Listen to the latest Astral Visions Mixcloud Show!

perjantai 29. joulukuuta 2017

Astral Visions #77 Mixcloud Show now online!

It's been a great year what comes to music! Here's my last show this year, have fun...


  • 1 You're No Good (from Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay)by Psychic Lemon
  • 2 The Same Sun (from The Same Sun 7")by The Pretty Things
  • 3 Ring the Albanian (from S/T)by Helicon
  • 4 Follow Mw (from Follow Me)by More Experience
  • 5 Strange Space (from Intro / Outro)by Moths & Locusts
  • 6 San Pedro (from Oscilador)by Fonez
  • 7 Sunrizer (from Quiet Pass)by Sleeping Pandora
  • 8 The Storm (from Before the Storm 7")by Into the Sky
  • 9 Steve Machine (from Thought Zero)by Crystal Cloisters
  • 10 United Fruit (from V/A - Return Of Son Of Gutbucket - An Underground Canadian Psych Explosion)by Shooting Guns
  • 11 Deep Throat River Holy Mountain High (from Freak Out Orgasm!)by Hibushibire
  • 12 Light of Love (from Dark Weave)by Mark McDowell
  • 13 The Orange Coat (from Mushroom Mantras)by Vibravoid
  • 14 Even Though My Mouth Is Silent (Chromlech Chronicles II)by Sendelica

The best albums of 2017!

This is my top 30 of foreign studio albums this year, in alphabetical order:

3rd Ear Experience ‎– Stones Of A Feather
Anthroprophh ‎– SRR 2.5 Special Love Songs For Hard-Working People In Alarm Clock Britain
The Black Angels ‎– Death Song
Blown Out ‎– Superior Venus
Chrome – Techromancy 
The Cosmic Dead ‎– Psych Is Dead
Cosmic Trickers ‎– Homo Fraktaliens
Earthling Society ‎– Zen Bastard
Ecstatic Vision ‎– Raw Rock Fury
Electric Moon ‎– Stardust Rituals 
Electric Orange - EOXXV 
Grails ‎– Chalice Hymnal
Hawklords ‎– Six
Hawkwind ‎– Into The Woods
Helicon ‎– S/T
Julie's Haircut ‎– Invocation And Ritual Dance Of My Demon Twin 
Uffe Lorenzen ‎– Galmandsværk
John McBain ‎– Accidental Soundtracks Vol. 1
Moon Duo ‎– Occult Architecture Vol. 1 & 2
Moths & Locusts ‎– Intro/Outro
The Myrrors ‎– Hasta La Victoria
Plastic Crimewave Syndicate ‎– Thunderbolt Of Flaming Wisdom
Sendelica ‎– Lilacs Out of the Deadlands
The Sonic Shamen ‎– Tribute to Lemmy
Nik Turner ‎– Life In Space 
Vert:x ‎– From Now to Now
Vespero ‎– Shum-Shir 
White Manna ‎– Bleeding Eyes
Vibravoid ‎– Mushroom Mantras
Øresund Space Collective ‎– Hallucinations Inside The Oracle

And here's my top 10 Finnish albums in 2017:

Circle ‎– Terminal
Deep Space Destructors ‎– Psychedelogy
Hisko Detria ‎– Mal Du Siècle
Mikko Joensuu ‎– Amen 3
Kairon; IRSE! ‎– Ruination
PH ‎– Eternal Hayden
Siinai ‎– Sykli 
Soft Power ‎– In a Brown Study
Steel Mammoth ‎– Atomic Oblivion
Warp Transmission ‎– Tamám Shud 

sunnuntai 10. joulukuuta 2017

Sendelica - Cromlech Cronicles II

Strange Fish (strange fish 10)

Welsh psych heads Sendelica returned in summer 2016 to Mwnci studio beside the ancient burial cromlech in West Wales. One year before they came up with the magical Cromlech Chronicles album (check out my review) and this is a natural successor to that great album. Like usual, they invited some friends with them and the instrumentation is now even more varied than usual with lots of cello, saxophone, Tibetan singing bowls, shaman drums, sansula, ting sha, mbira etc. Although the album is almost instrumental, there is also female chanting in Sanskrit, for example! As you might have guessed, the overal atmosphere on the album is very ambient, laid-back and atmospheric, and there is actually NO hard space rocking at all. I can live with that, since the album has a sacred, ancient and mystical vibe that I really enjoy. If you liked the guitar player Pete's recent The Fellowship of Hallucinatory Voyagers project, you will also dig this for sure.

There are only two, side-long tracks on the album: "Ripples of the Megaliths" and "Even Though My Mouth Is Silent". Both are based on improvisation and flow somewhere in ether like some mystical tides from the past. The electronics enhance the spacey mood. It's all very soft, melancholic, sort of jazzy and ethereal and there is not much guitar to be heard. All in all, if you want to chill out and float in magical atmospheres, this album is for you.

The Pretty Things - The Same Sun 7" EP

Fruits de Mer Records (crustacean 83)

The Pretty Things are of course one of the most legendary survivors of the 60's UK r'n'b/beat/mod/freakbeat/psych scene and, as it happens, Fruits de Mer boss Keith's favourite band. The Pretties are still going strong and I must say that their performance at Roadburn Festival in 2013 was one of the best and most memorable that year. I will always remember when I wished Dick Taylor a great gig just when he was going up from the backstage area to stage and received a heartly smile and a very polite English thank you... What a great moment!

Anyway, what we have here is a four-track 7" EP. Things (!) start off with Keith's fave song from the new album The Sweet Pretty Things (Are In Bed Now, Of Course...). "The Same Sun" is a really nice, mid-tempo hard rocker that brings to mind their Parachute album a bit. I also love the vocals that really give some perspective to being a human being. It doesn't matter where you are on planet Earth, it's still the same Sun we all see, although it is seen through different eyes. Great vocals and solo guitar work as well! Yes Keith, you were right: this IS a single track for sure! The other studio track is the wonderful "Renaissance Fair" originally released by The Human Instinct in 1968. The original 7" is now very collectable and expensive and it's easy to understand why! I love The Pretty Things version too, of course. On the B-side we've got two raw and energetic live tracks somewhere from the late 60s: "She Says Good Morning" and "Alexander". I wish I could have seen the band back then but I wasn't even born yet! Great stuff.

torstai 7. joulukuuta 2017

Moths and Locusts - Intro / Outro

Cardinal Fuzz / Noiseagonymayhem Records (CF080 / NAM 032)

I found out about this great Canadian band last year when their second album Helios Rising was released. I was so convinced that I just had to get their debut album Mission Collapse in the Twin Sun Megaverse as well. That was another killer slab of vinyl! This band had something different going on, something of their own. Unlike so many other bands riding on the psych rock bandwagon Moths and Locusts did indeed sound original and different. There were also elements of indie rock and punk that I usually don't really care for that much, but this band made everything sound great. You can imagine that I was really looking forward to their third album Intro / Outro and oh buy how pleased I'm now that I've got it!

This album sees the band going deeper into the space/psych rock realm still keeping some of their great melodies and catchy songs. The music is now much more trippy, spacey and hallucinatory, which is just perfect for me. They have not lost any of their originality, but I am sometimes reminded of bands like Lumerians making hybrid babies with Chrome. There is a powerful, otherwordly experimental vibe on some of the tracks like "Hymn to Hathor". The album starts off with the hypnotic and mid-tempo "Acid Cloud (Part 1)" that gets more intense little by little. I like the use of wordless female vocals on this one and a couple of more. You can also hear some proggy flute on some tracks, for example. Some of my favourites are the heavy "Strange Space" and the krautrock / stoner hybrid "Acid Cloud (Part 2)" that also gets rather heavy and simply fucks up your brain. There are also some beautiful, celestial moments like the instrumental "Scream" and semi-acoustic "Roadside". But everything sounds at least a bit weird and twisted, believe me... "He Who Has the Most Strings" includes one of the dirtiest bass sounds I've heard for a while and the weird, experimental last track "Martian Sunrise" sounds exactly like its title suggets. This album might not be for everyone, but for me it's one of the best in 2017. Check it out if you dare!

tiistai 5. joulukuuta 2017

Electric Orange - EOXXV

Adansonia Records (ar021)

Electric Orange from Germany have been celebrating their 25th birthday in 2017 and this massive 3LP box set / 2CD full of previously unreleased studio material is the highlight of the year. I've been a big fanboy of their cosmic, psychedelic krautrock sounds since the beginning and I'm happy to say they have only gotten better and better along the years. The 3LP version has one long track on each side and the 2CD has one more track that is also available on the download of the vinyl version.

The album starts off with the 23-minute "Continuum" that gives us a flight to some spacey alternative universe through a warmhole. It's a very trippy, hypnotic mysterious ride that I enjoy very much! "Under the Nun" is a bit shorter at 16 minutes, and has a cool laid-back groove going on until things get pretty weird and experimental. There is some more grooving later on, though. The 2CD and download now continue with the ambient piece "Gnosis" where tons of sacred information is being transmitted directly into your brain. "Misophonia IV" is another rather atmospheric, laid-back number but also has a tribal beat later on. "Misophonia V" pretty much continues the journey and I'm somehow reminded of Pink Floyd's live show in Pompeii although the sound is more modern here of course. "Faint" builds up slowly and turns into a real mind-bender with groovy rhythms, cosmic synth layers and electronic sounds. It even rocks hard at the beginning! Wow. It's nice to have some more guitar in the mix for a change. The last track "Residuum" is very ambient and floating for the first eight minutes or so but slowly grows. What can I say, these guys really know how to transport the listener into some strange, far-away galaxies. Just take it easy, pay attention and surrender to the cosmic captains. One of the best albums this year for sure!

perjantai 24. marraskuuta 2017

Into the Sky - Before the Storm 7"

Kosmic Noise Records (KNR001)

Into the Sky is a new indie/kraut rock band from  from Münster, Germany and this 7" is their first release. This is not exactly what I consider to be krautrock but still very nice, atmospheric, modern sounding instrumental post-rock stuff with some hypnotic elements. On the A side "The Storm" rocks out in a mellow, mid-tempo manner. I'm reminded of some of the big post-rock bands like Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai or maybe Maserati. I really like the vibe of this tune! On the flip side we've got the slower. even more post-rock styled "Before" that has beautiful melodies and moods. Towards the end the track gets more intense and heavier, great! This is very promising debut release by Into the Sky, let's wait and see what they can do on a full-length where they will have more time to expand their sonic palette. The single is available as a limited to 50 clear and 100 white vinyl and standard black vinyl. Check it out! 


sunnuntai 19. marraskuuta 2017

Dj Astro's playlist @ Alakulttuuritalo, Helsinki, 18.11.2017 (Black Lizard, Tombstoned)

It was a long, wonderful night! This is pretty much what I played (I probably forgot a few tunes):

Fifty Foot Hose - Red the Sign Post
Kraftwerk - Autobahn
13th Floor Elevators - Slip Inside This House
Goat - Goat Fuzz
The Who - I Can See for Miles
Hawkwind - Motorhead
Dead Skeletons - Om Mani Peme Hung
Jimi Hendrix - Purple Haze
Uriah Heep - Easy Living
Kikagaku Moyo - Green Sugar
The Chemistry Set - Legend of a Mind
Saturnia - Most Beautiful
Aphrodite's Child - Magic Mirror
The Illusion - Did You See Her Eyes
Kula Shaker - Tattva
Minami Deutsch - Futsu Ni Ikirenai
Octopus Syng - Reverberating Garden No. 7
Jefferson Airplane - Somebody to Love
The Rolling Stones - Child of the Moon
Lumerians - Dogon Genesis
Polska Radio One - The Fractalized Sky
Kingston Wall - I Feel Love
Dungen - Panda
Temples - Colours to Life
Cream - Sunshine of Your Love
The Rolling Stones - Jumpin' Jack Flash
Superfjord - A Love Supreme
Aphrodite's Child - The Four Horsemen
Ultimate Spinach - Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse
Roky Erickson - Two Headed Dog
The Third Bardo - I'm Five Years Ahead of My Time
The Open Mind - Magic Potion
Wooden Shjips - I Hear Vibrations
Hawkwind - Hassan I Sabbah
Baby Woodrose - Right to Get High
The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows
Love - Andmoreagain
Porcupine Tree - Sentimental
Strange Flowers - Of Green and of Milk

perjantai 17. marraskuuta 2017

Dark Bottle - Five Euro Pizza, Dark Bottle / New York Wannabes - Split 7"

Independent Records ‎(IR43979)

Okay, this must be the funniest and also one of the weirdest vinyl albums I've ever received for a review... The LP cover is designed to look like a pizza box and the picture disc has pictures of both sides of a standard Finnish five euro pizza! Dark Bottle is a band from Tampere playing an eccentric mix of folk, rock, county, rockabilly, kraut, psych and even doom! Most of the seven songs are written by the lead singer, five-string banjo and resonator guitar player Donald Lupo and tell about the funny things you see and experience in Finland as a foreigner... You really have to be a Finn or at least have lived here for some time to fully understand the hilarious lyrics on tracks like "Ballad of the Five Euro Pizza", "Perusulkomaalainen Blues" & "Bad Brownie #14"... The music is mostly rather up-beat and would go down well live with some beer & whiskey (and maybe pizza...).
What's most interesting for me is that in addition to the funny, energetic folk rock the band  also has a deeper, melancholic and even psychedelic vibes. The first sign of this is the A side's seven minute closer "Nothing Ever Happens on the Highway" that gets rather heavy towards the end. Also the otherwise pretty country rock oriented "I Only Wanted a Home" has a psychy, heavy middle part. The highlight for me still is the eight-minute rendition of the traditional "Pretty Polly". It gets rather hypnotic, mind-expanding and rocking at some point bringing to mind Circle even! Very nice. It would be interesting to see these guys live one of these days.

  I also received a 7" split EP by Dark Bottle and German band New York Wannabes. It includes two songs by both at 33 1/3 rpm. Dark Bottle's "Road Dust" is a fast folk/punk/pop tune that makes your adrenaline levels rise. "Way Down the Old Plank Road" is an old traditional American folk song about (not) drinking (anymore) and it's another fast blast to get you buying another pint or two. The two-piece New Your Wannabes are a bit more trashy garage rock psycho blues group from Frankfurt. For this little split recording they offer two tracks: "Dear Father" and "Out in the Desert". Just guitar, drums and vocals with no fancy overdubs. Pure and simple, but not exactly my cup of tee. Not bad, though.

keskiviikko 15. marraskuuta 2017

Dj Astro's playlist @ Kuudes Linja, 14.11.2017 (Moon Duo etc.)

Wow, what a great night! It was the third time I saw Moon Duo and they totally blew my mind! Loved the lightshow... I had never seen the support bands Ghost World or U.F.Ojala before, but they both had their great moments.

Anyway, here's what I played:

Dungen - Panda
Kikagaku Moyo - Green Sugar
Cranium Pie - Mothership
Saturnia - Most Beautiful
Baby Woodrose - No Other Girl
Groop - Kosmic Sound
Minami Deutch - Futsu Ni Ikirenai
Pete Bassman - Poison Butterfy
King Black Acid - Caterpillar Blood
Jacco Gardner - Find Yourself
Temples - Colours to Life
Black Lizard - Love Is a Lie
Goat - Goat Fuzz
Dead Skeletons - Om Mani Peme Hung
Kingston Wall - I Feel Love
Cloudland Canyon - Radioaktivität
The Chemistry Set - Legend of a Mind
Lumerians - Burning Mirrors
Polska Radio One - The Fractalized Sky
Morgan Delt - Barbarian Kings
Superfjord - A Love Supreme
Octopus Syng - Flaming
Magic Bus - Eight Miles High
Liquid Visions - Overstellar Interdrive
The Moffs - Another Day in the Sun
Sun Dial - Fireball
Spacemen 3 - That's Just Fine

Hotlist November!

These are the hottest things that have been spinning in Astral Zone HQ lately:

Nik Turner ‎- Life In Space
Hawklords - Six
Balduin ‎– Bohemian Garden
Electric Orange - EOXXV 3LP BOX 
The Fellowship of Hallucinatory Voyagers - This Is No Wilderness
White Hills ‎– Putting On The Pressure / Pull Back The Bolt 7"
Vespero - Shum-Shir
Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. – Those Who Came Never Before
Kaleidoscope – Tangerine Dream (50-years Birthday reissue with bonus 7")
Plastic Crimewave Syndicate - Thunderbolt Of Flaming Wisdom


lauantai 11. marraskuuta 2017

Vespero - Shum-Shir

Tonzonen Records (TON30)

Vespero is a great instrumental prog/space/psych/kraut rock band from Russia. I've been a fan since their first official CD album Rito put out ten years ago by RAIG. I have not even heard the couple latest releases since they are only out on CD (and I don't buy CD's or have received them as promos) but it feels so good to get a vinyl release by them again! Shum-Shir is the second part of Abyssinian Tales.

The first, long title track track is a groovy hybrid of Ozric Tentacles and Korai Öröm with a lot of originality as well. Very spacey, bubbling and danceable, also including nice violin. There is also a great part with tons of African sounding percussion, space sounds and speech samples. Excellent opener and probably my favourite track! The second track "Isidore's Dance" is even more up-beat after its Gong sounding intro and makes you want to dance in trance. Superb! There are also some more progressive phases in the middle. Hidria Spacefolk fans will love it. This band really knows how to make uplifting space music.

On side two we've got three tracks. The first one "Gaya's Dance" is another fast Ozrics styled number with great solos and hypnotic vibe. Oh how much I want to experience Vespero alive! "Gulli's Dance" goes into more experimental and electronic direction but is also very enjoyable and psychedelic. Superb playing by all once again. The last number "Hapi" is a bit more laid-back and electronic and a nice way to come down after all the high-energy ethnic space partying. All in all, I got to say that this is perhaps the best album by Vespero that I have heard and also highlights of 2017. Be sure to get the beautifull vinyl that is limited to 500 copies!

Å - Ånyo

Self-released (ÅLP002)

Swedish experimental prog/psych rock band Å (it means stream in Swedish if you were wondering) have returned after three years with their second album. Like the first, same titled LP in 2014 this is a highly limited (200 copies only), self-released effort. The band is Joel Öhlund (vocals, guitar/bass guitar), Milovan Fredriksson (guitar/bass guitar, backup vocals) and Erik Wallin (drums) with a couple of guests on flute and synthesizer. The music differs from heavy, hard-rocking psych to more pop-like stuff and traditional folk rock. The lyrics are in Swedish.

The album starts off with the hard-hitting and progressive "En Orm" that brings to mind King Crimson a bit. Nice! "Satan på Gatan" sounds at first a bit like Nuclear Nightclub era Wigwam or Dungen and later on things get very mystical and psychedelic during the long jam part. I like the guitar tone and playing in here! "Uti Vår Hage" is a traditional Swedish tune and has a cool, melancholic vibe. Brings to mind early 70s progressive folk rock bands from Sweden. "Följer Du Med Mig?" is the albums longest track at 12:22 and tight and heavy, progressive rock pounding. There are also more atmospheric, even jazzy soft parts in the middle. Great playing on this one again, and I also really like the vocals. Some spacey synth sounds in there as well. The album is finished with the slowly starting instrumental "Rustem" that is another traditional and gets rather intense and progressive later on. These guys can play and have a lot of great ideas so check them out!

perjantai 3. marraskuuta 2017

Special occult psych set by Dj Astro @ Dark Buddha Rising / Sum of R show at Kuudes Linja, Helsinki, on 25.11.2017!

Dj Astro is going to play a special occult psych set with music from the 60s to today at the Dark Buddha Rising / Sum of R show at Kuudes Linja, Helsinki, on 25.11.2017!

Blow your mind to the dark side...

keskiviikko 1. marraskuuta 2017

Astral Visions #76 now online @ Mixcloud!

Check out my brand-new Mixloud show at:


  • 1 Legend of a Mind (from Lovely Cup of Tea EP) by Chemistry Set
  • 2 Like A Setting Sun (from The Volga Sturgeon Face EP) by Nathan Hall & The Sinister Locals
  • 3 Quasar (from Passage to Agartha) by Hotel Wrecking City Traders
  • 4 In A Sad Red Dusk (from Gehenna EP) by Helicon
  • 5 Reflections in the Minds Eye (edit, from Hallucinations Inside The Oracle) by Øresund Space Collective
  • 6 Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You (from Always Here EP) by Stay
  • 7 Heavens Kate (from Sleep Safari) by Nick Nicely
  • 8 Future To The Ancients (from Thunderbolt of Flaming Wisdom ) by Plastic Crimewave Sound
  • 9 Sun Death (edit, from Bunker Sessions) by Strobe
  • 10 Europe (from Sykli) by Siinai
  • 11 Häxan (Version) (from Häxan (Versions by Prins Thomas)) by Dungen
  • 12 Continuum (edit, from EOXXV) by Electric Orange
  • 13 Keep Us In Space (edit, from Cosmic Ground III) by Cosmic Ground
  • 14 Epiohyte(Requiem For Mika) (from I) by Kaukolampi 

Dj Astro spinning vinyl at a vinyl sell/buy/swap happening this Saturday!

Since my good friend Dj IVA Karhu has better things to do, I will cover for him this Saturday at Elmun Baari, Helsinki, from noon to 16.00.

Bring your own vinyl and sell or swap them with other vinyl fanatics, have beer or two and listen to great music!

lauantai 28. lokakuuta 2017

Dj Astro's playlist 26.10.2017, Tavastia, Helsinki (Magma & Circle)

Amazing gigs by two of the best bands in the world: Magma and Circle! I was honored to be the dj for this sold-out event, and this is (pretty much) what I played and about in this order as well:

Ash Ra Tempel - Jenseits
Steve Hillage - Not Fade Away (Glid Forever)
Morgen - Of Dreams
The Illusion - Did You See Her Eyes
Cream - Swlabr
Atomic Rooster -  The Rock
Can - Spoon
Flowers Must Die - Psykjunta
Hallogalo 2010 - Blinkgürtel
Silver Apples - Lovefingers
Fifty Foot Hose - Red the Sign Post
The Open Mind - Magic Potion
Faust - So Far
Wooden Shjips - Vampire Blues
Kraftwerk - Radioactivity
Black Tempest - Rubycon Part 1
Aphrodite's Child - Break
King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King
Pink Floyd - See Emily Play
Arzachel - Garden of Earthly Delights
Gong - Flying Teapot
Brainticket - Palace of Light
Mahavishnu Orchestra - Meetings of the Spirit
Superfjord - Love Supreme
Silver Apples - Oscillations
Can - Vitamin C
Steve Hillage - Saucer Surfing
The Chemistry Set - Legend of a Mind
Fever Tree - San Francisco Girls
Hawkwind - Hassan I Sahba
Gun - Race with the Devil
Tomorrow - My White Bicycle
Eric Burdon and the Animals - Sky Pilot
Atomic Rooster - Devil's Answer
The Byrds - Eight Miles High
Amboy Dukes - Journey to the Center of Your Mind
The Electric Prunes - I had too Much to Dream (Last Night)
Focus - Hocus Pocus
The Who - I Can See for Miles
The Vanilla Fudge - You Keep Me Hanging On
Blue Öyster Cult - (Don't Fear) The Reaper
Strawberry Alarm Clock - Good Morning Sunshine

tiistai 24. lokakuuta 2017

Stay - Always Here 7" EP

Regal Crabomophone (winkle 29)

Stay is a Spanish (or should I say Catalonian?) psychedelic indie rock/pop band from Barcelona. They have been around for over ten years now and released several albums and singles. This is their fourth 7" for Fruits de Mer / Regal Crabomophone. This new 7" EP includes five tracks starting off with the excellent title track from their latest album The Mean Solar Times that I reviewed last year. "Always Here" was produced by the Britpop guru Owen Morris (Oasis, The Verve) and it sure sounds great.

The other tracks are a superb version of "Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You" by The Bee Gees, rocking "Where Have All The Good Times Gone?" by the Kinks and a remix of their original "You Know It's Right". The original version of this melodic, very Byrdsian track was first released on The Mean Solar Times album, but this version benefits form the added guitard from Andy Bell (Oasis, Ride). All in all, Stay is an excellent band that puts together influences form the original 60s psych pop and 90s Britpop to a great effect. This 7" also comes with a 50-minute DVD about the recording sessions of their latest album, a nice bonus touch.

lauantai 21. lokakuuta 2017

Strobe - Bunker Sessions

Sulatron Records (st1707 st1707-2)

This album just released on Sulatron Records is every Strobe fan's dream come true: a previously unreleased studio album from 1994! Formed in 1990 Strobe was one of the best UK based indie/neo-psych/space rock bands and influenced by bands like Loop and Spacemen 3. The three-guitars/bass/drums lineup created a full, hypnotic, swirly and psychedelic wall of sound that appealed to psych heads, but somehow the band pretty much remained in the underground until their demise in 2001 and never really made it big. Especially their three first albums, See Beyond the Sun, Maya and The Circle Never Ends were true masterpieces and highly appreciated by the psych rock afficiendos. The original vinyl copies are also rather rare these days. Later on their sound shifted closer to mainstream and I lost interest. Anyway, in 1994, after recording the magnificent classic The Circle Never Ends, the band got an idea to record a studio album with a live feel and no overdubs. They went into Bunker Studios in Bedford and recorded six songs, but these recordings were somehow left unreleased until now. Two of the tracks ("Chameleaon Earth" & "Opium Dreams") were, however, re-recorded after a few years and released on their later CD releases.

The album starts off with the over-ten-minute, hazy "Sun Birth". It's a pretty laid-back and dreamy, repetative instrumental piece that grows very slowy towards the end. "Into Your Skin" is a shorter, more aggressive, Loop/post-punk-inspired track with vocals. More chord changes on this one than usual... "Obsession" is one of those two-chord miracles that keep you interested with their tension. Some cool guitar stuff on this one, and yet again I'm reminded of some of the post-punk or even Goth rock bands. These guys must have listened to Joy Division? Probably my favourite is "Chameleon Earth" that has a dark, hypnotic vibe and this time I'm even reminded of The Cure when they rock out more. I wonder why I never got this feeling listening to Strobe before? Maybe it's because these sessions are rawer and without the most mind-expanding soundeffects. In any case, I really enjoy what I'm hearing here. The eight-minute "Opium Dreams" has a female quest singer with wonderful voice and begins in a very beautiful, soft way. This track gets you in a hazy trance and is another highlight for sure with a more heady vibe. "Sun Death" closes this great album in hypnotic, mesmering manner including some very powerful triple guitar work. Cool! This album is now out on limited vinyl and CD and has cover art by Lulu, the bass player in Electric Moon and Zone Six. Get it now!

torstai 19. lokakuuta 2017

Nathan Hall And The Sinister Locals ‎– The Volga Sturgeon Face E​.​P.

The Hip Replacement Label (Hip 014)

Happy news for all those who have been wondering what ever happened to the Soft Hearted Scientists. After releasing seven albums they are just taking a year off. In the meantime, their front man Nathan Hall has of course not been able to just lay back and rest. Amazing songs just seem to pour out of his mind so he formed a new "band" called Nathan Hall And The Sinister Locals. This is actually more or less Nathan's solo project with various, changing characters on drums, bass, string arrangements etc. This first release is a four track CD EP and if you were fast enough, you might have scored it with an accompanying two-track 5" lathe cut limited to just 100 copies. This version also included a facsimile lyric sheet for the track "Everyone's Burning Effigies" and a postcard, both signed. I'm still kicking myself for not being fast enough in May... But since the CD EP itself is still available, let's go on.

Musically Nathan Hall And The Sinister Locals sounds very close to baroque, gentle psychedelia of Soft Hearted Scientists. The vibe is perhaps (even) a bit more home-grown and intimate. This debut EP includes five tracks and I love them all. The opener "Everybody's Burning Effigies" starts off with some psychy space sounds and then a melodic, uplifting going takes you away. Like always, Nathan is capable to get you hooked with his simple yet very catchy melodies and ideas. I really like the instrumentation/orchestration as well. A perfect three-minute pop rock piece. "Song for the Flowers" is a bit more melancholic and even a bit eerie but totally wonderful song that makes you close your eyes and hum along with the harmonies. One of those two-chord wonders that hount you in your dreams. "Like a Setting Sun" has great finger-picked acoustic guitar, beautiful vocals, celestial orchestration and a hypnotic beat. Amazing! The EP is finished with the pretty, folky and baroque "Catacomes of Camden Town". I like the sort of philosophical, nostalgic/realistic lyrics on this one. I got to say I enjoy this brilliant EP really much and can only hope that these tracks will see a vinyl release soon. A full-lenght Nathan Hall And The Sinister Locals album seems to be just released as well, I noticed a minute ago!

Zone Six - S/T

Sulatron Records (st1708/st1708-2)

German psych/kraut/space/impro rock band Zone Six was formed almost by accident when Liquid Visions couldn't play a gig they were asked to play and bass player Dave Schmidt (later also known as Sula Bassana) formed a new band for the gig. The idea was to play long, trance-inducing space rock jams and that's what they did. Hans-Peter from Liquid Visions was playing guitar, Dave bass and ex-Liquid Visions drummer Claus the drums. The first Zone Six album was recorded at rehearsal place on 8-track and later Dave added some overdubs at his home studio. A very limited tape edition was released at the first show in September 1997. Next year female vocals were added to the recordings and the first Zone Six CD was released on Early Birds. This album was in my opinion one of the most psychedelic released in the 90s and has gained cult status ever since. To celebrate 20 years of Zone Six Dave decided to reissue the album this year. Rather than re-releasing the CD he has put out the original instrumental version that has so far been unavailable to the big public!

The album is divided into 13 individual tracks, some of which are only short interludes. My promo CD-R copy is just two, side-long tracks, so I won't even try to tell what part is going on at what time. All the music just flows continuosly for the whole one-hour-trip, so that won't be really necessary either... All you need to know is that this album will take you on a journey to some strange, multi-coloured psychedelic world and you just might never want to come back. Just close your eyes and let your mind wander in these wonderful, strange, alien soundscapes. I must say that even as I really liked the Early Birds CD version, the music does work better without the vocals. I also like the occasional dub influences and very experimental parts, so this is not only rock music. The sound quality is also just superb, especially for a 20-year-old rehearseal recording. Wonderful! What's perhaps the best thing here still is that the album is now available on vinyl for the first time ever, so vinyl freaks get you copies fast before they're sold-out! Also available on CD.

keskiviikko 18. lokakuuta 2017

Siinai - Sykli

Svart Records (SVART115)

Siinai is a Finnish electronic/ambient/space/trance/post/krautrock band that has previously released four albums, two of which in collaboration with Canadian Moonface. I wrote a review of the excellent Supermarket album three years ago. I have also been enjoying their rare live performances a lot (check out my live video at the end). Sykli is, once again, a sort of a theme album. It deals with the various cycles of life on Earth and in Space. It has a bit melancholic mood, probably due to the difficulties in life that the members have been experiencing. But I still feel it celebrates life itself with its subtle, gorgeous melodies, repetitive, hypnotic patterns and psychedelic vibes.

There are five long, instrumental pieces on the album. "Temppeli" starts off the ritual with smooth, pleasant sequencers and celestial synthesizers. Very ambient and uplifting, like Tangerine Dream for example. The melancholic "Mestari" brings in soft percussion and some ethnic vibe as well. I'm reminded of Popol Vuh and the like. The title track "Sykli" is based on Manuel Göttsching styled delay guitar work that I always love and the band has utilized before. Little by little the track grows into interstellar proportions, wow! The ultra hypnotic"Ananda" is the longest track on the album at 11:25 and the first one that really rocks out. It has a mechanic, hypnotic kraut beat á la NEU! or La Düsseldorf and pretty much stays exactly the same for the whole duration. Get entranced! The last track "Europa" begins with a bit noisy drone and slowly a motorik beat rises from the ashes. Later on the NEU! vibe gets even stronger, when we also get a simple chord progression. It really feels like it's '72-'75 in West-Germany and I'm loving it! What a great album as a whole. You can now pre-order the CD and two different, limited vinyl editions and that's what you should. The album will be out next week, and the release party will be celebrated at Kuudes Linja, Helsinki, on the 24th of November.

maanantai 16. lokakuuta 2017

Various ‎Artists – Kopf Musik

Fruits de Mer Records (crustacean 79)

This massive 3-CD-set is a dream come true for all krautrock fans with no vinyl playing option! Kopf Musik compiles together most (but not all) krautrock tracks covered by modern bands and released on vinyl by Fruits de Mer. The first CD is filled with tracks from the 2LP+7" Head Music (crustacean 36), so there are classics by Neu!, Kraftwerk, Amon Düül I, Can, Popol Vuh, Tangerine Dream etc. performed by the cream of the psych bands of today like Vibravoid,  Earthling Society, Vert:x, Dead Sea Apes etc. Frobischer Nick's Ash Ra Temple cover "Schizo" is a new mix and all the tracks sound awesome. No fillers here, I can tell you! Also loving the funny intro by krautrock legend Eroc.

 Head Music continues for the first four tracks on CD 2 with Jau Tausig's Amon Düül II cover "Surrounded By The Stars", Electric Moon's Madrigal Meridian (Tangerine Dream), Frobisher Neck Heads South By Weaving's "Silver Cloud ( La Düsseldorf) and Electric Orange's "Lied An Zons" (Arno Clauss). All very cool! The next tracks originate from the Shrunken Head Music (crustacean 43) 2 x 7" compilation that was released in 2013. Black Tempest plays TD's "Rubycon Part 1", Vespero does Faust with "J`Ai Mal Aux Dents" and Frobisher Neck performs "To Another World" by Brainticket (not exactly kraut but close). Vibravoid does wonders on Can's "Mother Sky" (new mix of a track originating from their Krautrock Sensation 7" EP) and the last three tracks are from Roqueting Through Space and DfM Annual 2013 compilations (Cranium Pie's Research Baking Station, Helicon, Frobisher Neck and Vespero doing Brainticket, Neu! x 2 and Faust). Amazing!

 The third CD here includes just three tracks but they are very long. Brainticket's "Brainticket" is perfect material for ambient/trance legend Astralasia and this version even makes you want to dance. This is also around nine minutes longer than the version previously released on Postcards from the Deep 10 x flexi 7" compilation... Ax Genrich helped out by Sunhair offers an live version of his own "Spaceship Memory" only previously available on The 14th Dream of Dr. Sardonus promo CD-R. The Bevis Frond jams for 24 minutes along with Electric Sandwich's "China". This was originally released as part of the Side Effects box set that had eight bands to perform one side-long cover each. Personallyl I never get tired of hearing Nick Saloman play solo guitar, so a lovely ending to a brilliant triple compilation. A must have for all those krautheads who missed the original releases and also a very nice (and handy) item to have even if you didn't. This was initially sold only at the Fruits de Mer gigs and festivals this Summer and Autumn but if you're lucky you can get one of the last ever copies on sale online (for non-UK customers, check out Heyday Mailorder.

torstai 12. lokakuuta 2017

Samsara Blues Experiment - One With The Universe

Electric Magic Ride (EMCD07/EMLPX)

Samsara Blues Experiment was formed in 2007 by ex-Terraplane guitarist Christian Peters. Their 2010 debut album Long Distance Trip has already gained a sort of cult status in the heavy psychedelic blues/stoner rock circles and you can expect to pay over 100€ for the original green limited edition LP. After that debut the band has released two studio albums and one live one as well as a couple of EP's. After a few years' break (while Christian was doing solo stuff as Surya Kris Peters and getting deeper into Eastern spirituality) Samsara Blues Experiment is back and they sound better than ever.

The new album released in April (yes, I'm very late again, sorry...) includes five long tracks. First we've got the long opener "Vipassana" that takes us out for a meditative flight on mystical, ancient flying machines. This track is a real trip and brings to mind 90s Finnish cult psych/prog rockers Kingston Wall although this also has some heavier parts. Excellent! "Sad Guru Returns" starts off with a spoken sample and then the heavy blues rocking begins. Some killer stoner riffs as well as more atmospheric stuff in this nice instrumental track! "Glorious Daze" is a more laid-back, slow tune that gets you into dreamy, meditative state while it grows. This has some similarities with Colour Haze as well as classic hard rock bands I guess and also some sitar and electric piano etc. Cool! The longest piece is the 15-minute title track that starts as very melancholic and instrumental. After some cool, psychedelic jamming things get more intense and there is also some vocals and then they turn then song into blues and then into groovier rocking. The album is finished with the emotional and pretty progressive "Easter Sun & Western Moon" that has some nice keyboards and organ as well. The track gets heavier along the way. This is a great ending for an amazing, powerful album that comes highly recommended. Get it on vinyl, CD or digital!

tiistai 10. lokakuuta 2017

Dj Astro's next gigs...

I'm very happy to announce that I have two cool shows to dj in Helsinki pretty soon! I will be spinning vinyl in these events at the legendary Tavastia venue:

Magma (FR) & Circle @ Tavastia, 26.10.2018

Moon Duo (US), Ghost World & UF Ojala @ Tavastia, 14.11.2018