Archive for October 18, 2013

Vibravoid – “Colour Your Mind” (Fruits de Mer Records 2013, Crustacean 41, 7″ vinyl)

The latest from German spaced out psych monsters Vibravoid is a 3-song 7″ on which they cover three tasty obscurities. Colour Your Mind was originally recorded in the 1980s by an Australian band called Tyrnaround. It’s a total 60s Syd Barrett meets The Beatles styled psych tune with ripping guitar and eerie organ. Vibravoid’s cover is trademark Vibravoid, being 60s inspired but has a robust and well produced heavy rocking sound. The 60s organ is ever present and we’re treated to killer instrumental passages with absolutely awesome psych guitar and tripped out effects. La Poupee Qui Fait Non was a 1966 acoustic driven pop song by French singer/songwriter Michael Polnareff. Vibravoid remain true to the spirit of the original but create a combination of jangly pop tune and mildly freaky psychedelia. Human Expression were a Los Angeles based band who the promo sheet says issued only 3 singles during their short-lived 1966-67 existence. Their song Optical Sound is a dreamy but nicely freaky psych song with nifty guitar effects. Vibravoid rock it harder and take it into the cosmos with lots of cool effects and phased, efx’d psych guitars. These guys always do a great job of taking other people’s songs and really make them their own (They Vibravoid-ize it!)

The single will be available mid-November, and as usual this is vinyl ONLY, no CDs or downloads. If interested you better hurry because Fruits de Mer releases sell out QUICK!

For more information visit the Fruits de Mer Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Vespero – “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” (Fruits de Mer Records 2013, Crustacean 42, 7″ vinyl)

The latest from Russian space rockers Vespero is a 2-song 7″ on which they take on two Pink Floyd instrumental classics – Careful With That Axe, Eugene and One Of These Days. Eugene is suitably atmospheric, with lots of cool spacey effects, Mellotron (or Mellotron sounding), organ, spaced out guitar licks, and rockin’ solos, though it doesn’t deviate dramatically from Floyd. One Of These Days, on the other hand, is taken in interesting, different directions. Whereas the Floyd version is hard rocking intensity, Vespero for much of the track are more exploratory, heavier on the electronics, and get into some freaky experimentation. The big meltdown comes later in the piece and Vespero rock hard, though the slide doesn’t gnash its demon teeth like Gilmour did. But I like it when bands doing covers take the original in new directions and overall I like what Vespero did with the song.

The single will be available mid-November, and as usual this is vinyl ONLY, no CDs or downloads. If interested you better hurry because Fruits de Mer releases sell out QUICK!

For more information visit the Fruits de Mer Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Nik Turner’s Space Ritual – Live at The Palomino, Calgary, Canada, October 14, 2013

I can`t tell you how disappointed I was when Hawkwind postponed their North American tour. I found out literally just hours before my flight was leaving for Toronto. I had built up so much expectation for this that it was a huge, inflating letdown. But I had one thing to console me. One week after Hawkwind had been scheduled to play in Toronto, Nik Turner was coming to Calgary, and I already had my tickets. My expectations were doubly high now, and I have to say, Nik did not let me down.

My wife and I left Edmonton in the afternoon for the road trip down to Calgary. Nik was playing at the Palomino Smokehouse and BBQ, and yes, it was both a restaurant and a nightclub. We decided to grab a bite to eat there before the show. Our waitress was very cool and the food was great. We heard music coming from downstairs, so we went down there a bit early to check it out and I caught of glimpse of Nik and his band as they were doing their soundcheck. I recognized the song instantly as D-Rider. My excitement just went up a few notches.

You have to understand. I’ve been a fan of Hawkwind for over 30 years, and having never seen them or any member of the band live before, I had been waiting a long, long time for this show. And fortunately it wasn’t long before they opened the doors and started letting people in downstairs. Once into the club, I gravitated to the merch table. There were lots of cool T-shirts (I bought two!) and some CDs. I already had Nik’s new album, having reviewed it a few weeks before here in AI, but there were a few others I had my eye on. I got talking to a guy by the table who turned out to be Nicky Garratt, who was the guitarist of Nik’s touring band but had also played on the Space Gypsy album (in fact, as he told me, it was he who put that band together for Nik). Although having begun his music career in the punk world with UK Subs, Nicky was now deeply into psych/space and especially Krautrock. His own band, Hedersleben, was not only the opening band, but also Nik’s touring band. Anyway, I had a good chat with Nicky and he turned out to be a really cool guy. I saw Nik himself walking around too, but didn’t get a chance to talk to him before Hedersleben took to the stage.

Hedersleben put on a short but quite awesome show. Kephera Moon on synths and keyboards, Bryce Shelton on bass, Jason Willer drums (he was also part of Nik’s recording band) and Nicky Garratt on guitar. Before the show, Nicky had told me that Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma had been a big influence on their sound. That being one of my favourite Floyd albums, I was looking forward to hearing them. With the spacey atmospheres and Kephara’s dreamy, sometimes dissonant organ sounds, I could definitely hear the Floyd in their sound, but that was simply the launch point as they took off and went in amazing directions with motorik and tribal rhythms, seriously cool grooves and some very freaky soloing. One song they did really stood out for me, The Fall of Chronopolis. After the show, Nicky told me it was set to appear on their third album. So far they only have one album out. Talk about planning ahead!

Next band up was a local band called Witchstone. These guys played in a serious early Black Sabbath style, all deep, plodding riffs and lyrics about witches and demons and souls being dragged to Hell, but they had a guy on keyboards who injected the music with all sorts of freaky drones and electronic squalls, which I guess is why they were chosen to open for Nik. Let’s face it, Alberta is probably one of the least psychedelic places you could visit, so this was about as close as they could get to spacerock, I imagine.

Just a short time after Witchstone, Nik finally took to the stage. When I heard those first swirls of cosmic sounds and Nik beginning to chant, “This is Earth calling…this is Earth calling…” I felt like I was about to explode with excitement. Then the band launched into a scorching version of Born to Go and I just let the sound wash over and through me. After 30 years of waiting, this was like finding the Holy Grail. I was here at last!

Against a backdrop of ever changing, trippy images, Nik and the band enthusiastically rocked through many of the Hawkwind classics: Time We Left This World Today, Orgone Accumulator, Master of the Universe, Brainstorm, and of course the aforementioned D-Rider. He gave a couple of nods to his latest album, Space Gypsy in the form of the lead single from album, Fallen Angel STS-51-L and the lovely, acoustic Galaxy Rise, which saw him set down his sax and bring out his flute. It was nice to see that the night was not all about rocking and there were some nice mellow moments as well. And of course there was the poetry. Nik did powerful recitations of Sonic Attack and The Black Corridor while the band provided spooky atmospherics. Honestly, I`d never really gotten into Sonic Attack before, until this very night when Nik made me a believer.

There were a couple of surprises. The acoustic Children of the Sun was a real lovely hippie moment. Keyboardist Kephara Moon had re-emerged after the Hedersleben performance in a dramatic transformation, from the jeans and plaid shirt she’d worn, to an exotic purple and gold dress, complete with mystical symbols and space tribe markings on her face. She left the keyboards during Children of the Sun to play tambourine, and dance around Nik, eventually joining him at his mic as the whole band chimed in, singing the title phrase over and over in a soft musical chant as coloured lights swirled into a beautiful, hazy yellow glow, almost like a sunset. It was one of the most striking moments of the show. Another surprise was when Nik played Ejection, a song from his former band mate Robert Calvert’s album Captain Locheed and the Starfighters, verbally acknowledging it in a nice a little tribute to his fallen comrade.

The evening came to its grand finale with a ripping version of Silver Machine that just kicked all sorts of major ass and had everyone in the audience singing along. Throughout the show, Nik looked like he was just having the time of his life. The 73 year old can still rock with the best of them. He had barely left the stage when he was suddenly back for the encore of You Shouldn’t Do That, which had some of the young women from the audience (including our waitress from earlier in the night!), jumping up on the stage and dancing with the band. It was an awesome close to an awesome night!

It was too bad I didn’t get a chance to talk to Nik, but I did go up and briefly meet him after the show while he was still on stage. As he shook my hand, there was this huge grin on his face, which said it all. You could tell just how much Nik loved his fans and loved performing for them. And his fans loved him too. It was a small, but very enthusiastic crowd that came out and I was glad to have been a part of it.

Check for other tour dates on Nik’s web site at

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

Hawklords – “Dream” (Shellshcok, 2013, LORDS0913, CD/LP)

Welcome to the future, you are only dreaming in the year 2013… It seems to be the self police parade as well these days with Hawkwind offshoots calling themselves near-copyright infringement names next to the real deal Hawkwind. While Hawklords have had a couple of members in past lineups to semi-justify their name, namely Harvey Bainbridge and Steve Swindells from the 25 Years On Album roughly 35 years ago, to say I initially was not very thrilled when I heard the first CD of this new “Hawklords” band last year, called We Are One, is not a mild statement. I thought it sounded like a bad punk record I had heard a million times over. So I shelved it and after a few months checked it out again, and went “wow!” and thought “this is some good rockin’ old fashioned Space Rock!”. It had no real sound that brought it closer to the original 70’s bands electronic ambience or mellow new wave aesthethics though, and there was no Dave Brock or Robert Calvert involved, obviously. Though also having past Hawkwind members like Ron Tree (vocals), Jerry Richards (guitar) and Adrian Shaw (bass) onboard, they really are a different entity. Especially now that Steve Swindells seems to have left the band, leaving only Harvey as the sole original “Hawklord”. Additionally on Dream we seem to have Paul Hayles now guesting on one track, being the man from The Sonic Assassins ’77 band and the recent Lastwind (whose sole album from a few years ago is rather excellent)! Which brings us to 2013’s Dream. Much like its predecessor from last year it chugs along rather nicely, but now interspersed with a few “dreamier” mellow tracks scattered throughout the CD. For those who like this sort of head-on spacerock no matter which Hawkwind camp it is from, and crave more, go ahead and get it, you won’t be disappointed. I am not so sure Dream fulfills my Spacerock Destiny as any better than We Are One. I even find it slightly weaker than the first effort. Stand-out songs are the opener, Dream A Dream, and the track Elemental Mind which seems to borrow a lot melody-wise from Hawkwind’s song Hippy, the punky Nowhere Everywhere, and the progressive-psychedelic closer Psychic Eyes, which clocks in at 7 minutes. If you are seriously demented, this album is also availible on silver vinyl!

For more information visit the Hawklords at:
Visit the Hawklords Facebook page at:

Reviewed by Christian Mumford

Various Artists – “The Fruits de Mer 2014 Annual” (Fruits de Mer Records 2013, Crustacean 44, 7″ vinyl)

As 2013 winds down we get the new Fruits de Mer annual in which FdM Keith finds a home for songs he really liked but couldn’t fit anywhere else during year.

I’d never heard of The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies and a quick search reveals them to be a UK based band (or more like a collective) that’s been around since 2010. They do a high energy Surf rocking cover of Barry Gray’s The Joe 90 Theme (60s UK sci-fi TV show), with lots of fun spaced out soaring electronics. AND they do a killer Surfin’ take on the Lost in Space theme.

Johnny Remember Me was a 1961 UK hit for John Leyton and apparently Joe Meek’s first #1. Astralasia give it the cosmic electronic treatment while simultaneously retaining the Rawhide-like Country-ish vibe of the original. But then we get a second contribution from Astralasia called Johnny In Dub in which they take the song and do exactly what the title suggests. Freaky!

The Raiders were a UK band whose 1964 song I Remember was never officially released. The guitarist, Trevor Midgley, went on to record as Beau for John Peel’s Dandelion label and has also contributed songs as Beau to a couple Fruits de Mer compilations. I Remember has a slow sort of ambient-Surf quality and is driven by a simple but lovely guitar melody.

The single will be available mid-November, and as usual this is vinyl ONLY, no CDs or downloads. If interested you better hurry because Fruits de Mer releases sell out QUICK!

For more information visit the Fruits de Mer Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Various Artists – “The Regal Crabomophone Annual for 2014″ (Regal Crabomophone 2013, Winkle13, 7″ vinyl)

Regal Crabomophone is the Fruits der Mer Records sub-label created to release both original songs and covers, and like the Fruits de Mer annuals, this one finds a home for songs that FdM Keith could fit in anywhere else during the year.

On this year’s annual we’re treated to two tasty originals. Mark McDowell is a UK based musician I don’t think I’ve heard before. His Girls Of Belvoir is a beauty of a lilting folk-pop-psych song with woodwinds and violin, pulsating phased guitar, and sporadic guitar leads that add an edge to this otherwise dreamy song. I need to explore more of Mark’s music.

Octopus Syng was for a long time a solo project of Finnish musician Jaire, though I think he may have taken on more members now. His Listen With The Moths is a perfect companion to Mark McDowell’s song. It starts off as a gentle but rhythmic folky brand of 60s inspired psychedelia. But after a few minutes the music blasts off into a heavier rocking but trippily angelic psych tune. I love the vocal harmonies which are gorgeously retro 60s. And at nearly 8 minutes Jaire really stretches out and we get some scrumptious psychy guitar leads.

The single will be available mid-November, and as usual this is vinyl ONLY, no CDs or downloads. If interested you better hurry because Fruits de Mer releases sell out QUICK!

For more information visit the Fruits de Mer Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Various Artists – “Fruits de Mer Records – Live In London” (Fruits de Mer Records 2013, Crustacean 45, 7″ vinyl)

I’ll start by telling you that unless you regularly purchased Fruits de Mer Records releases throughout 2013 you can’t get this. So why am I reviewing it? I’ve grown to love this label so call it a “membership has its privileges” plug. Being a Fruits de Mer “member” simply means that if you purchase all their vinyl delights throughout the year you get an oh so awesome freebie as the end year holidays roll in.

In August the label held their first ever live event – the Fruits de Mer All-Dayer, held in London and featuring Jack Ellister (Netherlands), Sendelica (Wales), The Luck Of Eden Hall (US), Stay (Spain), and headliners The Pretty Things. The members’ freebie this year is a 7″ featuring one track from all but The Pretty Things, who had to be excluded because they’ve got a live album coming out soon.

Jack Ellister is a psychedelic maestro who did an acoustic set at the All-Dayer and his Old South is a lovely tune with a 70s singer-songwriter feel. Stay’s I Don’t See Myself is a swingin’ slab of R&B infused psychedelia. Sendelica’s Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Buddha is a cool rhythmic blend of trippy tribal and ethnic influences wrapped around a Pink Floyd Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun core. And The Luck Of Eden Hall do a feisty spaced out rockin’ cover of Pink Floyd’s Lucifer Sam. Wish I could have attended this event!

For more information visit the Fruits de Mer Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Dave Mihaly & the Shimmering Leaves Ensemble – “Rivers” (self-released 2013, CD)

I’ll get your attention by saying that Dave Mihaly has done time as percussionist in Mushroom, having played on a half dozen of their albums. Rivers is the second of his Shimmering Leaves Ensemble albums and features an interesting and varied collection of steadily brewing free-jazz, ambient-jazz, and vocal numbers. But that’s a simplistic description of this 13 track collection which is ultimately difficult to adequately describe.

I like the acoustic guitar and percussion rhythms which inject a strange but pleasant vibe on Oil Painting for Adolphe Sax & Coleman Hawkins. The viola sings and the horns blow some jazzy swing. Other highlights include A Bientot, a melancholy viola, trumpet and acoustic guitar instrumental, best described by the last line of the CD notes – “like wisteria and Spanish moss drooping down from hazy rafters some golden afternoon.” There’s an element of free-form experimental exploration on Mudang, yet it’s accessible and pleasant, with mildly wailing and singing horns that are efx’d and may even be looped. It’s all very slow and understated with a beautiful drifting ambience. Willoughby and Red Mask features an avant-jazz combination of high energy drumming, dueling trumpet, sax and viola, and old time funky wah’d guitar. Among my favorites is Honu, which after an avant-jazz inspired mariachi intro transitions to ambient guitar, viola and horns backed by free-jazz drumming. This is a perfect warm-up for the 9 minute multi-faceted title track, which consists of a cool grooving blend of lounge jazz and Coltrane, a lovely trumpet and singing viola duet, and acoustic guitar tripping along slowly to free-jazz percussion and an underlying tension laden ambience, which gets nicely screechy and borders on the psychedelic. Lots happening here. There are also 4 vocal numbers. I’m not good at singer-songwriter analogies but The Cat Tried to Catch a Hummingbird is like a Tom Waits song with tastefully jamming sax and whimsical percussion. The one that really caught my attention, though, is Cherry Blossom Road, with its spacey ambience and distant ghostly viola that surrounds Dave singing along to slowly soloing electric guitar.

In summary, an interesting set that I wouldn’t begin to know how to classify. Jazz fans may be intrigued. Singer-songwriter fans might get confused. Adventurous types with cross-genre tastes will find much to enjoy across repeated spins.

For more information you can visit the Dave Mihaly web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Brian Noring & Dave Fuglewicz – “Furious Cactus” (self-released 2013, Download)

Brian Noring is a veteran electronic music hometaper from Iowa who had been inactive until recently inspired to return to music by Hal McGee, another homemade music luminary who long time Aural Innovations readers will know. Seeing Brian back in action, Atlanta area electronic musician Dave Fuglewicz reached out for a collaboration. Brian sent him a couple CDs worth of source files which Dave “twisted and mutated, adding my own synth voices using my modest collection of VST software synths”. The results can be heard on their new collaboration, Furious Cactus.

Among the darker pieces is the title track, with its cavernous, bowels-of-the-starship space electronics. The music conjures up images of a claustrophobic stroll through the ship’s engine room, with all the attendant machinery and a looming alien presence. The music is minimal but weaves its way along a slowly evolving linear path. The Forbidden Road has an ominous feel, with vaguely Proggy keys. I like the multiple cosmic effects working at once, but not too busily, and there’s an interesting use of percussive effects too. The Transoxian Express is similarly foreboding and would make a great soundtrack piece.

Veering in a somewhat different direction is The Bells Of Axum. A valium-like ambient foundation is set for the bells, which makes for an interesting contrast and gives the music an uplifting melodic boost. Bonafide is similar, combining freaky holiday bells with whooshing UFO and cosmic windswept effects. I wonder if Netflix has Santa Claus Conquers The Martians? I dig the whimsically frenzied main theme on Terrobolem Parts 1 and 2. The Void Is The Boundary is a wild, multi-layered roller coaster ride that takes the spaced out themes that have characterized the album and adds a healthy dose of noise. Fractal Companions features a cool combination of busily flittering effects, a lovely melody, and damned if the beloved droid r2d2 isn’t the lead singer. And Chuchunga Chant has what seems to be a strange spaced out duet between a church organ and kazoo (which is probably an efx’d voice).

In summary, Furious Cactus is a varied set of image inducing electronic space excursions. It’s an intriguing listen from start to finish, in large part due to the combination of disparate elements that come together so seamlessly. Check it out.

Furious Cactus is available for free download from
Dave Fuglewicz would enjoy hearing from anyone who downloads the album. You can reach him at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Oresund Space Collective – “Organic Earthly Floatation”, SpaceRock Productions 2013, SRP017, LP)

Anyone who has been checking out Aural Innovations on a regular basis will have come across a few frequently recurring names – Hawkwind, Acid Mothers Temple, Ozric Tentacles – either through album reviews of those bands, or name-checked as influences. Another frequent flier on AI, perhaps less of a household name but extremely prolific just the same, is Oresund Space Collective, a constantly changing roster of players built around the synths of Dr Space and Mogens, and a shared love of improvised music. Now they are back again, releasing their 16th (!!!) album as a limited edition (500 copies) vinyl gatefold, entitled Organic Space Floatation. Last year’s Give Your Brain A rest From The Matrix featured guests from hard spacerockers First Band From Outer Space, while West, Space And Love showcased guests from Siena Root, jamming along with the ever-present Dr Space. Organic Earthly Floatation sees the arrival of yet more talented Scandanavians in the form of Kristoffer Brochmanns, Nicklas Sorensens and Christian Becher Clausen of the Copenhagen band Papir. Also along for the ride is American guitarist Daniel Lars, who breaks with Oresund tradition by bringing with him opening track Walking On Clouds, the first time that the Collective have utilised a pre-written track upon which to jam; up until now, everything they have done has been completely improvised.

The 19 minute Walking On Clouds, is the undoubted highlight of this guitar-based album, with lots of dreamy guitar over a chord sequence that brings to mind the opening notes of ’60’s supergroup Blind Faith’s Can’t Find My Way Home mixed up with Hawkwind’s You Know You’re Only Dreaming, although this is an entirely instrumental piece, as is about 99% of everything done by Oresund. There are bits of Grateful Dead in there too, as well as Neil Young and Crazy Horse – check out Drifting Back from 2012’s Psychedelic Pill for the evidence – but the most apparent (and most obvious, given the guest list) influence is that of Papir and fellow monolithic guitar trio Causa Sui. This is not hard rocking stuff, but rather huge guitar soundtracks, with waves of synthesizer periodically breaking through and then submerging again. Near the end of part one of Clouds, the guitars reach a screaming climax, before backing off again as the track winds down and fades into the second part, much shorter at just over six minutes. The Collective have never been about egos and solos, but rather a tapestry of instruments weaving in and out of the mix. Being a vinyl only release at this time (although it is to be hoped that an official CD release will follow), the track lengths are divided into approximate album length, with both parts of Walking On Clouds making up a 25 minute A-side. Carlos On The Moon starts out more organically, as one would expect from a purely improvisational piece, and drifts gently through its 17 minutes. Album closer Neptune Rising serves as a satisfying conclusion to 45 minutes of etherial spacerock.

It must be mentioned that the cover of Organic Earthly Floatation (drawn by Finnish artist Eetu Pellonpaa) is eye catching, to put it mildly – it looks like he has invited Hawkwind’s Stacia in to model – and a full size 12″ album sleeve would look even more impressive. Long time fans of Oresund are likely to enjoy both cover and contents, while it also serves as an excellent point of entry for newcomers. Causa Sui and Papir fans would also be advised to check out at least side one of this interstellar floatation device.

For further information, go to or
The band can be contacted at

Reviewed by Pat Albertson