Thursday, April 19, 2012

Roadburn Festival 2012- Tilburg, Holland April 12-15th

Just really far out! 

Day 1 Amsterdam

11:00 Magnus arrived at my place soaking wet due to the rain on his bike ride. We headed off for the airport to meet the others- Tom, Sven, Lasse, Nils and Olli. 

11:45 We are all through the security and waiting at the gate. Some of the guys are having a beer. Tom had some Underberg so we all had one of those. Everyone is in a good mood. Weather should be pretty good in Amsterdam today but not that warm. We might go see Killing Joke and Icarus Line. Not sure…  We stay at the same hostel as we usually do. Ole will join us later this evening. 

After an hour or so at the Dolphin Coffeeshop it was off to the Old Wembley Bar, where we hung out for a few hours after the record store and had some beers and the DJ changed from really crap music that he was singing along to and put on some classic rock for us since we were the only people in the bar except for one shady looking black guy who had his one earphones on and was playing those gambling machines.. Hendrix, Ac/DC, Led Zeppelin, Cream, etc.. cool music. I had to run out for a sandwich. 

20:00 We met up with Ole and found another placed with rock music called Excalibur and my friend Pete and his US friend John was there. What a trip… does not look like we will go to the Killing Joke show.

22;00 Some went out for some food finally, since they had been running on that slice of pizza since 15, beer, THC and nicotine. We watched as some played pool and they placed quite a bit of metal at this bar. 

23:30 I spilt from the others and ended back at the hotel and crashed. 

Day 2 (Roadburn Day 1)

8:00 Alarm goes off and people start to come to life. Magnus and Tom had a crazy time out in strange places and could not get back, some weird stuff with a taxi driver and the police and running into Wino and his crew….. they supposedly got back around 4 or 5 in the morning. They look tired… No one else got really drunk, just high..

9:00 We are soon leaving for the train station to go to Tilburg at 9:30… Good timing…
The Sun is shining and people are happy. 

10:00 We all have tickets and the train will leave for Tilburg, with one switch at 10:08. The rest are all over smoking. They are quite heavily addicted to cigs. 

11;50. We are in Tilburg. A lot of folks from the festival around and some cool posters and banners at the train station promoting the festival. We have to wait until 12:04 for the bus to Hilvareenbek, where our hotel is. 

Menu from local restaurant 
12:22 Magnus and I got the same room 213 that we have started for many years except for last year, we had a different one. They keep fixing up the hotel every year and it is nicer and nicer but still cheap. 

15:00 We all have wrist bands and I bought some records: Voivod, the Obsessed, Radio Moscow-Earthless-Premontion 13” split 12”, and Saturnalia Temple on purple vinyl. One  of their last. 

15:30 D.usk/disembowlment started on the main stage. IT is heavy dramatic stuff with a pure growl voice and these mix of slow and super fast death metal parts. We watch 20min and then I got into the room to see Horizont.

Set List: Intro, Tree, Phophetic, Extracted, Burial, Spirit, Cerulean

16:50 Hung out with Kenny from TeePee records and we saw the entire Horizont show and they were very good, just no nonsense deliver the songs like on the record and go boogie blues rock and roll. They write a lot of good songs but need to jam a bit. The biggest disappointment was they had 75min slot and they only played 50mins and split with no encore even. That is lame. YOU get a long spot at the premiere festival in the world and you play 25mins short.. Fucking lame… The set was a mix of old and new songs. Good band.
17:15 I saw the first 20mins of Agalaich from the balcony with Magnus and Lasse. They are heavy and dramatic, mixing this dreamy post rock guitar stuff with a lot of power and aggression at times. It was not really my thing. I headed off for the Swedish psychedelic doom of Saturnalia Temple. I was in the 2nd row on the balcony with Jens Poontang. 

They started off with the first two tracks from the LP. These are both great and the sound was really cool and psychedelic. The guitar player is great with using these cool effects yet keeping the simple riff. His solos are not very complex but very effective. A lot of delay on the vocals as well. The room was totally packed and people were into it. Guitar was really loud as it should be. They played their full hour and were very good. They had some parts that were very much like a more psychedelic OM, who actually are the next band.

18:45 I was with Nils and Sven to see the first part of OM. They had a black keyboard player who played some samples, tambourine and some stuff on guitar. IT added a new special element. The drummer just seems to do the same patterns and stuff over and over again. I don’t feel OM really have the groove they used to have. Still cool and the 013 was packed considering how strange this band is.

La Otracina
19:30 The NYC band La Otracina was in the Bat Cave and I got there early and met up with a lot of people I know. This was a band I thought would be pretty good but they blew me away! The bass player was really awesome. They really had cool songs and did some jamming and had lots of lead guitar breaks. Very cool dynamics. I did not buy any of their records but damn they were excellent. Best band of the day so far. 

20:45 Nils and I got into Lord Vicar early so were right on the balcony in front of the guitar player. He had his amp turned up really loud. This was the loudest concert so far today. They sound very much like Pentagram. While Lord Vicar don’t have an original sound, they have some great songs with cool catchy doom riffs. The Room was really into it for sure. They also nearly stopped 20 mins early but ended up doing a long mellow building track as the encore. I really enjoyed the set a lot. 

22:00 Now, we went to the new place, which is really a converted church. This place was cool but it was like 30C inside, really fucking hot and packed. Ulver or Orchid and apparently a lot chose Orchid, a San Francisco band that sounds just like early 70s Black Sabbath. The record I heard at Nils was ok but live they really delivered the goods and were great. The new songs sounded really good as well. They steal a lot of riffs and lyrical phrasing from Sabbath so they are not original sounding in anyway. The singer was the best we saw the entire day, he is really good. He sings and his stage presence is a lot like Ozzy as well. I think they played about an hour. Great band..

23:50 I was soaking wet from sweating and needed to sit down as my feet were really hurting so I headed up to the balcony to chill out before VoiVod. Drank a huge glass of water. I was feeling a bit strange as there had been no time to eat. I ate like 10 chicken wings today and a sandwich at lunch and then only beer…. 

VoiVod had amazing sound. I was with my friend Pete right next to the soundboard. They opened with VoiVod and this really got the place going. Then a newer song and then Ripping Headaches, a couple of things they had never played before, one new song and one older song that had just not been played live. NothingFace sounded good like. They closed with the Pink Floyd cover, Astronomy Domine that everyone really loves and you can see they have a lot of fun playing it as well. The sounds and visuals were great and the band really delivered even though the set was mostly the same as what they played last year if you saw both shows. I had wanted to catch some of these guys from Acrimony but never made. Nils said they were pretty good.  A great day. Best bands for me were: La Otracina and Saturlania Temple. 

Day 3

11:30 I had a hard time getting to sleep last night but have been up about an hour now. Magnus had already taken a shower. I feel ok but tired and need a shower as well. Now. A lot of great stuff to look forward to today as well with Electric Moon, Farflung, Witch,etc..

15:00 Bought a few records in the Merch, Obsessed double 10”, Farflung, etc. 

16:30 Wino and Connie Ochs was a great set. I was right up in the front. The room was pretty full but not too crowded. This was the last show of their 6 week Europe tour. They were really having a good time. It was some cover songs (Hellbound Train) but mostly the record they made. The title track, heavy Kingdom was great live. Cool set. 
Wino and Connie Ochs

Set List: Somewhere Nowhere, Labour of Love, Dust, Dark Ravine, Heavy Kingdom, Rake, Hellbound Train, Aiugels, Old and Alone, Traces of Blood, Isolation, Vultures by the Vines, Lost

The weather is really shitty today with rain and quite cold. I wore sandals anyway. I am excited to see Farflung again. I just went and got a sandwich. 

19:00 Farflung was really spaced out today. I have no idea what the set list was but I really liked the show. Longer spaced out versions of some songs. They played some new songs as well. Sound in the green room almost always has the drums too loud with this sound guy. He does not pay attention either as you could only hear the guitar player on the left or Dave from White hills, his brother who plays all the cool spacey stuff could only be heard in the real quite parts so mostly not at all! Pity.. This was a common theme in this room that the sound guy was not very attentive and also the kick drum was always too loud. I still wonder why they get a 90min slot and play like 65 mins. It is pretty lame. 

Now, Sólstafir from Iceland was too packed to get in, and Danava in the bat Cave was alos too packed so I went to check out some of KONG. They are a special Dutch band that had some films going on and some samples and heavy riffs. They reminded me of Ministry without vocals. I saw 3-4 and then went to see Witch. 

19:00 I did not know what to expect with Witch. The band was for sure stoned, laughing and having a good time. They played really high energy stoner rock stuff with some wild solos. My problem with them was they did not write anything very memorable. Just one high energy rocking show. Again, they had an hour and only played 43mins and no encore. 

Again, Conan was so insanely packed it was impossible. Valiant Thor was also the same so did not see anything at this time. I really think they need to sell like 300 tickets less and raise the price a bit as there are just too many people now and this really decreases the overall quality of the festival experience. It is never really a problem in the main hall but all the other rooms it is quite an issue of the band is quite popular. 

Electric Moon
20:45 YOB is next in the main hall but I will go see my friend Dave’s band, Electric moon. I have heard a lot of recordings and records with them but never seen them live. Electric Moon were really spaced out. I think they played 4 jams and they are all improvised but it seemed that a few guitar riffs sounded quite familiar from some of the live records. Very cool effects in some parts with both the bass and guitar. 

22:00 VoiVod on the main stage. Wow… this was a very intense show with the great dimension hatrass record played. The sound was totally amazing. The house sound guy is really pushing it both with volume and intensity. The sound has never been so good or loud. They also played a few other selections and the special guest was the singer from DOOM who co-sang one song. This was a bit disappointing and not an exciting guest at all. They did an encore and played Astonomy Domine by Pink Floyd again. It was much cooler the first day and just to repeat it was not very interesting. They should just have played one of their own songs but an intense one and said bye! Great show though..

00:10 Anekdoten from Sweden was the band to close the main stage and the room was pretty empty. 400 people max I would say. I think they played a pretty cool set but their own soundman did not do a very good job. The guitar was always too low and the mellotron too loud. Pity as they could have sounded amazing if the house guy had done the sound. Anyway, they played some cool stuff, even one from their first record but the highlight for me was the brand new song. Wow.. this was a really great song so this will be promising if they make another record. 

Another damn cool day but tomorrow just looks insane. We did not hang out too late tonight and headed back to the hotel. Who was best today??? Farflung?? 

Day 4

13:30 We are all sitting in the backyard of the hotel and people are in a good mood and very psyched for what looks to be a very intense day! We just missed the bus so we have to wait another 60mins or take a cab. 

15:40 I just heard most of the St. Vitus record and they gave you some St. Vitus rolling appears when you came in the door. It sounded pretty good but it is short, only 33mins long. JD. Mascus of Dinosaur Jr stood next me for one for one song but three were not many people, less than 60. Soon it will be one of the highlights, Dark Budda Rising! 
Dark Budda Rising

Dark Budda Rising

17:00 Dark Buddda Rising really blew our minds even though the drums were mixed too high so that the guitars were not really crushing like on the record. The lead vocalizer was just dark, evil and very intense, Phew….. He really put on a show. They could have used some cool visuals. They did change the projection a few times.  Really dark spacey doom...

18:00 Church of Misery had a rough start where they changed out the bass heads two times as Tetsu was having trouble. It ended up he had a cable loose and there was nothing wrong wit any of the gear. Anyway, when they did get going they were really great. Tom’s guitar was insanely loud, maybe too much and the sound guy never did get the right balance of bass to guitar was not that right. Great set and a couple of songs they did not play when we saw them two weeks ago, like Born to Rise Hell. Walter had provided a really cool serial killer movie for the background. Awesome. A really cool band but now they have played 4 years so until they make another album, we should have a rest from COM. This is the last tour with Tom on guitar so they have some changes ahead. 
Church of Misery

I managed to get a decent stop for Purson in the bat cave and it got pretty packed and hot but they delivered a really solid set but they also had some technical problems and had to abort their hit single, Rocking Horse! They kind of tried to get a little jam going but they are so young and not very experienced they did really know what to do. I really like their well crafted songs with 12 string guitar and some simple keyboards. They played a lot of cool songs like the Contract, Two and Ones. They played about 56 mins. Great to see such young kids playing cool music. I can’t wait for the record. 

Set List: Wool, Maverick and Mystics, Rocking Horse- abort, Spider Wood Farm, The Contract, Well Oiled Machine, Sailors Wife, Leaning on a Bear, Twos and Ones, Sapphire Wand


19:15 Next it was straight back to see Leafhound and got right up in the front with the Australian guys who also stay at our hotel. About 4th row. They really rocked and the sound was good. Mostly songs from Growers of Mushrooms but also one called Unleashed that was really good. Crowd was digging it and the groove was good and Pete French sounded excellent for a guy that age who does not really sing that much. Great stuff… Had to run.. 

20:00 The Obsessed. Not sure what this was going to be like but it was pretty intense, short 2-3 min uptempo biker rock anthems that are not very catchy. They would just blast through 4-5 songs like a long medley before stopping. Pretty cool. They sounded really good and Wino was in top form both the the riffs and the vocals. Very intense set for one hour. I just got the live record from Amsterdam 1992 and his voice is really bad on this night, he sounded so good today. 

21:40 Now was the first time in like 5 hrs I had more than 15mins break. My feet were hurting and it has been a very loud day but I could see that they had set up a lot of amps for SLEEP so it was going to be very loud. This was the most packed I had seen the main hall. SLEEP just pulverized the place! Mike was a madman starting the show off with a lot of heavy deep feedback and then off we went. It was loud, massive, stoned and grooving. The new drummer from Neurosis, he was very good and groovy and not industrial or mechanical. I left after 40mins I could not really take any more of this heavy riff rock and needed a break badly. They had some cool visuals as well. Fucking amazing..

22:30 Rested my feet and when to see Admiral Sir Cloudesly Shovell in the bat cave and there were not many people but Martin and Ole and I hung out and they rocked! The singer from Purson was right next to me for part of the show and she was into it. This was an uptempo rock and roll act with some borrowed riffs from ZZTOP, Buffalo, Cactus, etc.. really energetic stuff with lots of solos and cool parts. Sound was great, not too much bass which is often the case in the bat cave as the sound guy does not mix for the middle of the room where most of the people are so the bass is usually too much and the rest of the instruments too low. The sound is good in the back of the room for those 40 people but not so good up front where most of the audience is. This sound guy never seems to learn like the guy in the green room.

Set List: Mark of the Beast, Devil’s Island, Cursed Earth, The Last Run, Scratchin’ n Sniffin’, Red Admiral, Lady Snowblood, I Death, Robot Colossus

Heavy Jam
23:50 Now it was meeting up with the rest of the Danes and my friend Pete, for Heavy Jam. This was one 45min min guitar battle between the guy from Witch and the DJ mascus from Dinosaur Jr and the rhythm section of Earthless… Really intense uptempo stuff that just never let up. When ever JD tried to really rio it up and match the guy on the right, that guy would just take it to another level with a killer solo or heavy riff. They are awesome. I could have used some mellow spacey stuff after all this heavy but what a fucking day. Probably one of the most intense days ever at Roadburn. 
Final day- The Afterburner

11:30 I am up really late today but people still seem pretty fresh for another day even though nearly everyone was really drunk last night except for me. 

14 We sit and have a 11% Belgium beer to start the day in a little café near the venue. It is a bit cold, gray and windy today. Not usual Roadburn weather, that is for sure. Nils is going to interview BONG at 14:30. 

15:20 I went to see the Away art display at a local gallery. That was really cool. He was not there though, even though I spoke to him last night and he said he would be there from 15-17. Saw 1 song of the Mount Fuji doom jazz orchestra and that was really excellent but I need to see Electric Orange. 

17:00 I really did not want to leave Electric Orange as they were really cool and spaced out and with a great groove and cool films. I was really enjoying this one. It will be hard to top this today. Cool stuff. 
Electric Orange

17:45 Internal Void are an old Maryland melodic doom rock band. For sure inspired by Pentagram but they had some unique sound. They started off a bit rough the first couple of songs but then they became really good. Standing on the sun, Voyage and some others were really good. Singer was quite special with his strange presence. Some people were a bit turned off. He was just doing this thing. He was very honoured. I thought they were pretty damn good, even though some of the songs came across a bit dated. I like this style of music. 

19:10  Wow.. Bongripper was really heavy and intense music but by this 4th day, I had already heard so much of this down tuned doom riffing that I grew a bit tired of them. If I had seen them on the first day, they would have had more of an impact on me. A very intense band for sure and people were really into it but I really missed some guitar solos, some more interesting mid-sections, something… Still very intense! Great artwork on the backdrop.

20:45 Before YOB, I caught a couple of songs of Atlantis but this was not my kind of music. Three guitar players all doing riffs, no solos, a bit like Pelican style post rock meets Isis with some keyboard samples. Something like that.. Only saw 2 songs.. But damn, YOB playing Catharsis, that was cool. I had been listening to this album at work many times over the last half year and it is probably my favourite YOB record (I don’t like the new stuff at all) as it has a more spacey guitar and more solos and feels really “alive”. It was great to hear live as well. Maybe the best YOB show I have ever seen. A bit short though..

22:30 Coroner, athough I only saw the first 20mins or so before I had to go see the Finnish band Fleshpress, were really good. I had expected fast thrash metal but what we got was really cool fast and slower complex heavy metal with some spoken word samples or keyboards and just damn good songs. I wish I did not have to leave but I might never get a chance to see Fleshpress. They play so rarely live and this is one of the few shows they have ever played outside of Finland. They only played 3 songs. I filmed the first one but they got more and more intense. I am not sure how to describe them. Heavy, angry, hypnotic? Extreme.. with a name like Fleshpress, they should be. They only played 30 mins leaving us all wanting more but we were not going to get it. 

24:00 Now, our minds were just totally blown. BONG is a band that a lot of people just can’t get but damn, they were totally amazing. They played the entire new record, Mana-Yood-Sushai, which just came out. It is two long tracks and they played about 50mins even though they had 70mins. Not sure people could handle more but still disappointing to see yet another band not use even close to their allotted time. Anyway, BONG are extreme psychedelic drone doom. I really like this band a lot and they blew us away. What a way to end Roadburn 2012. My big wish for 2012 in the green room is a new sound guy. He just does not listen or watch the bands very closely, as for BONG, you could only hear one of the guitar players and the other was totally buried and the kick drum was too loud. Pity….

This was the most extreme music event, festival, days, I have ever experienced in my life. The sound was so amazing on the big stage. The best sound I ever heard live with the house guy was doing it. He really knows that you need to hear the guitar more than the drums in this kind of music and the volume was LOUD…  Roadburn continues to set the standard for music events world wide. Respect…   hope for some more psychedelic stuff next year…

So who were my favourite bands? Heavy Jam, Saturnalia temple, BONG, Farflung, La Otracina.....

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Baby Woodrose- Third Eye Surgery (Bad Afro Records)

 Lorenzo is back with another Baby Woodrose record and this will probably end up being one of my favourites due to its more psychedelic nature. The album is 9 tracks in 37 mins, with some longer tracks than is normal for BW. Very cool artwork as well. Down to the Bottom starts things off with a very cool organ driven track. I like the use of effects on the voice. Waiting for the War is a brilliant trippy track with cool conscious lyrics and an intense sound. The 2nd single off the record is called Dandelion and I just love this song. Such a cool beautiful melody and awesome lyrics, where Lorenzo trades vocals with female vocalist Emma, who sounds like a little girl but it works. The video for this track is very cool as well. See below. It’s just a Ride will remind you of Dragontears. It also features a strong keyboard line and lyrics. A really nice psychedelic middle section with nice flowing psychedelic almost eastern guitar lines. Bullshit Detector is one of the most heavy tracks with heavy fuzz guitar and nice solos, reminds me a bit of Vibravoid. Nothing is Real is the first single and a cool psychedelic track with some sitar and also features backing vocals by Emma. It has a long freaky end section (with backwards tracking, feedback, etc…). Love like a Flower features some sitar and a great fuzzy, reverb guitar the balances with the melodic vocals. The last two tracks are also the longest on the record, with Third Eye Surgery starting things off, which has a really spaced out beginning and then really rocks. Homalee ends the record by slowing things down for a more psychedelic glide to the end of your trip. Fucking excellent record. Wow…

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Zone Six- Live at Sulatron Night, Fulda 2011 (Sulatron st cdr16)

This was a quite special Zone Six show, with only Dave from the original Zone Six line up (and he plays drums, where he normally played bass in the old days and more recently, usually guitar), plus two bass players and the guitar player (from the Pancakes). The CD-r is limited to 100 copies and features 3 long tracks. All heavy and spaced out stuff. Modulfix is providing all the synth and space drones and sounds that swirl around the pulsating mix. Stoned Washed is the 21min opening jam with the basses making effects sounds (at least one), synths bubbling up here and there and the guitar cutting through the mix. Dave is being patient. It starts to take off with a far out fuzzy wah guitar still leading the way as the basses just keep it steady and focused. Now, one of the basses takes over the wah fuzz and lets Rainer really take off with some nice lead guitar work, which is sadly a bit buried in the mix. A slight eastern thread starts on the guitar and then disappears again as they move forward like a huge thick wall of wah sound. A damn intense jam. Timmee is a long 33 min track so be patient. It starts slowly with some synthesizer and a simple bass and drum line before Rainer kicks in with the effected guitar lines with a special echo sound at times. Again, the 2nd bass uses a lot of effects to thicken the sound while giving space to Rainer to freakout while, Lulu or Paul keeps a steady bass line going for Dave to drum to. 11 mins in they make a sort of stop start break that is not really that successful and Dave gets the idea that he must move from here and takes the track up tempo straight away leaving the rest of the band trying to figure out how to follow his lead…. At 17mins, just over half way, they come almost to a stop and you can hear and sense modulfix’s sounds more and then a really cool bass line kicks in and off they go again..  Around 24mins, they slow down and try to find a new direction to go and repetitive riff, groove, bass starts and they take off in another direction once again. It gets pretty intense again when it does finally end with some good soloing from Rainer. Phew.. what a journey.. Isotoxik ends the CD and I will let you check it out yourself if you can handle it! Peace.

Electric Moon- Cellular Space live Overdose 2LP (Sulatron Records str1203)

This is a new double live vinyl record by Electric moon, following up on the very successful, Flaming Lake release. This is pressed in 777 copies in a cool but simple sleeve so they can keep the price down a bit. The music is the bands favourite jams from two concerts that took place in the last half year (Fulda Sept 2011) and Darmstadt 2012). CD 1 is from Darmstadt and starts off with the Soul Feeder. IT starts off slow and spacey with just delay guitar and bass and then the drums slowly enter. At 4mins the bass really dominates the mix as Dave starts to take the track to another level. Dave just adds to the layer of intense guitar effects as the track builds and builds until the 10min point, when they change rhythm briefly. They really slow it down and space out with some nice melodic lines before they build it up again. With 6 mins left they begin to expand…. Cool jam.. The Idle Glance takes the next 22mins and starts off slowly and melodically and you can sort of hear, sense the audience talking in the background as the track builds itself up. Dave plays really cool guitar before kicking in the effects pedals and taking the music to the next level. An absolutely amazing track with really cool use of guitar effects and a nice melodic trip.

          Now onto CD2 live from Fulda and you have two long tracks as well. The Verge of Fainting starts it off. It starts with some beautiful delay wah solos and then really builds up in intensity, though not that much in pace for a while. Lulu also kicks in with some cool effects on the bass but mostly just drives the straight line forward with Alex on drums. The wall of sound becomes pretty damn intense. It eventually comes down with some long spacey delay guitars towards the end. Intense. The Spaceman returns starts really slow and beautiful and then Dave starts to take it up with a repeated riff that progressively gets more fuzzed and phased and freaky. This turns out to be quite a special jam. The end really brings it all together with these dreamy lines mixed with far out sounds  Can’t wait to see them live for the first time at Roadburn 2012!

Farflung/White Hills Split LP (Cobraside CSDLP 1163)

This release had been written about for about a year but it has finally arrived. It is pressed in 1000 copies, telling you how popular these bands are these days. I believe it was pressed in 4 colors, 3 in 300 and one color in only 100 copies. I got a red one. Side A starts off with the 11min Farflung track, Fade. It is very spaced out and has a pretty cool groove that really sucks you in as the space sounds swirl around your head and Tommy’s vocals penetrate your skull. It laters slows down and is a bit doomy but slowly builds up once again. Cool stuff and a nice journey… The White Hills track is 14mins long and starts off with some ringing bells that fades into a dark drone. It stays pretty far out with a lot of sounds and sound samples, drones, trippy segments, etc… I think a lot of people will be quite disappointed after hearing the Farflung track and hoping for some more high energy stuff but that is not what you get. A very special White Hills drone space out with a nice political message at the end. The artwork is pretty cool and tripped out with all the wording in Japanese.

Burg Herzberg Festival- At the Festival (Herzberg Verlag V-HB-42)

This is the latest festival compilation put out by Herzberg Verlag and it features tracks from a variety of years but mostly from 2011. Some of these tracks have appeared on the bands own live releases from the festival, such as Hidria Spacefolk (who will pay in 2012) and Vibravoid. The CD starts off with ELOY, who were playing on the last day in 2011, with the track Mysterious Monolith from Planets! A cool long track showing you Eloy can still really play spacey prog rock. Hidria Spacefolk raise the energy level with Radien. De Tiefe Raum, is a group I do not know at all and they sing in German, so I don’t understand it either! This is a melodic piano lead mid paced track. The new young German band, Weltaum play the track Jimsonweed in a long spacey 10 min journey of world psychedelica. The sound mix is not that good compared to the rest of the CD though, a too heavy bottom end that muddles up the rest (it was not recorded at the festival). Cool stuff. Freak City Band play the classic Who do you love. A pretty standard version if you compare to Quicksilver or Frank Marino. The Hamburg Blues band with Chris Farlowe (Colosseum) play Shaky Ground a bluesy, funky track with some great guitar work. Tito and Tarantula do a pretty cool version of After Dark. Vibravoid do a very straightforward version of Playing with Beuys. The last two tracks are by Strassenjungs. Spiesser is a funny short uptempo rock track. Immer weiter Gehn closes the CD and is a bit like the Ramones. A good overview of bands from the festival.

Motorpsycho and Ståle Storløkken- The Death Defying Unicorn (Pscyhobable 073)

This is the latest release by the creative Norwegians known as Motorpsycho. It is a double LP with a fantastic inside artwork, like nothing they have ever had in any of their other records. They are joined by keyboardist, Ståle Storløkken. They just keep progressing and really pushing themselves and challenging the norm. This is a real progressive orchestral rock record. It is inspired by Owen Chase’s, The Wreck of the Whale Ship Essex, “In the heart of the Sea” by N. Philbrick, and the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian. It opens with a very special orchestral jazz ting that leads into the psychedelic rock monster. The Hollow Lands, with these cool orchestral sections that come in and out. It really rocks at times as well. Through the Veil Part 1, starts with a really jazzy horn section (Trondheim Jazz Orchestra) and then a heavy bass line kicks in and the band really get a groove going with some cool guitar lines. Bent sings very confidently with a bit of effect on the voice. A little King Crimson like part comes in eventually as there is a lot of interaction with the horns. The keyboard solo at the end of this track is super cool. Great song. Side B starts with Part 2. It starts intensely and then gets a bit bluesy and relaxed and spaced out with a solid bass line holding it all together. Doldrums is a short keyboard horn piece that is pretty spacey and leads into the song Into the Gyre. It is a pretty melodic normal track at first but then goes into Gentle Giant like material except for the intense violin soloing as the track really gets psyched out.  Another short Storløkken compostion closes side B. Oh, Proteus- A Prayer starts side C with a slow growing spacey mysterious orchestral piece but with vocals by Snah and Bent. Sculls in Limbo sounds like a monster crawling out of the sea to attack. La Lethe is mostly an orchestral piece with high emotional content as it slowly grows with some really cool horns. It takes a long time before the rock band takes over as they are a bit dwarfed by the large sound of the orchestra. At the end a fantastic sax solo is played as the mood of the piece really shifts towards a happy feeling. Oh- Proteus- A Lament is a very short piece bringing back the sound and feeling of the opening of the side. Side D starts with the melancholy number Sharks, with nicely arranged horns and strings (Trondheim soloists 9 of them). It really grows over time and becomes very intense. Mutiny appears very abruptly out of Sharks and is another progressive hard rock track, which the record really needed at this point. It gets really cool with the orchestra battling with the horns who are taking on the drummer, who is really rocking. Into the Mystic brings things down again and closes the storybook with an uptempo track.

          Musically they have really nailed it as far as bringing across a really emotional piece of music that you could easily see set to a play or movie. The live concerts on this tour will be pretty cool and special. Sorry I did not get to see any of them.

Stone Axe/Wight Split LP (Fat and Holy Records EYE005)

This is a split LP with 2 new tracks from the German band, Wight and 3 from Stone Axe. Side A starts off with Wight’s Cosmic rhythm #2. It starts with just the bass and drums as the guitar slowly works its way into the mix and the solo part takes fold out of the left speaker and other worldy guitar sounds also float around in the background making this pretty psychedelic. Cool song with great guitar by Rene. The end reminds me of Electric Moon but with cooler bass playing. The other track is a live version of their song Wight Weedy Wight from their debut LP of the same title. This was recorded in June 2011 and it sounds a bit sterile compared to the studio album version. The track gets pretty damn cool when it slows and the guitar gets really spacey. It is still a cool track and a bit different from the original. Side B is the Stone Axe side. The last Setting Son is a nice organ driven track that starts slowly but damn, when the singing kicks in he totally reminds me of David Coverdale, circa 1975-1978. A cool slow bluesy track with a great guitar solo and passionate vocals. Slice the Darkness also starts off with organ as the drums and bass play a repetitive line over and over and then Dru starts to sing (helped by Tony). I like the way the guitar solo works its way into the mix. A very different but cool track. Transmission Part 2 ends this side and I have to say these three tracks are unlike any Stone Axe material before and all really different and cool. This tracks main rhythm is a like and old drum machine before the real drums come in with the slow piano like and some synthesizers. A weird instrumental track..

Vibravoid- Gravity Zero (Sulatron Records st1201)

          Germany psychedelic rock band, Vibravoid returns with yet another studio record. The band is really one a roll these days putting out something new every couple of months, be it a 7”, compilation tracks, live albums, etc..  This CD is 58mins long and is some of the heaviest stuff the band has ever recorded but it is not all new tracks as several of these tracks have appeared on 7” records or compilations by Fruits de Mer label. The CD contains two tracks that are not on the vinyl version. Really heavy psych! Anyway, the CD starts off with an amazing song called Gravitation Zero. It is over 13mins and starts very spaced out with strange voices, sounds, and then at 1½ mins really starts the trip. They even incorporate these strange 13th floor elevator gurgles and a other stuff. No Silver Bird is a cover song that was on a compilation album. Photosynthesis in darkness is a short 3min track and delivered in a very similar rhythm and vocals style as several Vibravoid tracks in the past and does not really seem very new but more the same but it has a very cool heavy fuzz bass and is quite psychedelic. Travelling without Moving is 1½mins of organ and spacey sounds like something off Ummagumma. Eruptions of the Green Sun is a more 60s style happy track that the band does so well. Shotgun Wedding (Eddie Cochran) follows. Get out of Here has a pretty extreme reverberation on the guitar giving it a freaky sound. Nice psychedelic effects on the voice. The White Ship (HP Lovecraft) is next. Brainplane is pretty tripped out stuff. This is the end of the vinyl LP. If you have the CD (I have both), then you can next hear La vie en Düsseldorf, a really cool 4 min track with some really nice spacey wah guitar that floats over the bass and drum line as in the left channel a trippy keyboard. A highly effected voice eventually kicks in. The 10½ min Radiation Zero takes you to the end of your musical adventure with Vibravoid. Hope you had a good trip. Vibravoid manage to create really amazing “head” music with the right sound production, catchy hooks but not too many, and great space outs… What more can a psychedelic music freak want.

Head Music Compilation (Fruits der Mer Records Crustacean 26)

This is a damn cool compilation record dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the German record label, BRAIN. It features exclusive tracks by a number of cool bands on the current psychedelic rock scene as well as a few veterans like the Bevis Frond! The liner notes are really great and tell a cool story by Ulrich Klatte, Cosmic Price guide author. The record starts off with a spoken word intro by Eroc (Grobschnitt) and goes into the Jane track, Waterfalls by Johnny Vines. Uptempo, groovy and organ driven like the original. The next two tracks are both by Amon Düül I and II, respectively, and covered by Earthling Society and Jay Tausing. The first pretty faithfully creates a similar vibe but with a more clean production and sound. Jay’s take on Surrounded by Stars though is a pretty different take on the track, more spacey than the original. Electric Moon does a very cool version of the Tangerine Dream track Madrigal Meridian. Anla Courtis does a short version of the Kraftwerk Trans Europe Express track. This is followed by a track I have never heard called Nearby Shiras by Kalackra. Vibravoid puts their own twist on this one. Palace of Swords do a short take on the Neu track, Lila Engel. The first of two CAN covers is by Saturn’s Ambush taking on I wan’t More. I really liked the La Dusseldorf LP so it was cool to hear a take of Silver Cloud by Frobisher Neck heads south by Weaving (what a hell of a band name!). The first LP side B ends with Dead Sea Apes doing the Kraftwerk track, RückstoB Gondoliero.

          Records 2, side C… Language of Light cover the Can song, Mushroom but this sounds like track 2, Bayreuth Return (Klaus Schulze) from Black Tempest. Guess they got the tracks in the wrong order on the promo CD? Anyway, this is the electronic spacey side with covers of Popul Vuh and Ney as well by Zeinth:Unto the stars and Temple Music. Side D has some of my favourite stuff. Vert:X do a cool uptempo and spacey rocking version of the Harmonia track Dino. Frobisher Neck take on Ash ra Tempel,s Schizo. Electric Orange’s cover of Lied an Zons by Arno Clauss is totally unique and super cool. Bevis Frond finish off the record with China by Electric Sandwich. Rumor has it they did a jammed out 20min version that will someday appear as well. Cool compilation..

Sorrow’s Children- The Songs of S.F. Sorrow (Fruits der Mer Records Crustacean 25)

The UK psychedelic blues rock band, The Pretty Things, released one of the first rock opera, concept albums ever back in 1968. It was highly praised as well as highly criticized but has become a classic.  Fruits de Mer records brought together some of their favourite bands to do an unique version of the record with each band taking on one song. 

SF Sorrow is Born - The Luck of Eden Hall
Bracelets of Fingers - Sky Picnic
She Says Good Morning - Sidewalk Society
Private Sorrow - Hi-Fiction Science
Balloon Burning - Langor
Death - The Seventh Ring Of Saturn
Baron Saturday - Senrab Mendips
The Journey - Extra
I See You - Earthling Society
Well of Destiny - Jay Tausig
Trust - The Gathering Grey
Old Man Going - King Penguin
Loneliest Person - The Loons 

If you are fans of these bands or the album, you will really enjoy this. The sounds really excellent. The LP ends with the actual Pretty Things performing, Loneliest Person live from the 100 club from December 2010. The label will also release a new Pretty Things 7” in May 2012. If you are a fan of this record, you will find this pretty interesting. I love the fantastic cover artwork. It is released in 700 copies on colored vinyl with no CD or download sales. Pretty exclusive. It is on sale now and due out in April 2012.

White Hills- Frying on this Rock (Thrill Jockey)

I was lucky enough to get one of the half pink half white first presses of this release. The band is back with another full length record and the songs-jams are a bit more uptempo with some killer fuzzed out space rock stuff. I think this is the best sound production they have ever had. The opening track has been on the net for a while and is called Path of Light and one of the most heavy and uptempo ones on the record with some killer fuzz wah lead solos as well. Robot Stomp is very Kraut inspired and has the same repeated bass and guitar line over and over with other sounds bubbling up from here and there. This one was totally killer live. What a cool track. This leads into the Dream you See, which I think they played in reverse order live. It has an intense fuzz phase guitar as the words are delivered in small packets before Dave lets it rip on the guitar.   Flip the pink/white record over and Song of Everything kicks in with full intensity with some more intense riffs and sounds and cool bass lines as well. They get totally spaced out with some bluesy guitar and floating wind and effected spoken words before the riff returns. Super cool song. I write a 1000 Letters is the last track.  A really different track with this like organ and fuzz guitar but a sort of dreamy drone element that pulls your attention somewhere else, while the fuzz guitar takes you the other way. I really like the new sound and feel of this record and the new drummer brings a new fresh energy. You really need to hear this one with headphones as there are layers of interesting sounds and things bubbling around that are really cool and a bit buried under the intense layers and riffs of guitar. It is a solid collection of songs that really translated great live!

White Hills- Oddity II and III (White Hills Music)

These two limited CD-Rs came out in 2012. Oddity II you were able to get when you ordered the Frying on this Rock LP from Thrill Jockey. It features around 50 mins of music including a longer version of the bands Hawkwind cover, Be Yourself. A remix of Game to Play and an outtake track heads on Fire and a brand new jam. Pretty cool stuff. Oddity III was sold for 15£ on the bands recent European tour and I was lucky to get one. It is all material that was recorded live to two track and features Antronhy on synths on the first and 5th tracks. It is a mix of spacey WH like material and with some more uptempo guitar driven moments but mostly just very spaced! Cast the Legion lightly upon it’s head starts really spaced for a long time and then they come up into a jam but it only lasts about 4 mins and ends. Still cool. Soft Forlorn Grinding is a slow three piece jam with some spacey guitar, a bit lazy vibe to it. The last track, Before Leaving Earth is a long monster space out track with all sorts of rock, space, noise things going on… Check this stuff out if you can. This track lasts nearly 20mins.. Creative people…

White Witch Canyon- S/T (Kozmik Artifactz ARTIFACT4)

This is the latest release on the Kozmik Artifactz record label. This is a totally new band for me California band from the East Bay in San Francisco area and a trio that really rocks with some downtuned jamming stoner rock. This record was independently released in December 2008 and this is the first time on vinyl. Lovely artwork on this cool gatefold record with a lyric insert. The LP starts off with The Witch, which gives you a taste for what the band deliver. A cool guitar solo mid section, some nice effects on the vocals at times to make it a bit more psychedelic. Escape Pod is next and I like the lyrics on this one. A short straightforward song. Thirty three and one third is next with a fuzzy, wah, phased out guitar to start before the heavy stoner riff kicks in. Very cool track with some cool guitar parts as well. Four Star Heretic has a very cool jamming energy and groove. Killer track and a bit like old Monster Magnet in the space section. Parasitic Stray ends the side A and has a brief Electric Funeral wah riff kick for a section to mix the song up a bit.  Boom goes the Dynamite is very Kyuss like to start but the vocal delivery is totally different. A catchy interesting song. Sell your Soul start with just some bass and melancholy vocal until the guitar and drums kick in but it maintains a melodic thread and cool groove. Great dynamics on this track with cool slow and fast parts, psych guitar, etc. Ancient Android is a high speed stoner anthem like the type that Novadriver used to write. I really liked this record a lot. Check it out if you like bluesy, slightly psychedelic stoner rock with great songs. The LP ends with a non-listed track that has a spoken word speech underwhich is some guitar effects that pulsate and reverberate back and forth. Trippy… ending with some guitar solos and screaming….

          I don’t know if the band is still active or not. This is the only web page I could find and they have not logged in in a year! Hope so…

Wooden Shjips- Remixes (Thrill Jockey Records 12.49)

This 28min 12” features three long remixes of Wooden Shjips tracks by Andy Weatherall, Kandodo (guy from the Heads) and Sonic Boom (Spaceman 3). Anyway, what about the music.  Andy remixed the track Crossing. It is slowly turns into a sort of house techno thing but really maintains that Wooden Shjips vibe just with some extra percussion-electronics. Sonic Boom took on Wiking Stew. It is really far out and sounds at the beginning like it is all being played backwards. You would never know it was WS until The B side is a side long mash up of the West LP by Kandodo from the Heads! This is a real mind trip. Starts very droning and sort of melts together and there is some guitar solo but overall it is pretty far out. It was pressed in 2500 copies and is already sold out considering how most fans will not like this very much as it is very experimental and besides the first track you would have no idea this was made up from Wooden Shjips songs. Far out..

Pharaoh Overlord- Lunar Jetman (Sige Records SIGE-012)

This record has a really cool cover and insert where the material is almost like cloth. The music on this release, let’s just call it extreme. Rodent is a totally far out piece, I don’t even know how to describe it while Palmyra Call has a really cool heavy metal guitar riff that the band really hooks into but then it becomes almost a space rock like thing with some cool guitar and a spacey sound evolving underneath. Wow… Side B starts off with a long track called the The Black Horse (on the record they say that The Cardinal starts side B with a 4min track). It gradually builds on a repetitive guitar and bass riff but there are some dark spacey elements that are fucking with your head in a subliminal kind of way. Some of this stuff reminds me of the very cool Circle related project, Ektroverde but more repetitive. I think this is the Cardinal, which is a super groovy track with all these spacey elements underneath. Killer bass on this one even though the track is very repetitive. The 2nd vinyl record features Cave of Hair parts 1 and 2, each just under 15mins apiece. The first part is pretty spaced and psychedelic due to the synths and effects as a heavy guitar riff is played every now and then along with a much more melodic and dreamy guitar. A lead guitar line eventually develops in the distance. Later on some keyboards become more prominent but are also mixed with delay and in the distance. It is a strange track as the there is no real groove but a sort of meandering with the drummer trying to fit it. It is a bit dark and brooding as a Cave of Hair should be! Part 2 is similar to part 1 as it has this heavy guitar riff, another melodic guitar line but the mood is darker and the drummer comes in at regular intervals to smash the kit. The bass is very patient as well as they build up the tension but in the end it never comes to any sort of climax and leaves you a bit disappointed but then Pharaoh Overlord is all about not doing what is expected!