Saturday, October 23, 2021

Kanaan- Earthbound (Jansen Records JANSEN126LP)

The Norwegian Trio, Kanaan are back with the new album. Recorded by the bass player Esk in Oslo, the album features 8 songs and a more heavy vibe, real stoner rock stuff at times but still their own unique twist to things… Prelude starts things off with a short beautiful piece of music, reminding me a bit of the new Papir material but then you take off with Return to the Tundrasphere! Has the band ever been this heavy before? I don’t think so. Cool guitar riff, heavy low end bass and powerful drums. Some great melodic parts as well, a mixture of symphonic heavy (with mellotron) and stoner. Super cool and heavy riff rock at the end of this long track. Pink Riff is a short track but super intense and quite psychedelic at times with some spacey sounds mixed in with a very intense bass and drum attack. What a blast!!  Feels almost like I am playing with them on this one! Bourdon slows things down with some effected bass and guitars and then get you get the very fuzzed out bass and guitar with some wild solos and intensity.. Mirage is a relaxing spacey piece to end the record.. 

Side B, starts with Mudboound and a heavy bass line and QOTSA guitar hook, riff and a bit of a Colour Haze vibe. The track sticks with the dirty and fuzzy sound with some occasional guitar outbursts before settling down to a spacey mid section.  Great and dynamic track. Crash is actually a slow doom drone track, who would have expected that??? No Star left Unturned sees the band going for some heavy psych rock to end this pretty intense album. Wow.. Awesome stuff..

Regen Graves- Climax (Pariah Child CD019/309)

This Italian group are back with their 4th release. I had only heard the 2nd one before getting this new one.  It features 5 tracks plus a bonus track. It comes in a really nice like dvd size digpack. The opening track is a mixture of deep bass drone, church organ and some spacey wind and sounds.  After a few minutes there is a spoken word section with some delay. Hard to understand.  As the track continues it gets more and more spaced out with different sounds flying around here and there. 10mins.. Next track starts with some spaced out sounds with long delays and then a more sequences synthesizer kicks in while the spoken words start to appear. This track has a bit more energy but is still very spaced out and intense. The Window is next and has a dark mysterious feel to it like it could be in a horror film scene. The music is quite like a more spacey and less layered Tangerine Dream. Diegetic Distortion is more noisy and experimental in nature. 

Nothing will be Better is buzzing about to start with some distant sounds of machines and other noises that and eventually a highly effected voice appears and bells and you start to get worried.  The bonus track, Heat was improvised in March 2020 and again features some sequences synth but with a programmed drum as well and some samples. It has a mid pace and nice build and is the least spaced out song and quite repetitive in nature. I really liked this stuff. Think of a more dark Tangerine Dream meets Dario Argento in a dark alley….

Sula Basana- Loop Station Drones (Sulatron st 2108)

I have been listening to these really cool tracks as Dave has added them slowly to bandcamp and really enjoyed them a lot.  These tracks are recorded live with a loop station guitar, effect pedals, 2 loop stations, 2 guitar amps, a syncable drum computer, a very old organ from GDR (Weltmeister TO 200/5), a very old synthesizer (Roland SH 5) and a modern one (Roland SE-02). 

The Roadburn haze was debuted back in April and what an awesome track this is.. A very dark and cool guitar line and quite hypnotic. Killer track. Rolling is all synth based. Die Karawane has a slow spacey start and some nice building guitar with some beautiful melodies..  Wastelandgarden is a very dark, brooding synth track with a bit of delay guitar. Dopeshuttle is very slow and droney to start. Bass sort of reverberates and some guitar effects fly around a bit here and there and a nice breeze and some SH-5 bubbles burst here and there.. and then the motorik drums kick in and off you go for an intense trip….  Stargate is another long but slow track but this one stays in drone mode with some trippy guitars and stuff all the way through. One Way is the last track and my least favourite but it has a beautiful melody and is perhaps just a bit too happy..   Great release. 

Roadburn Haze    14:59, 2. Rolling In Outer Space    5:04, 3. Die Karawane der Unsterblichen    13:41, 4. Wastelandgarden    6:41, 5. Dopeshuttle    17:45, 6. Stargate    14:05, 7. One Way    6:03

ON TRIAL- LIVE AT ROADBURN 2007 (Roadburn Records)

About a year ago I was approached by Roadburn records and asked if I was interested in contacting On Trial and also mixing this concert they played in 2007… I have been friends with the band for many years and was very familiar with their sound so I accepted the challenge and spent a month mixing all the tracks and then with the bands help and looking at the Live at Gutter Island record, we chose the tracks that would be the most different material as that live album was also from this tour. Anyway, I am very happy with the way it turned out. Great artwork, sound and performance by the band.. Check out Blood River below! If you like On Trial, you will dig it!!

ST37- Over and Over and Over Again (Pariah Child MC018, 2021)

So ST37 got a bit angry and let it out on these isolation recordings.  The limited edition tape features 3 songs (jams) on each side. The opening track reminded me a bit of the craziness of the Butthole surfers while the 2nd track starts off like if Hawkwind were even more stoned in 1971 and recorded in a low fi manner.  Crazy psychedelic soundscapes and wild jamming. Even sounds like a bit of flute in there! Later on there is a guy raving like a maniac about something!! The last track on side A, the Monster is Real continues the psychedelic mind fuck… 

Side B starts off with Observing Dust which features long guitar soloing parts and psychd out sounds. The 2nd track is another sort of mind fuck and thankfully the last track is more relaxed and almost bluesy as your brain will need a rest by this point… Phew.. Quite a powerful release.  Enjoy.. 

AGUSA- EN ANNAN VARLD LP (Kommun 2 Record)

It has been quite a few years since Agusa put out a new studio album. They have been focusing on live albums the past years, having an equal number to their studio albums. Anyway, the band is really totally different now though, with only the guitar player, Mikael, from the original band.  Tim (Drums) and Theresa (Flute) have been in the line up for some years though.  Bass player, Simon and keyboard player, Jens, are the new fresh blood. These two long tracks were recorded in sections (according to Tim) and put together to make these long tracks. IT is the bands most progressive and least folky album yet and quite impressive playing and dynamics. I love the freshness of the sound.  Awesome record….   

Electric moon meets Talea Jacta- Sabotar (Sulatron Records st 2106)

The rumour of this record has been around for quite a while and it is great that it has finally come out. In Sept 2019, the bands played two shows in Lisboa. One night both bands played one set and the next night, they all jammed together..  The band was: Pedro Pestana: Guitar, fx, Joao Pais Filipe: Drums/Percussion and Komet Lulu – Bass and effects. Pablo Carneval - Drums, Sula Bassana – Guitar, fx

So what about the music?? Three tracks are presented, 6, 14 and 20mins.  The music is quite a bit more Electric Moon than Talea music. Like Electric Moon with heavier drumming and more spaced out guitars… I would have liked if the drums were mixed higher and you could get more of the Talea groove feel but that is my preference..  Cool stuff..  A nice new musical collaboration! 

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Dark Bottle- Failed State/Police State 7” (Harava Records HRV-002)

Dark Bottle (from Finland) are back with a high energy politically charged release.  Failed State is also quite catchy, with slide and banjo but a punky vibe… Let the through be told (very rare in the USA)!!  Check out the great video below! This is what the band had to say about: “Don wrote this song while observing, from a distance but with a lot of concern, at what a mess things seem to be at the moment in the USA. We recorded it in short order at Nekala Propaganda Centre and video genius Joona Virtanen made a great video of it.”  

The B side is the song Cop Killer by Body Count but with a totally new arrangement that leans more towards psychobilly.. I wonder what Ice T thinks?? I guess he would dig it and so will you!!  Only made in 2 or 300 copies.. A very different release from some of the bands other material but damn good!!

Rob Gould plays Pawn Hearts (Fruits de Mer Records, Friends of the Fish 51CD)

This is not the first release on Fruits to recreate a classic album from the 70s.  Here we have the 50th anniversary of the Van der Graaf Generator album recreated by Rob and collaborators Cary Grace, Brazilian band ‘Dr. Fantastico’ and The Purple Gang’s Chris Joe Beard. Here is some background info:   Keyboard player and composer, Rob Gould, has already written and recorded 13 solo albums, not to mention an album’s worth of tracks that he’s recorded for Fruits De Mer Records - all cover versions - ranging from Pink Floyd's 'A Saucerful of Secrets', The Beatles' 'Tomorrow Never Knows', Manfred Mann's 'Funniest Gig' to two David Bowie songs, appearing on various FdM projects over the years.

I have to say I have never heard the original. VDGG and ELP since they did not have a of guitar, I never really got into them. Clearly this album had more or Rob and the gang added quite a bit of guitar.  The album starts with the Lemmings (incluidng Cogs) and some beautiful piano and floating synthesizer followed by the bass. About 1.5 minutes in the drums kick in and off we go, with first vocals (mixed quite low at first, as you hardly can make out the words until the chorus, then they sort it out). After about 6mins it gets quite psychedelic with a lot of cool instrument experimentation. Around 8mins we return back to the main theme of sorts and the vocals are back in full. What an amazing spacey track in the end.  Lovely… Man Erg is next for another 10mins. This is classic early 70s prog with the organ dominating the sound until 3mins and then things start to change in more interesting ways and there is a beautiful keyboard solo (actually multiple) that follows.  Quite a track and very different from the first one. The final 26 min track starts slow and spacey with some nice piano playing. A surprise is to hear Carry sing but why not! It is great that they are not trying to do an exact copy of the record but a really cool interpretation.  What a great release…  Only made in 150 copies on CD (at least for now)..

Mongolito- Pure (Hau Ruck! – HR!138)

Just got this in the mail from Albin Julius label, and has usual, there is no information so you have to do some research to find out a bit about these mysterious acts that he releases. This is a solo project by Marc de Backer, best know from Mucky Pup and Dog eat Dog, Mongolito and recently Wolvenest! This is the 9th release (15 on bandcamp) he has made He plays nearly all the instruments except the drums, a little bass and synth (DéHa). The CD features6 tracks in about 40mins. Baclanova starts with a nice melodic guitar and some droning synths and a really nice vibe. A bit over 3mins the drums kicks in and the track becomes mid tempo with two guitar riffs now as it builds and gets a bit heavier. Amazing track. The Death of yet another Dream starts slow with a sort of happy mood but quickly a sort of large epic soundscape begins to emerge. Another moving emotional track.. Ultrasolution starts with some mellotron choir voices and guitar. A spaced out voice makes a brief appearance before fading away into the void of the song only to reappear now and then. Spacey stuff but a similar guitar sound to the other two tracks. The guitar gradually becomes dominant and a bit like David Gilmour at times, saying a lot with few notes.  nice music to just float away to. Years of Nothingness starts with a bass synth drone and drums.  “Repeat after me… all these years of Nothingness……”  a more trippy track than the others but a cool mood. I dug that.. Slowly is one of the more heavy tracks with a nice wah solo and heavy riff. Later on their is a synth solo followed by a more wild guitar solo while the rhythm guitar plays more or less the same riff over and over.. The title track ends this album with another short guitar driven instrumental. Great album. I was really surprised how much I liked it. Check it out for sure!

The Insektlife Cycle- Superstrung (Friends of Fish 48)

The info below was supplied by the record label. The Insektlife Cycle are an instrumental rock group based in Pateros Metro Manila, Philippines, formed in 2013 by members of the bands Hateure & Barabbas. They have already released singles with Fruits de Mer Records and an album with Sugarbush Records. Their new four-track EP is being released by Fruits de Mer Records as a super-limited 8” lathe-cut (just 100 copies worldwide). The band describe it as, “a sonic work of instrumental heavy psych and modern blues in sunshine acid” The record has been engineered by guitarist Ronnel Vivo and produced by the band. It will also be released in the Philippines by local label PAWN Records on cassette.
The lathe-cuts are being made by Phil at 

 As for the music the CD features 4 short instrumental tracks with some intense lead guitar on the opening track, Old Year’s Eve. It is based on a pretty heavy bass and guitar riff but some keyboard is mixed in. Superstrung! kicks in fast and again with the same sounding heavy bass and drums a bit more up front in the mix and guitar a bit back but also some nice lead runs. These tracks all feel like excerpts from longer jams and not really focused tracks. These first two could be from the same jam.. It has that feel to it.. Sol Velvet changes the mood with some nice synths underneath the bass and drums. The guitar is more melodic as well. Recline is a relaxed track with a nice almost surf vibe in a way… anyway good spacey beach music. It would have been nice if the synths-keyboards were mixed a wee bit higher… Cool stuff. I had never heard these guys. The 8” lathe will also come with a limited CD with two extra tracks, I am told. This is going to be rare.. Only 50 tapes and 80 8”s…. 

Monday, August 23, 2021

I Spy- Toca. da Raposa, Portugal Aug 21st, 2021

Andy Shades
Toca. da Raposa is a local camping site run by a lovely Belgian lady, Meike and they are usually sold out all summer long.  She likes to have live music a few times a month. Doctors of Space (my duo with Martin Weaver) were supposed to play there in March 2020 then covid fucked it all up. I asked about playing again and did not get a straight answer.  I think everyone is asking her to play there as it is one of the few places having some live music.

Anyway, there was a lot of people that I knew there and the band was set up on the patio area where they do pizzas on weds. Band was in a good mood and the sound was much better even though the left speaker was giving some distortion due to surges in the electricity (this is what I was told) and that was annoying.   

The band started about 20:30 and played one 45min set and took a break. I filmed one of the songs, about not believing science and what you are told about covid (see below).  A lot of Andy’s songs are political or ecological in nature and the music is pretty high energy except when they do into their lounge jazz mode and he plays the saxophone.  I wish the drummer was not so laid back all the time, it would push the music into a more rock direction if he played with more force.  Anyway, it was a good mix of funky, jazzy, rock songs, all originals.   People and kids were dancing and having a great time. A couple of locals came up and did some singing-rapping during a couple of instrumental parts. I had a really good time. 

Two locals who were singing, rapping a bit.

Intro Jam
Intro Jazz jam

Andy had a briefcase with some of this releases, none of which I had ever seen.  He says he has made 12 albums under lots of different names, Us, Andy Shades, Fie Fi Foe and a few others.  I should have taken a picture of them.  Anyway, here is a video of one of the new songs as mentioned above.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Expo 70- Evolution (ESSENCE MUSIC SS030)

Expo 70 is a very prolific group from the mid-west US lead by Justin Wright.
  Some of their albums are released on a Brazilian label what also released Acid Mothers Temple, Spacious Mind, Nadja, Merzbow and many others.   I have only heard a few but I have really dug everything by this band so far.  This CD is complied from jams that took place in 2013 (Tracks 1-2) and 2017 (3-6).  Justin plays the guitars and synths, Aaron Osbourne on bass/percussion and for the 2013 session it was Mike Vera on drums and the later Chris Fugitt.  The CD opens up with Sucking the Chrome of a Tailpipe/Nebula Raga and one of the heaviest things I have ever heard by the band. The opening riff is a real blast back to the Kyuss sound but then they diverge but still keep it heavy.  Later this is some intense double tracked lead guitars that give it quite a psychedelic flavour.  What a great 9 and a half minute track.  The Slow Death of Tomorrow, starts slow and spacey with a low drone and some wind before the saxophone (no one is credited so perhaps it is synth based?) compliments the low drone.  Quite a change….  Chrome Finger tips starts slow and spacey and has a different sound production and is a sort of intro to Echoes of Ether which is a heavy doomy affair. Reminds me a bit of Sleep/Arc of Ascent style riffing until the guitar solo section which is fuzzed out and comes in sort bursts as he returns to the heavy riff every now and again.  Gets more psyched out at the end with some intense drumming. Second Vision, First Sight  is a bit hypnotic to start and much less heavy but that changes as the heavy riff is more in the background and the wah guitar with some delay is more in the front on this mix.  The CD ends with First Vision, Second Sight ends this record in a very heavy way that it started with a very stoney, doom riff fest and some nice soloing on the top..  Cool album and heavier than I had expected…  This is released on CD and vinyl (which has different artwork).  Great album…

Superfjord- For the Moment Vol 1 (Fruits de Mer strange fish 24)

Superfjord is a very good Finnish band with some progressive and psychedelic tendencies. The band has a couple of full length and 7” releases out.  This is the first in a series of live recordings to be released to show case a bit of improvisation that the band does live.  The 3 tracks here were recorded at Helsinki´s G lively in Jan 2020.  The CD starts off with Moment 1 which is quite jazzy with some nice piano playing as the rest of the band slowly follows the lead. A bit of delay guitar here and there and then synths make it a bit spacey while the drums, bass and piano make it jazzy and increase the energy a bit. There is a really nice stereo separation of the instruments that sounds great on my 5.1 system with the two guitar well split left and right. The track is really getting quite intense by 5 mins as the jam progresses. At 7mins Olavi comes in and plays a long sax solo which then becomes the focus til the end.  Moment 2 starts with the synth taking the lead and then the sax as the beat and groove slowly build.  It is a very dynamic track but then drops down to just sax and a few instruments in the middle for a bit before building back up again. Great track… Around 9 mins, after a short vocal section, they seem not sure where to go but they find a new direction that then fades out but is cleary the same jam that continues into the track Rainbow which is a quite happy guitar lead track to start. Nice melody and also some vocals about Rainbows. Great guitar on this one and more uptempo until the band spaces at 10mins or with a bit more sax before building up again after 13mins into something very hypnotic and CIRCLE inspired. This is the longest track over 19mins before it fades out.  Also some great bass lines cut through the mix nicely at times. Can’t wait to hear the next volume…

The band on this release is:

Sampo Fagerlund: drums, percussion
Mikko Kapanen: vocals, guitars
Juho Ojala: vocals, keyboards, synthesizers
Jussi Ristikaarto: vocals, guitars, electronics, percussion
Teemu Soininen: bass
Olavi Töyli: tenor saxophone, percussion

Music for Amphibians (Fruits de Mer, friends of the fish promoCD13)


FdM club members get quite a few cool complication CDs each year which often features current FdM label artists or ones that might appear in the future. This CD features 15 artists most of which I am not familiar with at all except Alain Pire, Vert-x and Vibravoid!  

Seven Rivers of Fire- Very nice solo instrumental acoustic guitar track

The Superstars- starts with piano and vocals and then drums and a bit of guitar kick in as the track picks up tempo. Intense piano playing and a unique voice. 

The Hologram People- Dreamy with some acoustic guitar, keyboards. Floating..

Jim Griffin- Some spacey sounds, then the drums and bass groove kick in and synths becomes more intense and layered. At last the guitar.  Laid back space rock..

Silver Vials- The most guitar intense track so far, with a drone feel but off into space we go following that lovely guitar lead…

The Strange Happenings- A bit like Reefus Moons.. Anyway,, a great 60s psych song feel. 

Alain Pire Experience- A bit more rock and roll for you… 

Vibravoid- Wehrhahn Wah Wah a track from the next studio album and more synth based than normal.  Something new in their sound.. Cool..

Jeremy-  This is an uptempo rock and roll track with some really nice guitar. Love the way it cuts through the sound and the synths bubble and girgle in the background. 

Revbjelde- Some quite loud bursts of bass sounds over a synth sequence.  One of the more experimental pieces for sure. 

Magnus Josefsson-  This is a nice melodic guitar driven track with a beautiful melody.  Makes you smile. 

Thought Bubble- A bit of an eastern feel on this psych track. Keeps you on edge…

St Kraut- Hypnotic, strange sound production, mostly guitar driven. 

Vert-X-  After a spaced out start, super intense motorik space rock… as expected..

Palooka 5- This is a track that will surprise the hell out of you. Wow… hard to describe. Unique.

Pindhar- Parallel (Fruits de Mer, friends of the fish 44)

I have never heard of this Italian band before so had no idea what to expect. It is an art rock/trip-hop project by Cecilia Miradoli and Max Tarenzi and produced by Howie B. I guess he is famous?? The album features 8 diverse tracks and starts off with Anacreonte which starts spacey with a sort of suppressed synth sequence as the vocal (very unique voice) steals your focus. Slowly other instrumentation joins, deep bass, synths, etc..  Quite a dark track but then these strange pop vocal melodies.  Hum..  Anyway, this is a real odd ball release for Fruits de Mer and at least this is far too close to pop music (although very experimental at times) that I can’t get into it.. Sorry….

I Spy- Valezim, Portugal Aug 7th 2021

Andy Shades is the leader of this band and has a home studio at his house. I have visited him a few times and watched the band rehearse once. This was their debut show with this line up.  They play all original music with some instrumental tracks being mostly improvisation where Andy plays sax instead of acoustic guitar.  Anyway, it was 5€ that you paid at the parking lot.  The concert was in an amazing location on a private farm land and about 40-50 people showed up.  They were making pizzas for 6€ (margarita or zucchini-mushroom) and served small glasses of wine (100ml) or beer (150ml) for 1€. 

View from stage area into the mountains
Band was scheduled to start at 21 and sort of did but they wanted to wait until all the pizzas were served. Anyway, they started off just Andy and the drummer jamming to the music his friend was playing on the PA and then Larry joined, then the bass player and finally the guitar player and they did a couple of jazz inspired jams.  The real set began when Andy strapped on his acoustic guitar which he would viciously strum over the next 90mins. He had some problem with getting shocked by the microphone and this was really pissing him off. He was barefoot. They tried to cover the mic with cloth but then it got wet and he got a worse shock. He was given some Kroc sandals and now he was not in contact with the ground and no more shocks.  This worked for a while and then he hated the Kroc’s and played on top of the kick drum case top. 

Anyway, sound was pretty good but could not really hear the kick drum or snare hardly at all and sometimes Andy was just too dominate in the mix both vocally and his guitar.  Played a lot of politically charged songs, people were dancing and enjoying themselves on this amazing but cool night in the mountains under the clear sky with amazing stars.  I had a good time and met people I know like Larry (who plays the amazing keyboards) and his family, Carlos, Will and his wife, Duncan and Hannah, and a few others… 

The main bummer of the evening was I was probably the only person in the audience that was vaccinated and this was worrying.  I tried to keep my distance and dance and have a good time and not think about that too much….  I for sure would go see I Spy again… I did not see the entire show and left at 23...

Set List:

Intro Jams (Several light jazzy stuff)



Trust that Feeling

A Drop in the Ocean


When will it End

Always Break the Rules

Leap of Faith

Wild Embrace

Got to Give it Away




No Business

Good World


Waiting for the Man


Monday, July 12, 2021

Babysitting a band on the Rocks by GD Praetorius (Sonicbond Publishing)

This is a bit of a strange book but pretty fun to read.  This is a guy from the NYC area who was really into rock and roll (first real concert was CSNY 1974) and into Jethro Tull!!  He knew he had to do something with rock music and was totally obsessed with music so by 1979, he had made the decision that he was not going to play music but get into management.  This book tells the story of him meeting Ian Anderson finally in 1982 and basically him being quite unfriendly, despite him being the hugest fan of the band. 

The next few chapters are quite interesting (after his few months with a dysfunctional Aerosmith without Joe Perry in 1979-80. Tough time for a band that was playing stadiums and now small clubs.  After this he goes into quite a lot of detail of what was required to manage a major concert venue (Calderone Hall) with a capacity of 2500 or so people.  All the details of how shows are set up, run, load in and load out, what you had to do for the bands, etc..   One of this jobs when Pink Floyd did a run of 6 shows of the WALL, was to pick the band up in his car each evening from a heliport near by.  Fun and he was only like 23 years old…

Eventually, his company that he was part of start doing bigger areas shows in the early 80s and this is a big step up in making these shows happen without problems and it sounds like really hard work and you really have to have dedicated people to pull this all off without problems. I think some people might not find this that interesting. I did though…

Next he describes working with some of the promoters, managers and band folk for Van Halen, AC/DC, YES, Judas Priest, etc.. The last few chapters I did not really find added that much more to the story and felt a bit like filler. Overall, I enjoyed reading the book and I think if you are interested in what it was like to manage a venue, be a tour manager, then you will get some good insight and enjoy this but if you just want good rock stories and dirt.. This book has some but not enough for you, probably. 

Sendelica- And Man created God (Fruits de Mer Records Regal Crabomophone winkle 44.)

This album really blew me away. I have not heard all their albums but after 4 listens, I this has to rank up their with the bands best work. It has 8 tracks and they just flow and ebb and love the guitar work and synths... this is a record that will for sure make my top 20 for 2021!!

Here is what they had to say about the record: 

“Finishing the Cromlech IV album in 2019 not only brought to an end a series of albums that were not only based around the Cromlech at Mwnci studios but also brought about a conclusion to the way we had recorded those albums. Those four albums, along with 'Lilacs Out Of The Deadlands' album, had been recorded over long weekends at the residential Mwnci recording studio with a selection of invited friends in a very 70's commnal setting of improvisation.

We began recording sessions for 'And Man Created God' early in 2019 with just the four core members of Sendelica and continued through the great lockdown of 2020 in a very remote manner which ended up befitting the pandemic that engulfed us all in 2020. Although we were no longer at Mwnci studio, the spirit of the Cromlech seemed to follow us into the new album as the tracks began to form around the ideas of religion and beliefs in the history of humans.

A few years ago in a Spanish cave, archealogists uncovered a grave of a neanderthal toddler and around the bones of this young child were many animal bones and a rhinoceros skull which showed some kind of belief/religious symbolism surrounding the child's burial. There is a disagreement among archaelogists and anthropologists as to how, and why, such beliefs came about. Some argue that there is a biological explanation for a belief in God, while others argue that it is evolutionary adaption or perhaps just a neurological accident based around the need to instill some kind of order and stability to a bewildering world.  One thing for sure is that religious beliefs can inspire collective collaborations on enormous, labour intensive, scales. from ancient burial mounds and giant stone circles to sky reaching Christian cathedrals to gravity defying domed mosques.  At the time of the birth of Christianity the world was in ferment, the Middle East and Asian societies were rife with gods and messiahs, the belief in, and worship of, a superhuman entity, a real need for a personal God.  Christians believe that God created Man in his own image, but it can be equally argued that the development of mankind caused Man to Create God in his own image as something to to mould to their own requirements. Their own personal God to twist and manipulate to their own ever changing needs, in an ever changing world”. 

The band on this release was: Pete Bingham – guitars and noises, Colin Consterdine – beats, keyboards and electronics, Lee Relfe – sax, Glenda Pescado – bass and Elfin Bow (vocals track 8). 

Sendelica Bandcamp

Focus- In the 70s by Stephen Lambe (Sonicbond Publishing)

I really like focus. I have all their 70s vinyl records and seen them a few times in the 2010-2015 period.  The author is quite open about his opinion of how hit and miss their material was and this was clearly a band that was really great live even though Jan Ackerman, was a great improviser, while This, did not really like to jam. These two main guys in the band, were never good friends or saw music the same so they had a lot of personal problems throughout the history of the band, especially after the split after the first record, when the drummer and bass player (who Thiis.) had played with since 1968 together, were sacked and replaced with the drummer that Jan had played a lot with and several different bass players for the next few years.  The authors is good about giving all the history of what was going on in a terse way between the albums. He also discussed the 6 solo albums each that Jan and Thiis made in the 70s, in the order they were released. 

He has a lot of nice detailed comments about the different versions of the albums that exists and edits as the early records were different in different countries and the CD versions, some times were all messed up.  There is a small picture gallery with some of the different artwork covers shown and some live and studio pictures of the band.  The 50th Anniversary Edition Box set sounds like it is a must have for fans based on the input he uses from this box set in the book. 

The author of course goes through each track from each album and he is surprisingly critical of many of the tracks, which makes you believe, he only really loves some of the bands tracks and that there is way too much filler in many ways.  It is a band where two of the guys did not like each other at all and did not even record in the studio together (often) for their albums.  For me, this would be a really hard situation to be in a band with someone I did not get along with at all and do that for years live and in the studio.  The bands last concert was in August 1978 (before getting back together 25 years later). 

While reading this book I listened to all the Focus albums that I own this week. That was fun to hear them. The live one is great and a lot of Focus 3 as well. A very interesting book and I was surprised to find out how popular the solo albums were with several being top 10 albums for Thijs and Jan. Quite an interesting story. If you like Focus you will learn a lot for sure. Well done.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Delvíng- Hirshbrunnen (Stickman Records Psyhobabble 118)

Delvíng is a solo album by Elder lead singer and guitarist, Nick DíSalvo. He plays all the instruments except some guitar on tracks 3, 5 and 7 by Michael Risberg (Elder).  I am really surprised how good a drummer he is on many of these tracks.  The album is about an hour long and 7 tracks.  It is quite a diverse collection of songs starting off with Ultramarine.  I was quite surprised by the opening grand piano piece. Simple but setting the mood the way the last notes fade into some spacey synthesizers and then the drums and bass kicks in and the mood is changed a lot. Nicks distinct guitar tone and the groove reminds me a bit of Papir, the Danish band on the same label. Nice counterpoint with the synthesizer.  The piano returns and you think it is ending again but no, some spacey synths and the track gets a bit more heavy and the guitar takes the lead with some melodic lines. Delvíng is a mid-paced track with a good drive and more guitar driven although you can hear synths in the background mixed quite low that compliment the main melody. Not a lot of ripping guitar solo work, yet. This track has a bit more of an Elder like stamp on it.  The Reflecting Pool is one of the 3 tracks with Michael playing guitar. It has a nice bass and drum line, melodic post rock like guitar line, then the synth starts to float in and the guitar line becomes guitar keyboard like. Good energy and great melodies. At 3:40 the piano is played briefly before a sequenced modular synth (sounds like it anyway) starts to arppegiate and a new phase of the song begins and is more synth oriented and a lot of spacey sounds. Super nice. Great stuff. 

Wait and See has a sort of darker mood to it with a steady drum and bass and focus to start on the keyboard lines with the guitar coming in after a couple of minutes but mainly playing accents to the keys. Around 4mins the mellotron like keyboard comes in and the drums stop for 20 seconds and then it comes back a bit more intense with the first real rocking guitar solo of the LP so far. The title track is next and starts very spacey and floating, a good contrast to the mood of the previous track. After a bit more than a minute the melodic guitar line kicks in (perhaps Michael?).  This is a beautiful track.  Éinstúrzende Plattenbauten changes the vibe completely and is more experimental psychedelic, especially at the start and then the drums fade up and off we go. Kraut like rhythm and then the guitar and layers of synths help you to disappear into the piece. Just too short though as I was totally into it and it ends before 4 mins. The album ends with the long track called Vast and for me this was the highlight of the album. A true musical masterpiece.  Great work Nick… loved it!!! Check out the great interview with Nick to learn more about this project.

HEAD RUSH COMPILATION 3CD (Fruits de Mer Records Strange Fish 22)

Fruits is back with another monster compilation record (triple LP and bonus CD set). This follows the Krautrock path that the 2012 compilation called Head Music started.  It features some of labels fave artists like Jay Tausing, Moon Goose, Icarus Peel,  but mostly it is a lot of new artists, which is cool. Including my friend Vince Corey (has both a solo track and one with his group Sonic Trip Project. CD1 starts with Giacomo & Carolina and a track called  Sunrise, part 7. It has some deep bass and a melodic synth line and drums. This plays a repeated riff and then starts to diversify.  Happy music. Silver Vials kick the energy up a bit with Follow the Sun. Neu like. The vocal is quite spacey. Nice track. Das Blaue Palais, also go for a Neu like groove with their track Zeitfeld. Spacey synths, some nice pause sections and then off we go again. Some guitar becomes more dominant later, which was great.. The Love Explosion perform one of the shorter tracks (4mins) called Anarchy! It starts with acoustic guitar and is pretty melodic. David Oakes (the Sahara) is a slow synth and drum machine track. Slowly more layers are added and it maintains a sort of dark feeling to it. This track becomes really cool later on with a sort of desert feeling when the guitar takes the lead. Sonic Trip Project do a long track called Getaway, which also has this same Neu drum groove that is very popular. The track focuses on the synth to start and then Vince comes in with his guitar but no solos on this track, which is just riff city for 10mins! Spacey end. Moon Goose lay down a track called Shiny Man. This has a strange highly effected voice and is quite rocking for the first 2.5 mins and then it spaces out and returns to the rock! Oslo Tapes starts with a kick drum and then the synth drone kicks in and vocoder voice speaks… Obsession is the Mother of it All. The beat becomes more techno like as the drone starts to really pulsate and some bells are thrown in to fuck with your head as they repeat the same words over and over.  Drums get more complex after 1.5 mins. I got pretty sucked into this one. Jay Tausig ends the CD with Ecstatic Engines. Lovely lead synth playing on this one and sounds like real drums and not programmed. Jay is a musical genius. So creative. Great of course. 

CD2 (Sides 4-6) features longer tracks and starts off with Sons of Ohm.  Telefunken Baby, has some analog synth bubbles as the guitar line slowly fades up and off we go. While the guitar line remains much the same, the synths lead the way with bubbles and smooth pads, and solos. Alber Jupiter starts off with a bass line and then the Neu drums kick in. This one is super repetitive with the drums and bass. Guitars are quite nice after a bit. Just go with the flow… The Lost Stoned Pandas created a track that starts with a sample called Motorik Wah Nine, and yes.. features a lot of wah guitar. The drums are thin and weak in the sound, which is a pity as this track could have had some balls. It is all about the wah guitar on this one!! Great track and I got totally sucked into the groove. Motorik are next with a track called Tyrants!  Very repetitive groove so focus on the guitar or you go crazy. Some nice heavier guitars mix things up about 4mins in. This sort of Neu groove is very popular on this compilation. Culto al Qondor from Peru stat off spacey, then the bass line starts, then the kick drum and delay guitar and off we go with a very long repeated section before a lot starts to change very subtly. Slowly a spaced out voice is used to create some psychedelic atmospheres as you get drawn into the madness. The rhythm and beat is quite the same for a very long time but then drums start to throw in little fills here and there to mix it up. Cool stuff. Psychic Lemon close out side 6 or CD2 with one called Jam 7. The Neu rhythm is running in the background under a slowly developing flange guitar line.  Quite hypnotic..

The Bonus CD features Taras Bulba (ex-Earthiing Society folk) get 2 tracks, Vince Cory (Sonic Trip Project), Audio Cologne Project, Icarus Peel, Psychic Lemon (jam 5) and a long amazing version of Watussi by the Legendary Flower Punk from St. Petersburg!  Great stuff.. Highly recommended.

Friday, June 18, 2021

ELARA SUNSTREAK BAND- Vostok 1 (Sulatron Records st 2104)

I have not heard of this band from the south of German, the band is a three piece and dig long songs! They released one other album on the PsykA label in 2017. This double LP features just 4 songs between 16 and 19mins long. The band is: Daniel Wieland: Bass, Vocals, Martin Wieland: Drums, Percussion , Felix Schmidt: Guitars, Effects with guest vocals on "Vostok 1“ by Felix Seyboth and Hammond organ and Mellotron by Christian Wick. Nexus starts things off with a bit of a drone and then some heavy guitar riff and short solo before the first vocal section. The vocals reminds me of Igor from Stoned Jesus! Most of the first part is focused on the guitar soloing which is very good and a lot of variety as Daniel and Martin keep things steady and leave a good platform for Felix. The middle until the end section features a sitar like guitar (perhaps the Ravi pedal, as no sitar is credited).  A nice eastern feel with a drone, sitar guitar, more laid back drums that drones off in the end. On a Drink with Jim starts slowly with mainly just guitar and then the hammond comes in and this changes the vibe a lot. Some nice spacey effects as well. Lovely vocal. Not sure who Jim is though?? Great track. 

Vostock 1 starts with the bass guitar and bit of delay and then the drums join in slowly but this ends soon and the track gets heavy and features some intense vocals and then wah solos!!!  The music is a bit like a more jammed out Stoned Jesus in some ways as well before SJ became a bit too mainstream sounding. Lots of great dynamics and a good melodic thread to this one. Orange October ends this album and starts off quite melodic. The sitar guitar returns about 4mins into the track. This is the most laid back track on the album and a good way to finish.  Great job guys. 

Fans of Stoned Jesus will dig this album for sure.


1 Nexus 19:44
2 On a Drink With Jim 16:13
3 Vostok 1 19:16
4 Orange October 17:06

GONG- Every Album, Every Song (Sonic Bond Publishing)

This could be a challenging book to write in some ways as there were so many versions of GONG and do you cover all of them or just the “real” GONG- GONG, Pierre Morlen’s GONG, NY GONG, Mother GONG, Paragong, Planet GONG…..  Well, the author, Kevan Furbank, has opted to only cover the albums by the band called GONG. All the other versions are discussed but in just a few pages at the back of the book. 

My favourite era of GONG is like most people 1971-1974- The Trilogy era and if you have read some other books on GONG, you might already know a lot of the details that are discussed before he goes into depth about each and every track and what key it was played it and many other details that I did not know. In recent years deluxe versions of the many albums have been embellished with extra tracks and he spends quite a bit of text going into details about these extra tracks or outtake versions, etc.. I found that very interesting as I don’t have all these versions. 

After Expresso II in 1978, there were no official band releases until the 1992 Shapeshifter album, which would bring together some of the original members (David, Didier, Gilli, Mike as well as folks from the Here and Now band. I got to see them twice in 1995 and it was a great tour with David, Gilli, Mike, Steffi, and Pip.. The next studio record was not until 2000 though.  After the discussion of Zero to Infinity, there is a large picture gallery of album covers and rare photos of the band. 

I should mention that all the different live albums are not discussed in detail in the book and pretty much only Live etc.. in detail.  As mentioned before, Pierre Morlens GONG and Mother GONG get about 5 pages or so each and then a lot but not all the other GONG related records are listed and some discussed in more details than others.  Too discuss all of it would make the book twice the size as GONG has had many members and solo projects, etc..

Anyway, I enjoyed the book a lot it made me want to go back and hear some GONG! If you are a fan, you will for sure learn a lot.  I did…

The Limit- Caveman Logic (Svart Records)

This is a sort of strange super group of folks from Pentagram (Bobby), The Stooges (Jimmy Recca), Sonny Vincent (Testers and he wrote nearly all the songs), and two Portuguese guys (Hugo Conim and João Pedro Ventura (Dawnrider).  I have to say it is quite a hit and miss LP for me. While I like some of the songs like Over Rover, Caveman Logic and the moody Death of my Soul. A lot of it is pretty generic straight up high energy rock and roll stuff. A bit too polished, perfected and sing along chorus stuff that has all been done much better by others.  I had hoped for something a bit more unique… It is a ok album and you can crank it up LOUD and enjoy it but after hearing it 5 times now, I still not really taken but it.  Who knows if they will play live this group.. 

Friday, June 4, 2021

UFO- Every Album, Every Song (Sonic Bond Publishing)

UFO is one of my favourite 70s bands and I loved them in the early 80s when I first got to see them live quite a few times in 1981-1986.  I was really looking forward to read this book.  It was totally taken by surprise by how much the author (Richard James) hates the first three albums. I really dig them and the playing is great. The fact that Mick Bolton is more blues based and not as complex player as Schenker, puts him in the bottom ranks according to the author. I have a lot of friends who the first 3 UFO albums are the best because they are a bit spacey, psychedelic and raw jamming rock music. Pete Way and Andy Parker are also incredible with some great grooves and killer bass lines.  Anyway… if you like the early UFO, you will hate this part of the book. He does not really give them a chance.. all pretty negative stuff.

The Schenker era is covered most thoroughly, as would be expected.  It was nice to see the extra tracks from the deluxe editions discussed in details. Despite owning all the UFO LPS or CDs, I don’t have these remasters with the extra tracks so I have never heard some of the rare tracks like (Give her the Gun, Sweet Little Thing, 16 from Phenomenon era (2 of these were released on a 7”), A million Miles (Force It). See the video below.

NO Heavy Petting is one of my favourite UFO albums and I was surprised that there were 5 unreleased tracks from this recording session, the only one with keyboard player Danny Peyronel.  All Or Nothing’ (Marriot/Lane- Small Faces), Have You Seen Me Lately Joan’ (Frankie Miller), French Kisses’ (UFO), Do It If You Can’ (UFO), All The Strings (Peyronel).  There were no extra tracks from Lights Out or Obsession. 


The Strangers in the Night section is very interesting as well as the recent large box set with all shows was released. The details about how Mother Mary and This Kids were actually completely recorded in the studio with dubbed audience was interesting to find more about.  I was surprised that it was not discussed what Pete Way said in his book, as he claims that he redid almost all of this bass and Schenker did many lead overdubs and most of the vocals were redone in the studio as well.  I know this is considered one of the best live albums ever like Thin Lizzy Live and Dangerous but neither are totally live albums since so much of it was redone in the studio.  Anyway, Richard goes through all 8 concerts and gives some details about what is different from each show, very little actually. 

As you head into the 80s there is a section with a lot of the album covers and some nice pictures of different eras of the band as well.  This was when I saw the band quite a bit (1981-1982- 4x).  I loved Mechanix and a lot of Wild Willing and the Innocent!  From 1983 (Making Contact) through most of the 80s was a tough time for UFO, as it was all down hill. Headline act in 10,000 people arenas to playing in bars and clubs again but 1985-86.  The studio albums were very patchy as well. By Misdemeanour in 1985, Phil Moog was the only original member left in the band!!  

Schenker actually came back and made 3 more records with the band with Walk on Water being my favourite one.  These are described well.  The next era is one of a lot more stability with Vinnie Moore, who has been a constant in the band for nearly 20 years now. A lot of good hard rocking albums have been made and each tour, a few of these songs are showcased but sadly, the band for the last 40 years has mostly played the same concert every night with a few token tracks from whatever was the latest record and then just selections from Strangers in the Night, with only a few exceptions. 

Richard, is pretty critical and not as kind or fair as many of the authors of these books and injects a lot of his own personal less objective opinions. Some people might not like this but otherwise, this is a very informative book about one of the best hard rock bands of the 70s!!   Enjoy.. Fun book.