday with the psyhedelic sounds of Hibushire, Altin Gün, Dreamtime, Psychic Lemon, Thermate, Brant Bjork, Kaleidobolt, Mordecai Smyth, K-X-P, Man and Robot Society, Uffe Lorenzen, Custard Fux, Sabbath Assembly, Shooting Guns, The Band Whose Name Is a Symbol, Centrum, Jacco Gardner & El Hombre Al Agua.

perjantai 10. toukokuuta 2019

Grave Siesta - Voidward Spin

Final Sunlight Records (FSR001)

I've been aware of this Helsinki, Finland based doom/sludge/heavy metal band since their self-titled debut CD released in 2011. Back in the day they also had some stoner rock vibes, but on this new album those have been pretty much exchanged for death metal influences. Like the previous, self-released album Piss and Vinegar (2015) Voidward Spin is only out on vinyl and digital download, and that's the way to go if you ask me. I got to say I don't really follow the metal scene nowadays, but I can hear some similarities with old doom/death metal bands like Dream Death and Celtic Frost and Triptykon are definitely big heroes for Grave Siesta. The vocals are now mostly pretty raw and screamed which suits the heavy and sort of brutal music just fine. The band also has sense for melody and finer arrangements which is cool.

There are eight tracks on the LP. There are also some more melodic vocals in there like on "Intolerance" that sort of brings to mind Reverend Bizarre, so it's not all pure sludge, death and gore. The longest track "Weakness" is also the most atmospheric and has even clean vocals. After the long, peaceful beginning the heavy boogie starts, of course. There are also some cool guitar solos which I always enjoy. The songs are varied and interesting enough for me to enjoy the album as a whole. The production is also very good, no complaints. All in all, a great mix of doom, sludge, death and heavy metal and if you are a fan of those genres I recommend to check out Voidward Spin. Available from their record label, for example.

sunnuntai 5. toukokuuta 2019

Psychic Lemon - Live at the Smokehouse

Tonzonen Records (TON059)

This is the third LP by UK instrumental psych / space / krautrock luminaries Psychic Lemon. I have tremendously enjoyed their two studio albums (S/T 2016, Frequency.Rhythm.Distortion.Delay 2018, read my review) so I was really excited to hear about a live release. The fact that this ridiculously limited (just 300 copies) gorgeous splatter vinyl sold out on pre-order in 48 hours is a good indicator how well received the band is in the psych rock circles. The album was recorded live at The Smokehouse in August 2018. There are only three guys in the band (Andy Briston - guitar, synth, loops, Andy Hibberd - bass and Martin Law - drums) but that's enough to make a riot.

The album features five long tracks. First they play the energetic B-side of the second studio album: the heavy, ten-minute blast "Interstelar Fuzz Star" is a perfect opener to get the audience wonder what an earth just hit them and "Satori Disko" offers a bit more mystical, hypnotic background for some fuzzy wahwah guitar freak-outs. It turns into "Hey Droog!", another powerful cut from Frequency.Rhythm.Distortion.Delay. The intensity levels get close to Gnod here. You can also hear some The Heads influence which is never a bad thing. Great groove as well! Then it's time for a new track called Jonny "Marvel At The Milky Way". At least it's not on their albums. It's an epic, spacey mind journey that goes on for eleven and a half minutes. Sort of brings to mind some of the more laid-back, long & trippy Vibravoid tracks, excellent! The album is finished with the very Hawkwind-like, fast & pounding space rocker "White Light" and I must be in sonic heaven. Another new piece, apparently, and I love it. Lots of energy. Okay, so no tracks from the debut album, maybe because it was a bit different (more proggy?) stylistically. Listening to this album makes me really want to see Psychic Lemon live but at least I can now enjoy this very cool LP. There's also an eight-page booklet to go with it. The vinyl might be quite hard to get but I guess there will be a reissue sooner or later. But the CD is available at a reasonable price from the band's Bandcamp site or you can of course just go for the digital download if you prefer.

tiistai 30. huhtikuuta 2019

Hotlist April

These are the hottest pieces of vinyl this month (not counting reissues):

3rd Ear Experience With Dr. Space ‎– Ear To Space
Waste Of Space Orchestra ‎– Syntheosis
We Are Wood ‎– Heaven's People
Nik Turner ‎– The Final Frontier
Lamp Of The Universe ‎– Align In The Fourth Dimension
Arc Of Ascent / Zone Six Split    
Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. Sacred And Inviolable Phase Shift
Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO Invisible Eyes And Phantom Cathedral
Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO ‎– Hallelujah Mystic Garden Part Two
Earthbound Machine Destined for the Grave


maanantai 29. huhtikuuta 2019

Earthbound Machine - Destined for the Grave

Final Sunlight Records (FSR002)

Destined for the Grave is the debut full-length album by Finnish doom metal four-piece Earthbound Machine. I have been following the band for several years now and you can check out my reviews of their 2015 one-sided 12" EP over here and 2013 demo/EP over here. I think the band is now heavier than ever but there are also some psych/stoner elements in  the mix from time to time which I like. What still differs Earthbound Machine from your average doom metal band are the clean, melodic, great and powerful vocals of Ilkka Haavisto. His voice and style brings to mind some of the greatest singers in grunge but the music of E. M. really has nothing to do with it otherwise. The epic doom metal fanatics will know the bass player Jussi "IronHammer" Myllykoski as the ex-bass player of Lord Vicar. His bass sound is now perhaps more massive than ever... Guitarist Jussi Parkkali is excellent as well and the drummer Ville Vierimaa really knows exactly what he's doing too.

There are six tracks on the LP. The production is superb and the vinyl pressing made in Estonia is flawless. The mid-tempo "Figures in a Terrain" starts off the funeral procession with crushing heaviness. It's not just one simple heavy riff though, it has melody and cool hooks as well. I'm already very impressed! On "Rallies in Rage" things get darker, slower and doomier. Ilkka sounds pretty much like the sadly passed Chris Cornell. Another killer track. "Man in the Attic" has at first a beautiful, melancholic atmosphere but it also soon gets heavier. This is not exactly traditional doom but still heavy and dark. Later on the guitar gets rather psychedelic... The shortest track on the album is "Marrow" at 4:37. The sound is mercilessly heavy... But once again the melodic vocals sooth your suffering soul a bit, even though the lyrics are very gloomy as well. "In Its Absence" sounds like some of the old school doom metal bands without being a straight Vitus/Pentagram rip-off in anyway. The album is finished with the longest (6:47) song "The Undoing" that is also maybe my favourite. Some killer riffing on this one... You just can't avoid banging your head. A very cool ending to an amazing, heavy doom album. One of the best records released this month for sure! If you happen to be in Finland, don't miss their album release gig tomorrow (30.4.2019) at Kuudes Linja, Helsinki. They are supported by the death/doom metal harbingers Cataleptic.

sunnuntai 28. huhtikuuta 2019

Uffe Lorenzen - Triprapport

Bad Afro Records

I'm sure all the Astral Zone readers are familiar with multi-instrumentalist/singer/composer Uffe Lorenzen by now, or at least some of his bands that include On Trial, Baby Woodrose, Dragontears, Spids Nøgenhat and Pandemonica. I've been a big fan since the On Trial days. This Danish psychedelic wizard chose to go solo and sing in Danish a few years ago and his first solo album Galmandsværk was released in 2017 to a great acclaim. Triprapport is his second solo album and will be released on the 10th of May on black vinyl limited to 1500 copies as well as on a digipack CD. Early LP pre-order copies also come with a poster. Uffe's solo material is less rock oriented than On Trial or Baby Woodrose and more in the folk style. The music is maybe a bit less obviously psychedelic too, but Uffe's journeys in other realms are still clearly evident in the deep, often melancholic vibes.

My Danish is unfortunetaly rather limited, but track titles like "Psychonaut" (the beautiful opener) or  "Triprapport" speak for themselves. Uffe's great vocals are maybe even emotional and touching than before, you can hear the wisdom of years of tripping in there. The first "single" track that was released digitally, the mid-tempo "Alting Er Eet" is a bit more rock oriented with full drum set etc. but still rather dreamy stuff. Loving it! Also the following title track that also has cool sitar and percussion rocks out a bit in the Baby Woodrose style with fuzz guitars and a driving beat. Uffe has always had an amazing sense for melody and atmosphere and this album is no exception."Angakkoq" is a deep, melancholic folk piece with beautiful acoustic guitars and organ/mellotron layers etc. I really enjoy Uffe's vocals here. The song apparently tells about some shaman and no wonder. "Lille Fugl" ("Little Bird") is a hazy, dreamy and trippy folk song, just wonderful. Then it's time for some more positive and happy stuff with the Eastern tinged "Floden". We get some more sitar and tablas (?) too and this is yet another winner. The droney and hypnotic "Aldrig Mere Ned" is again darker stuff. The album is finished with the cool little psychedelic folk/country rock piece "Hallo Hallo Frøken" that is a slowed-down cover version of a track originally written by obscure 70s Danish band Hyldemors Grønsaligheder. A great homage to some of Uffe's psychedelic forefathers!

In summary, this is yeat another absolutely amazing album full of Uffe's mind-altering mastery and deep psychedelic wisdom. The sound quality is just perfect for this kind of music and I'm totally in love with each and every track on the album. I can already say that this will be one of the musical highlights for me this year. Just go an get it!

tiistai 23. huhtikuuta 2019

No Man's Valley - Outside the Dream

Tonzonen Records (TON049)

Outside the Dream released last month on the excellent Tonzonen Records is the second album by No Man's Valley from Netherlands. The band plays soulful, psychedelic blues rock that gets heavier when needed. The first two songs "Outside the Dream" and "Eyeball" are slow and bluesy, but then "Hawk Rock" is a much more energetic thing. "From Nowhere" is the longest track at 7:51 and has slow, dreamy, sunburned psych rocking vibe where keyboards offers some more atmospheres. The guitars are occasionally pretty heavy, though. A very enjoyable track! The singer can sound anything from Jim Morrison to Glenn Danzig which is cool.

"Into the Blue" starts off very peacefully and is then mostly emotional, hazy indie rock. "Blows" is a dark and melancholic song and I also like the hypnotic and heavy, psychedelic elements in it. Maybe my favourite? "Lies" is a shorter and faster track with some garage rock vibe. The album is finished with the creepy and experimental "Murder Ballad". All in all this is a pretty interesting and atmospheric album and you should check it out if you are into dark, bluesy indie psych rock with elements of the past and now.

Pree Tone - Kiddy

Addicted Label (729)

"Kiddy contain's six stories, described in a way kindergarten folks see them. Nice chance to open your mind wide and become 5-year-olds for the next 45 minutes." That's how this Kiov, Ukraine based band describes their CD released last year. The band has been together since 2014 and must love their Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine and Television albums a lot. Their music might best be labeled as playful sort of hypnotic noise rock, so not exactly my kind of stuff. There are still enough psych/kraut elements to keep things pretty interesting.

Also, it's not just all loud, distorted feedback guitars and drone, there are also lots of cool melodies and hypnotic,  not so heavy parts with motorik beat to make you feel happy and heady. There's some shoegaze, post-rock and experimentalism in there as well. All the songs are pretty long (from 6:32 to 8:36) so be prepared for epic journeys. The last track "Bricks" probably comes closest to fuzzy psych rock in the vein of Loop which is great. Check them out!

The Ego Ritual - S/T EP

Kool Kat Music (PURR2102)

The Ego Ritual is a new three-piece (four-piece live) alternative / psych rock band from Lincoln, U.K. The reason I'm reviewing this debut EP of theirs is probably the fact they they have a (so for rather loose) connection to Fruits de Mer Records. They are going to play at the label's summer festival The 17th Dream of Doctor Sardonicus in Wales this year and there will also be an ultra-limited split lathe-cut with Three Dimensional Tanx (another band playing) on sale there.

On the basis of this five track CD/download EP I wouldn't describe the guitar-oriented music of The Ego Ritual as highly psychedelic or mind-blowing. It has some 60s/70s/80s/90s psych rock/pop sensibilities, for sure, but more on the indie/mainstream side of things I guess. "Chakra Maraca" opens up the EP with great melodies and quite a lot of energy. The bit nasal voice of singer James S. fits the bit Chemistry Set styled song very well and I also like the guitars and rhythm section. Nice and catchy! "Ten Points for the Red Star" is almost hard rock until there's a tranquil, soulful part in the middle. The mid-tempo "Serenade the Ley Line" brings to mind Chemistry Set as well, maybe some Magic Mushroom Band too. The longest track is the great "Days of Set" at 6:32. This sort of reminds me of Anton Barbeau: great pop melodies, indie rock guitars, all that. One of the highlights! "Outro" ends the EP in atmospheric soundscapes including percussion. The Ego Ritual is for sure a band to look out for, let's see what they come up with next. 

sunnuntai 14. huhtikuuta 2019

Astralasia - A Different Kettle of Fish

Strange Fish (strange fish fifteen)

Okay, something a bit different has once again been cooking at the Fruits de Mer fishing camp! Astralasia main man Marc Swordfish has been collaborating with Keith for a few years already for some special remixes for 7" bonus CD's and exclusive members only compilation CD's. There have also been two amazing Astralasia 2LP's Wind on Water (2014) and Oceania (2017) that Keith has released. This 2LP set includes some of the remixes and re-imagings of cover songs and originals that were originally recorded for Fruits de Mer by Sendelica, The Chemistry Set and Superfjord as well as some things especially reworked for this release. For a long-time Astralasia fan like me this really makes me drool!

The A side begins with "Johnny's Little Brainticket (lounge mix)" that is based on tracks from the Fruits de Mer 2014 Annual and Postcards from the Deep flexi disc box-set. The lysergic Brainticket vibe has been taken to the 21st century with a groovy electronic beat, I love it! This flows seamlessly into the beautiful ambient piece "Sargasso Sea" edited from the Astralasia live LP Tales From The People Who Are Astralasia (one of the very few Astralasia LP's I'm missing...). That one turns into an alternative mix of "Love or Confusion" that appeared on the special edition of The Chemistry Set's Endless More and More LP. Sitar, lots of acoustic guitar and other stuff on top of hypnotic beat, just wonderful... Also some vocals on this one. On side B, "Deep Magic, A Love Supreme" originally appeared on the Coltrane 7" (by Superfjord and Earthling Society) bonus disc but it's great to have this on vinyl as well! Super groovy and hallucinogenic, would do the trick at a trance party. This trip turns into "Fountains of Ambience" that has only appeared on The Chemistry Set Fountains of Neptune members club free CD. Trippy-trippy...

On side C we first have "Johnny's Little Brainticket in Dub", again based on the tracks from the Postcards from the Deep box-set. "Shamanic Waterfall" appeared on the Coltrane bonus CD and it's a highly enjoyable, psychedelic and relaxing journey to inner space. On side D "The Sorcerer's Apprentice's ambience mix" has been previously heard on the bonus CD of The Fruits de Mer Records Guide to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 7" and it's a magical ambient piece. Then follows an instrumental mix of "The Desert", a vocal mix of which can be heard on Astralasia's "Wind on Water" 2LP. Very nice chilled-out soundscapes! The album is finished with the amazing "Timothy Leary Forever (Legend of  Mind remix)" from the bonus CD of The Chemistry Set's Firefly 7". Leary's message is clear and powerful here! The original track is one of the best songs The Moody Blues ever made, The Chemistry Set's cover is one of the highlights of the whole FdM catalogue and I just love Astralasia so it's easy to figure out how I feel about it. All in all, A Different Kettle of Fish is an amazing double LP of some of the best Astralasia works I've ever heard and a perfect opportunity to hear some of the stuff for the very first time and at least for the first time on mighty vinyl. This is a must-have for a FdM fan who also likes modern but still totally mind-expanding production. Mind-blowing!

Various Artists - The 16th Dream of Dr. Sardonicus - Live

Regal Crabomophone (winkle 36)

This is a cool various artists double LP set recorded live last year at the annual Fruits de Mer Records gathering at Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. Having been a FdM fan since the very beginning, I have always wanted to go there, but the distance and timing has so far made it impossible. It's wonderful to get to taste the atmosphere there at least a bit through this sonic kaleidoscope.

First we get a couple of tracks of great minimal folk music by Eflin Bow. I Am Voyager performs the melancholic "Songbird" and things are still kept pretty simple and plain. Stay from Barcelona usually rocks out, but the first track by them "Old Man" is rather laid-back and "Rock'n'Roll Woman" a more pop oriented affair, but at least we now hear a full band with drums and all. On side two Consterdine offers a spacier instrumental electronic piece with "A Spell for Leonard", nice. Another Sendelica related act The Fellowship Of Hallucinatory Voyagers take us on a beutiful ambient mind journey with "Moonlight Moorings". I am not familiar with The Alain Pire Experience apart from a couple of previous FdM compilation appearances, but their indie psych/pop/rock song "Drifting South" with a long solo section sounds pretty excellent.

Sendelica, the main organizers of the festival, have the side three for themselves. "BS", originally from last year's "Cromlech Chronicles III" is a superb heavy rocker and on the 14-minute "Maggot Brain" the band takes the Funkadelic classic to new hights once again. This track was also the band's debut on Fruits de Mer in 2010 and the 7" is now very collectable! One of my favourite bands. Then it's time for Finnish psychonauts The Fërtility Cült who I've also followed since the beginning. It's good that also they are now part of the FdM family. Their heavier sound is a welcome addition and "Cosmic Kaishakunin" from their debut album is a cool, slow, doomy and heavy rocker while the keyboards and sax add more jazzy, progressive vibes. The festival's special guest Nik Turner finishes off the 2LP with his New Space Ritual band. First we've got the closer to 10-minute Hawkwind classic "Steppenwolf". I love this song! "Walking Backwards" is a cool space rocker from Space Ritual's excellent Otherworld album and it works really well here as well.

All in all, this is a great historical document of a very special festival and I'm so glad that I got to get a little glimpse of what it might have been like to be there. The sound quality is excellent and the 2LP is a cool item to have for all Fruits de Mer followers with so much different but great music on it.

keskiviikko 10. huhtikuuta 2019

Pressor - Weird Things

Addicted Label/Bad Road Records/Voron Nest (723/BR#24/VNCD0009)

Pressor is a Russian stoner/sludge/doom metal band that have been around for at least seven years. They have been compared to bands like Conan (who they have also supported live) and I can understand why. This CD EP (28-min.) from 2018 is their latest release and here the band have charged their ultra heavy and groovy sonic world with spacey and psychedelic synthesizers to a great, mind-expanding effect.

There are four tracks on the EP. "Heavy States" starts off with bubbling, experimental synths until the crushingly heavy, slow riff arrives. This 5-minute instrumental works great as an introduction to the EP. "Weird Things" is a faster, bit hardcore oriented but also very heavy song with aggressive vocals. There are also slower doom passages in the middle for a good balance. "Tripping Deep" is the longest track at 9:45 and also maybe my favourite. Some ultra-cool riffs and windy synths on this one and no mercy is given for the weak! I like the fact that there is also some lead guitar work in there. Also the last piece "Hexadecimal Unified Insanity" is a real killer and on-your-face with lots of brutality and doom and more synth madness. I bet this band also slays live and according to their Facebook page they will be on European tour in April/May also including shows in Helsinki and Tampere so be sure to check them out!

tiistai 2. huhtikuuta 2019

Transnadežnost' - Monomyth

Addicted Label (728)

Transnadežnost' is a cool, (almost) instrumental stoner/psych rock band from St. Petersburg, Russia. Somehow they have stayed outside my radar until I received this CD a couple of weeks ago and immediately fell in love with the band. The band is formed by Aleksandr Yershov – guitar, Alesya Izlesa – guitar, glockenspiel, Nikolay Vladimirovich – bass and David Aaronson – drums, percussion. There are also a couple of guests on Monomyth: vocals, lyrics on "Huldra" – Egor Svysokihgor and trumpets on "Star Child" & "Day/Night" – Aleksey Gorshkov. I really like the band's dreamy, progressive and spacey style that has some resemblance to bands like Monkey 3, Papir or Causa Sui, but they don't actually sound exactly like anyone else. The band has some previous digital only releases but, as far as I know, this is their first physical output.

There are seven tracks on the CD. The bluesy and dreamy "Pacha Mama" starts off the journey at first in a rather tranquil manner. There are also some more intense, progressive stuff in there to make things more interesting. Very cool! Also "Ladoga" has a peaceful beginning but after some hypnotic stuff it starts to rock out in a sort of trancey way. Things cool down again towards the end. The pretty long (9:30) "Kailash" has lots of different stuff in it from fast kraut/stoner rocking and groovy mystical heavy psych to weird, experimental and almost ambient jamming with percussion. Amazing! The bit shorter "Star Child" is an atmospheric track with trumpet to give it a sort of post rock vibe. The spacey and dreamy  "Huldra" is one of my favorites and it's nice to have some vocals for a change. "Chewbacca" is the album's shortest track at 2:41 and very good and psychedelic as well. The album is finished with the beautiful and hypnotic "Day/Night" that is one of the highlights and also the longest track (12:15). The trumpet again gives some jazzy extra flavor to the trance-inducing vibes. Fans of bands like Maserati will enjoy this ride! In summary, Monomyth is an excellent, highly enjoyable album full of trippy, atmospheric and adventurous greatness and my only complaint is that this is not out on vinyl. You can buy the digipak CD from the band's Bandcamp site with free postage! Also check out the label's Bandcamp site.

maanantai 1. huhtikuuta 2019

Hotlist March 2019

Okay, these are the top ten slices of vinyl I've been spinning at the Zone in March:

Moths & Locusts ‎– Come Together Right Now (Remixes)
Sex Blender ‎– Hormonizer
The Spacious Mind ‎– The No. 4 or 5 Gravy Band
Minami Deutsch and Damo Suzuki ‎– Live At Roadburn Festival 10"
Kungens Män ‎– Chef
Sounds Of New Soma ‎– Zwischen / Durch
Jupiter – Iosomnia
Omnia Opera ‎– Nothing Is Ordinary
El Hombre Al Agua Oumuamua Parts 1 & 2 
Dream Machine – Temple Of Dreams 


lauantai 30. maaliskuuta 2019

Psychedelic Suns - Distant Light

Clostridium Records

Psychedelic Suns is a solo project by multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Pauli Partanen from Finland. I had never heard of him until this CD collecting some of his best works from 2015 to 2018 was released late last year. Pauli has also produced the album by himself and doen a relatively great job at it, I might add. The sound still has that certain home-made vibe but I like it. The great album cover design is by Dale Simpson who of course was perfect for the job. You can find quite a lot of other stuff at Psychedelic Sun's Bandcamp page, but this seem sto be the first physical release.

The CD includes seven tracks and five bonus tracks not on the download version. The music varies quite a lot, but's it's all in the 60s/70s vein. There's acid folk,  groovy, danceable latin styled stuff that brings to mind Death Hawks or The Hypnomen or, indeed, Santana, experimental electronic weirdness, heavy space rock, early Pink Floyd styled trips, hypnotic and dark ethnic vibes, laid-back psych rock and everything in between. I won't go though all the tracks this time, but I do like them all. I hope that the next Psychedelic Suns release would be on vinyl since Pauli's mind-blowing, adventurous music really deserves it. This is great old-school loner psych for the new millenium, try it!

Sun Dial - Return Journey (reissue)

Sulatron Records (st1901)

Sun Dial is one of the greatest UK neo-psych rock bands and I've been a big fan since the early 90s. Their debut album Other Way Out released in 1990 on their leader's (guitarist/singer etc. Gary Ramon) own Tangerine label is absolutely one of the best psychedelia albums done after the 60s. Return Journey was recorded in 1991 with a recently recruited full band line-up with a similar, raw and heavy touch than the debut. But then the band decided to go in a bit more mainstream, certainly more produced shoegaze style with Overspill EP and Reflecter LP, and the recordings were shelved for a while.  Gary did release them in 1993 as a highly limited edition of just 500 copies on LP and CD. There have been a few CD reissues, but this is the first time this great album is being re-released on vinyl.

The LP has seven tracks. It starts up with a very cool cover of The Open Mind's  classic 7" track "Magic Potion", one of the best songs of the original psych era. Sun Dial made it a heavy guitar feast not unlike the early Spacemen 3 and I love it! "North Eastern" is a heavy instrumental rocker with plenty of room for Gary's wild guitar playing. Also released on a promo single and, as a more polished version, on the Overspill EP, "Fireball" is one of the highlights here. It certainly had even some hit potential being a very groovy and catchy piece of alternative acid rock. "Through You" has a bit more 60s vibe I think, another winner. "UV" is a shorter, dreamy acoustic instrumental and then it's time for the band's real mind-blower, the over 13-minute "Sun Stroke/Mind Train" that really gets the listener "out-there". This used to also be one of the live favourites and was re-recorded for Libertine. Think of a heavier version of "Interstellar Overdrive" by Syd's Pink Floyd and you are pretty close... Trippy-trippy! The album is finished with the beautiful, more tranquil and organ-driven "Slow Motion" that was resurrected for Libertine as well, just magical. Return Journey is one of my favourite Sun Dial releases and actually one of the best heavy psych rock releases by anyone anytime, so this LP reissue that comes with the original album art was definitely needed. Make sure you also check out their later stuff since it's all excellent!

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!