Listen to the latest Astral Visions Mixcloud Show!

perjantai 20. joulukuuta 2013

Sendelica: The Megaliths – The Movie Soundtracks Volume 1 & 2


Welch psych/space rock band Sendelica has from the beginning been interested also in films and making soundtrack music, so it’s only natural for them to release an album full of music used in movies. And they sure know how to create atmospheric, spacey and floating soundscapes! The standard version of The Megaliths – The Movie Soundtracks Volume 1 & 2 is limited to 200 numbered copies and includes two discs and well over two hours of music. The earliest stuff included was recorded in 2008 to Grant Wakefield’s art house movie “Sleepwalker Fever”. This gave the band the possibility to “explore more ambient & chilled out landscapes”, and they have continued on that path as well as keeping on rocking. Since then, they have recorded soundtrack music to three more movies, “Trillian Eight” (2010), “Ritual” (2011) and “When the Rising Apes Meet the Falling Angels” (2012). Most of the stuff herein has not been released in audio format before. There is also a very limited (just 25 copies!) 3CD version that comes in a cool box and also includes a build-it-yourself Sendelicahenge megalith model! This is sold-out already, of course… You can also just buy the digital version from the band’s Bandcamp site.

The album begins with a version of “Maggot Brain” by Funkadelic entitled “Return of the Maggot Brains”. This starts off with strange swooshes and narration, and then we have the much loved, simple but beautiful guitar chords and very nice solo guitar work. We also get some psychedelic, effected spoken samples later on. This is a rather different version than the one Sendelica recorded for the Fruits de Mer 7”. I love it! “To Create Is Divine” is another peaceful, heavenly ambient piece that turns into sort of soft dub and also has great, jazzy saxophone. “Mr. Floyd Walker” is very dreamy and floating at first, but there are also some electronic elements later on. “Possessor of Your Heart” is a bit shorter (just 7:39!) experimental ambient track with jazzy sax and “Sun of Sunfaded” a pleasant, sunny and positive piece with soft drums, bass, pretty guitar and saxophone. “Trillian Eight” is an almost 30-minute megalith that starts off very slowly. There’s a lot of different, experimental, strange but lovely stuff happening in this one… Psychedelic bliss. “Arizona Beginnings” is a more song-oriented, peaceful and pretty track and “Soundscape in G”, as you might have guessed, a more droney affair. “Sketches of Cardiza” has a slow, nice bass line, quiet guitar and some more moody sax. Very small-scale but enjoyable. “I Don’t Wanna Be Your Satori” is very quiet at first but it grows a bit along the way into hypnotic, mesmerizing haze. The longest track on this compilation is the 31-minute-long “When the Falling Angels Meet the Rising Apes” that is also the track that rocks out the most. There’s a steady drum beat going on and lots of guitar jamming. After ten minutes the track cools down into laid-back ambient for a while, and then we get some bluesy freak-outs until things get peaceful again. What a wonderful way to end this marvelous, laid-back and floating release! If you are a fan of the more ambient Sendelica stuff this release is definitely for you.

keskiviikko 18. joulukuuta 2013

Paranoid Motives: 2

Paranoid Foundation (PF15)

This is the 15th release by the very productive, non-gigging Paranoid Foundation crew fronted by Cris Lee. If you are familiar with this bunch you know what you’ll get: cold, dark, industrial and sometimes hallucinogenic ambient soundscapes with gloomy, urban narrated stories. But there’s more. At 35 minutes this release is a bit longer than usual, but the 14 tracks are all pretty short (from just under two minutes to 3:41 in length). The tracks that draw my attention the most are “A Few Moments Adrift” and “Something I believed In” with their beautiful, melancholic piano, the more rhythmical, hypnotic and psychedelic “They Lose Me” and the post-punk styled, more rocking tracks “Era of Refusal”, “On the Market”, “New Logic” and “No More Disater” in particular. The rest is pure experimental, avant-garde, dark ambient stuff, and that’s just fine. Apart from the piano (Ferhun Kahraman) mastering and artwork (Andrew Walker) everything is done by Cris Lee and Rory Kettles, and they have once again done a good job. There is a right moment for this kind of music as well. The album is only available as a digital download from iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby etc.

Top 20 gigs I saw in 2013

In alphabetical order:

Black Sabbath: Hartwall Arena, Helsinki
Camera (their own gig & the gig with Michael Rother): Roadburn Festival, Tilburg
Carlton Melton: Liverpool Psych Fest
Circle & Mika Taanila: Pneuma Festival, Kiasma, Helsinki
The Cosmic Dead: Roadburn Festival, Tilburg
Dead Skeletons: Kuudes Aisti Festival, Helsinki
Death Hawks: Le Bonk, Helsinki
Electric Moon: Roadburn Festival, Tilburg
Jacco Gardner: Liverpool Psych Fest
Goat: Roadburn Festival, Tilburg
Moon Duo: Liverpool Psych Fest
The Oscillation: Liverpool Psych Fest
The Pretty Things: Roadburn Festival, Tilburg
Psychedelic Warlords: Roadburn Festival, Tilburg
Tame Impala: Vega, Copenhagen
Ufomammut: Kuudes Linja, Helsinki
Uncle Acid: Roadburn Festival, Tilburg
Vibravoid: Slip Inside This Club, Bar Loose, Helsinki
White Hills: Kuudes Linja, Helsinki
White Manna: Liverpool Psych Fest

It was a great year!!!

Some videos from those gigs:


tiistai 17. joulukuuta 2013

The Cosmic Dead / Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs: Split

The Old Noise (TON001)

Glasgow-based psychedelic space rockers The Cosmic Dead have been big favourites here at Psychotropic Zone for a few years now. I’ve also been lucky enough to see them live at Roadburn Festival and Liverpool Psych Fest, and both times the band was very successful in totally blowing my mind. Pigs X 7 is a new band from Newcastle that I had not previously even heard about. They maybe have a bit more punky and experimental touch than TCD but are very well suited to be included on the same LP with them.

There is one, massive, over 20-minute track by each band. On the A side TCD performs a very hypnotic but also groovy track called “Djamba”. A 10-minute live version of this track has been previously released on the Live at the Note tape (now when do we see a vinyl version of that?), but this is pretty different and twice as long so it doesn’t matter. The rhythm section lays down a mesmerizing but surprisingly groovy beat while the guitars and synth create a hallucinogenic drone on top of it. This is instrumental stuff as usual, but there are some spoken words in the middle to enhance the highly psychedelic, trippy vibe. Things get a bit more intense towards the end, especially in the drum department, before the track dissolves into million little sparkles in the end. This is an excellent, atmospheric and spacey track that will get you “out there”! On the flip side, “The Wizard and the Seven Swines” starts to rock out almost right away with a heavy, punky and repetitive mid-paced guitar riff and pounding rhythm section. The rough vocals join in shortly. Is this some sort of kraut punk? The simple but very effective chorus is closer to stoner rock. There are also some more new, rocking sections and slower, even noisy parts to keep things interesting for over 20 minutes. This is not overtly psychedelic or spacey but energetic and I do like it. This limited album comes on nice transparent purple vinyl and will probably sell out rather soon.

maanantai 16. joulukuuta 2013

Octopus Syng now at Bandcamp!

Check out the two first albums by Finnish psychedelic rock/folk/pop band Octopus Syng:

Astral Visions Radio: Some of the Best Stuff in 2013 (show #47)

Astral Visions Radio Show - Music from Psychotropic Zone, is hosted by DJ Astro

E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr - "Prolog im Himmel" (from Kometenbahn)
White Hills - "In Your Room" (from So You Are...So You'll Be)
White Manna - "I'm Comin Home" (from Dune Worship)
Monster Magnet - "Last Patrol" (from Last Patrol)
Vibravoid - "Magic Mirror" (from Delirio Dei Sensi)
The Black Angels - "I Hear Colors (Chromaesthesia)" (from Indigo Meadow)
The Oscillation - "Descent" (from From Tomorrow)
The Bevis Frond - "Opthalmic Microdots" (from White Numbers)
Permanent Clear Light - "Constant Gardener" (from Beyond These Things)
Black Lizard - "Fucking Up" (from S/T)
The Lucid Dream - "A Mind at Ease Is a Mind at Play" (from Songs of Lies and Deceit)
Wooden Shjips - "Ghouls" (from Back to Land)
Chrome - "Fukishima (Nagasaki)" (from Half Machine From The Sun)
Goat - "Disco Fever (Live)" (from Live Ballroom Ritual)
Death Hawks - "Black Acid" (from S/T)
Causa Sui - "The Juice" (from Euporie Tide)
Earthless - "Equus October" (from From the Ages)
Spids Nogenhat - "Lolland Falster" (from Kommer med Fred)
Oresund Space Collective - "Neptune Rising" (from Organic Earthly Floatation)
Hawkwind - "Sacrosanct" (from Spacehawks)
The Cosmic Dead- "Inner Sanctum" (from Inner Sanctum)
Kimi Karki - "Taxiarch" (from The Bone of My Bones)

Just go to:

The Higher Craft: Solar Tides

Self-released CD-R

The Higher Craft from the UK has gone through some line-up changes and seems to now focus on highly limited, personal CD-R editions instead of officially released CD’s. This is a 54-minute album (they call it an EP) including mostly new studio tracks, a couple of re-masters and also some live recordings. The track info on the nice looking cover booklet is way too small for us humans to read (probably for fairies only), but I can still make out the track titles. The music is a nice mixture of psychedelic, dreamy and atmospheric soundscapes, folky pagan vibes, space rock and metal. Even some electronic music!
“Solar Tides” starts off things in a mysterious, dreamy way. “Flight Horns” has acoustic guitar and a somehow jazzy vibe. “Travel Unto Thee” starts to rock out more and there’s also some heavy metal guitar and double bass drums. “Can You See in the Dark?” is a short, a bit strange electronic dance song, and “Window in the Water” an acoustic folk piece with dreamy, beautiful atmosphere. I like this one! “My Philosophy (Re-Mastered)” is similar in style but a lot weirder and darker. Another re-mastered track is the wonderful “Gateway, 2nd Movement” that is perhaps the best piece on this release. Nice combination of acoustic and electric instrumentation. “Lunar Tides” is another favourite of mine. It begins in a very spacious, ambient and experimental way but then there’s some soft, hypnotic electronic beat, synthesizers, psychedelic effects etc. “The Receiver (Live @ Alchemy 2012)” rocks fast and hard and has a rather good sound quality as well. Unfortunately the sound quality is not that good on the interesting The Magic Mushroom Band cover “Magick Eye (Live Cover @ KKPDF 2011)” or “Lazy Daisy (Live @ Deep in the Woods 20120)” but the great vibe is still transferred. The disc ends with a short, hallucinogenic narrative piece “Terminator”. Wow! I really wish this band would make another proper album release like The Quest into the SteppingStoneAge masterpiece. The singer Christina Poupoutsi is also preparing her solo album which should be pretty interesting.

perjantai 13. joulukuuta 2013

Belsebub & Perisynnit: Järjen Isä

Self-released CD EP

This is the first EP by Finnish band Belsebub & Perisynnit that was formed in 2011 in Lappeenranta. Their music is some kind of a combination of psychedelia, folk, punk and Finnish rock music. Sometimes it works pretty well, but sometimes it doesn’t. The band was first formed by the duo of Hra Luger (guitars, mouth organ, vocals) and Hän Sölo (bass). Then they took in a percussionist called Kosmodeus who plays cajón, djembe and tambourine. I think it’s good that they don’t have a full drum kit, since it gives their band some more character. Little bit later also violinist Jenni joined the band. There is definitely also uncredited synthesizer on this EP which is great. “Liukas Linda” opens up the disc with a bit weird, punky touch. The acoustic guitar and synthesizers give the some more air to this rather fast track. The melodic “Vuosia” sounds more like Finnish mainstream melancholic pop/rock. “Kuoleman kuuraketti” is more interesting stuff reminding me of Silun Veljet or Death Hawks. The repetitive “Illan viimeiset hitaat” has some Velvet Undergound and Kauko Röyhkä so it can’t be all bad, although the lyrics are very pessimistic. The EP ends with a long trip called “El Magico” that like completely form another plane. It builds up slowly with deep synth sound and hypnotic acoustic guitar while the violin adds a mysterious melody. The mantra-like vocals join in after about four minutes and they tell about some mystical magician who’s coming. Later on the track speeds up, but cools down into the slow and hypnotic going again. This is very psychedelic, I like this stuff! I hope the band writes more stuff like this and drops the funny mainstream clichés and lyrics about drinking too much booze.

Kimi Kärki: The Bone of My Bones

Svart Records

Kimi Kärki is a guitar player who used to play in the legendary Finnish doom metal band Reverend Bizarre as Peter Vicar. After that he has formed a new, international doom metal band Lord Vicar that has become very popular in the doom circles. His other musical projects include prog band Orne (featuring the rest of Reverend Bizarre among others) and cosmic electronic music band E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr. He is the latest member of progressive indie rock band Uhrijuhla and during the last two or three years he has also begun to perform folk-based music in the classic, acoustic singer/songwriter style. The Bone of My Bones is Kimi’s first solo album and he has some guests helping him out on vocals (Mat McNerney, John Richardson, Anna-Elena Pääkkölä and Pirita Känkänen) and the album was created with the aid of producer Joona Lukala, who has been involved in Kimi’s projects before as well. The mostly acoustic, peaceful, gentle, melancholic and beautiful music has been inspired by the likes of Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash and Neil Young, but you can also hear some gloomy doom elements as well as 60s/70s psych folk vibes on some songs. The instrumentation is rather sparse and Kimi’s 6 & 12-string acoustic guitars are the main instruments. There’s also some electric guitar on several songs, as well as organ and Mellotron sounds. The lyrics are often very deep and introspective and some of them are based on literal sources and sometime Kimi’s personal dreams.

There are seven tracks on the album. The pretty and simple “I Am Aries” starts off things in very pleasant moods. Mat’s harmony vocals add a great extra layer on the second verse and the female backing vocals are also very welcome. There is also a video made of this song. “Red Rooster” sung by Mr. Richardson sounds more like hippie US/UK folk and also has some nice electric guitar lead work and quiet organ. The vocals sound somehow ancient and wise. Another great song! One of my favourites is the mystical and tragic ballad of lost love and trust including witchcraft, “Young Goodman Brown” that is based on the short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne published in 1835. Some of the vocals remind me of Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter”… There’s also a bit more energetic part in the middle. “My Name Is Free” is a melancholic and melodic song that has some great acoustic guitar work, deep, retrospective vocals in the vein of Cohen and again some organ and female backing vocals as well as whistling and later on also some Mellotron sounds. Great! “The Lord Who Never Sleeps” starts off with some ghostly synth sounds before the warm, crispy acoustic guitars begin. This song also has some cool e-bow guitar to give it a psychedelic edge. The overall feel is pretty positive and liberating on this one. “Archipelago” is again much more melancholic, sort of mysterious stuff, especially the beginning before the vocals join in just before the two-minute-marker. I guess this is a majestic praise to the sea and archipelago and works very well as such. Mat’s vocals work very well here too as well as the female vocals. Towards the end I’m reminded of the acoustic stuff by Kuusumun Profeetta that I absolutely love. The atmospheric last track “Taxiarch” is by far the most psychedelic and so naturally the highlight for me… This is truly heavenly stuff and an instrumental apart from some whispering and mantras in Latin. What a brilliant and blissful ending for a wonderful album that shows that Kimi is also a master of the acoustic guitar and a fluent, impressive singer. We of course already knew that he can write amazing songs. You can witness one of his rare solo performances tonight at Svart Night #6, Bar Loose, Helsinki, along with Seremonia and Domovoyd, two other marvelous bands on Svart Records. I will be there for sure!

torstai 12. joulukuuta 2013

Black Rainbows: Holy Moon

Heavy Psych Sounds (HPS012)

Black Rainbows is a heavy psych/stoner rock band from Italy. I have previously heard the latest full-length Supermothafuzzalicious!! and the marvelous split album with US heavy space rock legends Farflung, and I have been digging their stuff. Their biggest influences must be Monster Magnet, Kyuss, Fu Manchu and Colour Haze, but there’s also a healthy dose of 70’s hard rock and more psychedelic and spacy elements in their music. Holy Moon is a new 36-minute 12” EP that has six tracks on it. The title track “Holy Moon” is a slow, heavy and spacey instrumental with some cool spoken samples about space. There’s also some of space sounds and organ to complete the trip. This reminds me of 80’s Monster Magnet. Very cool! The groovy “Monster of the Highway” sounds more like Fu Manchu or even Blue Cheer and also has some nice solo guitar work. “Chakra Temple” starts off with some throat singing, and this is pretty spaced out, atmospheric, hypnotic and psychedelic instrumental piece. There are some similarities with Colour Haze, for example. I like it a lot! “The Hunter” is groovy and catchy stoner/desert rock again and a good choice for the promo video track. This rocks. “If I Was a Bird” has some acoustic Led Zeppelin/Southern/blues vibes and this is the weakest track in my opinion but still not bad. The last track is the extended MC5 cover “Black to Comm” that lasts for twelve and a half minutes and is killer cocktail of raw proto-hard rock and Hawkwind like space effects and mellow keyboards played with a loose, jamming attitude. This is brilliant ending for a great mini LP that’s available on different coloured, very limited vinyl editions.

keskiviikko 11. joulukuuta 2013

Blim: Zero / No Frills – 20th Anniversary Remastered Editions

BLIMmusic (BLM-001)

Blim was a British psychedelic and progressive space rock band in the early 90’s strongly influences by Gong, Here & Now and Ozric Tentacles among others. Some of the members later founded the great heavy psych/space rock band Omnia Opera that released some stuff on Delerium Records. Their spacey and instrumental music has lots of similarities with other free festival bands that started around the same time, but they still seem to have a sound of their own, especially on the second, more experimental and stylistically varied tape. They released just two tapes which was quite normal at the time, and those tapes have now been reissued in carefully remastered form on this nice double CD that also has some bonus tracks. The music of Blim was mostly instrumental.

Zero was recorded at Squalor Studios, Kidderminster, UK in 1992. I really like it’s spacey, progressive and psychedelic vibe and band is on fire. I mean, these guys could really play already in 1992. Especially the soaring guitar solos are really awesome. Most of the tracks have lots of keyboards and spacey effects & space sounds. There is a strong Gong vibe on several tracks and it’s emphasized by the great saxophone. There’s also some flute to add some prog and even folky feel at times. The music often rocks pretty hard, but there are also some laid-back, floating moments as well as majestic, uplifting sections “Echo-Logical” sounds quite a lot like the Ozrics or Steve Hillage with its delay guitar and danceable beats. “Hoffman Bike Pump” is rather funky and jazzy. I’m really amazed that nobody put this out on vinyl back in the day, since this truly is that good stuff! The three, sort of funny, more anarchistic bonus tracks also have vocals but the sound quality is not as good as on the main tracks.

I guess that on No Frills the band wanted to go forward from the Gong/Here & Now style, and there’s lots of different, weird stuff going on. The funky and experimental going on “The Noup” reminds me of the American band Primus, but I don’t know if these guys ever heard their music or not. The music has gone into more progressive, experimental and just plain weird direction. There are still some psychedelic and spacey parts in there, of course. The airy and groovy “Ocean” is a very nice track, for example. The funk/jazz/fusion elements are the strongest on a track called “Sparceley & Much” that sounds a bit like Zappa or 80’s King Crimson as well. There are also some dub influences in there too. The longest (12:56) track “Beejayone” is one of my favourites, mainly because it doesn’t have that much weird funky stuff on it. This disc has four bonus tracks that vary in between ambient, psych rock and weird experimental stuff. I must say that I prefer the first tape, even though No Frills might be the more ambitious of these releases. This new 2CD is a very welcome addition to any 80s/90s UK psych/festy collection and a must-have to those of us who have read the Adrift in the Ether: The Current State of the British Underground book by Christopher Williams as thoroughly as I have.


Kawabata Makoto’s Mainliner: Revelation Space

Riot Season (REPOSELP/CD036)

Mainliner is a psychedelic noise/hard rock band from Japan led by Acid Mother Temple’s wild guitar terrorist,l Speed Guru Kawabata Makoto. The band’s been together occasionally for closer to 20 years now. When Riot Season re-released their earlier album Mellow Out ten years ago, some customers returned the album since they though there was something wrong with it because of all the noise. No, that’s exactly how it was intended to sound! This probably gives you a good clue of what we’re dealing with here. Everything is recorded in-the-red so that the whole freak-out music is distorted and very loud and noisy.

The CD and very limited tape versions of this new album include five songs. The slow and heavy “Revelation Space” starts off with totally freaky, extremely loud guitar noise that keeps on coming, and it’s hard to hear the rhythm section clearly at times. Luckily the mantra-like, hypnotic and echoed vocals balance the chaos a bit and give it more space. The beat speeds up towards the end. This is wild stuff for eleven and a half minutes! “Taitan” is a bit shorter track that is at first a bit more atmospheric stuff with feedback & wailing vocals. It grows into total noise mayhem, of course! “D.D.D.” is two minutes of high-energy punk noise, “The Dispossessed” has a distinct hard rock riff and those echoed, mantra-like vocals again. This is one of the most structured songs on the album, although it’s still very noisy and Makoto bursts into his chaotic guitar solos from time to time. This track is sadly not featured on the limited vinyl version. Also the over 20-minute “New Sun” has at first a rather normal, constant hard rock riff and echoed vocals, but also some variation and lots of guitar freak-out jamming after a few minutes. This gets faster and faster towards the end and will burn your brain to a crisp! This album is definitely not for the faint-hearted but if you want a full dose of psychedelic noise rock mayhem then this is your thing.

tiistai 10. joulukuuta 2013

Avarus: Salon des Amateurs

Pome Pome Tones (PPT-1)

It’s been four year since the latest official Avarus albums IV and Toosassa were released, but there have been a couple of tapes since then. On Salon des Amateurs this Finnish free form experimental psych rock/folk/jazz/electronic outfit is joined by Jeffrey Alexander (electric guitar, Black Forest/Black Sea, Secret Eye Records etc.) from the US and Moritz Kleiner (synthesizer) from Germany. Other players are this time Jukka Räisänen (electric bass), Lars Mattila (electric guitar), Arttu Partinen (percussion), Tero Niskanen (synthesizer). These two, untitled side-long tracks on this very nice vinyl album were both recorded spontaneously at Kunsthalle in Düsseldorf, Germany, on May 30 2011 when Avarus was on their European tour. The sound quality is good and the band is clearly in great and inspirational mood. The A side starts off slowly with some electronic sounds and hypnotic bass line and monotonic guitar while Arttu slowly lets the rhythm grow. The track gets VERY hypnotic and trance-inducing in the middle and you will be transported into this strange, psychedelic Avarus world that only exists during their gigs. On side B they have a nice, almost dub like beat going and even some chord changes, until the track cools down into weird, quiet, jazzy drone. I might not be the right person to review this music since I don’t really know many bands like this, but I think Avarus is a great band and I do enjoy their strange, improvisational aural trips even if they’re pretty primitive, monotonic and whimsical. Or maybe that’s exactly the reason!


The Of: Oh It’s the Of

Green Monkey Records (GM1019)

Okay, first of all: any band that wears home-made tin foil hats and even trousers live and has CD cover art depicting people fighting against giant crabs and other weird sea creatures etc. can’t be all bad. This is indeed very odd and psychedelic stuff. The Of is a band from Roslyn, Washington, and if the name of this tiny town rings any bells then yes, that’s where the TV show Northern Exposure was shot. Twin Peaks was also shot quite nearby at North Bend. You get the picture, I’m sure. This is the second CD released by the band this year so I guess they are quite a productive bunch. I’ve never heard of them before, though. But they really are somewhat whacky. The band is a brainchild of guitarist John Carey who has a pretty exciting playing style that sometimes brings to mind Frank Zappa (just listen to the long instrumental “Sodo Monkey Part II”). The other musician seem rather good at well, and the instrumentation includes keyboards, bass, banjo, mandolin, cello, percussion and drums and everyone expect the drummer also sings. According to John, their music “contains digested and regurgitated pop, avant-garde, rock, blues, jazz and other forms as well”, and I think he is right. With song titles like “Softbelly Crab Excerpt”, “Seagull Attack”, “Whiskey & Pills” and “Mystic Fishstick” you just can’t go wrong. There are 12 tracks on the 64-minute CD. Some of my favourites are the sort of Primus sounding “Seagull Attack”, the very weird and psychedelic, short “Can’t Stop Listening”, the rocking, fuzzy “You’re in Love with the Of” and the longest track on the CD, the over 14-minute, experimental trip “Mouse Trash “Recipe”. I get the feeling that anything could happen on The Off album and indeed almost anything does happen here… There’s some groovy Grateful Dead vibes there too (especially on “Mystic Fishstick”), but most of the album is very experimental, funny or just plain weird. The sound is pretty good considering that the album was recorded using very cheap gear. This is not the kind of music I feel like listening to everyday, but there certainly is a moment for this kind of weirdness for most of us. Check it out!

maanantai 9. joulukuuta 2013

Krautzone: Kosmische Rituale

Sulatron Records (st1304)
Krautzone was formed in 2011 by accident: this jam session just happened spontaneously and without thinking. Way to go! These psychedelic, experimental and cosmic kraut rituals feature Electric Moon’s Sula Bassana on synthies and Komet Lulu on drums (first time on drums on any album, to my knowledge!) plus other old friends from Zone Six, The Pancakes, The Spacelords etc. on more synths, guitar, bass and “cosmic atmosphere producing”… There are three long, spacey and laid-back tracks on the album that’s for now only out on limited, beautiful three-coloured marbled vinyl. “Liebe” spreads the message of free, kosmische love for 12:44 minutes, and also has some “Set the Controls…” era Pink Floyd in it. Excellent! The title track “Kosmische Rituale” is a 9:06 long piece that goes in similar paths in a rather minimal way. My favourite is “Only Fools Rush in” that takes the whole B side and really transports the listener into another, psychedelic and mystical universe. This is very hypnotic, trance-inducing and hallucinatory stuff, I love it! If you are a fan of really cosmic kraut rock like Ash Ra Tempel, Popol Vuh, The Cosmic Jokers, Amon Düül etc. you should definitely buy this album.

Papir Meets Electric Moon: The Papermoon Sessions

Sulatron Records (st1303-2)

Papir from Denmark and Electric Moon from Germany are some of the best psych rock bands in the world at the moment, so I was really looking forward to this collaborative space jam session to be released and it sure was worth the wait. The Papermoon Sessions were recorded spontaneously live but without any audience at the legendary Dragens Hule in Copenhagen on August 9th 2012 and no overdubs were added. Also featured on synths is Mogens Deenfort Pederden, the keyboard player of Øresund Space Collective. As it happens, Ralph Rjeily who was a very important and loved character in Copenhagen psych/underground music scene had just passed away that same day and the sad news had an impact on the sessions for sure. So this whole album is dedicated to Ralph, and perhaps is a bit melancholic in overall mood.
There are three instrumental tracks on this limited, coloured LP and CD. First we’ve got the 16:10 long “Farewell Mr. Space Echo” and this is very spacey and atmospheric jamming. The shorter “Red Dust” is pretty laid-back and airy stuff, but the over 20-minute “The Circle” is the main piece here. It starts to rock right away with some kraut rock vibes, but then it turns into cosmic drones after a few minutes. After a while it starts moving again and even gets a bit heavier and there’s some cool solo guitar work as well. The track gets quite intense towards the end as the musicians really start to find their psychedelic and intuitive path together. The last moments are peaceful again. Personally I would have liked to hear some more as this jamming somehow ends too soon, but lets’ hope that these guys will do more sessions together and in happier mood. This album didn’t just fit into my top 20 album list this year but I still like it a lot.

torstai 5. joulukuuta 2013

Best albums in 2013

In alphabetical order.

International Top 20:

The Bevis Frond: White Numbers
The Black Angels: Indigo Meadow
Carlton Melton: Always Even
Chrome: Half Machine from the Sun
The Cosmic Dead: Inner Sanctum
Earthless: From the Ages
Föllakzoid: II
Giobia: Introducing Night Sound
Hawkwind: Spacehawks
Master Musicians of Bukkake: Far West
Monster Magnet: Last Patrol
The Oscillation: From Tomorrow
Papir: III
Spids Nøgenhat: Kommer Med Fred
Nik Turner: Space Gypsy
Vibravoid: Delirio Dei Sensi
White Hills: So You Are... So You’ll Be
White Manna: Dune Worship
Wooden Shjips: Back to Land
Øresund Space Collective: Organic Earthly Floatation

Finnish Top 10:

Beastmilk: Climax
Black Lizard: S/T
Circle: Six Day Run
Dark Buddha Rising: Dakhmandal
Death Hawks: S/T
Domovoyd: Oh Sensibility
Oranssi Pazuzu: Valonielu
Permanent Clear Light: Beyond These Things
Sammal: S/T
Seremonia: Ihminen

Beastmilk: Climax

Svart Records (SVR 242)

This album somehow puts me on a flashback to my youth. In the late 80s and especially early 90s when I had listened too much to Black Sabbath and Hawkwind albums with my friends we sometimes put on black clothes and leather pants and went to see Finnish gothic rock, post-punk, death rock and new wave bands like Mana Mana, Two Witches, Shadow Play, Sunday Prize, Babylon Whores etc. in small rat holes in Helsinki like Shadow Club, Backstage and Semifinal. Some of the bands were more punky in The Misfits style, some more melancholic, dark and moody in the vein of The Cure, some had more pop elements and some messed more with metal. Hell, I even had a go in this direction myself with a band called Sixth Sense that recorded one demo and played with Two Witches among others. Helsinki-based Beastmilk somehow brings back those bitter sweet memories. They have definitely listened to their share of Joy Division, Killing Joke, Bauhaus, Christian Death, The Sisters of Mercy etc., but they still have a modern way of making apocalyptic death rock and their sound is often pretty heavy and also appeals to bored black metal musicians and fans. The band was formed in 2010 by Goatspeed (guitar) and Khvost (voice, Mat McNerney, also known from his psychedelic folk band Hexvessel and numerous other bands), the rest of the members are Arino (bass) and Pail (drums). Their first demo White Stains On Black Tape sold out very fast in 2010 and was then reissued in 2011 on 7” by Svart who also put out the next 7” EP Use Your Deluge in 2012. Beastmilk recorded their debut album Climax in Boston, US this summer with superb results and it seems this album will get them far.

The album starts off with the straight-forward “Death Reflects Us” and I got to say that Mat’s strong and soulful voice suits also this kind of music very well. A very effective, simple, heavy and rocking but melodic opener. “The Wind Blows through Their Skulls” and “Genocidal Crush” have more gothic post-punk vibes and I like those a lot. “You Are Now under Our Control” has a strong Joy Division/Bauhaus vibe, and the bit longer “Ghost out of Focus” is a bit more atmospheric, dark song and not that rocking or heavy. Great song, anyway! “Nuclear Winter” rocks hard and fast and has some The Misfits influences I think. “Fear Your Mind” could easily be an early Babylon Whores track (check out Svart’s forthcoming BW boxed set, by the way!) and “Love in a Cold World” sounds just like it was recorded in 80’s in the UK and has very cool, driving beat. The same goes for “Surf the Apocalypse” that also has dark, a bit more moody moments. The longest track (5:54) is the bit slower, gloomy and dark “Strange Attractors” that has echoes of The Cure and even Echo & the Bunnymen, although the sound is more massive. This is a very successful album and Beastmilk definitely has the potential to become huge all over the place. As it happens, they are playing live tonight at Bar Loose in Helsinki, and I will be there for sure. Check them out!

tiistai 3. joulukuuta 2013

Monster Magnet: The Last Patrol

Napalm Records (NPR 490)

Dave Wyndorf has been flying his heavy, psychedelic stoner rock space machine Monster Magnet since the late 80’s through open spaces and asteroid belts. He has had his personal problems and hard-ships like we all, but luckily the band is in great shape again and Mr. Wyndorf seems to be healthy, creative and full of power again. I’ve been a fan since the early days, so it’s a great pleasure to say that I think their new album The Last Patrol is very likely the best since Powertrip in 1998. It might even be better than Powertrip or the previous album Dopes to Infinity, but it’s too early to tell for sure. Dave and the boys have sort of returned to the roots of psychedelic, heavy stoner experience but along with the knowledge and experience gathered throughout their long space flight. The most commercial pop melodies have been dropped off, and the music pretty much focuses on what’s always been the best thing about Monster Magnet: the deep, hypnotic, mind-blowing and hallucinatory feel of hard 70’s styled stoner rock. Okay, there’s some blues, some acoustic parts etc., but most of the album just blows your mind like it should. And I think it’s really good to have also some more atmospheric sections with Mellotrons, percussion and stuff just to build up the tension again until your mind explodes.
The new album has nice tracks; the deluxe edition has two bonus tracks as well. The album is of course out also on four different, very cool looking limited 2LP vinyl editions that also include the bonus tracks. My favourite songs are the over nine-minute title track that has some of the most effective, mind-crushing riffs I’ve heard for a while, the slow and heavy “Three Kingfishers”, the fierce and energetic space rock blast “Mindless Ones” and the equally fast and furious “End of Time”. All the songs are winners, though, and the playing, singing and production are all top-notch. I especially enjoy the fact that there are lots of spacey reverb, delay and other effects on lot of songs which makes this album a pretty trippy experience. Dave’s vocals and lyrics are also excellent. This is definitely a back-to-form album and I think that everyone who used to like the band in the 90’s should really check this out. The Last Patrol rocks! The band is starting a long US tour soon for the first time in 10 years, let’s hope that everything goes well and that we will see them touring Europe again next year. Personally I’m really looking forward to see some of the new songs live!