Thursday, September 14, 2023

Astral Magic- Sacred Mysteries (Astral Magic Music ASTRAL032)

Release number 32 by Astral Magic and the 8th this year, I think!  These 9 tracks were recorded between 2021 and 2023 and feature guitarist Anton Barbeau on tracks 3 and 6 and Taavi Heikkilä on saxophone on track 8 but the rest of this album is all Santtu! It opens up with Göbekli Tepe.  An instrumental synth driven piece with drums and bass. It has these layered synths that sound really cool at times. Puma Punka has a nice groove and simple guitar line but I really like the vocal delivery. The trademark layers of synths bubbling, spinning and spacing in the background are still there.  Nice track. Mystics from Outer Space is more guitar driven with a nice use of the synth to compliment the guitar riff and vocal chorus. The Other World is an instrumental all synth (or nearly) space out… Blow your Mind has this sort of 60s vibe and a lot of organ. Watchers (with Anton) is a happy song with what sounds like a female vocal accompaniment on the chorus. Transmission Omicron is a multilayered synth jam with lots of arpeggios. Phases is a more uptempo with a nice bass line and some saxophone! I dig the guitar line as well, this western feel of sorts. Close Encounter ends this CD in a more mellow and laid back vibe. 

If you stripped away all the keyboards, some of this album would remind me of the Bevis Frond!! Santtu has really tried out some new ideas here with success: more rock guitar riffs, multi layered backing vocals, etc.. A bit different than the last few albums for sure.  Check it out… the next album will be here soon….

Nice artwork by my friend Eetu as well.   Only 100 on CD.. 

Astral Magic- Experiences in Hyperspace (Astral Magic Music ASTRAL030)

Santtu is back with his 7 release of 2023…. Wow… This is 11 tracks for spacey rock music, with Jonathan Segel providing most of the guitars as well as Violin. Jaire (Octopus Syng) plays sitar on All is One and Drone of the Universe.  The opening track is a quite melodic and reminds me of some of the more poppy Dark Sun stuff in the vocal parts. All is One is a very cool piece with violin, sitar and a very nice spacey vibe. Great song. Humaniods in the Night is a bit more electronic with the drum rhythm and bass. Really nice guitar lines. The vocoder part is different. Drones of the Universe is an instrumental track with sitar and E-bow guitar parts. Lots of synths.. Three Suns Rising is beautiful track with many layers of synths and sounds. Golden Towers is a mid paced track and sounds like a lot of other AM tracks until the instrumental section. Mission MU is very experimental and features Marc Paskvan on spoken words. He is also featured on Transmission Lamdba (track 10). Nocturnal Visions brings some groove back and some very nice lead synth and guitar work. Going Down slows things down and features a very laid back vocal. Still keeping things spacey!!!  The Valiant closes this space and rock music adventure with a more uptempo track but nice melodies as well and nice lyrical story! Release 30.. Wow… Impressive..   Check it out on bandcamp. Limited to 100 Copies on CD. 

Astral Magic- Cosmic Energy Flow (Astral Magic Music ASTRAL027)

This is quite a cool 8 track album featuring a huge list of guests from the psychedelic rock world including ILya from Re-Stoned, Nik Turner (RIP), Kev Ellis (Space Cadets, Dr Brown), Christiana Poupoutsi (Higher Craft), and Stefan Olesinski (Nuns on Napalm)….  mastered by Jonathan Segel. 

There are also 2 bonus tracks from a very limited lathe 7” that was released in 2023 as well.  These are some of my fave tracks, all recorded in a proper studio with a live band. Aki Kuosmanen plays guitar, Santtu- bass and Tapio drums.  This is the 4th or 5th release at the time it came out a few months ago. There are at least 3 other new ones since this very cool more space rocky one.. Limited to 100 copies on CD in a nice digisleeve with super cool artwork… 

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Sundial- Messages From The Mothership (Sulatron Records ST-2307-2)

It is always great when Gary Ramon puts out another Sundial record and this one is harkening back to the early 90s sound with a lot of similarities to songs on Other Way out era Sundial but with a nice analog sound..  Side A is shorter songs and side B longer ones. He plays all the instruments except for some synths played by his Cleo Ramon. Guitars are mixed loud and out in front on most tracks. Living for Today really sounds like an outtake from the early 90s…. Side B is for sure more experimental.  I really like it all. A nice mix of melodic guitar driven psych and more out there stuff. 

Echoes All Around   3:39
New Day    5:31

Living For Today     4:02
Burning Bright    3:54

Look Up To The Skies 5:09
Edge Of Light 6:00

Messages From The Mothership 6:43
Saucer Noise 7:47

This is for sure one of my fave albums so far this year.. Check it out for sure!! 

KG Westman- Anandpriya (Roots Rock Records RRR010LP)

KG has established himself as the premeir sitar player in Sweden (maybe Europe?) and he is back with another solo album. Last years excellent record was a collaboration with different Swedish, Indian and Egyptian artists.  This record features KG on Sitar, Suvrat Apte-Tabla (has played with Zakir Hussain and many others) and Amanda Welch on Swarmandal (Harp like instrument).  There are 3 tracks on side A and 2 on side B.  This is very traditional Indian classical music and side A (as explained in detail on the back of the album by his teacher) is an afternoon music while side B is an evening raga.  This is just awesome stuff.  Limited to 300 copies on vinyl only. 

Criatura Azul & Jota- Pessoas (Self Released 2023)

Criatura Azul (Blue Creature) is a project of Vasco Bicker (It was the Elf) and his friends. He has 5 other releases on bandcamp under this name. This CD is 11 tracks of sort of laid back jazzy tunes with spoken words by Antonio Vilela (JOTA) interspersed with more experimental tracks. The poems are by Alberto Caeiro. Some are more lead by piano than guitar. The opening track features André Jesus on drums.  It is a sort of psych at times as the tracks are all quite experimental, with loads of effects on the guitar at times and other times clean and jazzy.  A very diverse and clever project. Check it out…

Octopus Syng- Smoke Green Mirror (Private Release)

I have known Jaire for 20 years and saw some of his bands first live shows in Finland in the early 2000s.  It has been a few years since he has produced another album but this is a cool and relaxed spacey trip, with inspiration from Syd Barrett, Robin Hitchcock and outer space beings.   Constant Music starts things off with his laid back stoney vocals, guitar but drifts off into psychedelic never never land. Very cool stuff.. Your My Magic is next with a bit more 60s flavour (the guitar). Drop Out has some funny lyrics.  There are a lot of interesting lyrics, some are self biographical, it would seem. Stars above You, is a bit more keyboard oriented and also features some guitar solo parts and is more alike a full band piece.  Queen of Blue Shadow is more like the earlier dreamy stuff while Once we were Almost Innocent is like garage rock!! How about your Day Today is a really nice track, a bit of spacey Beatles feel to it. I miss you Valerie features a lot of cool and loud synths to give this track a quite different feel. Gamelan Music with Three Empty Beer Cans and other Household Items is a strange short number before the long closing number, Starlight. Great stuff..His good friend Santtu (Astral Magic) plays synths and some backing vocals. This is a limited edition release. I think only 200 vinyls and digital.

Zone Six- Full Mental Jacket (Sulatron Records ST-2308-2)

All instrumental psych rock outfit Zone Six is back with a new line up and new studio record. Dave has been driving the band since the 90s and nice to see him back on bass in this mainly 3 piece line up with Rainer Neeff (ghost guitars) and Gottfried Klier (Sax) as guest musicians on the long Slingshot track, which starts things off and takes all of side A like a rocket taking off…. High energy space rock with a melodic guitar line that really cuts thru the sound and this is followed by Dave playing some synths.  Things slow down and there is a sax solo. The track goes thru a lot of transitions and eventually gets back to the heavy space rock and the main theme it started with returns at 17mins until the end.. Side B, the title track is 10mins in length and starts with some dark mysterious sounds, organ, guitar. After a min or so it gets quite hypnotic with its build up and repetitive bass line.  It has a dark feel to it (like the times we live in). A very intense piece of music. Chrono Trigger keeps the dark vibe with a cool synth that comes and goes. It stays in the dark heavy realm. Cool stuff, especially the A side.. If you are a fan already you will dig it…