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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.