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perjantai 30. syyskuuta 2022

Moksha - S/T 2CD-R

 Self-released (MOK001)

 

So, why would anybody review a twenty-ear-old limited CD-R reissue of a very rare tape release from the late 80s, one might ask? Well, I'll give you a few reasons. Moksha was an electronic, psychedelic and spacey music project featuring English synthesizer and keyboard player Seaweed before he joined Ozric Tentacles or even the fierce psychedelic freak-out band Thunderdogs. I was lucky to see Thunderdogs when they played with a freak-circus and became a fan immediately, the Ozrics of course have been one of my favourite bands since the early 90s. Not even many of the Ozric Tentacles fans know anhything about Moksha, though, and I feel it's time to change that since this is really good stuff! I just received this double CD-R from Seaweed's partner Claudia (thanks a lot!). It was apparently released in 2002 in a limited edition of just 100 copies, but according to Discogs there was alsa a re-issue (with catalogue number MOK001A). There is very little information about the band or recordings, but the players are Seaweed (Kork Poly 800/Roland JX8P, Korg MS20, EMS Synthi AKS and Roland TR707) and Quiller (Roland D50 and Roland SH101) as well as Gabi (ambient flute). The recordings were made direct to stereo with no overdubs, accoring to a rumour at a London flat of Joie Hinton.

Okay, so how does it sound? There are 13 instrumental tracks heavily influnced by Tangerine Dream and Tim Blake, also the more electronic side of Gong I suppose. I really like the spacey vibe of the album and some of the excellent playing reminds me of Seaweed's later work in the Ozrics as well. Most of the music is pretty ambient and chilled-out in nature, but there are also some faster, more energetic pieces like "Mushroom House". The drum machines are not too prominent, the sequencers and synthesizer sounds are always playing the main role. The sound quality is surprisingly good for an over 30-year-old home/rehearsal space recordings, no problem there. This is very hypnotic, spacey and psychedelic stuff and deserves to be heard by a bigger audience, I think. Maybe is is time for a remastered 2LP version? I would definitely buy it! Very cool stuff. Not sure how to obtain a copy of this CD-R, since Seaweed nor Moksha seem to have any kind of website, so good luck.


tiistai 27. syyskuuta 2022

Custard Flux - Phospherus

 Self-released

Phospherus is the fourth album by Gregory Curvey's (Detroit, Michigan) acoustic, psychedelic progressive rock project Custard Flux. I got to know him around 15 years ago when he started to send the The Luck of Eden Hall albums for review. I just loved them, and still do! Nothing has been heard of The Luck of Eden Hall for five years, that's when the split album with Red Sun was released on VE Recordings in Italy, but I'm happy Curvey is still making music. He has also performed and recorded with the Welsh space rockers Sendelica, among others. I'm also proud to say he has recorded some excellent guitar etc. tracks for my own Astral Magic project too!

Anyway, let's consentrate on Custard Flux now... It's been two years since the previous album Oxygen was released (read my review here) and besides driving his Harley Davidson and doing beautiful renovation work etc. Gregory has also written, recorded and mixed another killer set of new songs. The main idea still is to use mainly acoustic instruments (piano, hapsichord, harmonium, guitars, autoharp, drum kit, percussion) and vocals to make progressive rock music. Electric guitar is only being used for some of the solos. Like before, we have some guest musicians: Vito Greco on guitars and Portuguese guitar, Timothy Prettyman on double bass, Mars Williams on saxophones and another keen Astral Magic collaborator Jay Tausig on flute and backing vocals. Great! Especially the saxophones and Portuguese styled guitar give the album some new angles.

The 80-minute opus has 12 tracks on it. Some are around 10 minutes, some less than 5, but all are excellent. I love the way Curvey is able to use catchy choruses, weird scales and chords, very progressive rhythms, eerie atmospheres and psychedelic vibes and often within just one song! He is just such a talented multi-instrumentalist that I'm left in awe. So, usually you would think that using mostly acoustic instruments would lead to making a more folk oriented album, but this is definitely not the case with Custard Flux, although there are bits of that too in the mix. There is usually a lot of stuff going on in one track, some of it also pretty hectic, but luckily there is also time to chill out and relax. It is pretty hard to think of any other bands or artists that would sound like this, but some elements remind me of The Beatles, King Crimson and some others. There must also also be some more modern influences I can't really point out. This is very unique, interesting and great sounding music, anyway, and warmly recommended for all the adventurous listeners out there! The CD and limited edition (250 copies) LP will both be available iat the end of December, but you can pre-order right away. Just do it!

www.facebook.com/custardflux/

 
 

tiistai 6. syyskuuta 2022

Dark Sun Bandcamp changed into Astral Magic Bandcamp!


 

I just changed the Dark Sun Bandcamp site I've also been using for Astral Magic to:
 
 
This means the old release links to the old site won't work anymore, unfortunately. But you will find everything from the new address. It was time to let Dark Sun go... I still sell that stuff too, of course!

torstai 1. syyskuuta 2022

New Astral Magic album In a Haze released tomorrow!

 Hello!

Time for some Astral Magic news. A new album In a Haze will be released tomorrow on Bandcamp Friday as a limited edition digipack CD. There were only 100 copies made.

This album has Jonathan Segel on guitar and violin again and the cover art is based on a video still image by Piet Koster. Jonathan also mastered the album. Everything else is by Santtu Laakso.

You can buy the CD for 10€ at:

astralmagic.bandcamp.com/album/in-a-haze

 Also digital download available and you can of course listen to In a Haze on all the digital platforms there are. I hope you'll like it! Check out the album tour video with clips from all the 11 tracks below. Lots of different stuff in there but all trippy and psychedelic I think!

All Peace to You, Galactic Brothers and Sisters...


maanantai 25. heinäkuuta 2022

Ambassador Hazy – The Traveler

 Hazy House / Cardinal Fuzz (HH01 / CFL0224)

The Traveler is the second album by Sterling DeWeese's solo project Ambassador Hazy. You might have read my review of his debut album Glacial Erratics last year. This new album was released together with (Sterling's?) Hazy House label in the US and UK's Cardinal Fuzz so it should be pretty easily available, at least until the limited pressing of 250 copies is gone everywhere. Cardinal Fuzz no longer have this available on their Bandcamp, though. There is also a limited Sam Giles CD-R edition.

On The Traveler Sterling continues his dreamy, trippy travels into home-cooked, lo-fi psychedelia and garage rock. There are also beautiful acid folk (check out "All We Wanted", for example) and some more experimental moments in there for great balance. His vocals somehow remind me of Lemmy during his Sam Gobal times which is not a bad thing. "Gone to My Head" has a cool, more pop oriented vibe, but there are also darker things. I think I prefer the fuzzy, 13th Floor Elevator styled rockers, but there is a lot to love here. Give it a try and locate a copy if you can!

ambassadorhazy.bandcamp.com/


The Terrapin Gun – Relax Your Mind

 Infinite Spin (ISR 10001110101)

 

I received this very limited LP from Sterling DeWeese from Cold Spring, New York. The guy previously sent me his first Ambassador Hazy LP for review last year. Terrapin Gun started as a duo with his soul brother Scott over 20 years ago on the East Coats of USA. These recordings were finished when some other members had joined in but never released until now.

Terrapin Gun played a weird, psychedelic mix of Spacemen 3 and Brian Jonestown Massacre and 60s bands like The Byrds, The Dead, Velvet Undergound and The Fugs. The album has a lot of acoustic guitars too to give it a flowing, West Coast folky blues feel at times. The recording techinique must have been pretty primitive at the time, but the sound is still good and very enjoyable. There are 12 rather short songs on the album and I got to say I like them all. You could consider this as a time capsule from 20 years ago or just as a great, timeless underground psych rock/folk/blues album with a lot of feelings and atmospheres. Check it out and hurry up if you want a copy, since there are only 125 of these beauties in existence.

www.facebook.com/sterling.deweese

infinitespinrecords.bandcamp.com/releases 


maanantai 30. toukokuuta 2022

Mark McDowell - Freedom Tapes

 Self-released


Freedom Tapes is the brand-new experimental psych rock/pop/folk album by Mark McDowell from Bristol, U.K. I was first introduced to him when Fruits de Mer put out a wonderful split 7" with him and Octopus Syng in 2013. I also reviewed his 2018 album Dark Weave (Friends of the Fish) and liked it a lot. I did miss his album Breakthrough in 2020, somehow. Anyway, let's see what we've got here this time.

The album includes 10 tracks, most around the 4-minute-marker in lenght. Most have a rather organic, acoustic feel, but sometimes Mark also rocks out. He sings, plays guitars, keyboards, drums & percussion. The collaborators are Pete Westaway: synth, John Hymas: strings and Juliet Winter: words, love and high vibes. There are some wonderful melodies and psychedelic effects that always makes this kind of music interesting and mesmerising for me. The music also has a hypnotic vibe. We have a couple of instrumentals on board too for a good balance. Especially the 6-minute "Zodiasi" is a real trip. The music was first recorded on cassette tapes and then manipulated and put together again digitally for a great, warm and sort of experimental result. I like Mark's music and his vocals and I think this album will be an important part of my Summer 2022 soundtrack. Check it out!

https://markmcdowell.bandcamp.com/

 

Astral Magic - Magical Kingdom out on Tonzonen Records June the 17th!


My psychedelic project Astral Magic will release a new album next month! Magical Kingdom will be out on coloured splatter LP limited to 500 copies. It is the first Astral Magic release on the amazing German label Tonzonen Records and will include a Bandcamp download card. This can be considered Astral Magic's first psychedelic, spacey PROG rock album and it is quite different to the stuff released before. Fans of Pink Floyd, Eloy, early Yes and Hawkwind should definitely check it out.

The guest musicians on this album are Jay Tausig (US, drums, guitar, saxophone, flute), Gregory Curvey (US, guitar, glockenspiel), Peter Dingham (UK, guitar), Markku Helin (FI, guitar), Anton Barbeau (US, guitar) and Perttu Lindberg (FI, drums). The album was mastered by Eroc for maximum sound quality. The painting used on the cover art is by Finnish psychedelic artist Vesa Peltonen. You can pre-order the album now from the label's web shop or Astral Magic's Bandcamp site and also listen to three of the tracks online.


 

 

tiistai 26. huhtikuuta 2022

The Chemistry Set - Pink Felt Trip

 Regal Crabomophone (winkle 46)

The Chemistry Set is a London based psych rock outfit formed by Dave Mclean and Paul Lake in 1987. They had a big part in making the late 80s UK neo-psychedelic moment what it was. Great thing these guys are still active and releasing superb new stuff on Fruits de Mer and Regal Crabomophone so regularly even in modern times. Pink Felt Trip is their latest and another winner for sure. According to the promo sheet, this is the band's 61st release, can you believe that? They have opted for a bit heavier sound on many of the tracks but there is still room for magnificent melodies and all kinds of trippy tricks and hooks.

There are nine tracks on the LP. The band has previously covered for example "Legend of a Mind" by The Moody Blues and "Silver Birch" by Del Shannon, and this time it was time to do a great version of "The Witch" by Mark Fry. It follows right after the heavy, short title song that opens the album and works really well with added Gregorian chant intro. Things get pretty heavy and psychy... The whimsical "Lovely Cup of Tea" was already released on a 7" EP in 2017. "Firefly" (previously released on 7" in 2018) is a great, mystical and heavier tune that I really enjoy and "Psychotronic Man" a lighter, atmospheric piece with acoustic guitars, tablas etc., really cool stuff. Also "Paint Me a Dream" was released on 7" before (2021), marvellous tune, read my review here. Also has "The Witch" on B side. "Sail Away" reminds me of Led Zeppelin a bit, acoustic guitars, slide guitar, tablas. This was the B side of "Firefly" single. "The Rubicon" is a catchy, simple pop psych song that we also had heard before on the "Lovely Cup of Tea" 7" EP. Even the hard core fans have 11 minutes of never-before-heard stuff at the end when the "Self Expression Trinity" blows your mind. This is an excellent trilogy with lots of different emotions and vibes. Mellotrons are always welcome addition... Some superb guitar solos in there too, for example. I also really like the vocals, as always. An amazing ending for a really great album! My only little complain here is that so many of the tracks were already released before on 7" singles/EP's so not completely new. Still, in this albun context they sound a bit different and definitely have their right to be included. One of the best album releases so far in 2022!

www.facebook.com/TheChemistrySetUK 


tiistai 15. maaliskuuta 2022

St. Kraut - Roerich Trilogy 3CD-R

 Strange Fish (Strange Fish Twenty Five)

When the vinyl pressing gets too hard even Fruits de Mer Records (and their sister label Strange Fish) must turn into other media. Here's a 3CD-R/3tape release including all three releases by Russian band St. Kraut. The albums were originally released during 2020 and 2021. The ultra-limited tape box set was actually released in Russia and already sold out but the 3CD-R set is still available.

You could think that St. Kraut plays pure plain krautrock in the 70s German style, but they actually do a lot more. There are plenty of emotional post-rock/ambient passages (like the 15-minute opener "Inner Altar") and they have a more modern way to produce music in every way. So, this is not a retro-krautrock band in anyway, although there are some kraut influences in there for sure. The instrumental tracks are usually long so perhaps not exactly for the standard indie rock audience but there are moments that could be considered even radio friendly. Some of it is still too weird (like the 23-min-plus "Tropic Slumber") for mass consumption which, of course for me, is a definitive plus side. The albums this compilation includes are Boris & Gleb, Ann Without Hand and Fire Madness from Outer Space. I think my favourites are the most rocking tracks like "Ann Without Hand", "Lucid Dream Exchange", "Ann Without Head" and "Fire Madness from Outer Space" but I also enjoy there slower, dreamier tracks a lot. My only complaint is that this is not on vinyl but it is acceptable considering the tough times we are living in... So let's buy some CD-Rs/CDs and still try to enjoy our lives and great music from all over the world!

In the UK, get this from Fruits de Mer and in the EU from Shiny Beast.

www.facebook.com/StKraut 


tiistai 22. helmikuuta 2022

More Experience - Electric Laboratory Of High Space Experience

Old Hippie Records (VII MMXXI)

 

Released on full moon, 23 july 2021, Electric Laboratory of High Space Experience is the fourth album by this great Polish psych rock band More Experience. I have reviewed their previous album Follow Me in 2018, check it out over here. Sorry for being a bit late with this review, I blame working hard on my own project Astral Magic. This is a 46-minute CD release, but I would guess the band would also be ready for an LP release that would suite this kind of late 60s/early 70s styled hippie stuff even better.

The album has eight tracks. After the two-minute bird-song intro of "The Twilight" the band dives into full-blown, almost 12-minute head trip called "The Dream". Starting off with acoustic guitars, bass and symbals, we soon get wonderful organ, and full drum set as well. Then we also get electric guitars and wonderful harmony vocals that even enhance the progressive hippie era vibe. I really enjoy this stuff! "The Trip" is next, as if you weren't on one already... This is chilled-out stuff with some cool spoken word poetry and very trippy instrumentation. Things start to rock out later on, phew! The nine-minute "The Mind" has female vocals and a sort of harder rocking edge before it goes into Eastern-tinged sitar and tabla thing and then turning into jazzy analogue synth and guitar solo heaven. And it is not even over yet, so be prepared for some mystical, groovy going at the end... Reminds me of Gong a bit? Loving it, anyway! "Beelzebufo" is a short field recording piece and "Fairy Tale" a peaceful song with some cool synth leads and spoken word including vocoder. Trippy! The title track "Electric Laboratory Of High Space Experience" comes next and starts off with harmonium and tabla etc. Soon the band is in prog rocking mode and then we get some bautiful female vocals and some great solo guitar work and jamming. Another winner for sure! The album is finished with the nature sounds of "At the Gates of Dawn" in a relaxed way. All in all, this a very enjoyable, psychedelic and adventurous album and also has a great production and skillful playing so comes warmly recommended for all lovers of reinterpretations of the original hippie vibes.

 www.facebook.com/more.experience.music

 

maanantai 7. helmikuuta 2022

Stream Astral Magic - Lords of Space CD version in full here!

 



You can now hear all the tracks of this heavy space rock album just here! Pre-order the limited to 300 copies CD now, release date is 1.3.2022.

https://astralmagic.bandcamp.com/album/lords-of-space

https://www.facebook.com/AstralMagicMusic 

tiistai 1. helmikuuta 2022

The Lost Stoned Pandas - Dark Side of the Noom

 Frg Records



The Lost Stoned Pandas is, more or less, a different version of Welsh psych/space rock band Sendelica making a bit more electronic/ambient music. Dark Side of the Noom is already their fifth release and a very tasty one. Released on three different vinyl editions (one of which also includes an exclusive lathe-cut), CD and digital it should please to all fans of ambient space rock and psychedelic electronic music. Although we have the bass, guitar and drums from Sendelica Colin Consterdine's cosmic sound engineering is playing a huge part of the overal sound. We also have Chris Mekon on board with his electronics as well as viola and violin players to also give the album some more organic vibe. What a great combination!

What we have here is one long title track on side 2 and three shorter pieces on side 1. The totally instrumetal album begins with "Dark Side of the Noom (dub mix)" that to me brings back memories of the electronic, psychedelic ambient/dub (sub)culture of the 90s UK (Banco de Gaia, Children of the Bong, Divine Soma Experience etc.) that I used to love. "Interregnum" is a very nice, atmospheric piece where the strings are playing an important role. "Luna Sunrise (Strings Mix)" is more ambient in nature and the shortest track at 5:14. Beautiful! The second side of the LP is filled with the closer to 20-minute title track. It is a rather laid-back, although sort of majestic, very pleasant and floating trip that I really enjoy. Again, lots of strings to give a more earthly vibe. Excellent! Like before, all editions are rather limited so hurry up if you want your piece of this ambient mind candy!

sendelica.bandcamp.com

 

maanantai 10. tammikuuta 2022

The Hobbit House Collective - S/T 2 x 7"

 Fruits de Mer Records (winkle 45)

Crystal Jacqueline, The Honey Pot, Icarus Peel's Acid Reign and The Locker Room Cowboys are together known as The Hobbit House Collective. Of course these acts also share members so the borders were dissolving already, anyway... All of them offer one track for this very cool double single. You just can't go wrong with some of Fruits de Mer's best artists, and I'm sure most if not all the fans wil anjoy these pieces!

This is the first time that Led Zeppelin gets covered on Fruits de Mer, if I remember correctly. Crystal Jacqueline's version of the mighty "Battle of Evermore" is definitely my favourite on the single, just wonderful! Curved Air fans must be interested to know that Darryl Way is playing some great violin on it too. Over seven minutes splendidly spent. The Honey Pot then does another Zep classic "Ramble On" and it is pure magic. Then it's time for an instrumental: a rocking version of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" by Icarus Peel's Acid Reign. The single is finished with the only original tune, another instrumental called "Wolfgang Does The Nurburgring". This is funky stuff with lots of guitar soloing and some cool organ etc. You can preorder this very cool double single now and it will be released at the end of the month.

 www.fruitsdemerrecords.com/hobbit.html