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