Thursday, December 22, 2022

The best of 2022...perhaps...

I am not sure how many albums from 2022 I heard, but for sure far less than 2021. Did not have the money to buy as many this year and will buy even less in 2023, I am sure.   The studio has really become a priority and time sitting and absorbing music is less and less for now.  Anyway, as lists go it is super hard to say what was the best but these were for sure the ones I heard the most and the top ones, ones I really got into...  Music is a different emotional experience for each person.  I of course loved a lot of the records that I put out and was part of this year but I do not include them in the list. Thanks to everyone who still follows the blog. Peace, love and lets hope 2023 can have more good than bad news.... 

  1. Wo Fat- The Singularity  (Ripple Music)……  it took Ken and Michael some years but man, what an album did they come up with. Long epic tracks that mix everything that is great about the band.  Loved this one…..

  2. Eric Wagner- In the Early Light of Mourning ….. sadly, Eric was an anti-vacine guy and caught covid and died and never got to see the great response to his first and last solo album. The team he had on this record was fantastic and the songs, wow.. as good as any old Trouble songs in many ways..  Just amazing stuff…

  3. Stone Axe- Stay of Execution (Ripple)……  While this is not new stuff, about half the material is unreleased and the other from rare 7” tracks.  This is the best thing the band ever released and that song, The Last Setting sun, wow.. just amazing song..  I am still blown away that their singer, Dru Brinkerhoff, is not more well known and sought out.  The guy has a killer voice..

  4. Gas Giant- Portals of Nothingness (Space Rock Productions)…. I have been working on getting this unreleased album by Gas Giant out for year.. It was recorded in 1999, before their classic, Pleasant Trip in Heavy Tunes.  The band would later rerecord half of the songs presented here.. I just love this material..  Limited CD and LP… 

  5. White HIlls- The Revenge of Heads on Fire (White Hills music)…. Again, not totally new material but a lot of new stuff and cool new mixes, twists of the original album. Raw, heavy White Hills like we dig….

  6. King Buffalo- Regenerator (Stickman)..  Yeah.. the band released 3 albums this year but this was the one I heard the most and probably still dig the best of the 3….  It was great to hear them live… They have a unique and cool sound but are starting to feel and sound a bit too much the same so look forward to some evolution in 2023…

  7. Whiskey Myers- Tornillo (Wiggy Thump Records)…. a southern rock band from Texas that we own one of their early albums but damn, this one has so many great songs and just rocks!! We heard it a lot this year. Not many southern rock albums released each year (that we get to hear) but this is a great one..

  8. Nebula- Transmissions from Mothership Earth (Heavy Psych Sounds)….. been many years since Nebula were in my top list but damn, this record just kills it.. One of the bands best ever I would say… They also played an awesome show this summer after a bit of a rough start.  Eddie lacks a bit of the fire he used to have but damn, they still rock and a cool set of songs.  A big surprise.

  9. Big Scenic Nowhere- The Long Morrow (Heavy Psych Sound)… another full length record and probably the bands best.. Just love that epic title track on the B side… Look forward to see what they do next. Great chemistry these guys have…
  10. Earthless- Night parade of a 100 Demons (Nuclear Blast)…… These guys pretty much never disappoint but the return to all instrumental and longer tracks, worked great for me. Gave Isaiah and the guys time to space out more.  Loved this one….

  11. Clutch- Sunrise on Slaughter Beach …. Finally another Clutch studio album.. The band have their refined core sound down now and stick to what they know, which is giving you a load of great songs to sing along to, while keeping the formula tight….  Solid record.. 

  12. El Perro- The Hair of… (Alive Music)..   Parker left Radio Moscow and went on the funk train! While this has some serious funk groove, the trademark Radio Moscow, formula of how he does his lyrical and musical phrasing is the same, so you get the best of both worlds and lots of killer guitar.. Hope they have some longer songs on the next one…

  13. Sasquatch- Fever Fantasy (Mad Oak Records).. I loved the last two record by this band the most of their career and this one is a heavier record overall and also great.. It took me a while to get into it though.. longer than usual… Hope to see the band live again one day…

  14. Ecstatic Vision- Elusive Mojo (Heavy Psych Sounds)… Philly based psych band who went for a taking you on a heavy trip, as always but for me, I like this the best of their albums.. Wow…

  15. Geezer- Stoned Blues Machine (Heavy Psych Sounds)…   I guess you can see what label is putting out my fave music these days…. Anyway, Pat and the guys lay down another killer album. The songs were not as short and groovy but damn, some killer licks and tunes.  I just dig their sound…. 

  16. Sounds of a New Soma- Musique Bizzare (Tonzonen Records).. I used to subscribe to the label so the last few years heard all the records but this one was my fave on the label this year.  It has always been an interesting group but this really took me back in time…. Cool spaced out stuff…. Great job Dirk..

  17. KG West- KG Westman and Zaefaran…..   An amazing world music journey to Ireland, India and Sweden with world class players and focus on the sitar.. Most of the Siena Root folks contribute. 

  18. Colour Haze- Sacred (Elektrohasch)  Have they ever put out a bad record?? I think this is my fave since She Said She Said and great to see the keyboards more integrated and present in the sound.  A new beginning I think and so great to see and hang out with the guys this year. 

  19. Kikagaku Moyo- Kumoyo Island (guru Guru Brain records).. Sadly, the last record by this band.  While I did not like it as much as the previous one it still is a great album with loads of nice tracks.  They will be missed..

  20. Motorpsycho- Ancient Astronauts (Stickman).  This was another solid record by the band with some great playing and apparently a bit more spontaneous and recorded most live.  One of the best bands in Norway for sure..

  21. Datura4- Neadrathal Jam (Alive Music).. The Australian band is back and kicking ass again. At first I did not like this album as much as the last couple but over time it grew on me and I also found it really benefits by being cranked up LOUD.. what albums do not sound better that way!!

  22. Freedom Hawk- Take all you Can (Ripple).  Not really followed these guys as they have not released anything on Ripple since I subscribed a few years back but damn, I love this record. It is the only one on this whole list that I only have in digital form but this is a killer record with that Ozzy vocal vibe.. Rocks like hell….

23. The Re-Stoned- Stories of the Astral Lizard Vol 2 (Clostridium).. I only got this one recently and it is so different from the rest of their catalog but just fucking awesome chilled songs.  Great stuff, Congrats Ilya…

24. Brank Bjoirk- Bougainvillea Suite (Heavy Psych Sounds)..  I was super disappointed in the last BB solo album, so had pretty low expectations for this one but damn.. I have been really digging it. A bit harder groove on some of the songs, influence from STONER I guess.. love the touches of organ as well but mixed really low often.. What a strange but cool version of Who do you love. Wow..

25. Temple Fang- Temple Fang (Electric Spark Records)… I was not sure about including this on the list as this was released late 2021 digitally and that is when I first heard it but 4 sides of cool music. I love the evolution this band is going through…  Best band in Holland at the moment!!

26. Elder- Innate Passage (Stickman Records)....  I was pretty disappointed with Omens and it did not even get into my top list but damn, this album after a few listens is great. A mix of the older a bit heavier and the new proggy Motorpsycho inspired stuff.. Great album......  Would have been higher in the list for sure but I only got it a few weeks ago. Great job guys...

So what did I manage to get out this year...

ØSC released a few live CDs, Oily Echoes of the Soul, which was material from 2010 but great stuff.   Next year will see at least one new studio album, a few live CDs for the bandcamp subscribers and who knows what else. There is so much DVD material in the archive but I need help to get this done..

Alien Planet Trip Vol 6, Space with Bass II was released on CD. We prepared a vinyl version but there was just no money to make it happen.. I also released on solo album on CD, Muzik to loze yr mynd Inn!! I have finished another for next year.  Dedicated to Klaus Schulze and Manuel Gottering. 

Martin and I had a great year with the start of our Astral Sessions CD series with vol 1 and 2 sold out and Vol 3 due out anyday now. We also got the Mynd Surgery 2LP set, which we are both very proud of.. We were also on two compilation CDs including the cool Dark side of the Cult Blue Oyster Cult tribute CD! Not sure what will be next but the band is still recording every month but without guitars now. 

Our new album, Leave the Ghost behind was sent to the pressing plant, the test pressing was approved and will be out in March. We will also do a small Europe tour.  It is our best album ever.. Tomas from Motorpsycho is now in the band. 

Matt and I have one album side completed and some other stuff in the fire but his life is complicated and he has a new son which is so exciting for him. We will for sure get something new out in 2023 though!! 

Thanks for all the support...

Monday, December 19, 2022

Astral Magic- We are Stardust (Astral Magic Music)

The official release date for this limited edition CD is Jan 6th.. Pressed in only 100 copies. It is the 28th release on bandcamp in less than 3 years. Not bad.. It features Jonathan Segel on all tracks and Sailo on guitar on track 3 and the rest is by Santtu. It features 11 tracks and starts with the title track.  IT is a quite melodic and beautiful track with motorik drive to it and nice guitar parts and trippy lead synth work… Pop spacerock!!! The Simulacra is quite danceable at times and has nice chant parts. Very Calvert 80s inspired.. I feel… Actually the whole album…  Drop It starts with some spacey layered synths and leads with a basic beat. The vocals come in and are quite relaxed, as the synths are pretty trippy at times. There is a guitar solo by Sailo eventually.. A more relaxed vibe on this track. Virtual Fixture increases the pace and rocks out a bit more, with the loads of synth lines and sounds. Great guitar solo on this one. Bottled up Inside is a slower moody piece that starts off with a melodic guitar solo and then the keys enter into the piece. Long guitar solo and nice mix on this track. Ghost in DNA is an instrumental (only one on the CD) and quite relaxed in many ways again with the great guitar playing of Jonathan the main feature. Out in the Wild is a funny little track with an almost country like guitar lick at times. They Walk amongst Us starts with some slide guitar and layers of spacey synths as we go back to more alien music and vibe in this slow track. Out in the Cold is a beautiful track and Santtu´s vocals are very clear on this one. Lost Planets kicks the pass up and keeps the more melodic and mainstream like feel going. The bass lines on this track cut thru nicely and give it a nice added touch to compliment the guitar lines and spacey synths..  One of the best tracks on the CD. Violet Sky is quite moody and the guitar and synths meld nicely together. A lot of lyrics on this track. It is also the last..  A bit more poppy and more singing and focus on songs but probably the best guitar on any of the Astral Magic CDs.. Enjoy… only 100 copies…

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Hoofmark- Blood Red Lullabies (Raging Planet RP352)

This band lead by Nuno Ramos, is described as Portuguese avantgarde dark-metal. Too fully understand and comprehend what the band is after with this musical statement it is very important to read the story that Nuno has conceived which is layed out in the beautiful booklet with the CD.  In the CD digisleeve he also talks about the music and how each track was produced on different days and mostly improvised, not thought too much out but not too little either. Not to overthink things.. Anyway, the CD features 8 tracks and is quite a musical journey and it starts with So Indifferent Blues. A heavy riff and the female vocal, also complimented by a male here and there. Some nice melodic parts and a flute solo, instead of a guitar solo in the first section and then the next vocal section comes followed by a guitar solo.. Really cool and dynamic track. Folktales of the Archdemon starts out as a thrash metal track, super fast and intense and really catches you off guard…. It slows down into a death doom like track eventually only to speed up at the end. A Clapalong is also fast paced to start but more melodic. It is a bit more psychedelic in nature as well and features harmonica, which is quite a cool interesting addition. Gloria a la Tribu (ella está viva) a short instrumental takes things down and features the accordion, some hand drums, acoustic guitar, piano to change the mood completely.  This track goes into Azuiz & Vermelhidão, which brings back the heavy and dramatic music. The vocals can be a bit scary at times as this builds into the longest and most intense track on the album. Naughty Little Men is a really different and track with a totally different singing style. The choir keyboards change the vibe a lot but nice twist folks as the band gets thrashy and freaks out!!! Mito Artificial has some spoken words in Portuguese mixed into the wall of sound and then it just cuts off..  All about our Family ends this 35min record with a slow instrumental one similar to Gloria.. Wow.. what a cool record.. 

KISS in the 70s- Every album, every song (Sonic Bond Publishing)

I read this e-book when I was on the plane to the USA (11hrs) and it was extremely interesting. I had never read any biographies about KISS but a lot of articles in rock mags. The author has done a great job of weaving in the history of the band into the music to tell a fantastic story and probably not piss off Paul and Gene!!!!  As with this series, they go thru each and every album but in this case, the author (Peter Gallagher) sort of groups the albums in 2 and they are discussed in that context.  After a pretty good and long introduction of how they all started and went from Wicked Lester to KISS, we get into the albums.. It is pretty clear that the early albums got very mixed reviews and sold pretty poorly, while the bands live shows were growing and growing..  It was not looking good for the band after the first 3 albums and it was decided to do a live album, which was not at all live in the end. I used to spin this in my bedroom a lot in the mid 70s and still love it but it was pretty disappointing to find out that the only think “live!” about Kiss Alive is the drums. Everything except the drums and the talking… Everything..  so basically the message was that everyones playing sucked except for Peter!!! They replaced everything else??? Seems they did this with Kiss Alive II as well.  Anyway, this live in the studio greatest hits record broke the band out big.  

It was interesting to read that in 1978 when all the solo albums came out and Peter and Ace were not at all getting along or contributing a lot of songs to the albums, their solo albums sold the best! Ace the highest selling and Gene the lowest!! It was a bit of rollercoaster for a while and then hits like Beth and I was made for Loving you, put KISS on a huge worldwide status, which was really tough for them to follow and they never really did.  the band fell apart in the early 80s with Criss and Ace leaving and all sorts of people coming in and overproducing and co-writing and so much was left on Paul´s shoulders as Gene had become disillusioned and got into acting and other distractions and taken his eye off the ball, that was KISS..  Anyway, cool story of a once great band… 

Stones of Babylon- Ishtar Gate (Raging Planet RP362)

This is the 2nd album by the Portuguese instrumental doom rock band, Stones of Babylon. This album follows their debut Hanging Gardens from 2019 that I reviewed on this blog. This album features 6 tracks following a sort of Mesopotamia theme. Fantastic artwork (look forward to see the vinyl of this one).  The CD starts off with Gilgamesh, some sounds and an ancient language chant, before the first Candlemass like riff kicks in!!  I was just waiting for Messiah to kick in.. Anyway, the band riff away for a while and then the guitar kicks in some wah and the mood changes. A more open clean production on this album.  Anyway, lots of changes but pretty solid 9min track… Anunnaki starts slowly with just guitar before the rest of the band kicks in. The same riff is repeated many times when the drums and bass kick in before the heavy shit kicks in. After 4mins it comes down with a clean guitar sound and then a flangy effect is used and then back to the heavy… A more noisy guitar is mixed in as well towards the end as we pass the 9 min mark. Pazuzu starts off with what sounds like Richard Burton and more mysterious sound and a bit of eastern riff but one that has been used a lot by a lot of bands. Then the most brutal heavy riff of the album kicks in. Not a new riff by a long shot but a heavy one! A bit of delay on the drums later on was a cool add on during the mellower section. The title track is next and starts with the bass alone. It goes thru some eastern like riffs and things change more rapidly than on other tracks. A quite diverse track and not as heavy. The Fall of Ur has a very nice 2nd guitar line at different parts between the heavy.  Tirgris and Euphrates closes the album.. 

Great to hear a band like this in Portugal but I have to say, not a lot of new ideas appear and we have heard this style of doom rock a lot. It is hard to make something unique in this genre. Check it out. Solid but not that unique. I think they could have messed about with the sound, more layers, more experimental twists… I do not know… Anyway.. a cool album… It grows on you the more you hear it aswell… Parabéns! 

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Dunddw- Flux (Self Released)

Dunddw is a new trio from the Netherlands featuring two members of Bismut and Mt. Echo. The album features 3 long tracks with difficult titles. The opening track is Flux VII Part 4. It starts slow but builds up into a heavy intense jam with some really chaotic guitar soloing and frantic drums. SOme really intense bass playing as well. The 2nd track, Flux VI- Part 1 starts with a grooving bass line and a more melodic guitar line. This is quickly thrown to the side a more crazed guitar, a bit like Nico from Sever that Spells, might play. Drums really kick it up a level as well. Some effects on the bass, take a bit out of the groove but make it more spacey.  Pretty tripped out at the end, when the bass returns to a more normal sound and the guitar riff is repeated over and over and over….  I thought it was going to end but they continue the jam with a more melodic lead line. The bass and drums just follow along as it slowly pics up speed and the bass goes mad with effects and overwhelms the sound for a bit before the guitar comes back to the front and repeats a riff over and over for a bit and ends with some spacey guitar effects. That was a long jam..  The last track, Flux VII- Part 2…   this is much slower and a more calculated guitar playing for a while with a sort of feeling of loneliness and dread..  The vibe changes as the track builds up and the guitar playing gets more wild and crazy.. The band brings the jam down with some more bass effects and guitar as the drums get slower and it all fades out….Enjoy the ride..  I guess live, they will just jam and not try to do any of these tracks…  

If you like Bismut, Seven that Spells, Kombyant Robotron.  Check these guys out… 

The album is released on Nov 25th.. Enjoy… 

Pink Floyd- Animals 2018 (Pink Floyd Records)

I have been waiting for this for years to come out.  Animal has always been such a special and amazing Pink Floyd record.  It made very strong political statements about the world, which sadly have become much much worse than when Roger wrote these 45 years ago!!  I was very surprised that the deluxe edition did not include any live or studio demos of the Raving and Drooling (Sheep) and You have got to be Crazy (Dogs), which the band debuted on the Winter 74 tour and ended up abandoning and recording what you hear on Wish you were here.. I guess they did have some multitrack or studio versions).  I know live versions of these did appear on the Wish you were here Immersion box set, so no point in repeating a live version here. 

Anyway, it is a very nice package and for me, I felt I needed to hear the original first, then the new 2018 mix and then the 5.1 mix.. Otherwise how can you compare them???  I the flat high resolution transfer of the original mix sounds really great.  Maybe not quite as good as my Japanese pressing but really good.  As for the new mix, the main feeling I had was that the drums are more clear in the mid-high end but I also felt that this also made the cymbals clash a bit with the acoustic guitar on some of those parts. Anyway, they were very faithful to the original. As for the 5.1 mix, it is just more spacious.. Some things have more air and placement in the soundspace in the room. That is pretty cool. I had hoped that they would use the rear speakers a bit more but they did not..   Anyway, I for sure feel in love with album all over again…   Dog is one of the greats tracks up there with Echoes for me..

Pink Floyd

Astral Magic- Apparition's Breath (Astral020)

Not sure what number release this is this year for Astral Magic but 8 sounds about right!!  It is 40min CD featuring 11 tracks. Apparition Part 1-11. The Last American Poet, Shane Beck, provides spoken word on a number of tracks.  The music was performed primarily by Santtu but with significant contributions from long time collaborator, Jonathan Segel as well on guitar, violin and mastering. Part 2 starts off a bit like Shine on you Crazy Diamond but then it changes with a synth bass and then Shane enters in and returns at the end.. Nice guitar…  Part 3 starts quite spacey, backwards guitar and some drums-beats. Cool track. Part 4 has some great synths and there is a bit of an effect on Shane´s vocal on this one. Track 5 is the most melodic so far and besides a deep bass thump, the synths drive the track. Love the way the guitar is woven in as it slowly builds. Shane returns on track 6, which has this 80s TD like sound… Part 7 is more spaced out and trippy… Track 8 returns to a more tranquil space. Track 9 has a repeated synth and then loads of strange sounds. The vocal was a bit low on this one at the start. This is the longest track on the album at over 8 mins.  Track 10, starts with guitar, one of the rare tracks to do that and is a bit more dissonant and a very highly effected vocal. Far out… The last track ends in a pretty melodic and laid back way but still spaced out as you expect and demand in the Astral Magic universe…I think the spoken words are quite special and it is very cool and a different addition but not one I would listen to over and over again. Powerful words if you take the time and energy to really listen to what he has to say!!! Enjoy. Limited to 100 copies on CD… 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Colour Haze- Sacred (Elektrohasch Records EH013)

CH are back with their first new studio album since 2019.  A lot has changed with the band since the last one. They no longer record in their own studio but are back recording with long time collaborator,  Willi Dammeier, in Hamburg. This album was recorded live in the studio and mixed in  the bands Studio by Stefan.  Anyway, it is a shorter 40min Lp with 7 tracks, 5 with vocals and 2 instrumentals.  The instrumental, Turquoise starts things off.  It does not take but a few seconds and that guitar tone and standard colour haze guitar riff appears!  A good opener. Goldmine has a really rough guitar tone and a riff rocker with a great message. 

Idealogigi is my favorite track on the album.. There is something that is just so special about it and the way the keyboards really work for me and the more free nature and a bit proggy. Avatar starts with some spacey synth sounds before the bass kicks in and off we go. It then kicks into what has become a sort of Colour Haze guitar riff sound but it is played with a different groove. The keyboard solo really stands out on this track. The same but different, eh??? 1.5 degrees is a short instrumental track with acoustic guitar and a dark mood. . And wait for the huge surprise at about 5mins wow!! That will catch you unexpected.. This is an utterly unique track in the Colour Haze catalog. See the Fools, with it´s potent lyrics is classic Colour Haze guitar riff but more melodic and the floating synths of Jan, mixed well into the album sound, create a new feel.  In all you Are, closes this album.. The best one for me since She Said..

What is new though is the way that keyboard player, Jan Faszbender is incorporate much more into the bands sound than ever before. This is a great step forward for the band.  This is also the first album with new bass player, Mario Oberpucher as a full time member (he did sound and played occasional sitar with the band).  Mario maintains that Philip sound (plays thru his old gear) very well, so no radical changes in the bass sound or style really. Some of Stefan´s best lyrics yet as well. Very relevant to the world we live in today. If you are a fan of the band, you will for sure dig this record. A nice progression for the band and fans, without changing their core sound too much. 

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Stay- I can Hear the Grass Grow 7” (Winkle 48, Fruits de mer Records)

The Spanish retro band are back with one cover (by the Move) and one original track from their latest record (but with a new mix).  My wife immediately recognized the song when I put it on and said, “The Move”, so the band have not too radically changed the song. A very cool version of a great classic song. The B-side, Ger Going from the bands latest record, Old Sounds of Modern Music, is a foot stomping T-Rex, Sweet sort of inspired rock and roll number. You get really hooked on this track after a bit.. Nice stuff… 

Sendelica- One Man´s Man (is another Man´s Monkey) (Winkle 47, Fruits de mer Records)

Sendelica are back with release number 744 or something like that…  This is a band that has endless time and creative energy and keeps pumping out the quality music.  The core band is the same on this release but Rhiannon Jones plays Viola on Side A and Santtu Laakso (Astral Magic) plays synths on side A and D.  The album starts off with some church bells (The Dawn of Man-Homo Habilis and Homo Rudolfensis) and some spacey sounds and sequenced synths before the bass and guitar parts kick in and a bit of saxophone. Drums (programmed) have a lot of reverb on them. After about 7mins the vibe starts to mutate (as the humanoids also change).  At 9mins the heavy bass returns as the sax continues to be the main lead instrument.  Another major change occurs at 12-14 mins then it launches into a repetitive space rock mode with some synths from Santtu, similar to old HW style and stuff I might play myself!   Side 2 the vibe is quite different but mysterious as we enter into Homo Erectus and the Denisovans!! The drums are quite intense at the start of this track as the guitar and sax much more ethereal.  At 7mins the track drops down to nearly silence with just a bit of guitar before the synths start to evolve into something totally different. The guitar part is quite eerie but others melodic. Side 3 starts with a mellow synth drone and saxophone. The track stays pretty much in outer space until 14mins when an uptempo drum beat kicks in but this does not last long before the track fades into nothingness at 17 and half mins.  Side 4 also has a relaxed vibe to it to start with some nice floating synths and sax but the track slowly gets more intense with the drums and bass building up the energy. It stays pretty spaced out and very dreamy at the end. If you are a fan of the band, you will dig this one as well… 

Monday, October 17, 2022

Farflung-Like Drones in Honey (Sulatron Records)

It has not been that long since the last Farflung record, which is usually good for the world.  There was a great interview last year with the guys on Psychedelic Baby, I think where they talked about how they make records now. Anyway, this is quite a different sound and record, I thought after hearing it a few times… Acid Drain starts things off it a sort of laid back fashion with a spoken word sample and mellow vibe. The effected vocals let you know it is Farflung though! It does build up into a bit of a rocker. Earthmen Look has a lot of spacey stuff going on in the background before what you could call a typical Farflung guitar line kicks in for a bit but they they go a bit into a 80s goth like sound to return to their normal sound.  King Fright is a trippy piece to start and then the bass line kicks in and it gets intense once the vocal appears. Dark and scary!  Tiny Cities has a very cool bass line and mellow vibe but enough weirdness to make it cool…Dludgebmasterpoede has a really nice synth-guitar sequence to start things off but after a few minutes he yells, “Ok” and then we go into a sort of militant rock groove. Wow.. that catches you off guard. This is the most intense track on the album. Baile an Doire brings back what I would call classic Farflung sound. A bit Nik Turner inspiration on this one.  It has a long spacey ending as well. One of the highlight tracks for sure. Touch of the Lemmings Kiss is a strange short one that leads into A year in Japan.  Some lightly spoken words over a bass line and lots of strange sounds is all you get on this one to close the album.. Enjoy and read this interview to get a deeper insight into the record.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Sula Bassana- Nostalgia (Sulatron Records)

Not sure what number this is for Sula solo records but there have been a lot! What a great and prolific musician. On this album, as with most of his solo albums he plays all the instruments mixes and does everything except the mastering.  The tracks were recorded between 2013-2018 and he added stuff over the last few years, including vocals!! The album features 5 tracks starting off with Its Real Life, very cool and laid back but then evolves into a space rocker. We will make It, follows with a of mellotron and melodies as it slowly builds up and continues this happy theme. Side B features 3 tracks of which, Nostaligia starts things off with a Saturnia inspired track (at least to start), including the laid back, low mixed vocal. Very hard to really hear what he says though without really working hard to hear it. Wurmlock, Powerful stuff and again a barely audible vocal.  Mellowtraum closes the album with the best track (hypnotic and heavy), along with the first one. Lovely artwork and another really nice album of music to relax to. Not heavy psych stuff like Electric Moon, at all…. 

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Time Dwellers- Novum Aurora (Argonauta Records REX2211)

This is a new Swedish band lead by multi-instrumentalist, Kristofer Sternquist, who plays all the instruments except the lead guitar (Martin Fairbanks) and drums (Henrik Bergman), both from the band the Graviators.   The CD features 7 long tracks of very nice prog inspired music.  The opening Rising (in 3 parts) is really epic prog rock with some very cool playing and melodies and complexity.  One of my friends said they were reminded of early Genesis at times hearing this album.. At least we´re having Fun changes the mood totally with a light acoustic piece. Seasons Change starts with a repeated synth bass line as the other instruments slowly build up and take over.  You get a bit of Sensational Alex Harvey band feel, like Faith Healer… Cool build on this track and nice vocals and great wah guitar solo. I feel the drums are really buried in the mix and all you really hear is the cymbals most of the time.. What´s about to Happen, starts with some moody keyboards and wah guitar before the rest of the band joins in on this longer proggy piece. The vocal is very relaxed and there are lots of nice melodic threads and solos. Sound of the Apocalypse starts with a darkish mood and a heavy distorted bass but then when the guitar kicks in, it is not as dark and quite symphonic, almost. You are the Sun brings a more relaxed mood back but then it really builds up in a really cool way.. One of my fave tracks in the end with a great guitar solo. Tabular Balls the last and closing track borrows nicely from an old Iron Maiden track. Good way to close this musical adventure. Super cool artwork on this one by Simone at STRX art.  Good job guys. 

Jimi Hendrix- Every Album, Every Song by Emma Stott (Sonic Bond Publishing)

I have read and reviewed a lot of these Every Album, Every Song books by this point and really like them a lot.  I think what is most unique about this one is the depth in which the author goes into the lyrics. There is a lot of speculation of course as you can't ask Jimi what he was thinking or meant but she does a great job digging into this..  

Emma starts off with going through the 3 singles that were released prior to Are you Experienced and then goes into depth about the UK version and US, as they had different album artwork and different songs.  It is crazy to think that only 3 studio albums and one live album were actually released while Jimi was alive and most of the music that is exists was all released after his death!  So that means there are only 3 studio albums to dissect and so some times Emma can spend more than a page describing one song.  After the 4 albums (Are you, Axis, EL, Band of Gypsies), she describes the year 2000 Experience box set, which is an interesting choice. She ones goes thru the tracks that are not found on other compilations. After that First Rays of the new Rising Sun, which was the album that Jimi was trying to finish at the time of his death and later put together by Eddie Kramer and released in 1997. South Saturn Delta (1997), Valleys of Neptune (2010), People, Hell and Angels (2013), and finally Both Sides of the Skies (2018) are all described in detail. There is a small end section about compilations and live released.

Overall a very enjoyable book with some interesting and though provoking insight into the lyrics. Check it out… 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Colour Haze- Hard Club, Porto, Portugal Sept 28th, 2022

This was the 3rd time Colour Haze has played in Portugal (I missed one of them) and they have quite a following as this show was sold out!  I have known the guys for over 20 years, as we toured together in Oct 2002 (Gas Giant/Colour Haze). I showed up about 17 and found Stefan in the backstage with one of his guitars.  Hugs and a nice chat and he was off to finish set up for soundcheck. The bass, keyboards, his amps were all done. Manni was barely started with the drums so we had a chat as well. Spent the most of the next 3hrs talking with Stefan about life, record labels, recording, family, etc.. we had a great time. We spoke a bit about the state of the world over dinner as well.  I left the guys an hour before the gig so they could relax and get into the vibe. Place was packed when they started. 


The band started at 22 and finished about 23:45 and did two encores. They played the entire A side of the new album (not in order).  It was the first time for me to see the band with the new bass player, Mario. He plays just like Philip, even uses the same gear and type of bass. If they wanted a clone, they got the right guy as he laid it down well.  There is no space in the perfection of what Colour Haze to for him to change much.. Great player. Jan, now this is exactly the evolution that this band needed and most of his contributions were amazing even though I felt like 50% of the time you could see him playing you could not hear him.. He really transformed some of the songs a lot like Aquamaria, Skydancer, and Transformation. Amazing keyboard player and a nice guy as well.  Skydancer, the new song Ideologigi and Tempel were probably my highlights.  Still a great band after all these years and super nice people.  Danke guys…

Set List: Turquoise, Goldmine, Aquamaria, We are, Frude III, Labyrinthe, Skydancer, Ideologigi, Uberall, Transformation

Encore: Tempel, Love

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Crescendo Festival- Saint Palais sur Mer, France Aug 20-21st, 2022

Crescendo Festival is the longest running Prog Festival in France. This would have been there 24th edition but due to covid, it was the 22nd!  It was an honour to be invited to play. The organization first contacted us back in 2017 or so and we finally managed to make it happen.  The fest started on Friday the 19th with Anaïd (France), Pymlico (Norway) and Kartagan (Ukraine). We did not arrive until late Friday night to Bordeaux so we did not see any of these bands.  The site is in a beautiful beach town called Saint Palais sur Mer about 120km north of Bordeaux.  Lovely location right on a small fishing bay. Festival is also free... They had a local brewer than made 5 kinds of beer, all very good but the Moon Keeper IPA was the best and made only for the festival!! 

Aug 21st

We had to wait until 15 in the afternoon to be picked up in Bordeaux and arrived in time to hear about half the show of the Italian band, Universal Totem Orchestra, who I really like. They were cool. Esthesis (France) were on before them. 

Next up was a German band from Berlin called Small Tape. This was very Porcupine Tree/Steven Wilson inspired stuff.  They were pretty good. 
Small Tape

Hasse Fröberg and Musical Companion (Flower Kings), his band was great but the music was much like 80s Kansas or Boston, a bit of 90s Marillion. The band were super musicians and they had a huge audience, I guess 1000 people. Nice people and good players.  We got back to the hotel about midnight.

Aug 22nd

Soundcheck was 11 and we were done by 12 and all was good. We had lunch and I set up the merch and we headed back to the hotel until 17… They were supposed to pick 2 of us up at 17 but no one showed up so Jiri and I just sat and talked and around 18, everyone was there but then they showed up with only enough room for 4, so Mogens and Vemund waited for them to take us and come and them. It was a pity as I really wanted to see Ex Odd, they were one of the most interesting bands that were playing but we missed them all since no one showed up at 17.. Oh well. I mostly sat at the Merch table and talked with the fans, sold a few LPs and CDs and t-shirts but not much. London Underground, was an Italian trio (keyboards, bass and drums). I have one CD by them and I liked them a lot. They were really nice people and the keyboard player was a fan. They had some technical problems and delays so the festival was 30mins late now.  I dig their music and vibe a lot though..

London Underground leader and keyboard player

Last Flight to Pluto was a power rock pop band from Wales. They just seemed so “not right” for this festival and was anything but progressive. Lead by a female singer, they had 3 guitar players, bass, drums and loads of pre-recorded stuff. It was way too mainstream. We did not like them at all. Nice people though.  They ended their set with a terrible version of Whole Lotta Love with Rush- Spirit of Radio in the middle. That was bizarre but they did Zep terrible. It had no groove.. Bizzare..

Anyway, we (Oresund Space Collective) were rushed as they have a curfew and all music has to be done at midnight.  We got started about 2230.  It was a high energy set and about 2-300 people were still there. There was 1000 people or more the night before but that was Saturday!  Anyway, we kicked some ass and everyone played so well. Mogen´s modular died half way thru the show though,.  Both Vemund and Jonathan were awesome of the leads and solos and Tim and Jiri just groove like hell. People loved and some said it was the highlight of the festival. It was really fun. We even got a encore and played something more mellow and spacey, which was cool…  …  A great time.. We had some beers and left the festival site about 115… I was so tired.. Did not get to bed until 205…  A pretty diverse and awesome festival and this was the best we had ever been treated by any festival.. Merci Prog Patt, Jean-Luc, Sara and all the other amazing staff...  Highly recommended.

International Space Station Vol 1 (Worst Bassists Records )

This is a really cool compilation record with 4 album long side tracks, with Side A starting off with Elon Musk playing Gods of the Swamp Planet. It slowly fades up with spacey new age like synths followed by some guitar noodling as the track slowly grows. The bass now starts to enter the picture and a min later or so the drums are starting to rise up!  The delay guitar is really lovely on this track as you just float away with the guitar the main focus and the synths largely evaporated in the background until the end when the track spaces out again and you can hear them more clearly for a while and then they bring it back up with that sort of post rock guitar solo style. It gets quite heavy at the end… Dynamic track..

Man, that Electric Moon Duality track has such cool drums-percussion and a really heavy driving bass line. The flangy vibrato guitar is really cool as well. This best track they had made in a while, I think.. I really loved it.  Powerful stuff. 

Kungens Män have a much darker theme and feel to the music straight away. It is quite hypnotic at times but also the two guitar parts balance with one soloing intensely while the other a bit more dominant, taking it easy with some long delay and space in the sounds and notes..  Can be quite trippy at times. It becomes more relaxed and there is an almost like Spanish guitar section which is really cool as the vibe still is dark and moody…. 

Kanaan features a track called Beyond and it starts slowly with just bass and some percussion and drums. Like the Elon track that started things off this is also as slow growing floating affair with the main focus on the lovely guitar playing with delay.  Nice build and great sound production. Half way thru the drums and bass really kick it in and the guitar is forced to go for it or be lost by the energy of the rhythm section. Some synths sounds are mixed in here and there as well to add some extra atmosphere….. This band has such cool dynamics, I think that is what makes the most special…. A great comp with different moods…  Buy it!!