Archive for April 29, 2013

Nektar – “Remember the Future” (Purple Pyramid Records 2013, CLP 0274, originally released 1973)

Hot on the heels of reissuing Journey To The Centre Of The Eye, Cleopatra Records’ Purple Pyramid subdivision has released a 2-CD reissue of Remember the Future, perhaps Nektar’s most popular album. Released in 1973 (’74 in the US), Remember the Future was Nektar’s third album and the first for which they toured the US. No strangers to concepts, Remember the Future was their most sprawling yet, consisting of Parts 1 & 2 of the title track across both sides of the LP. Mind expansion and new awareness were the ultimate themes of Journey To The Centre Of The Eye, and these concepts are more fully formed on Remember the Future. The album tells the story of Bluebird, a visitor to what we presume is Earth, who is shunned by the natives because of his appearance. No surprises there. Bluebird eventually encounters a blind boy and tells his story by way of visions he places in the boy’s mind. Bluebird then gifts the boy with new eyes and wisdom. Pretty trippy, huh? 1973 indeed. I didn’t discover the album until later in the decade but this was precisely the kind of stuff I was ripe for.

What I always loved about Nektar in the 1970s was their ability to take hard rock into the progressive rock realm without the bombast. When they take off into instrumental passages on Remember the Future, there are multiple thematic twists and turns, but the band rock hard too, and while it’s not as overtly space rocking as Journey To The Centre Of The Eye, there are moments when Roye Albrighton’s guitar rips ferociously with an acidic bite that’s like the jaws of a T-Rex. Roye is like a cross between Jimi Hendrix and Dave Gilmour, but wholly and uniquely himself. He’s a hell of a soulful singer too, and still is today as I learned when the band toured the US in late 2011. Some of the best instrumental passages on Remember the Future are when Roye’s guitar and Allan “Taff” Freeman’s organ are front and center together. These were NOT meandering freeform jams. These guys were more than capable musicians and a tightly wound ensemble who could communicate a freeform, otherworldly feel within a carefully structured context. I think all their albums from the 70s hold up today better than many of their contemporaries, and are among the albums from the era I revisit most.

The Purple Pyramid reissue comes in a quadruple fold-out box with liner notes by journalist Dave Thompson. The bonus CD includes three “radio edits” from the album, which are ok extras. But the real bonus is the 8 song “1970 Boston Tapes”, which represent the earliest Nektar recordings. For some reason that I can’t fathom there is no explanation about these recordings in the CD notes. I first encountered the songs on the 2011 It’s About Music label reissue of A Tab In The Ocean. The same songs were the bonus CD on that reissue, and the CD notes included an explanation by Roye, describing how American producer Charlie Dreyer saw the band in Hamburg, Germany and brought them to his studio in Boston to record. Early versions of New Day Dawning, Do You Believe In Magic and Good Day are here, all of which would later end up on the 1973 2-LP mega-hard rocking Sounds Like This set. Candlelight is a song that would have been very much at home on Sounds Like This, with its blazing guitar and organ. Among the other songs that never made it on a Nektar studio album are the hard rocking The Life I’ve Been Leading, the peaceful loves songs Where Did You Go and Our Love Will Last Forever, and a cover of the 60s pop song Sealed With A Kiss. Clearly this pre-record deal Nektar was making the most of the recording opportunity to cover as much musical territory as possible. It’s fascinating to hear these songs recorded in 1970 and then imagine the debut Journey To The Centre Of The Eye that came out the following year.

For more information visit the Purple Pyramid web site at:
Visit the Nektar web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Mooch – “Beltane To Samhain” (2013, digital download)

The latest from Mooch is a 3 track digital download EP that includes Mooch founder and mainstay Steve Palmer on synths, bass and bouzouki, Bridget Wishart on vocals, EWI and saxophone, Andrew Redhead on Korg Monotron, and the ever reliable Erich Z. Schlagzeug on drums & percussion.

The first track is the 10+ minute Beltane (Greenwood Mix), a remix of the track first heard on the 2010 Mooch album, The Pagan Year. It opens with a dreamy, melodic, mildly droning ambience, and Bridget’s whispery lulling vocals. After a few minutes, spacey sax and a variety of effects kick in, soon followed by a slow, steady drum beat and a simple but catchy melody. Really beautiful spacey-ambient-jazz, and it just occurred to me that this review is being posted just days before we’re in May (Beltane!). The 8 minute Outside Inside is next, with its trippy tribal dance grooves, wailing Prog Rocky synth lines and strumming bouzouki, plus Bridget’s spoken word… “When I go outside, I take me, with me. When I’m inside, it’s me, that wants to get out.” Very mesmerizing in a head-bobbin’ kind of way. Finally, we have the 10 minute Samhain, which features Mooch newcomer Andrew Redhead on Korg Monotron. This is a real mood shift from Outside Inside, being a bit on the eerie side. I love the dark ambience, cool freaky electronics, and Bridget’s witchy vocals, which are a blend of spoken word and singing. This is all about mood and atmosphere, like roaming through a haunted house in the cosmos. My favorite track of the three. I’d say Steve did a good job of offering a lot of variety in under 30 minutes.

The Beltane To Samhain EP is distributed through CLICK HERE to go directly to the Beltane To Samhain page.
Steve started a Mooch blog which you can visit at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Space Mushroom Fuzz – “Man in the Shadow” (self-released 2013)

With two full-length albums and an EP released in 2012, you’d think this Boston duo would be ready for a break. But hot on the heels of the Trapped in the Past EP comes their latest full length album, Man in the Shadow.

Abrams and Belcastro kick things off with Blue Haze, one of the best songs they’ve done so far. It’s the tale of a stoner from the future (perhaps our own time), who is transported back in time to the 1970’s. And for a time, it does transport you back to this bygone era, with its groovy riffing and catchy, blissed out chorus, until about the three and a half minute mark, where it takes a left turn into cosmic realms for a dynamic jam that goes on for another 7-minutes, taking the listener beyond the 1970’s into pure spacerock nirvana. It’s followed by the darker urban psychedelia of Through the Sonic Haze. The riffs and drumming are very creative, and they’re layered with a fluttering effect that adds a kind of eerie trippiness to the song. Sacrifice captures a more stripped down, stonerish vibe with its bassy chords, rumbling undertones and downbeat chorus. Cold Hands surprises, being something of bluesy ballad, punctuated throughout with Abrams’ acid-fried guitar fills. Blue Days is a deep and mysterious instrumental, with Clay Neely of Black Pyramid (who played on the Trapped in the Past EP) guesting, laying down some tribalesque drumming as Abrams explores strange melodies on what sounds like both electric and acoustic guitars. A Real Wild Child draws things to a close, another great head nodding tune, built on a killer riff that falls somewhere between 60’s garage rock and proto-punk (with a little 13th Floor Elevators thrown in there for a bit too).

The ‘Blues’ score big this time out, with both Blue Haze and the instrumental Blue Days being the standout tracks on Man in the Shadow. But the other songs hold their own too, especially the raw and energetic A Real Wild Child. The overall sound this time out veers away from the Hawkwind influenced sonics of the first two albums as Abrams and Belcastro explore a bit more naked and gritty sound, working it into their own unique Space Mushroom Fuzz blend. Excellent stuff! It will be interesting to hear where they take us next.

For more info, visit:

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

Reptiel – “Violent Sagas of the Ancients” (Cubby Control Records 2013)

On their first album, a self-titled 2010 release, San Francisco’s Reptiel pulled together a sound that was part indie rock with a deep infusion of garage psychedelia, part rhythmic Krautrock exploration, and a dash of progressive rock thrown in for good measure. On 2013’s Violent Sagas of the Ancients, the band practically inverts their sound, letting their Prog Flag fly proudly, without totally forgetting their psych and Kraut roots.

Formed from the ashes of the bands The Cubby Creatures (who I reviewed way back in AI #32), Thee Druggles, and Thee More Shallows, the four member group set out to create something they called ‘Yacht Psych’. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but what we have here in Violent Sagas of the Ancients is the kind of album that will take you right back to 1971, to a time when prog was being born in a haze of psychedelic smoke and anything seemed musically possible. Intricate and dynamic tunes played on vintage sounding instruments? Check. A sweeping and trippy mythological concept to the lyrics? Check. Arpeggiating keyboards and wild synth solos? Check. Complex vocal arrangements and virtuoso playing? Check. It’s all here!

Well, all here except for the side-long epics. Reptiel rein in the length of their songs to fewer than 6 minutes each. But then again, since the whole thing kind of forms one big epic, complete with Prelude and Postlude and a Fanfare in the middle, melodically linking it all together, it could almost be said to be one 30-minute long piece. That being said, Violent Sagas of the Ancients is definitely more than the sum of its parts. The songs themselves stand-alone quite well, each on their own. From the stomping theatricality of Byzantine Standard to the pure classic progressive rock with folk influenced melodies of Servants in the Place of Truth to the acidic weirdness and sweet harmonies of On and On, there is some amazing song-crafting here, with wild dynamics and melodic hooks to spare.

In short, if you want to journey back to the early 70’s, but hear something fresh and exciting and new at the same time, definitely check out this album. Highly recommended!

For more info, visit: and

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

Dan Pound – “Return to Other Worlds” (PoundSounds 2012, 2-CD)

This 2 disc release is Dan Pound’s third re-master project from older material. Dan describes his music as ambient electronic, tribal-ethnic, new age, shamanic space music and I can’t disagree with that!! Disc One: SPIRIT CALLER: Sounds like the title, Native American peyote circle music but also very controlled and precise, with nice production. The music sounds perfect along with the thunderstorm that is rolling thru my neighborhood at the moment! OTHER WORLDS: Some uptempo drum machine oddness on this one. Conjurs Herbie Hancock electronic weirdness. Some nice didgeridoo, yes, very nice!! My wife Sharon (vocalist in Book of Shadows) said so just as I was writing this!! These tracks could go on another 15 minutes without being boring! SORCERER’S CHAMBER: More ambience, like a sorcerer would prefer? Some nice (female?) vocals. Tasty synth drones… gets livelier as it goes on. Weird sparse percussion. Sounds a bit dated but that’s probably because it’s from 2004-2006. NIGHT WHISPERS: More creepy space coolness with (male?) chant vocals. For some reasons this reminds me of the Fellini movie Satyricon! Meditative magical space music. What more could one ask for?! Sharon gives this CD two thumbs up! LAST GENERATION/DREAM CIRCLE: More lovliness, onward thru the fog… the title Dream Circle is intriguing… droney driving space weirdness with percussion. The perfect CD to bust out for yer next peyote ritual!! ELEMENTAL TRACES: More “modern” uptempo with casio sounding drum machine along with some tasty guitar. For me this track is more New Agey and therefore a bit less interesting than the other tracks but still nice. Some jazzy piano doodle. COLLIDING MEMORIES: Back to the eternal drone and then the percussion. The thunderstorm has blown thru and the dogs are asleep, the music has done it’s job! Nice track, similar to previous music but also quite different… a bit of mid 70’s Tangerine Dream to it. THUNDER VOICES: Sharon gives it 5 out of 5 stars… more of the same, truly starts to take you to another world… becomes one long piece of music. I’m grateful it’s not marred by sung lyrics. BENEATH THIS WORLD: Quiet stillness, very Tibetan, very atmospheric, mood setting… strange cool chants… “we could plan a murder or start a religion”, as JDM said… Yes! More, More, More. RETURN: Definitely music that would be conducive to magical rituals. This one conjurs movie soundtrackness. It would be interesting to hear the drums mixed down on some of these tracks; the drums that sound obviously drum machiney. LAST WAVE (THE): More drone and percussion atmospherics. An appropriate closer. The longest track on disc one. I’d be interested to know what Dan’s spiritual beliefs are because he definitely has some… like going thru a long tunnel to the center of the earth.

DISC 2: PURE FLOW/SHAMAN’S PATH: Piano and other world loveliness with chanty vocals and percussive rhythm; ethereal and primal at the same time! Pretty cool. Dan Pound seems to be a very sincere artist who is exploring unknown realms of philosophy and sound. FINDING MY WAY: Out there pure space joy (Dan Pound vocals?). HORIZON’S EDGE/DOOR BEYOND TIME: More drone rhythm and and percussion. Has the Native American vibe. You have to slow yourself down to absorb this music… yes, return to other worlds. One thing I’ve noticed about this music is that it makes much more sense late at night on a drive thru the country. WAY TO ECSTASY: Whoa, it’s funky, like Low Rider or something but quickly becomes New Age tribal, an odd mixture! Kinda like a boogie down with crystals!! But in a good way!! Goes like this straight thru, like a loop! A loud cicada through a part of it… and then quieter and quieter. HEART INTO SOUL: Percussive snappiness with a layer of Dan Poundness on top… gets a little samey but a good samey!! Nice vocals, guitar and flute?!! ALWAYS THE LIGHT: A droner, this one! Ah, you can do so much with a drone. Yes, it’s quite lovely!! My wife Sharon says it’s “Very pretty”!! WARMTH INSIDE: Another meditative piece, then some loud piano. Very sound tracky but not sound tacky!!! RISING HEAT: Back to the Tangerine Dream riffage with tinkling new agey piano. Intense and mellow at the same time. NEAR THE END: Starts very quiet and into military drummage with spacey overtones! Yes, very nice! Short and sweet. LAST WALTZ: Spacey lazy and yes, waltzy. All of Dan’s music is very well recorded and conducive to multiple listens; about the highest compliment I give!! ARRIVAL: The last track of this double disc release and it’s a slow spacey one. So far… ambient floating lovliness… Sharon says “Dan Pound!!! Very impressive”.

For more information visit the Dan Pound web site at:

Reviewed by Carlton Crutcher

Ernesto Diaz-Infante + Helena Espvall – “A Hallowed Shell of Ash and Rust” (Erototox Decodings 2013, etd0021, CD)

Ernesto Diaz-Infante is a California based experimental/avant/free-improv guitarist who has released many solo and collaborative albums over the years. (Though noted as a guitarist he also released an album of solo piano pieces some years ago.). Look him up in the Aural Innovations alpha index and you’ll find lots of reviews. Though her name is new to me, Swedish-born guitarist/cellist Helena Espvall has played with numerous artists that many readers will be familiar with, including Espers, Vashti Bunyan, Damon and Naomi, Ghost and Marissa Nadler. She also performed at the 2006 Terrastock festival.

Ernesto and Helena’s first collaboration is titled A Hollowed Shell of Ash and Rust. In an email exchange Ernesto shared that the first feedback he received for the album described it as hauntingly beautiful, and I’d say that about nails it. There are 11 tracks on the album, three being 15 minute extended works and the rest in the 2-5 minute range.

The three lengthier tracks are representative of the album as a whole. On Breathing Structures, guitar and cello combine to create a gradually developing ambient/soundscape/drone excursion. A major plus for me is that the instruments aren’t treated beyond recognition. You know these are string instruments, allowing for full appreciation of the sounds as I traveled down the wandering yet linear path they are leading us down. I’m a morning person and the first hours after I awake are when I’m at my most alert, yet also most relaxed. Looking at the clock it is 3:30am and the music has me in a meditative state, conjuring up images of an auditory canvas that guitar and cello are painting on as they glide slowly yet assuredly through space. Hollow Earth Theory is more on the experimental side, but still highly atmospheric. The music is simultaneously meditative and intense, creating an edgy, conflicting array of emotions. At times I imagined a lysergic string duo chamber music performance with a variety of trippy psychedelic effects. Ernesto and Helena playfully and creatively manipulate their instruments, but there’s also plenty of spacey, exploratory elements as well. Against a Realization in Weathered Iron is one of the more purely ambient pieces of the set, being complete, lulling serenity. I felt like I was in a cradle being gently rocked as I floated through a deliciously landscaped dream world. Among the highlights of the shorter tracks is the mesmerizing, avant-Indian infused psychedelia of With Space in the Spirit, with its shimmering and melodic cello, sitar-like drones and melodies, and percussive taps. Interiority is a dark and doomy yet serene chamber ensemble in space piece that I enjoyed. Bridges and Nothing features more sitar-like drones plus avant-garde soundscapes and effects. And Ringing Out Tomorrows consists of hypnotic drones, cosmic orchestral fervor, a strange melodic sense, and a variety of manipulations and percussive effects.

In summary, Ernesto and Helena have created nearly 80 full minutes of beautiful string produced ambient/soundscape pieces. But this is far off the usual ambient/soundscape path. Though deep in space, the musicians haven’t suppressed their experimental interests, and I’d add for the benefit of those who typically steer away from avant-garde music that those elements serve to make A Hallowed Shell of Ash and Rust a far more interesting listen than the usual far too worn out path followed by the majority of ambient/soundscape works. Hauntingly beautiful indeed.

For more information visit the Erototox Decodings web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Soul Thief – “Funk City Revolutions” (Studio2 Records 2012, S2RC001) / “Cosmic Woman EP” (Studio2 Records 2013, S2RC002)

Soul Thief is a band that hails from the UK, playing a blend of what they describe as Pink Floyd meets Red Hot Chili Peppers. I definitely hear the Floyd, not so much the Chili’s. The band does get funky though, as the title of the album would suggest, but their sound reminds me a bit more of say, the more laidback cuts on Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland album. Funk City Revolutions, released last year, is their debut album, and the Cosmic Woman EP just came out a few weeks ago. Let’s dig into their full length debut release first.

City Ride gets things going with a stabbing guitar riff courtesy of Marcus Gage, and a deliciously funky groove from the rhythm section of Robert Matthews on bass and Stuart Barton on drums. This is probably the most upbeat track on the album, even though it pretty much sticks to a mid-tempo pace. Things take on a much more chilled out psychedelic blues vibe with Jailbreak 68 and the cool space noir of Her Eyes See the Future. Sudden time changing rhythms also add a surprising element to the proceedings. By the time I got to the slow and easy echo funk of You’re Fire!, though, I was actually wondering when this album was actually going to catch fire. Other than that first track it was all pretty slow and moody. But after repeated listening to the whole disc, I began to realize that this was not about upbeat rocking and scorching riffing. Soul Thief are all about fires after midnight, burning low in swaying lamps, with the shadows gathering around, and outside the window, billions of stars shining down on a surrealistic landscape. Funk City Revolutions is all about the slow burn, the slippery, mysterious and mellow, smoky groove of the night, with an undercurrent of psychedelia tugging it along. They do toss a log on the fire though with the 10-minute long Stranger With a Gun, which picks up the pace a bit, and features some terrific heavy blues guitar in its first few minutes, but then it slides into a psyched out astral excursion with lyrics about tripping the seven seas and sailing around the sun. The sound of waves crashing at the end segues into one of my favourite tracks on the album, the luminous and misty Spheres of Gold. The album then closes with the nearly 10-minute Tiger’s Claw. All of these tracks have a certain ebb and flow to them, as they surge in power, then relax into a mellow groove, surge again, relax again, taking the listener along for a ride on the waves of some otherworldly ocean. But it also somehow manages to remain grounded too. There’s plenty of freaky effects and trippy lyrics to please lovers of psychedelia, but the music always stays rooted in the blues, which always brings it back to Earth and solid ground.

On the Cosmic Woman EP, the band picks up where Funk City Revolutions left off. Admittedly, it’s not that much of a progression from what we heard on FCR, but it does open with certainly one of the best songs the band has recorded, the 12-minute Heart and Soul. Dreamy acoustic guitars, some smouldering electric guitar, a sensuous bass and leisurely drumming pair with weird and eerie voice effects and bassist Matthew’s longing vocals. Things do pick up pace a bit with Circles of Her Mind, with some clever rhythms and Gage’s always, well, engaging guitar work. And while the band does create some memorable riffs, especially on this song, but on all their songs in general, they’re not built around the riffs, being more fluid in nature, as if the riffs emerge from that flow I mentioned before, rising to the surface, sinking into the depths. The final song on the EP is the 13-minute Rainbow Fire. Continuing with that ebb and flow tradition, the song builds slowly, till about 5-minutes in where Matthews starts singing, his vocals drenched in delay to nice affect. From there, it moves back and forth between instrumental jamming and vocal parts, till it finally drifts off into the night.

I really like their sound. It’s cool and original. But I did kind of wish that some of the songs varied in tempo a bit more. Other than City Ride, pretty much all the songs on Funk City Revolutions and the Cosmic Woman EP move along at the same languid pace. But they do use odd time signatures and intriguing rhythms, and Gage’s guitar work is just superb, going from smooth and bluesy to smoking hot, distortion heavy riffing. And I don’t tend to comment on the vocals a lot, but Matthews’ smouldering vocal delivery is definitely an integral part of the Soul Thief sound, bringing a distant, haunting quality to it. This band definitely has a future, and Funk City Revolutions and the Cosmic Woman EP are both part of a great start. Hope to hear another full-length soon!

For more information you can visit the Soul Thief web site at:

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

Electric Bird Noise – “Desert Jelly” (Silber Records 2013, silber120)

Electric Bird Noise is headed up by South Carolina musician Brian Lea McKenzie, who I first reviewed way back in 1999 when Aural Innovations was still a printed mag. Well Brian is still at it, and as I re-read my earlier reviews it seems Electric Bird Noise was originally a band, though it’s now a McKenzie solo project, with vocals on two tracks by Silber Records label honcho Brian John Mitchell (BJM), who readers might recognize from his own projects, Remora and Small Life Form.

Desert Jelly incorporates elements of Space Rock, Krautrock and early 80s Post-Punk and Synth Pop to create a varied set of 11 tracks that are simultaneously modern and retro. The album opens with Dunebuggy, which got me thinking of Can with classic Prog keyboards and spaced out alien synths. It’s dark and intense, with a Krautrocking Teutonic feel. Peter Hook is next and I’m guessing the Peter Hook of the title is the bassist from Joy Division and New Order; indeed the song has a distinct early 80s melodic sound, though Brian injects heavy intensity into the music, and like the opening track it’s nicely embellished with space electronics. This segues smoothly into the title track, which pulls back into a quiet, left-to-right channel pulsating drone wave for starts, soon joined by additional pleasant electro-soundscape patterns and melodic guitar (or keyboard?). It’s all very peaceful and then BAM!!…. we’re smacked full in the chops by the blazing space-punk of the appropriately titled I Miss Those Hardcore Kids. As The Glitter Glows begins as a whimsically melodic electronic piece, then launches into another early 80s styled tune that includes a motorik rhythmic pulse and space electronics. This is one damn good catchy tune! Welcome To Static Beach features swirling flying saucer sounds and whirring 50s sci-fi film styled effects for the first couple minutes, and then kicks into a dark, droning atmospheric rocker. Continuing the sci-fi flick motif, I Come From The Earth would make a great soundtrack theme song. It’s got a cool combination of tribal percussion, multiple soaring electronics, and BJM repeating the line, “I Come From The Earth”. Returning to the 80s influences, Carnegiea Gigantea is a pleasant, melodic, hook-laden 80s styled electo-pop tune but with the spaced out edge that characterizes the rest of the album. Pants And Sake Take The Neighborhood is a peaceful melodic soundscapes piece. The Theme From Impationly Yours is a deep space Kraftwerkian synth-pop tune with BJM on vocals. And I love the high intensity chaos-in-space of the closing track, Burned By The Sands Fire And Scars Alone I Wait Counting The Stars.

Well I gotta say this is hands down the best Electric Bird Noise album I’ve heard yet. In some ways its a celebration of the early 80s, though Brian puts his own stamp on the music and, of course, I love the way he sends it all hurling into space.

For more information visit the Silber Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Paul Roland – “Bates Motel” (Sireena Records 2013, SIR 2110)

If you are unfamiliar with the work of British singer, song-writer, musician and author Paul Roland, please do me a favor before proceeding and CLICK HERE to read the review of the 2-CD In Memoriam: 1980-2010 compilation I published last month. It’s got a lot of general info about Paul and what his music is about. Great, thanks…

There’s an interesting backstory to Paul’s latest album, Bates Motel. Paul was a music journalist in the 1980s and in the latter part of the decade interviewed several members of the Velvet Underground for a national English newspaper. At the end of the interviews he asked Nico, Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker if they would be interested in recording with him and received a positive response. Paul wrote some songs, sent tapes to them in the U.S., had technical problems with the tapes, time went by, Morrison and Nico passed away, and the project sat until recently when Paul decided to do something with the songs. However, other than his having written the songs with The Velvet Underground in mind and feeling that, “it is the album that I would have made with Mo, Sterling and Nico had I been a bit more aggressively ambitious and made sure the opportunity wasn’t lost”, this is not an attempt to sound like the Velvet Underground.

Several of the dozen songs on Bates Motel consist of stripped to the core rock ‘n roll. I Was A Teenage Zombie and How I Escaped From Devil’s Island are high energy garage rockers with a dash of rockabilly swing. Tortured By The Daughter Of Fu Manchu is a good fun garage-psych rocker with a 60s edge. The subject sings of what you think is his predicament of being trapped in Su Long Ming’s torture chamber, until the very last line when he says, “Bring it on, sugar, let’s do it again.” The kick-ass dirty rocking Crazy includes a cool organ solo injecting a 60s feel. And I’m In Love With Myself sounds like Paul singing with The Pretenders.

There’s lots of variety here. I love the electric/acoustic guitar, organ and percussion combination on the darkly melodic title track, with its lyrics describing an encounter with Norman Bates, a bad vibe, and a decision to bail out quick. Kali features a combination of hypnotic Eastern flavored psychedelia and a steady rocking groove. The Light Of Life Drains Out Of Me is a solid melodic acoustic driven rocker with a raw psychy electric guitar solo. The Wailing Well, Katmandu, and Cain all have a similar Country-like feel from the acoustic guitars. I especially liked The Wailing Well with its addition of prog-psych organ and atmospheric electric guitar.

Having heard the 30 year In Memoriam compilation and now this new album I’m figuring out that Paul Roland is a multi-faceted artist who can offer something new and different with each album, and for as long as he’s been around that’s a good thing. The Bates Motel CD comes with a nice booklet which includes all the lyrics and they’re in a font and size that these aging eyes can comfortably read. And based on some of the song titles it was no surprise and quite a pleasure to see the old horror movie posters scattered throughout. Seasoned Roland fans will dig this. The uninitiated are encouraged to check him out.

Bates Motel and other Paul Roland albums are available at Amazon and, with CDbaby being a good source for digital downloads.
Lots of information about Paul Roland and his music can be found at:
Information about Paul Roland the author can be found at:
Paul’s back catalog has been reissued by the German label Syborg Music:
CLICK HERE to read a review that another Aural Innovations writer posted to Amazon

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Andrew Douglas – “Peace Be Here” (Jennica Records, 2012)

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Andrew Douglas bought his first Moog synthesizer at age 20, having picked up his first musical instrument – a banjo – at the age of twelve. With a background in both rock and classical music, he formed the bass and keyboards trio Dreamwind (still nominally going after having lost their studio in 2009 due to the economic downturn), and at the ripe young age of 60 has released his first solo album. Peace Be Here has a rather poignant backstory: Andrew lost his 33 year old daughter to breast cancer in January 2011, and built a home recording studio later that year “to get out of my funk”. Indeed, the pure electronic music he has recorded for Peace Be With You breathes melancholy, loss, redemption and acceptance, its release giving others the opportunity to share this most personal of journeys.

Using a range of Yamaha, Korg and Roland equipment, Andrew evokes moods of both outer and inner space. The album opens with a short piece entitled Around The Block, bright notes gently falling from a clear blue sky. Heartfelt pieces like Missing You Two reprise this tranquil mood. The music is the tradition of that golden period in the late ’70’s to mid ’80’s when artists such as Jean Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream and Tim Blake painted their classic pictures of sound – TD’s Le Parc is perhaps the closest sonic touchstone for Peace Be Here. Some of the pieces use restrained electronic percussion, others simply drift through the airwaves. Canyon Snow, Indian Mesa and Cahaba (a ghost town in Alabama) draw inspiration from the landscape, while Why The Rain (reminiscent of DIN’s 2,000 Flashes), Our Last Trail and the touching Missing You Two speak of an inner journey to find peace. This is meditation music for the spirit, rather than the mind. Horizons are lifted above the terrestrial with the final three tracks Thoughts Of Space, Sirius Sunrise and Clouds Of Jupiter.

It would seem that with the release of Peace Be Here, Andrew has been able to make peace with the universe after walking a dark path. This peaceful, beautiful collection of instrumental mood pieces gives listeners the opportunity to share what he has learned about life, loss and inner healing.

Peace Be Here is available at and on iTunes
Email at

Reviewed by Pat Albertson