Listen to Astral Visions Podcast

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

maanantai 31. heinäkuuta 2017

Fuchsia - Song 2 x 7" EP

Fruits de Mer Records (crustacean 80)

I bet most of my readers are familiar with early 70's folk/prog/psych group Fuchsia who only released one cult album at the time in 1971. This wonderful double 7" EP in open gatefold cover celebrates 50 years of recordings by Fuchsia's Tony Durant. Tony is still active recording new albums and playing live and is coming to play at Fruits de Mer's 15th Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival in Wales this week!

The EP progresses in chronological order starting from 1967 when Tony did a demo with Louise. "Look at the Sun" is a hard-hitting psych/freakbeat tune with great melodies and does not sound that bad for a 50-year-old acetate. I like it! Then we get an early demo version of the Fuchsia song "The Band" that would later be recorded with the Swedish band Me and My Kites in 2013. Lovely! On the B side we'll get a long classic track from the Fuchsia album: "The Nothing Song" and this is a really unique, progressive masterpiece. Tony's comeback album Fuchsia – II From Psychedelia... ...To A Distant Place was released in 2013 and from that album there are two real treats: the beautiful "Piper at the Gates of Time" and the perky "Fuchsia Song", both in every way as good as the early struff also including folky/orchestrated strings like before. Also Tony's personal vocals sound exactly the same! The last side is saved for two brand-new tracks that will be on the third Fuchsia album released very soon. "Box of Destiny" is a melancholic up-beat pop song with a wonderful, nostalgic vibe and the three-minute "Just Another Song" a slow, a bit country-styled folk rock number. It's amazing how these brilliant tracks spanning the last fifty years work together so well! What a great release.

Barrows - Obsidion

Tonzonen Records (TON028)

I had never heard of Barrows from Los Angeles until this three-sided vinyl LP arrived from the Tonzonen HQ. I'm very happy to get to know them now as they have just released their third album since I'm really digging what they are doing. As their Bandcamp site tells us, the album "...depicts the experience of a man who is abducted from earth and brought to ​​​​"Obsidion", a place where dimension is indefinable and the boundaries of human consciousness cease to exist". I can easly get that image while listening to the band's psychedelic, hypnotic, atmospheric and instrumental adventures.

The album starts off with the strange, spacey and ambient intro called "Telekin" and suddenly the band jumps into motorik, hard-driving kraut/space rock mode for the marvellous "Entrada". Any fan of the genre will be immediately enchanted! The last two minutes are quiet, atmospheric soundscapes. One of my favourites already. The over ten-minute, slowly building title track "Obsidion" is maybe closer to post rock but has a weird, experimental edge. Nice! The B side is filled with the monstrous, sci-fidelic "Cacoon" that has a scarey intro and then gets into groovy, hypnotic psych rocking. This stuff reminds me of Lumerians, Giöbia, Vibravoid and a few others, just to give you an idea. After a very cinematic middle part the track starts to rock out very fast and we get some nice soloing as well. I guess the alien is out of its cacoon by now, phew! Amazing. On side C we've got the shorter ambient piece "Manna" and the longer, bautiful and melodic "Zenith" that sounds a bit like some of the more adventurous post-rock bands. The going gets pretty powerful at times and this is a very nice ending for a great, varied album. Go and get it!

torstai 27. heinäkuuta 2017

Hotlist July

These are the albums I've been ejoying the most this month:

Roger Waters ‎– Is This The Life We Really Want?
Circle ‎– Terminal
Lamp of the Universe / Kanoi ‎– Split
The Space Spectrum ‎– Drone Jams Vol II
Cosmic Trickers - Homo Fraktaliens
The Black Angels ‎– Death Song
Electric Orange ‎– Time Machine 1992-2017
Eloy ‎– Reincarnation On Stage
The Radiation Flowers ‎– Summer Loop
Hawkeyes / The Radiation Flowers ‎– S/T 


tiistai 18. heinäkuuta 2017

Cosmic Triggers - Homo Fractaliens

Adansonia Records (AR018)

Mother Russia keeps on giving birth to great psych bands, just check out Polska Radio One, Cosmic Letdown or Maatlander for example. Cosmic Triggers from Saint Petersburg is the latest addition to the ultra spacey, tripped-out and cosmic psych rock family and this is their first album. Homo Fractaliens has just seen a limited vinyl release on the superb Adansonia Records that has introduced people to stellar bands like Kungen's Män and Fungal Abyss.  Cosmic Triggers is formed by Anastasia Skabelkin (vocals & analog synth), Vladimir Skabelkin (guitar, ethnic, synth), Vladimir Kolbin (guitar), Russel Petrov (drums) and Tagir Khisamov (bass) and I have a feeling that these cosmonauts are going far and high.

The LP starts off with the laid-back, slow and droney "Introduction" where the band jams in relaxed mood while Anastasia gives brief cosmic messages.  After three-and-a-half minutes the title track rocks a bit more in a groovy, very cool style taking you deeper into space. Before the two-minute-marker the track turns into a reggae/dub styled jams that goes on for another five minutes tripping you out. "Undermind" is a nine-minute, hyper cosmic ambient piece that is perfect for the soundtrack of your favourite psychedelic trip. I love the ethnic/tribal, very spaced-out vibe on this one. Later on some percussion is added. I can imagine some ancient cave paintings being made my shamen with this music on... Wow! The mysterious "Syndicate" is more rock oriented stuff again and brings to mind the hazy, mescalin-fuelled soundscapes by Liquid Sound Company. This is very deep stuff and puts you in a trance! "Quant Um" is the only little faster number and comes closer to krautrock, Vibravoid or Hawkwind. My only complaint is that it is a bit short, but I guess you could say the length is just perfect at 4:20. The album is finished with a loose space jam called "Shutsuryoku" that keeps you lingering on in zero gravity for another six minutes. I got to say that Cosmic Triggers is one of the best and most interesting bands that I've encountered this year and I really advice you to receive their cosmic transmission. Amazing stuff!

lauantai 1. heinäkuuta 2017

Electric Moon - Stardust Rituals

Sulatron Records (ST 1703-2)

With Stardust Rituals Germany's Electric Moon must have created their best ever release so far. The trio of Sula Bassana (guitars, e-sitar, mellotron, organ, e-piano, effects), Komet Lulu (bass, bass synth, vocals, space echo, effects & Marcus (drums) give us all you might expect from an Electric Moon album and more. It seems like a bit more planned/written album than before, although there's still room for the heavy and mind-blowing space jams as well. I also like the fact that Lulu is singing on most of the tracks.

The eight-minute "Loop" starts off in a beutiful way with organ and soft guitar. Soon the rhythm section joins in and then Lulu's very spacey and cool vocals (think of Brainticket or something) are added to a great effect. Wonderful! After some laid-back lead guitar work the track gets more intense and hypnotic and really starts to rock in space. Wow! One of their best tracks for sure, I hope they also play this live. "Stardust (The Picture)" is a heavy, repetitive and hypnotic track that also has nice vocals from Lulu, this time not so manipulated. Some cool jamming, psychedelic space sounds and mind-blowing guitar soloing on this one. We are all stardust. We're made of the Sun. We're all made of stars. That's why we're one. That's the message for you all! Ten minutes goes past fine with just one simple riff when you are trippy as hell. "Astral Hitch Hike" is the only shorter track on the album at 4:44. This is a peaceful, emotional and touching piece with nice electric sitar to give it an Eastern icing. Mellotron adds its own dimension and this truelly is a blissful journey. The albums longest track is the almost 23-minute "(You Will) Live Forever Now" the begins in a very laid-back, sleepy manner but slowly grows into a full-blown heavy space rock mind fuck. Some sitar and quiet vocals in this one as well. Here the band gets rather metaphysical and spiritual even... The ending just blows my mind... Excellent!

The first blue marbled edition of the LP version is already sold out but the second pressing is available as well as the CD version. I must also add that the cover art on both the vinyl and CD editions is phenomenal and suits perfectly the mystical, majestetic mood of the amazing music. Maybe my favourite album in 2017 so far! I'm really looking forward to see Electric Moon live again later this month, and the first time in Finland! Welcome space cadets, we love you. Finnish freaks, make sure you make it to Tampere on 14.7. or Oulu on the following day, you won't be dissappointed.

torstai 29. kesäkuuta 2017

Lamp of the Universe / Kanoi - Split LP

Clostridium Records (CR029)

Germany's Clostridium Records keep on pushing great psychedelic sounds for the cosmically oriented masses. Well, quite small masses in fact since all their high quality releases are strictly limited editions. Lamp of the Universe has been one my favourite trippy, spacey and spiritual psych folk acts since the beginning and I'm always excited about Craig Williamson's new musical adventures. This guy from New Zealand has the ability to transport the listener into a mystical, metaphysical plane with his beautiful, hypnotic and mind-blowing music. Kanoi is a pretty new one-man-band from Austria whose progress into the heart of the psychedelia I've been following for some time now and I've got to say he has now definitely found the way.

This time LOTU offers us four a bit shorter (relatively speaking...) tracks, two of them being just little instrumental meditations. All four tracks were performed in a drug entranced search for the god YHWY and I feel the god was found or at least glimpses were seen. The two-minute "In the Beginning" starts the spiritual journey in a smooth, Eastern-tinged way. Slowly we are taken further with the mystical, dreamy and peaceful "The Cosmic Body Track". Amazing! After that the creator of the cosmos, "Father" is slowly introduced to us mere mortals. This track is a bit heavier with more fuzzy electric guitar and drums but still very dreamy and trippy and extremely cosmic. Human voice is only used as an instrument. Very cool! The short and meditative "Space Chant" that ends side A is pure magic.

The Kanoi side has two long tracks. "I'm Gone (I'm Gone)" starts with acoustic guitar, nice, groovy beat, heavenly keyboards and beutiful vocals with tons of reverb. Soon we also get some acidic lead guitar work and there's plenty of that to come. Kanoi has never sounded this good, I'm loving this! The track just gets more psychedelic with the next section that includes spacey synth sounds, backwards guitar etc... Wow! Towards the end the acoustic mood returns but in much more tranquil way and things get really dreamy and chilled out. "Mountains of the Sun" is a laid-back and very beautiful psych rock/pop track that I also love. Towards the end it starts to rock out some more with cool solo guitar work. Don't get too high while listening or you might not find your way back. Excellent work by Benjamin Kantschieder!

In summary, this is a totally mind-blowing split album by two superb mind explorers and I highly recommend trying to score the hand-numbered die-hard edition on green/yellow/white vinyl with insert and puzzle as it really looks and sounds amazing with the excellent artwork and sleeve design by Dale Simpson. Check out my photo below.

Astral Visions #74 now at Mixcloud!

To check out my latest psych podcast, just go to:


  • 1 Terminal (from Terminal) by Circle
  • 2 Folder (from Folder) by Lød
  • 3 The Beyond Beyond from Beyond (from Atomic Oblivion) by Steel Mammoth
  • 4 Rational Woman (from Maneuvers) by Sasquatch
  • 5 12 Shades Revisited (from Live in Berlin 2017) by Sendelica
  • 6 Love Is All (from Strange Roads) by Sidewalk Society
  • 7 Piper at the Gates of Time (from Song 2x7") by Fuchsia
  • 8 Zeta (from Phillip The Egg) by Magic Bus
  • 9 Secretion of the Wafer (from Heaven Is in Your Mind 7") by Anton Barbeau
  • 10 Astral Hitch Hike (from Stardust Rituals) by Electric Moon
  • 11 Cosmic Highway (from Drone Jams Vol. II) by The Space Spectrum
  • 12 The Multicellular Structures Into The Space Drift (from Maat Lander / OSC split) by Maat Lander
  • 13 Fluff (from Würzburg Cairo 2015) by Electric Orange
  • 14 Hermanos (from S/T) by Vago Sagrado
  • 15 Benediction Moon (from Realms of Metaphysical) by Arc of Ascent
  • 16 Ambur (from Nektyr) by Demen
  • 17 Ending (from The Ape Regards His Tail) by Sula Bassana

tiistai 27. kesäkuuta 2017

Sendelica - Live in Berlin

FRG Records

The Welsh psychedelic space rock masters just keep on putting out great stuff (around 30 releases in 10 years!). I'm glad that they do, since I now can confirm that they are one of my favourite bands. This is a limited (200 copies) CD only release that will be out next month. Live in Berlin captures the band's final gig on their recent European Spring Tour and having seen them in Finland again I can say that the band really is on fire with the new drummer Joe Caswell who gives new energy levels to their live performances. The rest of the live band still is Pete Bingham (guitar), Glenda Pescado (bass) and Lee Relfe (sax). My only complaint is that, probably due to economical reasons, they don't have synth players or singers on their European tours and that treat is reserved for the U.K audiences only. But hey, these four guys are enough to make an unforgetful evening of great live music, I assure you!

Not ofter do bands start their gigs with a 20-minute track but Sendelica effortlessly pulls that off with their 2016 masterpiece "Cromlech Suite", entitled here "Chronicles Chronicles" like the album. Amazing! The semi-Pink Floyd cover "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Buddha" is next and we are pulled into a mysterious, psychedelic and sort of Oriental world. I love Lee's sax especially on this one! A new track that they come up with at rehealsals is called "Lost City of Cardiza" and it takes of where the last track ended. A shortened version of "Not the Time for Salads" from the new 2LP Lilacs Out of the Deadlands comes next and it takes us to the "Baalbek Stones" that works out excellently live. Then it's time for a extended, 20-minute space rock monster "Dancing to Dante's Inferno" that reeks of Hawkwindian space dust. Lots of cool jamming on this one! "Shades Revisited" opens up in calm and beautiful way but gets pretty progressive and busy later on. What a great way to end a live CD! The sound quality is crystal clear so the only thing I'm missing here is a vinyl edition. Get this CD before it's gone!

The Janitors - Horn Ur Marken

Cardinal Fuzz (CF666)

Horn Ur Marken is the third album by Swedish dark psych / post-punk /alternative rock band The Janitors. It is their statemant againts religious misdoings,  capitalist selfishness, racist idiocrasy and fascism. I'm still kicking myself for not buying the previous Cardinal Fuzz release, the 2LP Drone Head since it seems to be impossible to find in any reasonable price. Luckily I've got their previous release, the excellent 2014 12" EP Evil Doings of an Evil Kind that I also reviewed. In my review I compared The Janitors to Cult of Dom Keller, Dead Skeletons, Sonic Jesus, The Underground Youth & The Spacemen 3 and this still sort of holds.

There are seven tracks on the album. It starts off with the hypnotic, heavy, gloomy and excellent mid-tempo "Trojan Horse", one of my favourites. The slow title track comes next and it's a dark, mesmerizing trip that goes on for nine and a half minutes. "Neon Times" is a bit more energetic and percussive blast that offers no mercy or hope for the human kind. On the fuzz-filled "Blizzard" the band starts to rock out more and gets wild, but the overal vibe still is dark and hopeless. Not that it gets any lighter at any point... The droney "In the Wood" brings to mind early Specemen 3 and "Fear of All" has strong post-punk/Gothic overtunes. The album is finished with the peaceful and hazy but alarming instrumental "Alarmatica". I really enjoy this album although it certainly does not make you feel "good" in a normal way because of its dark, unsettling message and vibe but musically it gives you great satisfaction. Horn Ur Marken is out on two different vinyl editions, CD and cassette, go and get it!

sunnuntai 25. kesäkuuta 2017

Expo Seventy - America Here & Now Sessisons

Essence Music (ESSWAX02-S)

Expo '70 is a very prolific experimental drone/abstract/psych rock outfit who have released around 50 albums since their interception in 2003. The improvised music of this free-form band led by Justin Wright can be rather electronic or more rock oriented like this album. America Here & Now Sessisons were recorded in summer 2012 and was intended for a collective album with another band but this never materialized. Essence Music from Brazil released the recordings last December on limited vinyl and CD. The CD has a whole different art work by Justin himself as well as an eight-minute bonus track that didn't fit on the vinyl version. This release includes a short-lived line-up with two drummer (David Williams, Mike Vera), Justin Wright on guitar and synthesizer and Aaron Osborne on bass.

"First Movement" builds up slowly into a full-blown, slow psych rock jam that goes on and developes for over 20 minutes. This is rather heavy and mind-blowing stuff and I really enjoy the hypnotic, cosmic vibes! The even longer "Second Movement" is more droney while Justin plays the synth. The two percussionists still get a cool, tribal groove together at some point, and later the track speeds up and gets more intense only to chill out again in the end. The CD bonus track "Third Movement" is more minimal in nature and not really essential, although still very nice. I really think I should check out more of Expo '70's stuff since this blows your mind. There are still some copies left of this CD limited to just 200 as well as a couple of the rare black vinyl edition at the band's Bandcamp site.

lauantai 24. kesäkuuta 2017

Vago Sagrado - S/T

Adansonia Records (AR 016)

Vago Sagrado is a Chilean psychedelic rock trio from Santiago. This is their debut album and first put out on tape in 2015 by ETCS Records. It was finally released on vinyl by Adansonia last month. I really enjoy the band's warm, fuzzy, heart-felt and free-form take on making psychedelic rock with the classic guitar-bass-drums combo. The seven songs herein are pretty simple but work out great.

The instrumental "La Alfombra Debajo del Océano" starts off and ends with some ocean sounds and is mostly dreamy, slow and hazy stuff but also rocks out faster in the middle. I'm somehow reminded of early La Ira de Dios stuff. "Take Back the North" has cool spoken word and beutiful instrumentation but gets louder and noisier later on. This is not excatly stoner rock but gets close. One of the best tracks is the hypnotic and spellbounding "Hermanos" that has vocals in Spanish. Very nice! "Sacred Bum" and "Circo" are another two great, dreamy, sunburned acid rock jams with spoken vocals. The next track is the instrumental "Reprise" that rocks faster almost in krautrock/post-punk vein and I'm enjoying the ride. The album is finished with the slow and heavy instrumental "Mojo". All in all, this is a great album with some excellent playing by a tight and inventive trio that can make the usual rock instrumentation and psych rock tricks sound inventive and fresh. Excellent vibes, check this out!

keskiviikko 21. kesäkuuta 2017

Dj Astro playlist @ Doomsday for Stoners, Lepakkomies, Helsinki, 16.6.2017

I had a great night, thanks everyone! This is (more or less..) what I played, check out my short videos of the bands below.

John McBain - First Earth Battalion
Grombira - Carpe Noctem
Capra Informis - Tunnels of Qliphoth
Black Sabbath - Laguna Sunrise
Blue Öyster Cult - Dominance and Submission
Motörhead - On Parole
Reverend Bizarre - The Goddess of Doom
Celtic Frost - Procreation (of the Wicked)
Cobra Family Picnic - Frost
Moon Duo - Sevens
Circle - Rakkautta Al Dente
The Obsessed - Sacred
Brant Bjork - Stackt
Masters of Destiny - The Blue Garden/Gettin' High
Gas Giant - Too Stoned
Monster Magnet - Dinosaur Vacuum
Pentagram - All Your Sins
Black Sabbath - Sweet Leaf
On Trial - Mountain
Fu Manchu - Hell on Wheels
Judas Priest - Sinner
Motörhead -Lost Johnny
Moths & Locusts - Our Dear Leader
Ecstatic Vision - Keep It Loose
Mana Mana - Mikä on sun taivas
Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love
Scorpions - Pictured Life
Judas Priest - Here Comes the Tears

maanantai 19. kesäkuuta 2017

Circle - Terminal

Southern Lord (LORD 235)

It has been two years since Finland's (or the world's) best band Circle released their previous studio album called Pharaoh Overlord. Of course, their parallel band Pharaoh Overlord put out an album called Circle at the same time. Confused yet? You definitely should. Anyway, live album 6000 km/h Part 2 and the Kummitus 7" were released last year to keep the addicted fans happy. Circle has been famous for the fact that anything can happen during their gigs and this also is true on their live and studio releases. You can never quite know what to expect. They might have done a punk album, a krautrock album, a metal album, a noise rock album, a glam rock album, an acoustic folk album, an experimental album or what ever. If you count all the side-projects as well, the possibilities of different musical styles is endless. At the moment I do feel that Terminal is one of their strongest moments.

The album starts off with the almost 13-minute "Rakkautta Al Dente". It begins with a heavy, hypnotic riff that makes you bang your head. At first, the screamed vocals sound like black metal for a while. After the two-minute-marker we get some cool Mika Rättö vocals and then the track gets more exploring and jamming. Towards the end the hypnotic basic riff returns to a great effect. Excellent! The pounding title track "Terminal" is like a mix of Hawkwind, Stooges and MC5, of course with a distinctive Pori twist.  You just got to love stuff like this! "Saxo" begins with a minute of simple harmony vocals and then starts to rock out sounding like a big boatful of intocicated vikings attacking and pillaging your home village. Very powerful stuff. "Imperiumi" is another heavy but a bit more progressive piece that sounds like classic Circle material: motorik, weird and melodic at the same time. The next track "Kill City" has a sort of 90s heavy psych rock vibe and I most certainly enjoy it a lot. The end is very peaceful and pretty for a nice contrast. "Sick Child" ends the album with English vocals by guitarist Janne Westerlund. This one will put you in trance, and in the end it gets more chaotic and noisy. What can I say: I just love this album. One if not THE best release this year.

keskiviikko 7. kesäkuuta 2017

Jesters of Destiny - The Sorrows That Refuse to Drown

Ektro Records / Full Contact Records (Ektro-134 / Krypt-111)

I've been a Jesters of Destiny fanboy since the 80's so you can guess how excited I got when the rumors of a "come-back" album started to make the rounds a few years ago. The debut LP Fun at the Funeral by this legendary "alternative metal" cult band was released in 1986 on Metal Blade's sub-label Dimension Records and a covers 12" In a Nostalgic Mood was put out the following year. I guess their weird but creative mix of metal, hard rock, psychedelic rock, glam, punk and pop was too much for the masses then and they were dropped from Metal Blade and soon disbanded. Finland's Ektro Records have been doing their share in keeping the flame alive re-releasing the debut album first on CD and then on LP as well as some Circle stuff featuring original Jesters members. It seems that almost by accident Bruce Duff and Ray Violet, the key members since the beginning, both were writing new stuff that started to sound like Jesters of Destiny and then thought about putting another album out after a 30-year gap. They recruited a few more musicians to help out and now the new wonderful album The Sorrows That Refuse to Drown is reality!

The album starts off with the metallic and edgy mid-tempo "Fire in the Six Foot Hole". It's strange how you can immediately tell it's the Jesters, although the sound is modern. A great opener! "The Flesh Parade" is a bit faster rocker with pleasant melodies, one of the key ingredients of the band. "Ladies of Runyon Canyon" also includes some violin and organ being a pretty interesting, short instrumental piece. "My Card, Sir" rocks out again like the debut also including a slower, heavy and almost doomy end part turning into chaos. "Chalk Outline" is another great Jesters of Destiny heavy rocker with catchy melodies including a weird, free-jazzy middle part. That figures.  One of my favourites is the pounding, fuzzy garage psych blast "The Misunderstood", superb! "'Til The Following Night" begins with something that sounds to be taken from a horror movie and then we get some booze-filled dirty rock'n'roll / garage punk. Wow. "Sunset Boulevard" gives you the creeps with its scary beginning and stays pretty weird and spooky. The second short instrumental "Peace, Blood And Charlie Cocaine" reminds me of Blue Öyster Cult which is never a bad thing. There's even a drum solo in there. Then the band returns to the start theme but with a different twist with "Another Fire Six Feet Deep". The album is finished off with the light and cheery "Happy Ending". What can I say, the Jesters of Destiny still rule!

sunnuntai 28. toukokuuta 2017

Sista Maj - Series of Nested Universes

Space Rock Productions (SRP037)

Okay, since it is the last days of May now it's about time I review this double CD by three excellent Stockholm based musicians. Sista Maj is formed by Andreas Axelsson (drums and percussion, also for example in Eye Make the Horizon and Lisa Ullén's Group), Mikael Tuominen (bass, baritone guitar, electic sitar, in Kungen's Män) and Jonathan Segel (electric guitar, violin, organ, synthesizers, bass, in Kungen's Män, Øresund Space Collective, Camper Van Beethoven,  etc.). The three-piece spent a studio week together in September 2015 to explore the possibilities of free improvisation and this session spawned the eight long pieces on this album.

The overal feel of this album is rather laid-back, dreamy and tranquil although also dark and at times harder and even oppressive. There are some experimental,  jazzy and electronic vibes in the mix as well, but most of the stuff could be described as psychedelic, droney space/krautrock jamming. Some of it reminds me of Kungen's Män but no wonder, since two of the guys are also in that band. The music is quite different to for example Øresund Space Collective, though, since this is not that spacey or psychedelic but still very good. Okay, the faster "It Never Ends" could almost be an Øresund Space Collective jam as well if you added tons of space sounds... Most of the time the tempo stays pretty slow but for example on the longest (25:40!) track "A Very Heavy Feather" they also speed up a bit and the going gets quite rocking and heavy as well. It's really hard for me to point out any favourites since all the tracks are so different and I like them all. Let's just sum this up by saying that this is a really good, BIG package of improvised progressive psych music that will go down well with those of you who enjoy adventurous, instrumental free-form music.

Ananda Mida - Anodnatius

Go Down Records (DISGGOD422)

Ananda Mida is a new stoner rock band from the North-East of Italy featuring some musicians the fans of the Go Down Records already are familiar with. This is their debut album following a 7" single and I got to say this sounds pretty awesome and also quite original. I like the interplay between the two guitarists as well as the drum section and the singer is also very good. As an extra bonus the album also has a cool organ/synth player but he's not playing that much. I enjoy the sound that is not really that overtly heavy but sort of 60s/70s styled reminding me of bands like Wishbone Ash or Blue Öyster Cult.

Most of the songs are closer to late 60s/early 70s classic/hard rock bands than the 90s stoner/desert rock bands that the Italians seem to often worship. This band even has a sense for melody and emotion, although they of course also know to rock out hard and jam. There is also a bit more experimental stuff like the instrumental "Passavas" and some more progressive songs like "Ors". For example "Askokin" comes closer to modern stoner rock and works out just fine too and the groovy "Heropas" could be an Brant Bjork out-take. The last track, the instrumental called "Occasion" is perhaps the most psychedelic piece on the album. Another cool rock band out of Italy, check them out!

Buddha Sentenza - Semaphora

World In Sound ‎(WIS 3031)

I reviewed the debut album by this German instrumental psychedelic stoner/prog/space rock band in 2013 and told that they are a mix in between Pink Floyd and Back Sabbath. This sort of still holds, but there are other elements in there as well. There is a strong 70s vibe although the sound is perfectly modern. I can hear echoes of bands like Eloy, Samsara Blues Experiment, Monkey 3, Colour Haze etc. just to name a few, but on their second album the band seems to have found their own thing as well. It's cool that the other guitarist also plays the violin and there's also lots of keyboards and synths.

"Jet" is the energetic and heavy kick-start of the album and this gets almost metal to my ears. Not that far away from bands like Amorphis but a bit spacier. Nice!  "Greek Ancestry" has some banjo or something in the beginning and then gets rather progressive in a folky way with some cool violin as well. It's still pretty heavy but also melodic. The ten-minute "Kréèn (Patagonian Lights)" has some weird spoken word samples at first and then it slowly starts to build up. This is a rather special track for sure. "Laika" is the shortest but perhaps also one of the most progressive tracks on the album and I can hear some theramin in there. "Blood Rust" is slow, darker and more hypnotic stuff with also some cool, spacey ambient stuff in the middle. Perhaps my favourite so far. The album is finished with the almost 11-minute "The End Is Coming... We'll Take It from Here" and this really is the album's grand masterpiece. Again, the going gets rather like metal at times, Opeth or Porcupine Tree come to mind. This is a very adventurous, atmospheric and varied prog metal track that has lots of different stuff and emotion in it. Amazing!

Pater Nembrot - Nusun

Go Down Records (DISGOD415)

Pater Nembrot is a psychedelic stoner rock band from Longiano, Italy. I'm not that familiar with them or their music, but they were formed in 2003 and this 2016 album is their third and they also have at least one EP out. The basic group is two guitarists one of which also sings, a bass player and a drummer, but the album also features Christian Peters from Samsara Blues Experiment on synth on one track as well as two other guests on piano and "space wind".

The album starts off quite surprisingly with a short, melancholic pianoa ballad "Lostman". Like many Italian "heavy psych" bands nowadays, also Pater Nembrot mixes in some grunge as well, and you can hear some early Soundgarden and Nirvana influences on the second track "Stictch". Not a bad thing, this time. "Architeuthis" is the longest track at 10:12 and it's also one of my favourites including some atmospheric space jamming as well. Cool! "Young Rite" is an instrumental mix of Soundgarden and desert rock, and the long and adventurous "El Duende" brings to mind Pearl Jam a bit. "Overwhelmed" rocks hard and heavy being also a bit progressive. "Uknap" is a short bass piece and "The Rich Kids of Teheran" a pretty long and varied stoner/grunge number. The album is finished with the acoustic "Dead Polygon" that offers some piece and tranquility after all the hard rocking and rolling. All in all, a pretty nice album, and although not exactly my kind of stuff I find myself liking this disc. Also available on vinyl!

Verde - Otto

Verdeaudio Oy (VERDE-015)

Verde is Mika Rintala's experimental electronic/ambient/avant garde/jazz/musique congrète project and I've reviewed some of his earlier CD-R/CD albums that he has been putting out since the late 90s. Mika is famous for his home-made electronic musical devices that make strange sounds. He has been collaborating with lots of Finnish left-field musicians like several ex and current Circle members (just check out Ektroverde for example) and this CD also features the 60s/70s counter culture hero Otto Donner (R.I.P.), Rauno Nieminen, Esa Santonen, Janne Tuomi, Tapani Varis, Jyrki Laiho and Seppo Istukaissaari.

This latest album dedicated to Otto Donner who passed away in 2013 includes 11 totally improvised tracks using what ever instruments were available. The music was recorded at Donner's place to an eight-track recorder and later mixed by Rintala. Otto mainly plays his Steinway grand piano adding also some vocals and horns. There are lots of acoustic, also archaic instruments which gives the album a wonderful, ancient folky edge although it's mostly electronic and experimental and piano is ofter taking the lead role. You can also hear some field recordings like sounds of the sea, birds etc. My favourites include the almost seven-minute, folky "Klyyvari" (nose in English), the jazzy and psychedelic, even longer "Hunsvotti", the short experimental electronic piece "Knaapi" and the atmospheric, trippy 15-minute "Luuvartti". This is a great homage to Otto and what he stood for but also a very interesting, creative as well as enjoyable album as a whole. Check it out!

Verde Otto from Mika Rintala on Vimeo.

Floorian ‎– At Your Surface

Drigh Records (SKP004)

I've been a fan of Floorian since their debut album What the Buzzing released in 2004 by The Committee to Keep Music Evil. This North American psych rock band sort of delivers space rock in it's laid-back, dreamy and atmospheric form in the vein of Spacemen 3 or Pink Floyd but they also rock out a bit and are not afraid to put some more distortion when needed. At Your Surface is their fourth full-length release following the 2012 CD Cosmosaic.

The album starts off with the organ-driven, lazy and dreamy "Ternion" that is probably the most Pink Floyd insired track on the album. Great! "From On High" is a groovy, excellent and heavier psych rock blast but also quite slow and melodic. The beautiful but also rather experimental and industrial sounding "Face" comes next and then it's time for the 9-minute, weird and heady psychedelic blues trip "Icaro". Druggy stuff... Fans of The Myrrors, The Black Angels etc. will enjoy "Spinning Time", what a great trippy track with some 13th Floor Elevators vibes. The album is finished with the 14-minute-plus mind journey "Agra Man" that really takes you out there. I love the addition of oud, sitar, tabla and Moog on this one. Some of the best psychedelic shoegaze space rocking I've heard in years! Check out this excellent band if you haven't already, you won't regret it.


Black Willows - Samsara

Self-released CD & LP

Black Willows from Switzerland gave us their debut offering Haze in 2013 and this new album Samsara was released in late 2016. The band continue in their dark, occult-inspired, psychedelic, hypnotic and heavy path and sound great. This Lausanne-based shamanic doom/sludge/stoner band sort of sound pretty original although you can influences from for example Sleep, Om, Bong, Lamp of the Universe, Arc of Ascent, Oranssi Pazuzu etc. The main emphasis usually is to get as hypnotic and heady as possible, so the heavyness comes second which is fine by me.

The bit shorter, introductory title track "Samsara" starts off the rituals slowly creating a dark, mystical atmosphere before the heavy, slow riffing and mantra styled vocals of "Sin" fill your head. This one has a very Sleep/Om like vibe and I love it. You are spellbound for eight minutes. The even longer "Rise" gets you even deeper into the dark trance and makes you see things that have been hidden from most of humanity for ages... Some cool, more energetic jamming/soloing on this one as well which is cool! Spiritual stoner rock journey for sure. "Mountain" is a bit shorter (only 5:36...) and groovier stoner/doom metal track that has some Electric Wizard/Cathedral vibes. On the 15-minute "Jewel in the Lotus" the band get very hypnotic and spiritual and I'm reminded of Lamp of the Universe and Arc of Ascent even though there are no Indian instruments in use here. Things get heavier in the Sleep vein after the six-minute-marker and you just can't avoid banging your head to the slow, heavy and doomy groove. Later on there is some more atmospheric stuff for a while... Great! The CD version also includes the 25-minute, repetative and melancholic "Morning Star" that sounds like more traditional doom metal to me with lyrics about -you guessed it- all occult metal fans's best friend Lucifer.

You can buy the CD and LP directly from the band's Bandcamp site and also the debut album seems to be available so check that out as well if you are into heavy, occult and psychedelic doom metal/stoner rock.

lauantai 27. toukokuuta 2017

Astral Visions #73 now online!

Listen here:

1 The Alpha Particle (from Accidental Sountracks: Vol. 1. The Alpha Particle) by John McBain
2 You Got It Or You Don't (from Raw Rock Fury) by Ecstatic Vision
3 Elysium (from Magnetic Anomaly) by Cobra Family Picnic
4 Peaches En Regalia (from Zappa split 7") by Superfjord
5 Carpe Noctem (from S/T) by Grombira
6 Behind All Evil Is A Black Hole (live, from Paradiso Is on Fire) by The Cult of Dom Keller
7 Just You (from 12" split) by ST 37
8 Biblical Prophecy (from Helios Rising) by Moths & Locusts
9 Tunnels of Qliphoth (from Tunnels of Qliphoth 7") by Capra Informis
10 Lost In Light (from Occult Architecture Vol. 2) by Moon Duo
11 People (from Just Say No to the Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fasist Industial Death Machine) by Gnod
12 Stranger Things (from Sacred) by The Obsessed
13 Organ Mantra (from Hasta la Victoria) by The Myrrors
14 Sycamore Trees (from 12" split) by Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O.
15 Love (from Await The Queen) by Crystal Jacqueline
16 North Star (from Oceania) by Astralasia

perjantai 26. toukokuuta 2017

Hot stuff in May!

I've been too busy to even put out a hotlist after January, so I'm doing a double list now with 20 entries. This is what I've been especially enjoying these few months:

Ecstatic Vision ‎– Raw Rock Fury
Chrome – Techromancy
Cobra Family Picnic ‎– Magnetic Anomaly 
The Obsessed ‎– Sacred
Flowers Must Die ‎– Kompost
Föllakzoid feat. J. Spaceman ‎– London Sessions 12"
The Cosmic Dead ‎– Psych Is Dead
The Janitors ‎– Horn Ur Marken
3rd Ear Experience ‎– Stones Of A Feather 
Zone Six ‎– Forever Hugo
Hills – Alive At Roadburn
Deep Space Destructors ‎– Psychedelogy
Moon Duo ‎– Occult Architecture Vol. 2
Grombira - S/T
Hawkwind ‎– Into The Woods
Crystal Jacqueline - Await the Queen
Giöbia ‎– What Have You Done / Silver Machine 7"
White Hills ‎– Stop Mute Defeat 
Sendelica - Lilacs Out of the Deadlands 
Jesters Of Destiny ‎– The Sorrows That Refuse To Drown 


Playlist @ Elmun Baari, Helsinki, 25.5.2017 (Boar, Kaleidobolt & Jupiter)

Wow, what a night, even though I was quite tired. Not that much time to spin records with three great bands on the bill, but here's what I managed to play:

Iron Butterfly -  In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Vert:x - Drill
Spirit - Space Child
Black Sabbath - Wheels of Confusion
Giöbia - This World Was Being Watched Closely
Judas Priest - Breaking the Law
Pentagram - Day of Reckoning
Monster Magnet - Spine of God
Earthless - Acid Crusher
Vibravoid - Raga Baya
La Otracina - Mass Meteoric Mind
Ecstatic Vision - You Got It (Or You Don't)
Judas Priest - Living After Midnight
Chrome - Adminster The Treatment
Wooden Shjips - Contact
Gong - Flying Teapot (A Sacred Extension And Cosmic Overdub)
Loop - Mother Sky
Hawkwind - Lord of Light
Dead Skeletons - Dead Mantra
Brainticket - Black Sand

Thanks for everyone!

keskiviikko 24. toukokuuta 2017

Vert:x - From Now to Now

The Weird Beard

 Vert:x is a psychedelic, noisy, punky & hard-rocking space/krautrock band from Chester, U.K. I've had them on my radar for about ten years now since their space captain Neil has been sending me their great, privately pressed CD-R's for review ever since they started. The band's influences include for example NEU!, Hawkwind, Can, The Seeds, Chrome, Earthling Society and Spiral Navigators. They have lately also worked with Fruits de Mer Records on several compilations that are definitely worth checking out but From Now to Now that will be released in a couple of weeks on The Weird Beard label (limited to 250 copies only) is their first full-length vinyl album. About time, I'd say! Also worth getting is the superb four-way-split album Magnetic North released last year on Drone Rock Records.

From Now to Now includes just three instrumental tracks, but they are very long... The suitably named opener "Space Junk" really rocks out in a noisy Hawkwind/NEU!/AMT style. I love the motorik beat, harsh guitar, spacey electronics and wild sax, excellent! This is the shortest track on the LP at "mere" 7:47. On the 16-minute "Suns of Ra" things get more cosmic and you can hear the heady, out-of-this-world Earthling Society influences. No wonder, since Fred from E. S. also has been playing in Vert:x. This one will leave your mind totally spaced-out and levitating... Trippy! On the B-side we've got the 26-minute (!) "Planet Of The Mindstealers" And if you still had a mind after the A side it's totally gone now. I can hear some Chrome and Hawkwind influences again on this one. This is cosmic, hazy and acid punky space rock bliss! All the tracks have been previously released on the band's CD-R releases but it feels so good to have them now out on vinyl. I hope the band will do some more fresh recordings for a second LP release soon since this is just great, mind-blowing stuff!

perjantai 19. toukokuuta 2017

Hear ambient space music compiled by Dj Astro on Big Bang Legends cosmic tram ride!

Something special for Saturday... If you are in Helsinki, you can hop in to the Big Bang Legends tram, play the game and enjoy ambient space music compiled by Dj Astro!

You can also eat cosmic muffins and hear some live theremin...

torstai 18. toukokuuta 2017

Moonwagon - Devil's Labyrinth EP

Running Moose Productions / Presence Records (precd060)

Moonwagon is a progressive hard/psych/space rock band from Kokkola, Finland. The band has carried on as a trio after their synth player left before the third, a bit more jazz-rock-fusion styled album The Rule of Three (2015). All three members are multi-instrumentalists, so no problem in the studio. As influence they give out band names like Rush, Hawkwind, Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath. To my ears they are never too progressive, totally out-there psychedelic or really that heavy, but a good, pleasant and listenable, melodic mix of all those elements.

On this brand-new, professionally made CD-R EP they offer five interesting, mostly instrumental tracks. "Devil's Labyrinth" starts off the disc combining Rush-like hard rocking with some folk rock elements. I like for example the bass solo stuff as well as the cool keyboards and sort of airy, fresh vibe the track has. Definitely for Rush fans out there. "Haunted Hallways" is another great mid-tempo prog/hard rocker with also some more adventurous parts and again excellent playing by the band. Some of the synths towards the end bring to mind Eloy. Excellent! "Alchemy" is a nice, semi-acoustic folk rock piece with percussion and "Dus Aster" a shorter syntheziser piece a bit in the Tangerine Dream vein. My favourite by far is the groovy and hard rocking space rock number "South of Bermuda" that I have also used in my Astral Visions podcast. This one has some similarities with Hidria Spacefolk and Hawkwind so you bet I like it a lot! The track also has some vocals which is cool. I also love the guitar work especially on this track, a total winner! I look forward to see how the trio handles all the instrumentation live and tomorrow will be a perfect opportunity to find out since Moonwagon plays together with the superb prog rock band Malady at Semifinal in Helsinki.

keskiviikko 17. toukokuuta 2017

Grombira - S/T

Tonzonen Records (TON026)

Okay Oriental space rock cadets: take out your flying carpets! Grombira is a new band playing a mix of Oriental ethnic/world music and psychedelic space rock and they sound just awesome! Although the three guys are actually from Bavaria, they do sound like they are from ancient Persia, India, Turkey or Northern Africa or someplace like that. With bass, drums, sitar, saz, oud, flute, percussion, synths and some vocals they deliver you the feel of walking through dry, sun-burned deserts to the oasis and exotic ancient marketplaces full of heady and mesmerising smells, snake-charmers and wonderous artefacts. Welcome to One Thousand and One Nights!

The album includes just six tracks, but most of them are quite long. The mysterious journey starts off with "Pürreé" that offers marvellous Arabian moods, melodies and rhythms. Right after the five-minute marker a faster, hypnotic rocking starts and things get pretty groovy before we also get some jazzy jamming. "Carpe Noctem" has a very cool ambient beginning taking you deep inside the Oriental night with all the stars shining in the night sky. This is a very hypnotic piece and even makes you want to dance in trance. Somehow brings to mind Psychomuzak. There are also some vocals in a weird language later on. One of the highlights! The shorter "Caravan" is a bit more minimal and pictures the wandering of the camels also including some field-recordings.

The B-side of this limited vinyl release begins with the melancholic and mesmerising "Goats in Space" that sounds a bit like Blaak Heat being the most Western sounding psych/stoner rock track on the album.  It also has vocals in English. Excellent! "Priest of the Horny Kong" is a cool mix of spacey trance rock and groovy Anatolian psych rock vibes and I really enjoy this one. The album is finished with the wonderful "Selma" that after it's dreamy beginning takes you into some strange, intoxicated party in a very exotic setting. This track has a somehow happy, uplifting vibe and leaves you feeling good and refreshed after all the travels across the deserts and mountains. This album is a must-have for all friends of Oriental psych rock!

keskiviikko 26. huhtikuuta 2017

The Fërtility Cült - A Forest of Kings

Macaroni Penquin Music (MPM003)

 A Forest of Kings is the third album by Finnish psych/prog/metal group The Fërtility Cült. I remember reviewing their first CD and maybe also some CD-R EP by them years ago. Their sound is a sort of weird mix of psychedelic rock, doom, stoner, metal, progressive and post-metal/rock. Their instrumentation also includes keyboards and jazzy saxophone so the soundscape really is pretty varied and vast. The vocals are clean and melodic and pretty good. I'm having problems trying to think bands that would sound like them so I guess that means originality (or I just have not heard their biggest influences...). Some of the most progressive parts do bring to mind early King Crimson a bit and the beautiful, atmospheric stuff (like "The City on the Edge of Forever") remind me of Porcupine Tree or some melodic, melancholic metal bands like Anathema, though.

The 47-minute CD includes five longs, adventurous tracks. My favourite is maybe the second song "The Path Is Clear" that I also have used in my Astral Visions Mixcloud Show. This one also has some cool solo guitar work and it has a nice groove and vibe and lots of different stuff. "God of Rain" is great too in all its slowly creeping heaviness and starts to rock like Iron Maiden later on. The last, melodic and powerful song "Cycles of Time" somehow brings to mind Amorphis. I like this band and their latest album and am looking forward to see them live tomorrow at Semifinal in Helsinki where they play with the amazing space rock band Sendelica from Wales. Be there!!!