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keskiviikko 28. maaliskuuta 2018

Hadal Sherpa - S/T


Hadal Sherpa is a really cool instrumental ethnic prog/psych rock band from Southern Finland and this is their first album. I've seen the band live a couple of years ago with supporting Hidria Spacefolk and noticed their potential already then. The first pressing of this digipack CD released in June 2017 sold-out rather quickly but luckily there is a second pressing with slightly altered art work that I got.

The album includes eight long tracks, all between 7:20 and 9:30 in length. Hadal Sherpa has a rather light, folky sound compared to some other similar artists. They are more progressive and less danceable than Hidria Spacefolk, more organic and less electronic than Ozric Tentacles. I can also sense some Kingston Wall vibes, or maybe more like 70s airy, jazzy prog rock like Caravan or Camel or some of the Finnish folk/prog masters like Piirpauke. The great melodies have lots of Eastern/Oriental/Balcan/North-African sounding themes and the use of flutes etc. and odd time signatures add the ethnic mood. At times the band rock more steady in space rock mode too which is great. Never do they get very heavy, though, but some tracks are more intense. As a matter of fact they have a rather unique style after all, although you can hear some of their influences for sure. The tracks are well-structured and interesting and the listener is easily transported into some better, more beautiful and love-filled place. There are also bits of synthesizer in there from time to time to make things more interesting, but they could maybe use that more to get spacier. Unless they don't want to... The playing is great throughout and sound quality excellent too, so in summary I must say that this is one of the best modern Finnish prog bands at the moment. Listen for yourself and please remember that you can see the band live this Saturday in Helsinki at Lepakkomies with Albinö Rhino, Warp Transmission and Laserdrift along with Yours Truly on decks!

tiistai 27. maaliskuuta 2018

Love Machine - Times to Come

Unique (UNIQ225-1)

Times to Come is the third album by 60s/70s styled bluesy psych rock band Love Machine from Düsseldorf, Germany. These young hippies have now all grown tasty mustaches and also deepened their musical abilities and style. I have previously reviewed their debut Present to the Galaxy and the following Circles on the excellent Tonzonen Records, now they switched labels to Unique.

Like before, the listener is right away reminded of The Doors when the first track "Got To Love" starts to blast from the speakers. Yes, it's maybe mostly due to their deep-voiced singer. By the way, a nice addition are the backing vocals by some of their friends. Also, this time the lead vocalist at times reminds me of Johnny Cash! Anyway, the opener has a cool, sort of sunny, almost African vibe to it as well as a faster, jammy rock section towards the end. Nice! "To the Universe" is a rather mellow piece in the West-Coast style and the longer (7:51) "Blue Eyes" a cool bluesy number with some Grateful Dead styled guitar work and vibe. I like the extended ending on this one. The slow and mellow "Solar Phallus" is the track where the singer brings to mind Johnny Cash the most. There is also some flute on this one. "Visions" is a trippy, groovy instrumental jam with some analogue synth and cool solo guitar work. Very nice! The short, rather minimal title track "Time to Come" has a stronger folk rock vibe á la Donovan, and the last piece "Earth, Again" is a beautiful, soulful number somewhere in between The Byrds, Love and Jefferson Airplane. All in all, if you like late 60s/early 70s styled bluesy rock music with some slide guitar and psych vibes etc. you should check this band out. Out on vinyl, CD and digital download. 

Hotlist March

This is what I've mostly been playing this month (top 15 this time instead of 10 since I can):

Seven That Spells ‎– The Death And Resurrection Of Krautrock: Omega
Secret Saucer ‎– The Reset
Black Lizard ‎– Celebration Of A New Dawn
GNOB ‎– Electric Dream Demon
The Oscillation ‎– U.E.F.
Sounds Of New Soma - Live At The Green Mushroom Festival
Judas Priest ‎– Firepower
Fu Manchu ‎– Clone Of The Universe      
King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard ‎– Polygondwanaland
Blown Out / Comacozer ‎– In Search Of Highs Volume 1
Melody Fields - S/T
3rd Ear Experience ‎– Stoned Gold
Sammal ‎– Suuliekki
Earthless ‎– Black Heaven
Dungen + Woods – Myths 003 

torstai 15. maaliskuuta 2018

Dj Astro's Easter Special!

I'll have two ultra cool happenings to dj in Helsinki this Easter, here they are:

Electric Wizard (UK), Hooden Menace & Tombstoned @ Circus, 30.3.2018

Facebook event:

UFOP: Psykedeelinen Pääsiäinen Vol. 2 (Warp Transmission, Laserdrift, Albinö Rhino & Hadal Sherpa) , Bar Lepakkomies, 31.3.2018

 Facebook event:
Tickets only at the door, come early!

keskiviikko 14. maaliskuuta 2018

Sounds of New Soma - Live at The Green Mushroom Festival

Tonzonen Records (TON041)

This is the first "live" album by German psychedelic neo-krautrock/ambient/kosmische music group Sounds of New Soma following their three great studio albums and one one-sided 7".  This amazing sounding LP was apparently recorded at The Green Mushroom Festival that sounds like a very cool party although I couldn't find any info from the net. Either it's the kind of fest you only hear your weirdest friends whispering about or the band dreamed the whole thing...

Anyway, what we got here are five previously unreleased tracks. I'm not sure how much is improvised on the go but there must have been at least some stuctures beforehand. This album has a less electronic, more organic vibe to it than the previous albums and I like that. Only the shortest track "Projektionen" is pure electronica with sequencers. Drummer Armin Schopper who was already featured on the previous album La Grande Bellezza is augmenting the core duo of Alexander Djelassi and Dirk Raubach again as well as "other psychedelic astronauts". The opening track "Schein" has a five-minute ambient intro until the slow drum beat begins. I really like the laid-back, hazy atmosphere of this track. There is guitar, spacey electronics and keyboards and bass bringing to mind early 70s Pink Floyd or Electric Orange. On "Om Namah" the vibe gets spacier and more psychedelic. Another slow burner with also a couple of bit heavier guitar parts to a great effect.

On the B-side "Weinende Eidechsen" is a very powerful and trance-inducing track that is probably my favourite on the album. Very psychedelic, deep stuff... After the excellent, Berlin-school-styled sequencer piece "Projektionen" the album is finished off with "Henriette Mutterkorn" that is a bit groovier, killer hypnotic space/krautrock number that moves both your brain and ass. Wonderful! Whether this LP really was recorded live or not it's a very welcome addition to the SONS album family and perhaps the best one yet. Definitely one of the best albums this year so far. There are three different, limited vinyl editions with enclosed CD as well as a separate CD release out there on 6.4.2018. Be sure to get your copy and get spaced out with it!

torstai 8. maaliskuuta 2018

Astral Visions #78 Mixcloud Show now online!

Okay space birds, the first show of 2018 is now finished and online:


  • 1 I Can't Be Found (from Celebration Of A New Dawn) by Black Lizard
  • 2 Ara Pacis (from Baptistina) by Heaters
  • 3 Suuliekki (from Suuliekki) by Sammal
  • 4 Scarlet (from Scarlet Fever) by Green Seagull
  • 5 In A Ghetto (Feat Capra Informis, from Our Mother Was A Plant) by JuJu
  • 6 Roaming Shores (from The Reset) by Secret Saucer
  • 7 Cucumbers from Mars (from Stunde Null) by Mind
  • 8 Land of the Sun (featuring Gabriel Minnikin, from Recondite) by Dead Sea Apes
  • 9 Electrified Sky (from Mind Minerals) by Carlton Melton
  • 10 Cabalgan los Cielos (from S/T) by IAH
  • 11 Elephemeral (from Mountains & Reminiscence) by Spaceslug
  • 12 The Drop (from Vibraciones Doradas) by Causa Sui
  • 13 Earworm (from Droneverdose) by The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol
  • 14 Etsijan elinehto (from Toinen toista) by Malady
  • 15 The Raven Prince (from Samas Antaral) by In The Labyrinth
  • 16 Hymn To Pan (from Crowley And Me) by Star Sponge Vision
  • 17 There Will Be Waste (from S/T) by The Final Age
  • 18 Magic Bohemian & Mystic Nuns pt. 1 (from Either The Fragmented Body Or The Reconstituted Soul) by Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.
  • 19 From The Corner Of My Eye (from From The Corner Of My Eye) by Us And Them
  • 20 An Empire In Its Glory (from Climb Sheer The Fields Of Peace) by Alison O'Donnell
  • 21 Spectral Death Zone (from The KYVU Tapes Volume II) by Demian Castellanos

keskiviikko 7. maaliskuuta 2018

Jess and the Ancient Ones - The Horse and Other Weird Tales

Svart Records (SVART127)

The Horse and Other Weird Tales is the third full-lenght by Finnish psychedelic rock band Jess and the Ancient Ones established in Kuopio in 2010. The band members have their roots in metal and you can still sense it somewhat, but I wouldn't still label the music they now make as metal. They have been for example touring with King Diamond and played also at Roadburn Festival, though. When they started, they seemed to ride a bit on the occult rock wagon, but it's fair to say that they don't do that so much anymore. But they are not exactly part of the psych rock revival either, I think.

My feelings about the band have always been a bit divided: you just got to love the lyrical themes of the darker side of the Aquarian age, the playing and vocals are great and at times the music really is psychedelic and transports you into some other dimension, but on the other hand, I somehow don't really get their main point. I'm also having big difficulties in taking in the psychobilly drum beats the drummer seems to be in love with. But then again, all this makes them sound pretty unique I guess. It seems to be that people either love them or don't like them at all, but I'm somewhere in the middle.

The Horse and Other Weird Tales is rather short at 35 minutes and includes nine new songs. There are only two longer tracks (over seven minutes in lenght) and the rest last from only under two to little over three minutes. So, nothing as epic and adventurous as the final track on their previous album that was over 20 minutes! And a couple of tracks on the debut were also well over the ten-minute-marker. "Death Is the Doors" starts the journey. Argh, that surf/twang/psychobilly beat almost right from the start... Well, there's more and you could say that this is pretty cool and groovy tune. The use of spoken word samples is a nice addition the band has utilised quite a lot. "Shining" is  bit heavier piece and rather fast as well. "Your Exploding Head" has a nice chorus but mostly reminds me of some Finnish schlagers or 80s Tuomari Nurmio or Kauko Röyhkä or, especially, 80s Finnish female singer Tuula Amberla. Not my kind of stuff, sorry. "You and Eyes" is a bit more melancholic and soulful piece that I like a lot. It brings to mind Janis Joplin or Jefferson Airplane. It also gets more progressive and rocks harder, which is great.  "Radio Aquarius" returns to one of the band's favourite themes psychedelics and is actually a very nice, laid-back instrumental with cool spoken samples. "Return to Hallucinate" of course continues the theme and is a catchy, up-beat song. One of the highlights! Then it's time for some hard/occult rocking with "(Here Comes) The Rainbow Mouth", pretty powerful stuff. Also "Minotaur" rocks out okay (but that drum beat again...). The longest track (7:58) "Anyway The Minds Flow" finishes off the album in a more doomy, gloomy way but also has some prog rock vibes, at least on the organ department. This track sort of reminds me of The Devil's Blood, maybe not so directly, more just the dark vibe. Again, we get some spoken word at the end. I'm sure if you liked the the band's previous output you will love this album.

Sammal - Suuliekki

Svart Records (SVART140)

Sammal is for sure of the most loved modern Finnish progressive rock bands. Not that they are commercially that successful or anything, but prog rock fans still know and adore them. This Turku-based band has great respect for the prog forefathers but still manages to sound original and fresh somehow. They are very talented players and creative song writers. What matters the most in my books still is, that they have a way to touch your soul.

Suuliekki is their third studio album if you don't count the No 2 MLP and follows the Live at Roadburn 2015 LP and Suuliekki 7". There has not been any major changes to their sound or music style, and I'm glad about that. You get a good dose of soulful vocals in Finnish, sometimes peaceful, sometimes heavy guitar, groovy rhythm section and great retro organ and synth sounds like expected. Maybe there is more variation in the song material this time, like "Pinnalle kaltevalle" with its intense latino beats. Some  songs like "Vitutuksen valtameri" are closer to early 70s hard rock like Deep Purple and I love it. You can definitely hear echoes of prog masters like Genesis or Wigwam on songs like "Herran pelko" and that's completely okay if you ask me. Another excellent release by Sammal, get it if you are a fan of progressive rock! 350 copies on blue vinyl, 650 on black, release date is this Friday.

Barış Manço / Kurtalan Ekspres ‎– Estağfurullah... Ne Haddimize !

Pharaway Sounds ‎(PHS037CD)

Anatolian rock/pop/folk/psych/funk legend Barış Manço released this album originally in 1983, and this CD/LP reissue was put out in 2016. To my knowledge, it was the last studio album to be recorded with his backing band Kurtalan Ekspres. I don't know much about Barış who died in 1999 or his music either, but I must say that I do have a sweet spot for Eastern/Oriental melodies and rhythms and the combination of Eastern and Western music often works really well for me. The great vocals also have a really cool, exotic effect on me.

In general, 1983 maybe wasn't the best year in music, but this album sort of lives in its own continuum of the 70s which is cool. On the other hand, the grooviest track on the album, "Aman Yavaş Aheste", is a killer, funky disco-boogie number that woud have gone down well in any European discotheque in 1983. Anyway, there are lots of different songs here, some more traditional ballad-like, some more in the rock/pop/funk vain and all with some prog/psych elements so I like it.  My favourites are the mesmerising opener "Halil İbrahim Sofrası" and the mystical last track, the instrumental "Selahaddin Eyyüğbinin Yeğeni Aslan Yürekli Rişarın Kız Kardeşine Karşı". Worth checking out! 

lauantai 3. maaliskuuta 2018

Paradise 9 - 2oth Anniversary 1997 - 2017 Live 2CD

P9Recordings (P9CD006)

This double CD was released last year to celebrate the 20th birthday of U.K. band Paradise 9. They are usually labeled as space rock band which is fine, but actually I hear a lot of post-punk / New Wave influences in their sound as well in addition to the pure space rock sound. But hey, nothing wrong with that! Anyway, if you enjoy bands like Here & Now, Magazine, The Fall, Killing Joke etc. you definitely should like them. I have previously reviewed a couple of their releases, and am a bit late with this one. Sorry about that!

Anyway, what we have here is a cool 2CD set of live material at various festivals and club gigs in between 1998 and 2016. CD 1 is focused on recent live stuff from Blind Cat Festival and Kozfest from 2016. Most of the stuff is pretty energetic and up-beat, but we also get slower ones like the instrumental "Ocean Rise" where Nik Turner is adding some cool saxophone, like on several other tunes as well. I also really like the use of spacey synthesizers on many tracks enhancing the psych/space element. One of my faves on disc one is "Distant Dreams", a melodic, nice and dreamy piece that features Kev Ellis on harp etc. This sounds quite a lot like some of the Hawkwind or DarXtar space ballads, great! Actually, the same goes for the following song "Crystalized Moments", very cool vibes.

The stuff on the second disc comes from several gigs played around London. The sound quality is very good, like on the first disc, but maybe not perfect. "Into the Ether" is a hypnotic, danceable piece with percussion. We get some acoustic stuff with "I See You Dancing", "All Said and Done", "Bright World" and "Glow". There's also another versions of their classics "Crystalized Moments", "Points of View" and "State of the Nation" that all made appearances on the first disc. Some groovy, spacey moments in there, and Nik is also featured. All in all, this 2CD is a great celebration of the twenty years of Paradice 9 and also gives you a good overal picture of what the band is all about live. Check it out!

Hotlist January - February

This is what has been keeping my ears and mind busy so far this year:

Psychic Lemon ‎– Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay LP
The Myrrors ‎– Archives, Vol. I: Lunar Halo 12"
Damo Suzuki ‎– Seven Potatoes: Live In Nanaimo 2LP
Dead Sea Apes ‎– Recondite 2LP
Causa Sui ‎– Vibraciones Doradas LP
Mugstar ‎– Collapsar: Skull Scorchers & Neuron Phasers Singles & Rarities 2LP
Moon Duo ‎– Jukebox Babe / No Fun 12"
From Grotto S/T LP
Carlton Melton ‎– Mind Minerals 2LP
Rymdstyrelsen ‎– Space Is Cold LP
Seven That Spells ‎– The Death And Resurrection Of Krautrock: Omega LP
Sula Bassana ‎– The Ape Regards His Tail 2LP
Demian Castellanos ‎– The KYVU Tapes Vol.2 (1990-1995) LP
Secret Saucer ‎– The Reset LP
Hadal Sherpa –S/T CD

perjantai 2. maaliskuuta 2018

Seven That Spells - The Death And Resurrection Of Krautrock: OMEGA

Sulatron Records (st 1801)

Croatian Seven That Spells led by the very cool Niko Potočnjak has been around for 15 years now and released quite a lot of albums. I've been following them almost from the beginning and also was lucky enough to see them live a couple of times at Roadburn Festival. They have a rather unique style mixing together psych, prog, space, kraut, alternative and experimental rock elements. They used to be heavily influenced by Acid Mothers Temple at one point, and also collaborated with them, but now the chaotic ATM elements are pretty much gone. Omega is the last part in The Death And Resurrection Of Krautrock trilogy that started in 2011 with AUM followed by IO in 2014.

The new album just released on the amazing Sulatron Records has five tracks. "In III" is a shorter (4:07) hypnotic piece that sucks the listener into this sonic journey. The pretty heavy, repetitive vibe and particularly the mantra-like vocals (I'm not sure about the language) reminds me of early Circle which is cool. The same goes for the rest of the album. The rest of side A of the vinyl (limited to 500 copies) is filled with the almost 19-minute title track "Omega". This is a rather progressive, adventurous and excellent composition that at times brings to mind some of the modern prog rock/metal bands like Porcupine Tree. Some great melodies and rhythms on this one.Things do also get a bit freaky towards the end which is great! "Chronos" is an atmospheric, instrumental opener for side B, and the "Future Lords" take us away into space and beyond. This is the most psychedelic track on the album, and I like the intense, driving beat and rather dark mood. The sort of weird "Out III" finishes off the album in mysterious atmospheres and leave you wondering what the hell just happened. I love it! OMEGA is another masterpiece by Seven That Spells but be prepared to listen to it several times before you really can get inside it. This is not easy listening music, but still rather approachable stuff, when you really pay attention. Great sound and musicianship, warmly recommended!