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perjantai 29. huhtikuuta 2016

K-X-P - III Part 2

Svart Records ‎(SVR450)

These Finnish experimental krautrock/electronic/IDM heroes released their fourth album last month, so I'm a bit late again. Maybe I'm just having difficulties in reviewing their stuff, since this group  really is a pretty unique entity altogether. K stands for Timo Kaukolampi (electronics & vocals, ex-Dun-delion, Ex-Larry and the Lefthanded, ex-Op:l Bastards, you name it...), P for Tuomo Puranen (bass, keyboards, ex-The Elevators, ex-Op:l Bastards etc.) and X for the "mystery" drummer, usually Tomi Leppänen (Aavikko, Circle, Pharaoh Overlord etc.) and/or Anssi Nykänen (one of the most famous and talented Finnish session drummers since the 80s). They often also have some guests both in the the studio and in live environment. I must say that I usually enjoy their mysterious, energetic, ecstatic, empowering and cult like live performances more than their albums. They have the power to drive the audience wild and dance like crazy. Having said that, their studio output is also excellent, maybe apart from their Easy 12" EP released in 2011 that I find a bit dull. Just my opinion, of course... These guys have tons of creativity and talent, and it sure shows in their music.

III Part 2 starts off with the atmospheric, uplifting "Winner" that works out great as an introduction to the hypnotic, motorik and electronic mayhem that follows. "Freeway" is probably the "hit song" of the album and also one of my favourites. After about 50 seconds of quiet synth drone the fast, driving krautrock beat begins, and when the great vocals join in, I'm in sonic heaven. Lasse Savola is playing a bit of guitar as well. This is a very simple but totally brilliant track that works like magic. "To Believe" has some hypnotic, tight caveman vibes that always works for me. This song also has some female backing vocals, and great synth melodies. I think I'm having some Joy Division flashbacks as well? "Sub Goblin" is a mid-tempo, rhythmical instrumental with weird sequencer stuff and a groovy bass line. The orchestrated chord progression towards the end is very powerful... The longest track on the album is "Siren" and this is at first more ambient, experimental stuff and also sounds very orchestrated. This would be suitable for a soundtrack to some art film about the nature of Iceland, for example. Okay, the beat and vocals begin soon enough bringing in a very danceable vibe, but there is still this pompous, harmonic orchestral element in there from time to time. This track also features Alexandra Babitzin and Paula Vesala on vocals but I don't hear them that much. Some great melodies on this one, sounds like something that you could almost expect to hear on radio. The vocals are giving me some U2 vibes around the 5-minute-marker, but it still works... "Air Burial" starts off in a rather ambient way, but shortly after one minute the VERY fast beat begins, and this almost sounds like some modern space rock band just without the heavy guitar! Seriously, this rocks. Wonderful! Definitely one of the highlights for me. The album is finished with the minimal, synth-driven ambient instrumental "Transuranic Heavy Elements" that is a perfect sedative after your endorphin, serotonin and dopamine levels have been pumped up during the ride. I'd say III Part 2 is K-X-P's best release to date, check it out. The band will play their record release party next Wednesday (4.5.2016) at Bar Loose, Helsinki, take part in the ritual if you can.

keskiviikko 27. huhtikuuta 2016

Electric Orange - Morbus

Adansonia Records (ar009)

I’ve been a big fan of the German kraut/psych/space rock band Electric Orange since Delerium released their Orange Commutation CD in the mid 90’s. I'm happy they got soon over the electro/techno style that they had on a couple of CD's released in late 90s/early 00s that still were excellent. All their later albums have been superb spacey krautrock including experiment stuff  and many long improvisations. I was also lucky too see tham live at Roadburn Festival in 2008!

Originally released in 2007 on CD only, Morbus was their best and most coherent work at that point. The band had a steady line-up and their sound was better and bigger than before. Morbus is close to 80 minutes long, but there are no fillers, just pure cosmic, hypnotic, psychedelic bliss all over the place. Organs and synthesisers have always played an important role in their sound, and they are of course still there, but now many of the 12 tracks also include vocals or narration. There are also female backing singers, Mellotrons and flute to give the album a celestial feel at points. Some of the tracks are also pretty heavy, which is great. ”Flohfunknest” is a bit groovier, jazzy track but still psychedelic. I love their way of composing the tracks in the studio while recording, but on this album some of the tracks really sound they were pretty well constructed. One of their advantages is having their own studio where they can use just as much time as they want and use old gear from the 70’s with new recording technology. So the vibe is very groovy and psychedelic and the sound quality top-notch!

It’s really hard to pick any highlights from this album since I really like all the tracks, so let’s just say that ”Krautschock” reminds me of Brainticket, Ash Ra Temple and Cosmic Jokers and that ”Wald” turns into superb, hypnotic, energetic space rock after two minutes... Plus that ”Sarau” is a very effective deep-trance machine and that ”Reaching” sounds it was played by some stoned angels in 1968... The early Pink Floyd feel is also still there. I'm grateful to Adansonia Records for finally putting this album out on double vinyl /like Krautrock from Hell and Netto Before, not forgetting the brand-new groovy 10" last year) and the most limited edition is really something special with cool poster, incense sticks and "Electric Orange" branded wood-made holder for the incense sticks. The track list is the same as on original CD but some of the tracks are in different order to better fit them on the four vinyl sides. A must have for all vinyl psych/kraut/space heads!

perjantai 22. huhtikuuta 2016

Barış Manço & Kurtalan Ekspres - Sözüm Meclisten Dışarı

Pharaway Sounds (PHS031/PHS031CD)

Anatolian rock is a music style that started to bloom in Turkey from the mid 60s combining Turkish folk music and Western rock and pop music. The roots of this music genre are perhaps already in the 50s when The Shadows made an impact also on Turkish soil. I'm not that familiar with this genre, but most of the psych rock fans must at least have heard about  the legendary Turkish psychedelic guitar player Erkin Koray. Barış Manço (born 2 January 1943, Istanbul - died 1 February 1999 of a heart attack) is one of the biggest and most famous names in Anatolian Rock. He started his career already in the early 60s releasing a lot of pop / rock'n roll singles in Turkey and France, where he also lived for some time. His first album came out in 1971, and by this time his music also included lots of progressive and psychedelic elements. You can expect to pay hundreds of euros for an original copy these days... He also worked as a TV host which of course helped making him popular.

Sözüm Meclisten Dışarı was originally released in 1981, and during this phase Barış played and recorded with Kurtalan Ekspres, a band he co-founded. By this time, the music also included lots of groovy funk influences. This album still includes some psychedelic guitar work and spacey synthesizers that along with traditional Anatolian vibes, a great rhythm section and amazing vocals in Turkish make this a very enjoyable album. The album starts off with a great duet with Deniz Tüney called "Alla Beni Pulla Beni", and I really like the combination of female and male vocals on this one. The next few tracks are perhaps not really that exciting and sort of reminds me of the more mainstream stuff that Demis Roussos released after his debut album. Some of the vocals are also in English. One of the highlights is the beautiful, cosmic and mystical ballad "Gülpembe". The groovy funk/boogie stuff begins on the B side with "Adem Oğlu Kızgın Fırın Havva Kızı Mercimek"! It's almost impossible not to dance to this sexy masterpiece... I also love the exotic melodies and vibes on "Ali Yazar Veli Bozar". The longest and most spacey track on the album is the instrumental "2025 (Üçüncü Ve Son Yolculuk)" that starts of with some weird, spacey Moog sounds. This brings to mind Vangelis or even Tangerine Dream! After four minutes a funky bass and beat is added to a great effect, and later on we also get some pretty progressive stuff. Amazing! Also the last piece "Dönence" is a marvelous, spacey, progressive and psychedelic number in the 70s space/prog rock vein (a bit like Eloy?!) and also has some spoken word before the vocals start in the middle. There's also a brilliant guitar solo in there when the funk starts again. Very nice and atmospheric stuff! The music has been remastered and the album is now released on both CD and vinyl so be sure to get a copy if you are interested in a cool example of genuine Anatolian rock.

tiistai 19. huhtikuuta 2016

Black Rainbows - Stellar Prophecy

Heavy Psych Sounds Records (HPS037)

Black Rainbows, the heavy psych/stoner rock trio from Rome, just released their fifth album Stellar Prophecy and oh boy do they rock out. I was really impressed with their previous album Hawkdope they put out only last year, and the band continues to deliver the heavy psych goods within just one year. Like before, they mix together influences of early 70s hard rock, space rock and stoner rock to a great effect.

The new album includes seven tracks in 44 minutes. Fast, furious and hard rocking "Electrify" starts off the riot bringing to mind MC5 and Fu Manchu (especially the vocals). Fuzzy, wild and pounding stuff, perfect for drinking a few beers and letting out some steam. The slower "Woman" sounds like some long-forgotten bluesy heavy psych rock group from the late 60s/early 70s. We also get some Hammond to enhance the 70s vibe, nice! There's also a cool guitar solo in there. "Golden Window" is the longest track on the album at 11:39 and has also organ, synth, spoken word samples and trippy tape echoes to enhance the psychedelic, moody atmosphere. The track really starts after two minutes and I'm in heavy stoner rock heaven. I'm reminded of some early Monster Magnet stuff that I really love. What an amazing journey through space, time and mind! Then it's time for a short, straight-forward heavy rocker "Evil Snake" that seriously kicks ass. Some space sounds and Iron Maiden -styled guitar melodies are added for a good measure. "It's Time to Die" is a groovy 70s styled stoned hard rock piece, and on "Keep the Secret" the band gets even groovier not forgetting the cow bell and some more epic and floating parts will follow later on. Excellent! The album is finished with the long, spacey and lysergic "The Travel" and travel we must. What a great and trippy ending for a fine album, I love it! Don't miss this great release out on vinyl, CD and digital.

Jupiter - Interstellar Chronodive


Jupiter is a young progressive & psychedelic hard/stoner/retro rock band from Finland. Interstellar Chronodive is their second album following 2014's Your Eccentric State of Mind CD and a split 7" with Centipede in 2013. I've sort of been keeping my third eye on them since the beginning and been happy with their progress. This album was first release on tape and then on vinyl a few months later in late 2015, so I'm a bit late with my review, but it took a while to get this LP.

The album starts off with "Stonetrooper". First we get some bluesy jamming, but before the three-minute-marker the heavy rocking begins, and soon the vocals join in. I often find the vocals the weak link in young bands like this, but now they are okay and in tune. There is a certain Black Sabbath vibe, but the music is more progressive and energetic and not really that doomy. Nice, long & groovy solo ending in this one! "Spirit of the Leech" is a tight and pretty heavy hard rock tune bringing to mind some of the millions of Swedish 70s styled hard rock bands out there. Again there's some hot guitar soloing and some nice, proggy jamming going on. The playing is very good on this album by all. On "Premonitions" the band cools down a bit at first, but then the rocking starts again. This is a heavy one, also including some cool, trippy jamming and soloing. The shortest track is "Dispersed Matter/Astral Portal" at 4:31. It's rather progressive, moody going that reminds me of Kingston Wall a bit. Not a bad thing, of course! "In Flux" is the longest track (14:08) and includes some cool, heavy & groovy 70s guitar riffing as well as a long, quiet, trippy & experimental end section. Great! The album is finished with the strong & heavy "Vantage Point" that is probably the best track on the album. Along with Kaleidobolt and a few others Jupiter is definitely one of the most promising young progressive stoner rock bands in Finland so be sure to check them out!

sunnuntai 17. huhtikuuta 2016

Astral Visions #63 online!

Hello folks!
Here's Dj Astro's new Astral Visions psych mix with tracks by Nicklas Sørensen, Causa Sui, Doug Tuttle, Stay, Octopus Syng, Crystal Jacqueline, Sounds of New Soma, Ecstatic Vision, Blaak Heat, Telstar Sound Drone, July, Sendelica, White Hills & The Myrrors. Enjoy!

torstai 14. huhtikuuta 2016

Liquid Generation - Quarter to Zen

Green Monkey Records (GM1034)

I've got to say I'm not the biggest fan of raw garage punk, but every now and then it's good to really get your blood running and adrenaline levels up with some good old, trashy, high-energy psych punk pounding. Liquid Generation was one of the first neo-psych rock bands from Seattle and only stayed together for about one year (1984). The band was very inspired by the 60s garage psych bands that were just making another round with compilations like Nuggets and Pebbles. They released just one 7" single in 1985 on Green Monkey Records with original songs "I Love You" and "1/4 to Zen" and then they were gone. They did how ever record some other tracks as well and play gigs with their repertoire mostly consisting of 60s garage psych covers.

This CD released in March compiles all (?) of their studio recordings and include 16 tracks in total. The recordings were made with 4 & 8 track analogue tape recorders and sound pretty raw but that just suits the music style perfectly. You could actually pretty easily think that this was recorded in some basement in the 60s! Most of the songs are rather fast and furious with almost screamed vocals, but there are a few exceptions. "1/4 to Zen" that starts off the CD is actually a pretty great tune, and it was penned by rhythm guitarist Bob Blackburn who started his garage rock career already in 1966 playing some mean Farfisa organ in a band called The Hardtimes. Some songs sound almost like The Misfits or The Ramones, so not really that psychedelic and more punk than garage rock. I like the fuzz guitar solos and the playing is actually pretty good by the whole band. The album ends with "Endless Summer", a pretty and more melodic and downbeat original by the singer Jeremy Meyer that also has some very nice organ. One of my favourites. This is wild, loud, raw, honest and energetic rocking and friends of garage punk really should check this album out. 

Crystal Jacqueline - Morning Dew 7"

Regal Crabomophone (winkle 24)

Crystal  Jacqueline (real name Jacqueline Bourne, I guess) is the beautiful-voiced singer of the UK neo-psych pop/rock/folk band The Honey Pot who recently released their amazing new album and single on Mega Dodo (check out my review over here). She has been busy with her partner and band mate Icarus Peel, and here's another excellent release by the duo. This limited 7" EP has four tracks, three of which are covers and one an original composition by Mr. Peel.

First we've got a great version of Bonnie Dobson's early 60s folk piece "Morning Dew". This song has previously been recorded by Lulu, The Grateful Dead, Jeff Beck, Lee Hazelwood, Nazareth and a lot of other folks, but somehow Crystal Jacqueline manages to make it sound as their own with a bit more pop-rock touch. Excellent, extended version, the track is perfect for Jacqueline's clear voice! "Ivy" is the shortest and only original on the EP, and more folky and fragile with acoustic guitar etc. I really like this beautiful little song! On the B side, there are two more treasures to be found. "Moonsong: Pelog" is originally by Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies and released on their 1969 album The American Metaphysical Circus. I don't remember ever hearing this brilliant song before, I must confess in shame... It's just brilliant, mellow psych folk/rock masterpiece! Crystal Jacqueline's version does a great homage, totally wonderful, dreamy and trippy stuff. Finally, they cover another early 60s song by The Jaynettes: "Sally Go Round the Roses". I've never heard this song before either, but it sounds very pretty and different and grows towards the end. Get this superb EP as soon as you can!

perjantai 8. huhtikuuta 2016

July - Can I Go Back Again 7"

Fruits de Mer Records (crustacean 71)

July is one of those late 60s British R & B/blues/psych bands that I have somehow missed listening to until now apart from a few songs on UK psych compilations. They released just one eponymous album and a few 7" singles in 1968 and the original pressing is very rare and unbelievably expensive (2.500£?!?) nowadays. You might have heard some of their songs like "The Way", "Friendly Man", "Dandelion Seeds" or "My Clown". The Second of July was released in the 90's including demos recorded before the first album, and finally the band made a comeback and started to play live shows in 2011 and released a new album Resurrection in 2013. What we have here, is the first 7" by the band since 1968 including an extended version of a song from the 2013 album as well as an unreleased demo version of the same track on B-side. Cool! "Can I Go Back Again" is a song that at first doesn't really sound all that special but slowly gets into your head and you suddenly realize how great it is. The demo version is not overtly different, but a nice addition to the fans to give a work-in-progress vibe. Now I feel like listening to some more July! As always, this 7" released in May will be highly limited so get your orders in right now.

Sendelica - I'll Walk the Stars for You / Live at Immerhin / The Cromlech Chronicles

VE Recordings / Sunhair / Fruits de Mer

The Welsh psychedelic space rock band Sendelica (one of my favourite bands at the moment!) really have been prolific lately while celebrating their 10th anniversary. They now have three new albums coming up during just a few months and I will now go briefly through them all.

 I'll Walk the Stars for You is a new studio album released on the Italian label VE Recordings. These guys also publish the excellent Vincebus Eruptum heavy psych mag that I always review at the Zone. This is an exquisite release with some really special guest musicians like the legendary Twink and space lord Nik Turner! The album starts off with "Black Widow Man" with Twink on vocals. This is a surprisingly short track for Sendelica (4:23) and perfectly catches the essence of heavy, trippy space rocking. Wonderful! The basic tracks for a space jam called "Moscow Bunker Blues" were recorded in Moscow some time ago with Vasily Bartov (Re-Stoned) on drums, and the band has made some cool overdubs in their own Afterhours Studio in Wales adding some organ, jazzy sax and spacey guitar layers. Wow, a very nice 11-minute trip! "Albatross" is a pretty, bluesy instrumental with Nik Turner adding some flute. We all can fly if we just close our eyes and relax! The longest track on the album is "I Once Fed Peter Green's Albatross" at 15:39. Parts of this were again recorded in Moscow, but lots of keyboards, sound effects, theremin & sax have been added. This is a beautiful, atmospheric and ambient track that really floats magnificently somewhere up there and you are invited to join the flight. The album ends with the beautiful, spacey ballad "Dance Stars Dance" and Twink shows that he still can offer some excellent vocals. Very emotional and touching. 250 copies on black vinyl and 250 on spacey blue with poster. Also out on limited CD on Sendelica's own FRG Records. Marvellous stuff!

 Live at Immerhin is the band's latest live album and was recorded in Wurzburg, Germany last year. The sound quality is excellent, and the band in full swing. Due to time limitations the highly limited vinyl (175 on black, 175 on splatter vinyl) version only includes five of the tracks on the CD (limited to 300 copies) and digital release, but if you buy the vinyl you get to download the whole set. They start out with their old classic, slow space rock jam "Spaceman Bubblegum" and are already on fire. The heavy "Standing on the Edge" is one of their shortest tracks and not featured on the LP. Another old song "Manhole of the Universe" sounds fresh here and includes some ripping solo guitar by Pete and cool jamming by all. "Set the Controls for the Buddha" last for "only" for about seven minutes this time, but the listeners are transported into some strange, magical world in that time. Based on Pink Floyd's "Set the Controls...", of course. My mind is blown. Some faster space rocking as well as more introspective ambience is offered with "Master Benjamin Warned Young Albert Not to Step on the Un-insulated Air". Sadly not on the vinyl version. "Baalbek Stones" originally from 2015's Anima Mundi album rocks pretty hard as well. The old, dreamy and hazy space ballad "Siren" ends the set magnificently. What a great set, although pretty much the same as on their Live from the 7th Psychedelic Network Festival 2014 2LP. The guys still never play a certain track exactly the same way twice, so things keep interesting.

The Cromlech Chronicles presents some new studio recordings by the band recorded mostly live with just some minimal overdubs just before the 13th Dream Festival last year. The title of the album comes form the ancient megalithic monument dating back over 3000 years that was close to the studio in Wales. It will also be pictured inside the open gatefold cover, and the already sold-out box version comes with a Cromlech DVD, Cromlech print etc. Pete's rather obsessed with prehistoric stone monuments, you know... Anyway, let's get to the music. This instrumental LP that will be released next month begins with a long jam "The Chromlech Suite Parts I to IV" that takes the whole A side of the vinyl version. This is a dreamy, spacey and atmospheric jam that somehow manages to bring some of the ancient mysteries back to our modern age. The band starts to rock out more in the middle of the 23-minute piece and I'm loving it. "Satori (Part I)" is a loose cover version of a Flower Travellin' Band track form 1971 and works very well. "Vellichor" is one of those beautiful, melodic and emotional pieces that Sendelica are so great with. Very nice! Roger Morgan plays some piano on this one. Then we only have one more track left, but it's the ten-minute psychedelic space-time continuum "Zenosyne" that has lots of excellent electronic violin by spacial guest Cyndee Lee Rule. Wow! Another killer album by Sendelica, pre-order while you still can. Also available on limited CD edition.

torstai 7. huhtikuuta 2016

Goatess - Purgatory Under New Management

Svart Records 

Goatess is a Swedish stoner doom metal band fronted by Chritus Linderson (ex-Count Raven, ex-Terra Firma, ex-Saint Vitus) who's also the singer in international doom metal group Lord Vicar. The band released their first album in 2013 on CD and double vinyl, and after some hard times recorded this new album in 2015. I really liked their debut, but this time the band has come up with something much more psychedelic, interesting and mind-blowing. The slow, doomy, heavy and hypnotic riffs and very Ozzy-like, powerful vocals of Chritus are still in the main focus, but now there is much more variation in guitar effects and moods and there are also some samples and synthesizers to give the album a fresh, atmospheric twist. The production is top-notch for this kind of heavy stoner stuff.

The almost eleven-minute "Moth to Flame" starts off the album in a great, doomy manner also having some more atmospheric parts. The title track "Purgatory Under New Management" has s cool spoken sample at the beginning, and then the slow, heavy riffing in the Saint Vitus style begins. Again, we also get a lighter, dreamy and psychedelic section in the middle as well. What a great track! "Murphy Was an Optimist" is a very heavy doom metal song that also has some lead guitar work. I'd still like to hear some more ripping guitar solos, but apparently this is not what Goatess is about. "Crocodilians and Other Creepy Crawling Shhh..." has some swampy sound effects and spoken word samples and yes, it's another slow and mesmerizing stoner doom piece, but this time without vocals and with some very cool & trippy guitar layers. The mid-tempo"Shadowland" rocks a bit more in the Black Sabbath/Trouble vein and it's another killer song. Also "Silent War" brings to mind Black Sabbath a bit and there's some groovy wah wah guitar on this one, and some solo guitar as well. Cool! One of my absolute favourites is the deep and amazing "Wrath of God", that has some excellent synth stuff and a really out-of-this-world vibe. Brilliant! I also really like the last, mid-tempo song "Good Morning" that somehow reminds me of The Obsessed. Some lead guitar in here as well, and very nice riffs! All in all, if Purgatory is now managed by Goatess, I will have no problem staying there a few aeons, since these guys definitely know what they are doing and they do it right. The release date for this album is April the 15th for CD and digital and June the 3rd for the 2LP, pre-order now. Also make sure you go to see Goatess live when you can because they kick ass.

maanantai 4. huhtikuuta 2016

Various Artists - Paper Leaves

Ptolemaic Terrascope ‎(TEA-02)

Paper Leaves is a new highly limited (just 200 copies) compilation LP put out by the legendary Ptolemaic Terrascope magazine from the UK. Ptolemaic Terrascope magazine was edited by Phil McMullen from 1989 - 2005 and nearly three dozen issues were published. At the moment the zine only lives in cyber space, but there are still a lot reviews etc. Paper Leaves includes eight tracks donated by the artists to keep the zine going, and is actually a very cool and enjoyable release.

Black Tempest starts the album with a cosmic, tranquil ambient piece "Terrascopula Tempestua" and the listeners are floating in space. 80s Psych pop master Nick Nicely offers a beautiful, melancholic track called "Dance Away" and I love it. Dead Sea Apes continue with their hypnotic space/kraut/psych rock track "Universal Translator" and take us into strange dimensions getting heavier during the journey. White Hills are without a doubt one of the leading stars on the present psych rock pantheon and I'm a huge fan. The instrumental "Thermal Head" presents the band's more experimental/heady style.

On the B-side Ben Chasny from Six Organs of Admittance performs an acoustic, folky cover of Wayne Rogers song "Dead and Rising", and this kind of folk music has always been one of the main interests of Ptolemaic Terrascope. Then we've got another "cover" as The Left Outsides do a beautiful and fragile version of the traditional folk song "Young Girl Cut Down In Her Prime". Wonderful! The Bevis Frond has always been closely tied to Ptolemaic Terrascope since Nick Saloman has been helping out a lot & donated many songs to the 7" EP's and later CD's that came with the original issues of the mag. "Back In The Churchyard" sounds like one of Nick's bedroom demos but as always, shows what a great songwriter and musician he is. One of my heroes! Bardo Pond from the U.S.A. are one of the most important underground psych rock acts of our time and they offer a majestic, dreamy and slow track called "Pumori" that is a very suitable finale for this marvelous compilation. They do speed up and rock out towards the end. If you are fast enough you might be able to score one of the very last copies of this vinyl album from the Terrascope site, after that it might be quite difficult. Warmly recommended!