Archive for October 30, 2012

Oresund Space Collective – “Give Your Brain a Rest from the Matrix” (Space Rock Productions 2012, SPR007, CD digipack 500 copies)

Since being formed by Dr. Space (aka Aural Innovations’ own Scott Heller) in 2004, Oresund Space Collective have been recording and touring at an amazing rate, with Give Your Brain a Rest from the Matrix being their 14th proper release, although the number of limited edition releases using one format only (such as the vinyl-only Entering the Space Country and Phaze Your Fears from 2011 and 2012 respectively) make it hard to keep track of just what is out there. This CD release (limited to 500 copies only, although possibly to be released as a double LP at some future point) was recorded at the same session – Sept 26th 2010 – that produced Space Country and Fears. To find another instance of just one single session producing enough material for three different albums, one would have to go back to the legendary Amon Duul session of 1968, which birthed several rather unlistenable albums. Fortunately, the four lengthy tracks on Give Your Brain a Rest from the Matrix contain far more musical depth than the acid-drenched communal noodlings of the original Amon Duul.

A true collective, rather than a band as such, Oresund have featured over 30 different musicians in their line-up, most of whom have connections to other Scandanavian/European spacerock ventures. For example, Matrix features First Band from Outer Space guitarist Johan Dahlstrom on one track, and Secret Saucer synth-player Steve Hayes on another. However, by far the most notable guest contribution comes from Siena Root’s enigmatically-named KG, whose sitar is all over much of this album. No stranger to the OSC family, KG provided sitar-stylings on 2009’s Good Planets Are Hard to Find, probably the closest touchstone for Matrix in the Oresund back catalogue. If, as stated in the sleeve notes, Give Your Brain a Rest from the Matrix is all about unplugging from the soulless and potentially isolating technologies of the internet, smartphones and headphones which block out the “real” world, the opening track serves as a mighty call to… let go, relax and drift! A lengthy ambient-folksy sitar/guitar intro sets the mood, and the music seems to almost hold its breath for five minutes in anticipation before tabla-style percussion, guitar, bass and synths bring in a gentle groove, which flows across the remaining 20 minutes. This is definitely “world” music, although the world in question may not be Planet Earth. First Band’s Johan provides bluesy guitar on Mainstream is the New Acid, probably the most “conventional” (if such a word can be used in the worlds of OSC) track on the album, which includes a cracking guitar solo around the ten minute mark. Sitars make a return on the nine minute Step into the Other World, while gentle waves of guitar (courtesy of Claus Bohling and Mathias Danielsson) break against eastern shores. The interweaving patterns of guitar and sitar make this otherworldly invitation a most inviting one. Insistent bass and drum grooves give Cerebral Massage (the twenty-seven minute album closer) more of a rock feel, enhanced by KG’s bubbling and swirling Hammond organ, and stabs of wailing guitar. After a brief breakdown session about halfway through, the driving guitars and Hammond return for the most spacerocking section of the album.

The relaxing and terrestrial nature of much of the music on Give Your Brain a Rest from the Matrix means that this album might not be an ideal point of entry for anyone searching for spacerock sounds in the OSC catalogue (2007’s The Black Tomato would probably be the ideal place to start), but it does provide a welcome, if temporary, respite from the relentless encroachment of 24/7 information technology into the world of the listener.

Access the band websites at and
Scott “Dr Space” Heller can be contacted at
The CD is distributed by Record Heaven at

Reviewed by Pat Albertson

Book Of Shadows – “Cosmos-Mother” review and interview

Book Of Shadows – “Cosmos-Mother” (Instincto Records 212, INO-049)

I’ve reviewed nearly 20 albums by Austin, Texas based Book Of Shadows over the past decade and I must say they’re one of the more enjoyable bands to review because they are so confoundedly difficult and, consequently, fun to write about. I’ve always avoided attaching any labels to these folks because they incorporate so many different genres, elements, etc into their music. It’s space-ambient, psychedelic, avant-garde, industrial, sound exploratory, and Book Of Shadows nearly always seamlessly fuse the various elements they’re working with.

On their latest effort – Cosmos-Mother – Book Of Shadows serve up 11 tracks, each including between 3-6 musicians, with the constants being founders Carlton and Sharon Crutcher (AI readers may remember Carlton as a founding member of ST37). The set opens with Moon Pie, a wild mash of machine shop aggression, Sharon’s ethereal space chants, guitar effects, and trippy recorder soloing, and a bit of harmonica at the end. Your Reflection and Alchemist seem to occupy some ambient-space-industrial realm, with a great combination of effects, noise and floating space, and the former being held down by a hypnotic repetitive bass line. Stardust Faded is a dark, slightly orchestral, hallucinatory piece with a bit of psychedelic Morricone spaghetti western theme. Spider Jones features slowly strumming acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and Sharon’s vocals. As the music progresses the acoustic guitar takes some interesting detours, and windswept electronic effects are introduced, which get increasingly spacey and freaky, making for some pretty wild contrasting elements that somehow go together pefectly. Pendulum is possibly the only Sharon-less Book Of Shadows track I’ve heard. It’s got FOUR guitarists (plus Carlton on keys), though you wouldn’t know it just by listening. It’s surprisingly sparse and subtle, with much of what they’re focusing on being ambience and soundscape creation. Flora and Fauna has a beautiful light melody, and I thought the underlying freaky alien electronics and light percussion were a nice touch. Crickets And Tree Frogs is one of the most sound-experimental tracks of the set and made me feel like I was in a schizophrenic mixture of planetarium and nature preserve.

My two hands down favorites of the set were Falling Star and Skycycle The Stratosphere. The 21 minute Falling Star opens with a spaced out barren planet ambience, anguished, whining guitar licks, and atmospheric vocals. After a few minutes Sharon delivers a cosmic narrative. Taken as a whole, this is a killer combination of avant-soundtrack space ambience and mind-bending psychedelic drift. I was surprised to see this was created by just a trio version of Book Of Shadows – Sharon, Carlton on keys, and Jason Zenmoth on guitar, bass and electronics. Sharon returns to the narrative periodically and I think this is one of the few examples of extended text on a Book Of Shadows piece. In summary, this is 21 minutes of seriously image inducing cosmic beauty. The 11 minute Skycycle The Stratosphere starts off with the sound of pouring rain, a dark symphonic rumble, and Sharon’s ghostly space chants. Aaron Bennack’s guitar at times reminds me of Dave Gilmour, and combined with the atmospherics brings to mind a spaced out avant-twisted take on Shine On You Crazy Diamond. Another beauty to close your eyes and be swept away with.

After so many reviews I decided it was time to learn more about Book Of Shadows and conducted the following email interview with Carlton and Sharon.

Aural Innovations (AI): Tell me about how Book Of Shadows formed and what kind of discussions went into the kind of music you would be playing.

Carlton: Sharon had a dream about a band named Book of Shadows. I got involved in the Austin underground music scene, as a musician, in 1985 because I was pursuing a spiritual life and I figured cutting edge musicians would be the most open minded about this sort of thing. I loved all the bands and people I was involved with but I gradually realized the punk scene had no interest in spirituality. It was always equated with religion and therefore everything punks were against. I kept my pursuit but had to be very covert about it, even with my bandmates. In my first two bands, Tulum and ST37, I had always compiled tapes of the best improvisations. To me this was the most interesting music we were doing because you didn’t think about it or prepare, you just went off the deep end into psychic musical exploration. It was always fun and something you could never come up with if you had planned it out. When Sharon and I started making Book of Shadows recordings in 1999 our plan was to make recordings of music that people could do magic rituals along with but also make it interesting improvisational music. In 2001 I realized the ST37 people didn’t understand or appreciate our contributions to the band and I felt like ST37 wasn’t able to evolve musically or philosophically so I left.

Sharon: Book of Shadows was formed after a dream I had, where I was told in my dream we should make music to do magic rituals by! I told Carlton about it and we decided to do that. It was very simple music at first, very organic. Then we brought in some friends to play with us just for certain songs, not as part of the band at that point (1999). We never discussed what it was going to sound like, just doing lyrics that were Goddess based and Carlton playing his synth. I was playing some primitive guitar with lots of effects and loops. We just recorded sounds around the house, sounds of nature, and it went from there. We also put out psychic calls for like minded people to be brought to us and it always worked very well.

AI: I’m well acquainted with Carlton’s musical history but know nothing about Sharon beyond Book Of Shadows. Tell me about your background – previous bands, etc.

Sharon: I have no background! So to speak!! All the singing I did was in my head and playing my guitar when I was a kid. Until I was in my forties, my music didn’t begin until I met Carlton. I would sing some with ST37 at practice when we were waiting for people to show up, and I did some backup vocals on a couple of ST37 songs.

AI: I was reading some of my past Book Of Shadows reviews and what strikes me is both the variety of directions you go in from one album to the next (but also within albums), and the difficulty of describing your music. That difficulty is what makes your albums so enjoyable to review, but also makes you somewhat unique. If you forced me to classify Book Of Shadows, I guess I’d have to say “Avant-Space/Ambient-Psych-Experimental”.

Carlton: Yeah, when I’m asked to label our music it’s always something like that! For me, music is art and art is creating something new, so that’s always the goal with Book of Shadows music. We never plan things out though, I just figure that since we’re people with relevant viewpoints the music will naturally come out original, different all the time, but of the moment.

Sharon: Yes, all of that and hopefully magic as well! I like to put things together that wouldn’t normally go together and create a type of alchemy. I like change and I like mysterious possibilities. I like the element of surprise and I hate rules because I always want to break them, in art anyway!

AI: Are Carlton and Sharon the main members or are there others you consider permanent? There are common names that pop up across the albums but the lineup does seem to be somewhat fluid, and even the number of musicians varies. When I was reading my past reviews I saw instances where you had as many as 7 members.

Carlton: Sharon and I are the core members. Aaron Bennack was with us from 2002 but just moved away and Jonathan Horne has played with us since 2004 but is involved in so many projects he’s in and out. For people who’ve played with us in the past I try to keep an open door and we’re starting to get people on second tours of duty with Book of Shadows. We’re always open to new folks, anyone who can understand and likes the music, and able to do it!

Sharon: It’s always Carlton and I. We really are so flexible and undemanding that people flow in and out of Book of Shadows. We don’t practice much, if ever. Book of Shadows is more about being able to reach a certain dimension in a way, without planning what is going to happen there. A musician will either feel it or not and approach us because they feel like they have something to add, from their heart, really. Everyone just has an opportunity to do something from the heart, carte blanche. So really Book of Shadows is a freedom of expression of each individuals heart at that moment. It’s separate but together as a whole, that’s what makes it magical and draws our musical collective to us. I feel it’s that complete freedom that makes people want to play in Book of Shadows. And we musn’t forget to mention Brett Humphrey who’s been with us for a long time.

AI: One of the distinguishing characteristics of your music is Sharon’s vocals, or “voicings”. In my reviews I’ve made reference to Gilli Smyth’s space whispers, though Sharon does have her own sound. Do you consider the vocals the same as any other instrument, and is Sharon improvising the same as the other musicians?

Sharon: Yes, to both questions. The vocals are my instrument of emotion, I don’t always have words to describe so I use my voice to emote what I feel in the context of the music and open my heart and go from there.

Carlton: Sharon’s vocals live are always improvised and I consider them the psychic center of the music that we all play off of.

AI: Is all Book Of Shadows music improvised? How do you approach that in live performance? Is there any discussion or preparation?

Carlton: For recordings Sharon sometimes writes out lyrics and sings in a more traditional way but we try not to have any rules or over think anything we’re doing. For live shows everything is improvised and there is no discussion about what we’re gonna do, just have the right people on stage and go off into musical/magical exploration. We sometimes practice for a show but it’s usually just to hang out or maybe see how new instruments will fit in. In the early days, after we recorded Hanged Man, we played some shows with those songs that were very rehearsed but for me it becomes a matter of utilizing your time and people seem to have less and less of it, so improvisation is the answer.

Sharon: Yes it is, and no, we don’t discuss it! We have this energy we can create that allows us to just manifest as we go.

AI: Have all the albums so far been from live performances, or have there been “studio” recordings too?

Carlton: On every album I list the songs that were “written” by someone, usually Aaron Bennack or Jason Zenmoth. Those are usually songs that they multi-tracked and then Sharon and I overdubbed on and I want those guys to get credit for the music they came up with and recorded on their own. But most of the albums are a combination of live performance recordings, multi-track studio recordings and practice recordings. Since I want all of these varied recordings to make a cohesive album I don’t list all of the various sources of the recordings.

AI: Any news or future activities/events you’d like to share?

Carlton: We’re playing the Witches Ball October 27, which is put on by the Earth Spirit Alliance. Sharon and I joined a coven so we’re more in touch with the Pagan community and they seem to like our music, which is kind of suprising since they didn’t pay much attention to it before.

AI: You mentioned “Future Blondes” and a new vinyl LP. What is Future Blondes? This is the first I heard of that.

Carlton: Future Blondes is Domokos Nula from Houston. He’s played in Rusted Shut for a long time and played in Helios Creed’s band and a zillion different bands/projects. Sharon and I started playing with him around 2008 and we’re part of his Austin version of the band. He also has the Houston band, the San Francisco band, etc. The music is similar to Book of Shadows but also totally different with Domokos playing beats and ominous creepy vocals. And the album is very different from the live band, very dancie but very trippy weird and original.

AI: You also mentioned Sharon working on a solo folk-psych album. Tell me more about that.

Sharon: That’s something very different that I’m doing with a very special mystery guest. It’ll be songs and lyrics that we have written and I hope to finish it soon!!!

Carlton: Reverb Worship, out of England, asked Sharon to do a solo album, so we’ve been working on that on the 4 track. Sharon played keyboards and sung lyrics with my synth, etc, and, again, pretty different from Book of Shadows, just a different aspect of it. Also, Anti-Clock Records out of Oklahoma asked us to contribute a track for a “dream” project that’s supposed to come out on a flexi disc. I recited my dream about hanging out with Fess Parker.

AI: And you mentioned 3 or 4 upcoming Book of Shadows albums.

Carlton: There’s a Book of Shadows album coming out soon on Kendra Steiner Editions called Chimaera, featuring Steve Marsh of Miracle Room and Terminal Mind fame on guitar, and hopefully an album called The Seven Gates of Dreaming on Anti-Clock Records that might not come out for a while.

For more information visit the Book Of Shadows web site at:
Cosmos-Mother is available through Instincto Records:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Chickencage Experience – “An Eggspoiltation Movie” (Nasoni Records 2012, CD+DVD/2-LP+DVD)

Chickencage Experience is a side project from the German band Polytoxicomane Philharmonie, or as the promo sheet states – “This is a collateral damage of the Polytoxicomane Philharmonie”. Titled An Eggspoiltation Movie, this is a CD (or 2-LP) + DVD movie set, with music that is by no means 360 degrees from Polytoxicomane Philharmonie.

The music portion consists of 6 tracks and nearly 77 minutes of music. The promo sheets notes that “free improvisation was the need of the moment”, and while improv is apparent, the music nearly always feels focused and with a clear sense of direction.

The Eternal End opens the set with dual female vocals combined in a singing and chanting style, like lady mullahs whipping the devout masses into a frenzy. The singers are Polytoxicomane Philharmonie’s H.M. Fishli plus Austrian singer MichaeLa Flame. The music rocks hard in space, with intensely wah’d guitar blazing over a light Middle Eastern theme and propelled by a furiously rocking groove. At 9+ minutes the music transitions a bit, with organ and strings adding an orchestral Prog-Psych edge, my favorite part being a tug-at-the-heartstrings emotional segment that nonetheless includes some pretty trippy space guitar. Lascivious Dungeon Tales serves up 10 minutes of atmosphere and mood creation, the entire track feeling like a deep space and totally freaky extended introduction to a larger piece. We’ve got 60s styled organ, atmospheric guitar colorings, and some of the most intense chanting vocals I’ve heard. The music twists and turns like a cross between Krautrock Kosmiche and early Pink Floyd, and it’s not until nearly 8 minutes in that the drums and a sense of rhythm become noticeable, as the chanting continues unabated and the guitar starts to play strained cosmic licks, all leading to the finale.

Novelette Of Bitter And Sweet is a 17 minute cosmic caravan ride in which Chickencage Experience continue their theme of psychedelic mood and mind massage. I love the guitars on this track, with close attention paid to individual licks that speak volumes. Early in the track I was reminded me of The Spacious Mind at their most psychedelically spaced out, but as the music evolves, piano is introduced for dark intensity, and is a great contrast to the emotionally authoritative guitars. The singers are apparently improvising the lyrics, which sum it all up – “life’s a journey, through the mind”. At over 17 minutes, The Owl, The Bell And The Club Of Veterans is another lengthy excursion. The band soar right out of the chute rocking, with great grooves, killer vocals that are both manic and seductive, and some of the most spaced out rocking guitar on the album. Yeah, the guitar is the clear leader for much of this lengthy hip shakin’ number. Later in the track things calm down and the Experience transition to a more easy-paced psychedelic trek that once again reminded me of The Spacious Mind, though the near-possessed vocals put Chickencage Experience in a class all their own.

Ride Ridden Shine opens with the sound of a UFO landing, after which the Experience embark on what sounds like is going to be a psychedelic Blues jam. But the band quickly dispense with the Blues elements as the two vocalists freeform a bit and the guitar goes into space as it cranks out oscillating effects. But in no time we transition again and find ourselves in some kind of freaky carnival and chamber music theme. Once the band settles into a groove the ladies take the lead, again singing free-wheeling lyrics over quietly jamming and very beautiful psychedelically atmospheric music. Wrapping up the set is Homesick Tours, a cool combination of psychedelic Blues, Prog influences, trip guitar and space effects. The entire piece grooves along slowly and steadily, making for a captivating finale to the CD.

But… for the full audio-visual sensory experience you need to pop in the DVD. This professionally shot film begins with a parade of images and narration. Then The Eternal End is introduced and we hear the music and watch the band perform, with cool camera work closing in on individual band members and sometimes split screen action. And throughout the film these scenes alternate with transitional imagery + narration segments, all of which are creatively constructed and fun to watch.

So you can watch the movie, or, given that the DVD includes all the music from the album plus an additional 20 minutes for a total of 98 minutes, you can put on the DVD and enjoy it for the audio. However you experience it, An Eggspoiltation Movie is another outstanding project from the Polytoxicomane Philharmonie camp.

For more information you can visit the Nasoni Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

The Cosmic Garden – “Sun Secrets” (Hypefactory Records, 2012)

The Cosmic Garden is the duo of Tibor Fredmann and Sigi Hümmer. Their debut full length CD (following the 2011 release of the EP Spirale), is a spaced out journey of improvised music. Between the two of them they play synths, Mellotron, acoustic and electric guitars, piano, strings, drums, percussion and voices.

Fredmann and Hümmer find a comfortable place right about midway between classic Krautrock style grooves and modern electronica rhythms (which were heavily influenced by Krautrock artists anyway) to form the backbone of their improvisations. From there they lay down some terrifically cosmic soundscapes. What makes them different from other bands of this style is that it’s not all loosey goosey random spaciness. Fredmann and Hümmer focus on structure within their improvisations to give the music a semi-composed feel. And although the rhythmic aspects of the music are creative and interesting in their own right, the musicians remain focused on weaving melodic lines throughout them.

What also sets The Cosmic Garden apart from many other improvisational ambient/space artists is that every track on the album has its own distinctive feel. Their previous release, the EP Spirale, was a mostly laidback affair, though it did get dark on occasion, but it remained pretty much in ambient mode throughout. You know that Sun Secrets is going to be a bit different from the very start. Instellar Waves opens up fairly intensely with dangerous drones and wails, echoing voices and a sudden echoing guitar chord before it breaks into a driving, rhythmic odyssey into deep space. Abstieg In Die Unterwelt takes you in the opposite direction. Descent Into the Underworld is roughly what it translates to, and it is, not unexpectedly, a dark and eerie piece of music. Layered drones shift and change as primitive percussion echoes throughout. But it constantly evolves, through serene, piano-like music to shivering dark soundscapes to haunting voices. It never gets boring.

From the intensely rhythmic Purpure Liquid Plejades (a reference to the first track on Tangerine Dream’s Zeit album maybe?) to the spacious atmospheres of Munich 1969 – Summer of Love, the moods alter from one state to the next. In Love With Rosy Rosy (a nod to Ash Ra Tempel’s Starring Rosi perhaps?) sounds like the lovechild of some lost experimental sci-fi movie soundtrack and some forgotten, early 90’s ambient techno excursion. Im Tal Der Eremiten (In the Valley of the Hermits), on the other hand, is a vast, ambient soundscape, full of mystery, from mist haunted hills to the depths of time and the cosmos. Where Have All the Flowergirls Gone is a bit lighter; still though, a journey into mutant electronica with some crazy soloing in it. And the final, brief Himalayan Space, not surprisingly combines East Indian sounds with angelic space voices, a gentle coming down after the weirdness of the previous track.

In short, there is some great music on Sun Secrets. Hints of exotic lands, myth and mystery collide with visions of interstellar realms. For lovers of Krautrock, ambient space music and experimental electronica, it is a feast for the ears. Check it out!

For more info, visit:

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

Mechanik – “You Yourself Are the Teacher & the Guru” / “Inner Temple/Outer Temple”

Hailing from Madrid, Spain, Mechanik’s brand of spacerock is more atmospheric than heavy, but it’s also refreshingly unique and innovative sounding. The 27-minute digital EP sent to us was You Yourself Are the Teacher & the Guru, but it left me so breathlessly wanting for more of their music, I visited their site, and found they had released a second digital EP as well, and quickly downloaded that one too. Here’s a look at both of them.

The opening track on You Yourself Are the Teacher & the Guru is Russian Doll. It combines deep space electronics with strumming acoustic guitars and dark, brooding vocals, building over its 6 1/2-minutes to an intense and harrowing climax. Radian on the other hand is an almost totally ambient piece, only a pulsing guitar pattern and deep slow drumming giving it any rhythm. But it too builds ever so slowly, with inspired use of space synths, reverb and delay bringing everything to a gentle peak, before the music slips off and segues directly into the final piece, the epic 14-minute title track. After a brief continuation of the atmospherics from the previous piece, the song quickly breaks into a hypnotic, mid-tempo rhythm played on drums and bass, with the synths and reverbed sounds continuing underneath. The guitar weaves a beguiling thread of notes that snake in and around the loping beats as the ambient sounds intensify all around them. It all eventually dissolves hazily into a mysterious and haunting ambient coda that drifts on for minutes into the farthest regions of outer space. I can’t really compare their sound to any other bands, as they sound quite unique. Tasty stuff!

With great anticipation, I moved onto Mechanik’s next EP, the 22-minute Inner Temple/Outer Temple. Mechanik’s music is infused with a sense of faraway mystery, and the opening track, Bliss & Gloss, is no exception. A little less intense than the music on the previous EP, but strangely seductive, this one is built around a laidback rhythm, with druggy, blissed out vocals and weird buzzing atmospherics swirling around it like alien insects on some extraterrestrial summer night. In fact, these guys are masters of atmosphere, building their layers of strange sound in complex and inventive ways. Bliss & Gloss comes to a close in weird and shadowy realms, not preparing us at all for what comes next. While the next track, Inner Temple, does start out with some weird electronic noodling and mellow acoustic guitar, without warning it breaks into a driving rocker. But these guys don’t follow any rules, so don’t expect anything typical here. Even the guitar solo towards the end of the song is a groaning, twisting, vaguely Middle Easterny thing that the guitarist sounds like he’s wrenching out of his instrument. It’s dazzlingly innovative and very cool. Final song, Did You Have to Take So Many Pills? is another up-tempo rocker, this one with a Krautrockish rhythm. And after the song proper part, this tune breaks out into a fiery spacerock jam to finish things off. Spectacular!

These two EP’s were released separately, a couple of months apart, but together make for a cool full-length album’s worth of intense, atmospheric, and very creative spacerock. Highly recommended!

For more info, visit:

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

T.H.U.M.B. – “Primordial Echoes For Modern Bigfoots” (Go Down Records 2012, CD)

T.H.U.M.B. are an Italian Stoner-Psych trio who incorporate lots of spaced out effects into their songs. Primordial Echoes For Modern Bigfoots is the band’s first new release since 2004’s Lunar Flight EP.

Compositionally, the 12 songs on the album are pretty basic, but what gives T.H.U.M.B. their character is their raw, dirty sound, punky vocal style, and their use of effects. Songs like Monstergods and Superlover feature down ‘n dirty spaced out Stoner Rock, with the latter song have especially cool tripped out guitar effects. Wear It Out is similar but with a far more valium-like sludgy quality. Inconsistence starts off as a more straightforward rocker, though still packs a stoned punch and has some killer psyched out guitar. Either someone else is singing or the vocalist just changed his style for this song, which is more “normal” singing and lacks the raw, punky edge of the other tracks. Road Song and Stonebridge Deluxe feature hip shakin’ stoner rock ‘n roll. Lived Namow goes in a completely different direction, being a 2 minute acoustic guitar and harmonica Blues tune. But as examples of deep space Stoner Rock my favorites of the set are Into The Deepest Green and Reaching The Afterglow. Both have great guitar effects, and Reaching The Afterglow goes totally Stoner Space Rock. It rocks hard, has a good groove, brain candy psych guitar, and has the freakiest spaced out effects on the album. Lots of variety on this one. Overall a pretty good set. A few songs tended to meander too much, but when T.H.U.M.B. find the right combination of groove and effects, they’re a hell of a lot more interesting than many of the contemporary stoner bands.

For more information you can visit the T.H.U.M.B. web site at:
Visit the Go Down Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Pyramidal – “Dawn In Space” (2011)

Pyramidal are a new spacerock band that hail from Alicante, Spain. And when I say spacerock, I mean SPACEROCK! These guys have it all, from the cosmic synths to the crunching guitar riffs to the touches of Middle Eastern modes. This is, indeed, spacerock in the purest sense. Mostly instrumental, there are only one or two tracks that have vocals, and those are very low in the mix. These guys are all about the music.

Opening cut, Intronauts is a short piece of spacey electronics with something that sounds like an exotic fairground in the distant background. It leads right into the heavy duty, 9-minute rocker, Black Land. This stuff reminds me of the brain pummelling tyranny of bands like Void Generator. In fact, Void Generator is not a bad comparison, but throw in a few more of those cosmic electronic space sounds for good effect. Kosmic Blizzard is maybe even a little heavier than Black Land, and has some bluesy and Middle Easterny riffing going on in it. The title track continues the heavy riffing, but this time slows down in the middle of its 8 1/2-minute length for some spaced out guitar noodling before returning to the monster riffs. But it’s a sign of things to come. What follows are the three longest tracks on the album.

The 10 1/2-minute Plastikleuten Parts 1 & 2 begins with a menacing low-key riff and some tribalesque drumming that slowly builds into the scorching rock of the second half… but even this takes an abrupt turn at 7 1/2-minutes in into a mesmerizing deep space exploration with layers of interstellar synth and freaky effects. The 11-minute Tempel Iraru is the most Middle Eastern influenced track on the album, and perhaps the trippiest too, beginning with a somewhat mellower excursion into exotic guitar and space wind synths before kicking into another riffing rocker, with mystery monk chanting between the furious guitar solos. It even eventually showcases a lengthy drum solo (!) that whips the track up to its ferocious climax. Mars Lagoon on the other hand, is a nifty bit of space funk with a Latin vibe to it, like something off Santana’s Caravanserai album, but with a trippier overall feel to it. At any rate, it’s got a great groove. It’s ostensibly the longest track on the album, clocking in at 14 1/2-minutes, but it’s interrupted in the middle, at about the 8-minute mark, by a perplexing 90 seconds of silence, before launching into a tasty Motorik jam with a lighter, distinctly Neu! kind of vibe to it. I think the idea here was to have a kind of hidden track, but it might have worked a little bit better if these two pieces were merged into one to make the final track a tighter 13-minute one.

Nonetheless, despite one little misstep, this is still a great slab of true spacerock. It’s nothing overly ground breaking or innovative, but it’s still a solid album that will definitely please fans of the genre.

For more info, visit: and

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

Black Science – “An Echo Through the Eyes of Forever” (Dark Matter International 2012)

It’s always a welcome thing to hear new, modern, refreshingly original, balls to the wall psychedelic space rock. An Echo Through the Eyes of Forever is the third album from Seattle’s Black Science, and as far as that description in the previous sentence goes, it delivers in spades. It follow’s 2008’s A New Mastery of Light and 2010’s Cosmodemonic & Beyond, expanding on the ideas and sounds on those albums by pushing the envelope even further with some truly scorching music that takes the listener into the far flung realms of another dimension.

Beginning with the idea that modern chaos magick is akin to the science of consciousness manipulation, Black Science infuses their music with occult and cutting edge scientific references. Structured and often quite catchy songs are shrouded in layers of effects. At times it gets very disorienting, yet there’s always this solid song in the midst of it, always giving the listener something to hold onto. Opening cut First Contact Manual is reminiscent of something Earthling Society might do, although I only make this comparison as a point of reference, for Black Science do have their own unique sound. A shivering haze of noise runs through the twisty guitar passages while affected vocals harmonize, singing of making first contact with another galaxy’s hypnotic drug. The guitar solo at the end is a wild tripfest of sonic instrumentalism. Contrasting this is the bouncy pop nature of Easy Prey, which nonetheless still takes the listener into stranger territory with those disorienting effects, especially in the latter half, which dissolves into a liquid cosmic soundscape. Third track Anywhere rocks harder, and piles the hallucinogenic layers on even deeper than before, but two of the most disorienting tracks on the album are the 8-minute mysterious and druggy The State of the Art, a dreamy slow burner that builds to a crazed, chaotic conclusion, and the pulsing rocker, Hardcore UFO’s, which sounds a bit like Smashing Pumpkins meets Flying Saucer Attack in the Twilight Zone. The crunchy, beat-oriented Exegisis leads us into the final nearly 16-minute voyage Our Sentence Is Up. This tour de force begins with a nearly metallic explosion of pounding rhythms and wailing, crazily riffing guitars, but eventually dives headfirst into a lengthy (supposedly psilocybin fuelled) jam that twists and turns upon itself as liquid synths bubble through it and John Ritzmann from the Paratopia podcast intones cosmic secrets into the ears of the listener. Terrific stuff!

An Echo Through the Eyes of Forever, released on the summer solstice of 2012, is supposedly “the first audio component of a ritual whose complete design will be revealed on the winter solstice” (which, incidentally, is the day that follows the end of the Mayan Long Count, supposedly the end of the world, or the beginning of a new age). What form that complete design will take, considering the band has apparently and sadly gone their separate ways, can only be speculated. In the meantime, we have this fantastic, freaky, tripped out album to rock to. And rock to it we will! Highly recommended!

For more info, visit: and

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

Human Factor – “4.Hm.F” (R.A.I.G. 2012, R074)

Human Factor are a Russian quartet that formed in 2011 to create music intended to be a “contemporary instrumental crossover between space, progressive, and alternative rock”. Across the 8 tracks on their debut CD, Human Factor combine these influences to varying degrees of success.

Revealing Secrets is a cinematic rocker with periodic electronics that give it a Space Rock edge, and keyboards that provide a Prog infusion. This segues smoothly into The Mist, a more or less straightforward rocker. It tries to shift gears a lot, though I think the “alternative rock” elements keep it from generating any real excitement. Things start to take off with Polaris, a high intensity Progressive Rocker with metal influences. Tika is a good tension builder that leads to a rocking explosion and includes a seductive melodic guitar solo.

For me, four of the eight tracks represent Human Factor’s potential. Nearly half of the 8 minute Yellowstone has a tension building spacey atmospheric introductory feel. It’s got a great melody and the dual guitars work together beautifully. Once it gets crankin’ the band goes a bit metallic, but then closes with the spacey theme that opened the piece. Definitely one of the better examples of blending Space and Progressive rock. Stargazer is a high energy metallic Prog rocker with Ozric Tentacles styled electronics, a sci-fi keyboard melody, and even a brief jazz fusion bit. Now this is a really interesting blend of influences which Human Factor bring together seamlessly. A smoker! Objects In The Mirror (are closer than they appear) takes a while to finds its way, but once it does it’s a hot Space-Prog tune. Very powerful and majestic, and includes some cool mission control samples. Finally, Equilibrium opens with a heavenly spaced out ambience, shimmering guitar and rhythmically grooving percussion, before settling into a rocking groove with lots of both spaced out and Prog Rock keys. The guitar at one point has a Shoegaze feel, but later transitions to a spaced out metal sound. An excellent closing track and another outstanding blend of influences.

In summary, 4.Hm.F showcases a band with lots of possibilities. Half the album struggled to hold my attention, mostly due to a lack of compositional strength. But when Human Factor find the right combination of Space Rock, Prog and Metal elements, along with solid melodic hooks, they really shine.

For more information you can visit the R.A.I.G. web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Dave Fuglewicz – “Neptune” (self-released 2012)

Did you know that Neptune has 13 moons? And that Voyager 2 once tracked a “Great Dark Spot” on the planet with winds moving at 750 miles per hour? I couldn’t resist strolling over to to read about the planet and gaze at pictures as the headphones pumped veteran hometaper Dave Fuglewicz’s new album Neptune into my brain. The album is, of course, inspired by the blue planet, with each track title showcasing different characteristics – Rivers Of Neptune, Deserts Of Neptune, Mountains Of Neptune – you get the idea. Neptune is an album of space electronica, but it’s not just a standard set of floating mind-massage. Sure, there’s plenty of that, but what made the experience interesting and compelling for me was the well-crafted pastiche of sounds and effects that Dave assembles around his core themes.

Like Rivers Of Neptune, with its mixture of howling, bubbling and various other sci-fi effects, bells, and machine-like sounds. There’s lots going on, yet Dave strikes a solid balance, maintaining a floating atmospheric quality among the medley of sounds. Other highlights include Steppes Of Neptune, which has interesting contrasting elements that flow together well. The rising and falling, almost siren-like sound, along with racing and shooting effects creates a sense of urgency and intensity. There’s also a robotic, bleeping, and somewhat melodic pattern, and I think I even heard some brief plinking guitar notes. Deserts Of Neptune has a phased effect that caused a strange physical sensation in my head, prompted by electronic pulsations and made all the more disorienting by the hodgepodge of effects that surrounded it. Dawn Of Neptune has a calming ambience that I enjoyed, plus a bit of a symphonic quality, buzzing alien effects and even a mild periodic rhythmic pulse. Dave kicks the symphonics up several notches on Moons Of Neptune, pulling back on the melange of effects that have characterized the album thus far to focus on creating an uplifting heaven-in-space symphonic journey. Storms Of Neptune and Mountains Of Neptune were among the more musical tracks of the set. On Storms Of Neptune Dave plays melodic patterns, which are surrounded by various spaced out effects, freaky noises and sounds. It has a dark and ominous feel, like some symphony for a distressed spacecraft. Mountains Of Neptune is similar, with a vague underlying melody and a church organ sound, that serves as the foundation for hissing atmospherics and effects, and there’s also a melody played backwards that makes for a really cool contrast with the organ.

In summary, if you like electronic based space excursions but want something that demands your attention as opposed to music you can just drift along with, Neptune is for you.

For more information you can visit the Dave Fuglewicz web site at:
I would also encourage you to search Dave Fuglewicz at, as he has lots of downloads available there.

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz