Archive for August 28, 2013

Vespero – “Droga” (R.A.I.G. 2013, R079, CD)

Vespero are on a creative tear. I described last year’s Subkraut: U-Boats Willkommen Hier as a cross between Korai Orom and Ozric Tentacles, and at one point made a reference to a classic Prog sound. Their new album, Droga, draws much more heavily on the Progressive Rock influences, planting it all in the band’s trademark Space Rock grounding.

The album opens with Steppe. A Middle Eastern flavored intro conjures up images of a desert oasis in space, with screeching yet seductively melodic violin, a steady drone and flittering electronics. Around the 4 minute mark the band launch into a blistering Space-Prog rocker that brought to mind a marriage of King Crimson and The Spacious Mind. The rapid-fire and angular Maul includes Robert Fripp styled guitar patterns, melodic violin, and classic Prog keys, nicely elevated into space by the darting alien synths. It’s like each musician is playing lead and it all gels wonderfully. Red Pitfalls consists of soaring gliss guitar, bubbling liquid psych guitar, monster rocking leads and more King Crimson references. There’s lots of variety, all congealing into a lusciously rocking whole. In the last few minutes the music transitions to a blissfully dreamy cross between Shoegaze and spaced out Jazz. Thymus is similar, rocking out like a Hell-brewed firestorm, and then shifting to an intriguingly dissonant yet pleasantly melodic segment. We’re treated to lots of seamless thematic shifts and a mercury bursting intensity level that keeps the action zipping along. Oboo goes in a different direction, with funky, tribal, rhythmic floating Space-Jazz, grooving electronica and mind-melting Rock. I love the King Crimson inspired guitar patterns accompanied by wailing guitar leads and pulsating electronics. I also dig the high powered intensity and whimsical meandering explorations of Halo. Marine benefits from the addition of acoustic instruments, plus a killer combination of percussion, guitar and keys. The first half of Frozen Lillies (Melt in Heaven) is like a deep space take on the early Genesis sound, and for the second half Vespero switch to frenetic drumming, tempered by cosmic keys and intensely rocking yet lulling guitar leads. The title track is an electronic and soundscape driven mood piece, with haunting scat-chants from Elena Belozyorfova, Steve Hackett in space guitar, and astral sax, making for a mind-bending finale to an outstanding set.

Droga has got to be the most compositionally sophisticated set of music I’ve heard from Vespero yet, and the musicians have the chops to execute it. Imagine a cross between King Crimson, Djam Karet, Ozric Tentacles, and early Genesis, and you might get something like Droga. Vespero continue to be one of the most exciting, interesting and compelling instrumental bands on the contemporary Space Rock scene. Highest recommendation.

Note that the CD comes housed in a thick cardboard folder with silkprinted artwork. There is also a limited edition 2-CD set that includes the Liventures bonus disc, featuring alternative versions of the band’s live favorites, cover songs, and compilation exclusives.

For more information visit the R.A.I.G web site at:
Streams and downloads of all R.A.I.G. releases are available at their Bandcamp site:
Visit Vespero on Facebook at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Cosmic Trip Machine – “Golden Horus Name” (Nasoni Records 2013, LP/Download)

Belgium based Cosmic Trip Machine return for their first album since 2010’s The Curse of Lord Space Devil. The band are the quartet of Will Z on keyboards, Majnun on guitar, oG on bass, and Sammy on drums. The new album is titled Golden Horus Name, and has an interesting theme so I’ll quote from the promo sheet:

The album tells two different stories: the celestial cow Egyptian myth in broad outline and the story of Barrington, a cursed rock star, a great Pharaoh reincarnation, who lived in Swinging London and fell into a deep depression. The character is directly inspired by the life of the musician Ramases who recorded during the 60’s and 70’s some singles and two beautiful albums.

That alone gets Cosmic Trip Machine an A+ for imagination in my book. The album consists of 10 songs, most in the 4-5 minutes range, give or take a few minutes. The music is firmly rooted in late 60s-early 70s heavy Prog-Psych, with a classic, and quite luscious, Hammond organ sound, and ripping guitar leads.

Aristophanes opens the set and is like a mixture of The Doors and Purple Overdose. Let Your Eye Come Down starts with chanting voices and swirling space synths before launching into a chunky rocking slab of high intensity hard Prog-Psych. For great songs, Flower is one of my favorites, with propulsive guitar and organ, sitar-like chords, a killer melody and great guitar solos. If this came out in 1968 it would be remembered as one of that era’s great psychedelic songs. The pace slows for the title track, which is a trippy acoustic led tune. A Part Of Me is another slower paced song, this one a pleasant drifting melodic psychedelic rocker. The vocals and guitar solos are excellent! This song is sheer beauty, and at nearly 8 minutes takes plenty of time to stretch out and explore. Celestial Cow is a short, spacey, Progressive Rock instrumental, that despite its pastoral nature manages to fit in, quite seamlessly, yet another ripping guitar solo. Reincarnation Blues is a straight-forward though pretty killer heavy Blues rocker. Rising From Its Ashes is a 2 minute doomy showcase for Majnun’s guitar shredding. Song Of Rising Preacher Man is another monster, transitioning though multiple themes, including cool grooving funky Arthur Brown-like tribal bits and some of the most powerhouse 70s rockin’ Prog-Psych of the set. God damn, these guys kick ass! The Lady From Nowhere Land closes the set and is another longer stretch-out track, at just over 8 minutes. This is another of the more heavy Prog oriented tracks, though very spacey-trippy, with seductive keys and yet more impressive guitar.

In summary, the musicianship on Golden Horus Name is solid and the vocals outstanding. And these guys have a flair for rocking hard with catchy melodic hooks. Much of the album is a retro experience to be sure, but if you pine for the sounds of the late 60s – early 70s, these guys have NAILED IT. And if you recall the stories the album is based on… those sounds are what the theme of the album is all about.

Note that the album is a vinyl only release on Nasoni, download code included. It will also be available from iTunes in September.

For more information visit the Cosmic Trip Machine web site at:
Visit the Nasoni Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

The Legendary Pink Dots – “The Gethsemane Option” (CD/Download, Metropolis label, MET 872, released June 2013)

With the current band of occultist Golden Dawn “usual suspects” Edward & The Silverman, and Erik Drost, an otherwise beatnik-new wave era band of gothic Euro-rock old schoolers, the current Dots in their 33rd year of existence are now, since Niels and Martijn, left in 2010, a trio with Hawkwind engineer Raymond Steeg as the shadow fourth member, as they seem to be finding their sound more solidly planted in a more consumable reality and back on their feet since their recent Chemical Playschool 15 album, which I slagged so harshly here on the Aural Innovations blog, last winter, a release which lacked focus and I thought was an outright bad album.

The Gethsemane Option is a gem of a release, refreshing and fun, albeit one with many flaws. I will point out the negative aspects first, one being the noisy electronic drum beats and white noise blurring the finer melodies which also fade in and out rather irritatingly, as if the band never know how to start or finish a song properly. Now, the good stuff. I mentioned melodies. Here is some stellar and melodic songwriting skills displayed with smart lyric writing, gliding through the mystical and magickal as it may be. There is little of the abstract “noise sculpture” stuff found here, thankfully. The opening track, A Star Is Born, is a majestic song about a chosen infant of sorts, “This is Holy Magick”, Edward Ka-Spel, the singer, wails as the magical child is born, “laying in an unmade bed in a shabby flat in Nowhere Town”, as it may. Escher Everywhere is a traditional Dotz outing as well; psychedelic and a throwback to the 80’s pop era (if you can call it gothic underground psych pop) of the band. It may be a reference to The 13th Floor Elevators LP Easter Everywhere mixed with the hallucinogenic ordered architectural and optical illusion art of M.C. Escher. One More Dimension is a longer echoey psychedelic track I also enjoy immensely. What strikes me here is that the LPD’s are finally writing songs. Personally I just wish the production wasn’t so shabby, noisy or compressed, like recorded at home on a laptop. Maybe they have gotten too comfy at home with their recording techniques. The cover art is a Muslim woman with four arms naked covered in blood underneath in a fruit bearing tree; quite unsettling. As mystics with religion, it may be interpreted as an image of Eden, or an oasis and a Islamic militant female with four arms as if a diety out of Hinduism, sitting in Lotus position underneath, with blood spattered everywhere, and a anti-nuclear peace symbol on her chest in blood. LPD’s are not strangers to Islam, it seems, being East Majick druids on their magic carpet and their mystical echoes of The Old Man in The Mountain and the Hashishins; the LPD’s are “dagger-music”, as it may be… brandishing daggers and stoned immaculate as medieval Hashishins. Or they can crunch angelic or celestial observations with any modern or ancient religion, yet claim to be Gnostics and Atheists, or more likely, also Wiccan.

Its a nice effort. I have been listening to The Gethsemane Option all summer, only after getting the download only LPD’s album Taos Hum which is less successful yet sounds very similar with the noisy electronic drums and irritating fades. LPD and relations are very active on Bandcamp with exclusive recordings there, so much fantastic early cassette and early live shows and other stuff now availible for download. Seek them out, turn on, and work that Mojo, The LPD’s are a band for the mystical seekers out there. I give this album a solid 7 and 1/2 out of 10 on the scale. Good place to start your LPD collection, if you want to start with the new stuff. Myself, the 80’s-90’s eras are where the most magick still resonates Dotz-wise. Sing While You May, for another 33 years, Edward, and the other merry band of Dotz who otherwise make the sounds! There is no other band that sound quite like these guys.

For more information visit AND AND

Reviewed by Christian Eric Mumford

Sendelica – “The Kaleidoscopic Kat and Its Autoscopic Ego” (self-released 2013, CD/DVD/LP/Digital)

After being super blown away by Streamedelica She Sighed as She Hit Rewind on the Dream Mangler Remote (which I reviewed back in Aural Innovations #41 (October 2010), I was eager for more of this Welsh instrumental psych/spacerock band. The Pavilion of Magic and the Trials of the Seven Surviving Elohim (2011) unfortunately failed to make the same impression on me as Streamedelica did, but The Satori in Elegance of the Majestic Stonegazer (2012) was a terrific album of psych rock that definitely put the band back on the map for me. And now we get to their latest, The Kaleidoscopic Kat and Its Autoscopic Ego. This is the first album they’ve released on which they don’t have a regular drummer in the band, and in fact, there are live drums credited to only two of the tracks on the album. But this time out, Sendelica has absorbed a cool electronica vibe into their sound. It works very well, better than most experiments of this sort, precisely because amidst the programmed drums and pulsing synths, Sendelica never forget that they are still a psychedelic rock band.

The titularly truncated title track, The Kaleidoscopic Kat, is stylistically all over the place, but the band pulls it all together in quite a nifty way. It starts out with a slow and droney guitar, weaving a gentle melody. Piano and synths soon join as the piece evolves into a dreamy, psychedelic ballad of sorts as distorted guitar noise slips in underneath, building to a Phil Collins In the Air Tonight type drum explosion. The piece becomes a jaunty acid tinged ride from there, buoyed by a funky, 80’s style synth bass riff. It totally sets the tone for the eclectic album to come. Tinsel Tears, for example, combines a jazzy baseline with a killer, over the top classic rock guitar riff whereas Something in a Grain of Sand ushers in that electronica vibe I mentioned, in its use of ambient and rhythmic elements of that genre, combined, of course, with the lysergic guitar sounds that the band is well known for. It Happened One Sunday Afternoon in Wales is a long, slowly building 11+ minute piece reminiscent of Screaming and Streaming into the Starlit Night from Streamedelica. The soft guitar, sound effects and sax here take on an easygoing, mellow morning atmosphere (as suggested by the title) rather than a late night jazz club sound. That’s of course before it builds into a mid-tempo, heavy spacerock outing in its latter half. The sax definitely lends a nice jazzy feel to the proceedings throughout, but I kind of wish the guy playing it would perhaps occasionally step outside of melodic Dick Parry-esque soloing and maybe put a little squonk or torture into his playing, a la Nik Turner, for example (who guests on a later track on the album, but playing flute). On the other hand, it does set a nice counterpoint to the wild chaos going on around it. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Buddha brings back the electronica sensibility, with a drum machine style rhythm leading into a dark and languid odyssey utilizing a riff from the similarly titled Pink Floyd number, but building an entirely different song around it. Clever Meat is 6 1/2 minutes of pure spacerock, replete with catchy guitar riffs, bubbling synths and powerful drum rhythms. It’s a knockout track, and one of the best on the album! 21st Century Autoscopic Ego Man (these guys are starting to sound like Acid Mothers Temple in their plays on classic song titles!), starts out as a surprisingly bluesy rocker, but after a few minutes, it turns into a dark and weird space voyage. There’s no surprise, of course, that It’s the Neu! Kosmiche Disko has a strong Krautrock influence. For me, it’s the standout piece on an already excellent album, and represents Sendelica’s will to grow and keep exploring new sounds with each album. It’s a bit like Kraftwerk meets Can, as it twists and turns through funky, pulsating electronics, motorik rhythms, swirling sax, brooding, ambient guitars and oodles of effects on everything. After that epic 14-minutes of krautrocky goodness, the album ends quietly, with a reprise of The Kaleidoscopic Kat, this time without drums, but including some beautiful, spacey flute courtesy of the aforementioned Mr. Turner.

The Kaleidoscopic Kat and Its Autoscopic Ego has a really nice balance to it. Not just in its similarly themed bookends, but in the way the whole album is put together, the way the early, middle and later electronica influenced tracks are surrounded by tracks in the heavier, psychedelic rock vein of Sendelica’s earlier works. But every piece is distinctive, each adding its own ingredients to the mind bubbling soup that makes up the entire album. And it’s a tasty soup, indeed! Another great release from this band!

For more info, visit: and

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

Analog Sunsets (Volume One) – “Twilight” (Tape Hiss Recordings 2013, CD)

Analog Sunsets is the work of veteran hometaper Scott Carr, who has released music under various monikers over the years on his Tape Hiss Recordings label (his Hot Buttered Elves Christmas songs are especially fun). With Analog Sunsets, Carr took electronic recordings from the Tape Hiss cassette catalog going back to 1988, and blended them with new material from Spring 2013. As stated in the promo sheet, the music was “designed to be listened to in a wide variety of environments, particularly those where deeper concentration or thinking is desired.”

Dog Star opens the set, consisting of dark yet peacefully floating deep space ambience, with an interesting mixture of minimalist patterns and simple but pleasant melody. This blend of disparate elements is characteristic of several tracks and makes Twilight such a stimulating listen. Like Fluid (Wet Mix), with its slowly throbbing drone alongside a shimmering, pulsating tone. And Love Love Love, which features a contrasting combination of classic floating symphonic space electronica plus avant-garde placement of sounds and effects. The spirit of Irrlicht era Klaus Schulze is prevalent, especially on Lemon (Slice Mix). Carr makes crafty use of sounds and effects on tracks like Fumes, where a glom of effects made me feel like I was in a nocturnal alien forest with the sounds of its various life forms around me. And Ozone (Less Mix), which was like being in the bowels of a spacecraft. And I like the contemplative yet edgy space ambience of Yellow (Star Mix).

There’s a lot going on in much of the music on Twilight so attentive listeners will be rewarded, though anyone interested in the deeper concentration or thinking aspects would be best served by In Dust (One) and (Two). At nearly 9 minutes each, these are the most minimal tracks of the set. In Dust (One) is a quiet, almost imperceptible piece, with light droney, spacey static alongside a vaguely melodic flittering synth line. Later in the track it develops into a sort of avant-orchestral, minimal, space-ambience. And In Dust (Two) features pure Eno inspired space ambience. Overall, a captivating and varied hour of spacey electronic music. I’ll be looking forward to Volume Two.

For more information visit the Analog Sunsets web site at:
Hear samples and purchase the CD at CDBaby:
Visit the Tape Hiss Recordings web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Anomaly Ensemble – “Parasol” (Apartment 8 Records 2012, AECD42)

Anomaly Ensemble is the duo of brothers Jim and John Panebianco, whose music I had been familiar with through several albums released as Dharma Son Collective. Their first albums in the mid-2000s consisted of lengthy jams that the band described as “experimental/avant-garde that crosses psychedelia with the ideals of 60s/70’s space rock, influenced by the likes of Amon Duul I & II, Ash Ra Tempel, Can, Soft Machine, Faust, early Pink Floyd, Guru Guru, Acid Mother’s Temple, Miles Davis and more.” Pretty ambitious stuff, especially considering that some of the members were as young as 14 and 16 years old at the time.

Anomaly Ensemble takes the ideals of their previous band and wraps it all into more structured packages. Turn On Machine opens with a volcanic free-wheeling jam like the most space-metallic moments from Hawkwind’s Space Ritual. But after nearly 2 minutes they launch into a psychedelic Blues rocking song that sounds like Jim Morrison singing with Captain Beefheart’s band. The rhythms and one of the guitars are what make the Beefheart sound, though at times we get a late 70s San Francisco psych vibe as well. ‘Ol Death Eyes is similar, being a short, punchy Beefheart influenced Blues-Psych rocker.

At 10 minutes, Consumption Blues is the longest song of the set, featuring mellow rocking Blues-Psych with an atmospheric vibe that I can only think of as a strange sort of Bluesy Shoegaze. Later in the song the music shifts to pure down ‘n dirty Blues rock, with really cool multiple guitar parts, both soloing and rhythm. The vocals are damn good. Jim or John, whichever is handling the vocals, really does sound like Jim Morrison, and his singing is seriously passionate. No Second Glance (Thru The Trigger) has a bouncy lounge jazzy groove, along with the Morrison styled vocals. But like Consumption Blues, there’s a difficult to describe spacey ambience about it that makes the whole thing strangely and satisfyingly tripped out.

There’s lots of variety on the album. Liquid People consists of trippy, tribal, freakily efx’d spaced out psych that recalls the wildest moments from Amon Duul II’s Yeti. Parasol I & II are both avant-space explorations into sound and atmospheric creation, like John Cage meets the earliest Tangerine Dream. To Anne Claire is a dreamy and very pleasant solo acoustic guitar piece. Though I’ve said the vocals are near dead ringers for Jim Morrison, Keep Yr Faith (On A Chain) is the first song I’ve heard where the music sounds like the Doors, and it’s pretty close too, though Anomaly Ensemble are far more spaced out. And Paranoiac Twilight is an acoustic driven, surreal blend of the Doors and Donovan.

Of the 12 songs on Parasol, there are two that I considered a bit weak relative to the rest of the set. Demons For The Trees is an avant Blues-Psych tune with a Beefheart influence in its approach to odd rhythms. There’s lots of good ideas here but it’s a bit uneven and meandering, whereas most of the tracks excel at being freeform and experimental but in a more confident, goal-oriented way. Ditto for The Downer Scene. I hear Doors, Jefferson Airplane and Beefheart influences, but the whole thing is too disjointed.

In summary, these guys have really matured as musicians and artists since the early Dharma Son Collective days. The free-wheeling spirit of the Dharma Son Collective jams is present, but Jim and John have created music and songs that are more tightly focused, and in most cases excel at being freeform yet controlled.

There is no Anomaly Ensemble web site at this time but you can email Jim Panebianco at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Arnold Mathes – “Etidorhpa” (self-released 2013, AM64, CD)

This is the first new set of music I’ve heard from Brooklyn, New York based electronic musician Arnold Mathes in nearly a decade. Etidorhpa (spell it backwards) is based on the 1895 book of the same name written by John Uri Lloyd, a pharmacognocist and pharmaceutical manufacturer from Cincinnati, Ohio. I’ll quote the summary at Wikipedia:

The book purports to be a manuscript dictated by a strange being named I-Am-The-Man to a man named Llewyllyn Drury. Drury’s adventure culminates in a trek through a cave in Kentucky into the core of the earth. Ideas presented in Etidorhpa include practical alchemy, secret Masonic orders, the Hollow Earth theory and the concept of transcending the physical realm.

Pretty interesting stuff for 1895. The album consists of 6 tracks at 57 minutes. A Zone Of Light opens the set, featuring classic floating, exploratory electronic space. But after a 3+ minute buildup, Mathes kicks in the rhythms and we’re in cool grooving, deep space mode, with a nifty combination of head boppin’ beats and meditative space. It’s like a mixture of Phaedra/Rubycon Tangerine Dream and more overtly beat and melody driven Kraftwerk. Vitalized Darkness is next and starts off as a darkly moody sound and atmosphere exploration, with lots of soaring synth lines and colorful bleepy blurby electronics. About halfway through a slowly developing space symphony begins, and I like the combination of robotic marching rhythms, angelic ghostly chants, and drones. Near the end it all gets nicely freaky, with a wild mish-mash of electronics that get increasingly frenzied until it transitions smoothly into The Fungus Forest. I like the multi-layered, playful alien electronics and rhythms alongside space-prog styled keys on this track, including a mellotron-ish orchestral melody, and Mathes finishes on a spaced out avant-garde note. The Fathomless Abyss begins with a variety of sounds and ambience, before introducing a syncopated rhythmic pulse that gets the slow but steady groove going. Mathes does a great job of keeping the beat while maintaining a sense of hypnotic drift, but never allows the listener to get snoozy as the parade of ancillary sounds and effects adds to the mood and character of the piece, as well as being powerful theme developing tools. Hearing Without Ears is pure deep space bliss that will make you feel like you’re drifting through the cosmos, strapped to your favorite lounge chair. And The Last Farewell is a brief, peaceful finale to the set.

In summary, if you like classic 70s space electronica along the lines of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, but also with elements of cosmic Progressive Rock, then Etidorhpa is for you. Mathes does an excellent job of maintaining a compelling thematic flow, making for a powerfully image inducing set of music that must be heard from beginning to end.

Arnold Mathes doesn’t currently have a web site but can be emailed at:
The entire text of the Etidorhpa novel can be found online at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Paradise9 – “Take Me To The Future” (P9Recordings, 2013, P9CD0004)

Paradise 9 have been around for a while now, releasing their recorded debut – Showtime – in 1999, before taking what appeared to have been a lengthy haitus. Their reconvening for charity gigs, and release of two new EPs – Nothing For Tomorrow (2009) and State Of The Nation (2011) – marked the beginning of a more productive era for the band, who have now recorded and compiled their second full length album. Take Me To The Future (a Hawkwind referencing title if ever there was one) clocks in at a generous 75 minutes, with twelve tracks in total, seven of them from the recent EPs, and five new ones. Whether or not you own any of their earlier material, Take Me To The Future has plenty to enjoy about it, being a diverse mixture of Buzzcocks/Wire punk-pop, Gong/Hawkwind spaceprog, Ozrics-style psychelic dub, and acoustic folk. Indeed, several of the members and sundry guests have links to such free festival staples as Here & Now, Mick Farren’s Deviants and, inevitably, Hawkwind.

Album opener Digital Signs is one of the new tracks presented here, and calls to mind Robert Calvert’s techno-hacking On Line, with the distinctive Joe Strummer-like vocals of Gregg McKella. Musically and thematically, it serves as a logical progression of the title track from their State Of The Nation EP. Chrystalized Moment (from Nothing For Tomorrow) offers a less cautionary view of the future, and sounds a little bit like Hawkwind’s Love In Space with an additionally rocking guitar solo from Tyrone Thomas. Founding member Gregg (who provides guitar and synth duties throughout) states that the new album has an AOR feel to it, with Steve Rispin (Asia) handling recording and co-production duties. While this may be a curious choice for an agitpop punk-influenced band, the Sandy Pearlman production of The Clash’s Give Them Enough Rope shows that such seemingly oppositional collaborations can work. Nothing For Tomorrow (the title track from their first EP) contains further eco-warnings for the future set to a punky beat, while new track Kosmonaut has a dubby feel in the vein of The Prodigy’s Out Of Space. Instrumental Oceans Rise features Gregg on clarinet, sounding a whole lot like the sax honking of ubiquitous ex-Hawkie Nik Turner (who actually does appear later on the album). State Of the Nation (from the EP of that name) is more street-level politics and features the guitar of the late Judge Trev Thoms, as does Distant Dreams (albeit in acoustic mode). Point Of View somehow manages to be both punky and catchy, propelled by a driving beat and featuring an extended instrumental outro of clarinet and spacey keyboard sweeps across eleven minutes. The short and sharp ICU-channelling Is This The Time (from State Of The Nation) is up next, followed by two new tracks – Times Like These and Anyhow Anyway. The former has a cool dub vibe courtesy of bassist Neil Matthars, with Gong-ish gliss guitar, the latter being a great piece of power pop punk. Distant Dreams, (again from State Of The Nation) follows, and it is a stone cold hippie classic, like Hawkwind’s In Search Of Space line-up playing Led Zeppelin’s No Quarter! Finally, we get to the epic twelve minute title track, featuring the flute and sax talents of Mr Nik Turner, kicking off with an atmospheric section which sounds a little bit like his Axe Eugene Pink Floyd cover. The message of optimism conveyed by the lyrics may be naive, but it is nice to know that there are even still people out there who are willing to state their case for an alternative future.

Now obviously, there is a fair bit of material on Take Me To The Future which has been released on the two previous EPs. Having said that, the five new tracks are all great, and at least up to the standard of anything that has already come out, and Take Me To The Future serves as a great introduction to a hard working and straight up band who deserve to be heard. Buying it might not be enough to save the world, but it will definitely serve as a pretty cool soundtrack to whatever way the dice might fall.

For further information or to purchase the album, go to http://www, or

Reviewed by Pat Albertson

Melodic Energy Commission – “Wave Packet” (Energy Discs Records 2013, NRG41, CD)

Melodic Energy Commission are a Vancouver, Canada based band who released their first two albums in 1979 and 1980, with ex-Hawkwind synth/electronics maestro Del Dettmar in the lineup. These albums were both reissued on one CD in 1997. For detailed information on the band’s background I would encourage you to CLICK HERE to read the 1999 interview I did with founding member Don Xaliman. Fast forward to 2004 and the band released a third album – Time Is A Slippery Concept. And 2013 brings a new Melodic Energy Commission album – Wave Packet. Still with the band, or at least making appearances, are Don Xaliman, George McDonald, Paul Franklin, and Randy Raine-Reusch. And rounding out the lineup are numerous guests, including Bridget Wishart and her magical EWI.

After several listens I have to say this must be the most spaced out combination of Jazz and World Music I’ve ever heard. Melodic Energy Commission bring together Jazz, and ethnic elements, from Eastern to African, often in the same track, and there’s a prominent alien presence throughout. The opening track, Ambiguity, sets the tone for the album with its bass, drums and varied ethnic percussion keeping a cool groove moving, as jazz trumpet take the melodic lead, all surrounded by spacious soundscapes, drones and other effects to create a spacey, ambient Jazz-World Music vibe. Crop Circle Crafters consists of intense, soaring melodic violin, searing acidic yet ambient guitar, didge-like drones, and space synths, all propelled by ethnic percussion and rock drumming. At almost 9 minutes, Trees On Water is the longest track of the set and exemplifies the Ambient Jazz-World Music flavor of the album. We’ve got beautiful dulcimer and flute leads, an Indian sitar-ish feel, and bass lines that have that fretless feel that can be felt deeply and intensely in the chest and cranium. And all this occurs surrounded by a peaceful space-ambient drift. I love the way all manner of percussion on this album is elusively in control of both the rhythm and entire mood of the pieces. Other highlights among the 10 tracks is Attached By Gravity, which is playfully intense with a combination of Eastern influences, off-kilter Jazz, acidic guitar, and a cavernous deep space atmosphere. Tidal Nomads blends symphonic space with playful Folk-Pub rocking acoustic guitar. And Molecular Reorganizer is an electronic space excursion that meanders, soars, howls and drones, accompanied by call-to-prayer flutes and the sense that some kind of chamber ensemble in space is warming up.

For this listener, the magic of Wave Packet is the breadth of contrasting elements that come together so seamlessly to create a difficult to describe marriage of the Space-Ambient, Jazz, World Music and Psychedelic realms. Unlike past Melodic Energy Commission albums, Wave Packet is all instrumental (except for some brief chants), so the focus is completely on the music. And it’s beautifully recorded so be sure and listen with headphones.

For more information visit the Melodic Energy Commission web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz