Listen to the latest Astral Visions Mixcloud Show!

sunnuntai 30. joulukuuta 2018

Astral Visions Mixcloud Show #84 online!

Astral Visions Mixcloud Show #84 now online! Enjoy the darkest (or lightest) days of our solar cycle with psychedelic sounds by Camera, Magic Shoppe, The Chemistry Set, Earthling Society, Jacco Gardner, The Bevis Frond, Dark Fog, nick nicely, Acid Mothers Temple Official, Deep Space Destructors, Yin Yin, Pete International Temple, Kosmischer Läufer, Mt. Mountain, Derya Yıldırım & Grup Şimşek, Elfin Bow, L. Don Okami & Seid.

Slovo Mira ‎- Black Fjord and the End of the World

Tonzonen Records (TON048)

Black Fjord and the End of the World is the second album by Russian improvisational, experimental avant-garde jazz/psych group Slovo Mira. It is the first one to be released on vinyl and CD while the debut in 2017 was only a digital download I think. Kamille Sharapodinov from The Grand Astoria and The Legendary Flower Punk plays all the guitar on the album among some other things. The are lots of loops, beats and electronics making the music sound pretty modern. The band also has a balalaika/glockenspiel player adding some Ethnic Russian vibes, and double and fretless bass guitars enhance the rather jazzy vibe. There's also other stuff like theremin, keyboards and a little bit of voice but no actual vocals. All the music was improvised in studio without overdubs, but there must have been quite a lot of editing and manipulation in the mixing phase.

There are only three long tracks on the album. The A side's over 23-minute long piece is divided into three parts, though ("Towards The Northern Island/Multicolored Flow/Glide To Fate"). The first five minutes are spacey, weird and experimental ambient stuff but then the up-beat electronic beat makes things more energetic along the balalaika. Kamille plays some cool electric guitar as well and the bass and keyboards add more colour and stucture to the music. Towards the end the tempo slows down and we get some modern smokey electronic jazz moods. This is like nothing I've heard so far so no comparisons really come to mind. Okay, partly early experimental Porcupine Tree maybe... Let's just say that this is rather interesting! On the B-side we've got the strange and druggy title track first. It has a very psychedelic beginning and then goes into avant-garde electronic jazz. It might take a few times before you get it since this is definitely not easy listening stuff. Weird and experimental but spacey and trippy enough for me to still enjoy it. "The New Land" is a somewhat easier to digest and actually very enjoyable and atmospheric stuff although still jazzy and progressive. I really prefer the acoustic drums on this one to the previous electronic beats. This is maybe closer to mainstream post-rock or even space or krautrock (ØSC?), but especially the balalaika makes it still sound rather special. My favourite track, anyway. The clear vinyl that comes in a nice open gatefold cover with a poster is limited to just 300 copies so be fast if you want one! Also available on CD. 

perjantai 21. joulukuuta 2018

Steel Mammoth - Machine of Constant Sorrow digital single

Ektro Records

This is a new one-track digital single by Finnish band Steel Mammoth. They have previously been known as messengers of heavy, punky, trashy and psychedelic metal, but this is something completely different. "Machine of Constant Sorrow" is electronic synth pop and presents SWOFHM (Synth Wave Of Finnish Heavy Metal). The cover picture features just Jussi Lehtisalo (Circle, Pharaoh Overlord) & Ville Pirinen (Black Audio, Seremonia, Valonyrkki etc.) but I'm not sure if Steel Mammoth is nowadays a duo project or what.

Ville's vocals and the somehow pathetic mode of the track still reminds me of old Steel Mammoth, but the electronic beats and synths are closer to some of the tracks by Rättö and Lehtisalo, for example. There is also some electric guitar in the mix (I think). Although they call this synthpop, the vibe is rather dark and weird, so don't expect this to be played at your local mainstream discotheque. Would be cool, though! We shall see if this is the permanent style of Steel Mammoth or just a one-off. What ever the case, I welcome it since this sounds very cool to me! Check it our yourself.

torstai 20. joulukuuta 2018

Golden Lampreys - Just Because You Did It Doesn’t Mean You’re Guilty 12”-EP

Future Lunch (FULU-013)

First of all I have to admit that I've got very little clue about this kind of music. Golden Lampreys is a new band project by ex-members of Finnish experimental/no-wave/dark ambient/drone/black metal group Sink. I always found Sink a bit hard to swallow, even though I was quite impressed with their wall of sound, dark vibes and brave experimentalism. Compared to Sink, Golden Lampreys is a lot easier to listen to, but there is still something similar, something sinister. They have a much more electronic approach and the mood is a bit lighter although not at all positive or sunny. There are elements of blues mixed together with electronic music which at some point brings to mind Perttu Häkkinen's (R.I.P.) old band Itäväylä who did the same thing but in a more psychedelic, organic and hypnotic manner. Golden Lampreys have been described as Birthday Party meets Pan Sonic and I guess that is legit. Maybe their music is some form of harsh, dark acid house, I don't know.

Anyway, this debut 12" EP that is limited to just 200 copies includes four original tracks:"Good Morning Little School Girl", "Dangle", "Oh Lord, Set Me Free" and "Who's at the Helm?". The first one sort of brings to mind Suicide with its hypnotic, monotonic and weird vibe. "Dangle" is darker, like minimal Depeche Mode. It sounds rather Gothic and the vocals are almost whispered making it feel even more spooky. "Oh Lord, Set Me Free" is kind of an abstract, electronic negro-spiritual. The trance-inducing video track "Who's at the Helm?" is pretty dark and experimental as well, check it out yourself. It gives me the goose bumps for sure and is the only track on the 12" that I could dance to. This is a pretty interesting EP, let's see where the band will go from this.

tiistai 18. joulukuuta 2018

perjantai 14. joulukuuta 2018

Saint Vitus, Dopelord & Dj Astro @ On the Rocks, Helsinki!

I'm honored to be the dj for the Saint Vitus / Dopelord show @ On the Rocks, Helsinki next April. You can expect a heavy set by all included! Saint Vitus who are celebrating their 40 years on this planet and just finished recording their new album, has been one of my favourite bands for decades so I'm personally really looking forward to this.

Here's the Facebook event.

Get you tickets a.s.a.p.!

maanantai 10. joulukuuta 2018

Best albums in 2018!

Okay, another great year in music, lots of great releases by old & new bands. I just couldn't narrow down the foreign albums to just 20, so I chose 30 instead. It was hard enough and a lot of great albums had to be dropped out! No live albums or compilations were included. These are in no special order since that would have been impossible for me...

Best 30 foreign albums:

Sendelica ‎– My House Is Made Of Angel Hair 
Psychic Lemon ‎– Frequency.Rhythm.Distortion.Delay
Causa Sui ‎– Vibraciones Doradas
Melody Fields S/T
Monster Magnet ‎– Mindfucker 
Minami Deutsch ‎– With Dim Light
Øresund Space Collective ‎– Chatoyant Breath
Our Solar System ‎– Origins 
Wooden Shjips ‎– V
Flowers Must Die ‎– Där Blommor Dör 
Lumerians ‎– Call Of The Void
Vibravoid ‎– Vibrations From The Cosmic Void
Sleep ‎– The Sciences
Sun Dial ‎– Science Fiction
Black Helium Primitive Fuck
Fanatism The Future Past
UFO Över Lappland – S/T
Altın Gün ‎– On
The Myrrors ‎– Borderlands
Mythic Sunship ‎– Another Shape of Psychedelic Music
Magic Shoppe In Parallel
Earthling Society ‎– MO - The Demon
Kikagaku Moyo ‎– Masana Temples
Farflung ‎– This Capsule  
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats ‎– Wasteland
Domboshawa ‎– Beyond Vibrations
Mt. Mountain ‎– Golden Rise
Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO ‎– Reverse Of Rebirth In Universe
The Bevis Frond ‎– We're Your Friends, Man
Kosmischer Läufer ‎– The Secret Cosmic Music Of The East German Olympic Program 1972-83 - Volume Four             

Best 10 Finnish albums:
Octopus Syng ‎– Victorian Wonders
From Grotto S/T
Black Lizard ‎– Celebration Of A New Dawn
Sammal ‎– Suuliekki
Pharaoh Overlord ‎– Zero
Warp Transmission ‎– The Process Ultra
Seli Seli Satunnainen kokoelma soluja 
Teksti-tv 666 ‎– Aidattu Tulevaisuus 
Superfjord All Will Be Golden
Deep Space Destructors Visions from The Void

torstai 6. joulukuuta 2018

Liquid Visions - Hypnotized

Sulatron Records (st 1807)

I have hazy but fond memories first meeting the Liquid Visions members twenty years ago at the Hamburg Hawkfan meeting. At the time these freaks from Berlin just had some home-made tapes to sell, best tracks from these were soon compiled for their first, self-titled album in 1998. I was immediately in love with their sound that was a great mix of 60's melodic garage psych, Hawkwind and 90's psych like Sun Dial and The Bevis Frond. They were also very nice guys and the half-naked, UV-painted dancer/theramin/organ player girl Katja Wolff especially left an enormous impact on the young man's fragile but already experienced mind! Later on I've been in touch mostly with their bass player Dave Schmidt (nowadays maybe better known as Sula Bassana...) and to a certain degree with the guitarist/organist/vocalist Kiryk Drewinski who is also a great graphic designer...).

Hypnotized was the band's third album and originally released only on CD in 2002. It was one of my favourite releases that year and I still love it! I was sad that the band only released one more album From the Cube in 2004 before disbanding. There was one posthumous album The Lost Recordings put out on Nasoni in 2006, though. Luckily the musicians all already had or started new bands and projects, and Astral Zone readers must be familiar at least with Dave's Sula Bassana solo project and his bands Zone Six (early versions of which also featured Liquid Visions quitarist Hans-Peter Ringholz) and Electric Moon.

Anyway, Dave finally decided to re-release Hypnotized and for the first time on vinyl. Hooray! Kiryk was willing to update his original cover art with whole new painting which I think is amazing and inspired by the album's third track "Butterflight". All the music is the same, although of course remastered for vinyl release. The album starts off with the fast and catchy "State of Mind" that people have often heard on my DJ gigs through the years. This song still make the cold shivers go though my spine everytime I hear it! It's both melodic and rocking, true psychedelic masterpiece. "Waste" is a mid-tempo, organ-heavy garage rocker that I also really like. A bit longer "Butterflight" has a groovy, rocking psych edge and makes you want to dance like crazy. Some amazing, freaky fuzz/wah guitar stuff and spacey effects on this one! I'm also very impressed with the rhythm section. The ending is pure heavy Hawkwind space rock blasting... The groovy "Be Lie've" is perhaps my least favourite track but still not bad at all. Just a bit too mainstream and happy for my taste, I guess. The ten-minute "Morning Rain" is the melancholic ballad of the album. It has some similarities with Jimi Hendrix and Outskirts of Infinity. It has very moody vibes, mellow vocals ad superb solo guitar work. The album is finished with the long and trippy "Paralyzed". It begings in a very experimental way but gets heavy and intense later on. This is closer to stoner rock I guess, and a great ending for an amazing album. If you have not heard this classic psych rock legend before do yourself a favour and check it out. Hypnotized is one of the most important releases in its genre, and it's feels so good to finally have it also on vinyl.