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maanantai 28. syyskuuta 2020

The Soft Hearted Scientists - The Continuing Escapades of The Soft Hearted Scientists

 Regal Crabomophone (winkle 42)

The Welsh psychedelicists The Soft Hearted Scientists are one of the best  I've become to know through Fruits de Mer label and I am forever grateful for that. Their What Ever Happened To The Soft Hearted Scientists 2LP + 7" compilation put out in 2013 opened a lot of doors in my mind. I realised that simple, whimsical, melodic pop/folk songs could be very psychedelic and mind-expanding, even if they were not done by Syd Barrett... I have been following the band ever since as well as Nathan Hall And The Sinister Locals, another project by the singer. 

Some of the band's early CDs have been luckily reissued on vinyl lately which has been cool, but the latest albums are still only out on CD. Now it's finally possible to hear also some of the greatests tracks from The Slow Cyclone (2014) and Golden Omens (2016) from a big, nice vinyl disc! There are 19 songs on the first two LP's all together. In addition to a bit older tracks (alsa a couple from
2013's False Lights, for example, a well as the long "Westward Leading" from 20011's Wondermoon, check out the video) the first double LP is finished with the extended version of their 2019 single "Please Read Me". Wonderful!

But that of course wasn't all this package features. Now a sort of FdM trusted man and house remix guy Swordfish (Astralasia) has conjured up two albums full of his vision of what the music of The Soft Hearted Scientists could be in an instrumental, innovative remix form! "Astral Adventure 1, 2, 3 and 4" are all one-side long-sound collages that really expose the greatness of this music in another light. No ambient/techno beats were added this time, though, just some sound effects in between the pieces when needed. A very welcome bonus for this great compilation, I must say! I'm really digging this one as a whole.

Various Artists - Head in the Clouds

Fruits de Mer Records (stange fish eighteen)

Head in the Clouds continues the marvellous krautrock tribute series of Fruits de Mer Records. This time we'll get a massive 2LP/2CD set with almost four hours' worth of cosmic sounds inspired by Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, Popol Vuh and the German electronic music scene of the early 70s! The amazing 24 tracks are originals apart from the more up-tempo Ashra cover by the excellent Maat Lander. Most of the tracks are previously unreleased, at least in physical form, so you really get your money's worth of goodies here.

We don't have time to go through all the tracks (no overlapping on LP/CD) right now but here is the list:

LP1 side 1
1 Jah Buddha - Direction Berlin (12:53)
2 Craig Padilla and Marvin Allen - Aquatic (7:44)

LP1 side 2
1 Trace Imprint - Flow and Connect (10:26)
2 Maat Lander - Ocean Of Tenderness (originally by Ashra, 4:15)
3 Saturn's Ambush - Van Allen Belt (6:19)

LP2 side 1
1 Jack Ellister - Der Schiffer (2:33)
2 Anton Barbeau - 'Berlin School Of Doubt' (6:38)
3 exedra - Exoplanet Transit (5:58)
4 MAC of BIOnighT - Scars (6:45)

LP2 side 2
1 Under Golden Canopy - Under Golden Canopy (10.33)
2 Son of Ohm - Pixies (11:49)

1 Craig Padilla and Marvin Allen - Weathering The Storm
2 Brendan Pollard - Sequenzerzeit (10:02)
3 Jay Tausig - Triangulum (20.42)
4 Mac of BIOnighT - Manmade Horrors (6.55)
5 The Lost Stoned Pandas - Track One (Metal Mickey mix) (4:42)
6 Jah Buddha - Wall Of Blissando (11:25)
7 Vibravoid - Im Zentrum Des Kosmos Ist Ein Auge Das Alles Sieht (10:35)

1 Trace Imprint - ...As We Walked Under Water (4:17)
2 Sula Bassana - Shushie's Reise (21.29)
3 Craig Padilla - Galaxia (10:42)
4 Helicon Wave - For Edgar (8:35)
5 Blue Lily Commission - Half Asleep At The Blue Gates Of Evening (19:14)
6 Black Tempest - The Sun Rises, The Sun Sets, The Moon Shines (8:18) 

So, a lot of superb acts already known from the Fruits de Mer circles but also some newcomers, at least for me. Most of the music is electronic/synthesizer oriented but there is also quite a lot of guitar etc. in there. Apart from a few spoken word passages all of it is instrumental. I just love each and every tune and I feel this mind-expanding compilation will also be a great inspiration for the more electronic/ambient side of my own psychedelic space/kraut project Astral Magic. Once again I found out by some new bands and artists I didn't know about before (check out Trace Imprint and Jah Buddha for example) as well as got to hear new stuff by my favourites like Vibravoid, Sula Bassana and Maat Lander so I am in electronic kraut heaven! For the vinyl purists it might feel a bit odd that a label founded to release only limited edition vinyl releases is now also putting out CDs but a 5LP box would have been too pricey for a lot of people, that's true. I like the production and flow of how the album has been put together and love this kind of music so I'm sure this marvellous release will be in my 2020 top 10 list. Warmly recommended!


lauantai 26. syyskuuta 2020

Golden Lampreys - I Had My Fun If I Don’t Get Well No More

 Future Lunch (FL-016)

Golden Lampreys was an "electric acid blues hoodoo from the northern delta", meaning a band from Pori, Finland. This is their second (and sadly last...) release following the debut 12" Just Because You Did It Doesn't Mean You're Guilty" a couple of years ago. You can check my review here for some background info. The four songs on this limited (75 copies only!) tape release are the last recordings the band ever put together so there is even more sadness and despair in the air somehow.

The opener, "Sail on, Little Girl" is perhaps the closest one to have some appeal to Astral Zone Blog readers. I think I can hear some Spacemen 3 in there and the hypnotic, heavy guitar riff evokes some primal early Circle vibes in me. Although this is the fastest track on the tape it's still rather slow and dark. I actually like this a lot! "Louie, Louie" is not the popular song you maybe thought it was but a slow, rather minimal dark wave / Gothic styled and very depressive track. "Boogie" might not be what is usually meant with the expression either... But it still has something in common with the original boogie and blues, that melancholic "my baby left me" vibe but transformed into this millenia and in a more lysergic, electronic mode. Things get very mesmerising by the end, I like the synths on this one. Cool! "Spellbound Heart" ends the EP with some dark vocals that bring to mind Johnny Cash at times. I again enjoy the synths as well. All in all this is an enjoyable, although utterly depressing little tape that works very well as a funeral release to this odd, short-lived project.


tiistai 22. syyskuuta 2020

Desert Lord - Symbols

 Under a Serpent Sun (USSR-004)

This is the second full-length release by Finnish stoner doom metal band Desert Lord. It follows the great 2014 CD To the Unknown (check out my review over here) and is released on vinyl. They also have one limited 7" put out in 2011. Like before, vocals on some of the tracks are harsher and on some cleaner which gives a nice balance. Personally I get bored if all the vocals are the same in this kind of music. The sound is a bit home-grown somehow but just fine for the Desert Lord vibe I think. You can't except small bands like this to go to expensive top studios, do you?

Like on the debut, the band kicks things off with an energetic opener. I really like the lyrics of the tittle track "Symbols", hear them out... A killer song! "Damage Dealt" is a slower, bluesy, moody and more desert rock oriented, long tune, not bad at all. Then is time for something heavier when "The Arsonist" blows your speakers! Some serious screaming on this one. "Sinner's Playground" is a doomy, dark piece with some faster parts and a groovy, cool middle jam part. I know I haven't said it yet but I really like the guitar solos on this album and the playing is top-notch all the way. Then some more emotional stuff with "The Funeral", I'm reminded of Sweden's Goatess (who the Desert Lord guys have shared the stage with). Nice, melodic vocals on this one. The guitar solo here brings to mind the legendary Mark "The Shark" Shelton (R.I.P.) from Manilla Road, so... One of my favorite tracks! The beginning of "Keys to the Peace" reminds me of "Come Together" by The Beatles... Then things get heavier, of course! And rather intense and noisy, towards the end. "Close the Curtains" is a little acoustic piece to round things up nicely. All in all, this is killer stoner doom album that has a suitably varied set of songs and vibes. The cover art is cool as well! The album will be released on the 25th. Try it out!

sunnuntai 20. syyskuuta 2020

Automatism - Immersion

 Tonzonen Records (TON088)

The Swedish group Automatism have just released their latest album Immersion and I've got to say it's really great, instrumental, jazzy, krauty, proggy psych rock once again! They seldom go over the top in psychedelic experiments so their music might be quite easy to digest for some more mainsteam listeners as well. Lots of great melodies don't hurt either! Still, this is definitely not your normal radio-friendly pop music, that's for sure. The music has a very hypnotic, soothing effect and the tracks are pretty long, around eight minutes on this album.

The first piece "Heatstroke #2" has great twin guitar melodies and a synth solo making it pretty progressive rock sounding. A bit faster krautrock number "Falcon Machine" is perhaps the most psychedelic piece on the album and one of my favourites as well. Get lost to the hypnotic web of sound! "Monochrome Torpedo" is a slow, dreamy track that fills your head with hazy moods, very nice. "New Box" has a bit oriental, mystical vibe that I like. "Smoke Room" is a very slow and sort of bluesy piece. I like especially the atmospheric ending. The album is finished with the sunny mid-tempo "Last Train" that has some jazzy vibes in there as well with electric piano, Mellotron and stuff. Wonderful! This is another killer album by this stellar band so my warmest recommendations! There are 300 copies on vinyl and it is also available on CD.

perjantai 11. syyskuuta 2020

Sounds Of New Soma ‎– Live At Studio Helmtown

Tonzonen Records (TON085)

I guess you can say that the appearance of this limited (just 200 copies on a very cool blue with black dust vinyl!) LP is one of the GOOD things the COVID-19 has brought us. Since live gigs were banned this German psychedelic, experimental kraut/ambient unit did a live stream gig in a studio for YouTube. The first part of this gig (around 35 min) was already released digitally on the band's Bandcamp site in April and now the rest of it (44 plus min) is out on vinyl. If you (like myself...) are sad that the whole gig was not released on 2LP you can always try to locate a copy of a tape release that have them both! This is even rarer with just 100 copies though.

Anyway, let's focus on this actual release/gig for a while. The line-up was this time just the core duo of Alex Djelassi and Dirk Raupach so no live drums for example. This LP includes one, massive cosmic ambient jam edited for the two LP sides as "First Mushroom" and "Second Mushroom". The sound quality is superb and I love the vibe these guys cancreate with just electric guitar, synthesizers, sequencers, keybords and drum machines! You will be transported to a mysterious, colourful and weird plane of existence once again. The first ten or so minutes are just peaceful, atmospheric floating until the drum machine kicks in. I get some Tangerine Dream vibes along the way but the music is still very original and highly entertaining and interesting. You really get carried away with it and just can't stop listening... Very addictive! There is another totally ambient phase again before the rather modern sounding beat gets added on the B-side. I like the organ sounding drone. Towards the end they go through some weird, very hypnotic sonic scenery... Phew! What can I say, another killer album by the superb SONS, get it while you can!

keskiviikko 2. syyskuuta 2020

Hotlist May - August 2020

Phew, how time flies... When you are making music, that is. I have now made over 50 tracks since the middle of March so not any time or interest for reviews, Mixcloud shows or even Hotlists... But I try to get back to all these little by little. Here's some of the hottest stuff that has been spinning at Astral Zone HQ during those short moments I have not been making more Astral Magic music:

Tuhosieni - Kiinni sinuun

Sei Still - S/T

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. Feat: Geoff Leigh ‎– Chosen Star Child's Confession

Slift ‎– UMMON

Ashinoa ‎– Sinie Sinie

Vibravoid ‎– The Decomposition Of Noise

Yuri Gagarin ‎– The Outskirts Of Reality

Mara Balls ‎– Ratina Live '18

Custard Flux ‎– Echo

Vibravoid ‎– Psychedelic Blueprints Volume 2 (Alternative Versions, Mixes And Masters 1994-2019)

Eat Lights Become Lights ‎– Live

The Lost Stoned Pandas ‎– Tune In, Turn On, Get Panda'd

Vert:x ‎– HED

Autotelia ‎– I 

Spiral Galaxy ‎– S/T

Vespero ‎– The Four Zoas

Permanent Clear Light ‎– Cosmic Comics

Dr Space's Alien Planet Trip ‎– Vol.4 Space With Bass

Centre El Muusa ‎– S/T

Schizo Fun Addict ‎– The Last Wave