Listen to the latest Astral Visions Mixcloud Show!

lauantai 31. joulukuuta 2022

Jonathan Segel - Shitty Nuggets



Jonathan Segel is an American multi-instrumentalist now living in Sweden. I think people know him foremost for playing with Camper Van Beethoven and Eugene Chadbourne and his own band Hieronymus Firebrain, but he has been active also for example with Swedish band Sista Mej and playing gigs and doing studio sessions with Øresund Space Collective. Lately he has consentrated mostly on his solo stuff, not to forget his numerous contributions to around a dozen Astral Magic albums... I have previously reviewed his 2020 album Outside Inside. That one also included some electronic and experimental tracks, but Shitty Nuggets is more singer-songwriter oriented.

The album has 26 pretty simple and straight forward songs. Sometimes they feel more like demos, although the sound is great. Jonathan is also a great singer. Sometimes he reminds me a bit of Bowie, but not too often. Most of the music is rock or pop, but there are also some folky pieces like the pretty "Every Little Thing". There's enough psychedelic elements and experimentation to keep the freaks interested, as well. "In the Backroom" has some cool funk/disco vibe. I can also sense some Grateful Dead from time to time. "Ruth and Rhonda" has a ska beat. There is something very 80s on the synth & reverb department. Jonathan plays and sings everything very fluently by himself, but there are also a few guests mostly on vocals. This album has some similarities to Anton Barbeau's latest albums, I think. Pretty simple but great little tracks with some cool tricks and hooks to keep the listener instrested. Also good top hear Jonathan play some mean guitar solos like on the excellent and trippy "Waiting for the End Time", maybe my favourite. I also really enjoy the last, tragic ballad "World of Trouble", for example, but there are loyt of great songs in there for sure.

The official release date is January the 6th, so only some of the songs are playeble at Bandcamp at the moment. You can already pre-order the digital album, but there will also be a limited tape release soon.


maanantai 5. joulukuuta 2022

Astral Magic: Lords of Space limited LP editions and We Are Stardust CD now on pre-order!

This year's last Bandcamp Friday (02.12.2022) saw two new Astral Magic releases going on pre-order!

Lords of Space is the project's heavy, psychedelic space rock album thaty was released on CD on Clostridium Records (Germany) this Spring. Due to long pressing cues at the factories, the vinyl took a LOT longer to made, but they should be ready by December the 20th, the official release day.

There are two different editions, both limited to 200 copies, coming in magnificent open gatefold cover by psychedelic UK artist Dale Simpson and including a big poster, sticker and download code: black and blue-smoke coloured vinyl ("die-hard" edition). The blue-smoke coloured edition also has long Astral Magic smoking papers.

Pre-order from (the CD, 300 coopies only,  also still available):

Clostridium Records (blue-smoke)

Clostridium Records (black).

Astral Magic Bandcamp site.



We Are Stardust is a bit more song-oriented (just one instrumental included) new album with 11 tracks in one hour. The album has energetic, even punky space pop hits as well as Floydian/Porcupine Tree styled prog ballads and much more. Jonathan Segel plays guitars and violin and also guesting is Samuli Sailo on guitars on one track. The CD is limited to just 100 copies and comes in cool digipack. Check out the first promo video "Virtual Fixtures" above! Release date is January the 6th, pre-order right now from:


keskiviikko 9. marraskuuta 2022

Thought Bubble - Nowhere

 Echodelic Records (ECHODELIC020)

This is the new, great album by UK-based duo Thought Bubble. I have previously reviewed their debut album Around from last year, check it out here. Chris and Nick continue in the same vein with putting together psychedelic, electronic soundscapes with live drums in a rather unique style. We also get some cool male spoken word/samples on the hypnotic "Superficial" and trippy "Control Your Own Story". Fans of Fruits de Mer have probably heard the great opener "Now Boarding" on the Sound Clouds compilation 2CD just before Astral Magic's "Land of Mu". I've had the privilege of sharing spots with them on another compilation, the Bandcamp-only The Flash Benefit Comp., Volume 1, so our paths are connected, even if by mere accident...

There are eight tracks on the limited, very tasty looking purple vinyl and digital download. Nothing too lenghty, the longest piece being the aforementioned "Superficial". I don't really know how to describe the duo's music, but there are definitely some elements of krautrock in there, but without the guitars or bass. It's also pretty weird and somewhat experimental, but still rather easily enjoyable end not TOO strange. There also some guests on "Response", "Propulsion" and "Cloudbursting". All in all, a very interesting and original album that I'm sure a lot of people with soft spot for more electronic styled psych music will enjoy. Great cover art to boost! Check it out.


keskiviikko 2. marraskuuta 2022

Astral Magic - Apparition's Breath limited CD and digital album coming up this Friday!


It's another Bandcamp Friday again this Friday (Nov 4th), which means another new Astral Magic release. This time it's (again?) something pretty different, meaning spoken word and acid guitar work on top of electronic, hypnotic soundscapes. Shane Beck, aka The Last American Poet makes his debut as an Astral Magic collaborator while Jonathan Segel has been a steady participant for a long time now.

The CD, limited to just 100 copies, is a continuous 49-min trip with eleven parts of "Apparition's Breath", on the digital download the parts had to be divided for more fluent play on digital platforms like Spotify, iTunes and Youtube.

The cover artwork is based on the original digital image made for this project by British artist Andy Wainwright.

The Space Crew:

Santtu Laakso - all music, synthesizers, beats, mixing and cover design.
Shane Beck (The Last American Poet) - all poems and spoken word.
Jonathan Segel - guitar, violin & mastering.

Original cover picture by Andy Wainwright.

If you want to secure a copy on Friday, please head to:

All peace to you, galactic
brothers and sisters.


tiistai 1. marraskuuta 2022

Tribe of Cro - Hydroculture

 Adansonia Records (AR 046)

Tribe of Cro was one of the best instrumental, jam-based psychedelic space rock bands in the 90s. They were formed in Belgium with also some British members, including ex-Mandragora and future Hawkwind bassist/guitarist Nial Hone on guitar. The band released three great albums in the 90s, Potlatch LP on the German label Mushroom Runner Records in 1996, also in 96 a CD Sporadic Spiro-Gyra on Hawkwind's Emergency Broadcast System and another CD Hydroculture on their own U.F. Cro Records in 1998. The band used to support Hawkwind during these times and also played for example at the at the 2003 Hawkfest. I did not hear from them for a few years but in 2007 and 2008 a couple of digital releases were appeared out of the blue. Then, after another hiatus of many years, they now have a brand-new 24-minute recording "Force Orbit" on their Bandcamp site. So it seems they are active again which, I think, is great!

I remember in the mid to late 90s how much it sucked when my favourite bands started to release their new albums only on CD. I was a total vinyl freak back then, but also bought the CDs when I had to. Still do, if that is the only option. I'm so happy that some of those psychedelic masterpieces from decades ago are now being released on LP as they should have been in the first place! This is the right format for sure. Hydroculture is composed of 11 tracks that are all instrumental apart from some sampled, manipulated words every now and then. The band has a pretty original style, they don't sound like Hawkwind or anybody else, for that matter. This album has long, rather slow space jams, ultra-psychedelic experimental pieces and also some more rocking stuff for a great, trippy balance. The darkest, most psychedelic passages might be too much for some, but the psych heads will enjoy the whole trip, I'm sure. The new vinyl master by DJM sounds incredible so this is a must-have for all the lovers of freaky, spacey, mostly improvisation-based psych rock. I hope that the band will release some new stuff on vinyl as well soon!


maanantai 31. lokakuuta 2022

Jalayan - Floating Islands

 Adansonia Records / Sound Effect Records (AR 045 / SERC098)

Jalayan is a new electronic based instrumental space rock band from Italy. All the music is written by band leader, synth/keyboard player and programmer Alessio Malatesta, who also recorded, mixed and mastered the album. Other members are Vincenzo Calvano on electric and acoustic guitars, Matteo Prina on electric bass and Martino Malacrida on drums. This seems to be the band's second album. When I put the record on I'm instantly reminded of Ozric Tentacles, and they must have been a huge influence. It's not a pure copy-cat stuff, though, no worries. The sound is a bit different, but the music is very energetic and/or atmospheric, progressive and extremely well played for sure. These guys are very good professional musicians, no doubt about that! Other bands that come to mind are for example Finnish group Hidria Spacefolk, who also have enjoyed their share of the Ozrics of course.

There are eight tracks on the album that was released on CD by the Greek Sound Effect Records a bit earlier and now on two limited edition vinyl versions on Adansonia Records in Germany. All the tracks are from 5 to 7 minute in length. I really enjoy the whole album, so I really can't name any favourites! I love the pulsating, hypnotic sequencers and the soaring, superb guitar solos, as well as the ultra tight and groovy rhythm section. There are also some bit jazzy fusion elements as well as Ethnic vibes, but no Ethnic, acoustic instruments like on some of the Ozrics albums. Things get pretty trancey at times, I'd call this instrumental, psychedelic and progressive electronic space rock. The sound is crystal clear and polished. You can get the LP on clear splatter multicolor vinyl limited to 100 copies or the black one limited to 200 copies, both hand-numbered. A must have for fans of progressive electronic space rock with emphasis on programmed synthesizers!


perjantai 28. lokakuuta 2022

Kombynat Robotron - Sponane Emission

 Clostridium Records (CR075)

Kombynat Robotron is a new German improvisational kraut/psych/space rock band formed by four guys who also play in other groups. They have taken the current scene by storm releasing several albums in a span of just a few years. I have all their LP releases apart from the debut LP Modul 12 (Tonzonen 2018) and the split with the great Snakes Don't Belong in Alaska (Cruel Nature Records 2019). If you have a spare copy of either one, please let me know! There are also a couple of tapes I'm missing.

Anyway, let's get into the music. As far as I know, all their recordings are improvisational, instrumental jams, mostly with just a couple of guitars, bass and drums. Occasionally they also use a little bit of synths and sound effects, but not that much. Sponane Emission includes six jams recorded at the band's rehearsal space in Kiel in 2019. The album has been previously released on tape and digital formats in 2020, but this amazing, high qulity release on the superb Clostridium Records is the first vinyl version. Although recorded at rehearsal facilities, the sound quality is clear and great. The music is very hypnotic and repetative and definitely gets you "in the zone". Often it is rather relaxed and floating, but there are also some a bit more rocking stuff, on "Aurora", "Meteor" and also on "Tagesdämpfung". "Nahschwund" is just a simple, short synth piece offering some early Tangerine Dream moods. If you love the modern interpretation of instrumental kraut/psych/space jamming done nowadays by bands like Kungens Män, Snakes Don't Belong in Alaska and many others you will for sure dig this band. The hand-numbered "die-hard" edition of this LP on grey marbled vinyl is limited to just 200 copies and comes with a cool slipmat, there are also 200 copies on black vinyl. Both versions include a poster and a sticker. Get yourself a copy while you can, these will sell out!

torstai 20. lokakuuta 2022

Anton Barbeau – Power Pop!!! / Stranger

 Big Stir Records / Beehive (BSR-0069 / BH008)

A double dose of Ant in your face! My readers know I've been a follower of this quirky American indie psych rocker Anton Barbeau for years and years, although I don't have all his albums. Power Pop!!! was released this Spring but I just received it with his forthcoming CD Stranger. I'll just let Anton tell us what this first one is all about. “The concept is, early ABBA gets hipped to Krautrock, disavowing their Schlager roots. Drugs happen. Their tight, super-pop sound merged with the kosmische vibe catches the ear of young David Bowie who offers to produce their next record. They convince him to co-write and sing on the record, and the rest is alternate-history,”. Well said, since that's pretty much how this odd but wonderful album sounds and feels like. There are 19 tracks varying in lenght from 6 second (!) to 4:39. The lyrics are mostly very hilarious and off the wall, and so are some of the arrangements and production. Somehow it all still sounds great! Ant always has had a sense for good melodies. There is a strong 80's pop vibe going on, especially on the synth department. And there are a lot of synthesizers on the album! There also some more or less known guests on the album. One of the highlights is "Julian Cope", honouring one of Anton's heroes. I bet this must be one of Anton's weirdest but at the same time best albums! Check it out and see what it does to you.


The 41-minute, 14-track Stranger is a perfect continuation to Power Pop. The guest list is rather long, this time we also have for example Ant's old pal, the ex-Hawkwind and The Bevis Frond bassist Adrian Shaw  as well as Gregory Curvey both playing on "Cellar Bar". Must be about the yearly Fruits de Mer Festival hold in Wales... Despite the tittle, the music is not as weird as on Power Pop!!! but the strong 80's synth pop vibe continues on some tracks. And I like it! There is even some vocoder (on "Ant Lion"), so you know what you'll get. There is also a more rocking, heavier element in there like on "Dollis Hill Butchers" and "ICU". And yes, on the marvellous "Quick to the Basement", Jesus's coming... "Supercube City" is perhaps one of my faves, very groovy and psychedelic lyrics too... There are a couple of Lennonesque ballads and shorter experiments for good measure. It's hard to decide which one of the albums is better, let's just say get them both! Stranger won't be released until December the 9th, though, and you can only listen to one track at the moment. The CD comes in a thin cardboard cover but that's cool.

Oh, I almost forgot: you can also hear Anton play guitar on my latest Astral Magic vinyl LP Magical Kingdom, and he will be featured on a couple of tracks on my future album (Sacred Mysteries). 

Us and Them — ...And I Observed the Blue Sky

 Withdrawn Music (006)

Wonderful news: another great folk rock album by Swedish husband-and-wife duo Us and Them! This is the third full-lenght album by them but there are also several singles and EP's and one 10" on various labels like Fruits de Mer (just try to locate a copy of their cover 7" of soundtrack music from The Wickerman called Summerisle, It's amazing!). Us and Them really can make soulful, soft, touching and mesmerising music and the new album is no exception.

There are 11 new tracks on the 41-minute CD, all written, arranged and produced by the duo. A couple of songs have been released before as digitall singles. They sing and play everything except some keyboards on "Where Wonder Comes From", "Evening Song" and "In Between Times" that are by Per Lindblom. The beautiful melodies are leading the main role like usual, and the vocals of Britt really touch your soul. Most of the stuff is pretty melancholic, but there are also some more uplifting songs like "Looks Like It's Clearing Up" and "In Bube" that also have drums. Also the somehow ancient sounding "A Blessing of a Curse", one of my favourites, and the pretty track "August Evenings" have percussion. The music is very acoustic in nature with a strong emphasis on beautifully and skillfully played acoustic guitars. The title track is more piano-driven, though. There are some subtle psychedelic elements from now and then but not too much as well as some baroque pop vibes. There's also some strings, Fender Rhodes and vibes sounds, for example. The production is crystal clear and superb, so this is an amazing and very enjoyable album in all aspects. Warmly recommended for chilly Autumn evenings sitting by your fire place.


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


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!


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!


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:

 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!

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. 

maanantai 30. toukokuuta 2022

Mark McDowell - Freedom Tapes


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!


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! 

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. 

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.


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. 

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!


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.