Listen to the latest Astral Visions Mixcloud Show!

tiistai 30. tammikuuta 2018

Alakulttuuritalon talvibakkanaalit (Goat, Rättö ja Lehtisalo, Kairon; IRSE!, Mara Balls, DJ Astro etc.) in Helsinki this Saturday!

Okay folks, this is something special: Swedish psych rock voodoo masters Goat are coming back to Finland for a rare club gig this week! These Winter Bacchanals are actually a mini festival with experimental, psychedelic music on three different floors and stages from 20:00 to 3:30 AM!

In addition to Goat, we've got Rättö ja Lehtisalo, from the legendary Circle, modern prog pilots Kairon; IRSE!, fuzz queen Mara Balls and a lot more! I'm honored to be the dj at the main stage.

There are still tickets left:

Here's the full performer list:
Goat (SWE)
❇ Rättö ja Lehtisalo
Kairon; IRSE!
Mara Balls
Maan Tomu
Dj Astro
Business City
Irene Kostas
Kristiina Männikkö
❇ Ville Pekkarinen
❇ Tuomas Palonen
❇ Reivaajan Valinta
❇ Tixa & Vilunki

Here's the Facebook event for more details:

perjantai 26. tammikuuta 2018

Mark McDowell and Friends - Dark Weave


I first noticed Mark McDowell from Bristol when Fruits de Mer Records released a split 7" with him and Octopus Syng in 2014. He does have several releases on his Bandcamp site and Dark Weave is the latest. It's really nice to know that people are still making great, experimental acid folk that has both emotion and psychedelic elements. Although Mark is the song-writer and main man here this is not a solo effort since the album features several friends and some of the stuff has been recorded in San Francisco and some in Presteigne, Wales. The album is mostly acoustic in nature, but also has for example electic guitar, keyboards and spacey synthesizers to boost. I love Mark's vocals and the female singer Hannah Moriah is also excellent. Great vocals are of course a necessity in folk-based music like this. Strings and percussion are also most welcome.

The album has eleven tracks that are all in the 3 to 5:30 minute range. The instrumental title track starts off with dark synth drone and then soft acoustic guitar and percussion join in. I can hear echoes of the cream of the old UK acid psych acts, wonderful. There's something ancient and something from outer space. "Service of the Owls" has beautiful twin-vocals and a melancholic mood. "Look in the Dust" is a bit more on-going and has a steady beat. Great melodies and also some fuzz solo guitar! "Walking Back to You" is more folky and reminds me of Magna Carta a bit. Positive vibe on this one. "Spirit of Love" even brings to mind Syd Barrett in some ways. Then Mark kicks in the acid folk gear again with the wonderful, magical instrumental "Celequiem". Celestial stuff indeed. "Light of Love" (that I also included on my latest Astral Visions Mixcloud show) begins with experimental space sounds and then the hypnotic, totally spell-bounding going starts. This will take you into a trance! One of the highlights for sure. I also like "Forgiven", a bit more up-tempo song about spirit worlds. The endelss stream of killer tunes just continues with "Message Sent". This could very well be a Soft Hearted Scientists song. "Elizabeth" is more traditional folk in style and not bad at all. The superb album is finished with the slow and ethereal "Light Up the Town" that once again has some amazing melodies and moods. I must say that I really enjoy this album, hopefully someone would also release it on vinyl! You can, however, already buy the CD or download from Bandcamp.

UPDATE: the album will be released on vinyl by Friends of the Fish very soon!

Dead Sea Apes - Recondite

Cardinal Fuzz / Sunrise Ocean Bender (CF088 / SOB010)

Manchester's experimental psych rock heads Dead Sea Apes are back and this time with a 80-minute 2LP compilation album. They've been around for almost nine years and released quite a lot of stuff so the timing is good. The actual 2LP (300 copies only) includes 11 tracks and there are three more coming up with the download code. Luckily this is not your usual "best of" collection of album tracks but includes a couple of different versions and rare various artists compilation tracks of originals and covers etc.

The album starts off with the dubby "Tentacles (Version)" featuring Adam Stone on narration. This is a pretty hallucinogenic ride and it's good to hear some human voice in the usually instrumental music of D. S. A. "Coronal" is a mesmerizing, hypnotic and dark piece originally from the Stay Holy! compilation released on Cardinal Fuzz in 2015. "Planet V" is a slow, bluesy and heavy psych jam previously only available on a download compilation. On side B we've first got "True Believers (version)", and those of you who have the For Nepal benefit compilation album have heard the original version before. This is seriously mind-fucking and hypnotic, slow piece that has both easier and very heavy parts. Wow! The energetic and powerful cover track "Land of the Sun" features Gabriel Minnikin and has some krautrock vibe but has similarities with The Heads and stoner rock. The track is taken from the marvellous Keep of the Grass compilation on Fruits de Mer Records and is originally by Alexander Lee "Skip" Spence (Moby Grape). Excellent. Then comes the peaceful and atmospheric "The Recognition", one of the tracks I had never heard before.

On side C "Universal Translator" is taken from the limited Ptolemaic Terrascope compilation Paper Leaves. It's rather ambient at first but gets heavier and more intense... "Lupine Wavelength" starts off in a peaceful manner but rocks out more before the four-minute-marker, like mix of Bardo Pond and Colour Haze. Those who are lucky enough to have the Magnetic North compilation have heard this already. "Rückstoss Gondolière" (Kraftwerk) is from the Head Music krautrock cover compilation and I really enjoy this version. "Rethreads" is an experimental and psychedelic broadcast only track that I'm happy to hear for the first time. "Vamos Compañeros" is another krautrock homage originally put together by Harmonia and Brian Eno in 1976. This version is from the Kosmimische Musik download compilation and it's really nice to have it on vinyl too! Two of the download bonus tracks are cool remixes and the third one a live track. All in all, this is marvellous compilation with stuff from various sources. Somehow all the tracks work together and it's great that even if you have all the band's previous vinyl releases there's new stuff even for the fans. Recondite also is a great introduction to Dead Sea Apes for the previously uninitiated.

torstai 25. tammikuuta 2018

More Experience - Follow Me

Old Hippie Records (IX MMXVI)

More Experience is a great psychedelic hippie rock band from Poland. I really don't know much about them, but I got to tell you that when I first put this CD (already released in 2016) on late last year I was in love. They have apparently been together since the late 80s, though. They are influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Gong, Soft Machine, Pink Floyd, SBB and Czesław Niemen, so the vibe is really late 60s / early 70s.

The opening title track is like a long lost outtake from the first Pink Floyd album and I really dig it. Dreamy vocals, fuzzy guitar, organ and powerful rhythm section really works. "More Experience" has a strong Eastern vibe with tablas etc. and is another cool song. Things get more progressive and wilder on the journey. The seven-minute "Now We Are Dreaming" is a softer, dreamy and melodic pop piece that also has a Canterbury styled solo part in the middle. Nice! "Flower for Us" is beautiful and peaceful all the way. A bit of UK psych folk vibe here. The longest track is "Like a Sail" at over nine minutes. It starts off in a tranquil way with acoustic guitar and piano but gets more adventurous and heavier later on. I'm reminded of Camel or Caravan, which is never a bad thing. Trippy and atmospheric stuff! Some of the solo guitar work reminds me of Steve Hillage, wow. "The Witch" is a mystical, laid-back piece that gets groovier in the middle in the Soft Machine style. The album is finished with "We Couldn't Get Much Higher" that has a somewhat more straight-forward vibe sounding a bit like The Byrds. Okay, it does get a bit weirder towards the end... Not bad at all! In summary, this is a marvellous album for all lovers of old-school hippie psych with a progressive edge. I hope this one gets a vinyl treatment soon.

Hooffoot - S/T

Paura Di Niente (PND001)

Hooffoot is a Swedish progressive jazz/rock band initially formed in 2009. The lineup is comprised of several talented musicians known from other bands like The Carpet Knights, Sgt Sunshine, Øresund Space Collective, Bland Bladen, Sibirien and Agusa. Two guests are also playing trumpet and baritone saxophone here to enhance the jazzy vibe. They released their debut album on LP in 2015. This CD version followed last year, sorry for the slight delay with my review...

The album has only two long, instrumental and evolving musical journeys: "1st Communique: Last Flight Of The Ratite" and "2nd Communique: Take Five, Seven, Six, Eight, And Nine". The atmosphere varies from peaceful and pastoral to wild and energetic. The playing is top-notch, sound quality superb and I find myself captivated by the band's vast arsenal of different moods and turns. I love both tracks equally, and there's lots to discover for repeated listenings. Warmly recommended for all lovers of instrumental, adventurous and progressive jazz rock!

tiistai 16. tammikuuta 2018

Psychic Lemon - Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay

Tonzonen Records (TON034)

 Psychic Lemon is a rather new band who rehearse and record in a small home studio five minutes walk from Syd Barrett's old place. They released their magnificent debut album in 2016 and took the modern psych rock scene by storm. This new album will be released on limited vinyl and CD next week and is even better in my opinion. There are only three members now but it has not slowed them down, on the contrary. If your main influences are Goat, Hawkwind and Amon Düül II and you have cool, fresh ideas of your own, what could possibly go wrong?

The opener "Exit to the Death Lane" starts off with groovy ethnic percussion that is soon joined by hypnotic guitar riffs. This track sounds like a hybrid of Goat and 90s UK indie psych rock bands like Loop or The Telescopes, very cool. "Hey Droog!" is pretty similar in style and again we get some groovy rhythms and heavy, mind-melting guitar that also gets rather noisy. Wow! "You're No Good" has a mesmerizing and motorik beat and reminds me of bands like Lumerians in their party mode. I also enjoy the hypnotic vocals and the free-jazz sax gives a nice extra vibe. One of the highlights for sure! On side B we've got two long, more experimental instrumentals "Interstellar Fuzz Star" is pretty far-out stuff and I can hear some Hawkwind and early Pink Floyd jams in here. Very nice! On the last, slower, spacey and experimetal piece "Satori Disco" the spirit of Amon Düül II shines through. I'm sure this album will be on my top list for 2018, it really is that good. Check out for yourself!

maanantai 15. tammikuuta 2018

Helsinki Psych Fest this Saturday!

I've been asked to dj at the first ever Helsinki Psych Fest on 20th of January. This whole festival was put together in two weeks so the organizers had a really tight time schedule for everything. I tried to help getting some foreign (and Finnish) psych bands involved but to no avail. Everyone was too busy.

Anyway, we will have a cool event with some great Finnish bands and since there was no big investments needed the fest is TOTALLY FREE!

The fest will happen at Gloria (Pieni Roobertinkatu 12). The venue is decorated with awesome UV decorations for the whole January so it will look really special... There will be a lot of cool psychedelic details everywhere, come and see it for yourself...

Here's the Facebook event:

There will also be a pre-party on Friday, also without entry fee:

sunnuntai 14. tammikuuta 2018

The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol - Droneverdose

Cardinal Fuzz / Birdman Sound (CF092)

I first heard about this Canadian psych rock band in 2015 when I got their Masters of the Molehill album for a review. They have been making their instrumental impro/kraut/punk/spacerock oriented noise since 2008, though. Some of their releases are more or less just wild, lo-fi rehearsal space jams, but some, like this new one, are proper studio albums. I think the majority of the music is still based on improvisation, but you can tell that they have made some arrangements and dubbing for the final tracks. I got to say I prefer this little bit more sophisticated approach, and it's good to hear the band's music in high quality studio sound. It still has the same energy and vibe, I think.

The 42-minute album has five tracks, some of them short, some of them long. The groovy, mid-tempo "Earworm" starts off the party and I'm immediately in love. It's heavy and wild enough, but still stays together and starts to rock out faster towards the end. "Snoreland" is the shortest number at just under three minutes, and it's a pretty heavy, punky blast. "Gaussian Blur & Beach Debris" ends the A side of the album and has a fun, groovy beat at the beginning. Things get rather spacey, hypnotic and experimental on the journey and after ten minutes you start to feel pretty disoriented and hazy not knowing what hit you... Wow! We also get some chanting styled vocals at the beginning of "118" and the peaceful droney stuff brings to mind AMT a bit. Before the two-minute marker an energetic bass line ends the floating and off we go. Some cool jamming follows, and later on the track cools down again with some more chanting and drone. Very nice! The last piece "Tsunami Of Bullshit" is the longest at 15:30. The start is very ambient but rocking starts after three minutes. There's a lot of great stuff in this one when the band gets into their space rock mode. We'll also get experimental freak-outs, so don't worry... Excellent! This is a must-have album for all those into modern free-form heavy psych/kraut/space rock with a raw, punky edge. There will only be 300 copies of the LP so be fast when the preorder starts very soon!

FoneZ - Oscilador

Lo-Fi Records (LFR027)

FoneZ is a cool modern post/space/krautrock band from Córdoba, Argentina, and as far as I know, Oscilador is their first full-length album to be released on CD. Unlike most of the South American bands that I've heard recently, they don't rely on heavy, distorted guitar riffs and crushing rhythms. Their thing is neat, spacey synthesizers, dreamy soundscapes and hypnotic, motorik beat and I like that.

Most of the seven tracks on the album are instrumental, or almost instrumental like the very nice opener "AX100". This one reminds me of Finnish band Avaruuskorpraali Paha Hirvi. "Mezcia" is another hypnotic synthesizer-driven krautrocker that also has vocals in Spanish. "1° De Mayo" is a little slower, has some guitar melody and is closer to some of the post-rock bands. "Grober" is a short, spacey kraut/synth piece that rings to mind Kosmischer Läufer or Eat Lights Become Lights and "Hidro" continues the hypnotic going. Th almost nine-minute "La Visión" is a dreamy, droney and hazy song with soft vocals and strong Spacemen 3 vibe. I like it a lot! The last track "San Pedro" is a really cool, psychedelic, atmospheric and trancey piece that I love. This one gives you a clear vision for sure... Oscilador is a highly enjoyable, well produced album and my only complaints are that it's not (at least not yet...) available on vinyl and it's a bit short at around 30 minutes in length. Check it out!