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torstai 19. lokakuuta 2017

Nathan Hall And The Sinister Locals ‎– The Volga Sturgeon Face E​.​P.

The Hip Replacement Label (Hip 014)

Happy news for all those who have been wondering what ever happened to the Soft Hearted Scientists. After releasing seven albums they are just taking a year off. In the meantime, their front man Nathan Hall has of course not been able to just lay back and rest. Amazing songs just seem to pour out of his mind so he formed a new "band" called Nathan Hall And The Sinister Locals. This is actually more or less Nathan's solo project with various, changing characters on drums, bass, string arrangements etc. This first release is a four track CD EP and if you were fast enough, you might have scored it with an accompanying two-track 5" lathe cut limited to just 100 copies. This version also included a facsimile lyric sheet for the track "Everyone's Burning Effigies" and a postcard, both signed. I'm still kicking myself for not being fast enough in May... But since the CD EP itself is still available, let's go on.

Musically Nathan Hall And The Sinister Locals sounds very close to baroque, gentle psychedelia of Soft Hearted Scientists. The vibe is perhaps (even) a bit more home-grown and intimate. This debut EP includes five tracks and I love them all. The opener "Everybody's Burning Effigies" starts off with some psychy space sounds and then a melodic, uplifting going takes you away. Like always, Nathan is capable to get you hooked with his simple yet very catchy melodies and ideas. I really like the instrumentation/orchestration as well. A perfect three-minute pop rock piece. "Song for the Flowers" is a bit more melancholic and even a bit eerie but totally wonderful song that makes you close your eyes and hum along with the harmonies. One of those two-chord wonders that hount you in your dreams. "Like a Setting Sun" has great finger-picked acoustic guitar, beautiful vocals, celestial orchestration and a hypnotic beat. Amazing! The EP is finished with the pretty, folky and baroque "Catacomes of Camden Town". I like the sort of philosophical, nostalgic/realistic lyrics on this one. I got to say I enjoy this brilliant EP really much and can only hope that these tracks will see a vinyl release soon. A full-lenght Nathan Hall And The Sinister Locals album seems to be just released as well, I noticed a minute ago!

Zone Six - S/T

Sulatron Records (st1708/st1708-2)

German psych/kraut/space/impro rock band Zone Six was formed almost by accident when Liquid Visions couldn't play a gig they were asked to play and bass player Dave Schmidt (later also known as Sula Bassana) formed a new band for the gig. The idea was to play long, trance-inducing space rock jams and that's what they did. Hans-Peter from Liquid Visions was playing guitar, Dave bass and ex-Liquid Visions drummer Claus the drums. The first Zone Six album was recorded at rehearsal place on 8-track and later Dave added some overdubs at his home studio. A very limited tape edition was released at the first show in September 1997. Next year female vocals were added to the recordings and the first Zone Six CD was released on Early Birds. This album was in my opinion one of the most psychedelic released in the 90s and has gained cult status ever since. To celebrate 20 years of Zone Six Dave decided to reissue the album this year. Rather than re-releasing the CD he has put out the original instrumental version that has so far been unavailable to the big public!

The album is divided into 13 individual tracks, some of which are only short interludes. My promo CD-R copy is just two, side-long tracks, so I won't even try to tell what part is going on at what time. All the music just flows continuosly for the whole one-hour-trip, so that won't be really necessary either... All you need to know is that this album will take you on a journey to some strange, multi-coloured psychedelic world and you just might never want to come back. Just close your eyes and let your mind wander in these wonderful, strange, alien soundscapes. I must say that even as I really liked the Early Birds CD version, the music does work better without the vocals. I also like the occasional dub influences and very experimental parts, so this is not only rock music. The sound quality is also just superb, especially for a 20-year-old rehearseal recording. Wonderful! What's perhaps the best thing here still is that the album is now available on vinyl for the first time ever, so vinyl freaks get you copies fast before they're sold-out! Also available on CD.

keskiviikko 18. lokakuuta 2017

Siinai - Sykli

Svart Records (SVART115)

Siinai is a Finnish electronic/ambient/space/trance/post/krautrock band that has previously released four albums, two of which in collaboration with Canadian Moonface. I wrote a review of the excellent Supermarket album three years ago. I have also been enjoying their rare live performances a lot (check out my live video at the end). Sykli is, once again, a sort of a theme album. It deals with the various cycles of life on Earth and in Space. It has a bit melancholic mood, probably due to the difficulties in life that the members have been experiencing. But I still feel it celebrates life itself with its subtle, gorgeous melodies, repetitive, hypnotic patterns and psychedelic vibes.

There are five long, instrumental pieces on the album. "Temppeli" starts off the ritual with smooth, pleasant sequencers and celestial synthesizers. Very ambient and uplifting, like Tangerine Dream for example. The melancholic "Mestari" brings in soft percussion and some ethnic vibe as well. I'm reminded of Popol Vuh and the like. The title track "Sykli" is based on Manuel Göttsching styled delay guitar work that I always love and the band has utilized before. Little by little the track grows into interstellar proportions, wow! The ultra hypnotic"Ananda" is the longest track on the album at 11:25 and the first one that really rocks out. It has a mechanic, hypnotic kraut beat á la NEU! or La Düsseldorf and pretty much stays exactly the same for the whole duration. Get entranced! The last track "Europa" begins with a bit noisy drone and slowly a motorik beat rises from the ashes. Later on the NEU! vibe gets even stronger, when we also get a simple chord progression. It really feels like it's '72-'75 in West-Germany and I'm loving it! What a great album as a whole. You can now pre-order the CD and two different, limited vinyl editions and that's what you should. The album will be out next week, and the release party will be celebrated at Kuudes Linja, Helsinki, on the 24th of November.

maanantai 16. lokakuuta 2017

Various ‎Artists – Kopf Musik

Fruits de Mer Records (crustacean 79)

This massive 3-CD-set is a dream come true for all krautrock fans with no vinyl playing option! Kopf Musik compiles together most (but not all) krautrock tracks covered by modern bands and released on vinyl by Fruits de Mer. The first CD is filled with tracks from the 2LP+7" Head Music (crustacean 36), so there are classics by Neu!, Kraftwerk, Amon Düül I, Can, Popol Vuh, Tangerine Dream etc. performed by the cream of the psych bands of today like Vibravoid,  Earthling Society, Vert:x, Dead Sea Apes etc. Frobischer Nick's Ash Ra Temple cover "Schizo" is a new mix and all the tracks sound awesome. No fillers here, I can tell you! Also loving the funny intro by krautrock legend Eroc.

 Head Music continues for the first four tracks on CD 2 with Jau Tausig's Amon Düül II cover "Surrounded By The Stars", Electric Moon's Madrigal Meridian (Tangerine Dream), Frobisher Neck Heads South By Weaving's "Silver Cloud ( La Düsseldorf) and Electric Orange's "Lied An Zons" (Arno Clauss). All very cool! The next tracks originate from the Shrunken Head Music (crustacean 43) 2 x 7" compilation that was released in 2013. Black Tempest plays TD's "Rubycon Part 1", Vespero does Faust with "J`Ai Mal Aux Dents" and Frobisher Neck performs "To Another World" by Brainticket (not exactly kraut but close). Vibravoid does wonders on Can's "Mother Sky" (new mix of a track originating from their Krautrock Sensation 7" EP) and the last three tracks are from Roqueting Through Space and DfM Annual 2013 compilations (Cranium Pie's Research Baking Station, Helicon, Frobisher Neck and Vespero doing Brainticket, Neu! x 2 and Faust). Amazing!

 The third CD here includes just three tracks but they are very long. Brainticket's "Brainticket" is perfect material for ambient/trance legend Astralasia and this version even makes you want to dance. This is also around nine minutes longer than the version previously released on Postcards from the Deep 10 x flexi 7" compilation... Ax Genrich helped out by Sunhair offers an live version of his own "Spaceship Memory" only previously available on The 14th Dream of Dr. Sardonus promo CD-R. The Bevis Frond jams for 24 minutes along with Electric Sandwich's "China". This was originally released as part of the Side Effects box set that had eight bands to perform one side-long cover each. Personallyl I never get tired of hearing Nick Saloman play solo guitar, so a lovely ending to a brilliant triple compilation. A must have for all those krautheads who missed the original releases and also a very nice (and handy) item to have even if you didn't. This was initially sold only at the Fruits de Mer gigs and festivals this Summer and Autumn but if you're lucky you can get one of the last ever copies on sale online (for non-UK customers, check out Heyday Mailorder.

torstai 12. lokakuuta 2017

Samsara Blues Experiment - One With The Universe

Electric Magic Ride (EMCD07/EMLPX)

Samsara Blues Experiment was formed in 2007 by ex-Terraplane guitarist Christian Peters. Their 2010 debut album Long Distance Trip has already gained a sort of cult status in the heavy psychedelic blues/stoner rock circles and you can expect to pay over 100€ for the original green limited edition LP. After that debut the band has released two studio albums and one live one as well as a couple of EP's. After a few years' break (while Christian was doing solo stuff as Surya Kris Peters and getting deeper into Eastern spirituality) Samsara Blues Experiment is back and they sound better than ever.

The new album released in April (yes, I'm very late again, sorry...) includes five long tracks. First we've got the long opener "Vipassana" that takes us out for a meditative flight on mystical, ancient flying machines. This track is a real trip and brings to mind 90s Finnish cult psych/prog rockers Kingston Wall although this also has some heavier parts. Excellent! "Sad Guru Returns" starts off with a spoken sample and then the heavy blues rocking begins. Some killer stoner riffs as well as more atmospheric stuff in this nice instrumental track! "Glorious Daze" is a more laid-back, slow tune that gets you into dreamy, meditative state while it grows. This has some similarities with Colour Haze as well as classic hard rock bands I guess and also some sitar and electric piano etc. Cool! The longest piece is the 15-minute title track that starts as very melancholic and instrumental. After some cool, psychedelic jamming things get more intense and there is also some vocals and then they turn then song into blues and then into groovier rocking. The album is finished with the emotional and pretty progressive "Easter Sun & Western Moon" that has some nice keyboards and organ as well. The track gets heavier along the way. This is a great ending for an amazing, powerful album that comes highly recommended. Get it on vinyl, CD or digital!

tiistai 10. lokakuuta 2017

Dj Astro's next gigs...

I'm very happy to announce that I have two cool shows to dj in Helsinki pretty soon! I will be spinning vinyl in these events at the legendary Tavastia venue:

Magma (FR) & Circle @ Tavastia, 26.10.2018

Moon Duo (US), Ghost World & UF Ojala @ Tavastia, 14.11.2018

Arc of Ascent - Realms of the Metaphysical

Astral Projection / Clostridium (AST013 / CR0000030)

Arc of Ascent from New Zealand is a sort of heavy stoner/doom metal version of Craig Williamson's cosmic, hypnotic and spiritual psych folk solo project Lamp of the Universe. This one is more like a real band though and also plays live gigs sometimes. On this new album Craig is joined by his mates Matt Cole-Parker and Mark McGeady. All the songs are written and produced by Craig. This is the band's third album and probably the best so far.

Most of the six songs are slow, hypnotic and heavy. "Set The Planets Free" starts up the ceremony. As is typical for Arc of Ascent, there are crushingly heavy, repetative riffs but also enough melody, variation and psychedelic elements to keep things interesting. I really prefer melodic vocals to creepy crawls or screaming also in doom metal context and Craig is not only a killer player but also an excellent singer for this kind of stuff. Anyway, the opener has a strong Black Sabbath vibe and I like it a lot. "Eye of the Sages" sounds like some of the traditional doom metal bands like Candlemass and has quite a lot of solo guitar work as well. Cool! "Haxagram" is closer to stoner rock and even reminds me of Loop. A bit more psychedelic vibes on this one, great! "In the Light" is another heavy and dark traditional doom track and has some killer riffs and hounting keyboards as well. My favourite still probably is the album's shortest track "Benediction Moon", you just can't stop headbanging to this one! Craig took out his beloved sitar for the last, long track "Temple Stone", but the more laid-back intro soon gives room for some Reverend Bizarre styled heavy pounding. The sitar makes a slight come back in the middle and then things get really heavy again. At the end the track gets some organ sounds and slowly and emotionally dies away little by little. What a great ending to a superb album! Craig has released the album on CD on his own Astral Projection label and there are three different, limited vinyl editions on the amazing Clostrudium. Recommended! 

sunnuntai 8. lokakuuta 2017

Sidewalk Society - Strange Roads: The Songs of Rolled Gold

Fruits de Mer Records (crustacean 81)

Sidewalk Society is a power pop trio from Long Beach, California. They seem to be somewhat obessessed with 60s freakbeat/mod/psych rock which sort of explains this album. On Strange Roads: The Songs of Rolled Gold the band covers tracks by 60s UK mod/soul/pop/garage rock band The Action. The twist here is that these tracks are not their big hits but sort of "lost songs" recorded in 1967-68 as demos only and not released until the mid 90s. Sidewalk Society used their imagination as to what these great tunes might have been like if they would have been fully developed and I bet they had lots of fun in the process.

Now, I got to confess I've not heard the original The Action demos but what Sidewalk Society has done with these songs is just marvellous. I tend to prefer the up-beat, energetic psych pop tracks like "Love Is" but all the 14 songs sound fantastic. There are lots of excellent melodies and harmonies and some of the tracks also are more orchestrated (just check out "Things You Cannot See" for example). This is not really that psychedelic or mind-expanding but wonderful, melodic and catchy music that makes you feel good and (mostly) happy. Sidewalk Society have done a great job and I really dig their playing and singing too. Get this golden coloured vinyl album if you like 60s mod stuff with excellent, modern production!

keskiviikko 4. lokakuuta 2017

Hotlist September

These were the hottest slabs of wax for me last month:

Domboshawa - Minds Electrix
Vibravoid ‎– A Night At The Museum
Manilla Road ‎– To Kill A King
Earthless ‎– Live At The Freak Valley 2015
Gnod ‎– Live At Roadburn 2012
Lord Vicar ‎– Gates of Flesh
Dungen ‎– Häxan (Versions By Prins Thomas)
Albinö Rhino - Riff Religion 12"
Karakorum - Beteigeuze
White Hills ‎– Pulse 7"  


tiistai 3. lokakuuta 2017

Øresund Space Collective ‎– Hallucinations Inside the Oracle

Space Rock Productions (SPR045)

Although Øresund Space Collective mastermind Dr. Space has relocated to a remote, higher plane location in the universe the Danish/Swedish psychedelic space rock collective seems to still keep themselves busy. Over 50 musicians have played in this band since its inception in 2004. This 80-minute CD / 2LP was recorded almost a year ago at the Black Tornado Studio in Copenhagen. Hallucinations Inside the Oracle features just half of the members that played on the Different Creatures, Ode to a Black Hole and Visions of.... albums and has a sort of different aura to the other releases. I'm not saying the other albums are all similar, of course, but this still has a vibe of its own. It has more sitar and violin than ever, and is pretty laid-back, deep, spaced-out and spiritual.

There are only three tracks on the album. The longest, last piece "The Oracle" has been of course edited into two parts for the second LP. Side A is filled with "Reflections in the Minds Eye". The listener is immediately transported into some otherwordly, Eastern-tingled magical place. Sitar is the main isntruments as the synths and guitars create the backing drone and cool ethnic percussion the heart beat. Later on we also get some cool, slow lead guitar work. The very end is super spacey. Amazing and very hypnotic! B-side's "ESP (Extreme Spatial Perspective)" is more electronic, heavier and up-beat in nature. The beginning brings to mind some of the faster tracks by Eloy or Hawkwind which is great. This is what space rock should feel like! Before six minutes on the journey the track cools down and we get some cool jamming and very trippy atmospheres. Things get heavier and more intense again towards the end. In the end there is just that pulsating sequence again. Another killer OSC space jam for sure! The last, monstrously long (well, over 40 minutes!) "The Oracle" starts off with a synth drone, and then the sitar makes a mighty return. There is also some very nice violin and the track slowly builds up when the drums join in slowly. Things get a bit weird and loose at one point, and then there is more form and direction again and we get some guitar as well. Later on there is also some more rocking, majestic modes that I enjoy very much. The chilled-out, spacey ending has again some great violin that brings to mind Simon House. What a nice trip this is!

The CD comes in 8-panel digipack and is limited to 500 copies. The 2LP has two editions: black vinyl limited to 200 and coloured one limited to 300. The artwork by Ed Unitsky is just brilliant! The release date is October the 11th and you can preorder from the band's Bandcamp site for example. Highly recommended!

perjantai 29. syyskuuta 2017

Karakorum - Beteigeuze

Tonzonen Records (TON027)

It always warms my heart to find young guys playing early 70s styled progressive rock and when they do it well I'm in love. This German-based quintet called Karakorum can handle it! Looking at the great cover art by Dale Simpson you might expect something really psychedelic and trippy, but the three parts of Beteigeuze are much closer to the original prog giants like Gentle Giant, Genesis, King Crimson, Yes etc. I think this has much more UK than kraut flavours. Of course there are some mind-blowing elements in there as well.

All the five guys are singing and they are much better than your average prog youngsters these days. The instrumentation includes guitars, bass, drums, organ, electric piano & synth etc. so nothing new there but that's enough to make an old-school prog album. I'm not going to go through all the three parts here minute by minute. Let's just say that there are lots of different stuff in there: emotional, pretty, heavy, progressive, demanding, trippy, experimental and funny. Yes, even funny, and on purpose. These guys are great musicians and have open, adventurous minds so almost anything can and will happen. If you prefer short, simple pop songs or hypnotic, repetative beats this is not for you but if you are a fan of '69-'74 era classic progessive rock I recommend you check this debut album out. The cool looking orange-black marbled vinyl is limited to 500 copies and comes in very nice open gatefold including an inlay. Also available on CD.

maanantai 25. syyskuuta 2017

Anton Barbeau - Heaven Is in Your Mind EP

Regal Crabomophone (Winkle 28)

I've been following Ant's career since his King of Missouri album on Woronzow in 2002 (and I think I've said it everytime reviewing his stuff for some strange reason). Anyway, this psychedelic indie rock musician originally from California mostly lives in Germany now and makes music with some helping hand from others. He's got one of those unique voices that you immediately recognize and also a good taste in music. You can check out my review of his latest (at least 12th?) album Magic Act (2016) over here.

Anyway, this is his second 7" EP on Regal Crabomophone and offers three great cover songs and one previously unreleased original. Traffic's 1967 psych classic "Heaven Is in Your Mind" starts the EP and I'm in heaven not really knowing where my mind is. This has enough elements from the original but also a certain modern touch to make it sound really interesting and valid somehow. Great! I would be very scared to put my own song to an EP along with three more or less famous songs but Anton's "Secretion of Water" stands out on its own among the other jewels. A rather laid-back, melodic and emotional song with just enough mind-blowing elements. I'm not sure if I have even ever heard Big Star's "September Curls" but I guess I should. At least this little power pop tune works out well performed by Mr. Barbeau. Then things get a bit more rocking with an interesting version of David Bowie's "Scary Monsters". Very effective, even the programmed drums. Another nice and cool release by Anton, still available from Fruits de Mer and some retailers!

Vibravoid - Mushroom Mantras

Stoned Karma Records (SK011)

Vibravoid from Düsseldorf, Germany has been one of my favourite psychedelic artists since they released their debut album 2001 at the dawn of the new millenium. Getting inspiration from the best mind-blowing music and magic potions in history the band now also uses ancient Hindu mantras on a couple of tracks to get an extra kick to their super groovy,  ultra-dimentional soundscapes. This time there are no covers of 60s masterpieces but only original, very high quality material. All the songs are also previously unreleased, not like on the previous album Wake Up Before You Die released just ten months ago. This is super great for a fan-boy like me, especially since all the new material is highly potent and mega-trippy!

"Om Gang Ganpataye Namah" starts off the celebrations of the Elysian fields. This is an instant, groovy mushroom hit song I tell you! "You will find if you just look around..." One of the best tracks the band has ever produced! "The Legend of Dr. Robert" tells a story of a bit different doctor but at least his patients saw the world very differently after treatment! Another killer fuzz psych rock classic is born. "Echoes of Time" is even fuzzier, rawer hard psych number that rocks like hell and, like the previous songs, also has a catchy chorus. There's also a spacey interlude. Excellent! The up-beat hit cavalcade just continues with the little bit shorter, groovy Indian styled "Sarveshaam Svastir Bhavatu" and "Apollo69" gets the space rock gear on. After five such brain-frying psych rock monsters your mind really is in need of a chill-out and the beautiful "Purple Pepper" offers just that. Nice. I can't believe this was just the A-side of the LP so far! So much great stuff in there.

The B-side is filled with the 20-minute "The Orange Goat" that at first has field-recordings like bird-song, more sitar and loads of other droney soundscapes and hypnotic, repetative mantras. After the three-minute-marker the track starts to take more form and what a pretty, dreamy and mellow that form is! Just close your eyes, relax and let your mind wander is all those marvellous places. Amazing! The CD version of this total mind-blower of an album also includes older (1992!) bonus tracks "Krautfactor I-III" and they are weird, ambient alien transmissions from a far away galaxy. You've been warned. You can pre-order the album from the Stoned Karma Records website right away so why wait until it's sold out? Be a cool cat and get the limited vinyl release with sweet bonus stuff!

tiistai 19. syyskuuta 2017

Unta.Kauan Viisi @ TVO, Turku, Finland, 22.-23.9.2017

Welcome to Turku this weekend! Unta.Kauan Viisi is the fifth incarnation of this cool doom/stoner/psychedelic/occult/metal festival organized in Turku, Finland. In addition to the great bands Dj Astro from Astral Zone will spin discs on both nights. You can check out the Facebook event and get more information about the bands over here, the timetables are below for Friday (perjantai) and Saturday (lauantai). Should be a lot of fun!

Get your tickets in advance or at the door.

tiistai 12. syyskuuta 2017

Cosmic Ground - Live

Adansonia Records (ar017)

This 2LP is the first live release by Electric Orange's Dirk Jan Müller's old Berlin-school styled kosmische electronic/ambient project Cosmic Ground. In the spirit of Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Temple Dirk creates amazing sonic landscapes with mostly old synthesizers and sequencers and before this he has released four studio albums and one 12" EP. Live was performed and improvised in late 2016 at two festivals in Netherlands and Germany and in addition to Dirk (Modular Systems, Mellotron, Roland RS-202, Roland System 1, Nord Wave/Electro) it also features guest Horst “Sunhair“ Porkert (Roland SH-101, Moog Sub-37, Minikorg, Effects) who has also released the album on CD on his Sunhair Records.

There are four side-long tracks on the album plus a fifth download bonus track. "Dark Enck" and "Cairo Grind" are both mostly based on pulsating, hypnotic mid-70s Tangerine Dream styled sequencers but there are also lots of other cool effects and synth layers. It's hard to imagine that these tracks were improvised live since they sound so cool and great! "Unground I" is more ambient, dreamy drone until the sequencers take over in the middle and things get more active. "Unground II" stays droney all the way and has some darker vibes as well. The bonus track "Anomaly" is slightly shorter (at 16:54!) and has more sequencers again. Not bad at all! It's great that this kind of music is still played live at this time and age, must have been quite an experience especially with Kosmic Klaus and his Solar Slide Show! There are two limited vinyl editions of this album you can choose from if you hurry up... Warmly recommended!

sunnuntai 10. syyskuuta 2017

Dj Astro playlist, Tavastia, Helsinki, 9.9.2017 (The Black Angels + A Place to Bury Strangers)

Wow, what a great night! First time I saw both of these great bands. I've been a big fan of The Black Angels for years but A Place to Bury Strangers was a really cool experience as well. This is what I played:

Scott McKenzie - San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers In Your Hair)
Amboy Dukes - Journey to the Center of Your Mind
Strawberry Alarm Clock - Incense and Peppermints
Cream - White Room
The Doors - Light My Fire
The Beatles - Strawberry Fields Forever
Aphrodite's Child - Magic Mirror
Hawkwind - Silver Machine
The Electric Prunes - I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Traffic - Hole in My Shoe
The Lemon Pipers - Green Tambourine
The Moody Blues - Ride My See-Saw
Blue Öyster Cult - Don't Fear the Reaper
Can - Spoon
Deep Purple - Listen, Learn, Read On
The Rattles - The Witch
Kaleidoscope - Black Fjord
The Byrds - Eight Miles High
The Seeds - Pushin Too Hard
The Zombies - Time of the Season
Kim Fowley - The Trip
Roky Erickson And The Aliens - Bloody Hammer
Zager & Evans - In the Year 2525
Jefferson Airplane - Somebody to Love
HP Lovecraft - The White Ship
3rd Bardo - I'm Five Years Ahead of My Time
Iggy and The Stooges - Search and Destroy
David Bowie - Heroes
Groop - Voodoo Sitar
Baby Woodrose - Countdown to Breakdown
Dungen - Panda
Jacco Gardner - Find Yourself
Steve Hillage - Saucer Surfing
Kula Shaker - Tattva
Hashish - Outer Spaced
Aphrodite's Child - I Want to Live
The Doors - People Are Strange

A Place to Bury Strangers (pic by Jari Flink)

A Place to Bury Strangers (pic by Jari Flink)
A Place to Bury Strangers (pic by Jari Flink)

A Place to Bury Strangers (pic by Jari Flink)

A Place to Bury Strangers (pic by Jari Flink)

The Black Angels (pic by Jari Flink)
The Black Angels (pic by Jari Flink)

The Black Angels (pic by Jari Flink)
The Black Angels (pic by Jari Flink)

The Black Angels (pic by Jari Flink)

lauantai 9. syyskuuta 2017

The Sonic Shamen - Tribute to Lemmy

Space Rock Productions (SRP044)

The Sonic Shamen is what you really could call a space rock super group. The mastermind behind this project is Dr. Space, the synthesizer wizard from free-form space/psych jam group Øresund Space Collective. He invited some members of the cream of the current space rock movement (ØSC, Litmus, Earthling Society, Red Electra) to jam and record at Dave Anderson's (ex-Amon Düül II, ex-Hawkwind, ex-Groundhogs) legendary Foel Studios in rural Wales and the results are totally amazing. It was unevitable that also Dave himself would join in the sessions, so this beautiful 2LP comes with a bonus CD including a 75-minute jam session with him on bass!

The 2LP includes five longs tracks. First we've got the closer to 18-minute-long "7 Or 7 or Not". As you might have guessed, it has a bit similar vibe to Hawkwind's classic "Seven by Seven", first released as a B-side to the hit single "Silver Machine". It has a cool chord progression, psychedelic space sounds and lots of guitar solos and like the rest of the album, no vocals. It's weird how fast 17 minutes and 44 seconds go past by while you're floating in space with this one! I love it. "Sam's Gopal" is of course a reference to Sam Gopal with whom Lemmy Kilmister played guitar and sung in the late 60's. This track is very ambient and spacey in nature and has no drums and really gets you high. "Freaky R'nR" is in total contrast and rocks out hard and heavy. Very cool! This is the album's shortest track at 7:13. "Ravi in Space" is an Eastern-tinged, long mind-journey that really allows you to sit back, take off your shoes and relax. The track grows in a wonderful way along the way and takes you to unbelieveable places. Finally, we have the albums longest piece "Stoned Dead Your Clever" that has a much darker, heavy and intense vibe and lots of great stuff in it. Sometimes I'm a bit reminded of "Interstellar Overdrive" by Pink Floyd... Wow! If this was not enough to freak you out of your mind you can always put on the wonderful bonus CD and enjoy the trippy 75-minute jam with Dave Anderson on board the space ship... I hope this one gets a vinyl treatment on its own one of these days! I also hope that there are more recordings from these sessions to be releaed in the future since this is just mind-blowing stuff.

The Fellowship of Hallucinatory Voyagers - This Is No Wilderness

The Fellowship of Hallucinatory Voyagers - This Is No Wilderness is the first solo album by Sendelica guitar wizard Peter Bingham. If you are familiar with Sendelica's more ambient, atmospheric side you sort of know what to expect but this is probably even more emotional and peaceful stuff. Pete has been been aided by Astralasia's Marc Swordfish, Sendelica associates Lee Relfe (sax), Colin Consterdine (synths, drum programming) and Virginia Tate, Lisa Edwards as well as poet Lindsay Smith. The album that will be released at the end of October will be available on various very limited  formats some of which are already sold out on pre-order. The CD box set and LP gift set also include Lindsay Smith's poetry book The Fellowship of Hallucinatory Voyagers - This Is No Wilderness.

"Moonlit Moorings" begins with bird-song that is joined by slow, melancholic strings and a little bit of Lindsay's poetry reading. The track stays very minimal and tranquil all the way and soothes your very soul. "Yr Mor-Forwyn" follows the same path emotionally but also includes guitar and synthesizers. Nice ambient drone. "Lindsay's Yellow House" has more melody, beautiful sax and again some bird-song. Another soothing, cinematic ambient mind-excursion. Starting off with some sounds of thunder, "The Persistant Rower" has a bit more going on with programmed drums and some psych sounds for example. Still rather ambient in nature. "Taith Yr Afon Teifi" is the longest track at 16:10 and has again programmed drums and lots of cool guitar sooloing by Pete as well as hypnotic sequencers. This has a bit of Astralasia vibe I think which is great. All in all, if you enjoy atmospheric, ambient soundscapes done with style and emotion you should really check this out. No hard rocking on this one, just floating and vibing. Can't wait to have the actual vinyl on my record player and the book in my hands! Chill-out bliss.

sunnuntai 3. syyskuuta 2017

Sula Bassana - The Ape Regards His Tail - Original Soundtrack

Sulatron Records (st 1705)

We Sula Bassana fans are of course familiar with his more atmospheric, ambient side with several albums in this style being released since 2003's Sulatronics CD-R. I have also always thought that his soundscapes are so visionary and cinematic that they would fit perfectly for a cool sci-fi movie or something. The Ape Regards His Tail still actually is Dave Schmidt's first soundtrack album and the music was written for a movie by the same name made by Michael Yates. These eight instrumental tracks form a very cosmic, hypnotic, rather minimal arch made with synthesizers, string-ensambles, Mellotron, organ, electric guitar and electric piano. I've only seen the trailer of the actual movie, but it might be available somewhere over the internet. It really seems interesting!

Okay, but back to the soundtrack album. It starts off with the very mellow "Beginning", "Dreams" and bit darker "Rocks". The longer "Desert" also includes delay-guitar to give some more texture. Really nice and spaced-out, it makes you feel like you're hallucinating in a wast desert all by yourself! "The Sand Waves" trusts more on old sequencers and has a very cool, trippy Tangerine Dream kind of cosmic vibe. One of my favourites for sure! After "Rocks 2" we've got the albums longest track "Water" and boy aren't we thirsty by now... This is soothing but still somehow menacing and dark track. I love the very effective, melancholic Mellotron harmonies towards the end. A masterpiece! The album is suitably finished with the nice little electronic piece "Ending" that offers a flash of hope, maybe. This is an album to listen to on good headphones in a dark place with your eyes closed for sure. Magnificent! Only available on CD at this point, but there will be a 2LP version on Pancromatic during this Winter. Check it out!

tiistai 29. elokuuta 2017

Hotlist August

These are the top ten records I've been enjoying the most this month (apart from purchasing a lot 60s/70s psych 7"s lately) :

Kikagaku Moyo ‎– Stone Garden
Giöbia - Live Freak
Here Lies Man - S/T
Earthling Society ‎– Ascent To Godhead / Crooked Under Moonlight
Kungens Män ‎– Dag & Natt
Cosmic Ground ‎– Live
Cosmic Ground ‎– III
Kingston Wall - Live at Tavastia
Fuchsia ‎– Song double 7"
Anton Barbeau ‎– Heaven Is In Your Mind 7" 

sunnuntai 27. elokuuta 2017

Nazca Space Fox - S/T

Tonzonen Records (TON029/TON029CD)
Nazca Space Fox is a new German instrumental trio playing atmospheric post/stoner/psych rock. This brand-new LP/CD is apparently their first release and very well played, recorded and produced. In addition to electric guitar, bass and drums their sonic palette also includes occasional keyboards. There is a lot of dynamics and life in their music and the vibe also changes. I don't find their music highly psychedelic, spacey or mind-expanding, but there is that element in there as well. The band still trusts more on honest, good old power-trio playing than trippy tricks which is okay. Not every band has to be from another galaxy or something!
The album starts off with the almost 15-minute post-rock masterpiece "Weltraumorgel" that also has cool keyboard layers to add to the bit melancholic moods. Very nice and time just flies when you listen to this track! The shorter, groovy "The Monkey" is closer to stoner rock and has a happier vibe. "Orchid Coffee" is a beautiful piece that brings to mind some of the Colour Haze stuff. Getting pretty heavy and rocking towards the end... Great! "Isolator" is the second long track of the album and has a nice, emotional flow and groove with some heavier stuff in the middle. Nice! The shortest piece on the album is "Firebird" at 3:38 and it's a rather cool, melodic stoner rock number. The LP version (250 copies on blue and 250 on clear vinyl) ends with the long, adventurous and atmospheric "Mindwalk" that is definitely one of the best tracks. Beautiful, peaceful mode grows into a gorgeous guitar attacks and heavy boogie jamming. If you've got the CD version you can still enjoy the bonus track "5 Plus" that also works out really well somewhere in between heavy stoner and post-rock. This is a successful debut album in all aspects, check it out!

keskiviikko 23. elokuuta 2017

Killflavour - Forest Mirror

Barhill Records (BHR 001)

Killflavour is a German underground psych/post/alternative rock band formed in 1995. I have previously reviewed one of their three CD's but that was many, many years ago I think. Forest Mirror is their latest album after seven years of no releases and it is a great one. The album has a dark, experimental, hypnotic and hallucinatory vibe and the four tracks are very much based on improvisation. This is how they describe their music: "our music is free from rules, hierarchies, structures, constraints and full of spirit and ghosts". They use a lot of synthesizers, samples, organ, bass, guitar, drums, percussion etc. and the singer's output ranges in between whispers, animal noises and rather "very spaced-out Jim Morrison-like" vocals.

The opener "In, But Not of This World" builds up slowly creating an eerie, somehow animal, close to nature feeling. You get the sense of being deep in a magical forest or something. When the minimal, slow beat and psychedelic guitars begins, I'm reminded of Dead Can Dance. The track is instrumental apart from some ritualistic, shamanistic chanting. I'm spellbound for 11 minutes! "Shifting Paradigms" is the album's shortest track at 4:10. Here the singer channels Morrison from beyond the grave, another slow, hypnotic and dark piece. "Hiding Nature" continues the slow, mesmerising style with cool lyrics and sound effects along with a rather primitive beat. I love the synthesizers later on. For the drone rock fans, I guess. The B-side of the album is filled with the over 20-minute "Word as Shape" that has some spoken samples at the beginning. This is an atmospheric, more post-rock styled track that also has a bit more melody. The track gets heavier, more intense and sort of krautrock-like towards the end. A very nice instrumental (apart from a few quiet human voice lines now and then)!  I really like this album since it has some amazing moods and a pretty unique, psychedelic vibe. For lovers of dark, experimental and psychedelic music with lots of deep and weird vibes. The album is available on vinyl limited to 300 copies with a very cool open gatefold cover and you can also buy a digital download from their Bandcamp site.

tiistai 22. elokuuta 2017

Da Captain Trips - Adventures in the Upsidedown

Phonosphera Records / VE Recordings (ph 11 / VELP017)

I reviewed the 2013 debut full-length album by this great Italian instrumental psychedelic space/prog rock band in early 2014 (check it out over here) and liked it a lot. In the mean time the band has re-released their first digital only EP on vinyl with bonus tracks, done an excellent split LP with the almighty Sendelica and also released a live album on the German Sunhair Music. Like all the above, this new album is a limited release and available on CD and LP with totally different artwork. The line-up features Cavitos: guitar, Peppo: bass, Tommy: drums and percussion and Bachis: synth & keyboards and bass on "Mother Earth". there are also a few guests like Lee Relfe the saxophone player of Sendelica which is great.

The album includes seven tracks. "The Calm and the Storm" starts off things in a laid-back, atmospheric manner creating a cool mood although it starts to rock/boogie out a bit after a couple of minutes. Nice opener! The galloping "Manta" has cool delay guitar work and keyboards and brings to mind bands like Monkey 3 without getting that heavy. Lots of guitar solos on this one. "Revelation" is slower and more mystical with a little bit of  Eastern vibe, lovely! I like the melodies and Lee's sax is spot-on too. "Dear Zahdia" begins as a melancholic ballad but turns into a rocking space rock orgy with space sounds, wow! "Trepasses Bay" is a beautiful, atmospheric track that comes close to some of the post-rock bands. "Peaceful Place" somehow brings to mind Colour Haze before it gets more electronic and hypnotic after the middle. The last track is the album's longest piece "Mother Earth" and it is peaceful, acoustic stuff before it starts to kick ass towards the end. All in all, this is great, honest album without too many overdubs but a lot of emotion and soul. Check it out!

lauantai 19. elokuuta 2017

Kungens Män - Dag & Natt

Adansonia Records (AR019)

Kungens Män from Sweden have already stabilized their place in the hearts and minds of underground psych rock fans and this new studio double album will for sure make them even more loved. Their music might not appeal to you right away because their long jams just need time to get your full attention and understanding, but when you get it you will be in love. This time the tracks are a bit shorter (well, relatively speaking...) and over 3 minutes to almost 14 minutes in length. As the tittle  (Day and Night) suggests, the album takes the listener through one day and night starting from the lazy and still half sleepy "Morgonrodnad" in the morning and ending the circle with "Circeln Är Slut" at the end of the night.

The improvised and highly psychedelic music is still mostly instrumental, but we do get some occasional human voice as well. Some of the tracks like "Dag", "Samtidigt", "Aftonstjärnan" and "Vargtimmen" have a more energetic, krautrock-like beat, but usually the band stays rather chilled out and relaxed. The saxophone gives a nice, jazzy extra layer to the sonic palette, and the whole album has a very cool, dreamy atmosphere. The two guitar players are usually the ones that I tend to keep focused on, but that's just because the rhythm section plays like one seamless unit and the synths are mostly just to create nice, floating vibes. For example on the hazy "Natt" the saxophone player gets more attention. On "Månen Tur och Retur" the band gets heavier and more intense than usual and I like that too. They also show a bit groovier side on "Ett Tappad Perspektiv" that also has weird experimental edge and a wild solo guitar part. The shortest piece "Mara" is an odd experimental ambient piece with drum machine by the synth player. All in all, another masterpiece by this great band that you really should check out in peace if you haven't already. I can also confirm that Adansonia have yet again delivered a really cool package with extras for the 2LP version... Artwork is by the band's bass player like usual. Amazing!

perjantai 4. elokuuta 2017

Astral Visions Show #75 online @ Mixcloud!

Oh yeah baby, check out my groovy and spacey (etc...) show at:


  • 1 Quant Um (from Homo Fractaliens) by Cosmic Trickers
  • 2 Dancing In Flames (from Summer Loop) by Radiation Flowers
  • 3 Evil In The Tree (from Evil In The Tree 7") by The Oscillation
  • 4 7 or 7 or Not (from Tribute to Lemmy) by The Sonic Shamen
  • 5 Comanche Moon (from Death Song) by The Black Angels
  • 6 Entrada (from Obsidion) by Barrows
  • 7 Atom Heart MF (from HAwkeyes / Radiation Flowers split) by Hawkeyes
  • 8 Bone And Rock (from Time Machine 1992-2017) by Electric Orange
  • 9 Manta (from Adventures In The Upsidedown) by Da Captain Trips
  • 10 Aftonstjärnan (from Dag & Natt) by Kungens Män
  • 11 Hiding Nature? (from Forest Mirror) by Killflavour
  • 12 Armageddon Speed (from Atomic Oblivion) by Steel Mammoth
  • 13 Dripping (from Harbor) by Undone
  • 14 Dark Peace (from Forbidden Fruit) by The Striped Bananas
  • 15 Last Night of the Rarite (from S/T) by Hooffoot