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Sunday, 14 July 2019
New from Beyond Beyond Is Beyond, a cosmic mind meld from two of the best guitarists working in the realm of modern “Kosmische Musik”. Symbiose is a split LP featuring the talents of both Prana Crafter and Tarotplane exploring the sounds from the edge of the universe…….and beyond. It’s a stunningly beautiful trip among the stars, gently ebbing and flowing through dreamlike states that border on the transcendental. The two tracks that make up Symbiose were composed independently but with the intentional goal of presenting a unified, comprehensive, work of modern kosmiche that offers the listener a unique journey on each side of the record, a bit like passing through different dream realms in one continuous slumber, a changing of moods and textures, all while certain elements remain common between the two canvases, between the two kosmic dreamscapes.
Although primarily known as a Acid Folk artist, Prana Crafter (aka Will Sol) has a passion for the mellower more psychedelic side of early 70s Krautrock and cites Kosmische pioneers such as Popol Vuh, Ash Ra Tempel and Agitation Free as influences and this is clearly evident in his music. Slowly building a reputation from his early records on Sunrise Ocean Bender and Eiderdown along with touring with Wooden Shjips, Prana Crafter is now starting reach a wider audience with releases on Beyond Beyond Is Beyond and his albums now available in Europe through Cardinal Fuzz, his contribution to Symbiose is no doubt his best work to date. Beamed from space via the Washington woods, ”Jagged Mountain Melts at Dawn” blends a rural acoustic ambience with shards of cosmic fire. Running at just about 20 minutes in length, channeling early records by Manuel Göttsching the track layers guitars and subtle synth washes immersing the listener in a deep pool of sound. It’s the first time that Prana Crafter has really got his Kosmische on, letting the music flow as long as possible, stretching the themes and pushing the boundaries to the limit creating a spellbinding soundscape. It’s “head music” in it’s purest sense.
Flip the disk and their is some excellent music from Tarotplane. The solo project by PJ Dorsey, over the past several years Tarotplane has released albums on boutique European labels Aguirre and Lullabies For Insomniacs and much like Prana Crafter has been greatly influenced by the cosmic sounds of the early 70s. “We Move Slowly Through the Past” is a journey spiralling through the cosmos that takes in early 70s Pink Floyd as much as Krautrock. Possibly more Space Rock than Prana Crafter’s Kosmische musings, Tarotplane’s contribution to Symbiose drifts through time and space with lots of echo and delay. Mixing elements of Dave Gilmour’s more abstract guitar playing with a Krautrock sensibility in rolling waves of sound, “We Move Slowly Through the Past” shimmers with a psychedelic intensity, a sound reminiscent of AR & Machines echodelic masterpieces, a true universal dream-mind sound.
Due for release 16/08/2019 on limited edition coloured or standard black vinyl and CD with pre-orders being taken now. Available from Beyond Beyond Is Beyond and the usual on line traders. You can check out/stream selected tracks here……
Monday, 27 May 2019
JuJu's third album, Maps And Territory, reaffirms and at the same time transcends JuJu's unique formula. Refining JuJu’s signature textured wall of sound of pulverizing bass lines, heavily reverbed guitars, hypnotic grooves, gospel drones and crooning vocals, the new record is a linear progression in multi-instrumentalist Gioele Valenti’s singular take on modern Psychedelic Rock. Adding more 1980’s New Wave influences and elements of Jazz to the potent mix of Neo-Psychedelia, Mediterranean Folk, Krautrock and African tribalism of the first two records, the sound of JuJu is now deconstructed, reassembled and expanded, pushing hard against the boundaries of any possibilities. Gioele Valenti’s JuJu project is essentially a blend of his many influences and the six outstanding tracks here fully illustrate this, with contributions from American avant-garde composer and improviser Amy Denio and Goatman from Swedish “Whirled Music” titans Goat, Maps And Territory is the sound of a musician taking a journey deep into a hazy musical hinterland guided by instinct and imagination.
Mixing together groove heavy funk, moody Post Punk/New Wave textures, New Order’s shimmering, propulsive Synth Pop and avant-garde experimentation with the sounds explored on the previous records, Maps And Territory is the obvious next step for JuJu. Opening with the dense, guitar laden ‘Master And Servants’, the new LP segues seamlessly into where Our Mother Was A Plant concluded before taking a series of exhilarating sonic sharp turns along the way. It’s a wild ride as tribal beats are expertly melded with a European Post Punk sheen. There is some really excellent music here………..’Motherfucker Core’ is a metallic, pulsing, almost Industrial sounding, 80s mutant disco groove where Kraftwerk meets chugging guitars and throbbing bass while ‘I'm In Trance’, featuring Goatman, is a heavy Afro-Funk workout that echoes Goat at their shamanic best summoning spirits from down town Lagos. While the current Psych Rock scene is somewhat stagnant and samey, JuJu are continually evolving. Although always pushing forward, JuJu have not abandoned the core sound that has gained the band a growing fan base since the 2015 self titled debut album, however the sense of sonic exploration remains undiminished. The most striking development is the collaboration with Amy Denio……..bordering Jazz territories “Archontes Take Control” is JuJu heading into the strange and beautiful realm of improvised fusion music. At nearly 10 minutes long it’s an intense slow burning instrumental moving from an atmospheric opening, through a polyrhythmic middle section before gently fading into the ether and the perfect was to close this record. No doubt certain to be included in everyone’s end of year “best of” lists, this is one of 2019’s essential albums. You can check out Maps And Territory/stream selected tracks here……….
Due for release on 31/05/2019 via the good folk at Fuzz Club on vinyl and CD, Maps And Territory will be available from all the best record shops, the usual online traders or from the Fuzz Club store.
Monday, 6 May 2019
3RD EAR EXPERIENCE with DR. SPACE - EAR TO SPACE (Space Rock Productions LP, CD). DR. SPACE featuring MARTIN WEAVER - DR. SPACE’S ALIEN PLANET TRIP Vol. 3 (Space Rock Productions LP).
New from Space Rock Productions a epic galactic love-in between Californian Space/Psych Rockers 3rd Ear Experience and the Øresund Space Collective's main man Dr. Space. Ear To Space is a transatlantic meeting of minds where digital files were bounced from from the Mojave Desert to a secret location in snowy Scandinavia and then beamed back to the 3rd Ear Experience’s remote desert hideaway where this brilliant double LP was finally assembled. Created from a series of jam sessions where the 3rd Ear Experience reached stratospheric heights channeling the sounds of Gong, Hawkwind, Amon Düül II and Pink Floyd before passing the tracks to Dr. Space to add atmospheric texture to the sonic soup from his banks of analogue synths. For the fourth side of the album Dr. Space provided Krautrock inspired synthesizer sounds to which the band jammed along to. Ear To Space is a total trip mixing together 3rd Ear Experience’s passion for exploration than a respect for boundaries, blending elements of Psychedelic and Space Rock along with touches of Prog, Krautrock, and World Music with Dr. Space’s love of the old school modular synth sounds of Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh.
The first two sides of Ear To Space feature full on Space Rock jams………’Screams of Eagle Bone’ is the sound of early Hawkwind snatched from Ladbrooke Grove, dosed with peyote and dumped in the Mojave Desert while ‘Anam Cara’ blends elements of Pink Floyd, free Jazz and trippy West Coast vibes before exploding into a face melting Acid Rock freak out. ‘Dreams Of The Caterpillar’ takes up the whole of side three and is far more experimental……….built on a trance like synth pulse and a steady 4/4 drum beat with soaring lead lines and slinky glissando guitar it’s a distant cousin to Steve Hillage’s System 7 records from the early 90s. From the same school as early Ozric Tentacles, ‘Dreams of the Caterpillar’ is a more spaced out trip than the other tracks on the LP. Side four features the tracks built on Dr. Space’s synth explorations………’Coin In The Desert’ is an excellent mix of spacey synth/guitar textures and tribal drumming expertly fusing elements of Gong and Afrobeat together into some totally far out space jazz with the album closing with the 3rd Ear Experience and Dr. Space channeling Tangerine dream on the atmospheric ‘Sue's Dream World’. Ear To Space is a wonderful melting pot of grooves and textures as the 3rd Ear Experience and Dr. Space spin off into different parts of the psychedelic universe not afraid to experiment with any sonic possibilities. Well worth your time, available on vinyl or CD you can check the album out here……………
Also new from Space Rock Productions is the third volume of Dr. Space’s Alien Planet Trip releases. Featuring guitarist Martin Weaver, Vol 3 is a throwback to the the late 80’s/early 90’s ambient/crusty dub scene where the PsychHeads started doing E. Mixing together Electro/Ethnic drum programming, ambient synth compositions and Techno beats Dr. Space and Martin Weaver recreate the vibe of the chill out room at Club Dog circa 1991. ‘Lost In The Desert’ is an excellent track built on layers of sampled African percussion, echoing the early days of Transglobal Underground and Loop Guru. You can check it out/stream/buy the vinyl here………..
Both albums are out NOW and available from the usual online traders.
Sunday, 5 May 2019
Previously described as “wandering between lazy Mazzy Star/Cowboy Junkies atmospheres and more gritty moments reminiscent of Mark Lanegan”, Italian duo Alice Tambourine Lover (guitarist Gianfranco Romanelli and singer/guitarist and……erm……tambourine player Alice Albertazzi) are back with an new LP of stripped down ethereal and hauntingly beautiful Spook Blues. For their fourth album for Go Down Records Alice Tambourine Lover have added vivid psychedelic hues to their sonic palette, wrapping their songs in layers of reverb and Shoegaze textures giving Down Below’s minimal Folk/Blues sound a glacial sheen. It’s a record dominated by Romanelli’s guitar collection, mixing together rootsy dobro/resonator guitars and shimmering electric guitars with Alice Albertazzi’s guitar and gorgeous voice finding spaces in between, Alice Tambourine Lover take the idea of the Male/Female Folk/Blues duo into strange uncharted waters.
The first impression of Down Below gives credence to the Mazzy Star comparisons with, for example, the woozy Psych Blues and Folk hybrid ‘Follow’ channeling David Roback’s languid guitar style, however with further listens the record opens up to reveal previously unheard depth and subtlety. Built upon layers of guitars and then immersed in a lake of reverb, Down Below is a beautifully crafted blend of heavenly voices and a swirl of acoustic and electric guitars. There are some wonderful songs here…………..’Dance Away’ is an absolute head rush of guitars twisting around Alice Albertazzi’s strong Bluesy vocals while the mesmerizing ‘Into The Maze’ wouldn't sound out of place on Mazzy Star’s So Tonight That I Might See. The record’s last three tracks, ‘Rubber Land’, ‘Train’ and ‘Surround You’, are a fantastic mix of raw Desert Blues and dreamy Psychedelia that are possibly the best tracks on the LP. Although Alice Tambourine Lover are not doing anything really that new they are able to expertly weld their own idiosyncratic sound onto a Psych Blues/Folk chassis making Down Below one of the more interesting albums we have heard so far this year. You can check it out yourself/stream the album here……………
Out NOW via Go Down Records on vinyl and CD and available from all the usual on line outlets.
Sunday, 21 April 2019
THE TRIP TAKERS - DON’T BACK OUT NOW (Area Pirata LP). THE BACKDOOR SOCIETY - THE BACKDOOR SOCIETY (Area Pirata LP). TONY BORLOTTI E SUOI FLAUERS - BELINDA CONTRO I MANGIADISCHI (Area Pirata CD/LP). I MITOMANI BEAT - FIGLI DEI FIGLI DEI FIORI (Area Pirata CD). THE KAAMS - KICK IT (Area Pirata CD/LP).
We have a bunch of cool recent releases from Area Pirata Records (the home of Italian Garage Rock) to tell you about. Spanning the Garage Rock/Psych spectrum from the classic British Mod/Freakbeat, European Psych Pop, R&B, and Nuggets influenced groovy sounds of Tony Borlotti E I Suoi Flauers, I Mitomani Beat and The Backdoor Society through the Psychedelic world of The Trip Takers to the slick modern Garage Rock of The Kaams these records more than show how vibrant the current Italian Garage/Beat scene is. Dig it People.
We were first introduced to Italian Garage/Beat obsessives The Trip Takers via their self titled 2017 debut EP/mini album. By eschewing modern recording techniques they created an authentic vintage lo-fi analogue sound, revisiting the classic mid 60s proto-Nuggets era of American Garage/Psych with six tracks that channeled the slightly shambolic records by “British Invasion” influenced bands such as The Groupies, The Velvet Illusions, The Inmates, The Cave Men and Satan & The G Men. While side one was firmly inspired by early Beat bands, side two saw The Trip Takers exploring wonky mid 60s Psychedelia and sounding not unlike the acid drenched strangeness of Nashville Psych Pop outsiders The Sufis. You can read our original Strange Things Are Happening review here………......
Since the release of the debut EP, The Trip Takers have spent the last few years gigging and playing Garage/Psych festivals around Europe, gaining new fans along the way with a brand of Garage Psych that has been described as “suspended in the limbo between the conservatism of vintage sounds and the genuine and sincere "revivalism"" honing their retro Psych sounds ready for their first full length LP. Don't Back Out Now is a lysergically infused rush of 60s swirling Psychedelia from a band totally at ease with lifting a whole host of influences from the Nuggets era bands and from the parts assembling an excellent LP of songs that any discerning vintage PsychHead will love and cherish. The first thing you notice about this record is that The Trip Takers have really found their groove. The experimental strangeness of the first EP has been stripped back and the 60s Psych Pop influences have been pushed to the fore. Mining the same rich groovy sixties seam as the The Sonic Dawn and other like minded bands, Don't Back Out Now inhabits the world of the first wave of Psychedelic beat groups inspired by The Beatles, The Byrds and Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann recorded short, sharp, tripped out singles that where laced with a heavy dose of pop sensibility. Opening with the West Coast jangle of ‘Let Me Sail’, The Trip Takers tear through 10 tracks of scintillating sounds, channelling The Chocolate Watchband, The Electric Prunes, The Golden Dawn, 13th Floor Elevators, The Music Machine among others into a collection of songs that relive the first Psychedelic era. For fans of classic 60s Garage Psych, this is more than worth a listen. Available on vinyl only, you can check out/stream the record here………
The Backdoor Society are another band that take inspiration from a vibrant 60s scene. The music of The Backdoor Society is strongly influenced by the Dutch Beat sound of bands such as the Outsiders and Q65. Out NOW via Area Pirata records, their debut album is the sound of the Amsterdam bars and clubs circa 1966. It’s an album packed full of tight early R&B inspired songs that have echoes of the Stones, The Pretty Things and The Yardbirds finest moments. Full of punchy songs such as ‘Go On Home’, ‘Oh Girl’ and ‘What’s On Your Mind’ and slow burners such as ‘Try To Understand’ and ‘Better Than Me’, it’s a record that mixes the sound of wild sixties R&B with more down tempo Stones-like songs. Available as a vinyl only release, you can check out/stream the album here…………..
Faithfully recreating the Freakbeat/proto Psych Pop sounds of 1966 with fizzing Farfisa organ and fuzzed out guitars, Beat disciple Tony Borlotti has been fronting Tony Borlotti E I Suoi Flauers since the mid 90s. Blending together the sound of classic Beat groups with a splash of Nuggety goodness and added retro pop sensibility they have built a reputation based on their ability to channel the authentic sound of 60s “Beat Italiano”. Following a four track EP in 2017, Belinda Contro I Mangiadischi, the band’s first full length release on Area Pirata……….with songs sung in the band’s native language it’s got the unique sound of Italian bands of the era taking the groovy swirl of bands such as the Electric Prunes and ? & The Mysterians mixed with the explosive driving guitars of UK Mod/Freakbeat bands filtered through the lens of 1960s Italian pop music………..however you don’t need to be fan of 60s Italian Beat groups to enjoy this record. There’s some cool stuff here, especially the smart R&B/Mod grooves on ‘Belinda contro i Mangiadisch’ and ‘Lambretta’, and it’s worth checking out if you like the retro sounds of Swinging London with that idiosyncratic twist that European bands added to American/British music giving European Pop Psych such a distinctive feel. Available on CD and vinyl, you can check out/stream the album here………..
With a similar vibe as the Tony Borlotti E I Suoi Flauers LP, but having more of a mixed bag of influences, the second album by I Mitomani Beat dives headfirst into the sounds of the sixties. Mixing together Psychedelia, classic Garage Rock, tough R&B and sharp Mod/Freakbeat flavours, Figli Dei Figli Dei Fiori is a kaleidoscopic blast of “Beat Italiano”. I Mitomani Beat raise the stakes with a supercharged cover of the Nuggets classic ‘Lies’, originally by the Knickerbockers, and the swirling psych out ‘L'Orologio’…………’L'Orologio’ is a riot of Doors style organ, fuzzed to fuck guitars, Theremin, groovy drums and rolling bass lines mixed with great harmony vocals and at nearly 5 minutes running time it’s the longest and most tripped out track on the record. It’s not the most original sounding record (but that’s really not the point) but it’s a solid album with enough groovy tunes to be worth your time and has a couple of real killer songs that are well worth the price of admission alone. Out NOW on CD, you can check out/stream the album here……………..
Outta Bergamo, Italy, The Kaams are a very modern sounding Garage Rock/Blues Rock band that although have traces of 60s/70s influence in their music they now have more in common with the early 2000s NYC Garage Rock explosion. Kick It is their second LP for Area Pirata and since their 2014 album, One To Six, they have evolved from a raw and loud Garage Punk band to a slicker, more radio friendly outfit. Kick It still has its moments of Garage Punk urgency with tracks such as the R&B stomper ‘My Destiny’, ‘Don't Forget My Name’ and ’Dark Days’ which cops its riff off The Clash. There is one absolute killer tune on this record..unlike any of the other songs on Kick It, ‘Follow The Sun’ is a slow burning, swirling Neo-Psychedelic Raga Rock wig out which closes the album……..longer and looser than anything else here, The Kaams channel the 80s Paisley Underground to stunning effect. Available on vinyl and CD you can check it out/stream it here………….
All these records are out NOW and available to buy direct from the Area Pirata web site or from the usual on line traders.
Sunday, 27 January 2019
Not content to rest on his laurels as a 60s Psychedelelic legend, having played with Tomorrow, The Pretty Things, The Pink Fairies and Syd Barrett’s short lived Stars, there has been a lot of brand new Twink related activity at the moment…………hot on the heels of the announcement of a host of live dates and single on Gare du Nord Records, Area Pirata Records are releasing Twink’s third album with Italian Neo-Psych band The Technicolour Dream. The two previous collaborations with The Technicolour Dream produced the critically acclaimed 2013 album You Reached For The Stars that revisited the sound of the late 60s/early 70s London freak scene and 2015’s Think Pink II which featured significant contributions from former Pretty Thing Jon Povey. Again featuring Povey on a few tracks, Sympathy For The Beast sees Twink and The Technicolour Dream setting the texts of Aleister Crowley to swirling Psychedelic Rock………..let’s be honest, when you’ve got Crowley doing lyrics for you then the likes of Bernie Taupin can properly fuck off. It’s a record that can be seen as a companion piece to the concept album Crowley and Me, recorded by Povey with his band Star Sponge Vision that had Twink behind the drum kit, which was released by the good folk at Mega Dodo Records last year.
Sympathy For The Beast brings Crowley’s imaginative poetical works to life within the context of a trippy Psychedelic Rock setting, with Twink and The Technicolour Dream conjuring up a maelstrom of psychedelic guitar, keyboards and throbbing percussion providing the perfect platform for his provocative imagery. Blending together full tilt Rock ‘n’ Roll that echoes the classic Pink Fairies guitar, bass and 2 x drum kit line up with more atmospheric pieces that have spoken text over guitar and lush synth washes, it’s a fantastic Psychedelic record full of magic and mystery. In essence, Twink and the band have reimagined Crowley’s writing not as a gothic tribute to “The Great Beast” but as something ancient and organically psychedelic in the true spirit of the texts. Although not the first to fuse Crowley’s writing with loud guitars, they have taken a much more subtle approach with songs tinged with an otherworldly strangeness and beauty amongst heady Psychedelic Rock………..one of the most absorbing tracks on the record being ‘The Poet’ that features a recording of Crowley mixed with a tripped out guitar and percussion improvisation. Also packed full of squalling swirling Acid Rock guitar and polyrhythmic percussion workouts Sympathy For The Beast is a quality Psych LP that has one foot firmly planted in the late 60s acid underground but still sounds very modern………..stand out tracks such as ‘One Star In Sight’, ‘Fragment From “The Ship”’ and ‘Hymn To Pan’ would sound great in any era. The album also includes two previously unpublished until recently Crowley works, ‘Your Grave Grey Eyes’ and ‘Cinnamon Curls’, that as well as the fuzzed up and freaked out Psych Rock remakes the original piano and soprano versions with singer Vita Pugliese are also included.
Due for release on vinyl by Area Pirata Records very soon as a limited edition run of 300 copies so keep ‘em peeled for an official release date.
Saturday, 19 January 2019
Back with a new record after an extended break following their critically acclaimed album Disorientation, released by the London Dreampop/Post-Rock/Shoegaze indie Club AC30 in 2011, Deep Cut have seamlessly picked up where they left off with an album brimming with kaleidoscopic guitar hooks, driving motorik beats and hazy Shoegaze comedowns. Different Planet is a stunning blend of 60s influenced Psych Pop, early 90s Indie Rock jangle, drone, Krautrock, Trip Hop and subtle Electronica (the kind of eclectic but cohesive sounds you would expect from a band featuring former members of Richard Fearless’ sprawling Psychedelic Rock, minimal Techno, Krautrock, Dub and Industrial Noise collective Death In Vegas) which references The Byrds, Velvet Underground, the early 90s Shoegaze “Holy Trinity” of MBV, JAMC and Slowdive, James Lavelle’s UNKLE records, Primal Scream (the late 90s Sun Ra meets The Stooges in a pool of reverb version and not their lazy Stones preset) and Krautrock legends CAN/Neu!/Kraftwerk through ten excellent tracks. With the dreamy vocals of singer Emma Bailey adding a silky Indie Pop sensibility to Deep Cut’s Psych Rock shimmer, Different Planet has a sonic footprint not a million miles away from recent releases by Jane Weaver and Josefin Öhrn.
Different Planet is a distillation of a whole host of different sounds and influences skillfully woven into a sonic tapestry way more than the sum of its parts. Although essentially rooted in the classic guitar driven Shoegaze and Dreampop sound of Creation Records circa 1991, Deep Cut mix it up with elements of Byrdsian Neo-Psychedelic jangle (‘Washed Up’), pulsing Krautrock (‘Alarm Button’), spacey Dub grooves (‘Spiralling’) and mellow Trip Hop breaks (‘Different Planet’) to create an off kilter Psych/Pop record full of light and shade that sounds new and vibrant. There is so much to love here and with ten really great songs it’s difficult to pick out any single stand out track, however ‘Alarm Button’ is an absolute killer tune with it’s motorik groove and seductive synth pulse straight out the DIV song book. For fans of early 90s Shoegaze and modern melodic Psychedelia, Different Planet is the first essential album of 2019. You can check out/stream selected tracks here……………
Due for release on CD/Digital via Gare du Nord Records on 25/01/19, Different Planet will be available from all the best record shops with pre-orders available from Deep Cut’s Bandcamp page.