Listen to the latest Astral Visions Mixcloud Show!

perjantai 15. lokakuuta 2021

Thought Bubble - Around

Dirty Filthy Records

Around by Thought Bubble (UK) fits in fine to the rather varied although eccentric style of Dirty Filthy Records. They play experimental, improvised electronic music in an interesting and unique way. This is their first album following a few digital only singles and one EP. Thought Bubble is a duo project of Chris Cordwell & Nick Raybould mixing together synths and live drums. Some of you might remember them from the band Glowpeople. Their recordings also feature guest musicians, this time Suzette (voice on "The Waves" and "Beatwave"), Pablo Raybould (voice on "Möbius Trip"), Shaun Bailey (guitar and loops on "Möbius Trip" and "Devoider") and Gregg McKella (clarinet on "Fluctuate") who give the music more colour in a nice way.

 

The rather short album includes six, almost instrumental tracks. The opener, "The Waves" has a strange, bit oriental vibe and lots of psychedelic sound effects. This track is also included on the latest Fruits de Mer freebie CD Music For Amphibians, very nice! "Beatwave" has a sort of motorik beat and futuristic, hypnotic atmosphere. Maybe my favourite! "Möbius Trip" has cool narration, great lead guitar work and a weird feel to it. Quite trippy! "Rat Race" is a shorter, faster experimental piece and like ther rest of the album, has a rather modern sound. Next is the longest track of the album called "Fluctuate" and it has a nice cinematic vibe due to the addition of clarinet and string sounds. I like it a lot. The last track "Devoider" is the slowest one and has a quite strange atmosphere getting closer to ambient music before speeding up towards the end. All in all, this is an interesting album and I got to say I have not heard anything quite like it before, although some of it brings to mind 80s King Crimson and some of the solo works of Brian Eno. Out on LP, CD and digital.

www.facebook.com/cloudduo


 

torstai 23. syyskuuta 2021

Scaling down even more

 Hello! You must have noticed that there have been very few reviews or any other postings lately. The main reason for that is that most of my rather limited free time goes to my own music project Astral Magic.

I have always preferred physical media over digital downloads (that have a habit of getting lost in my hard drive anyway). I have still reviewed some downloads from time to time. Due to lack of time I hereby declare that I won’t review any downloads anymore. Please take me off your mailing list. Only option might be the Astral Magic collaborators. Sorry about that. However, if you want to send your stuff in physical form please contact me and a review is guaranteed.


Best,


Dj Astro

keskiviikko 15. syyskuuta 2021

Superjord - For the Moment Vol 1

 Fruits de Mer Records (strange fish twenty four)

 

For the Moment is planned as a continuous stream of mainly improvised live recordings by this great Finnish psych rock band. Vol 1 was recorded at their superb G Livelab gig in Helsinki in january 2020 (I was there!) and released in digital form in the Summer. As often with digital only releases I missed it completely even though I really like the band and have been following them since the very beginning. It's a really great thing that a proper vinyl release is upon us now! The band on that day were Sampo Fagerlund: drums, percussion, Mikko Kapanen: vocals, guitars, Juho Ojala: vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, Jussi Ristikaarto: vocals, guitars, electronics, percussion, Teemu Soininen: bass and Olavi Töyli: tenor saxophone, percussion. All excellent musicians, I might add!

 

The whole gig was not of course improvised, but the hyper sonic quality of G Livelab was perfect for the band to strech out into the unknown every now and then. Around 40 minutes of thet is captured on this great sounding release. The side A starts off peacefully with "Moment 1". It has a bit jazzy vibe at first and grows intoo more psychy territories. Great jamming, something for The Grateful Dead fans for sure.  Later on there is also some moody sax. "Moment 2" has a positive, sunny vibe thagt I really like. Some weirder, Zappa-like stuff happens in the middle and the soft ending also includes some vocals. Very nice! "Rainbow" of course is an actual song from the band's second album, but the version heard here has more improvisation than usual I think. Superb and very groovy playing by all here! It turns into magical "Moment 3" at some point when minutes have already lost all their meaning. I really enjoy listening to this record since it immediately takes me back to the live experience this amazing band can offer. Oh how I miss live gigs! Anyway, get your copy before they're all gone, definitely worth it.

 www.superfjord.net


perjantai 3. syyskuuta 2021

Astral Magic - A Trip to Alpha Centauri on pre-order today for Bandcamp Friday!

 


Okay folks, it's once again the first Friday of the month and Bandcamp Friday! It means that BC does not take their share of the artists' sales for 24 h. As it happens, I have a new album to put on pre-sale today!

A Trip to Alpha Centauri is the instrumental album that was supposed to be released on Misophonia Records on tape this month. The label was sadly decided to be put on hold for now and the release got cancelled. I decided to do a limited, home-grown CD-R edition instead, just 40 copies. Make sure to pre-order now if you want one!

Also of course available on digital download. Official release date is September the 17th.

 



lauantai 28. elokuuta 2021

Kev Ellis and the Space Cadets - The Silent Band

 Self-released / The Electric Salac Co.

Kev is a singer, harmonica player and psych/space rock veteran from Portsmouth, UK. Some of you might remember him from the great psych/space/blues rock band Dr. Brown who were active from late 80s to early 00s. They also did an album together with Nick Salomon (The Bevis Frond) as Dr. Frond. Kev has been active on the UK psych/space festival scene ever since with various bands. He's also part of the Spirits Burning collective and we did the title track of their Alien Injection album together. I have previously reviewed his 2014 solo album Space Cadet as well as the excellent Dubbal album The Return of the Lonesome Traveller last year. The Silent Band was recorded, mixed and mastered by Kev himself last year during the lockdown, since there was no way of playing live gigs with a band.

All the instruments are played by Kevin who of course also does the vocals. The only exception is the long (18:51), hypnotic opener Tortoise, where Steve Plummer plays lots of vary tasty and cool wah guitar. The rest of the nine tracks are a lot shorter, ranging from 1:27 to 6:31 in length. The music is a cool mix of electronica, dub and space rock and I enjoy the album a lot.  Kev has a great, soulful voice that is a pleasure to listen to. His harmonica gives some of the tracks a more bluesy vibe too. There are also some more relaxed moments ("Far Sawney Part 1 & 2") and a beautiful space ballad "To the Stars" in the middle. My favourite probably is the mysterious "Messages in the Sky", but I do like all the tracks. All in all, this is very cool album that sounds great for a self-made home production. The album is also available as a limited edition CD you can onlyi get through Kev's Bandcamp site. I'm also thrilled to announce that Kev and Dr. Brown guitarist Stefan Olesinski will be taking part in my Astral Magic project contributing vocals and guitar for the electronic space rock album The Third Eye! Can't wait...

www.facebook.com/kevellismusic

 

maanantai 23. elokuuta 2021

New Astral Magic albums released!


Things have been very quiet here, sorry for that. I just use all my free time writing and recording new music and trying to find labels to release it... A few new reviews should be done soon, though.

Anyway, I've been too busy to even mention the latest Astral Magic albums, so here they are.


 

 

Ode to the Stars was put together fast for the previous Bandcamp Friday. It's one of those more experimental, trippy ambient albums only featuring myself. I like it a lot! No physical version is planned at the moment, but let's see.

 

 

 

Shadows over Jupiter is an album I'm really proud of! It's the first fruit from my collaboration with the very talented multi-instrumentalist and producer Jay Tausig from Northern California. We've been in contact over the years but only started to collaborate a couple of months ago and it's been great! I have also contributed to some of his tracks. Jay plays drums, guitar, sax and flute and even sings a little bit of backing vocals on the title track. He also did the mastering job.

This is a really interesting album as a whole. Most of the tracks were originally recorded already last year but Jay added his magic to a great effect. "Cult of the Dead" and "The Gateway Experience" are brand-new. We've got some psych/space rock as well as more shoegaze oriented stuff. Fred Laird (ex-Earthling Society, Taras Bulba) is also playing some cool drone guitar on the long and hypnotic "Heaven on Earth".

I'm really looking forward to a limited tape release on Weird Beard, should be available soon! I also wish for an LP release, let's see...

I'm also really happy that Fruits de Mer decided to release Astral Magic's "Stars Above" (feat. Gregory Curvey on guitar) from their Birds of a Feather compilation CD as a limited lathe cut 7" split with my good friends Doctors of Space! There are only 80 copies available and all gone in advance, I'm afraid.

 As it always is with Astral Magic, that is not even half of it... I also have a new electronic album with Jonathan Segel ready called A Trip to Alpha Centauri. It was supposed to be released on tape in Misophonia but the label sadly closed and the release was deleted. It might see the light of day on one other label, fingers crossed! If not, I'll release it myself at least on Bandcamp. There are also 5/6 other albums I'm working on, more info soon...




tiistai 6. heinäkuuta 2021

Schroedinger's Cat - World of Lovecraft

 Planet Yraal Records

Phew... This is a massive compilation album including all the five H. P. Lovecraft themed albums that Schroedinger's Cat has released and worked on during the recent years. Schroedinger's Cat is a psychedelic and spacey project lead by the mysterious Lord Iain Hawk who I think is originally from Germany but has also been living in the UK being part of the space rock scene there. Some of the other musicians on these albums are from the UK like guitarist Vince Cory (who is also part of the Astral Magic family). The albums that this digital only release includes are The Unknown Kadath, The Strange High House in the Mist, The Colour Out of Space, The Nameless City and Dagon. All the albums are completely instrumental, so the Lovecraft them is only in the titles and dreamy, sometimes dark vibes.


The music sure is dreamy and vision-inducing. Seriously, you can really get lost in the maravllous, imaginative world of Schroedinger's Cat. There are a LOT of synthesizeres and keyboards, guitars, bass, sitar, drums and percussion in use as well as tons of spacey effects and some flute. All the music is very atmospheric, beautiful and tranquil, perfect to put on headphones and relax to. Most of the tracks are long and spacey jams with some experimental elements. Some of it also rocks out a bit, but the main emphasis still is on dreamy, peaceful stuff. The overal vibe is very hallucinatory and trippy, anyway. I think the sound is pretty original and unique, but I am sometimes reminded by some other ethereal psychonauts like The Spacious Mind. There are 26 tracks in total so no chance to go through them all here, but if you have a few hours to spend and float in mysterious space I recommend that you put this on, lay down and close your eyes and let it go. It will be a most rewarding experience!

www.facebook.com/schroedingerscatde/


maanantai 5. heinäkuuta 2021

Sendelica - And Man Created God

 Regal Crabomophone (winkle 44)

 

And Man Created God is the first studio album by Welsh psychedelic space rockers Sendelica since 2019's Cromlech Chronicles IV: The Door Into Summer. The covid time has made things hard for all the bands with no gigs or usual studio activities, but luckily high quality home recording is easy and relatively cheap these day. The only down side here is the lack of live drummer: all the drum tracks are now programmed and I know some people don't like that very much. Personally, I don't really mind this time since the electronic drums are well produced and suite the music.

This is a double vinyl album that lasts almost 80 minutes and has nine songs ranging in length from over four to over 11 minutes. The overal sound is a bit more electronic and hypnotic than before, I think, but you still get loads of guitar and sax solos over spacey atmospheres and groovey bass lines. The stuff is totally instrumental apart from track eight "Seren Golawr" that has the magnificent Elfin Bow on vocals to a great effect. Religious beliefs are a main theme that has inspired the making of this album, the idea that maybe the development of mankind made Man to create God in his own image. Deep stuff, and so is the music! The sound is superb as usual, and there is enough variation from hard rocking to ambient soundscapes to keep you interested for the whole journey. Personally I love the long, repetative jams and there are plenty of those of course. The double LP is wrapped in die-cut cover which is something new for the Fruits de Mer/Regal Crabomophone label and already sold-out at the label, even though the release date is August 13th. I certainly will need to find a copy somewhere since this really is too good to miss!

Early pre-orders of this album come with a free compilation CD Birds of a Feather that also inlcludes a previously unreleased track by my solo project Astral Magic among other treats so try to get that too! It's not available elsewhere...

sendelica.bandcamp.com


Astral Magic - The Mists of Orion released on Summer Solstice!

 


Listen and buy digital or limited CD of my new solo album The Mists of Orion! Only available from Bandcamp and Discogs, at the moment.

 


Spirits Burning - Evolution Ritual

 Noh Poetry Records (NPR020)

Spirits Burning, as I'm sure most of you know, is an international music community project organized by Don Falcone from Northern California. The list of participants during the years is enormous including several members and ex-members from bands like Hawkwind, Gong, BÖC, Van Der Graaf Generator, Tangerine Dream, Dark Sun (!), you name it. There is no specific style but you can expect anything like acoustic folk, progressive rock, space rock, electronic music, ambient, experimental and anything in between or above. I've been a follower and in contact with Don since the debut album New Worls by Design released in 1999 so it's been a long and adventurous journey.  I have missed a couple of the 16 albums but have always enjoyed the music. There are also two compilations to start with, if you happen to be a newbie. Spirits Burning & Daevid Allen also released one 7" in 2017. Only two of the CD albums have been released on vinyl too: the more space rock focused Alien Injection (that I also have the honour of playing on...) and last year's The Hollow Lands that was inspired by Michael Moorcock's books, an album that I really enjoyed.

Evolution Ritual was released on CD on Don's own Noh Poetry label yesterday. It's again a little different stylistically being mostly acoustic and instrumental. It has a very earthly vibe in contrast to some of the rather electronic stuff released previously. This time the crew included Don with Hawkwind family members Alan Davey, Paul Hayles, Michael Moorcock, Mick Slattery, & Bridget Wishart, Steeleye Span family members Jessie May Smart & Peter Knight, Van Der Graaf Generator family members David Jackson & Graham Smith, Albert Bouchard (Blue Öyster Cult), David Cross (King Crimson), Andy Dalby (Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come), Monty Oxymoron (The Damned), Ursula Pank (Third Ear Band), Robert Rich, Jonathan Segel (Camper Van Beethoven), Theo Travis (Soft Machine), Cyrille Verdeaux (Clearlight), Darryl Way (Curved Air), Harry Williamson, Hoshiko Yamane (Tangerine Dream), Steve York (Dr. John), & more.

There are 17 tracks in 65 minutes. The mystical title track opens up the album and takes the listener on a deep journey. Also the follow-up "Caves" has a very mysterious vibe. The jazzy "The Laws of Umber" has a bit more energy and groove, sounds like an acoustic version of 70s Gong, to be exact. Later on, "Alternating Universe" has a similar vibe. Then we get some relaxed atmospheres with "Abandoned Habitat" and "The Dream Find" is a piano piece with some pretty violin etc. The rest of the album flows by in mostly mellow moods with different influences and inspirations of various kinds of acoustic and folk music. There's  a little bit of avant-garde in there too for good measure. This is definitely, yet again, a unique Spirits Burning release. Those only into psychedelic space rock or progressive rock might not like it at first but I recommend you to still give it a chance since this is marvellous, imaginative music with great melodies and musicianship and the production is top-notch.

www.spiritsburning.com

 

keskiviikko 9. kesäkuuta 2021

Various Artists - Head Rush 3LP + CD

Fruits de Mer Records / Strange Fish (strange fish twenty-two) 

 


Fruits de Mer continues their very popular Head series this time with mostly tracks by modern artists that are highly inspired by the motorik style of early 70s Krautrock of NEU!, Kraftwerk, Harmonia and Can. And what a marvellous, massive package of goodies this is! We are already familiar with talented artists and bands like Jay Tausig, The Lost Stoned Pandas, Moon Goose and The Legendary Flower Punk, but this tribute 3LP + CD features lots of Fruits de Mer debutants, which is always interesting. Many spaceheads of course already knew acts like Tara's Bulba, Sonic Trip Project, Culto al Qondor, Psychic Lemon etc. since they present the cream of the present underground psych scene. Anyway, I learned a few new names and I'm sure you will too!

Many of the tracks are pretty faithful to the early 70s kraut ethos but some also have a bit more modern take on the motorik what comes to sound and instrumentation. I think that is a good thing to have some variation. It's also nice to have a good balance of instrumentals and songs with (at least some kind of) vocals. There are 22 tracks in total, seven on the bonus CD. All others are original takes on the krautrock tradition but the CD is finished with a 30-minute live version of Harmonia's "Watussi". I won't even try to pick out any favourites since Keith has done such a great job choosing the tunes here that there are definitely no fillers included, just pure killers! I'm sure this amazing various artists album will be spinning a lot at appreciating homes around the world this summer, let's hope the last 100 or so copies missing in transit will soon also be found!

www.fruitsdemerrecords.com/headrush.html


Dark Bottle ‎– Krautbilly Freakout

 Hulina Records (hulina-022)

Krautbilly Freakout is the latest album by Tampere based punk-folk/psych-country and doombilly band Dark Bottle. You might remember my review of their debut Five Euro Pizza picture LP looking just like a pizza I reviewed five years ago. The band has (luckily) gone into a bit more psychedelic and darker, harder direction. This CD album includes just four long tracks and our old friend Scott "Dr. Space" Heller plays modular synths on two of them.

The slow, moody and dark Irish traditional "Molly Malone" starts off the album in an almost doomy atmospheres. Heavy stuff with a droney ending! Then it's time for an original sung in German. "Die Bibliothek von Babel" is a nice folk song and Scott's windy synths add a cool spacey layer. I really like the vocals on this one. The track was originally recorded by Don's old experimental post-folk duo The Fractal Cauliflowers. "The Sun only Shines when I Leave" rocks out more and has funny lyrics based on truth about Don's work trips. Cool guitar solo! "Make Finland Rake Again" is the fastest song and and makes you want to have a beer or ten and boogie along. Spacey synth makes it a bit like space rock which is cool! Definitely the most psychedelic track here and my favourite. All in all, this is a nice and cool little album worth checking out if you want to hear something a bit different.

darkbottle.bandcamp.com

 

lauantai 5. kesäkuuta 2021

And Then You Die - Electric Uterus

 Skithund Records

 

Hailing from Vaasa, Finland, noisy and dirty industrial band And Then You Die celebrates its 30 year birthday with a new album called Electric Uterus. The album includes seven cold, nihilistic, harsh and dark new tracks that will make your soul turn black.

The short "Dodesmarsch" starts off the album with screaming sirens and gloomy vibe. "Fuck Your Sacrifice" is perhaps my favourite song. It has droney synths, pounding industrial drums and hypnotic guitar patterns as well as ice-cold vocals. Great! "Postum" is boogieing in the bit minimal,  harsh industrial style. "On the Rim" has some treated spoken word at the beginning and then a groovy beat starts. I'm somehow reminded of Sweatheart, a bit of Americana vibe but all done in an experimental, noise rock style. Next is the more electronic and bit dreamy "Shit That Floats". I like the way the track grows towards the end. Without the distorted vocals this might be Depeche Mode or something, a cool song. "Right Now" is a dark and experimental soundscape that later turns into groovy, pounding alternative/industrial rocking. The album is finished with the weird and sad "Stairway to Disappointment". At the moment the album is only available on streaming and download services but there are plans to also put out a limited CD edition, so watch out for that!

www.skithundrecords.com/artist-pages/atyd/ 

 

 

tiistai 27. huhtikuuta 2021

Saturnia - Stranded in the Green

 Sulatron Records (st 2102)

It's definitely no secret that I've been a big fan of Saturnia for the last 20 years. I think I have reviewed all the albums as well. I've also been in contact with Luis Simões since the beginning although we have never met in person. It was close once when I was visiting Portugal a few years ago and only later heard that he was recording a new album close by... Oh well, maybe one day. Our relationship got deeper when he recorded sitar, tabla, gong, tambourine and tampura for my instrumental Astral Magic track "Shining Ice" (his title, by the way) released on the brand-new CD The Chosen Ones. He made the track so much better... Anyway, Saturnia is definitely one of the best psychedelic acts I know and Stranded in the Green is the latest, eighth album by the multi-instrumentalist Simões and his first one on the great Sulatron Records.

 

Stranded in the Green, released on vinyl and CD, has seven new tracks.  The early albums also included elements of electronic music, but this is not the case anymore. The opener "Pan Arrives" is a a short occult intro into the hypnotic, groovy psych rock masterpiece "Keep It Long". Sitar and soft, cool vocals are some of the trademarks of Luis and that's what you get here as well. I really like the rhythms, synths effects and backwards guitar solo too, of course. Excellent! "Fibonacci Numbers" is a bit more chilled out, affair with some early 70s Pink Floyd vibe. "Smoking in the Sun" is even slower, very dreamy and wonderful piece that is simple but very effective and trippy. "When I'm High" starts off with some beautiful piano and the mellotron, nice vocals, psych effects and everything else makes it a really great song. "Supernatural" is the longest piece on the album at almost 14 minutes. It starts off as a pieceful folk song with acoustic guitar, bird-song and atmospheric vocals etc. Amazing! The song has three different parts all very mesmerising and up-lifting. I love the synths and keyboards on this one as well. After the eight-minute-marker the track speeds up and I'm getting some early 70s prog rock vibes, wonderful. This must be one of the best Saturnia tracks ever, it is just perfect! The album is finished with "Butterfly Collector" that sounds like a lost track from Obscured by the Clouds sessions (but maybe better...). What a magical way to end this marvellous album! It is only April but I can safely say that Stranded in the Green will be one of the best albums of 2021.

www.saturniamusic.com

 

maanantai 26. huhtikuuta 2021

Doctors of Space - Covid Sessions

 Self-released

 

Covid Sessions is the second album by the duo Doctors of Space from Portugal. The duo is formed by Astral Magic collaborators Martin Weaver (guitars, bass, beats, ex-Dark & Wicked Lady) and Scott Heller (synthesizers, Øresund Space Collective etc.). They released this album already on Bandcamp last year and here's my review, but now it is also available on limited CD (100 copies only!) with extra tracks and new, better artwork!

I recommend you to buy the CD if you like improvised, psychedelic and spacey freak-outs. Be sure to also check out the recent Roadburn Redux show the band did and just added to their Bandcamp site since it rocks!

doctorsofspace.bandcamp.com/

 

tiistai 13. huhtikuuta 2021

Aural Hallucinations - Hearing What You Want to See

 Self-released

 

Hearing What You Want to See is the second album by Portuguese space project Aural Hallucinations. The project features Matt (ex-Elder) on multiple instruments (Synths, guitar, drums, bass, vocals) and Dr Space (Øresund Space Collective, Black Moon Circle, Doctors of Space) on synthesizer and mixing with Luís Antero contributing some field recordings . You can check out my review of their debut album over here. This is a very trippy, spaced-out ambient affair and soon released on very limited (100 copies only) CD. 

Scott aka Dr Space has done some cool narration at the beginning to add a story to the very experimental, weird soundscapes. This is very cool! I wish they would be some at the end as well. For Bandcamp the individual pieces of this 78-minute, continuous journey have been divided for four long tracks, parts 1 - 4. There is also a little bit of beat in there somewhere, but mostly we float in ambient space for the whole journey. I hope this album will also see a 2LP treatment one of these days, it sounds great.

auralhallucinations.bandcamp.com

keskiviikko 7. huhtikuuta 2021

 


Astral Magic - The Chosen Ones pre-sale started on Bandcamp! The album will be released on May the 7th on strictly limited edition CD of JUST 100 copies. The cost of the 80 min CD is 10€ + postage. You can of course purchase a digital download as well for only 7€.
 
This album features several best tracks from the previous digital-only releases (all remastered and edited, some remixed) and loads of great new tracks. Mostly on the electronic side, but there is also good old space rock, krautrock, mystical ethnic vibes etc.
 
The guests on this album are Jonathan Segel, Luis Simões, Fred Laird, Kimi Kärki and Pete Bingham...
You can already stream four of the new tracks and a few old ones and download them upon purchase!
 
There is also a link to pre-save the album on Spotify, Deezer and Apple Music:

tiistai 30. maaliskuuta 2021

The Chemistry Set - Point Me A Dream 7"

 Hypnotic Bridge Records ‎– (HYP-026)


Wow, what a great single by the veteran UK psych pop rockers The Chemistry Set! As usual, I'm a bit late with my review since the 7" was already released a month ago on the American label Hypnotic Bridge Records. I've just been busy and these digital files have the tendency to disapper in the mystical depths of my computer. I'm actually listening to this the first time right now but I'm instantly in love! No wonder, since The Chemistry Set really know how to capture the listener with their psychedelic, melodic and brilliantly produced sounds.

So, what exactly do we have here? "Paint Me A Dream" is a very powerful, melodic and rather energetic psych rock song perfect for a single release. You can hear the band's 60s and 80s inspirations on it but it sounds mostly just like The Chemistry Set. Harmony vocals, Eastern vibes, killer fuzz leads, it has lots of goodies packed in just under four minutes. Perfect! Another winner is the cover choise on the flip side: "The Witch" originally by the early 70s UK acid folk wizard Mark Fry! Not only such a great track as it is, The Set have totally made it their own with a cool intro and freaky end jam, amazing! I could have listened to this much, mush longer than just over five minutes... So what else can I say, another superb single by this great band that I'm a big fan of. People ouside of the US might have difficulties getting a physical copy, I just ordered the last one from Sound Effect Records in Greece, but it is definitely worth hunting down. Well, at least you can get the digital download that comes with a couple of very cool remixes by Astralasian's Swordfish!

www.facebook.com/TheChemistrySetUK/

 

lauantai 27. maaliskuuta 2021

Violet Nox - Whispering Galaxy

 Infinity Vine Records (IVR 05)


 
Violet Nox is a modern electronic/experimental/ambient/no-wave/psych band from Boston, MA.They have released several EP's before and you can check my reviews here and here. They also happened to be my label mates on Reverb Worship/Sleep FUSE! As always, the minimal, highly manipulated/treated music is very etheral and atmospheric and gets you in a zone. The vocals don't often really sound very human at all which fits in the style of course.

This time Violet Nox offers us four new tracks: "Shapesifter", "Haumea", "Wolf Visitor" and "Selena".  They all have just minimal beat, on "Selena" the female vocals are more clearly audible and sound really beutiful. In addition to digital release, The EP was also put out on CD for those of us (like me...) who still prefer a physical copy. Definitely worth checking out if you enjoy dreamy, experimental and droney electronica with treated guitar and vocals! The EP is released on Infinity Records, Boston, USA, and will be distributed by Aumega Records, Germany after the April 9th release.

 www.facebook.com/VioletNoxBand

 

Ambassador Hazy ‎– Glacial Erratics

 Self-released

Ambassador Hazy is a new solo project by Sterling DeWeese from Cold Springs, NY. Some of you might already know the guy from his previous involvement in groups Heavy Hands, Dirty Rainbow, Terrapin Gun, Madison Electric and Black Fantastic. Glacial Erratics was recorded to tape in his basement and has a lovely, warm, home-made vibe all over it. You cold say it sounds a bit on the lo-fi side but in a positive way if you know what I mean!

The album has 14 short songs ranging in length from 1:36 to 3:56. Sterling plays guitars, bass, drums, some organ and sings lead and backing vocals by himself. He was also helped by a few friends on three of the tracks. This is not overtly psychedelic but defnitely has a psychy undertone going on all the time. Some of the songs remind me of The Bevis Frond or Neil Young, for example, and there are also some folk rock and country music elements included. Most of the songs have some cool heavy fuzz guitar though and there is a strong garage rock vibe present. Tracks like "Lucky Clover" also brings to mind The Green Pyjamas so there is also some catchy pop melodies hidden in there somewhere. "Never Too Late" and "Outside my Front Door" have a bit of 60's psych rock touch and a few others as well. Once I got used to the bit primitive sound of the album I started to like it a lot. This is sort of loner psych stuff for the 2020's, I guess. Very Nice! The album was already released last summer and I bet most of the 100 copies are already gone but with any luck you might still be able to score a copy.

ambassadorhazy.bandcamp.com/releases


perjantai 26. maaliskuuta 2021

Euphemia Rise - Farewell to Greatness

 Self-released

Euphemia Rise is an experimental alternative music by songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Wim Lankriet from Belgium. Some of you might remember Wim from his previous projects Magdalena Solis and Syrenomelia that I have also reviewed. Mr. Lankriet is also a visual artist with a long expertice in music videos and his music also has a rather cinematic, atmospheric vibe.

This self-released digital single includes two very well produced songs. Farewell to Greatness is an original inspired by memories of Wim's  teenage years and student life. It's a short (2:51) but bitter-sweet song with a dark and melancholic vibe. I like it a lot! The second track is a cool and fresh take on Pink Floyd's psychedelic folk masterpiece "Cirrus Minor"! I have heard it covered before but this must be the most intimate and haunting version so far. Superb and sublime! I hope Wim can put out a whole album with this new project of his since this sounds really great. You can download the EP free from Bandcamp. Check it out!

euphemiarise.net

torstai 25. maaliskuuta 2021

Dr. Space - Lost in the Space Time Continuum

 Space Rock Productions (SPR070CD)

Like many other musicians, Scott Heller aka Dr. Space has been active making home-recordings during the pandemic when he has not been able to gig with his band Øresund Space Collective or other groups he's involved in. Lost in the Space Time Continuum is already his third solo album within one year and there have also been releases by Doctors of Space (with Martin Weaver) and the Dr Space's Cosmic Alliances: Volume One - Deep Space Day Trip compilation released to raise money for his new studio in Portugal.

Lost in the Space Time Continuum is an abstract, experimental and ambient trip into the cosmos. There are seven tracks completely done with synthesizers. They are pretty simple and mostly recorded live with some overdubs but definitely get you "out there somewhere" whan you close your eyes and surrender yourself to the spacey atmosphere. Some of them are pretty droney but there are also some arpeggios and sequences to offer some melodic and rhythmic content. I know Scott has been listening to a lot of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schultze lately and it somehow resonates on this album. Personally I prefer the tracks with hypnotic sequences going on, it's always a pleasure. The music is totally instrumental apart from the last track "Shane's Aura" where Scott gives a narration. All in all, a very enjoyable, trippy and spacey album! I remember when Scott for the first time made sounds with a Moog synthesizer on Dark Sun's rehearsal space in 1999, the expression on his face definitely told me that he had found something special right then and there... Keep on spacing out, Dr. Space!

The CD is limited to just 100 copies and will be released on May the 6th. Presale started today at Sapphire Records!

https://drspace1.bandcamp.com/ 



tiistai 23. maaliskuuta 2021

Release date for Astral Magic - Visions of Infinity!

 

My first official solo album Astral Magic - Visions of Infinity will be released on May the 6th! The presale starts on March the 25th on Dark Sun Bandcamp site and Sapphire Records site.

The album will be released on two limited edtions: 150 copies on digipak CD and  250 copies on marbled/coloured vinyl. Both will be hand-numbered, and the vinyl version also comes with a Bandcamp download code! Of course you can also buy a digital download from Bandcamp.

The nine songs on this release are some of the first I wrote and recorded one year ago when I started this solo project. My good, old friend Scott Heller offered to help on mixing and even got his guitarist friend, the legendary Martin Weaver (ex-Dark, ex-Wicked Lady etc.) to record some amazing guitar tracks for most of the songs! The next natural step of course was the decision to release this album on Scott's and Sabine's record label in Germany...
 
This heavy space rock album will be quite different to the more electronic stuff I've been putting out on Bandcamp but I continuously make various kinds of psychedelic music, so... You will see!
All Peace to You, Galactic Brothers and Sisters,
 
Dj Astro

Neon Heart - Temporaria

 Self-Released/Adansonia

Neon Heart is an experimental, improvisational and psychedelic Krautrock group from Sweden. I have previously reviewed their first album over here. When we use the term Krautrock here it is a pretty loose description but some of the tracks do bring to mind Can a bit, not so much any other legendary Kraut acts. The saxophone also gives a lot of jazzy mood to the music. In addition to drums, bass and electric guitar there is also an electronic viola player to give more colour to the aural assaults.

Most of the stuff is pretty laid back or mid-tempo, but the last, hypnotic track "Slå dig ner" is faster with a sort of "motorik" beat. It is also my favourite Most of the music has weird vocals in Swedish which fits in the vibe perfectly. Neon Heart seem to have a style of their own and their sound is is pretty unique I think. I bet many people who enjoy improvised kraut/jazz/psych rock will find this album very interesting. There is a limited CD release by the band and the album will also soon be released on vinyl by the great Adansonia Records in Germany!

 www.neonheart.se

sunnuntai 28. helmikuuta 2021

Spurious Transients - Something Strange Came Out of the Skies

 Self-released CD/LP

Spurious Transients is a Welsh psychedelic project formed by Gavin Lloyd Wilson. I have reviewed their debut album and single in 2015 but missed their second album somehow. They have also been actove on Fruits de Mer Records, like on the recent Head Music 2 compilation. Anyway, this CD had been travelling for months before it reached me in my new address, but I'm glad it finally arrived. The theme of the album is alien encounters and UFO's as reported by the eye-witnesses, so a sort of Welsh manifestation of our own project UFO-tutkimuksia. The music is rather different, though!

The album starts off with the eight-minute title track that has a chilled-out, spacey ambient vibe, similar to some of the Astralasia stuff. There is also some sitar sounds to add even more other-wordly vibrations. I of course love it! Then we get some short testimonies with spooky background sounds. "Freak Weather Woodpecker" is a mellow piece with spoken-word about one very interesting case in the 70s, then we get some more testimonies. "The Welsh Triangle" has a cool dub vibe, the weird "Bovine Bilocation" kicks off with some cows mowing and also has female vocals, nice. There are 14 tracks in total with lots of original testimonies, alien sound effects and psychedelic, experimental, mostly electronic backing with some more musical stuff thrown in for good balance. If you are interested in extraterrestrials and psychedelic, electronic music then this is exactly your cup of alien tee! The album is available on vinyl and CD, just go to the band's Bandcamp site to order.

spurioustransients.bandcamp.com

 

tiistai 16. helmikuuta 2021

Pink Floyd - In the 1970s (book review)

Sonicbond Publishing

"What, yet another book on Pink Floyd?", you might think. Oh yes, we never get enough of the Floyd. This 144-page paper book is released in the Decades series and although it concentrates on their activities in the 70s it actually briefly tells the band's story all the way from the hazy mid 60s to the year 2020 also including the band members' solo careers. It's no small task to fit it all into so few pages but Georg Purvis does a great job on it. 

Everything concerning the band's landmark 70s albums gets most of the attention. Even though I'm a big Pink Floyd fan I have not read even a friction of all the books written about them so I learned many interesting, cool, funny and sometimes also depressive details about the recording sessions and the ever growing drift in between Waters and Gilmour. It never stops to amaze me how grown men can't put their difficulties aside and work together. Maybe it is the superstar egos, I don't know. Sort of sad, anyway. The main emphasis here luckily still is on the music so we get details of out-takes, abandoned projects etc. which was very interesting. The book is very well written and keeps the reader in its grip. I would recommend it to any fan of the band and also as an introduction to those who are only just dipping into the world of one of the greatest bands in history.

www.sonicbondpublishing.co.uk/

Astral Magic - Electronic Vol. 4 released!

Check it out:

perjantai 29. tammikuuta 2021

More Astral Magic videos at YouTube!

 These new videos are from the Electronic Vol. 4 album to be released at darksun.bandcamp.com/ on next Friday 5.2.2021:

 

 

keskiviikko 27. tammikuuta 2021

Custard Flux - Oxygen

 Self-released (CFX002)

The third Custard Flux album Oxygen was released last September so I'm a bit late with my review, sorry about that! Anyway, Gregory Curvey (currently living in Detroit, Michigan, from the band The Luck of Eden Hall) continues with his acoustic psychedelic prog project in a style similar to the previous albums Echo and Helium. So the main instruments are ancient harmonium, acoustic guitars and acoustic drum set. There are also some electric guitar leads and some guests on sax and violin, for example. You might thing that this is some kind of folk music, but it is in fact still rock music, just played almost completely with acoustic instruments! This fact gives the music a rather fresh, original and interesting twist. Oxygen is one of those albums that were made during the great covid-19 lockdown of 2020 and you can see that for example on some of the songs like "Quarantyne".

Curvey uses lots of different time signatures which adds progressive vibe although the music is never TOO difficult or hard to follow, on the contrary very enjoyable and nice. There is a certain pop element in most of the songs, sort of like The Beatles had, as well. But there are also lots of unusual chord progressions and darker moments for sure. I also really like the dreamy, peaceful parts. Curvey has a great sense for melody and harmony and all the playing is top-notch. I like his unique and instantly recognizable singing voice but the instrumentals also work great. Oxygen was featured on several best of lists of 2020 and I can understand why since this really is a masterpiece. I think the two very limited vinyl editions might be pretty much sold-out everywhere but the CD should still be available. At least you can buy the digital download also including two extra tracks from the Bandcamp site! Curvey has also agreed to record some stuff to a few of my Astral Magic songs, can't wait to hear what he comes up with...

www.facebook.com/custardflux/

torstai 21. tammikuuta 2021

New Astral Magic video on YouTube

 New Astral Magic video on YouTube and Facebook! A spacey ambient instrumental called "Moons of Jupiter" from the next album Electronic Vol. 4: