Monday, March 13, 2023

Experimental Music Night- Leviata, Porto, Portugal Feb 26th. 2023

Our first Doctors of Space concert of the year and also our first gig as an electronic duo..We have been doing this since November and getting good but never for an audience.  Martin sketched out 6 drum-bass ideas that we will try to work with and see how that goes…  5 bands on the bill.   I managed to get all my gear into the smart car. I really hope we can park close by and this does not go too late!!!  it is Portugal so probably no one even starts before 18!!! 

We arrived at 1515 and found the place.. There was a big poster on the wall but the door was locked. After 10mins or so we could hear drums in the basement and they eventually came and let us in and helped load all the gear in., Interesting long and skinny hall with a bathroom, kitchen-bar and backyard…    It was supposed to start at 16 and it cost 3€ to get in and by 16, there was already 40 people and double that by 17 and still nothing had started.  A guy that had something critical only got off work at 16 and he did not get there until 1730.  Anyway, they had added a 6th act now.. 

Penumbra started things off. They were a three piece of drums, bass and Miguel on pedals, phone and noise making. They had a microphone and later the bass player would make insane voices thru the effects pedals and stuff. Intense. 12min set…

Druida was just one guy playing doom style guitar with an E-bow. It was pretty basic and not very interesting at all. I think he did one 15-20min piece.  People had lost interest pretty fast.. He needed to use his pedals more and change the sound, do some looping or something to make it less the same all the time.. 

Rense, a 3 piece death metal act were next and they were intense and had a more punk energy at times… I think they played 25mins… We actually enjoyed them quite a lot. They gave it  100% including the death metal facepaint, candles, etc.. Cool...

Doctors of Space, we were next and it was already 20 and the place was supposed to close at 22 and still 2 more acts. We tried to set up as fast as we could but it was a lot of gear.  We managed in 15mins or so… We played 4 pieces in 50mins and we had never played anything like this before. It was very noisy, chaotic and crazy….. I felt like we had to fit more with the vibe of the night so I just went for it!!!!  People loved it.. I guess there were about 25-30 people up front…  

Doctors of Space

We did not get to see the last act, Maximum Stress Cooperation but we could hear them as we were packing the car. Wow. that was maximal insanity… The guy had a table of home made spring reverbs, metal sheets with contact mics, and some pedals and he went mad with a guy doing some crazy vocals..

Fun night. I guess about 80-100 people…. Good turn out…. 

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Astral Magic- The Last Survivors on Planet Earth (ASTRAL023)

This is a proper CD digipack release (in 100 copies) with some really cool artwork by Piet Koster, who has done quite a few covers for Santtu.  Anyway, this CD features 9 tracks.  As is quite common these days, Jonathan Segel plays guitar, electric sitar and mastering.  Shane Beck is featured on 2 tracks and Alisa Coral (Space Mirrors) plays some synth pads on the opening track, a very Nik Turner inspired track (in fact I think the whole album is).  Monsters from the ID is a more happy track and also quite uptempo. Fantastic guitar playing. Dawn of a new Age is more spacey and relaxed. The drum programming is a bit more complex as well.  Message from Within, is another HW inspired track, with this laid back, Nik Turner singing style. Good message in the lyrics. The Colour of Adoration starts with a synth sequence and is quite psychedeluc. It features Shane on spoken words but you really have to listen carefully to hear them all… Only in my Dreams is very Hawkwind like with a nice guitar riff and vibe.  Autumnal Equinox is a very nice moody piece with the sitar guitar. Lovely….. One of my favorite tracks.. Shimmer brings the melodic uptempo rock back!!!  The Inner Light has a quite funky bass line and cool vibe and the return of the Last American poet. A very solid and perhaps one of the best Astral Magic releases. Get it before it is gone!! It was released on bandcamp Friday in March 2023 and still available! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Astral Magic- Deep Space Expedition (Astral Magic 2023)

This is quite a lot different from all the other AM releases as it focuses on analogue synths and is more instrumental. It features 11 tracks in about 40mins and Santtu plays all the instruments and does some spoken word as well.  It starts off with Alien Ritual, and a cool Moog sequencer line, overwhich other keys are laid and spacey sounds.. This sets the mood…Galactic Hustlers has a drum rhythm that gives it some drive as you take a ride thru the cosmos with Santtu! Centipedes of Mars has another wild synth sequence with some strong delays. Some voice like synth sounds are overlaid as the track grows. Heavenly States has a very fast synth sequence and some relaxed spoken words from the man himself!  Lots of spacey stuff going on…  Transcendental Guild (should you join?) sees the return of a simple kick drum under the layers of space sounds and keys… Triple Freak Out is one of the stranger ones for sure….. Hard to describe.. Stargate 20221230 is very floating and mysterious with some nice synth playing. In Limbo has some high pitched like vocoded alien voices that make this one pretty cool and trippy…. Stellar Boogie sees the return of a simple drum machine beat and slows things down. Not really much boogie happening but for sure some acid dreams.. Space Wind has some nice windy synths and deeper MOOG like stuff here and there. I really like this track… The CD ends with Mourning for another Universe. 

Santtu really should start a subscription on bandcamp, where people can pay 10€ a month and get all the releases.  If they play 12 or so, they can get the physical ones as well… except vinyl of course… 

Buddha Senteza- High Tech Low Life (Self Released)

Wow.. this was a huge surprise. I always liked this band who have created stoner rock but in their own universe and this album keeps that vibe and just rocks.. After a German spoken word sample, the band kick in with the opening uptempo rocker, Oars.  The track takes a dramatic shift into a world of magic at 2.5 minutes with some nice violin and very spacey. It slowly builds up into a really cool track. Anabranch kicks the stoner vibe up another notch while there is some great harmony parts with the different instruments while the drive keeps it heavy.  A 2.5 mins there is a nice mellotron and acoustic guitar part before the guitar solo section and the end. Ricochet starts with some beautiful guitar-keyboard parts before the heavy guitar riff kicks in but it is not for riffing but mood, and then a great keyboard sequence changes the mood. A nice melodic track and it really kicks up the pace later but keeps all the melodic parts intact on this hard driving start. The beat changes at 2.5 mins and becomes a bit like Neu (drum and bass) but the keys and guitars are melodic. Afterglow is more keyboard oriented and has some spoken words at the beginning. It makes a dramatic change at 3mins and has a great synth solo to start this next section. Love all the changes in this track including the sort of world music vibe of the end. The last track Shapeshifters has some intense drumming and cool hammond organ to start things off. Reminds me a bit of Sacri Monti this track and is maybe my fave on the album.  Great CD. You can hear the whole thing streaming on you tube below..

Los Tabanos Experience - A Conscious Dream (Self Released 2022)

I have been a fan of this band for some time but I have to say this album over the last months of absorbing its magic, has taken me on many adventures..  It is a pity this is only a digital release as I really think these 7 pieces of shown another suepr cool side of this band set them free in a way. This album was recorded live and all improvised.    Totally deep space at times, hard rocking, and always with a heavy psychedelic vibe.   You have to give it a try!!!

On these 7 tracks: 

Daniela Defilippi - Vox/Minilogue

Kurt Heyer - Drums

Gabriel Zavala - Guitar/Rhodes

Jimi Leighton - Bass

Carlos González Lihn - Guitar/Feedbacks

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Unifant Carnival Festival Feb 18th, 2023--- Travancinha, Portugal


This was a really fun and cool evening and amazing temperatures for this time of year. It was mostly cloudy until the end of the day and then it all cleared up for a beautiful 10C evening.   The local crew (Nick, Mad, Larry, Will, and others) who set the place up did a great job. Mike managed to get a really good sound in the room.  It was just really great. Larry had 3 projectors and it all worked fine to create a great party atmosphere!

Local DJ, Carlos Geometri, started things off at 20 with a 2 hr set of ethnic inspired music which gradually developed into trance techno and he really had the 40 or so people dancing and smiling. 

Next up was the Polish duo, IKARVS, who happen to be staying with me the last month and helping to work on the land. We got on both personally but also musically so they invited me to join them for the set.. Alexandra does improvised vocals with a lot of effects, some of the lyrics are planned. Pryz plays guitar, runs the computer stuff and also some vocals.  A lot of the music is improvised.  It was a hr long journey.... Great fun. I mixed my space sounds in here and there.. Audience really loved it but only about 25-30 people were inside watching the show. Most were outside around the fire etc..

Carlos Geometri
Racubah, also known as Steve, is a big vinyl collector of world music and he records his fave stuff from the vinyl lps and then mixes this with beats... He played stuff from Africa, Haiti, Carribean, etc.... They turned up the volume a lot as he was LOUD..  People were digging it... 

We did not stay to see the local Seia, DJ, Bernas... some more Portuguese people were just arriving to see him when we were leaving at 0030.... It was a very fun party..

Ikarvs soundcheck

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Astral Magic- Wonderland (Astral Magic 2023)

A limited edition of 40 on CD-R in a really cool sleeve. It features 13 tracks and the last American Poet, Shane Beck on last track, Seen through the Cosmic Eye. One of the rare Astral Magic releases where Santtu plays everything. The CD is mostly instrumental as well. It starts off with some crazy sequenced synth and lots of space bubbles and sounds before heading into the poppy groovy Across the Spheres which features a vocoder like vocal. Starry Night Sky has a sort of drum with conga drum rhythm in sync with a synth line that reminds a bit of Hawkwind. Mystical Journey is very spacey. Thunder Riders Last Flight is an nice tribute to Nik Turner (Hawkwind), who sadly passed away last year. A happy theme is played out and Santtu has written some nice lyrics but the vocal is mixed so low you can hardly make the words out compared to the next track, Wonderland. This is an uptempo and almost rocking track, if it had guitar. Nice bass line and some cool synth solos. The Walls are Melting is back to spaced out stuff with a spoken word by Santtu.  Dome of Stars is a quite happy mid paced track with a lot of spacey sounds.. Nostalgia has a similar mood to Dome but quite different synth lines.  Still makes you happy. Uranus Drone is loaded with weird and trippy sounds but one slow main synth line holds it together. Looking for Love has a laid back vocal. Twilight Pixies is another happy bouncy one with a long lead synth solo and at least 2-3 layers of other rhythmic synths. The final track, features Shane, his voice coming out of the void to capture your imagination. A fitting ending. 

A lot of cool tracks on this CD as always but I am starting to get the feeling that I have heard a lot of these themes, ideas before…. 

Speck/Interkosmos Split LP (Sulatron)

SPECK are a newish acid rock trio from Austria. Very inspired by Electric Moon!  Interkosmos is band that had sort of come back from the dead and features label owner, Dave Schmidt (Sula Bassana) on drums with mates from Austria and Spain. They released an album 10 years ago or so… Anyway, each band performs one long song. SPECK starts things off with a bass and drum intro, following some delay guitar that just builds and builds…. off we go.. It spaces out and space around and back and forth, builds and falls and flutters of intense guitar over the 23mins..  Recorded in one take in April 2019.

Interkosmos is a bit more cosmic, especially the beginning. Some nice bass playing as the track slowly builds up. Some nice guitar playing as well. The band are not really breaking any new ground with their jam or sound but it has a good spacey flow and nice melodic parts.  Very enjoyable music. Spacey…. This track was recorded in 2008 with some minor additions from Sula in 2021. The band is:  Sergio Ceballos (from Mohama Saz, Melange, ex RIP KC): Guitar. Pablo Carneval/Bernhard Fasching (Zone Six, Electric Moon): Drums. Sula Bassana/Dave Schmidt (Zone Six, Die Raumpatrouille, ex Electric Moon etc.): Bass, Synth. 

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Capt Beefheart- -every album, every song by Opher Goodwin

Don Vilet (Capt Beefheart) was certainly one of the most interesting and strange musical characters to have come out of the 60s acid scene, along with Arthur Lee (Love) and Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd)…   I have never been a huge CB fan but really liked some of the stuff by him. This book has allowed me to dig way deeper into the music and the man!!   The author is a huge fan and CB was clearly his fave band ever and he dedicated a lot of his life to his music and the band.  This comes thru in the book clearly but also makes him a bit too biased at times..

As with most of these books, he goes through in an album by album order but since many of Beefheart¨s albums were recorded and not released at the time, he has put them all in order, even though some were not released until the 80s and 90s..  I think this was a good idea. I tried to listen to the albums in order while reading and writing about the book (to the announce of my wife!!). 

Safe as Milk, clearly a classic and described in great detail. It was interesting to know that Ry Cooder hated the final product.  I was quite surprised that Zappa was not mentioned when some songs like Dropput Boogie and Autumn¨s Child are very Zappa inspired!!  Mirror Man, which was recorded in 1968 but the label would not release it was ditched and did not see the light until 1971.. A lot of strange weird jams with acidic lyrics and many tracks were recorded and some of these were attached to the Safe as Milk rereleases but not described with that album but with the Mirror Man album sessions. There were a lot of bonus tracks on later editions of these and Opher does a good job of describing these, most of the time. 

The author spends quite a lot of time on trying to give his best explanation of what the lyrics/poems might have meant…  He is probably not far off in most cases but unless you actually asked Don (and he was probably very unlikely to tell you the truth!), this is the best you can get, I think!!!  A lot of strange poetry for sure some very very out there!!!!   

Since Don retired from music in 1982 and headed to the forest to paint, that was the end of the albums but there are tons of compilations, live albums, Magic band albums, that Opher goes through, not track by track but pretty much covering them all.  He also has a list of all the solo releases by the main musicians from the band. 

A very interesting artist and book. Beefheart was always one of those artists like Henry Cow, that was sometimes just too weird for most people.  You will learn a lot reading this book for sure but mostly Ophers opinion of the music. He was and still is truly in love with his music. 

Sonic Bond Publishing