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torstai 31. lokakuuta 2013

Various Artists: Fruits de Mer Records – Live in London

Fruits de Mer Records (Crustasean 45)
Each year Fruits de Mer Records want to reward their loyal followers who have been buying all or at least most of that year’s releases. In the past the freebie has been a tape or a CD-R, but this year it’s a genuine vinyl item for the first time! And what a wonderful Christmas present this is. The 7” EP includes four tracks recorded live at the Summer Fruits de Mer All-dayer at the Borderline in London. This event definitely was one of the most interesting music happenings in the UK this year and I’m very sorry that I couldn’t take part due to another trip. The All-dayer featured five live acts that have been releasing stuff on Fruits de Mer: the legendary Pretty Things, Stay from Spain, The Luck of Eden Hall (on their first tour outside of the US!), Sendelica from Wales and Jack Ellister from the Netherland playing a solo slot. The Pretty Things are not included on this EP because they are planning a full live album, but there is a song by all the other four bands/artists.

Jack Ellister starts off the EP with his own, folky song called “Old South”. Very intimate, nice feeling and Jack proves that he can play some excellent acoustic guitar and sing. Stay’s “I Don’t See Myself” is a quite energetic, 60’s styled garage/mod freak-out that has some The Who vibe (love the cover art, by the way!) and a rather progressive, psychedelic jamming part. Great organ on this one! The guys of Sendelica create their own, instrumental version of Pink Floyd’s “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” that also has some saxophone. This is very hypnotic, trance-inducing stuff for sure! Then it’s time for some psych rocking. “Lucifer Sam” is one of my favourite Pink Floyd songs and The Luck of Eden Hall do a raw, mind-blowing rendition of it. There’s even some Mellotron there I think, as well as lots of spacey noises. Wow! If you really want to have this 7”, you can try Heyday Mailorder, since Nick still seems to be stocking a lot of this year’s Fruits de Mer releases but it might be too late already…

keskiviikko 30. lokakuuta 2013

Various Artists: The Fruits de Mer Annual 2014

Fruits de Mer Records (Custacean 44)
Phew… Although Fruits de Mer have released some strange and unpredictable EP’s this must be one of the weirdest… The story begins with an unreleased, weird 1964 instrumental surf track “I Remember” by a band called The Raiders featuring Trevor “Beau” Midgley & Robic White. The EP also includes a psyched-out surf band The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies playing their versions of Barry Gray’s “The Joe 90 Theme” and “Lost in Space” (Geoff Goddard), and suddenly also a mad version of “Johnny Remember Me” (Geoff Goddard) covered by electronic music gurus Astralasia appeared! After that, Fruits de Mer’s Keith didn’t have any other option than to also ask Astralasia’s Marc Sworfish to do a dub version of the same song… Weird, as I told you! Somehow this all still makes sense in the twisted, fishy world of Fruits de Mer where anything can happen.

So is this single any good? Yes it is! The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies use enough spacey effects to make their energetic, groovy versions pretty psychedelic and I feel the inevitable urge to jump on the table and dance my tits off! Whoah, that doesn’t (luckily) happen every day. I’ve been a big Astralasia fan in their early days when they were just an off-shoot of The Magic Mushroom Band and also liked their later stuff, so it’s really refreshing to hear them in a Fruits de Mer context. And “Johnny Remember Me” makes me feel good and is also very funny in a positive way! This reminds me to check out some of Astralasia’s recent stuff that’s supposed to be closer to their roots. The Raiders take you back to the good, innocent old times of the early 60’s when psychedelia was still just taking form in Western pop music. What a nostalgic trip. “Johnny in Dub” might sound quite out-of-place after that, but weirdly it doesn’t. I like this single!

Mark McDowell / Octopus Syng: The Regal Crabomophone Annual for 2014

Fruits de Mer Records (Winkle 13)
Every year Fruits de Mer / Regal Crabomophone have some superb songs left that they have received from psychedelic musician but that have not fit on any of their releases that year so they release the stuff on “annuals”. This time the Regal Crabomophone (that mostly releases originals while FdM just covers) one includes two tracks by two different acts. Mark McDonnell is new to the Fruits de Mer family, and I have not heard about him before. “Girls of Belvoir” is a very nice, rather slow and melodic folky number that has acoustic guitar, violin and flute but also drums, bass and psychedelic fuzz guitar as well as wonderful vocals. A very nice, well produced slice of psychedelic folk/pop/rock. Octopus Syng from Finland was first featured on Fruits de Mer’s amazing compilation album Keep of the Grass with their great rendition of “Midsummer Night’s Scene” (Johns Children) but this time we’ve got a long, strange and hypnotic original called “Listen to the Moths”. It starts off in a rather minimal, weird and eerie way, but bursts into full-bloom after a few minutes and starts to rock in a very mesmerizing way. The track ends in hazy, echoed, psychedelic ambient soundscapes that leave you totally in awe. This track is not a very typical piece for the band but definitely one of the best Octopus Syng songs I have heard and I have heard a few in my lifetime… This song has a very unique vibe and it makes you feel like someone has just spiked your juice with acid or something. Excellent job! The coloured vinyl single comes with a poster and is limited as always so get it fast.

Spids Nøgenhat: Kommer med Fred

Bad Afro Records (AFROCD/LP046)
Spids Nøgenhat is a psychedelic rock band from Copenhagen, Denmark. The name of the band is a Danish translation of the highly hallucinogenic magic mushroom known as Liberty Cap (Psilocybe semilanceata). I really couldn’t think of any other name better suitable for this band that includes members and ex-members of bands like On Trial, Baby Woodrose, Dragontears, Ghost Rocket, Aron etc. and plays mind-expanding music influenced by old Danish psych rock and acid folk bands like Furekåben, Alrune Rod, Røde Mor etc. The band was originally formed in 1998 and in 2001 they released one studio album called En Mærkelig Kop Te that I fell in love with immediately. It’s magical, psychoactive, mostly melancholic and mysterious vibe has won lots of fans over the years and the album has been reissued several times. Also a very limited and collectable 7” Alrune Rod/En Drøm was put out the same year. The band reformed in 2009 and played some live shows during the following years and a wonderful live album De Sidste Her På Jorden - Live Fra Roskilde Festivalen 2011 was released in 2012. But let’s now focus on the new album that is just amazing!

“Mere Lys” is one of the most up-beat numbers on the album, and in addition to the early 70’s Danish underground vibes also has some 13th Floor Elevators and The Byrds I think. What a marvelous opener, anyway! “Lolland Falster” is a bit slower, very beautiful and melancholic track that was also made into a very nice video. This song makes the cold shivers go through my spine; it’s just that affective emotionally. There’s also a few brilliant fuzz guitar solos in there. Wow! Too bad that I can’t really understand that much Danish… The third track “Lever Vi Nu?” is just as good, and also has some organ and garage vibe like many Baby Woodrise songs. Then it’s time for the album’s brlilliant cover track and we get to hear an over eight-minute version of “Den Gennemsigtige Mand” originally by Hyldemor in 1978. This is a very touching, atmospheric psych ballad that pours deep into your soul. “Spids Nøgenhat i Græsset” is another slow, pretty and melancholic track with excellent guitar work and wonderful vocals. The mood gest even ,more laid-back and relaxed on the following, peaceful and semi-acoustic track “Jorden Kalder” thaty is one of the most beautiful songs on the album. Then it’s time to rock out a bit more during the “Vand, Brød og Te” that reminds me of their song “Det Psykedeliske Tapet” on the debut album. Some excellent melodies in this one. The album finishes off with a track called “Fred” that means peace. This is perhaps the most psychedelic song on the album and also has some experimental touches. Perfect for those strange tea sessions… Very deep, tribal and hypnotic stuff! Apart from the last track this album might appeal to the bigger audience as well due to the superb melodies and atmosphere but at least the psych freaks will love it. One of the best albums this year without a doubt!


tiistai 29. lokakuuta 2013

Dj Astro's Hotlist

Nik Turner: Space Gypsy
Monster Magnet: Last Patrol
White Manna: Dune Worship
Beautify Junkyards: S/T
Psicomagia: S/T
Hookwarms: Pearl Mystic
Earthless: From the Ages
Seremonia: Ihminen
The Oscillation: From Tomorrow
Vibravoid: Distortions Deluxe Re-mastered 2CD Set

maanantai 28. lokakuuta 2013

Vespero: Careful with the Axe, Eugene

Fruits de Mer Records (Crustacean 42)
I’ve been a fan of this Russian band since I first heard their first studio album Rito in 2007. Their studio and live albums include everything from progressive rock to psychedelic rock, atmospheric post rock, hypnotic kraut rock and space rock and I love it all. On their first 7” single (if you don’t count the Fruits de Mer Annual 2013 split with Temple Music) the band performs two cover versions by one of their biggest influences: Pink Floyd! Okay, Floyd has of course been covered time and time again for decades, but I really dig these versions of two excellent instrumental by one of my favourite groups. Vespero covers both tracks just perfectly honoring the vibe of the originals but still making them definitely their own. First, we’ve got “Careful with the Axe, Eugene” that was originally released as a B side to “Point Me at the Sky” single. This is a legendary track that many people also remember from the live disc of Ummagumma and the Live at Pompeji video. This almost eight-minute version is very hypnotic and mesmerizing and has great organ work and a nice guitar solo when it grows towards the end. On the flip side there is a rendition of a Meddle track “One of These Days”. Especially this one has been somewhat transformed and it sounds a little more modern than the original but also even more psychedelic! Excellent job. This is a very good 7” and a must have for all Vespero fans as well as Pink Floyd fanatics and Fruits de Mer collectors.

Various Artists: Shrunken Head Music

Fruits de Mer Records (Crustasean 43)
In 2012, Keith from Fruits de Mer put together a wonderful 2LP compilation called Head Music. It was focused on covers of the classic kraut rock / kosmiche music era (NEU!, Amon Düül II, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Can…) and has since became a total collector’s item. Since not all the tracks made it on time or fit on the 2LP format, we now have the Shrunken Head double 7” in a gatefold sleeve. So this can be seen as a younger brother/sister to Head Music, and a very interesting one as such. The double EP starts off with Frobisher Neck’s lovely version of “To Another Universe” played only with Mellotrons. Okay, Brainticket isn’t actually kraut rock since Joel Vandroogenbroeck is in fact Belgian, but the band was still very much influenced by their German contemporaries and often labeled as a kraut rock act. What a lovely, floating version! Black Tempest does a very hypnotic, condensed version of Tangerine Dream’s “Rubycon Part 1” and I’m in kosmische heaven! Vespero has been one of my favourite Russian bands for years now, so it’s no wonder they do amazing work on Faust’s “J’ai Mal aux Dents”. This is true kraut rock at its best! Finally, US multi-instrumentalist and all-around progressive space head Jay Tausig covers the Gong/Steve Hillage classic “The Glorious Om Riff” and I got to say this is the best track on the EP. I’ve always loved this song and enjoyed all different versions (Acid Mothers Temple cover it very well too!). This is psychedelic, hypnotic to the max and highly spaced-out, although not exactly kraut rock, if you ask me. Jay has been very active during the recent years for example with his massive Zodiac project and also playing live with the new version of legendary acid punk band Chrome with Helios Creed. I just love his version: it has everything I ever dreamed of! This 2 x7” will be a die-hard rarity very soon so get it as soon as possible.


perjantai 25. lokakuuta 2013

Vibravoid: Colour Your Mind

Fruits de Mer Records (Crustasean 41)
This is the third 7” release on Fruits de Mer by Düsseldorf’s own psychedelic acid heads Vibravoid. Kaut Rock Sensation and What Coulour Is Pink? were both very mind-blowing and successful and sold-out in a nanosecond, so no wonder the relationship continues… This time the band has chosen three great cover versions by three different psych rock bands. If you have the band’s latest studio album Delirio Dei Sensi on CD, you have already heard all these amazing songs played by Vibravoid, but these versions are at least remastered and the vinyl album only featured the first track. “Colour Your Mind” was written by Australian band Tyrnaround who were formed in 1985. Their music was a wonderful mix of late sixties psychedelia and garage rock (Pink Floyd, The Seeds, The Beatles etc.) and this song definitely was one of the best. Vibravoid does an absolutely brilliant version with great harmony vocals, fuzz guitars, groovy beat and marvelous organ work. What a brilliant way to spend 6 minutes and 11 seconds! Oh yes, there is an extended psych out ending added… Then we get some French stuff: “La Poupee Qui Fait Non” originally released by Michael Polnareff in 1966. Nice, melodic song with lots of pop sensibility and added psychedelia. Then it’s time to cover some obscure US psych and Human Expression’s “Optical Sound” sounds just like a lost Vibravoid song. The lyrics are about a bad LSD trip, so it makes some sense I guess… Very good stuff! The colour vinyl comes in a trippy opne gatefold cover designed by Vibravoid’s head freak Christian Koch so you know you will get the full experience with this one. Get it while you can!


Deviant Amps: Magic Carpet Ride

Damp Recordings (DAMP 16)
Deviant Amps is a psychedelic indie rock trio from Essex, UK. They have been playing live with some great bands like Here & Now, The Damned, Vibravoid, Hawklords, The Sweet, Gunslinger etc. since their first started in 2006. Magic Carpet Ride is their second album and they also have one EP and download only cover of “Walking in the Air”. All the tree members are veterans in the UK indie rock scene and guitarist/singer Paul Woodright is one of the organizers of Kozfest. The band’s music has lots of different elements: certain 60’s power pop/The Who influences, some early 70’s Hawkwind but mainly the 80s/90s shoegazer stuff. Sometimes they get spaced out, but the music is really not THAT psychedelic most of the time.

There are 12 relatively short tracks on the CD-R. “A Star and the Moon” starts off things in a rather fast and energetic mode. Nice melodies as well. “Magic Carpet Ride” sounds quite a lot like The Who or Teenage Fanclub, but there are also some spacey synth sounds in there to make it a little more interesting and psychedelic. “If You’ve Got Yours, I’ve Got Mine” reminds me of early Sun Dial with its groovy beat and that’s definitely not a bad thing. The same goes for the next song “Shine On”. “And Then I Glissed her….. Don’t Look into the Sun” is one of the most psychedelic, space rock like tracks and also my favourite. This rocks and blows your mind! The main riff is quite close to “Master of the Universe”. They cool down a bit for “Trick of the Light” that also has some keyboards. It does grow towards the end, though. Very nice. “Rope for the Hangman” is a sort of a ballad in Neil Young vein, and the beautiful “Give It All Away” and “Scars” again bring to mind some 90s UK shoegaze bands. “Keep on Pushing” is like Teenage Funclub mixed in with some paisley/garage vibe. “On Our Way” is a powerful, very nice song with lots of guitar that has a great mood and brings to mind early Telescopes or Sun Dial. The album ends with the two minute “Magic Carpet Ride (Reprise)” that has some excellent psych guitar work, wild rhythm section and spaced out synths. A very nice, jam-oriented ending! I’d love to see these guy go crazy live, but the studio stuff works too.

keskiviikko 23. lokakuuta 2013

Piotr Kurek: Edena

Black Sweat Records (BS008)
Piotr Kurek is a Polish composer and multi-instrumentalist living in Warsaw who has done various collaborations and released stuff on compilations since 2006. Edena is his third album after Heat released in 2011 and Lectures (2009). Edena first saw the day of light in 2012 as a limited tape release, but has now been released on very limited (150 copies) vinyl as well. Kurek uses electronics, synths and organs as well as sampled and looped sounds to create very hypnotic, weird and pulsating sonic worlds. There are enough melodies to keep things interesting. Some of the tracks bring to mind the old synthesizer gurus like Tangerine Dream (that’s the stuff I like the most) while some are more experimental and maybe modern as well. There are only six compositions on this release making it last just about 30 minutes, but those minutes are used well. I do enjoy this album and can recommend it to those who like experimental synthetized music. You can also buy the album in digital form from Kurek’s Bandcamp site.


Kosmos: Salattu maailma

Kosmos (004)
Kosmos is a psychedelic folk/prog band from Turku, Finland, and this is their fourth album. I’ve really enjoyed all their previous efforts, and this one is really great as well. On their previous album Vieraan taivaan alla (2009) the band also went into more electric, almost space rocking direction, but here they are back to their folk roots but with some symphonic prog elements. The acoustic guitars, Mellotrons, organ, female vocals, flutes, bass, drums etc. are all still there. They draw their influences mostly from the psychedelic and progressive folk and rock of the early 70s and that’s easily detected in their sound and vibe.

The 38-minute album has seven tracks. The opener is the beautiful and melancholic title track “Salattu maailma” that has pretty acoustic guitar and Mellotron and wonderful, magical melodies and mysterious vocals (all in Finnish, but translation in English is also given). This reminds me a bit of Renaissance. Excellent! “Simpukka” starts off with some sounds of the waves and seagulls plus lovely acoustic guitar and then the lovely, clear female vocals of Päivi Kylmänen join in. This is a more folky affair. “Loitsu” rocks a little more and has a positive, sunny vibe with some guesting violin player as well. “Peili” sees the band return to their usual, more melancholic and peaceful folk mode. On side two, the seven-minute “Tuuli” starts off in a very gentle but psychedelic way. It starts to move with a mid-tempo beat sometime after the two-minute-marker, and we get a nice violin solo among other things. The most psychedelic track of the album is the longest song “Uni” that is very deep, mysterious stuff with male narration and weird sound effects. This one has a rather dark atmosphere and I like it a lot. The album is finished with a quite Indian sounding cover version of the excellent Pekka Streng classic “Takaisin virtaan” that works really well. Streng must have been one of the band’s biggest influences since the beginning and this is a worthy tribute to their long-dead but never forgotten prophet. The vinyl version comes in an amazing open gatefold cover and is limited to 500 copies. The album is also available as a factory-made CD-R with proper cover art. One of the best bands in Finland right now I think!

tiistai 22. lokakuuta 2013

Montibus Communitas: Hacia Aquellos Bosques de Inmensidad

Trouble in Mind Records (TIM055)
Montibus Communitas is a collective of psychedelic freaks who record their ritualistic, spiritual jam sessions live at a studio in Lima, Peru. They have been devoting their improvised music to Mother Nature since 2010 and have several recordings available, but this album recorded late in 2011 is the second one to be released on vinyl following the self-titled album in 2012 on Cosmic Eye. It’s quite hard to describe the music of Montibus Communitas, but the band mostly uses just acoustic instruments (guitar, percussion, cymbals, violin, exotic sounding flutes etc.) so I guess it could be labeled as psych folk, but it’s quite different to anything I’ve heard before. There is also some electric guitar to give a bit more rock-like feel to it at times. The music definitely has an “out-of-this-world” vibe to it, or maybe this is how they experience the world out there. The music takes the listener on a journey that is very beautiful, hypnotic and mysterious but sometimes also quite hard and demanding. Not that the very repetitive music in itself is that hard to digest, but the vibes can get very powerful at times if you totally dive into their aural prayers and invocations. There’s a certain South American element in the music (especially on the flutes and percussion), but the band has also taken in some influences for example from the late 60s/early 70s communal kraut rock freak-outs of Amon Düül, Amon Düül II, Popol Vuh, Kalacra etc. There are just four, long instrumental tracks on this album and I just simply love them all. Warmly recommended!

Cannibal Movie: Mondo Music

Yerevantapes (YER003
This Italian duo took their name from a bizarre movie genre made mostly by some deranged Italian directors in the 70s and 80s. The instrumentation only includes a drum set and an old Italian organ, but that’s enough to create an occult, scary, experimental and psychedelic carpet of sound that seems totally improvised. Mondo Music that is apparently their third release was originally released last year on tape (C30), but has been re-released this year on vinyl and I’m glad about it. It’s also available in digital form from the band’s Bandcamp site. The release includes just two tracks, but they are both over 13 minutes in length. The music is sometimes quite droney and experimental, but the organ that often sounds rather distorted also plays melodies. On the first part the drummer lays down some heavy, primeval rhythms and uses lots of cymbals. The second part is much more peaceful, hypnotic and meditative, and only has a quite subtle beat. Think of Pink Floyd playing “Set the Controls…” in Pompeii. Very nice! I’m looking forward to some new sounds by this instrumental duo.

Check out the solo album by ex-Dark Sun synth wizard Mik Ronik: Palemoon!

The album also features Nik Turner on saxophone and flute...

maanantai 21. lokakuuta 2013

Hazard Wings: Interstellar Torment

Krypta Records (KRYPTA 009)
Hazard Wings from Kajaani is a new Finnish punky, garage space rock band that played their first gig early this year in Helsinki. I was immediately blown away by their psychedelic, very energetic show that combined the space rock of Hawkwind to the high-octane blasting of MC5, The Stooges and maybe even The Dead Kennedys in a very hypnotic and mind-blowing way. The band is a brainchild of singer Vesa Moilanen, who has been in punk, hardcore and black metal bands before and now lives in Helsinki, I believe. After the show, I asked for a review copy of their very limited vinyl album recorded in 20011 and also got a CD version of it that I gave to Walter at Roadburn to see if he might be interested to book the band for the festival next year but I guess nothing ever came out of that. Well, at least my review will finally see the light of day now! There’s also a cassette version limited to 40 copies…

The album is just over 35 minutes in length, but I think that’s enough. The sound is just a bit too muddy and low-fi, but I still enjoy very much listening to this. The release is full of feelings of alienation, angst, anger, mental disorder and being fucked-up and warped-out beyond recognition. The fast and furious “Time Will Be My Grave” starts off the album and offers no mercy. The spacey analogue sounds are just perfect match to the hard-hitting, simple but highly effective punk rocking and Jello Biafra –styled vocals with almost lethal amount of delay. Then the band gets into slow, doomy and hypnotic grooves in “Bring the New Horror” and the spacey, swooshy sounds really fuck up your brain. “Death Machine” rocks fast and hard again in the punk rock style, and the psychedelic space sounds never fade out… “Tomb” is a darker, more experimental and atmospheric short instrumental piece that has its function and then it’s time for “Bone Idols of the Desert Planet (Part I)” that is again slower, gloomy and hypnotic stuff. There’s also some guitar soloing and Mana Mana vibe in there which of course is great! “Bone Idols of the Desert Planet (Part II)” has the same gloomy, ice-cold and mysterious feel to it and also some organ and I like it. The hardcore/punk gear is back on for the two-and-a-half-minute blast that is “Blind Horse / Castaway”. The last track “Kohti Reunaa” is sung in Finnish and is droney, harsh, very psychedelic and experimental stuff that just might bring you over the edge. I really hope to hear more stuff by this band also see them live again, but I’m not sure how active they really are with this project.

lauantai 19. lokakuuta 2013

Dj Astro's Playlist, 18.10.2013 @ Supermassive Festival, Äänivalli, Helsinki

In no specific order:

Vespero: Anpeilen!
Tuber: Sex and Depression
Beautify: Junkyards: From the Morning
Eternal Tapestry: Marrow of the Wand
The Black Angels: Holland
Crystal Jacqueline: Play with Fire
The Soft Harted Scientists: Mount Palomar
Astra: Barefoot in  the Head
Hawkwind: Lord of Light
Psychic Ills: Western Metaphor
Eat Lights Become Lights: La Kraut III
Moon Duo: Been Gone (Life Coach Remix)
Permanent Clear Light: Constant Gardener
Pyramidal: Tempel Iaru
The Oscillation: No Place to Go
Baby Woodrose: Nothing Is Real
Temples: Keep in the Dark
Vibravoid: Doris Delay
Black Mountain: Mary Lou
Dead Skeletons: Kundalini Eyes (Dirty Artists Version)
White Manna: Sweet Jesus
Hawkwind: Space Is Deep
Lumerians: Dogon Genesis
Black Lizard: Boundaries
Jacco Gardner: The End of August
Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound: Sunshine
Goat: Let It Bleed
Moon Duo: Sleepwalker
Black Science: Anywhere
White Manna: I'm Coming Home
The Cosmic Dead: Gustav Björnstrand:
Väljasoit Rohellisse: Siselinnad
Carlton Melton: Sarsen
Black Rainbows: Chakra Temple
Eat Lights Become Lights: Heavy Electronics
Christine 23 Onna: Fantastico
Suns of Thyme: Asato Maa
The Amazing: Gentle Stream
Mechanik: Did You Have to Take So Many Pills
Aqua Nebula Oscillator: Kill Yourself
Golden Void: Atlantis
Camera: Ausland
Papir: I
Spids Nogenhat: Mere Lys
Mugstar: Tangerina
Suns of Thyme: Some (God for Gods)
Electric Moon: The Inner Part
Vibravoid: Listen, Can't You Hear
Wooden Shjips: Those Shadows (Acoustic Version)
Master Musicians of Bukkake: Arche
Morgan Belt: Barbarian Kings
Verma: Ragnaraak
Hookworms: The Correspondent
White Manna: Ascension
Hawkwind: Psychedelic Warlords
Causa Sui: Euporie
The Amazing: Gone
Vista Chino: Plaets 1 & 2
Radar Men from the Moon: Heading to the Void
Magazine: Definitive Gaze
Giobia: Karmabomb
Tame Impala: Elephant (Todd Rundgren Extension)
Darkside: Are You for Real
Nik Turner: Fallen Angel STS-51-L
Uhrijuhla: Avaruuden lapsi
Earthless: Violence of the Red Sea
Monster Magnet: Mindless Ones
Aphrodite's Child: The Four Horsemen
Gong: Flying Teapot (A Sacred Rhythm Extention and Cosmic Overdub)
Saturnia: I Am Utopia
Mmoss: War Sux
Moon Duo: I Can See
The Oscillation: Corridor (Part I)
Roky Erickson and the Aliens: Two Headed Dog (Red Temple Prayer)
Föllakzoid: Trees (Moon Duo Remix)
Dead Skeletons: Dead Mantra

keskiviikko 16. lokakuuta 2013

Beautify Junkyards: S/T

Metrodiscos (METRO047.13)

This is the debut full-length by the Lisbon-based psych folk band Beautify Junkyards who have previously released some excellent stuff on Fruits de Mer. The band started in 2012 when members of various Portuguese bands decided to retreat from city life to do some outdoor recording sessions in the countryside. The results have been astounding. All the nine songs on this vinyl/CD album are interpretations of tracks from the late 60s and early 70s, some more known and some rather underground stuff. The songs are very carefully selected and the band does a wonderful job on all of them.

Their version of “Rose Hip November” (originally by Vashti Bunyan) is one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve heard for a while. It just has very fragile, melancholic male vocals, synth and acoustic guitars plus a little bit of backing vocals and some tender rhythm. Amazing! Nick Drake’s “From the Morning” has a bit more positive vibe and again the performance is perfect in every way. This was already released on the Beautify Junkyards 7” on Fruits de Mer. The flow of the album is just perfect, and next we get an exquisite, magical folk version of Kraftwerk’s “Radioactivity”. I’m on goose bumps here! “Fuga No 2” originally by Os Mutantes from Brazil has wonderful female vocals in Portuguese and has been released as the B side to the Fruits de Mer 7”. A very nice song, anyway! Next they give us “Ask Me No Questions” (Bridget St John) and I don’t think I have heard the original. The excellent female vocals have some Nico vibe. The track order is a bit different on the CD and vinyl. “Yellow Roses” is acoustic guitar driven, lovely piece with male vocals originally by Heron and this is the first version that I’ve heard. Lovely. Then they cover some Roy Harper: “Another Day” and they do that well. Another song that I was not previously familiar with is the spell-bounding “Parallelograms” (by Linda Perhacs). The album is finished with Donovan’s “Song for the Naturalist’s Wife” that, like the previous song, has both femme and male vocals. What a nice way to finish off this excellent release! The album is distributed through Clear Spot so it should be quite easy to get in Europe at least. Warmly recommended for all fans of beautiful, emotional psych folk!

tiistai 15. lokakuuta 2013

Window Blinds: Chimera

Window Blinds is an electronic duo project by Thomas Schärer from Switzerland and Petri Parkkali from Finland. Thomas is the drummer and keyboard player in a band called Dirk Dollar and also makes music as a solo artist under the name Staubfänger and Petri is the founder member of Zoomonk, whose music I have reviewed in the past. This 28-minute disc was recorded in 2012 and includes eight atmospheric, dark, adventurous, mostly electronic tracks influenced by the likes of Goblin, Dario Argento, Stelvio Cipriani, Tindersticks and Imperio Argentina. I’m also reminded of Radiohead etc., but this is subtler stuff. There is a certain psychedelic undercurrent going on, and some of the tracks definitely would make a good soundtrack to a (modern) horror movie. Some pieces are also pretty experimental, bit still rather listenable. One of the best pieces is the instrumental “1988”, some of the tracks also have quiet, laid-back vocals (both Petri and Thomas sing). The instrumentation includes piano, synthesizer, drum machines, guitar, Mellotron, Melodica and harmonium. I sort of have troubles trying to figure out what the guys were trying to achieve here, since at times it feels like they didn’t really know it themselves. On the other hand, sometimes there is a definite clue and the music is getting somewhere. This is not the kind of music that I love to listen to the most, but it’s still pretty interesting although a little demanding as well. You can check them out at their Bandcamp site!

maanantai 14. lokakuuta 2013

Astral Visions Radio (show #45) online now

Astral Visions Radio Show - Music from Psychotropic Zone, is hosted by DJ Astro
Listen to or download from:
Jacco Gardner - "The End of August" (from The End of August 7")
Wooden Shjips - "These Shadows (Acoustic Version)" (from free download)
Spids Nogenhat - " Vand, Brod og Te" (from the forthcoming album Kommer med Fred)
Temples - "Jewel of Mine Eye" (from Keep in the Dark 7")
The Oscillation - "Descent" (from From Tomorrow)
Jay Tausig - "The Glorious Om Riff" (from the forthcoming V/A: Shrunken Head Music 2 x 7")
Vibravoid - "Leave It All Behind" (from Distortions Remastered 2013 Deluxe Edition)
Black Rainbows - "Holy Moon" (from Holy Moon)
Carlton Melton - "Sarsen" (from Always Even)
The Cosmic Dead - "Djamba (Edit)" (from the forthcoming split LP w/ Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs)
Morgan Delt - "Barbarian Kings" (from Barbarian Kings 7")
Here & Now - "Near and How (Live)" (from Live In London)
Dark Sun - "Machine Lover" (from the forthcoming album Visions of Infinity –The Early Demos)
Embryo - "Side Two (Live, Edit)" (from Message from Era Ora)
Fuzz - "Loose Sutures" (from S/T)
Astralasia - "Johnny Remember Me" (from the forthcoming V/A: The Fruits de Mer Annual 2014 7")
Vespero - "Careful with That Axe, Eugene" (from the forthcoming Careful with That Axe, Eugene 7")
Mind Over Mirrors - "Bark & Barge" (from When the Rest Are Up at Four)
Master Musicians of Bukkake - "Arche" (from Far West)

perjantai 11. lokakuuta 2013

Dj playlist 10.10.2013 @ Kuudes Linja, Helsinki (Ufomammut & Talbot)

Pentagram: Run My Course
Saint Vitus: One Mind
Black Sabbath: Snowblind
Mansion: Mother's Burden
Reverend Bizarre: The Goddess of Doom
The Oscillation: No Place to Go
Wooden Shjips: These Shadows (Acoustic Version)
Psicomagia: Congreso Pt. 1
Morgan Belt: Barbarian Kings
Moon Duo: Been Gone (Life Coach Remix)
Verma: Ragnaraak
Master Musicians of Bukkake: Arche
The Cosmic Dead: Gustav Björnstrand
Carlton Melton: Sarsen
Black Rainbows: Chakra Temple
Electric Moon: The Inner Part
Vibravoid: Doris Delay

keskiviikko 9. lokakuuta 2013

The Spacelords: S/T / Dimension 7 / Live @ Psychedelic Network Festival 2012

Self-released CD’s

The Spacelords is a German band who label themselves as psychedelic space rock. Okay, maybe something like that, but I think that at least on their first album they sound a lot more like Jimi Hendrix than Hawkwind, for example. They also have some ethnic and world music influences, among others. And nothing wrong with that, since this trio really can play and jam like there’s no tomorrow! I asked them to send me their latest offering, a live album recorded in 2012, but the band kindly sent me all of their three CD’s. The main trio on all these records is composed of guitarist and occasional singer Matthias Wettstein, drummer Marcus Schnitzler and bassist Klaus Werz, and they also play synths etc. when needed (which is not that often, especially so on the debut). The music is mainly instrumental, and the first, self-titled album also features Reinhold Pape on flute and effects.

The first album starts off with the ten-minute-plus “Wah Wah”, and you definitely get a lot of Hendrix-styled wah guitar on this one! Some great licks and a nice groove in there. Also “Manamba” sort of reminds me of Jimi, but it sounds more modern than that and the flute adds the progressive rock vibe. “Apeman” is very Hendrix styled as well, or something that The Outskirts of Infinity might have come up with. “Slowdown” is a more bluesy tune that also has some flute, and on “Golfstrorm” the band goes into this sort of ethnic, hypnotic, trance world with nice delay guitar and percussion work before starting the standard (but very good) early 70’s styled guitar jamming. The rhythm section is excellent too, by the way! “Cruising” is a more atmospheric track that reminds me of some of the more progressive kraut rock bands from the early 70s. The debut ends with the over 14-minute, mellow, dreamy and mid-tempo “Janakpur” that has a very nice Eastern vibe and once again flute and great solo guitar work. Maybe my favourite on this album!

Dimension 7 starts off with the title track that also has vocals. A little bit of King Crimson in there, perhaps? Also some spacey effects which is great. Then it’s time for “Echoes from the Past (Part 1)” that could have been played by Guru Guru in the late 70’s or early 80’s, very groovy and psychedelic stuff with those typical delay guitar patterns that always work so well. “Echoes from the Past (Part 2)” continues the jam with some more djembe and without vocals. Very nice! “Space Caravan” is a bit mellower, but still groovy instrumental track with percussion and floating keyboards. “Gidamba” has a definitive African rhythm and I like this one too. The little bit too vague “Titty Twister” has some dirty moaning mixed in whether you like it or not… I sort of do! On “Pyroclastic” the band gets pretty weird and psychedelic which of course is a good thing in my books! The hypnotic “Air Liquid” and the last, long piece “Hypnotized” remind me of the spacey psych rock band Tribe of Crow and some trippy German bands like Electric Orange and Zone Six (their synth player is now in The Spacelords I just noticed!), so you know I like these. Now this is starting to be what I call space rock!

Okay, then the live album… As you might have guessed, this limited edition disc includes tracks from both albums plus a couple of unreleased, maybe new, tracks. They open up with “Hypnotized” and I’m of course happy about that. It’s nice to hear that they can create this full psychedelic sound even live with just the tree of them. Then it’s time for “Wah Wah” and “Apeman” from the first album to really rock out in the Hendrix style and this works live too. Then we get the two new tracks in the row, the at first spacey and floating “Prelude-Rhinoceros-Bison” that also has some galactic narration before it starts to rock more and the aptly named heavy rocker “Synapse”. The album ends with a great version of “Pyroclastic” and I’m sure the audience was satisfied after that one. What a mind-blowing trip! For those who like to keep their head in space: go for the two latest releases but the Hendrix fans should also get the debut album. The digipak covers also look really fine and psychy…


Herba Mate: The Jellyfish Is Dead and the Hurricane Is Coming

Self-released CD

Herba Mate is a heavy stoner rock trio from Italy formed in 2001. The Jellyfish Is Dead and the Hurricane Is Coming is their debut album and was released already in 2009 but I only got it recently (okay, maybe it has been a while…). They have also released one CD EP in 2005 and played with for example Damo Suzuki, Fu Manchu and Pontiak. The music on this CD is mostly rather slow or mid-tempo, heavy and groovy and there are not that much vocals, but when there are, they’re rather tough and very suitable for the music. The band has definitely been influenced by desert/stoner rock bands like Kyuss, Fatso Jetson, Fu Manchu, GOTSA etc., but they still have something original to put on the table. Maybe not much, but some. Their playing is tight and rocking and they also have the groove which is so important in this kind of music. Some of the music is also rather progressive, like the sixth track “Bugs”. The disc ends with an experimental/acoustic track called “Sputnik”. I’m not 100% impressed with the album but it’s still good stuff with some imagination and fresh ideas so if you’re a stoner rock fanatic I’m sure you will enjoy this stuff.

Causa Sui: Euporie Tide

El Paraiso Records (EPR013LP)
Causa Sui from Denmark started out as a stoner rock band releasing their two first albums in 2005 on Nasoni and in 2007 on Elektrohasch. Since their Summer Session 1-3 series that was originally released on three separate vinyl albums in 2008 and 2009 the band has definitely proved that they truly are something more than just another stoner band. They started to improvise and jam a lot more and took their influences from a vast array of different kinds of music like jazz, psychedelic rock, prog etc. They have also dropped all the vocals and now focus on very inspired, highly skillful and emotional instrumental performance. They started their own record label El Paraiso Records that has made possible to also release music by their other projects and collaborations, individual band members and friends that include the amazing Paper. Causa Sui’s Pewt’r Sessions 1 & 2 in 2011 that also featured Ron Schneiderman from the US band Sunburned Hand of the Man saw the band getting into even longer jams that were totally amazing an mesmerizing. On Euporie Tide the tracks are a bit shorter and more to the point without losing any of the psychedelic, hypnotic nature.

The limited 2LP (also on blue vinyl) and CD include ten tracks in total ranging in length from under two minutes to almost 11 minutes. You still get a few heavier, more stoner rock sounding tracks like the long, great opener “Homage” that sounds a bit like Colour Haze or the groovy Brant Bjork-like “Boozehound” and they still know how to create heavy, on-your-face guitar riffs, but pieces like “Echo Springs” sound more like Miles Davis jamming with very stoned Neu! or something. There’s definitely some Hendrix in the vibe as well. There are quite a lot of keyboards to give the music more texture and the band really has sense for melodies and dynamics. There are also some more acoustic moments like the short and very positive sounding “Fisherlscher Sun”, and “Sota El Cel” is just a short ambient piece. It’s really hard to pick up any favourites since I really love all the tracks here. One highlight still is the ninth track “Euporie” where the band really brings the listener into state of psychedelic euphoria. Excellent! I also fully enjoy the peaceful, blissful final piece “Eternal Flow” that sums everything up in a very nice way and brings to mind the mescaline visions of Black Sun Ensemble. Absolutely one of the best albums this year!

tiistai 8. lokakuuta 2013

Mooch: Stations of the Sun

Promo CD-R
Here’s a new Mooch album written, recorded, arranged, mixed & mastered by Steve Palmer in 2011-2013. On Stations of the Sun Steve has gone pretty soft and atmospheric taking in lots of (modern) classical music elements and (sadly) loosing most of his psychedelic influences. So this is definitely not space rock, psych rock, kraut rock, ambient, experimental or any kind of rock music, but beautiful, often quite melancholic and melodic music that might be entertaining during the chilly Autumn/Winter days and nights. Lyrically, Steve’s music is still very much inspired by paganism, nature and the seasons. Steve has two wonderful singers to help him out, Beck Sian and Shelagh Teahan, and especially the later one sounds very classically trained. The female singers (Beck in particular) and the classical elements definitely bring to mind the band Renaissance, which is not a bad thing I guess. Steve plays all the instruments by himself (with the imaginary Erich Z. Schlagzeugh on drums and percussion that were actually programmed by Steve as usual…). The album has eleven tracks that are all quite short (2:41 to 5:15 minutes to be exact). “Come A-Maying” is a bit more upbeat track with more programmed drums and even some of the old psych vibes. There are a couple of folk oriented tracks with acoustic guitar which is good. “Fred Barleycorn” is whimsical, 60’s oriented baroque pop and also has vocals by Steve. Most of the tracks are still very peaceful and mostly have just keyboard orchestration and vocals. Quite a different album by Mooch but I still like it.

maanantai 7. lokakuuta 2013

The Grand Astoria: Punkadelia Supreme

Flower Punk/Setalight Records (674/lc3356)
This St. Petersburg based stoner/metal/grunge/indie/punk whatever band seems to be on tour all the time, but sometimes they also find time to go into a studio. Their sound gets more and more varied with every release, and this new album sounds more progressive but at the same time this is also rather accessible and even mainstream stuff to a certain degree. Kamille plays some killer guitar solos, and he has 13 guys to help him out, like Jaire from Octopus Syng playing sitar on the great “Space orchid vs Massive Drumkit” that was already released on vinyl by Fruits de Mer/Regal Crabomophone earlier this year.
The album starts off with the short, folk/country styled “Welcome to the Club”, and then it’s time for the very energetic, even hyper-active “Slave of Two Masters” that has lots of different parts that only the Russians would ever put together. Its eight and a half minutes are a bit too much for me, to be frankly. “I Know” is a more peaceful, beautiful track that I do like. The title track “Punkadelia Supreme” has a nice, little mystical vibe at first before it starts to kick as seriously. Later on it gets rather weird and psychedelic. Kamille’s vocals are much more successful on album than live. “Street Credit” is stoner rock with pop melodies and Iron Maiden styled guitar solo part. My favourite track is “Space Orchid vs Massive Drumkit” that begins as mystical, Eastern-tingled folk and then goes into space rock territories. Great! “Dropping Aitches” reminds me of some grunge bands or even Faith No More which is not good… I don’t really like “Feels Like Home” either, but the sometimes bluesy, longer instrumental “To Cross the Rubicon” is a lot better and also includes some atmospheric parts to cool you down. “King Has Left the Building” even has some funky vibes, not my cup of tea really. “Visualize” is quite progressive with its heavy riffs, and starts to rock tightly in the middle. The longest track on the CD is the 13:40 long, dark “Score” that has some nice spacey synth sounds and lots of different moods. A very nice track! Then there’s just the short, peaceful outro “Intermission” and 77 minutes are gone. This album needs some time but you will probably find it rewarding after that. Try it out!

keskiviikko 2. lokakuuta 2013

Vibravoid: Distortions (Deluxe Remastered 2CD-set)

Stoned Karma Records (SK003CD)

This new, remastered deluxe 2 CD edition of Vibravoid’s 2009 album Distortions will hit the streets in November along with a new 2LP edition. I don’t have the LP yet, but the CD is phenomenal… These acid heads from Düsseldorf have put the whole album back together from the original sources using analogue equipment from 1973 and the results are stunning and the sound richer and fuller than before. The tracks are in totally different running order and there is loads of bonus material (150 minutes in total). Whoa!

The new version starts off with the mid-tempo, 60’s oriented “Random Generated Future” and that’s a perfect way to launch the listener into psych rock heaven. “Eye Shaking King” is maybe the best Amon Düül II cover I have ever heard. Loving the vocal effects… One of the highlights for me is the next, previously totally unreleased studio outtake “Leave It All Behind” since I really like this hypnotic, mesmerizing track! The Spacemen 3 influenced “Save My Soul” chills everything out for over eight minutes with its mellow mood, Mellotrons etc. The original opening cut “Christmas on Earth” rocks hard and in a raw, punky, garage way, and then it’s time for the over 19-minute Can cover “Mother Sky” that the band also often plays live up to this day. Excellent! “Save My Soul (Reprise)” cools things down again in a blissful way. We don’t get the experimental “Mother Cubehead's Daily Black Out” that was the bonus track on the original CD, but the band dives into stuff from the very rare and sought-after Kraut Rock Sensation E.P. on Fruits de Mer that had four covers of classic kraut rock on it. We get unreleased, extended versions of “Ruckzuck” (Kraftwerk) and “Rauchkraut” (Mashantra) and I like them a lot! The rest of the bonus material on the first CD is very welcome as well, since this is the first CD appearance of “Trip to Tripolis”, the two experimental pieces “Chosmochaos” and “Within a “Cosmos” are totally out-there and it’s also nice to hear a couple of demo versions of “Random Generated Future”.

The second CD begins with some historical material from the time before the band became Vibravoid. Most of these eight songs are the best tracks from the Turned on Acid album previously releases in 2003, but two are different versions. There are also some cover songs like “Anxious Colours” by Painted Faces and the Pink Floyd classic “Astronomy Domine”. Very interesting, but the sound quality is not as good as on CD 1. The rest of the CD is filled with six live tracks recorded in Bari in 2010. “Christmas on Earth” and “Vivid Vision” have been previously released on the B-side of You keep on Falling 7”, but “Oscillations” (a great Silver Apples cover), “Black and White”, “Ballspeaker” and “Your Mind Is at Ease” are previously unreleased versions. Especially the last two, long tracks are really good since the band has lots of room to improvise and blow our minds which they do really well! The sound quality is very good as well, so just let yourself go into deep space… The CD comes with a cool 12-page booklet that unfortunately has some mistakes but what can you expect from space heads like this. A very welcome addition to the Vibravoid catalogue and I can’t wait to see the 2LP that might even have some different material on it.

The Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia, 27-28 Sept 2013, Camp and Furnace & Blade Factory

The complete running order

Me and my friend Harri (who took the pictures) made a trip to the Liverpool Psych Fest and it sure was worth all the traveling from Finland. Next time it might be a good idea to fly to Manchester or directly to Liverpool if possible instead of landing to Gatwick Airport near London... But everything went smoothly, anyway. Neither one of us had previously visited Liverpool and there were so many of our favourite bands playing so we were quite excited about this festival...

Clean, green countryside during the train journey

We are on our way now
We met Sean and Michael at the hotel and after a few drinks, nice chatting etc. headed to the festival. Camp and Furnace & Blade Factory was located in an old warehouse in the industrial part of the city, but still a walking distance away from the center. Everything was set up really nicely and you were in awe when you entered the place through very friendly and understanding security guys. There were lots of psychedelic projections and lights and it looked fantastic.

Carlton Melton


On Friday, there were so many great bands playing on the three separate venues that there was no way we could see everything we wanted. Some of the highlights included Moon Duo (who had a real drummer now!), Carlton Melton (they really blew our minds...), The Oscillation, Psychic Ills, The Holy Drug Couple and The Cosmic Dead (the guitar was too low though). Too bad that Eat Lights; Become Lights played so late that we just couldn't stay awake anymore after being awake for over 20 hours and started walking towards the hotel after 1 AM. The party still kept going until 4 with more bands and cool dj's though!
The Cosmic Dead

Probe Records
After a few hours of sleep and a healthy, fatty English breakfast we wanted to go to some record stores. We had some bad luck since most of them were out of business or not open that day, but finally we found the recently relocated Probe Records, who have been pushing psych rock to the people since 1971. And as you can see from the pic, it didn't let us down! Then some sightseeing and back to the hotel for some beer and Salmiakki Koskenkorva, a Finnish salty licorice booze that won some new fans...
Liverpool Radio Tower

This time we decided to take a taxi to the venue to see some of the first band on Saturday called Alien Ballroom who were on at 14:15. Then we listened to some very interesting stories about psychedelics at the Musings in Drone that was taking place at the smallest venue on the right called Blade Factory.

The Anglo-Finnish Psychedelic Club

Lola Colt
One of the biggest nice surprises on that day was Lola Colt who played at 16:30. Very sexy music... The best bands that we saw on Saturday still were The Lucid Dream, The Wands, Jacco Gardner, Fuzz, White Manna and Mugstar. We also watched and heard little bits and pieces of other acts and none of them were bad. What a line-up! And just look at the pictures and you will realize how amazing it all looked.

The Lucid Dream

White Manna
To the installation
There were two quite interesting and trippy little spaces at this festival. One was the Sonic Boom X Heretic audiovisual installation in the Gallery, where people could go and chill out or freak out, depending on their mental state. There were mind-blowing optic art on the walls that really looked fantastic with the lively lights and pumping UV accompanied by a spacey, ambient soundtrack by no other than Mr. Sonic Boom! Needles to say, Harri and I went there many times... This was an unique chance to experience this, and many people really seemed to enjoy the installation.

The other one was the small trailer inside the lovely Furnace venue that had psychedelic short films on a TV screen non-stop. There was only room for like four people at the time but it was very nice. When the bands played, the caravan also resonated very much and it made the experience even more intense! This was set up by the Shindig magazine.

Michael in front of the trailer
The audience was a nice mix of people in between 20 and 75 years from all over the planet. Everybody was relaxed and happy and nobody too drunk and we didn't see any problems at all. The staff was also friendly and there were some great beers and ciders at a good price and the food was a lot better than expected (thanks for the lovely chilli and pizza!). Even the weather was great and it felt like summer during the day time.

The record and merchandise section was quite small but I was glad that I could concentrate more on the bands and the vibe which was so great. I'm just happy I was able to score the festival specials, the festival's own 7" and the 12" released on the excellent Trouble in Mind label from the US who were rather well presented at this festival.

Mr. Cool
I've got no idea how many people there were but probably 1000 to 1500. At times it was pretty crowded, but you could always get through and it was relatively easy to get a close look of your favourite band. Apparently the festival wasn't sold-out but was still a great success so we can expect it to return next year. Hurray!

We missed Clinic and lots of other action on Saturday night too, but were really happy on Sunday morning that we did since we had a long way home ahead of us. Train from Liverpool to Euston in London (too bad that the Banger Brothers weren't selling us their exceptional sausages...), then the underground to Victoria and another train to Gatwick. Our flight arrived at the Helsinki-Vantaa airport around midnight and two very happy and satisfied gentlemen were back home. Thank you Liverpool Psych Fest, thank you friends, thank you UK, we love you all. Would love to dj there some day.