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perjantai 29. syyskuuta 2017

Karakorum - Beteigeuze

Tonzonen Records (TON027)

It always warms my heart to find young guys playing early 70s styled progressive rock and when they do it well I'm in love. This German-based quintet called Karakorum can handle it! Looking at the great cover art by Dale Simpson you might expect something really psychedelic and trippy, but the three parts of Beteigeuze are much closer to the original prog giants like Gentle Giant, Genesis, King Crimson, Yes etc. I think this has much more UK than kraut flavours. Of course there are some mind-blowing elements in there as well.

All the five guys are singing and they are much better than your average prog youngsters these days. The instrumentation includes guitars, bass, drums, organ, electric piano & synth etc. so nothing new there but that's enough to make an old-school prog album. I'm not going to go through all the three parts here minute by minute. Let's just say that there are lots of different stuff in there: emotional, pretty, heavy, progressive, demanding, trippy, experimental and funny. Yes, even funny, and on purpose. These guys are great musicians and have open, adventurous minds so almost anything can and will happen. If you prefer short, simple pop songs or hypnotic, repetative beats this is not for you but if you are a fan of '69-'74 era classic progessive rock I recommend you check this debut album out. The cool looking orange-black marbled vinyl is limited to 500 copies and comes in very nice open gatefold including an inlay. Also available on CD.

maanantai 25. syyskuuta 2017

Anton Barbeau - Heaven Is in Your Mind EP

Regal Crabomophone (Winkle 28)

I've been following Ant's career since his King of Missouri album on Woronzow in 2002 (and I think I've said it everytime reviewing his stuff for some strange reason). Anyway, this psychedelic indie rock musician originally from California mostly lives in Germany now and makes music with some helping hand from others. He's got one of those unique voices that you immediately recognize and also a good taste in music. You can check out my review of his latest (at least 12th?) album Magic Act (2016) over here.

Anyway, this is his second 7" EP on Regal Crabomophone and offers three great cover songs and one previously unreleased original. Traffic's 1967 psych classic "Heaven Is in Your Mind" starts the EP and I'm in heaven not really knowing where my mind is. This has enough elements from the original but also a certain modern touch to make it sound really interesting and valid somehow. Great! I would be very scared to put my own song to an EP along with three more or less famous songs but Anton's "Secretion of Water" stands out on its own among the other jewels. A rather laid-back, melodic and emotional song with just enough mind-blowing elements. I'm not sure if I have even ever heard Big Star's "September Curls" but I guess I should. At least this little power pop tune works out well performed by Mr. Barbeau. Then things get a bit more rocking with an interesting version of David Bowie's "Scary Monsters". Very effective, even the programmed drums. Another nice and cool release by Anton, still available from Fruits de Mer and some retailers!

Vibravoid - Mushroom Mantras

Stoned Karma Records (SK011)

Vibravoid from Düsseldorf, Germany has been one of my favourite psychedelic artists since they released their debut album 2001 at the dawn of the new millenium. Getting inspiration from the best mind-blowing music and magic potions in history the band now also uses ancient Hindu mantras on a couple of tracks to get an extra kick to their super groovy,  ultra-dimentional soundscapes. This time there are no covers of 60s masterpieces but only original, very high quality material. All the songs are also previously unreleased, not like on the previous album Wake Up Before You Die released just ten months ago. This is super great for a fan-boy like me, especially since all the new material is highly potent and mega-trippy!

"Om Gang Ganpataye Namah" starts off the celebrations of the Elysian fields. This is an instant, groovy mushroom hit song I tell you! "You will find if you just look around..." One of the best tracks the band has ever produced! "The Legend of Dr. Robert" tells a story of a bit different doctor but at least his patients saw the world very differently after treatment! Another killer fuzz psych rock classic is born. "Echoes of Time" is even fuzzier, rawer hard psych number that rocks like hell and, like the previous songs, also has a catchy chorus. There's also a spacey interlude. Excellent! The up-beat hit cavalcade just continues with the little bit shorter, groovy Indian styled "Sarveshaam Svastir Bhavatu" and "Apollo69" gets the space rock gear on. After five such brain-frying psych rock monsters your mind really is in need of a chill-out and the beautiful "Purple Pepper" offers just that. Nice. I can't believe this was just the A-side of the LP so far! So much great stuff in there.

The B-side is filled with the 20-minute "The Orange Goat" that at first has field-recordings like bird-song, more sitar and loads of other droney soundscapes and hypnotic, repetative mantras. After the three-minute-marker the track starts to take more form and what a pretty, dreamy and mellow that form is! Just close your eyes, relax and let your mind wander is all those marvellous places. Amazing! The CD version of this total mind-blower of an album also includes older (1992!) bonus tracks "Krautfactor I-III" and they are weird, ambient alien transmissions from a far away galaxy. You've been warned. You can pre-order the album from the Stoned Karma Records website right away so why wait until it's sold out? Be a cool cat and get the limited vinyl release with sweet bonus stuff!

tiistai 19. syyskuuta 2017

Unta.Kauan Viisi @ TVO, Turku, Finland, 22.-23.9.2017

Welcome to Turku this weekend! Unta.Kauan Viisi is the fifth incarnation of this cool doom/stoner/psychedelic/occult/metal festival organized in Turku, Finland. In addition to the great bands Dj Astro from Astral Zone will spin discs on both nights. You can check out the Facebook event and get more information about the bands over here, the timetables are below for Friday (perjantai) and Saturday (lauantai). Should be a lot of fun!

Get your tickets in advance or at the door.

tiistai 12. syyskuuta 2017

Cosmic Ground - Live

Adansonia Records (ar017)

This 2LP is the first live release by Electric Orange's Dirk Jan Müller's old Berlin-school styled kosmische electronic/ambient project Cosmic Ground. In the spirit of Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Temple Dirk creates amazing sonic landscapes with mostly old synthesizers and sequencers and before this he has released four studio albums and one 12" EP. Live was performed and improvised in late 2016 at two festivals in Netherlands and Germany and in addition to Dirk (Modular Systems, Mellotron, Roland RS-202, Roland System 1, Nord Wave/Electro) it also features guest Horst “Sunhair“ Porkert (Roland SH-101, Moog Sub-37, Minikorg, Effects) who has also released the album on CD on his Sunhair Records.

There are four side-long tracks on the album plus a fifth download bonus track. "Dark Enck" and "Cairo Grind" are both mostly based on pulsating, hypnotic mid-70s Tangerine Dream styled sequencers but there are also lots of other cool effects and synth layers. It's hard to imagine that these tracks were improvised live since they sound so cool and great! "Unground I" is more ambient, dreamy drone until the sequencers take over in the middle and things get more active. "Unground II" stays droney all the way and has some darker vibes as well. The bonus track "Anomaly" is slightly shorter (at 16:54!) and has more sequencers again. Not bad at all! It's great that this kind of music is still played live at this time and age, must have been quite an experience especially with Kosmic Klaus and his Solar Slide Show! There are two limited vinyl editions of this album you can choose from if you hurry up... Warmly recommended!

sunnuntai 10. syyskuuta 2017

Dj Astro playlist, Tavastia, Helsinki, 9.9.2017 (The Black Angels + A Place to Bury Strangers)

Wow, what a great night! First time I saw both of these great bands. I've been a big fan of The Black Angels for years but A Place to Bury Strangers was a really cool experience as well. This is what I played:

Scott McKenzie - San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers In Your Hair)
Amboy Dukes - Journey to the Center of Your Mind
Strawberry Alarm Clock - Incense and Peppermints
Cream - White Room
The Doors - Light My Fire
The Beatles - Strawberry Fields Forever
Aphrodite's Child - Magic Mirror
Hawkwind - Silver Machine
The Electric Prunes - I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Traffic - Hole in My Shoe
The Lemon Pipers - Green Tambourine
The Moody Blues - Ride My See-Saw
Blue Öyster Cult - Don't Fear the Reaper
Can - Spoon
Deep Purple - Listen, Learn, Read On
The Rattles - The Witch
Kaleidoscope - Black Fjord
The Byrds - Eight Miles High
The Seeds - Pushin Too Hard
The Zombies - Time of the Season
Kim Fowley - The Trip
Roky Erickson And The Aliens - Bloody Hammer
Zager & Evans - In the Year 2525
Jefferson Airplane - Somebody to Love
HP Lovecraft - The White Ship
3rd Bardo - I'm Five Years Ahead of My Time
Iggy and The Stooges - Search and Destroy
David Bowie - Heroes
Groop - Voodoo Sitar
Baby Woodrose - Countdown to Breakdown
Dungen - Panda
Jacco Gardner - Find Yourself
Steve Hillage - Saucer Surfing
Kula Shaker - Tattva
Hashish - Outer Spaced
Aphrodite's Child - I Want to Live
The Doors - People Are Strange

A Place to Bury Strangers (pic by Jari Flink)

A Place to Bury Strangers (pic by Jari Flink)
A Place to Bury Strangers (pic by Jari Flink)

A Place to Bury Strangers (pic by Jari Flink)

A Place to Bury Strangers (pic by Jari Flink)

The Black Angels (pic by Jari Flink)
The Black Angels (pic by Jari Flink)

The Black Angels (pic by Jari Flink)
The Black Angels (pic by Jari Flink)

The Black Angels (pic by Jari Flink)

lauantai 9. syyskuuta 2017

The Sonic Shamen - Tribute to Lemmy

Space Rock Productions (SRP044)

The Sonic Shamen is what you really could call a space rock super group. The mastermind behind this project is Dr. Space, the synthesizer wizard from free-form space/psych jam group Øresund Space Collective. He invited some members of the cream of the current space rock movement (ØSC, Litmus, Earthling Society, Red Electra) to jam and record at Dave Anderson's (ex-Amon Düül II, ex-Hawkwind, ex-Groundhogs) legendary Foel Studios in rural Wales and the results are totally amazing. It was unevitable that also Dave himself would join in the sessions, so this beautiful 2LP comes with a bonus CD including a 75-minute jam session with him on bass!

The 2LP includes five longs tracks. First we've got the closer to 18-minute-long "7 Or 7 or Not". As you might have guessed, it has a bit similar vibe to Hawkwind's classic "Seven by Seven", first released as a B-side to the hit single "Silver Machine". It has a cool chord progression, psychedelic space sounds and lots of guitar solos and like the rest of the album, no vocals. It's weird how fast 17 minutes and 44 seconds go past by while you're floating in space with this one! I love it. "Sam's Gopal" is of course a reference to Sam Gopal with whom Lemmy Kilmister played guitar and sung in the late 60's. This track is very ambient and spacey in nature and has no drums and really gets you high. "Freaky R'nR" is in total contrast and rocks out hard and heavy. Very cool! This is the album's shortest track at 7:13. "Ravi in Space" is an Eastern-tinged, long mind-journey that really allows you to sit back, take off your shoes and relax. The track grows in a wonderful way along the way and takes you to unbelieveable places. Finally, we have the albums longest piece "Stoned Dead Your Clever" that has a much darker, heavy and intense vibe and lots of great stuff in it. Sometimes I'm a bit reminded of "Interstellar Overdrive" by Pink Floyd... Wow! If this was not enough to freak you out of your mind you can always put on the wonderful bonus CD and enjoy the trippy 75-minute jam with Dave Anderson on board the space ship... I hope this one gets a vinyl treatment on its own one of these days! I also hope that there are more recordings from these sessions to be releaed in the future since this is just mind-blowing stuff.

The Fellowship of Hallucinatory Voyagers - This Is No Wilderness

The Fellowship of Hallucinatory Voyagers - This Is No Wilderness is the first solo album by Sendelica guitar wizard Peter Bingham. If you are familiar with Sendelica's more ambient, atmospheric side you sort of know what to expect but this is probably even more emotional and peaceful stuff. Pete has been been aided by Astralasia's Marc Swordfish, Sendelica associates Lee Relfe (sax), Colin Consterdine (synths, drum programming) and Virginia Tate, Lisa Edwards as well as poet Lindsay Smith. The album that will be released at the end of October will be available on various very limited  formats some of which are already sold out on pre-order. The CD box set and LP gift set also include Lindsay Smith's poetry book The Fellowship of Hallucinatory Voyagers - This Is No Wilderness.

"Moonlit Moorings" begins with bird-song that is joined by slow, melancholic strings and a little bit of Lindsay's poetry reading. The track stays very minimal and tranquil all the way and soothes your very soul. "Yr Mor-Forwyn" follows the same path emotionally but also includes guitar and synthesizers. Nice ambient drone. "Lindsay's Yellow House" has more melody, beautiful sax and again some bird-song. Another soothing, cinematic ambient mind-excursion. Starting off with some sounds of thunder, "The Persistant Rower" has a bit more going on with programmed drums and some psych sounds for example. Still rather ambient in nature. "Taith Yr Afon Teifi" is the longest track at 16:10 and has again programmed drums and lots of cool guitar sooloing by Pete as well as hypnotic sequencers. This has a bit of Astralasia vibe I think which is great. All in all, if you enjoy atmospheric, ambient soundscapes done with style and emotion you should really check this out. No hard rocking on this one, just floating and vibing. Can't wait to have the actual vinyl on my record player and the book in my hands! Chill-out bliss.

sunnuntai 3. syyskuuta 2017

Sula Bassana - The Ape Regards His Tail - Original Soundtrack

Sulatron Records (st 1705)

We Sula Bassana fans are of course familiar with his more atmospheric, ambient side with several albums in this style being released since 2003's Sulatronics CD-R. I have also always thought that his soundscapes are so visionary and cinematic that they would fit perfectly for a cool sci-fi movie or something. The Ape Regards His Tail still actually is Dave Schmidt's first soundtrack album and the music was written for a movie by the same name made by Michael Yates. These eight instrumental tracks form a very cosmic, hypnotic, rather minimal arch made with synthesizers, string-ensambles, Mellotron, organ, electric guitar and electric piano. I've only seen the trailer of the actual movie, but it might be available somewhere over the internet. It really seems interesting!

Okay, but back to the soundtrack album. It starts off with the very mellow "Beginning", "Dreams" and bit darker "Rocks". The longer "Desert" also includes delay-guitar to give some more texture. Really nice and spaced-out, it makes you feel like you're hallucinating in a wast desert all by yourself! "The Sand Waves" trusts more on old sequencers and has a very cool, trippy Tangerine Dream kind of cosmic vibe. One of my favourites for sure! After "Rocks 2" we've got the albums longest track "Water" and boy aren't we thirsty by now... This is soothing but still somehow menacing and dark track. I love the very effective, melancholic Mellotron harmonies towards the end. A masterpiece! The album is suitably finished with the nice little electronic piece "Ending" that offers a flash of hope, maybe. This is an album to listen to on good headphones in a dark place with your eyes closed for sure. Magnificent! Only available on CD at this point, but there will be a 2LP version on Pancromatic during this Winter. Check it out!