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tiistai 30. huhtikuuta 2019

Hotlist April

These are the hottest pieces of vinyl this month (not counting reissues):

3rd Ear Experience With Dr. Space ‎– Ear To Space
Waste Of Space Orchestra ‎– Syntheosis
We Are Wood ‎– Heaven's People
Nik Turner ‎– The Final Frontier
Lamp Of The Universe ‎– Align In The Fourth Dimension
Arc Of Ascent / Zone Six Split    
Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. Sacred And Inviolable Phase Shift
Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO Invisible Eyes And Phantom Cathedral
Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO ‎– Hallelujah Mystic Garden Part Two
Earthbound Machine Destined for the Grave


maanantai 29. huhtikuuta 2019

Earthbound Machine - Destined for the Grave

Final Sunlight Records (FSR002)

Destined for the Grave is the debut full-length album by Finnish doom metal four-piece Earthbound Machine. I have been following the band for several years now and you can check out my reviews of their 2015 one-sided 12" EP over here and 2013 demo/EP over here. I think the band is now heavier than ever but there are also some psych/stoner elements in  the mix from time to time which I like. What still differs Earthbound Machine from your average doom metal band are the clean, melodic, great and powerful vocals of Ilkka Haavisto. His voice and style brings to mind some of the greatest singers in grunge but the music of E. M. really has nothing to do with it otherwise. The epic doom metal fanatics will know the bass player Jussi "IronHammer" Myllykoski as the ex-bass player of Lord Vicar. His bass sound is now perhaps more massive than ever... Guitarist Jussi Parkkali is excellent as well and the drummer Ville Vierimaa really knows exactly what he's doing too.

There are six tracks on the LP. The production is superb and the vinyl pressing made in Estonia is flawless. The mid-tempo "Figures in a Terrain" starts off the funeral procession with crushing heaviness. It's not just one simple heavy riff though, it has melody and cool hooks as well. I'm already very impressed! On "Rallies in Rage" things get darker, slower and doomier. Ilkka sounds pretty much like the sadly passed Chris Cornell. Another killer track. "Man in the Attic" has at first a beautiful, melancholic atmosphere but it also soon gets heavier. This is not exactly traditional doom but still heavy and dark. Later on the guitar gets rather psychedelic... The shortest track on the album is "Marrow" at 4:37. The sound is mercilessly heavy... But once again the melodic vocals sooth your suffering soul a bit, even though the lyrics are very gloomy as well. "In Its Absence" sounds like some of the old school doom metal bands without being a straight Vitus/Pentagram rip-off in anyway. The album is finished with the longest (6:47) song "The Undoing" that is also maybe my favourite. Some killer riffing on this one... You just can't avoid banging your head. A very cool ending to an amazing, heavy doom album. One of the best records released this month for sure! If you happen to be in Finland, don't miss their album release gig tomorrow (30.4.2019) at Kuudes Linja, Helsinki. They are supported by the death/doom metal harbingers Cataleptic.

sunnuntai 28. huhtikuuta 2019

Uffe Lorenzen - Triprapport

Bad Afro Records

I'm sure all the Astral Zone readers are familiar with multi-instrumentalist/singer/composer Uffe Lorenzen by now, or at least some of his bands that include On Trial, Baby Woodrose, Dragontears, Spids Nøgenhat and Pandemonica. I've been a big fan since the On Trial days. This Danish psychedelic wizard chose to go solo and sing in Danish a few years ago and his first solo album Galmandsværk was released in 2017 to a great acclaim. Triprapport is his second solo album and will be released on the 10th of May on black vinyl limited to 1500 copies as well as on a digipack CD. Early LP pre-order copies also come with a poster. Uffe's solo material is less rock oriented than On Trial or Baby Woodrose and more in the folk style. The music is maybe a bit less obviously psychedelic too, but Uffe's journeys in other realms are still clearly evident in the deep, often melancholic vibes.

My Danish is unfortunetaly rather limited, but track titles like "Psychonaut" (the beautiful opener) or  "Triprapport" speak for themselves. Uffe's great vocals are maybe even emotional and touching than before, you can hear the wisdom of years of tripping in there. The first "single" track that was released digitally, the mid-tempo "Alting Er Eet" is a bit more rock oriented with full drum set etc. but still rather dreamy stuff. Loving it! Also the following title track that also has cool sitar and percussion rocks out a bit in the Baby Woodrose style with fuzz guitars and a driving beat. Uffe has always had an amazing sense for melody and atmosphere and this album is no exception."Angakkoq" is a deep, melancholic folk piece with beautiful acoustic guitars and organ/mellotron layers etc. I really enjoy Uffe's vocals here. The song apparently tells about some shaman and no wonder. "Lille Fugl" ("Little Bird") is a hazy, dreamy and trippy folk song, just wonderful. Then it's time for some more positive and happy stuff with the Eastern tinged "Floden". We get some more sitar and tablas (?) too and this is yet another winner. The droney and hypnotic "Aldrig Mere Ned" is again darker stuff. The album is finished with the cool little psychedelic folk/country rock piece "Hallo Hallo Frøken" that is a slowed-down cover version of a track originally written by obscure 70s Danish band Hyldemors Grønsaligheder. A great homage to some of Uffe's psychedelic forefathers!

In summary, this is yeat another absolutely amazing album full of Uffe's mind-altering mastery and deep psychedelic wisdom. The sound quality is just perfect for this kind of music and I'm totally in love with each and every track on the album. I can already say that this will be one of the musical highlights for me this year. Just go an get it!

tiistai 23. huhtikuuta 2019

No Man's Valley - Outside the Dream

Tonzonen Records (TON049)

Outside the Dream released last month on the excellent Tonzonen Records is the second album by No Man's Valley from Netherlands. The band plays soulful, psychedelic blues rock that gets heavier when needed. The first two songs "Outside the Dream" and "Eyeball" are slow and bluesy, but then "Hawk Rock" is a much more energetic thing. "From Nowhere" is the longest track at 7:51 and has slow, dreamy, sunburned psych rocking vibe where keyboards offers some more atmospheres. The guitars are occasionally pretty heavy, though. A very enjoyable track! The singer can sound anything from Jim Morrison to Glenn Danzig which is cool.

"Into the Blue" starts off very peacefully and is then mostly emotional, hazy indie rock. "Blows" is a dark and melancholic song and I also like the hypnotic and heavy, psychedelic elements in it. Maybe my favourite? "Lies" is a shorter and faster track with some garage rock vibe. The album is finished with the creepy and experimental "Murder Ballad". All in all this is a pretty interesting and atmospheric album and you should check it out if you are into dark, bluesy indie psych rock with elements of the past and now.

Pree Tone - Kiddy

Addicted Label (729)

"Kiddy contain's six stories, described in a way kindergarten folks see them. Nice chance to open your mind wide and become 5-year-olds for the next 45 minutes." That's how this Kiov, Ukraine based band describes their CD released last year. The band has been together since 2014 and must love their Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine and Television albums a lot. Their music might best be labeled as playful sort of hypnotic noise rock, so not exactly my kind of stuff. There are still enough psych/kraut elements to keep things pretty interesting.

Also, it's not just all loud, distorted feedback guitars and drone, there are also lots of cool melodies and hypnotic,  not so heavy parts with motorik beat to make you feel happy and heady. There's some shoegaze, post-rock and experimentalism in there as well. All the songs are pretty long (from 6:32 to 8:36) so be prepared for epic journeys. The last track "Bricks" probably comes closest to fuzzy psych rock in the vein of Loop which is great. Check them out!

The Ego Ritual - S/T EP

Kool Kat Music (PURR2102)

The Ego Ritual is a new three-piece (four-piece live) alternative / psych rock band from Lincoln, U.K. The reason I'm reviewing this debut EP of theirs is probably the fact they they have a (so for rather loose) connection to Fruits de Mer Records. They are going to play at the label's summer festival The 17th Dream of Doctor Sardonicus in Wales this year and there will also be an ultra-limited split lathe-cut with Three Dimensional Tanx (another band playing) on sale there.

On the basis of this five track CD/download EP I wouldn't describe the guitar-oriented music of The Ego Ritual as highly psychedelic or mind-blowing. It has some 60s/70s/80s/90s psych rock/pop sensibilities, for sure, but more on the indie/mainstream side of things I guess. "Chakra Maraca" opens up the EP with great melodies and quite a lot of energy. The bit nasal voice of singer James S. fits the bit Chemistry Set styled song very well and I also like the guitars and rhythm section. Nice and catchy! "Ten Points for the Red Star" is almost hard rock until there's a tranquil, soulful part in the middle. The mid-tempo "Serenade the Ley Line" brings to mind Chemistry Set as well, maybe some Magic Mushroom Band too. The longest track is the great "Days of Set" at 6:32. This sort of reminds me of Anton Barbeau: great pop melodies, indie rock guitars, all that. One of the highlights! "Outro" ends the EP in atmospheric soundscapes including percussion. The Ego Ritual is for sure a band to look out for, let's see what they come up with next. 

sunnuntai 14. huhtikuuta 2019

Astralasia - A Different Kettle of Fish

Strange Fish (strange fish fifteen)

Okay, something a bit different has once again been cooking at the Fruits de Mer fishing camp! Astralasia main man Marc Swordfish has been collaborating with Keith for a few years already for some special remixes for 7" bonus CD's and exclusive members only compilation CD's. There have also been two amazing Astralasia 2LP's Wind on Water (2014) and Oceania (2017) that Keith has released. This 2LP set includes some of the remixes and re-imagings of cover songs and originals that were originally recorded for Fruits de Mer by Sendelica, The Chemistry Set and Superfjord as well as some things especially reworked for this release. For a long-time Astralasia fan like me this really makes me drool!

The A side begins with "Johnny's Little Brainticket (lounge mix)" that is based on tracks from the Fruits de Mer 2014 Annual and Postcards from the Deep flexi disc box-set. The lysergic Brainticket vibe has been taken to the 21st century with a groovy electronic beat, I love it! This flows seamlessly into the beautiful ambient piece "Sargasso Sea" edited from the Astralasia live LP Tales From The People Who Are Astralasia (one of the very few Astralasia LP's I'm missing...). That one turns into an alternative mix of "Love or Confusion" that appeared on the special edition of The Chemistry Set's Endless More and More LP. Sitar, lots of acoustic guitar and other stuff on top of hypnotic beat, just wonderful... Also some vocals on this one. On side B, "Deep Magic, A Love Supreme" originally appeared on the Coltrane 7" (by Superfjord and Earthling Society) bonus disc but it's great to have this on vinyl as well! Super groovy and hallucinogenic, would do the trick at a trance party. This trip turns into "Fountains of Ambience" that has only appeared on The Chemistry Set Fountains of Neptune members club free CD. Trippy-trippy...

On side C we first have "Johnny's Little Brainticket in Dub", again based on the tracks from the Postcards from the Deep box-set. "Shamanic Waterfall" appeared on the Coltrane bonus CD and it's a highly enjoyable, psychedelic and relaxing journey to inner space. On side D "The Sorcerer's Apprentice's ambience mix" has been previously heard on the bonus CD of The Fruits de Mer Records Guide to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 7" and it's a magical ambient piece. Then follows an instrumental mix of "The Desert", a vocal mix of which can be heard on Astralasia's "Wind on Water" 2LP. Very nice chilled-out soundscapes! The album is finished with the amazing "Timothy Leary Forever (Legend of  Mind remix)" from the bonus CD of The Chemistry Set's Firefly 7". Leary's message is clear and powerful here! The original track is one of the best songs The Moody Blues ever made, The Chemistry Set's cover is one of the highlights of the whole FdM catalogue and I just love Astralasia so it's easy to figure out how I feel about it. All in all, A Different Kettle of Fish is an amazing double LP of some of the best Astralasia works I've ever heard and a perfect opportunity to hear some of the stuff for the very first time and at least for the first time on mighty vinyl. This is a must-have for a FdM fan who also likes modern but still totally mind-expanding production. Mind-blowing!

Various Artists - The 16th Dream of Dr. Sardonicus - Live

Regal Crabomophone (winkle 36)

This is a cool various artists double LP set recorded live last year at the annual Fruits de Mer Records gathering at Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. Having been a FdM fan since the very beginning, I have always wanted to go there, but the distance and timing has so far made it impossible. It's wonderful to get to taste the atmosphere there at least a bit through this sonic kaleidoscope.

First we get a couple of tracks of great minimal folk music by Eflin Bow. I Am Voyager performs the melancholic "Songbird" and things are still kept pretty simple and plain. Stay from Barcelona usually rocks out, but the first track by them "Old Man" is rather laid-back and "Rock'n'Roll Woman" a more pop oriented affair, but at least we now hear a full band with drums and all. On side two Consterdine offers a spacier instrumental electronic piece with "A Spell for Leonard", nice. Another Sendelica related act The Fellowship Of Hallucinatory Voyagers take us on a beutiful ambient mind journey with "Moonlight Moorings". I am not familiar with The Alain Pire Experience apart from a couple of previous FdM compilation appearances, but their indie psych/pop/rock song "Drifting South" with a long solo section sounds pretty excellent.

Sendelica, the main organizers of the festival, have the side three for themselves. "BS", originally from last year's "Cromlech Chronicles III" is a superb heavy rocker and on the 14-minute "Maggot Brain" the band takes the Funkadelic classic to new hights once again. This track was also the band's debut on Fruits de Mer in 2010 and the 7" is now very collectable! One of my favourite bands. Then it's time for Finnish psychonauts The Fërtility Cült who I've also followed since the beginning. It's good that also they are now part of the FdM family. Their heavier sound is a welcome addition and "Cosmic Kaishakunin" from their debut album is a cool, slow, doomy and heavy rocker while the keyboards and sax add more jazzy, progressive vibes. The festival's special guest Nik Turner finishes off the 2LP with his New Space Ritual band. First we've got the closer to 10-minute Hawkwind classic "Steppenwolf". I love this song! "Walking Backwards" is a cool space rocker from Space Ritual's excellent Otherworld album and it works really well here as well.

All in all, this is a great historical document of a very special festival and I'm so glad that I got to get a little glimpse of what it might have been like to be there. The sound quality is excellent and the 2LP is a cool item to have for all Fruits de Mer followers with so much different but great music on it.

keskiviikko 10. huhtikuuta 2019

Pressor - Weird Things

Addicted Label/Bad Road Records/Voron Nest (723/BR#24/VNCD0009)

Pressor is a Russian stoner/sludge/doom metal band that have been around for at least seven years. They have been compared to bands like Conan (who they have also supported live) and I can understand why. This CD EP (28-min.) from 2018 is their latest release and here the band have charged their ultra heavy and groovy sonic world with spacey and psychedelic synthesizers to a great, mind-expanding effect.

There are four tracks on the EP. "Heavy States" starts off with bubbling, experimental synths until the crushingly heavy, slow riff arrives. This 5-minute instrumental works great as an introduction to the EP. "Weird Things" is a faster, bit hardcore oriented but also very heavy song with aggressive vocals. There are also slower doom passages in the middle for a good balance. "Tripping Deep" is the longest track at 9:45 and also maybe my favourite. Some ultra-cool riffs and windy synths on this one and no mercy is given for the weak! I like the fact that there is also some lead guitar work in there. Also the last piece "Hexadecimal Unified Insanity" is a real killer and on-your-face with lots of brutality and doom and more synth madness. I bet this band also slays live and according to their Facebook page they will be on European tour in April/May also including shows in Helsinki and Tampere so be sure to check them out!

tiistai 2. huhtikuuta 2019

Transnadežnost' - Monomyth

Addicted Label (728)

Transnadežnost' is a cool, (almost) instrumental stoner/psych rock band from St. Petersburg, Russia. Somehow they have stayed outside my radar until I received this CD a couple of weeks ago and immediately fell in love with the band. The band is formed by Aleksandr Yershov – guitar, Alesya Izlesa – guitar, glockenspiel, Nikolay Vladimirovich – bass and David Aaronson – drums, percussion. There are also a couple of guests on Monomyth: vocals, lyrics on "Huldra" – Egor Svysokihgor and trumpets on "Star Child" & "Day/Night" – Aleksey Gorshkov. I really like the band's dreamy, progressive and spacey style that has some resemblance to bands like Monkey 3, Papir or Causa Sui, but they don't actually sound exactly like anyone else. The band has some previous digital only releases but, as far as I know, this is their first physical output.

There are seven tracks on the CD. The bluesy and dreamy "Pacha Mama" starts off the journey at first in a rather tranquil manner. There are also some more intense, progressive stuff in there to make things more interesting. Very cool! Also "Ladoga" has a peaceful beginning but after some hypnotic stuff it starts to rock out in a sort of trancey way. Things cool down again towards the end. The pretty long (9:30) "Kailash" has lots of different stuff in it from fast kraut/stoner rocking and groovy mystical heavy psych to weird, experimental and almost ambient jamming with percussion. Amazing! The bit shorter "Star Child" is an atmospheric track with trumpet to give it a sort of post rock vibe. The spacey and dreamy  "Huldra" is one of my favorites and it's nice to have some vocals for a change. "Chewbacca" is the album's shortest track at 2:41 and very good and psychedelic as well. The album is finished with the beautiful and hypnotic "Day/Night" that is one of the highlights and also the longest track (12:15). The trumpet again gives some jazzy extra flavor to the trance-inducing vibes. Fans of bands like Maserati will enjoy this ride! In summary, Monomyth is an excellent, highly enjoyable album full of trippy, atmospheric and adventurous greatness and my only complaint is that this is not out on vinyl. You can buy the digipak CD from the band's Bandcamp site with free postage! Also check out the label's Bandcamp site.

maanantai 1. huhtikuuta 2019

Hotlist March 2019

Okay, these are the top ten slices of vinyl I've been spinning at the Zone in March:

Moths & Locusts ‎– Come Together Right Now (Remixes)
Sex Blender ‎– Hormonizer
The Spacious Mind ‎– The No. 4 or 5 Gravy Band
Minami Deutsch and Damo Suzuki ‎– Live At Roadburn Festival 10"
Kungens Män ‎– Chef
Sounds Of New Soma ‎– Zwischen / Durch
Jupiter – Iosomnia
Omnia Opera ‎– Nothing Is Ordinary
El Hombre Al Agua Oumuamua Parts 1 & 2 
Dream Machine – Temple Of Dreams