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lauantai 26. tammikuuta 2019

Le Mur - Exorta

Clostridium Records (CR 044)

Le Mur is a German band who label themselves as "heavy dark trip rock". To my ears, they sound more like late 70s/early 80s experimental post-punk or industrial rock bands than any of the space/kraut/psych rock bands that I know. But they are still rather heavy, dark and trippy and rock out, so I guess that description is pretty valid! I don't understand how I have not heard of them before since Exorta is already their third vinyl album. They use bass, drums, percussion, guitars, organ, synthesizers and sound effects as well as saxophone and of course vocals.

The album kicks off with the three-minute instrumental "O.m.e.n. - Towards the End". Sounds hypnotic and rather promising. The edgy "Die Nacht der Lemuren ( Teil 1 )" has punky vocals (in German) and after a while it goes into somewhat experimental spheres also including sax. "(Intro) The Broken Pieces of..." has a very melancholic, sad vibe and vocals as well as some spoken word just accompanied by organ and drums. Weird. "Our Doom" is a slow, dark post-punk spirited piece. There are three eight-minute pieces on the B-side. "These Symptoms Are Temporary" somehow brings to mind Chrome without the out-of-this-world-and-high-on-acid element. Still one of the best tracks on the album in my opinion. The title track "Exorta" isn't too bad either, actually pretty hypnotic and mesmerising. There are also some spacey synthesizer sounds and atmospheric post-rock floating. The end part with guitar solo is rather heavy stuff. I like it! The album ends with another cool track "O.m.e.n. - Arisen". I must say the B-side is a lot better than the A-side! Le Mur will perform at the Clostridium Label Night Vol. 1 on 13.4.2019 in Dortmund, Germany, along with Cosmic Fall and a couple of other cool bands. Go and check them out live if you can!

Holy Mushroom - Moon

Clostridium Records (CR 045)

Holy Mountain is a bluesy, rather heavy retro classic/psych/acid rock trio from Oviedo, Spain. Moon is their first vinyl album following a couple of digital releases on Bandcamp. The album was released already in February 2018 but I only recently got a promo copy so that's why this review comes so late.

When you put the LP on you first of all realise thet the sound quality is great and crystal clear. The opener "La Caverna" starts off in a dreamy, tranquil manner but at least when the great solo guitar work begins things get more intense. Towards the end the track also gets faster and groovier and ther is some organ in addition to the standard bass/drums/guitar stuff. This is a great, instrumental beginning for the album! The start of "Birdwax Blues" washes over you like a fresh breeze over the mountain tops, I really like the vibe here. Also there's some organ sound in there too. In the middle the track turns into hazy blues and we also get some piano and vocals. The vocals are not bad at all, but I somehow prefer this band in its instrumental, not-so-bluesy form. Especially the trippy, jamming guitar solo parts are often brilliant. The slowly building, beutiful "Eúfrates" is one of my favourites including lots of that towards the end! Great playing by all members, I must add.

On the B-side, "Preacher" is the longest track on the album at 12:34. Again the band starts off in a peaceful, dreamy mode, but then we get some heavy, bluesy acid rocking. Some of it reminds me of The Outskirts of Infinity, which is definitely not a bad thing. Maybe Jimi Hendrix has been one of the influences for Holy Mushroom as well. Later on there's also some vocals. The album is finished with "Grand Finale in the Blind Desert" and this is one of the highlights for me with its mystical, dark atmosphere. Some great jamming on this one! Holy Mountain is one of the best new band's in their genre so be sure to check out them! The more limited, gorgious looking psych-colour edition of the album is already sold out from the band but you can still get that and the black one from their label.

perjantai 25. tammikuuta 2019

Maat Lander - Seasons of Space Book #2

Clostridium Records (CR 046)

This is the latest album by Russian instrumental musicnauts Maat Lander. The lineup features members of two wonderful bands: Vespero and The Re-stoned and their music is maybe best described as an adventurous mix of psychedelic space rock, prog, ambient, trance and electronic music. Sometimes I'm reminded of Ozric Tentacles, but Maat Lander has a style of their own. Like the previous LP Seasons of Space Book #1 this one comes with a cool illustrated booklet continuing the cosmic sci-fi saga of an entity called Maat Lander. It's very enjoyable to read while listening to this great album!

The album begins with "Realm Of The Firelimbies" that builds up slowly from dreamy ambient into energetic, up-beat space rock. Amazing stuff! I love the guitars (especially the solos!), synthesizers, sequencers, groovy rhythms, everything. "There, Where the Crystal Image of the Whole Space Dwells" is a very cinematic track that sounds a bit like mix Steve Hillage and Hidria Spacefolk. Just close your eyes and let the space visions fill you mind. After the short, semi-acoustic intro "Galaxy Passage #4" we get the album's longest piece "Meteors Serenade". It starts off in a tranquil manner and stays rather relaxed and floating for six minutes. Then it grows and gets more intense with some blazing solo guitar work. Wow! "Klaus, I'm Lost Among the Moleculs" is a nice, bit jazzy and proggy piece. "Quantum Ballad" has a beautiful, mellow and acoustic mood. Now it's time for some serious, ass-kicking and brain-frying space rocking and the fast and heavy "Space Scum" is the track for that kind of action! There are also some more adventurous, jamming parts in there. This is the last track on the limited LP versions (240 black, 130 coloured) but the CD and download have two more tracks: "Galaxy Passage #5" and the free-flowing space/prog/trance number "The Asteroid Of Living Machinery". In summary, this is one of the best albums I've heard for a while and strongly recommended for all lovers of instrumental, psychedelic and trancey space rock.

tiistai 22. tammikuuta 2019

Hotlist of January

Okay, these are the hottest albums/singles I've received since I did my Best of 2018 list:

Electric Orange ‎– Unterwasser Vol. 2
Pharaoh Overlord ‎– Chewing Gum Live
Camera ‎– Emotional Detox
Moonwagon - Zen Out of Ten - Live
The Chemistry Set ‎– Firefly 7" + bonus CD
Nick Nicely ‎– All Along The Watchtower 7"
Los Tabanos Experience Atlantis Mirage
Dark Fog ‎– Make You Believe
Øresund Space Collective ‎– Kybalion
The Fellowship Of Hallucinatory Voyagers Tenderness Avalanche

torstai 10. tammikuuta 2019

Musta Risti - S/T

Svart Records (Svart175)

This is the debut album by Finnish proto/doom metal band Musta Risti (Black Cross in English) following one mini LP, one 7" and a few cassettes etc. I have only seen the band live a couple of times but I have enjoyed their brand of 70s/80s heavy metal and Sabbath/Pentagram/Reverend Bizarre styled doom. This album was released in November last year so I'm a bit late again but since the band is supporting Lucifer on their Finnish gigs later this month I thought a review would still be in demand.

There is nothing on the album that could not have be done already in the 80s. So if you are looking for modern, technical metal you can forget it. Luckily for Musta Risti, I'm completely old school what comes to my taste in heavy music and doom metal so this is pretty much down my alley. The album starts off with the more energetic and fast-rocking "Peto" ("The Beast") that has some Motörhead vibe even. Great opener! "Kelmeät Silmät" is at first a slower, doomy track that starts to rock out faster in the middle bringing to mind some of the NWOBHM masters. "Tuhkaviitta" is a cool, mid-tempo heavy rocker. The gloomy "Laivue" is one of the heaviest songs bringing to mind the amazing Reverend Bizarre. One of my favourites for sure! "Kaaoksen lapset" is the longest track at over eight minutes. It's another totally superb, heavy, doom journey with clear Saint Vitus/Reverend Bizarre vibe. There's also some Trouble in there later on which is great... "Moottoriritari" is faster heavy metal not unlike some of the Finnish pioneers like Oz, I like it! The album is finished with the heavy and doomy "Tule esiin tuho" that makes you bang your head. It's another killer track, absolutely. All in all, this is great debut full-length that the band can be proud of. Great songs, great riffs, great playing, great vocals and even great production, it's all there. Warmly recommended for all lovers of  traditional heavy/doom metal.

torstai 3. tammikuuta 2019

Moonwagon - Zen out of Ten - Live

Presence Records ‎(MPLP001)

Moonwagon from Kokkola, Finland, is one of our finest purveyors of (mostly) instrumental, progressive space rock. Since they turned into a trio a few years ago, I was curious to find out how the band deals bass, drums, guitar and synthesizers live. In studio, this was of course no problem. I was lucky to catch them alive at Semifinal, Helsinki in 2017 and see how it was done. The bass player and guitarist both switched into keyboards from time to time and they also used some pedals, so no problem. It was  a great show and I also got to party with the guys afterwards. Zen out of Ten is a live album recorded at the very same, dear little live venue at the downstairs of Tavastia Club in the middle of Helsinki but one year later in 2018. I sadly missed that show, so it's wonderful to hear how it went.

The albums starts off with "Starmask", originally from the 2011 album Night Dust. Great, driving mid-tempo piece! There's even a bass solo in there sounding a bit like Alan Davey... Cool! "Forgotten by Time" (from 2015's more jazz/rock fusion inspired The Rule of Three) is a bit more progressive number with some great, adventurous stuff and superb playing by all (lots of more bass soloing too!). The guitar solos are great as well. The longest track on the album is "Shadows Whisper Fire" (from Foyers of the Future, 2012) at nine minutes. I'm somehow reminded of the more atmospheric side of Rush here, alhough without the high-pitched vocals of course... "Saturn Summer" is another great prog tune including the band presentation. The only previously unreleased track "Nights of Neon" reminds me of Rush again and maybe olso Blue Öyster Cult a bit, great prog pop/rock. "South of Bermuda" from 2017's great EP Devil's Labyrinth is the heaviest piece on the album and also has some vocals. You can hear the Hawkwind influences in here I think. One of their best tracks if you ask me! The only track with full vocals (as well as acoustic guitar!) "Run to the Sun" ends the album in a cheerful mode. This is a great live album with excellent production but the vinyl version (including poster and MP3 download code) is limited to just 100 copies so be quick if you want one! Also available on CD.

Elfin Bow & Gary Lloyd - Who Knows Where The Time Goes 7"

Fruits de Mer Records (Winkle 33)

I have never heard of British folk singer/guitarist/mandolin/fiddle player Elfin Bow (real name Elizabeth Kearney) before, but she has released at least one album in 2016. This self-released, eponymously entitled album was mixed and mastered by Gary Loyd, who this time is also responsible for the orchestration and electronics on this wonderful single. The Scottish Session Orchestra is conducted by Adam Robinson. I love Elfin's crystal clear, beautiful voice and the music is superb although not that psychedelic in any way.

On the A side there's an amazing cover version of songwriter and musician Sandy Denny who started her career in the late 60s. Some of you might remember her from her work with Fairport Convention, but I must confess I was not familair with her music before. Anyway, "Who Knows Where The Time Goes" is a very nice, atmospheric and melodic little song and the orchetration makes it even more effective and emotional. Very nice. I must say that I still prefer the Elfin Bow original "The Wisdom" on the B-side. It has a more traditional folky vibe, although also it has some beutiful string orchestration. This is just pure magic, and I also really like the wise lyrics. The open gatefold cover is also great. Check this out!

nick nicely - All Along the Watchtower / The Doors of Perception 7"

Fruits de Mer Records (Winkle 35)

One of the four "end-of-the-year" 7" releases is a new double-A-side single by nick nicely, one of my idols. It just can't be a mere accident that a lot of my favourite artists have been picked up by the label in ten years... nick, who turns 60 this year has been making his own mix of experimental electronic music and psychedelic rock/pop since the beginning of the 80s and he definitely still has the skills to produce pure magical bliss.

"All Along the Watchtower" of course is a cover version of the Dylan song also made famous by Jimi Hendrix. nick makes the song sound like nobody else than himself, as you migh have guessed. You can still recognize it, though. The synths & electronics are mixed in a very cool way with highly manipulated vocals and electric and acoustic guitars. What an excellent job of doing a very trippy, experimental but highly enjoyable version of this stone-cold classic! "The Doors of Perception" is a new original that goes well with the flipside. It has a celestial, mind-expanding vibe that suits the subject matter just perfectly. You don't need psychotropic drugs while listening to nick nicely, his music is a drug on its own! Just close you eyes and let nick take you on a mind-journey, you won't regret it.

The Chemistry Set ‎- Firefly 7"

Fruits de Mer Records (winkle 034)

The Chemistry Set from London already started in the late 80s with their brand of neo-psychedelia pop. The band is now going strong celebrating their 30th anniversary and Lovely Cuppa Tea, their previous 7" EP on Fruits de Mer last year was a really killer including a marvellous The Moody Blues cover "Legend of a Mind". I have been playing that tune a lot as a dj, and the two originals are excellent as well. A new release by this band is always a remarkable even for me and this two-tracker is no exception.

On the A-side we've got the heavy and mind-blowing "Firefly".  This might well be their best song yeat and yeah, at least it is the heaviest I've heard. You'll get sucked into a psychedelic, hypnotic whirlpool of sound. The verse is fuzzy, heavy and mysterious, but you can still find the melodic side of the band on the great chorus. I also love the tripped out solo part with phasing at the end! Just wow. "Sail Away" on the B-side is a lot mellower affair with acoustic guitar, tablas and slide guitar among other things. I like the vibe on this one that might well be a Kula Shaker out-take or something. In addition to these two great new songs you'll also get a bonus remix CD with two remixes of the aforementioned Moodies cover by Astralasia's Mark Swordfish and as a big Astralasia fan this release would have been worth getting for those alone! This is absolutely a release that I will play often and my dj audiences will hear it too for sure... Just go and get it!

Touch - We Feel Fine 7" EP

Fruits de Mer Records (Crustacean 88)

Touch was one of those very promising late 60's prog/psych bands that only made one amazing album and the faded into the mists of time. Of course this eponymous album released in 1969 is now a mega rarity. The writing of the album took place in a castle at Hollywood Hills and the party-like recording sessions are rumoured to include the attandance of Mick Jagger, Grace Slick and Jimi Hendrix.

This three-track single release can be seen as the first actual Fruits de Mer reissue single, which was the reason that the label was originally set up for ten years ago. There are two classic tracks from the S/T album plus one extra track from an aborted 1968 single to make this somewhat special. "We Feel Fine" is an energetic, progressive and organ-heavy master piece of late 60s progressive psych rock with great harmony vocals. It has a groovy vibe and lots of different stuff including cool fuzz guitar. I love it! "Down at Circe's Place" is a hypnotic psych rocker with piano and latino-styled percussion etc., very lysergic stuff! The unreleased, catchy single song "We Finally Met Today" is a bit more "normal" but still psychy and somehow brings to mind Spirit. All in all a very enjoyable little EP and a great way to get into this great 60s band.  The 7" comes with a nice mini-poster. Warmly recommended!