Archive for June 26, 2013

The Linus Pauling Quartet – “Find What You Love And Let It Kill You” (Homeskool Records 2013, 7″ EP)

The latest from Houston, Texas’ psychedelic, stoner, metal, ass kickin’ rockers LP4 is a three song 7″ vinyl EP they call Find What You Love And Let It Kill You, which apparently came from advice given to the band by Kinky Friedman. Side 1 consists of The Road, a mellow but rocking psych song with a nice melody and a dreamy flowing vibe. The bell-like keyboard melody gives it a “gentler” feel than what’s usually heard from the LP4. Good song. Side 2 includes two songs, starting with USA, which dispenses with the mellow stuff and punks out for a brief 1.5 minutes. The band shift gears again for La Jetée, an even mellower and again melodic song that’s almost folk-psychy, and has pleasant dual vocals by Ramon Medina and guest Mlee Marie. Three songs, short and sweet. The record will be released on July 8th, so mark your calendar to get a chunk of LP4 wax. Note that if you’re in the Houston area there will be a record release show on July 20th at 7pm at the Vinal Edge record store.

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

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Mind! – “Stunde Null” (Not on Label Records 2013, NOL-001, LP)

Mind! are a new spacerock quartet from Algeciras, Spain. Riding in on a wave of rolling chords and motorik beats, Mind! epitomize the traditional spacerock sound, drawing on influences such as Hawkwind and Pink Floyd.

A rush of cosmic noise ushers in the first song, Sundrun Hreyfingarlaus, an instrumental based around a simple but effective chord progression, with various effects and layers of sound building one upon the next till the lead guitar finally takes over, bringing a bit of somewhat belated melody to the sonic textures. Battery Licker is the most overtly Hawkwind styled song on the album, built again on a simple chord progression, but with some cool lead guitar interspersed between the Dave Brock like vocals. Things catch fire on Cucumbers From Mars, to me the real centerpiece of the album: a menacing baseline reminiscent of early Floyd is paired with trippy 1960’s style organ swirling through creepy passages of sound, all building, after almost 9-minutes to a deliciously chaotic conclusion. Magallanes is a dark and spooky desert piece that reminded me a bit of the kind of sound the band Earth have been exploring. It’s unfortunately brief, clocking in at just over 2-minutes. I thought it would have made a nice intro to a longer piece, but it ends all too soon with a quick fade out. The band redeem themselves, however, with the trippy Cosmic Tide, a slow and drifting wave of spacious vibes, dreamy guitar and blissed out vocals. Time to Fly is the longest track on the album at just over 10-minutes. The first half is a pulsing, march-like odyssey, that brought to mind the weird, rocky alien landscapes from the covers of those old sci-fi novels of the 60’s and 70’s. It gives way to a very Floydian turn, reminding me of something perhaps from the Wish You Were Here period, with lush strumming acoustic guitars, lysergic singing and a soaring, Gilmouresque lead guitar. The album concludes with the brief Senallagam. As its title would suggest, it’s basically Magallanes played backwards.

The band has a good vibe going, but at times seems a bit derivative to me. The other thing I felt was that the songs got a bit repetitive at times. Not that the songs sound the same as each other; each one definitely has its own feel, but within the songs, riffs get repeated often, as well as vocal lines. The band write some affective melodies, but I kept waiting for it to change, for perhaps a chorus to come, but it was all verses. These are little nitpicky points, meant not to put down but to encourage. There’s certainly talent here, and I`m sure the band will find its own sound as they develop. Stunde Null is definitely worth a listen, though. Perhaps not a spacerock classic in its own right, but a definite step in the right direction with some cool sonic ideas happening.

For more info, visit and on Facebook at

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

Earthling Society – “ZodiaK” (4 Zero Records 2013, FZ013, CD/Download)

Late last year Nasoni Records released Earthling Society’s ZodiaK on vinyl, consisting of 2 side long 20+ minute epics, plus a brief 2 minute space jam. The new CD reissue by 4 Zero Records doesn’t include the 2 minute space jam, BUT it does include 4 tracks not included on the vinyl, and the 25+ minute title track has 4 additional minutes to make the “full version”. ZodiaK is the band’s seventh album and features the core trio of Fred Laird on guitars, synths and vocals, Jon Blacow on drums, and Kim Allen on bass.

The title track starts off with a lead bass melody, totally trippy exploratory 60s San Francisco era psych guitar, and flittering, syncopated alien electronics. Around the 5 minute mark it shifts gears, with the drums being far more up front and the guitars retaining the 60s sound but veering into a combination of Grateful Dead and Indian stylings. But this is a mere transitional bit as the band soon launch into a rollicking space rock jam that reminds me of the first Tribe of Cro album. Yet nothing stays still for long on this monster, which includes some of the most powerhouse and intense space-psych rock I’ve heard from Earthling Society yet, as well as peacefully trippy 60s styled psychedelic jams. There’s lots of great rocking grooves and it all feels fantastic, but pay attention to the lyrics and you’ll realize how disturbing the subject matter is. It starts with “I need a witness. To document my sickness”, and ends with “Jesus can’t save me. A shadow baits me. I hate all human kind”. I suspect this is about the Zodiak killer who terrified northern California in the 60s-70s.

The Astral Traveller also covers a lot of musical ground. We’ve got steady grooving space-psych jams with trippy guitar leads and cosmic keys, and some deep space segments that focus on soundscape and effects creation like early Pink Floyd and, as Jeff pointed out in his review of the LP, Nektar’s Journey To The Centre Of The Eye. And we’ve got more killer powerhouse space ROCKING. Like the title track it all feels great but has lyrics that are more akin to doom metal than the music I’m hearing, like “Oh my darkly sweet, sweet Satan. I kiss your hoof”. Wow, serious stuff, but then I see the promo sheet description of ZodiaK‘s theme of “six portraits of alienation, serial killing, occultism and urban decay.” The contrast between the music and the subject matter is disorienting and kudos to Earthling Society for pushing my buttons in this way.

So those are the two tracks that made up the lion’s share of the Nasoni LP. The CD has 4 additional songs that round the set out at a full 71 minutes. I started off by describing the lengthy tracks but the album opens with the short The City Of Resurrections, an introductory piece that features an interesting combination of tribal percussion and spaced out minimal keys. The other three tracks add guests Neil Whitehead (of Vert:x) on synths and Lew Dickinson on sax. I Don’t Know Myself has the trademark Earthling Society style of song and jamming spaced out psychedelia. It’s a hip shaking rocker with lots of freaky electronics and the sax injects healthy doses of swing. Desolation is the most pleasantly melodic song of the set. And The Elevator Does Not Stop At This Floor is a cosmically grooving Dub infused instrumental that closes the set.

In summary, Earthling Society are at 7 albums and going strong, always doing something a little different but always recognizably themselves. And on ZodiaK we’re treated to different sides of the band’s blend of space rock and various flavors of psychedelia, both the lengthy stretch-out jams and the more concise songs.

For more information visit the Earthling Society web site at:
Visit the 4 Zero Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Ambisonic – “Manitou” (self-released, 2013) plus interview with Erik Culp

Ambisonic, the innovative Canadian space prog duo returns with their third release, Manitou, to once again blow your mind. Ambisonic consists of Erik Culp on keyboards, pedals, and guitars and Paul Barry on drums and piano. The music on Manitou represents two musicians operating at the peak of their powers. Complex, riveting rhythms propel lush synthesizers and vintage Moog electronics around in tightly controlled sonic environments where not a single note is wasted. Drawing on not only progressive and space rock as influences, but also on jazz, electronica, and film soundtracks, the duo weave these influences together into seamless, tightly knit compositions. And although the music may have been very challenging for the players to perform, they imbue it with enough top notch songwriting, catchy little pop hooks and intriguing sounds to make it quite accessible to any listener. Although Ambisonic always had a kind of keyboard oriented vibe to it, this outing supposedly has less guitar on it. Maybe I’d have to go back and listen to ARP and their self-titled debut again, but it still sounds like business as usual to me. Not that they’re treading over previous ground. It’s clear that these two musicians really enjoy challenging each other and pushing their sound forward with each release. But there is still a definite and very distinctive quality to their music that makes it uniquely Ambisonic. My favourite tracks on the album are the opener Manitou, with its cool staccato keyboard vamp and High Ideals, with its sumptuously melodic electronics, manic electronica like drum-vibe (played on real drums though!) and psychedelic wah-wah guitars. Other standouts are the funky electro-rock of Buzwah and the spiralling beauty of Slow Wave. But every track on Manitou has something to offer and will surely please any fan of progressive rock, space rock, or electronic music.

I wanted to learn more about Ambisonic and Manitou, and was fortunate enough to be able to discuss those things with the Atomic Cosmonaut himself, Erik Culp, via e-mail. Here’s what I asked and what he had to say…

Aural Innovations: How did you and Paul first end up working together?

Erik Culp: I put an ad in Craigslist and held auditions. He was so into it that he wanted to jam that night.

AI: What was the idea or thought going into Ambisonic? What were you hoping to achieve?

EC: To start with, we wanted to do technical instrumental prog. To see how far two people could go, and how big two people could make it sound. To really challenge ourselves, while still making palatable music. The music progressively became more and more keyboard oriented, but that wasn’t a preconceived notion.

AI: You seem to have drawn on a wide range of influences for the Ambisonic sound. Are there any particular artists that stand out as being very influential on you?

EC: Paul and I have pretty different influences, so he would and does disagree with what I say are our influences. For me it would be Afro Beat like Fela Kuti, Miles Davis, Sergio Leone, 60’s Moog albums, Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, Alain Goraguer’s La Planete Sauvage, Pink Floyd’s Animals (Paul strongly disagrees and thinks Dark Side of the Moon is superior, but I can’t get over the conservative playing, saxophones and back-up singers), Sigur Ros, the Flaming Lips, and Tortoise. I also have to throw Godspeed! You Black Emperor in. Major influence. My favorite show ever was at an apple orchard outside of Picton. Godspeed played in a barn. 9 people in the band, 9 in the audience. We camped with them and sat around the fire boozin’ all night.

AI: Those are definitely some pretty interesting influences. You mentioned that Afrobeat and Miles Davis had been especially influencing you a lot lately?

EC: For sure, I’m playing a lot of single note repetitive guitar lately.

AI: What drew you to this kind of music?

EC: My friend Jaqui gave me Bitches Brew for Christmas in high school, because she knew I was into the earlier stuff. It blew my mind. It really scared me at first. People thought Hendrix was weird/revolutionary. Holy crap! Then, I got into the players that he worked with. McLaughlin, Hancock, Corea. I first heard Kuti in a coffee shop about 12 years ago. I had a similar reaction. It was the song Lady and it freaked me out. It was so epic, groovy.

AI: What particular movie soundtracks stand out as being an influence on you?

EC: Hmmm… Logan’s Run, the Man with No Name Trilogy. Those are the biggies

AI: How have Kurt Vonnegut novels been an influence on Ambisonic?

EC: Ha ha! We both really like him. His version of reality is a bit off, and that’s comforting. I don’t really want too much to do with reality.

AI: What’s your favourite Vonnegut novel?

EC: That’s a tough one. I’m going to have to go with Breakfast of Champions. It has it all. I’m lucky enough to have worked on the movie too.

AI: How has the progression of ideas evolved from your previous projects such as Mind of a Squid and your solo work as The Atomic Cosmonaut? Do you see Ambisonic as a totally new sound, or were there any elements of those previous projects that were brought into what you were doing with Ambisonic?

EC: Everything is still me. A fairly natural evolution. Funnily enough, I’m back to doing mainly guitar, jam based stuff now. I remember, after Paul got the gig, we were jamming out ideas and he said “I really don’t like long, slow stuff.” That was a major challenge. My response was “That’s all I do!!!” That was very hard for me to accept, but Paul has been very good at challenging me. We will be jamming on a part that takes everything in me to keep going, and he stops and says something like, “How about we do a dead stop on the three, add another beat in the fourth bar and change keys for the second verse?” I usually figure out a way to do it…I will usually request to work on it, and get back to him next rehearsal. All four limbs are working all the time!

AI: So I guess there’s little chance of Ambisonic doing a 20-minute epic track on your next album then?

EC: Haha! You never know. ARP Parts 1-4 ended up being pretty long. We actually wrote/recorded that song in a day, by the way.

AI: How do you go about creating an Ambisonic album? Is there a lot of improvisation involved, or are the pieces fully composed before recording?

EC: ARP was half created through jams during the recording session, and half written previously. Manitou was all previously written and the drums were recorded last, like the Atomic Cosmonaut recordings, the first Ambisonic record, and the first Mind of a Squid record. Previously written can still mean that a lot of the ideas came from jams… we document all of our jams, and the recordings have been invaluable to us for song creation. Many of the songs came out of my solitude at my cabin in Haliburton in the dead of winter, as well.

AI: I’m assuming that’s the cabin where you recorded ARP? What was it like creating an album in that kind of isolation?

EC: Actually, we recorded ARP outside of Huntsville, and Manitou was recorded at my cabin outside of Haliburton. I love creating in isolation. The winter is best. No clutter or noise. It seems that the heavy, draining focus that the music requires needs to be set in an environment of peace, rather than the clutter of the urban experience. Perfect decompression.

AI: Is all the music recorded live, or are there overdubs?

EC: Tons of overdubs. I’m a freak that way. I will record 30 tracks and blend them together to create a near imperceptible beep at the end of a chorus or something. Some of the tunes are pushing 200 tracks!

AI: You said in one of your promotions that Ambisonic sounds like a dozen musicians when in fact there are only two of you. How do you achieve this sound, especially when playing live?

EC: I play bass with my feet on a Moog Taurus, keyboards and guitars. And 4 track looping with an Electrix Repeater.

AI: You described your new album Manitou to me as a ‘huge left turn’ from your previous albums. How do you see it as a huge left turn?

EC: Less guitar than I have ever put on a record. Short, concise songs; more pop-ish hooks.

AI: Was this a conscious effort or just a natural evolution in the same way that Ambisonic became more keyboard oriented when it started?

EC: Both, I guess. For a while I was getting bored with the tonal variation that a guitar could give me. A Moog’s tonal range is virtually infinite. I’m back on the side of guitar now. We just had a brief falling out!

AI: What are the future plans for Ambisonic?

EC: Interesting question. I don’t really know the answer.

AI: You mentioned a new improvisational project you were currently involved in. Can you tell me more about that?

EC: We are called the Ozark Howlers. It’s fun… I just play guitar. Next to no pedals. I wanted a chance to focus on the music, rather than the gear. Scott from Mind of a Squid is on bass, and Joeseph Doane (another former MoaS bassist) is on guitar. Francis is on drums. It’s slow, long and mellow.

AI: Sounds really awesome! Are there plans to record an album or is this just going to be a live project?

EC: We have a whack of recorded material now. We may release highlights. We probably aren’t going to do too much live performance. Who knows?

AI: Thanks Erik! We’ll be looking forward to hearing more music from any projects you’re involved in.

For more info, visit:,, and on Facebook at

Reviewe and interview by Jeff Fitzgerald
Band photo by Karol Orzechowski

Permanent Clear Light – “Beyond These Things” (Havasupai Records 2013, HVSP0001)

Permanent Clear Light are a Finnish trio who I’ve become acquainted with through their numerous contributions to Fruits de Mer Records compilations and their 7″ single on Fruits de Mer released last year. Beyond These Things is their full length debut, employing guitars, bass, Theremin, Mellotron, percussion, violin, cornet, synths, electronics and more, to create an outstanding marriage of Pop-Psych, Prog Rock, and… well… ALL things psychedelic.

The album opens with Constant Gardner, an infectiously melodic pop-psych tune with a 60s feel but by no means retro. The dual violin and guitar solo at the end is sheer beauty. Ribes Nigrum and And The Skies Will Fall are both gentle orchestral Folk-Pop-Psych songs with beautiful singing efx’d guitar solos. This is music you hear once and feel like it’s been with you all your life. Love Gun is a little different, having a down ‘n dirty Bluesy edge. Skirmish is a cool grooving, melodic jazzy instrumental with shades of the Beatles, plus totally tripped out guitar and space effects. The banjo and harmonica give Weary Moon a cowboy country sound, but this dreamily bucolic song has just as much of a Celtic feel, like the theme to a Howard Hawks film set in the Irish countryside. And then we have a couple longer tracks that flex their instrumental muscles and explore. Harvest Time is the ultimate blend of Pop-Psych, Acid Rock and Prog. It’s a catchy psychedelic song with killer melodic hooks, but near the 3 minute mark it blasts off into an intense, spaced out psych rocking jam with brain massage guitar, while never completely abandoning the song. On last year’s Fruits de Mer single, I described Higher Than The Sun as starting off with acoustic guitar, orchestration and spaced out alien affects. It’s a lovely pastoral folk-psych song with orchestral embellishment, a killer melodically ripping guitar solo, beautiful vocals singing of all things outside the Earth’s atmosphere, and all surrounded by effects that sound like something from a Louis and Bebe Barron soundtrack. That was the 3:33 minute song on the single. On the CD it’s 9+ minute stunner titled Higher Than The Sun: Astral Travel. It starts off exactly the same as the single… BUT, at the end of the song portion the band veer off into some seriously freaky space noodling, tripping along for a bit before peaking with another powerhouse Pop-Psych meets Prog instrumental workout. It’s got a vibe like the lysergic instrumental bits from The Beatles’ I Am The Walrus, while maintaining the principle Higher Than The Sun melodic theme.

Damn, this is a good album. It’s got excellent compositions, arrangements, musicianship and production. It’ll easily make my Best of 2013 list. File under Psychedelic, but expect FAR more.

For more information visit the Permanent Clear Light web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Matt Borghi & Michael Teager – “Convocation” (Slo-Bor Meda 2013, SBM042)

Recorded as a series of improvisational structures in the Spring of 2012, this is the first recording that Matt Borghi and Michael Teager have done after a half-decade of working together. With a background in classical and jazz saxophone, Teager brings a wide palette of influences to the music. Listeners will hear aspects of Jan Garbarek, John Coltrane and Dave Liebman that’s juxtaposed over Borghi’s pastoral guitar sounds that have more of their timbral origins in the work of Claude Debussy or Ralph Vaughan-Williams than they do other contemporary ambient guitarists… so the press sheet says and now onto the review.

CONVOCATION: Majestic and soaring improvisation. The combination of Borghi’s ambient guitar composition with Teager’s classical jazz saxophone is very relaxing and transcendental without being generic or new agey! PRECIPICE: This track is a bit more engaging and varied with pleasant saxophone flourishes. There’s a lot of music on YouTube that is meant to induce sleep and this music is similar but more “music as art” and less “music as sleep therapy”. I don’t know if these guys play out live but if they do they probably thrill their audiences. NEBULA DIVIDE: Magically fabulous and soothing. I’ve never been a fan of the saxophone but Michael Teager places it very tastefully within the music and not over it!! The faint sound of water burbling in the background. CONSTANT APEX: More of the same, the sax is a bit louder, the music more lilting or obtuse than the previous track. It’s probably cliche or very obvious to say this would be good movie soundtrack music but… I can’t hear anything that sounds like guitar but I guess everything that’s not sax is Matt Borghi, which is a meditative tinkling drone. The track builds momentum and gets more and more powerful. DISCERN DESCENT: Moody, ethereal and mysterious. All of these tracks were recorded the same day and you can tell it’s the same instruments and sounds just seperated into different moods. I’m sure it would be very powerful and intense to see/hear these guys play live in a small intimate setting. Nice long piece like I like them…

For more information visit the Slo-Bor Media web site at:
Visit Matt Borghi’s web site at:
Visit Michael Teager’s web site at:

Reviewed by Carlton Crutcher

Mooch – “Stations Of The Sun” (self-released 2013, CDR/Digital Download)

In 2008, Steve Palmer threw Mooch fans for a loop with the release of 1967 1/2, the first of three albums (followed by 1966 and 1968a) of songs inspired by 1960s psychedelia. In a recent five-favorite-Mooch-albums post I submitted to Steve’s blog, I commented that these three would go together well as a triple album set. The latest Mooch album – Stations Of The Sun – returns to the song format, though this time the inspiration is, as the promo sheet says, 70s Folk/Rock/Progressive territory in the style of bands such as Renaissance. The theme of the album is summer solstice 2013, with the 11 songs covering the pagan wheel of the year: eight festivals (two solstices, two equinoxes and four Celtic cross-festivals), plus two songs for the Oak King and Holly King who symbolically battle every solstice, and a final song covering the whole year.

Steve plays all guitars, bass and virtual synths/keyboards on Stations Of The Sun, with drums and percussion by the irrepressible Erich Z. Schlagzeug. Vocals are handled by two newcomers to Mooch, and I’ll tell you right out of the chute that their contributions are to be credited for much of the flavor and character of the album. Beck Sian is a native Australian living in Wales whose Ye Olde Silent Inn album Steve recorded and co-produced last year. And Shelagh Teahan is a Midlands, England based classical singer who contacted Steve after he put out a call for pagan musicians when planning Stations Of The Sun.

Beck and Shelagh have very different vocal styles, both ideal for this music. The Yule Garden is a mystical Folk-Prog song with acoustic guitars, light percussion and flowing orchestral keys, and Beck’s beautiful Folk styled vocals. Equinox and A Samhain Mask both consist of chamber ensemble Folk with a medieval twist, and Beck’s vocals have a sort of Broadway show tune quality. Come-A-Maying is similar, conjuring up images of barefoot maidens in flowing dresses and flowers in their hair dancing about in a field. This one has some great instrumental passages and acoustic instrument interplay. The Holly King & The Oak King has a Renaissance (the band) vibe, being a Folk-Prog song with intricate instrumentation and arrangements. Fred Barleycorn is a little different, having a bit of jazzy swing during the vocal sections that Beck and Steve trade off.

Shelagh’s vocals have a one-women-choir feel that I love. Imbolc Chant has a traditional sound, with slow dance rhythms, and makes me feel like I’m participating in a medieval village faire. Summerland is another song with a chamber music cum medieval show tune feel. The Oak King & The Holly King is a spacey, dreamy, orchestral Folk-Prog song that’s one of my favorites of the set. And there are two songs with both Beck and Shelagh that are treasures of vocal contrast and cooperation – Looking Inward, and then Wheel Of The Year, which is the album closer and one of the most uplifting songs of the set, making full use of the two women’s vocals. In summary, Stations Of The Sun is a captivating set of beautiful songs, and I’m glad Steve decided to once again explore this side of Mooch.

Digital distribution for Stations Of The Sun is through iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify.
CDR copies are available directly from Steve Palmer upon request. They come in hand-printed, recycled card sleeves, with printed art inside. Steve operates on a pay-what-you-think-it’s-worth basis, and any offer above the cost price + postage will be accepted. Email Steve at
Visit the Mooch blog at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Computerchemist – “Signatures I” / “Signatures II” (self-released 2013, CD/Download)

Computerchemist is headed up by multi-instrumentalist Dave Pearson, an English musician currently residing in Hungary. In 2011 Pearson met Budapest based drummer Zsolt Galántai through Facebook and the two decided to meet and see if any musical magic was possible. Pearson was so impressed with Galántai’s ability to play his music that he came up with the idea of creating Berlin School music with the addition of real drums and guitar, and, as Pearson describes, “strange time signatures to boot”. The time signatures used, very few in 4/4, are the inspiration for the title of these two albums. Pearson set various click tracks, encouraged Galántai to solo, and recorded it all. They ended up with a variety of “sequence-locked” drum sessions, and Pearson feels that Galántai in a way composed each of the tracks on Signatures because the music was built around his drumming. Signatures I and II are fully 70 minutes of music each and separated by what Pearson considers the lighter and darker tracks. So there you have a little insight into how the albums came together.

Signatures I opens with Caterpillar Pirouette, which features an interesting combination of sequenced and cosmic Prog keyboards, and indeed the rhythmic pulse and patterns of the drums add muscle and spice to the music. All together it’s like a blend of Rubycon/Phaedra era Tangerine Dream and Eloy at their spaciest, with Steve Hackett sitting in on guitar. Dobdub is next, and, as the title suggests, has a Dub pulse. Though the drums bop along steadily in a jazzy style, it fits in nicely with the Dub vibe. There’s also a haunting violin sounding melody and sparse keys that create a passionately somber mood, and I like the contrast with the energetic drumming and electro-grooving Dub. The nearly 16 minute Zsoltmatic-10 is the epic of the set. It starts off very much like mid-70s Tangerine Dream, until around 4 minutes when the drums kick in and work in tandem with the sequenced keys to create a swinging rock groove, nicely augmented by slow but intense guitar soloing. Killer Space-Prog with a Tangerine Dream meets Pink Floyd feel. Corporatosaur has a pleasant principle melody and spacey orchestral keys, but is also backed by slightly avant-garde sequenced patterns, like Pearson might be exploring his inner Philip Glass. It isn’t until much later that the rhythm section kicks in, the bass having a potent hypnotic drone, and the guitar ripping out killer licks for the finale. Six Phase Mains is a keyboard heavy Space-Prog piece with mind-bending guitar licks and solidly anchored by the drums. Convection Of The 9 continues this theme but with a kind of symphonic Ozric Tenatcles feel. Broken Daliuette is a little different, being a quirky, melodic, avant-space-pop tune that, like most of the music on Signatures, takes on a rhythmic turbo charge when the drums kick in. Landform 2012 closes Signatures I, and is an updated version of the title track from the 2007 Computerchemist album of the same name. This is one of the pieces presented to Galántai when he and Pearson first met, and is listed as bonus track, which in the case of the Signatures albums means the only tracks played in 4/4. At 4 minutes it’s also one of the shortest, but packs a punch all the same, being an expansive slab of symphonic Space-Prog.

So those are the “lighter” tracks. Signatures II opens with Strangeness In 13, which has a piano melody that gives it a Gothic flavor, backed by orchestral Melloton-ish keys, beautiful emotive guitar licks and steady drumming. Goodbye, Moszkva Tér is a cool grooving space rocker with fiery guitar soloing throughout. The drums, keys and sequenced patterns jam along steadily while the guitar trips along, and all having to dodge meteor shower space electronics. Floor Zero features a cool and strange combination of symphonic, spaced out Prog and electro-robotic rock, along with ripping cosmic jazz-fusion guitar fills. We’re deep into Prog territory on Commution, with heavy guitar driven rock that sounds like Steve Hackett’s early solo albums, plus a dash of Adrian Belew tossed into the licks. The music is continually shifting gears, transitioning to ominously quiet Gothic piano interludes, tickling-the-ivories jazzy swing segments, and Keith Emerson styled keys, always returning to the main high powered theme. LOTS happening on this track! High intensity Space-Prog is the order of the day on Forgotten Memory, with buzzing and whirring electronic waves, multiple layers of keyboards, and spaced out guitar licks. Smeem starts off as a cool combination of darkly intense bass/drum rhythms and ambient guitar exploration. Then the guitar does a 180 and veers into smoldering Bluesy rocking, soon adding distinctly Rick Wright flavored keys, and now we’re in a Pink Floyd realm with freaky electronics and rhythms like you’ve never heard on a Pink Floyd album. The Needs Of The Many is an eerie but rocking Space-Prog piece that sounds like it could be the soundtrack theme to a sci-fi flick. And, finally, Bongo In 4 is another track with a cosmic Pink Floyd flavor, featuring Space-Blues guitar jamming over a steadily rocking rhythm section and jazzy grooving keys. Later the music veers away from the Floyd style and a violin sound takes over from the guitar for a tug-at-the heartstring melodic passage, backed by robotic keyboard rhythms and rockin’ drumming.

Wow, there is so much happening on this challenging and difficult to describe 2 1/2 hours of music. Galántai’s drumming often contrasts sharply with the main musical themes, making for some classic Progressive Rock rhythmic gymnastics that are a hallmark of what the Signatures sets are all about. And, musically, many disparate elements contrast and cooperate in ways that make the music stand up to repeated listens. In short, if you dig heavy doses of Space in your Prog, check these out.

For more information you can visit the Computerchemist web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Glowpeople – “Things…” (self-released 2013, CD)

Glowpeople do indeed create music that glows. I have a minor neurological anomaly called synaesthesia. What happens is that stimulating one sensory or cognitive pathway will lead to an involuntary experience in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. In my case, I ‘see’ music in colours. No chemical enhancements required. And let me tell you, when I listen to the music on Glowpeople’s debut album, Things, I see some very beautiful colours. They are like the lights I would imagine illuminating some psychedelic jazz club in the heart of a European city, from long ago. Bright, dazzling colours infused with moody shadows and grey wisps of smoke. It’s both stimulating and calming at the same time.

Glowpeople began as a UK based collective of musicians back in 2010, finally coalescing into the stable line up that plays on this album: Chris Hill on trumpet; Mark Burgess on guitar and effects, Chris Cordwell on keyboards, bleeps and loops; Nick Raybould on drums and percussion and Robot on bass guitar. Their Ozric Tentacles meets fusion era Miles Davis approach works in all the right ways. Each track, from the funky 4-minute workout of Resound in H Flat, to the lazily swirling moodiness of the 9-minute Metaphorical, has its own distinctive feel. But there is this great psychedelic playfulness that ties it all together. Glowpeople don’t possess the same manically intense energy of an Ozrics performance, they do possess a striking energy of their own. That energy is just directed in a different way. The music’s very rhythmic nature can be almost trance inducing. Add to that the smoky, late night trumpet playing of Chris Hill, and the waves of psychedelic sounds and effects, and you have music that may just invoke a little of that synaesthesia I mentioned. No chemical enhancements required.

I’ve heard the term ‘psychedelic jazz’ bandied around a lot over the years, often to describe music that doesn’t sound exactly psychedelic to my ears, or maybe I should say doesn’t look that way to my eyes. But the music on Things is, indeed, music that I can apply the term to with great enthusiasm. Give this album a spin and get into the glow.

For more info, visit:

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

Djam Karet – “The Trip” (Djam Karet/HC Productions 2013, HC016, CD)

California based Djam Karet are back with their first all new studio albums since 2005’s Recollection Harvest. AND next year will be the band’s 30th anniversary. These guys have produced a stellar body of work in the past three decades.

The new album consists of a single 47 minute track that is appropriately titled The Trip. The piece opens with rushing wind and multiple bleeping UFO effects. After a 1-2-3 count we hear a pleasant acoustic guitar plus spacey keyboard melodic passage, which turns out to be a brief introductory bit as we find ourselves in deep space intensity mode with cavernous soundscapes and classic Djam Karet guitar effects. Around the 12 minute mark the music transitions to a darker, moodier atmosphere, which seems to be building up to some serious rocking out. The tension lifts with a heavenly keyboard melody and howling guitar effects which string us along for a while before developing into a structured song segment and, ultimately, the rocking out I knew was on the horizon. It’s steady paced and the one guitar has a Bluesy, passionate Dave Gilmour feel, and the keyboard that soon joins recalls Rick Wright; yes, very Floyd-ish in this section. And when the big explosive rocking out hits it feels like a stoned, orchestral Pink Floyd. Lots of really great guitar solos! Around the 28 minute mark the music shifts gears again, returning to mood and atmosphere creation and we’re treated to some tasty drifting through space sensations colored by freaky electronic effects. Oh yeah… I’m looking out the window of the spacecraft at a star filled infinity. Then at the 38 minute mark the band launch into a monster rocking jam with classic Prog keys, ripping guitar solos and some chunky metallic guitar. Finally, a reprise of the opening acoustic guitar and keyboard melody signals that the trip has concluded and we have landed safely.

Djam Karet have always covered a variety of territory, including progressive rock, hard rock, space rock, psychedelia and ambient/soundscape explorations, and it all comes together on The Trip. The promo sheet references both Krautrock and Pink Floyd, and, indeed, throughout the set Pink Floyd was very much in evidence, as was the earliest Tangerine Dream, though long-time fans will recognize it all as trademark Djam Karet.

For more information you can visit the Djam Karet web site at:
A few years ago I did an all Djam Karet special on Aural Innovations Space Rock Radio which is still available to hear. CLICK HERE to access the playlist page and scroll down to show #248 to get a 2 1/2 hour taste of this remarkable band.

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz