Archive for September 15, 2012

The Linus Pauling Quartet – “Horns Of Ammon” (Homeskool Rekords 2010)

Released in 2010 but recorded in the years prior to 2007’s All Things Are Light, Horns Of Ammon is a 7 track, 36 minute set that highlights the somewhat lighter side of LP4. Now when I say “lighter”, I should emphasize that I’m writing about this CD immediately after having been immersed in the decidedly NOT-light new Bag Of Hammers (see review above), so this is pure brain massage compared to that album.

The set opens with the folky rocking Lost It All. I like the combination of acoustic and electric guitars, including a tasteful acidic lead, and the organ is a nice touch too. Nowhere demonstrates how LP4 can do a cool grooving song, yet still inject it with plenty of acid rocking heaviness. Fans of the Bevis Frond’s acid-minstrel tunes will dig this one. The aptly-titled Monster is similar, but with an acid-damaged garage rocking vibe. Porno In the Sink is a fun rocking party tune, except I’ll spare you what I could guess the song is about. Concubine is part acid-folk song and part fun grooving rocker similar to Porno In The Sink, and includes tasty wah-bending guitar solos. I’ve Been Down is the most laid back song of the set, consisting of a dreamy, sorta country-psych flavor, and we’re treated to still more tasteful melodic psych guitar solos. Finally, the nearly 11 minute HAWG!!! serves up a fun discourse on stoned psychedelic Blues.

I’ve been following LP4 for years and one of the things that keeps them so interesting is the varied ground they cover. In fact, I think both Horns Of Ammon and the new Bag Of Hammers together might be a good introduction to what the band are about for newcomers.

For more information you can visit the The Linus Pauling Quartet web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Vali Ohm “3000 Light Years” (Vali Ohm 2012, self-released)

Vali Ohm is the work of super-Hawkfan Danny Jackson, who has written the bulk of 3000 Light Years, supplied most of the vocals and played most of the instruments. Amongst the guest musicians is one Nik Turner, who even gets his own “featuring …” name check on the cover, perhaps rather cheekily, as he only appears on one track. The opportunity to record with the legendary former Hawk must have been like a dream come true for Jackson, who goes on to list his other inspirations as Ozric Tentacles and Frank Zappa, as well as ’70’s rock titans Bowie, The Who, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. The album artwork looks pretty good, and the names of the tracks – Space Machine, Interstellar City and the title track – tick all the right boxes, but unfortunately the music itself never really manages to deliver. Opener Jazz Up the Spacerock fails to ignite and Club Outer Stratosphere is unlikely to get many people on the floor with tinny sound and thin vocals exhorting everybody to move and get in the groove at the titular nightclub. Having said that, 3000 Light Years does have its bright moments, most significantly on the title track, which features the much-anticipated spoken word vocal of Nik, and sounds a little like the stuff he was doing on the Space Ritual Otherworld album, as well as some nice acoustic guitar playing in the introduction, and a competent guitar solo. Jackson’s guitar playing also gets a chance to shine on album closer Home, and to a lesser extent on Space Machine. Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles for Vali Ohm is the lack of any kind of driving rhythm – there is very little bass in evidence, and the drum machines sound tired and thin. Jackson’s main strength appears to be at the keyboard, and early 1970’s Hawkwind synthesizer swoops abound throughout the album, particularly on Interstellar City. The brief, ambient track The Encounter works better than most, and Life Force 1 opens in similar style, before breaking into a jammy section that conjures up images of Secret Saucer playing a cover of Tim Blake’s Lighthouse. As a homemade labour of love, 3000 Light Years is indeed light years ahead of anything I could manage to put together, but suffers from a lack of substance and perhaps collaboration. Were Danny Jackson to lend his guitar and keyboard skills to a live rhythm section and more powerful vocalist, he would likely come up with something to match his spacerock aspirations.

Vali Ohm’s website, from which the album can be purchased is
A clip of the Turner collaborative track, which features excellent graphics, can be found on the site.

Reviewed by Pat Albertson

Poseidotica – “Cronicas Del Futuro” (Aquatalan Records 2011, AQR 005-2011)

In 2008, Argentinian progressive metal/fusion band Poseidotica delivered their second album, La Distancia (reviewed for Aural Innovations #40), which proved to be one of the most musically thrilling releases of that year. Epic album closer Las Magnitudes in particular featured passages of such beauty and power that would melt the heart of even the most jaded listener Now they are back with Cronicas Del Futuro, released on the tenth anniversary of the band’s formation in Buenos Aires. The big question is, can it live up to the awesome legacy of their previous album?

The first thing that hits you about Cronicas Del Futuro is the fantastic gatefold and die-cut packaging, worthy of such classic 1970’s album covers as In Search Of Space or Tales from Topographic Oceans. Designed as the dashboard and windscreen of some alien space vehicle, the cover features a number of interchangable cards that enable the listener to set the controls for a number of terrifying destinations, with the journey starting before the first note on the CD is even played. Anyone tossing up whether to buy Cronicas as a CD or download would do well to go for the actual disc, as the cover alone is worth the financial outlay. Perhaps that is just as well, given that the musical content clocks in at under 30 minutes, rather stingy in an age when discs can accomodate 80 minutes of music. There are no 15 minute epics this time around, with opening track Elevacion being the only one that exceeds five minutes. Surprisingly for a twin guitar band, the album opens with an eastern vaguely Tangerine Dream-esque synth pattern (courtesy of guest keyboardist Ernesto Romeo) that quickly gives way to classic rock guitar and bass riffing. The playing is highly melodic and uniformly excellent across the entire album, without once resorting to undesired and egotistical displays of guitar heroics. La Resistencia and Los Extranos give the band opportunity to rock out like an instrumental fusion of Rush and Dream Theater, while the breakdown in Dimension Vulcano and the fragile acoustic picking of Confines Del Caos show that the musicians know when to leave spaces in the void. Otra Fuga Incierta has some classy and intricate bass playing, while the self-explanatory Cyberpunk crams GBH intensity into its 71 seconds. The two minute Alunizar provides a suitable comedown experience to close the album.

Perhaps the best musicial touchstone for Poseidotica is Rush’s 1978 classic La Villa Strangiato, although unlike the subtitle of that track, Cronicas Del Futuro is anything but an exercise in self-indulgence. The absence of an epic grand finale means that the heights of La Distancia have not quite been scaled this time around, but Cronicas Del Futuro remains an essential progressive metal purchase for 2012.

The band’s website is
“Cronicas Del Futuro” can be purchased from All That Is Heavy at

Reviewed by Pat Albertson

Ax Genrich and Band – “Fretboard Jungle” (Self-Released 2012, CD, Nasoni Records 2012, LP)

Fretboard Jungle is the new album by founding Guru Guru guitarist/vocalist Ax Genrich and his current band, which consists of Steff Bollack on drums and Mario Fadani on bass.

The album opens with the title track, which is a strange and fun combination of whimsical rock song and psychedelic space jam. Kosmic Phartz is a remake of Kosmische Phyrze, a track from Ax’s 1976 Heidelberg album. This 12+ minute instrumental starts off like the psychedelic soundtrack to a Sergio Leone film, later morphing into a jam that’s reminiscent of an early Guru Guru guitar/bass/drum excursion. It’s slow paced and has a freeform feel with cool spacey effects, tripping along for a while until returning to the opening theme, which conjures up images of Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef facing off against a kaleidoscope lightshow backdrop.

Like the title track, Sad Song has a playful feel but also a heavy psych rocking edge with lots of bubbly and wah’d melodic tripped out guitar soloing. The song, which Ax announces is “dedicated to all losers and misfits around the world”, has a wild country-pop acid-psych feel, yet Ax also fits in lots of guitar effects. Amber Suite is another combination of song and sonic exploration, starting off as an easy-paced song and later taking off into an adventures-in-sound space-psych-jazz-rock improvisation. Death Is For Dying is characterized by a dark, moody vibe from the bass and drums, which lay the foundation over which Ax creates quietly intricate guitar patterns and spacey soundscapes and effects. All three musicians direct the emotional flow of the music as this mesmerizing piece progresses.

Most of the tracks are in the 8 minute and longer range, though there are two shorter songs. Outlook Pretoria is a fun swinging dance number. And Samantha’s Rabbit is a re-recording of a song originally released on the 1973 self-titled Guru Guru album. Finally, the album closes with the nearly 14 minute Voodoo Touch/Dalai Llama, a live concert recording from 2011. The band take off on a jazz-rock jam, and I like the subtly tasteful guitar solos and intermittent ethereal vocals bits. Then they launch into Next Time See You At The Dalai Lhama, the classic STONED jam from Guru Guru’s 1970 UFO album.

In summary, there’s plenty for fans of early Guru Guru to enjoy on Fretboard Jungle, but 40 years after those seminal albums were released, Ax continues to experiment and try new ideas. There’s a lot of creativity and music that steps outside the box on this album but it’s easily missed unless listened to very closely. We’ve got songs, spaced out psychedelic jams, and stylistic variety that is difficult to describe, usually all happening at the same time. I think this album will get mixed opinions from different listeners, but I like the variety and the way Ax and his band have skillfully arranged it all, because when it comes to pioneering musicians from the 60s and early 70s that are still active I always like to hear them explore new directions rather than just appealing to long-time fans who want to hear the same kind of music they created years ago. The classic space/psych sounds are here, but Ax and band put a fresh spin on it all.

To order the CD contact Ax Genrich at:
The vinyl edition is available in a run of 400 black and 100 colored from the Nasoni Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz