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maanantai 23. huhtikuuta 2018

Timetable for Berlin Desertfest online!

You can now check out the full timetables for Berlin Desertfest (4.-6.5.2018) over here:

Astral Visions Mixcloud Show #79 now online

New Astral Visions Mixcloud Show #79 now online with tracks by Dungen​ & Woods, Dreamweapon, Stephen Bailey, Pharaoh Overlord​, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs​, Crypt Trip, Anthroprophh​, Permanent Clear Light​, Beautify Junkyards​, Domboshawa, The Oscillation​, Cosmic Fall, ZONG - Band​, Sound of New Soma & Malditos. Have a nice trip!


  • 1 Turn Around (from Myhths 003) by Dungen & Woods
  • 2 Monte da Virgem (from SOL) by Dreamweapon
  • 3 Demure (from Silo) by Stephen Bailey
  • 4 Revolution (from Zero) by Pharaoh Overlord
  • 5 Sweet Relief (Feed the Rats) by Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs
  • 6 Soul Games (from Rootstock) by Crypt Trip
  • 7 Omegaville/Thothb (from Omegaville) by Anthroprophh
  • 8 Maurice (from Maurice N'est Pas La 7" EP) by Permanent Clear Light
  • 9 Shelter (from The Invisible World of Beautify Junkyards) by Beautify Junkyards
  • 10 Saturdaze (from Minds Electrix by Domboshawa
  • 11 Flight Sequence (from U.E.F.) by The Oscillation
  • 12 Spacejam (from In Search Of Outer Space) by Cosmic Fall
  • 13 Giant Floating Head (from S/T) by Zong
  • 14 Weinende Eidechsen (from Live at the Green Mushroom Festival) by Sound of New Soma
  • 15 Disparu (from II) by Malditos

torstai 19. huhtikuuta 2018

Magic Bus – Phillip The Egg

Back to the Garden Records

Once again I'm about one year late with a review but better late than never I guess... Magic Bus is a new U.K. based progressive rock band playing a very cool version of Canterbury Scene Caravan styled jazzy, psychedelic prog rock fusion. I have reviewed their previous album over here and they have also released a couple of excellent 7" singles on Fruits de Mer.

This 45-minute CD includes eight tracks. The album kicks off with the almost nine-minute "Mystical Mountain" that has a lovely, sunny and positive vibe before the more mystical, heavier instrumental ending. I'm mostly reminded of  Caravan and later all also Gong and I really can't complain about that. "Fading Light" is a shorter, slow and peaceful instrumental piece that somehow brings to mind Mahavishnu Orchestra, very smooth and nice. Next we've got the semi-acoustic, beautiful "Trail To Canaa" and I'm in Camel wonderland. I really like the vocals and flute on this one and the solo part towards the end is killer. "Zeta" has a cool, swinging rhythm and bit Oriental vibe. "Distant Future" is the second longest track on the album at 7:11 and it must be one of the most progressive. Things get rather intense and heavy at times, but there are also more atmospheric parts. Superb! The space sounds later on bring to mind Gong. "Kepler 22b" is another rather long track and perhaps closer to King Crimson than Canterbury Scene. There's maybe some Gentle Giant influnces in there too for good measure. On "Kalamazoo" the band chills out for nice, acoustic moods. The great album is finished with "Yantra Tunnels" that starts with a minute of drone before going into very cool, sort of Indian style prog rocking. The end of the track seriously rocks out! A good way to end an amazing album. I just realized that this is out on vinyl as well, I really need a copy.

Various Artists - Goldfish

Fruits de Mer (crustacean 84 & 85)

Goldfish is a massive 3LP + 7" set of some of the best tracks that Fruits de Mer Records have put out since rising from the sea in 2008. Since most of the original releases are long gone and highly collectable this is a very welcome addition to their catalogue. There is only one previous compilation LP with tracks from different early Fruits de Mer releases: Plankton put out by Record Collector in 2013. Keith himself states that "Goldfish focuses mainly on what Fruits de Mer originally set out to deliver - classic and wilfully-obscure songs taken from, or heavily influenced by, the 60s and early 70s".

It would take me whole night to go through all the tracks included here and you can see the song list with data where they originate from over here. Fruits de Mer have been one of my favourite labels since the beginning but only listening to the promo CD-R version of this release has made me really understand what an enormous amount of magnificent, beautiful and mind-blowing music they really have put out during their ten years of existence. Also, most of my favourite modern bands have been covering most of my 60s and 70s favourites! In addition, several 60s/70s psych rock/folk masters have contributed with some fresh, new recordings as well as rare tracks from the past. It really is almost too good to be true. I would have possibly picked a few different tracks for the compilation, but I still like them all a lot. It's actually impossible to even pick ten favourites among the 30 tracks included. Let's just say that this a perfect opportunity to get some of the very sought-after songs that Fruits de Mer have released and also a great introduction to the label for the uninitiated. Goldfish should be available at the beginning of May. The price is not too bad either for such a massive release so I'd warmly recommend preordering it right away!

keskiviikko 18. huhtikuuta 2018

Permanent Clear Light - Maurice N'est Pas La 7" EP

Regal Crabomophone (winkle 31)

Finally a new release by Finland's moody psychedelic masters Permanent Clear Light! While drooling in anticipation for the band's long overdue second album fans of PCL can soon caress their ears and minds with this very cool 15-minute EP on Fruits de Mer's sister label.

On side A there is an eight-minute track "Maurice" sung in French. The track has a very 80s vibe bringing to mind Nick Nicely and even some mainstream 80s pop/post-punk/funk bands. But fear not: it's still 100% psychedelia. The dirty, killer bass line and steady, almost disco beat is enhanced with cool, airy keyboards and weird synthesizers and surprisingly little guitar. The vocals are drenched in mind-blowing effects and the eight minutes go past like a blink of an eye leaving you wonder what the hell just happened. This is a psychedelic dance classic from some other dimansion, I love it!

On the flip side we've got two little beauties. "One in Five" is also rather up-beat and tells about Finland's common mental issue, depression. One out of Five Finns suffer from that, sadly. Maybe it's in the genes but I bet the long, dark wintertime and insane alcohol consumption rates don't help. More cool guitar on this one! The great EP is finished with the slower "This Quiet Smiling Man" that sounds more like the band's debut album. It's about Robert Oppenheimer, so not very positive lyrics here either. There are some pretty far-out moments in there, and I especially like the melancholic, beautiful instrumental outro. Wow, what a great little release! This limited 7" EP is put out with two different covers, collect them both and make your neighbours jealous. Sad news is that the band will apparently stop making music after the second album is released sometime later this year... They will be missed!

Traffic - Where the Poppies Grow

Vogon ‎(VCD2005) 
This is a nice present for all you early Traffic fans and lovers of 60s psych pop/rock in general. The CD is filled with restored and newly mastered tracks now available on CD for the first time. Nine first tracks are from the band's two BBC radio shows in 1967. The first show was aired October 1967 and the second one December of the same year. Now I just got to say that the sound quality is not that great compared to modern standards but still very good and the excellent music is still highly enjoyable, warts and all. Included is of course the band's first hit "Paper Sun"  and I just love that song. Other highlights include "Coloured Rain",  "Dear Mr. Fantasy", "Heaven Is In Your Mind" and "Dealer". I'm only a little bit disturbed by the occasional Dj introductions, but I can live with them.
The last seven songs were recorded live at Radiohuset, Stockholm, also in 1967. This is another radio broadcast and the sound is pretty similar but no dj talk here. Because these tracks were recorded in front of a live audience they have more live vibe with for example some cool, bluesy jamming  on "Giving To You". Some of the tracks are the same as on BBC radio shows but we do get for example their second early hit "Hole In My Shoe" (my second favourite Traffic track!) starting off with a nice sitar intro and the nine-and-a-half-minute "Feelin' Good".  "Paper Sun" is a rather energetic version! It would have been amazing to be in the audience during this gig... All in all, Where the Poppies Grow is a great historical document of one of the greatest psych pop groups in the 60s. Check it out!

perjantai 13. huhtikuuta 2018

Star Sponge Vision - Crowley and Me

Mega Dodo (DODOLP28)

Now this is something very interesting... British writer, occultist, magician and mystic Aleister Crowley (12.10.1875 - 1.12.1947) is of course known to most rock fans out there and has been honored by many artists from The Beatles and Led Zeppelin to Ozzy Osbourne and Reverend Bizarre. This might still be the most profound musical tribute to The Great Beast ever. The seeds of this album were sown in 1974 when John Povey of The Pretty Things sat with Jimi Page in the Hyatt hotel on Sunset Boulevard watching Kenneth Anger's movie Scorpio Rising, listening to Page's music and talking about Mr. Crowley. In 2016 Povey's old band mate Twink asked him if he ever had thought about writing music to Crowley's poetry thus getting the wheels turning. This album that was recorded in Colchester features Povey and Twink along with Max Gibson, Nick Ferris, and Ed Sykes and the band name comes from a personal spiritual experience that Crowley had.

At least 13 tracks were recorded for the project, since that many are included on the download and apparently also on the limited edition CD. The  highly limited (300 copies only) LP version that comes in a beautiful open gatefold cover only has eight of them. The great lyrics can be found printed on the inner sleeve which is essential. Musically, this project has been labeled by somebody as Adult Oriented Rock, a term that may bring a bad taste to your mouth. If you consider Blue Öyster Cult an AOR band then I think it's okay since there are lots of similar vibes here. I'd describe the music as deep, soulful and melodic classic/hard rock with some psychedelic, pop and folk elements.The ritual begins with the melancholic, both powerful and beautiful title track "Crowley and Me" and I'm already feeling my third eye opening. This was also the first track that was written for the project. Just amazing. Second track on the LP is the heavier and doomier "Logos" that has lush keyboards as well. This sounds like something that Tony Iommi could have written for the Seventh Star album. Now, this is a good place to state that I really enjoy the solo guitar work on the album. "The Mantra" has a more New-Age vibe going on with acoustic guitars, percussion and keyboards. Also the keyboard-driven, peaceful "Clouds Without Water" has a bit similar mood.

Side two begins with a faster hard rock piece "Lament of Al" and the BÖC vibe is at maximum here. A true masterpiece, one of the highlights for me! "The Buddhist" is another killer track that mesmerizes you and makes the shivers go down your spine and soul. "The Pentagram" is perhaps one of the more AOR oriented tracks on the album and I love it too. The LP version is finished with the longest track "Hymn to Pan" that the devoutest of you have already experienced in my latest Astral Visions Mixcloud show. This is perhaps the most psychedelic track on the album and naturally my favourite. The download has five more tracks and a whole different track sequence. "The Tent" is a soft rock number, "Kathleen Divine" a Beatlesque piano ballad. "The Gypsy" is a mystical spoken-word piece with synthesizers and acoustic guitar and "Grave Grey Eyes" a pretty, slow AOR number. Also the last non-LP track "Why Do You Wait" is rather laid-back but a bit deeper and spacier. Very Nice! All in all, this is an absolute must-have for all Al-lovers out there who can also appreciate great music made by some of the veterans of the original psych rock scene with some younger but seamingly as talented musicians. Check it out and get inside, you won't be dissappointed...

Unimother 27 - Acidoxodica

Pineal Gland (PG 006)

This is the sixth solo album by Italian multi-instrumentalist Piero Ranalli. Piero interprets the realms of psychedelic, space rock and krautrock in his own unique, home-grown style as always. What we have here are seven new instrumental tracks made with guitars, bass, synths and electronics that take you "somewhere out there". The album was releases only on CD in February 2018 on Piero's own Pineal Gland label, one year after his previous album Fiore Spietato.

The album starts off with the almost 11-minute "Osesso" and it's a real trip indeed. Pierro's solo guitar work brings to mind Nick Saloman from The Bevis Frond and is the best part in his music. "Opporti A Me Non E Mai Troppo" is another slow acid blues rock number. On "Allunare Era Nulla" Piero gets more spacey and goes to the Moon. The track also has some more prorgessive stuff in there. "A Valle Tra Masse Essa Martellava" has a droney beginning and then it goes into a bit mystical, sort of oriental vibe. Nice! The shortest track on the CD is "E'corta e Atroce" at 3:25 beginning with some experimental keyboards until the acid solo guitar work takes control again. "Arte Tetra" is a sort of weird, almost jazzy/fusion thing with cleaner guitar sound than usual. The album is finished with "Eterni Attici Di Citta In Rete" and it must be the most beautiful track on the CD. If you can dig the bit cheesy programmed beats this is a very enjoyable album. Personally, I would really like to hear Piero as a lead guitarist of a real live band, that would be awesome.

torstai 5. huhtikuuta 2018

Desertfest Berlin 4.-6.5.2018!!!

Taking place between May 4th - 6th 2018 at the ARENA BERLIN this time, legendary DESERTFEST BERLIN has set up their most special & exciting edition to date:

With headliners MONSTER MAGNET, GRAVEYARD and HIGH ON FIRE alongside highclass acts such as EYEHATEGOD, NEBULA (re-union show!), ELDER, RADIO MOSCOW, WEEDEATER, CHURCH OF MISERY, MONOLORD, DEATH ALLEY, JEX THOTH, LUCIFER and many many more, the capitol of Germany will turn into a psychedelic heavy music wonderland & the capitol of the almighty riffs!

Tickets for DESERTFEST BERLIN are available at:

For More Info Visit:

tiistai 3. huhtikuuta 2018

Lucille Furs - Another Land / Leave It As You Found It 7"

Treehouse Record Co. (TRC001)

Lucille Furs is a dreamy psychedelic baroque pop band from Chicago. They have previously released one 7" and one album last year, but the first time I heard about them was when I got sent this new 7" single that was recently released. The band has taken quite a lot of influences from the 60s psych pop/rock scene but they still have a fresh, melodic and interesting style of their own. If you know artists/bands like Jacco Gardner, Balduin or Temples and remove the modern technology you sort of know what to expect. I guess you could call this 60s inspired psychedelic baroque indie pop.

This new single has two new simple but catchy songs: "Another Land" backed with "Leave It As You Found It". "Another Land" starts off in a slow, mellow mode bringing to mind The Doors and The Beatles, but soon goes into a hypnotic, mid-tempo verse. I really enjoy the soft dreamy vocals. The slow intro returns for a while after the short chorus and then we go again. There's a little lead guitar part and the track is over. Simple but brilliant! You just have to put it on again, since you are hooked right away. The B-side is a funny little, fully orchestrated number that I don't find that captivating but it's still okay. It only lasts under two minutes, anyway. This single comes on tasty green vinyl and is available now on Treehouse Records. I'm already looking forward to the band's next album! Check them out.

maanantai 2. huhtikuuta 2018

Dj Astro's Playlist @ UFOP Psychedelic Easter, Bar Lepakkomies, Helsinki, 31.3.2018 (Warp Transmission, Albinö Rhino, Laserdrift & Hadal Sherpa)

Wow, what a night! Great bands, amazing visuals and sound, sold-out and wild going! This is what I spinned:

Aphrodite's Chils - End of the World
The Byrds - She Don't Cre About Time
Pink Floyd - The Scarecrow
The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations
Cream - White Room
The Beatles - Pebby Lane
Blues Magoos - Pipe Dream
Amboy Dukes - You Breath Sunshine, I Breath Fire
The Bubble Puppy - Hot Smoke & Sasafrass
Eloy - Time to Turn
3rd Bardo - Five Years Ahead of My Time
The Electric Prunes - I Had too Much to Dream (Last Night)
Thirteenth Floor ELevators - Slip Inside This House
Hawkwind - Hassan I Sahba
Deep Purple - Hush
Blue Öyster Cult - Godzilla
The First Edition - Just Dropped In (to See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Cosmic Triggers - Homo Fractaliens
The Spacelords - Plasma Thruster
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown - Fire
Fever Tree - San Francisco Girls
Can - More
Fonex - AX100
Barrows - Entrada
Chemistry Set - Legend of a Mind
Plastic Crimewave Sound - Wasted All the Time
Vibravoid - Om Gang Ganpaye Namah
The Jimi Hendris Experience - Foxey Lady
Nik Turner - Fallen Angel STS-51-L
Hawkwind - Night of the Hawks
Chrome - Firebomb
Helicon - Seraph
The Black Angels- Comanche Moon
Dreamtime - Brujeria

keskiviikko 28. maaliskuuta 2018

Hadal Sherpa - S/T


Hadal Sherpa is a really cool instrumental ethnic prog/psych rock band from Southern Finland and this is their first album. I've seen the band live a couple of years ago with supporting Hidria Spacefolk and noticed their potential already then. The first pressing of this digipack CD released in June 2017 sold-out rather quickly but luckily there is a second pressing with slightly altered art work that I got.

The album includes eight long tracks, all between 7:20 and 9:30 in length. Hadal Sherpa has a rather light, folky sound compared to some other similar artists. They are more progressive and less danceable than Hidria Spacefolk, more organic and less electronic than Ozric Tentacles. I can also sense some Kingston Wall vibes, or maybe more like 70s airy, jazzy prog rock like Caravan or Camel or some of the Finnish folk/prog masters like Piirpauke. The great melodies have lots of Eastern/Oriental/Balcan/North-African sounding themes and the use of flutes etc. and odd time signatures add the ethnic mood. At times the band rock more steady in space rock mode too which is great. Never do they get very heavy, though, but some tracks are more intense. As a matter of fact they have a rather unique style after all, although you can hear some of their influences for sure. The tracks are well-structured and interesting and the listener is easily transported into some better, more beautiful and love-filled place. There are also bits of synthesizer in there from time to time to make things more interesting, but they could maybe use that more to get spacier. Unless they don't want to... The playing is great throughout and sound quality excellent too, so in summary I must say that this is one of the best modern Finnish prog bands at the moment. Listen for yourself and please remember that you can see the band live this Saturday in Helsinki at Lepakkomies with Albinö Rhino, Warp Transmission and Laserdrift along with Yours Truly on decks!

tiistai 27. maaliskuuta 2018

Love Machine - Times to Come

Unique (UNIQ225-1)

Times to Come is the third album by 60s/70s styled bluesy psych rock band Love Machine from Düsseldorf, Germany. These young hippies have now all grown tasty mustaches and also deepened their musical abilities and style. I have previously reviewed their debut Present to the Galaxy and the following Circles on the excellent Tonzonen Records, now they switched labels to Unique.

Like before, the listener is right away reminded of The Doors when the first track "Got To Love" starts to blast from the speakers. Yes, it's maybe mostly due to their deep-voiced singer. By the way, a nice addition are the backing vocals by some of their friends. Also, this time the lead vocalist at times reminds me of Johnny Cash! Anyway, the opener has a cool, sort of sunny, almost African vibe to it as well as a faster, jammy rock section towards the end. Nice! "To the Universe" is a rather mellow piece in the West-Coast style and the longer (7:51) "Blue Eyes" a cool bluesy number with some Grateful Dead styled guitar work and vibe. I like the extended ending on this one. The slow and mellow "Solar Phallus" is the track where the singer brings to mind Johnny Cash the most. There is also some flute on this one. "Visions" is a trippy, groovy instrumental jam with some analogue synth and cool solo guitar work. Very nice! The short, rather minimal title track "Time to Come" has a stronger folk rock vibe á la Donovan, and the last piece "Earth, Again" is a beautiful, soulful number somewhere in between The Byrds, Love and Jefferson Airplane. All in all, if you like late 60s/early 70s styled bluesy rock music with some slide guitar and psych vibes etc. you should check this band out. Out on vinyl, CD and digital download. 

Hotlist March

This is what I've mostly been playing this month (top 15 this time instead of 10 since I can):

Seven That Spells ‎– The Death And Resurrection Of Krautrock: Omega
Secret Saucer ‎– The Reset
Black Lizard ‎– Celebration Of A New Dawn
GNOB ‎– Electric Dream Demon
The Oscillation ‎– U.E.F.
Sounds Of New Soma - Live At The Green Mushroom Festival
Judas Priest ‎– Firepower
Fu Manchu ‎– Clone Of The Universe      
King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard ‎– Polygondwanaland
Blown Out / Comacozer ‎– In Search Of Highs Volume 1
Melody Fields - S/T
3rd Ear Experience ‎– Stoned Gold
Sammal ‎– Suuliekki
Earthless ‎– Black Heaven
Dungen + Woods – Myths 003 

torstai 15. maaliskuuta 2018

Dj Astro's Easter Special!

I'll have two ultra cool happenings to dj in Helsinki this Easter, here they are:

Electric Wizard (UK), Hooden Menace & Tombstoned @ Circus, 30.3.2018

Facebook event:

UFOP: Psykedeelinen Pääsiäinen Vol. 2 (Warp Transmission, Laserdrift, Albinö Rhino & Hadal Sherpa) , Bar Lepakkomies, 31.3.2018

 Facebook event:
Tickets only at the door, come early!

keskiviikko 14. maaliskuuta 2018

Sounds of New Soma - Live at The Green Mushroom Festival

Tonzonen Records (TON041)

This is the first "live" album by German psychedelic neo-krautrock/ambient/kosmische music group Sounds of New Soma following their three great studio albums and one one-sided 7".  This amazing sounding LP was apparently recorded at The Green Mushroom Festival that sounds like a very cool party although I couldn't find any info from the net. Either it's the kind of fest you only hear your weirdest friends whispering about or the band dreamed the whole thing...

Anyway, what we got here are five previously unreleased tracks. I'm not sure how much is improvised on the go but there must have been at least some stuctures beforehand. This album has a less electronic, more organic vibe to it than the previous albums and I like that. Only the shortest track "Projektionen" is pure electronica with sequencers. Drummer Armin Schopper who was already featured on the previous album La Grande Bellezza is augmenting the core duo of Alexander Djelassi and Dirk Raubach again as well as "other psychedelic astronauts". The opening track "Schein" has a five-minute ambient intro until the slow drum beat begins. I really like the laid-back, hazy atmosphere of this track. There is guitar, spacey electronics and keyboards and bass bringing to mind early 70s Pink Floyd or Electric Orange. On "Om Namah" the vibe gets spacier and more psychedelic. Another slow burner with also a couple of bit heavier guitar parts to a great effect.

On the B-side "Weinende Eidechsen" is a very powerful and trance-inducing track that is probably my favourite on the album. Very psychedelic, deep stuff... After the excellent, Berlin-school-styled sequencer piece "Projektionen" the album is finished off with "Henriette Mutterkorn" that is a bit groovier, killer hypnotic space/krautrock number that moves both your brain and ass. Wonderful! Whether this LP really was recorded live or not it's a very welcome addition to the SONS album family and perhaps the best one yet. Definitely one of the best albums this year so far. There are three different, limited vinyl editions with enclosed CD as well as a separate CD release out there on 6.4.2018. Be sure to get your copy and get spaced out with it!

torstai 8. maaliskuuta 2018

Astral Visions #78 Mixcloud Show now online!

Okay space birds, the first show of 2018 is now finished and online:


  • 1 I Can't Be Found (from Celebration Of A New Dawn) by Black Lizard
  • 2 Ara Pacis (from Baptistina) by Heaters
  • 3 Suuliekki (from Suuliekki) by Sammal
  • 4 Scarlet (from Scarlet Fever) by Green Seagull
  • 5 In A Ghetto (Feat Capra Informis, from Our Mother Was A Plant) by JuJu
  • 6 Roaming Shores (from The Reset) by Secret Saucer
  • 7 Cucumbers from Mars (from Stunde Null) by Mind
  • 8 Land of the Sun (featuring Gabriel Minnikin, from Recondite) by Dead Sea Apes
  • 9 Electrified Sky (from Mind Minerals) by Carlton Melton
  • 10 Cabalgan los Cielos (from S/T) by IAH
  • 11 Elephemeral (from Mountains & Reminiscence) by Spaceslug
  • 12 The Drop (from Vibraciones Doradas) by Causa Sui
  • 13 Earworm (from Droneverdose) by The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol
  • 14 Etsijan elinehto (from Toinen toista) by Malady
  • 15 The Raven Prince (from Samas Antaral) by In The Labyrinth
  • 16 Hymn To Pan (from Crowley And Me) by Star Sponge Vision
  • 17 There Will Be Waste (from S/T) by The Final Age
  • 18 Magic Bohemian & Mystic Nuns pt. 1 (from Either The Fragmented Body Or The Reconstituted Soul) by Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.
  • 19 From The Corner Of My Eye (from From The Corner Of My Eye) by Us And Them
  • 20 An Empire In Its Glory (from Climb Sheer The Fields Of Peace) by Alison O'Donnell
  • 21 Spectral Death Zone (from The KYVU Tapes Volume II) by Demian Castellanos

keskiviikko 7. maaliskuuta 2018

Jess and the Ancient Ones - The Horse and Other Weird Tales

Svart Records (SVART127)

The Horse and Other Weird Tales is the third full-lenght by Finnish psychedelic rock band Jess and the Ancient Ones established in Kuopio in 2010. The band members have their roots in metal and you can still sense it somewhat, but I wouldn't still label the music they now make as metal. They have been for example touring with King Diamond and played also at Roadburn Festival, though. When they started, they seemed to ride a bit on the occult rock wagon, but it's fair to say that they don't do that so much anymore. But they are not exactly part of the psych rock revival either, I think.

My feelings about the band have always been a bit divided: you just got to love the lyrical themes of the darker side of the Aquarian age, the playing and vocals are great and at times the music really is psychedelic and transports you into some other dimension, but on the other hand, I somehow don't really get their main point. I'm also having big difficulties in taking in the psychobilly drum beats the drummer seems to be in love with. But then again, all this makes them sound pretty unique I guess. It seems to be that people either love them or don't like them at all, but I'm somewhere in the middle.

The Horse and Other Weird Tales is rather short at 35 minutes and includes nine new songs. There are only two longer tracks (over seven minutes in lenght) and the rest last from only under two to little over three minutes. So, nothing as epic and adventurous as the final track on their previous album that was over 20 minutes! And a couple of tracks on the debut were also well over the ten-minute-marker. "Death Is the Doors" starts the journey. Argh, that surf/twang/psychobilly beat almost right from the start... Well, there's more and you could say that this is pretty cool and groovy tune. The use of spoken word samples is a nice addition the band has utilised quite a lot. "Shining" is  bit heavier piece and rather fast as well. "Your Exploding Head" has a nice chorus but mostly reminds me of some Finnish schlagers or 80s Tuomari Nurmio or Kauko Röyhkä or, especially, 80s Finnish female singer Tuula Amberla. Not my kind of stuff, sorry. "You and Eyes" is a bit more melancholic and soulful piece that I like a lot. It brings to mind Janis Joplin or Jefferson Airplane. It also gets more progressive and rocks harder, which is great.  "Radio Aquarius" returns to one of the band's favourite themes psychedelics and is actually a very nice, laid-back instrumental with cool spoken samples. "Return to Hallucinate" of course continues the theme and is a catchy, up-beat song. One of the highlights! Then it's time for some hard/occult rocking with "(Here Comes) The Rainbow Mouth", pretty powerful stuff. Also "Minotaur" rocks out okay (but that drum beat again...). The longest track (7:58) "Anyway The Minds Flow" finishes off the album in a more doomy, gloomy way but also has some prog rock vibes, at least on the organ department. This track sort of reminds me of The Devil's Blood, maybe not so directly, more just the dark vibe. Again, we get some spoken word at the end. I'm sure if you liked the the band's previous output you will love this album.

Sammal - Suuliekki

Svart Records (SVART140)

Sammal is for sure of the most loved modern Finnish progressive rock bands. Not that they are commercially that successful or anything, but prog rock fans still know and adore them. This Turku-based band has great respect for the prog forefathers but still manages to sound original and fresh somehow. They are very talented players and creative song writers. What matters the most in my books still is, that they have a way to touch your soul.

Suuliekki is their third studio album if you don't count the No 2 MLP and follows the Live at Roadburn 2015 LP and Suuliekki 7". There has not been any major changes to their sound or music style, and I'm glad about that. You get a good dose of soulful vocals in Finnish, sometimes peaceful, sometimes heavy guitar, groovy rhythm section and great retro organ and synth sounds like expected. Maybe there is more variation in the song material this time, like "Pinnalle kaltevalle" with its intense latino beats. Some  songs like "Vitutuksen valtameri" are closer to early 70s hard rock like Deep Purple and I love it. You can definitely hear echoes of prog masters like Genesis or Wigwam on songs like "Herran pelko" and that's completely okay if you ask me. Another excellent release by Sammal, get it if you are a fan of progressive rock! 350 copies on blue vinyl, 650 on black, release date is this Friday.

Barış Manço / Kurtalan Ekspres ‎– Estağfurullah... Ne Haddimize !

Pharaway Sounds ‎(PHS037CD)

Anatolian rock/pop/folk/psych/funk legend Barış Manço released this album originally in 1983, and this CD/LP reissue was put out in 2016. To my knowledge, it was the last studio album to be recorded with his backing band Kurtalan Ekspres. I don't know much about Barış who died in 1999 or his music either, but I must say that I do have a sweet spot for Eastern/Oriental melodies and rhythms and the combination of Eastern and Western music often works really well for me. The great vocals also have a really cool, exotic effect on me.

In general, 1983 maybe wasn't the best year in music, but this album sort of lives in its own continuum of the 70s which is cool. On the other hand, the grooviest track on the album, "Aman Yavaş Aheste", is a killer, funky disco-boogie number that woud have gone down well in any European discotheque in 1983. Anyway, there are lots of different songs here, some more traditional ballad-like, some more in the rock/pop/funk vain and all with some prog/psych elements so I like it.  My favourites are the mesmerising opener "Halil İbrahim Sofrası" and the mystical last track, the instrumental "Selahaddin Eyyüğbinin Yeğeni Aslan Yürekli Rişarın Kız Kardeşine Karşı". Worth checking out! 

lauantai 3. maaliskuuta 2018

Paradise 9 - 2oth Anniversary 1997 - 2017 Live 2CD

P9Recordings (P9CD006)

This double CD was released last year to celebrate the 20th birthday of U.K. band Paradise 9. They are usually labeled as space rock band which is fine, but actually I hear a lot of post-punk / New Wave influences in their sound as well in addition to the pure space rock sound. But hey, nothing wrong with that! Anyway, if you enjoy bands like Here & Now, Magazine, The Fall, Killing Joke etc. you definitely should like them. I have previously reviewed a couple of their releases, and am a bit late with this one. Sorry about that!

Anyway, what we have here is a cool 2CD set of live material at various festivals and club gigs in between 1998 and 2016. CD 1 is focused on recent live stuff from Blind Cat Festival and Kozfest from 2016. Most of the stuff is pretty energetic and up-beat, but we also get slower ones like the instrumental "Ocean Rise" where Nik Turner is adding some cool saxophone, like on several other tunes as well. I also really like the use of spacey synthesizers on many tracks enhancing the psych/space element. One of my faves on disc one is "Distant Dreams", a melodic, nice and dreamy piece that features Kev Ellis on harp etc. This sounds quite a lot like some of the Hawkwind or DarXtar space ballads, great! Actually, the same goes for the following song "Crystalized Moments", very cool vibes.

The stuff on the second disc comes from several gigs played around London. The sound quality is very good, like on the first disc, but maybe not perfect. "Into the Ether" is a hypnotic, danceable piece with percussion. We get some acoustic stuff with "I See You Dancing", "All Said and Done", "Bright World" and "Glow". There's also another versions of their classics "Crystalized Moments", "Points of View" and "State of the Nation" that all made appearances on the first disc. Some groovy, spacey moments in there, and Nik is also featured. All in all, this 2CD is a great celebration of the twenty years of Paradice 9 and also gives you a good overal picture of what the band is all about live. Check it out!

Hotlist January - February

This is what has been keeping my ears and mind busy so far this year:

Psychic Lemon ‎– Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay LP
The Myrrors ‎– Archives, Vol. I: Lunar Halo 12"
Damo Suzuki ‎– Seven Potatoes: Live In Nanaimo 2LP
Dead Sea Apes ‎– Recondite 2LP
Causa Sui ‎– Vibraciones Doradas LP
Mugstar ‎– Collapsar: Skull Scorchers & Neuron Phasers Singles & Rarities 2LP
Moon Duo ‎– Jukebox Babe / No Fun 12"
From Grotto S/T LP
Carlton Melton ‎– Mind Minerals 2LP
Rymdstyrelsen ‎– Space Is Cold LP
Seven That Spells ‎– The Death And Resurrection Of Krautrock: Omega LP
Sula Bassana ‎– The Ape Regards His Tail 2LP
Demian Castellanos ‎– The KYVU Tapes Vol.2 (1990-1995) LP
Secret Saucer ‎– The Reset LP
Hadal Sherpa –S/T CD

perjantai 2. maaliskuuta 2018

Seven That Spells - The Death And Resurrection Of Krautrock: OMEGA

Sulatron Records (st 1801)

Croatian Seven That Spells led by the very cool Niko Potočnjak has been around for 15 years now and released quite a lot of albums. I've been following them almost from the beginning and also was lucky enough to see them live a couple of times at Roadburn Festival. They have a rather unique style mixing together psych, prog, space, kraut, alternative and experimental rock elements. They used to be heavily influenced by Acid Mothers Temple at one point, and also collaborated with them, but now the chaotic ATM elements are pretty much gone. Omega is the last part in The Death And Resurrection Of Krautrock trilogy that started in 2011 with AUM followed by IO in 2014.

The new album just released on the amazing Sulatron Records has five tracks. "In III" is a shorter (4:07) hypnotic piece that sucks the listener into this sonic journey. The pretty heavy, repetitive vibe and particularly the mantra-like vocals (I'm not sure about the language) reminds me of early Circle which is cool. The same goes for the rest of the album. The rest of side A of the vinyl (limited to 500 copies) is filled with the almost 19-minute title track "Omega". This is a rather progressive, adventurous and excellent composition that at times brings to mind some of the modern prog rock/metal bands like Porcupine Tree. Some great melodies and rhythms on this one.Things do also get a bit freaky towards the end which is great! "Chronos" is an atmospheric, instrumental opener for side B, and the "Future Lords" take us away into space and beyond. This is the most psychedelic track on the album, and I like the intense, driving beat and rather dark mood. The sort of weird "Out III" finishes off the album in mysterious atmospheres and leave you wondering what the hell just happened. I love it! OMEGA is another masterpiece by Seven That Spells but be prepared to listen to it several times before you really can get inside it. This is not easy listening music, but still rather approachable stuff, when you really pay attention. Great sound and musicianship, warmly recommended!

tiistai 20. helmikuuta 2018

Another dj gig this Saturday! Monomyth & Firebreather 24.02.2018 @ Kuudes Linja

Okay, I was going to have a little break from djing, but they need me so... I'm in! This will be a heavy night, you've been warned...

From Grotto - S/T

Rohto Records (RR-0000421) 

The first time I saw From Grotto live a couple of years ago I realized this band was one of the most interesting new psychedelic prog rock bands in Finland. They mix influences from 90s Finnish legends Kingston Wall together with the weirdness and spaciness of Gong, some funky, jazzy parts and heavy prog of King Crimson adding lots of original ingredients as well. Having released their debut EP in 2015 in digital form, 2017 saw the dawn of their first full-length and now it's also available on limited edition vinyl! There are only 250 copies of it.

The opener "The One Wildling" sounds like Swedish progressive psych band Bland Bladen with vocals added. I got to admit that it took me some time to get used to the vocals, since he's pretty intense and theatrical. I love the way he plays the synth and the mind-blowing effects on the vocals! There's lots of different stuff happening to keep the listener interested. The great saxophone definitely adds the pot-head pixie vibe. Spacey, weird, adventurous and wild going! The shorter, groovy "Cycle of the Badger" is much closer to Kingston Wall or even Jimi Hendrix but also a cool tune. Some great playing on this one. "Five And Four Ill Fated" is more progressive stuff again with lots of various turns and moods. "The One That Watches" starts off with didgeridoo drone and then tribal percussion is added to a great effect. This track has a pretty dark, experimental vibe all the way also adding some groovy, Gong-like stuff. "Floating Head" must be one of the band's oldest tunes and has a strong Kingston Wall feel to it. I love it! "The Bustle" is groovy funk rock with psychedelic and dub touches. I wish they had more instrumentals. The longest track on the album is saved for the last. The over nine-minute "Hallucifer: The Wizard That Never Got Some" is a real trip. It also has some flute which is nice. After the more peaceful beginning the track slowly builds up. This track includes cool solo work and killer beats and is a live favorite for sure. A more mind-blowing version of early Santana brings to mind?! Anyway, an excellent way to end an amazing debut album that will probably leave most listeners wondering what the hell happened after the first listening. From Grotto is absolutely not the easiest band to get into but very talented and definitely worth exploring. When you reach their inner essence you might want to stay there forever.

tiistai 30. tammikuuta 2018

Alakulttuuritalon talvibakkanaalit (Goat, Rättö ja Lehtisalo, Kairon; IRSE!, Mara Balls, DJ Astro etc.) in Helsinki this Saturday!

Okay folks, this is something special: Swedish psych rock voodoo masters Goat are coming back to Finland for a rare club gig this week! These Winter Bacchanals are actually a mini festival with experimental, psychedelic music on three different floors and stages from 20:00 to 3:30 AM!

In addition to Goat, we've got Rättö ja Lehtisalo, from the legendary Circle, modern prog pilots Kairon; IRSE!, fuzz queen Mara Balls and a lot more! I'm honored to be the dj at the main stage.

There are still tickets left:

Here's the full performer list:
Goat (SWE)
❇ Rättö ja Lehtisalo
Kairon; IRSE!
Mara Balls
Maan Tomu
Dj Astro
Business City
Irene Kostas
Kristiina Männikkö
❇ Ville Pekkarinen
❇ Tuomas Palonen
❇ Reivaajan Valinta
❇ Tixa & Vilunki

Here's the Facebook event for more details:

perjantai 26. tammikuuta 2018

Mark McDowell and Friends - Dark Weave


I first noticed Mark McDowell from Bristol when Fruits de Mer Records released a split 7" with him and Octopus Syng in 2014. He does have several releases on his Bandcamp site and Dark Weave is the latest. It's really nice to know that people are still making great, experimental acid folk that has both emotion and psychedelic elements. Although Mark is the song-writer and main man here this is not a solo effort since the album features several friends and some of the stuff has been recorded in San Francisco and some in Presteigne, Wales. The album is mostly acoustic in nature, but also has for example electic guitar, keyboards and spacey synthesizers to boost. I love Mark's vocals and the female singer Hannah Moriah is also excellent. Great vocals are of course a necessity in folk-based music like this. Strings and percussion are also most welcome.

The album has eleven tracks that are all in the 3 to 5:30 minute range. The instrumental title track starts off with dark synth drone and then soft acoustic guitar and percussion join in. I can hear echoes of the cream of the old UK acid psych acts, wonderful. There's something ancient and something from outer space. "Service of the Owls" has beautiful twin-vocals and a melancholic mood. "Look in the Dust" is a bit more on-going and has a steady beat. Great melodies and also some fuzz solo guitar! "Walking Back to You" is more folky and reminds me of Magna Carta a bit. Positive vibe on this one. "Spirit of Love" even brings to mind Syd Barrett in some ways. Then Mark kicks in the acid folk gear again with the wonderful, magical instrumental "Celequiem". Celestial stuff indeed. "Light of Love" (that I also included on my latest Astral Visions Mixcloud show) begins with experimental space sounds and then the hypnotic, totally spell-bounding going starts. This will take you into a trance! One of the highlights for sure. I also like "Forgiven", a bit more up-tempo song about spirit worlds. The endelss stream of killer tunes just continues with "Message Sent". This could very well be a Soft Hearted Scientists song. "Elizabeth" is more traditional folk in style and not bad at all. The superb album is finished with the slow and ethereal "Light Up the Town" that once again has some amazing melodies and moods. I must say that I really enjoy this album, hopefully someone would also release it on vinyl! You can, however, already buy the CD or download from Bandcamp.

Dead Sea Apes - Recondite

Cardinal Fuzz / Sunrise Ocean Bender (CF088 / SOB010)

Manchester's experimental psych rock heads Dead Sea Apes are back and this time with a 80-minute 2LP compilation album. They've been around for almost nine years and released quite a lot of stuff so the timing is good. The actual 2LP (300 copies only) includes 11 tracks and there are three more coming up with the download code. Luckily this is not your usual "best of" collection of album tracks but includes a couple of different versions and rare various artists compilation tracks of originals and covers etc.

The album starts off with the dubby "Tentacles (Version)" featuring Adam Stone on narration. This is a pretty hallucinogenic ride and it's good to hear some human voice in the usually instrumental music of D. S. A. "Coronal" is a mesmerizing, hypnotic and dark piece originally from the Stay Holy! compilation released on Cardinal Fuzz in 2015. "Planet V" is a slow, bluesy and heavy psych jam previously only available on a download compilation. On side B we've first got "True Believers (version)", and those of you who have the For Nepal benefit compilation album have heard the original version before. This is seriously mind-fucking and hypnotic, slow piece that has both easier and very heavy parts. Wow! The energetic and powerful cover track "Land of the Sun" features Gabriel Minnikin and has some krautrock vibe but has similarities with The Heads and stoner rock. The track is taken from the marvellous Keep of the Grass compilation on Fruits de Mer Records and is originally by Alexander Lee "Skip" Spence (Moby Grape). Excellent. Then comes the peaceful and atmospheric "The Recognition", one of the tracks I had never heard before.

On side C "Universal Translator" is taken from the limited Ptolemaic Terrascope compilation Paper Leaves. It's rather ambient at first but gets heavier and more intense... "Lupine Wavelength" starts off in a peaceful manner but rocks out more before the four-minute-marker, like mix of Bardo Pond and Colour Haze. Those who are lucky enough to have the Magnetic North compilation have heard this already. "Rückstoss Gondolière" (Kraftwerk) is from the Head Music krautrock cover compilation and I really enjoy this version. "Rethreads" is an experimental and psychedelic broadcast only track that I'm happy to hear for the first time. "Vamos Compañeros" is another krautrock homage originally put together by Harmonia and Brian Eno in 1976. This version is from the Kosmimische Musik download compilation and it's really nice to have it on vinyl too! Two of the download bonus tracks are cool remixes and the third one a live track. All in all, this is marvellous compilation with stuff from various sources. Somehow all the tracks work together and it's great that even if you have all the band's previous vinyl releases there's new stuff even for the fans. Recondite also is a great introduction to Dead Sea Apes for the previously uninitiated.

torstai 25. tammikuuta 2018

More Experience - Follow Me

Old Hippie Records (IX MMXVI)

More Experience is a great psychedelic hippie rock band from Poland. I really don't know much about them, but I got to tell you that when I first put this CD (already released in 2016) on late last year I was in love. They have apparently been together since the late 80s, though. They are influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Gong, Soft Machine, Pink Floyd, SBB and Czesław Niemen, so the vibe is really late 60s / early 70s.

The opening title track is like a long lost outtake from the first Pink Floyd album and I really dig it. Dreamy vocals, fuzzy guitar, organ and powerful rhythm section really works. "More Experience" has a strong Eastern vibe with tablas etc. and is another cool song. Things get more progressive and wilder on the journey. The seven-minute "Now We Are Dreaming" is a softer, dreamy and melodic pop piece that also has a Canterbury styled solo part in the middle. Nice! "Flower for Us" is beautiful and peaceful all the way. A bit of UK psych folk vibe here. The longest track is "Like a Sail" at over nine minutes. It starts off in a tranquil way with acoustic guitar and piano but gets more adventurous and heavier later on. I'm reminded of Camel or Caravan, which is never a bad thing. Trippy and atmospheric stuff! Some of the solo guitar work reminds me of Steve Hillage, wow. "The Witch" is a mystical, laid-back piece that gets groovier in the middle in the Soft Machine style. The album is finished with "We Couldn't Get Much Higher" that has a somewhat more straight-forward vibe sounding a bit like The Byrds. Okay, it does get a bit weirder towards the end... Not bad at all! In summary, this is a marvellous album for all lovers of old-school hippie psych with a progressive edge. I hope this one gets a vinyl treatment soon.

Hooffoot - S/T

Paura Di Niente (PND001)

Hooffoot is a Swedish progressive jazz/rock band initially formed in 2009. The lineup is comprised of several talented musicians known from other bands like The Carpet Knights, Sgt Sunshine, Øresund Space Collective, Bland Bladen, Sibirien and Agusa. Two guests are also playing trumpet and baritone saxophone here to enhance the jazzy vibe. They released their debut album on LP in 2015. This CD version followed last year, sorry for the slight delay with my review...

The album has only two long, instrumental and evolving musical journeys: "1st Communique: Last Flight Of The Ratite" and "2nd Communique: Take Five, Seven, Six, Eight, And Nine". The atmosphere varies from peaceful and pastoral to wild and energetic. The playing is top-notch, sound quality superb and I find myself captivated by the band's vast arsenal of different moods and turns. I love both tracks equally, and there's lots to discover for repeated listenings. Warmly recommended for all lovers of instrumental, adventurous and progressive jazz rock!