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lauantai 26. marraskuuta 2016

Gong - Rejoice! I'm Dead!

Madfish (SMALP1049)

Gong has been one of my favourite bands for decades. For many fans it was a bit hard to think of the band continueing after Daevid Allen sadly died in March 2015 after battling with a fast advancing cancer. I must say I also had my doubts, even if that was exactly what Daevid had wanted and the present members had already played and recorded with him for a while. After that we have also lost Gilly Smyth, another key character in the history and mystery of Planet Gong. Now the band is fronted by guitarist/singer Kavus Torabi, who some might know for example from his band Knifeworld, and I got to say this new album released in September is really good and a worthy addition to the Gong saga.

The standard CD and the 2LP both have nine new tracks starting with the relatively short (3:34), sort of introductory "The Thing That Should Be". As you can already guess from the album title, much of the record deals with the death of Daevid Allen, but mostly as a transformation to another stage, so the overal feel is still quite positive and soothing. "Rejoice!" is a more progressive, long piece with Steve Hillage guesting on guitar. The band goes into some deep, hazy atmospheres later on and I love it. This sure sounds like Gong! "Kapital" is a pretty weird, shorter track, and "Model Village" a beautiful, floating piece with old Gong member Didier Malherbe guesting on duduk. Wonderful! The very melancholic, rather minimal "Beatrix" is the shortest track at 2:54, and I almost started to cry when I first heard the distant voice of Daevid Allen, and the track still has the same effect on me. Next we have "Visions", an ambient excursion. The longest track on the album is "The Unspeakable Stands Revealed" and it's a marvellous, trippy and jazzy journey with lots of different turns and twists. Amazing! "Through Restless Seas I Come" is a meditative, peaceful and pretty tune that gets more intense and alive later on. Didier is also featured on this one. The album is finished with "Insert Yr Own Prophecy", a very cool and partly more energetic track that sounds and feels quite a lot like early 70s Gong which I think is great. What a marvellous trip! There is also a special 2CD/DVD-A release also including demos, rehearsals and a 5.1. mix of the album.

I know this must have been a difficult album for the band to make, but I can honestly say that they have done a great job and I know Daevid Allen is very happy on his flying teapot somewhere out there seeing that the legacy of Gong continues on this plane as well...

Weites Luftmeer - Siebenunddreißigachtundvierzig

Tonzone Records (TON 020)


Tonzonen Records once again succeeded to surprise me with some great, never before heard psychedelic music! Weites Luftmeer is a duo from Munich, Germany, making instrumental, psychedelic, alternative shoegaze music. Now I really don't know anything about their past, but Kim (drums, bass, hammered dulcimer) and Jochen (guitar, effects, berimbau) formed the band in 2012 and they have several digital only releases on their Bandcamp site. I guess this LP is their first proper release and as always on Tonzonen, a strictly limited edition.

Siebenunddreißigachtundvierzig includes just four tracks, but they are all about ten minutes in length. I don't really know how to descibe their pretty unique music, but it has elements of 60s/70s psych rock, 80s shoegaze, experimental and ambient music, even prog. Some of it rocks out, but there are also very floating, atmospheric and emotional elements (just listen to the heavenly "Trail of Thoughts"). The last, a bit harder rocking and mind-blowing "Oxykotin" brings to mind some other modern psych masters like Vibravoid or Giöbia. I'm an instant fan of the band and since all the elements (arrangements, playing, sound quality, psych vibe etc.) really work I'd like to recommend this album to all fans of instrumental psych rock.

sunnuntai 13. marraskuuta 2016

Dj Astro's playlist @ Pentagram/Satan/Spiritus Mortis/The Order of Israfel/Satan's Fall, Nosturi, Helsinki, 12.11.2016

Wow, what an amazing event... I had lots of fun!

This is what I played, more metal than usual of course!

Liquid Sound Company - League for Spiritual Discovery Lives
La Ira De Dios - Perdidos En El Espacio
On Trial - Blinded by the Sun
Josiah - Looking at the Mountain
Exciter - Oblivion/Violence & Force
Mercyful Fate - Satan's Fall
Damien Thorne - The Sign of the Jackal
Cloven Hoof - Cloven Hoof
Hallow's Eve - Hallow's Eve
Manowar - Gloves of Metal
Blessed Death -  Blessed Death
Demon - Don't Break the Circle
Angel Witch - White Witch
Candlemass - Gothic Stone/The Well of Souls
Trouble - Run to the Light
Deep Purple - Burn
Iron Maiden - Where Eagles Dare
Black Sabbath - Children of the Grave
Witchfinder General - Friends of Hell
Judas Priest - Breaking the Law
Manowar - Warlord
Obsessed - Tombstone Highway
Saint Vitus - One Mind
Motörhead - The Ace of Spades
Venom - In League with Satan
Blue Öyster Cult - Astronomy

Some videos I shot at the event:

torstai 10. marraskuuta 2016

Dj Astro to dj at the Pentagram/Satan/Spiritus Mortis/The Order of Israfel/Satan's Fall show in Helsinki this Saturday!

I'm thrilled to announce that I will be djing at the Pentagram show @ Nosturi, Helsinki, this Saturday 12.11.2016! Get your tickets now since this will be an event not to miss...

I will be spinning the best doom/metal/heavy psych available to human ears starting at 20:00.

23:00 SATAN (UK)


keskiviikko 9. marraskuuta 2016

The Honey Pot - Ascending Scales

Fruits de Mer Records (winkle 25)

Fruits de Mer Records with their sister labels have been very productive  since their inception in 2008. What would be a better way to celebrate the 100th release on the label than to make excellent psychedelic musicians to record a great double LP with original and classic tunes and inviting lots of friends of the fish to join the mind-altering ride as guests! This is exactly what happened and the result will see the light of day next month with Ascending Scales, one of the best albums in 2016.

The Honey Pot is an U.K based psych rock/folk band featuring FdM / Mega Dodo heroes Icarus Peel and Crystal Jacqueline, who are very capable of creating marvellous music by themselves. On this album their band is joined by many famous musicians like Dick Taylor (The Pretty Things), James Lowe (The Electric Prunes), Tom Newman and Peter Cook (July), Tony Durant (Fuchsia), Nick Saloman and Adrian Shaw (The Bevis Frond) as well as lots of little more underground and modern artists that have been connected to Fruits de Mer. Even 12 of the 14 tracks on this 80-minute album have at least one guest musician on it!

Right away from the opener "1969" starting off with a small spoken piece by James Lowe it's clear that this album is a winner. "Solomon Deep" sounds a bit like Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love?", so Dick Taylor's great guitar solo fits like a glove. "Love Is Green" with Jack Ellister on guitars is a beautiful, folky tune. Anton Barbeau's vocals are perfect for the rather cheery and up-beat psych pop piece "Dr. Crippen's Waiting Room", originally by Orange Machine. One of my faves on this album! The spooky "Can't You See the Witch" (The Ruttles) rocks out great with synths by Cary Grace, another highlight on the first album. The July guys are a great match to the mellow, a bit bluesy "Half a Memory", a new song written for this album. Then it's time for some folk vibes again with the Pretty Things classic "Sitting Alone". Wonderful female vocals (four different ones) on this one! The seven-minute "I've Been So Tired" is one of the most psychedelic and experimental tracks and originally from Mordecai Smyth's first album. There's also some sax by Tabatha Smyth and very psyched-out solo guitar work. Very nice!

The second slap of vinyl starts off with "Time Machine" by Stray. Ade Shaw is playing bass and Nick Saloman does the wonderful guitar solo when the track really starts to rock out. I can never get enough of his guitar! "Lucky Spaceman" has Curvey from The Luck of Eden Hall on vocals and guitar and I like it a lot. "Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow" (Strawberry Alarm Clock) gets a very special and atmopsheric treatment with Steve Palmer from Mooch playing some exotic whistles and pipes from his large ethnic instrument collection. "America" is a tune we all are familiar with, but it still sounds somehow fresh in here. Then it's time for a The Honey Pot original "Into the Deep" and it sure is a great track as well. I love there spacey sounds and theremin and the guest on this one is Bruce Woolley (from Buggles). Tony Durant from Fuchsia is saved for the last and "River Runs By" joint written by Icarus Peel and Tony for this release is a wonderful, peaceful way to end the trip. There are no fillers on the album, so 80 minutes go by in a lovely haze and wonder. The mix of old and new songs and inclusion of so many superb guests makes this a very interesting and enjoyable experience. Just get this marvelloous album!

tiistai 8. marraskuuta 2016

Various Artists - Plankton - A Fruits de Mer Collection

Record Collector Magazine / Fruits de Mer (?)

I feel a bit weird reviewing an album that was originally released three years ago, but what an excellent compilation this is. Record Collector honored (and quite rightfully too!) Fruits de Mer Records in 2013 by releasing a vinyl compilation of the first dozen FdM releases with all tracks remastered, and it surely was one of the best releases that year for me even though I of course had all the original cover EP's. This great LP also got a one-sided 7" with a Pretty Things track on it and was limited to 500 copies. Now the album is available again but now through Fruits de Mer and on CD, but limited to just 300 copies!

The cover track selection is totally superb, and you just can't wrong with bands like Schizo Fun Addict, Stay, Vibravoid, Us and Them etc. Okay, so as you know, the key is that modern artists perform the psychedelic treasures from the past, but you can also find two 70s cult acid folk heroes on the disc: Mark Fry doing a new version of his sublime "Dreaming with Alice" and Alison O'Donnell doing a lovely cover of Nick Drake's "When the Day Is Gone". Since things are never too smooth and clever with Fruits de Mer, they have used the very same, and really awesome, cover art than was used on the original LP, so the bonus Pretty Things live track is not even mentioned, and the label story inside the open gatefold by Fruits de Mer's Keith is almost unreadable for most people over forty. But these are just minor things considering how wonderful it is that you can now get all that great music easily even if you don't have a vinyl player and at a great price too.

Hotlist November 2016!

High there! I was too busy last month to even put out a hotlist but here's my top ten at the moment (in no particular order):

Baby Woodrose - Freedom LP + 7"
Blown Out ‎– New Cruiser LP + CD
Kandodo / McBain ‎– Lost Chants/Last Chance 2LP
Vibravoid ‎– Wake Up Before You Die LP + bonus live LP
Various Artists ‎– Magnetic North LP
Flowers Must Die ‎– Sista Valsen 12"
Our Solar System ‎– In Time LP
Seedy Jeezus with Isaiah Mitchell ‎– TranquonautsLP
Lamp Of The Universe ‎– Hidden Knowledge LP
Sendelica ‎– The Pavillion Of Magic And Trials Of The Seven Surviving Elohim 2LP