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tiistai 23. marraskuuta 2021

The Fisheads - Pleasant Valley Sunday/ Let's Get Together 7" + CD

 Fruits de Mer Records (crustacean 95)


This is the last FdM release in 2021 and should be out just before Christmas. It is a sort of return to the roots of the label since it includes two 60s classics. So who are The Fisheads, you might ask? It's a sort of Fruits de Mer super band, we could say. Put together by Astralasia's Swordfish the musicians include Anton Barbeau, Crystal Jackqueline, Icarus Peel etc. The single does not sound like Astralasia at all, it's pure blissful 60s psych pop/rock. The bonus CD will probably include more trance-inducing mixes by Swordfish, I presume, but it was not included in the promo package so I can't say for sure.

Okay, what about the 7" tracks? "Pleasant Valley Sunday" is a nice The Monkees song and I just love this version! Nothing too psychy or trippy, just good vibes and lots of positive energy. On the B side we've got another 60s anthem "Lets' Get Together" (Chet Powers). This version is a lot faster than the original The Yougblood folk rock version that you might have heard on numerous 60s compilations but also excellent. The message from the Summer of Love is more needed now than ever... The track has also been recorded by Jefferson Airplane among others but has not worn out in any way. Anyway, it works really well as a fast psych pop piece as well. Astralasia has also been pre-selling a special version of this release but they seem to be sold out, and FdM will only be selling that version to the UK customers, but this standard 7" + CD is available to EU citizens etc. for example from Shiny Beast. HIGHly recommended!


maanantai 1. marraskuuta 2021

Elara Sunstreak Band - Vostok 1

Sulatron Records (ST 2104) 

Elara Sunstreak Band is a progressive, heavy stoner/psych rock power trio from Germany. I had never heard of them before I received this tasty 2LP from Sulatron Records as a promo, but I like them immediately. One of the four side-long tracks, the title track "Vostok 1" also features Hammod organ and Mellotron, otherwise it's just guitar/bass/drums and vocals. I'm a bit reminded of bands like Samsara Blues Experiment. Sometimes the most melodic parts of the music get closer to indie rock and at their dreamiest they sound like post rock. This is not overtly psychedelic or trippy or even spacey album but it has great atmospheres and the guys really can play and sing too. In summary, a very pleasant and cool album, check it out!



torstai 28. lokakuuta 2021

Shem - II

 Clostridium Records (CR 067)

Shem from Stuttgart is a new band making improvisational, instrumental psychedelic rock inspired by early krautrock, Hawkwind and modern bands like Kungens Män. As you might have guessed, II is their second album following the CD album No  Songs, Just Sound (2020). The guitars are pretty heavy compared to some other impro psych bands nowadays (like OSC, for example).

This limited edition LP (150 on black, 150 on coloured vinyl) has just three long tracks. It starts of with the heavy and massive "Descension" that rocks out in a freaky way. "Night" is slower and more tranquil at first but gets darker and heavier. The band also has a synth player but he mostly does sound effect like stuff which fits in fine. The two guitarists are more in the front, anyway. The over 19-minute "Fall" fills the whole side B. It has a bit faster, sort of motorik groove and all in all it's the more krautrock sounding, hypnotic piece. Great stuff! If you like improvised, heavy psych/space/krautrock I'd say you should locate a copy of this album for your collection for sure.

Sleeping Pandora - Ride the Horizon

 Clostridium Records (CR 064)

Ride the Horizon is the latest physical album (the first one on LP) by German solo artist Mathias Rosman. His dreamy, instrumental, rather electronic project Sleeping Pandora has now released already nine albums on Bandcamp, the latest being the brand-new Atmosphere. Clostridium's promo sheet mentions Pink Floyd and Ashra as comparisons and I must agree, although the music has a rather modern touch and sound quality, so no early 70's vibes except maybe on the marvelous guitar work with lots of delay and reverb.

The album has five long tracks. The opener is the 13:18 long, wonderful "Interplanetary Meditation". The title is rather revealing: just close you eyes and let the dreamy, spacey music take you away. "Vertical Drive" is a bit tighter and groovier tracks, very nice. Side B starts with the cool, airy and floating ambient piece "Holy Daze". It is the shortest track at just under five minutes and pretty simple. "Lightkeepers Routine" is pretty and hypnotic, one of my favourites. The album is finished with the faster, danceable "Ancient Subterranean Swimmingpool". Great! All in al, Ride the Horizon is another very pleasant Sleeping Pandora album and I recommend it warmly. The ultra limited colourerd vinyl seems to be sold out already but you might be able to score one of the 200 black copies. Both come with poster, sticker and download code and are hand-numbered.


perjantai 15. lokakuuta 2021

Thought Bubble - Around

Dirty Filthy Records

Around by Thought Bubble (UK) fits in fine to the rather varied although eccentric style of Dirty Filthy Records. They play experimental, improvised electronic music in an interesting and unique way. This is their first album following a few digital only singles and one EP. Thought Bubble is a duo project of Chris Cordwell & Nick Raybould mixing together synths and live drums. Some of you might remember them from the band Glowpeople. Their recordings also feature guest musicians, this time Suzette (voice on "The Waves" and "Beatwave"), Pablo Raybould (voice on "Möbius Trip"), Shaun Bailey (guitar and loops on "Möbius Trip" and "Devoider") and Gregg McKella (clarinet on "Fluctuate") who give the music more colour in a nice way.


The rather short album includes six, almost instrumental tracks. The opener, "The Waves" has a strange, bit oriental vibe and lots of psychedelic sound effects. This track is also included on the latest Fruits de Mer freebie CD Music For Amphibians, very nice! "Beatwave" has a sort of motorik beat and futuristic, hypnotic atmosphere. Maybe my favourite! "Möbius Trip" has cool narration, great lead guitar work and a weird feel to it. Quite trippy! "Rat Race" is a shorter, faster experimental piece and like ther rest of the album, has a rather modern sound. Next is the longest track of the album called "Fluctuate" and it has a nice cinematic vibe due to the addition of clarinet and string sounds. I like it a lot. The last track "Devoider" is the slowest one and has a quite strange atmosphere getting closer to ambient music before speeding up towards the end. All in all, this is an interesting album and I got to say I have not heard anything quite like it before, although some of it brings to mind 80s King Crimson and some of the solo works of Brian Eno. Out on LP, CD and digital.


torstai 23. syyskuuta 2021

Scaling down even more

 Hello! You must have noticed that there have been very few reviews or any other postings lately. The main reason for that is that most of my rather limited free time goes to my own music project Astral Magic.

I have always preferred physical media over digital downloads (that have a habit of getting lost in my hard drive anyway). I have still reviewed some downloads from time to time. Due to lack of time I hereby declare that I won’t review any downloads anymore. Please take me off your mailing list. Only option might be the Astral Magic collaborators. Sorry about that. However, if you want to send your stuff in physical form please contact me and a review is guaranteed.


Dj Astro

keskiviikko 15. syyskuuta 2021

Superjord - For the Moment Vol 1

 Fruits de Mer Records (strange fish twenty four)


For the Moment is planned as a continuous stream of mainly improvised live recordings by this great Finnish psych rock band. Vol 1 was recorded at their superb G Livelab gig in Helsinki in january 2020 (I was there!) and released in digital form in the Summer. As often with digital only releases I missed it completely even though I really like the band and have been following them since the very beginning. It's a really great thing that a proper vinyl release is upon us now! The band on that day were Sampo Fagerlund: drums, percussion, Mikko Kapanen: vocals, guitars, Juho Ojala: vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, Jussi Ristikaarto: vocals, guitars, electronics, percussion, Teemu Soininen: bass and Olavi Töyli: tenor saxophone, percussion. All excellent musicians, I might add!


The whole gig was not of course improvised, but the hyper sonic quality of G Livelab was perfect for the band to strech out into the unknown every now and then. Around 40 minutes of thet is captured on this great sounding release. The side A starts off peacefully with "Moment 1". It has a bit jazzy vibe at first and grows intoo more psychy territories. Great jamming, something for The Grateful Dead fans for sure.  Later on there is also some moody sax. "Moment 2" has a positive, sunny vibe thagt I really like. Some weirder, Zappa-like stuff happens in the middle and the soft ending also includes some vocals. Very nice! "Rainbow" of course is an actual song from the band's second album, but the version heard here has more improvisation than usual I think. Superb and very groovy playing by all here! It turns into magical "Moment 3" at some point when minutes have already lost all their meaning. I really enjoy listening to this record since it immediately takes me back to the live experience this amazing band can offer. Oh how I miss live gigs! Anyway, get your copy before they're all gone, definitely worth it.