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lauantai 24. lokakuuta 2020

Jonathan Segel - Outside Inside


Jonathan Segel is an American multi-instrumentalist now living in Sweden. He's been active in various music scenes since the mid 80's when he started in Camper Van Beethoven, one of the main bands he's been a member of. He's done music for films and dance, electronic music, experimental, field recordings, avant-garde, improvisation, folk music, rock music, psychedelic music, you name it. Lately he's been part of the ever-changing line up of Øresund Space Collective and that's how I got to know him. Jonathan of course has a vast collection of albums released during several decades and his first solo album came out already in 1988. Outside Inside is his latest outing and was finalised during the covid-19 lockdown period, although he had been working on the tracks for two years. You can read his detailed story about the album over here.

So, what do we have here? The album has 17 pieces, but only two actual "songs" that have vocals. First of them is the great indie rock opener "All Signs Point to You See" that also features a female singer, Kelly Atkins. The music style and overal vibe varies quite a lot so there are some totally electronic pieces, some more rock/guitar oriented, violin tracks, weird experimental soundscapes (he likes to make sounds with rocks!) and combinations of all of these. The sound quality and production is superb all the way, so you can say this sounds very professional, although mostly pretty eclectic and out of the mainstream for sure. And that's just the way I like it! Some of the stuff is rather far away from easy-listening as well, but it's all still very enjoyable but maybe too experimental for some. Psych-heads will find some interesting passages to get spaced-out to as well. One of my favourites is the over eight-minute "Blow Up My Crocodile" that has nice acoustic guitar as well as field-recordings etc. I also really like the other "song" "Rider or the Train" that has cool fuzzy electric guitar, acoustic guitar and beautiful vocals by Jonathan and Kelly. I wish there would have been more songs like this! All in all, this a very interesting, creative and multi-layered album with lots of stuff to get into so check it out! While you're at it, also try out Jonathan's very nice Here Comes Sunhine single and his recent jqm collaboration Transatlantic Space Connection,very cool stuff as well!

torstai 15. lokakuuta 2020

Sounds of New Soma - Birne / Maya 10" EP

Tonzonen Records (TON091)

This is a brand-new 10" by our favourite modern electronic ambient Krautrockers Sounds of New Soma. This duo presents maybe their best track so far with the ultra hypnotic and groovy "Birne". After the mesmerising beats and mind-altering sounds fade out you find yourself in a pleasant dream-state and you can't say if you just spent ten minutes in our reality or thousand aeons on the Elysian Fields. Just wow, a true psychedelic master-piece!

Things get more elelctronic on the flip side. "Maya" is another new ten-minute-plus piece and again a winner. This is bit more minimal but spacey and psychedelic as hell. Think of early Astralasia with modern sound and you'll get close. I really like this one as well, trance guaranteed! ! There are only 300 copies of this beautiful orange/red vinyl EP so get it fast since we're talking about a future collectable here.

tiistai 13. lokakuuta 2020

Duncan Harris – On Track: Hawkwind – Every Album, Every Song

Sonicbond Publishing


I bet it's not a big surprice to anyone that I'm a huge Hawkwind fan, have been for the last 30 years. As the inventors of space rock and one of the main players in psychedelia as a whole their importance from the late 60s onwards has been massive to the undrground culture and music in general. They have been influencing whole generations of musicnauts from different scenes like punk rock and techno. And they are still rocking!

There are lots of books written by Hawkwind and I have read most of them. This one is another volume in the On Track series, and why not. Maybe there is not much one can add to the Hawkwind saga already put on paper but there are always new ways to present the story. There are also always people who start their journey into space right here with this particular book. So I think the publishing of this book was a good idea, even though it might not give much new data to long-time Hawkwind fanatics like myself.

Duncan Harris goes through most of the studio albums of the band as well as (only) three live albums. He has also included Robert Calvert's first solo album since it more or less features all of Hawkwind as well as the studio album recorded as Hawklords. It is understandable that he could not include ALL the possible semi-official, unofficial, released under a new name etc. releases since there are hundreds of those! The core albums do just fine.  He has divided the story into nine chapters: Dawn of the Hawks, Day of the Hawks (1971-1975), Charisma and quarks (1976-1979), Measles and Heavy Metal (1980-1982), Night of the Hawks (1983-1991), Oldie Rock, or, how Iron Maiden saved Hawkwind (1992-1998), War of the Hawks (1999-2006) and Hawkwind Ascendant (2007-). The story starts from the first gig as Hawkwind Zoo and debut album recorded with Dick Taylor of The Pretty Things and ends with the 2019 album All Abroad the Skylark. I like the way Harris defines every track in a few sentences capturing the essense of them. I might not always agree with him on all aspects, though, but most of the time I do. Occasionally, he has included out-takes/ bonus tracks on later CD editions. Also lyrics, album cover consepts, personnel changes and a lot of other historical issues are dealt with, when suitable. Every band book has to have some pictures and we get some tasty live ones in the middle where also the album covers are pictured.

All in all, I think that Ducan Harris has done a great job here and surely knows what he is writing about. I'm sure all fans will enjoy reading this book and it would also be a great place to start your Hawkwind journey. Warmly recommended!

perjantai 2. lokakuuta 2020

Astral Magic - Pathway to the Stars now available!

 Listen and buy the album!

torstai 1. lokakuuta 2020

Astral Magic - Pathway to the Stars to be released tomorrow!

Hello! As some of you know, during the COVID-19 lock-down I decided to use my time creatively and started to write and record music again after a long hiatus. This project was named Astral Magic according to a song I wrote for my old band Dark Sun. I bought some synths and recording gear and have so far made about 80 tracks of spacey, psychedelic music. Some of it rocks, some of it is more ambient, electronic and experimental in nature. Since I'm only learning music production my good friend Scott Heller (Øresund Space Collective etc.) offered to give a hand on mixing and mastering. Scott also invited his friend Martin Weaver (ex-Dark/Wicked Lady!) to help out on guitar, since I still don't own an electric guitar, which was fantastic! Martin ended up playing guitar on most of the tracks and we already finished a space rock album called Visions of Infinity to be released on Space Rock Productions in February 2021.

But, since I tend to be pretty productive and fast when I get into something, I also made a more electronic/cosmic/ambient/experimental album while waiting anxiously for the Visions of Infinity to be released! This album is called Pathway to the Stars. The eleven tracks chosen for this release were recorded in between March and September. This time I mixed the stuff by myself but Scott again offered to help and mastered the whole thing which made a huge difference. On this album I was helped by Peter Dingham (Sendelica etc.) and Vince Cory (Sonic Trip Project etc.) on guitar and you will be hearing more contributions from both in future Astral Magic releases as well. I intended to do a very limited CD-R or tape release but I just had to buy a new computer and better music programs so I have no money for that at the moment. So, for now at least, it will only be a digital release on Dark Sun Bandcamp site. If you have a label and would like to release it in physical form please get in touch! 

The album will be online tomorrow, please check it out!

Here's the opener, "Hyper Realities":