Archive for March 29, 2014

Deep Space – “Through The Haze” (Sulatron Records 2014, st1401, LP)

Austin, TX, based Deep Space are new to me and their Through The Haze LP is an intriguing set of deep space Psychedelia that draws on a cohesion of 60s and 90s influences. The band are the trio of Buddy Hart on drums, Robbie D Love on guitar, bass and vocals, and Golden Unknown on guitar and vocals (their Bandcamp site names Greg Connor and the promo sheet says Golden Unknown so I’m not sure if it’s the same person or not). Through The Haze consists of 5 songs, both long and short, and is 45 minutes in length.

The album opens with Work, a spaced out Psychedelic rocker with winding, phased and various other efx’d psych guitar leads, whirling and weaving synth lines, eerie wailing 60s organ, myriad effects, and a heavy driving rhythmic pulse. It rocks hard but you could dance to it or relax in a head bopping stupor. Take your pick. The 11 minute Vibrations is next, and I like the cool grooving, trippy vibe, both in the music and vocals. The promo sheet references Spacemen 3 and I’d say their spirit and even Spiritualized is present here, as well as a touch of psychedelic country. It alternates between a lazy drugged feel and a valium restrained energetic rocking pulse. I don’t know how many guitars are playing at once but it sounds like it could be a few, and I like the combination of strumming, melodic leads and freaky efx’d psych guitar. Inner Light is a short but rip roaring Psychedelic Rockabilly-ish tune. Things really get wild with Motorcycle, which starts off hypnotic, tribal, and darkly atmospheric. Between the narrative style vocals and the overall vibe I’m reminded of The Doors’ The End, though FAR more spaced out. And the explosive song segments hail back to the high intensity feel of Vibrations. The entire 15+ minutes of this track is white knuckled, edge of your seat gripping. Absolutely monstrous! Finally, Lady Heroine is similar to Vibrations but with a Lou Reed/Velvets edge, and includes some excellent tripped out jams.

In summary, I was quite taken with this album. There’s lots of variety but these guys really shine when they stretch out on the lengthier tracks. Recommended. Note that the LP comes in an edition of 500 copies pressed on white/clear marbled vinyl. I see on their Bandcamp site they have another recent release, a cassette/download EP.

For more information visit the Sulatron Records web site at:
Visit Deep Space at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

The Spacelords – “Synapse” (Sulatron Records 2014, st1403, LP)

The Spacelords are the German trio of Hazi on guitars and FX, Klaus on bass, synths and FX, and Marcus on drums and voice (Marcus is also the drummer in Electric Moon). I’d not heard the band before but Synapse is their fourth album and consists of 4 tracks and clocks in a just over 40 minutes.

The title track opens the set and in the first moments sounds like it might be a Hawkwind Assault & Battery cover. The music does indeed flow with that kind of vibe. It’s dreamy drifty Space Rock, with melodic guitar, deep space symphonic and soundscape synths, and bits of freaky electronic effects. Later the music transitions to heavier Space-Prog rocking mode that carries us through to the end. Sitarguitar kicks off in a similar style, jamming along in dreamy Hawkwind friendly spaceland. Again I’m reminded of Assault & Battery, specifically the feel of Assault & Battery/Golden Void from Hawkwind’s Palace Springs. At 12 minutes it’s the longest track but pretty much stays in the same groove, though like the last track it gets more chunky rocking in the last minutes. I would have liked to hear more transitions. In fact, I think this music is screaming out for a vocalist.

No 2 opens with a groove that is steadily rocking and has a hypnotic droning quality. I really dig the slowly tripping Dave Gilmour in space guitar leads. After about 6 minutes the music gets heavier, creating a majestic symphonic Space Rock sound that I liked a lot. Finally, we have Pyroclastic Monster. Right out of the chute the rhythm section is rocking while the guitar is spewing soaring acid-space licks. Then after a couple minutes it shifts to a Space-Prog theme that reminded me of Ship of Fools, with a heavenly combination of guitar and synths that’s both heavy rocking and dreamily atmospheric. There’s also sporadic spoken word narratives that sound pretty cool. Then in the last few minutes the band explodes into a high intensity jam that approaches Farflung or Litmus territory. Lots more variety on this one and it’s easily the strongest track of the set.

In summary, The Spacelords play pretty cool instrumental Space Rock, though I’ll repeat that they would benefit from the addition of a singer. I enjoyed the album but only the Side 2 tracks really excited me. I need to check out their previous albums. Note that the LP is limited to 500 copies.

For more information visit the Sulatron Records web site at:
Visit The Spacelords web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Electric Moon – “Mind Explosion” (Sulatron Records 2014, st1402, CD/2-LP)

German cosmonauts Electric Moon have been mighty busy. Their latest effort – the appropriately titled Mind Explosion – documents a performance in Austria during the band’s 2013 tour. These folks are 100% about extended jams, and Mind Explosion consists of a tasty quartet of excursions in the 17-22 minute range. Electric Moon are the trio of Sula Bassana on guitar, FX and Casio Orgel, Komet Lulu on bass and FX, and Marcus Schnitzler on drums.

It all starts with Trip To The Moon, which begins like Pink Floyd at their most exploratory, creating a steady rolling groove, over which Sula plays liquid fuzzed, acid searing guitar notes. The mood is doomy and intense and doesn’t take long to build up to Teutonic powerhouse levels of acid-space fervor. Marcus and Lulu are like a rhythmic launch pad, propelling the rocket into space while Sula’s guitar rips off corrosive licks that signal all the obstacles that are broken through on the journey to their lunar destination. A monster stoned, Psychedelic Space Rock expedition. Kaleidoscopeephole is similar, roaring out of the starting gate with a legion of tanks rhythm section. I like how the guitar alternates between playing slow, sustained, cosmically majestic leads and rocking out hard in space. And once we’re beyond the halfway mark the intensity level is gloriously punishing. Stoned, acid drenched improvisational Space Rock at its best. Electric Moon go totally Blanga for The Picture, a sludgy, stoned to the gills Space Rock dirge that’s like the most jamming, hypnotically droning moments from Hawkwind’s Space Ritual. Damn… this one left me bruised and bleeding. So I wasn’t disappointed when the final track, Mind Explosion, was easier on the intensity and even a wee bit whimsical, like some kind of robotic dance party for space cadets. Oh, it does indeed get intense. But the overall vibe is lively and even festive.

In a nutshell… it’s all about the journey friends, however rough and tumble it may be. If you dig extended instrumental Space Rock excursions that just take off and explore, with a focus on mood, image inducing sounds and effects, and brain frying levels of cosmic intensity, Electric Moon are among the best; the progeny of the pioneering greats like Guru Guru and Amon Düül II, readymade for the contemporary stoner generation. The freak flag is flying high.

The album is available in CD (500 copies) and 2-LP (1000 copies) editions, and vinyl junkies should note that the LP is pressed on marbled vinyl and house in a foldout cover with artwork by Komet Lulu.

For more information visit the Sulatron Records web site at:
Visit the Electric Moon web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Kikagaku Moyo – self-titled (Cosmic Eye/Sound Effect Records 2013, EYE 007/SER 018, LP/Download)

Kikagaku Moyo, which is Japanese for “geometric patterns”, is a Tokyo based quintet who formed in 2012 with the intent of recreating the spirit of the early 70s Japanese Psychedelic underground. Their first self-titled album was released as a download in May 2013, and co-released later in the year on LP by Cosmic Eye and Sound Effect Records in a limited edition of 350 (150 colored and 200 black).

The album opens with the totally trippy and pagan Acid-Folk-Psych Can You Imagine Nothing?. The combination of acoustic and electric guitar and sitar on this tune will make you swoon. Add in the light tribal percussion, high pitched wind melody and female vocals and you’ll be dancing slow motion through a paisley colored forest with the birds chirping, woodland creatures pattering about, angelic maidens, and… ummmm… sorry, got a bit caught up in it. But don’t get too relaxed because the next song – Zo No Senaka – is much heavier, setting down the acoustic guitar for some spaced out Psychedelic Stoner rock ‘n roll. I like how the sitar jams along with the electric guitar, even as the guitar is whacking out searing fuzz lines and acid-wah’d leads, and the alien Theremin zipping about is a nice touch too.

Tree Smoke returns to more mellow territory, with a mesmerizing combination of lovely liquid Psych guitar and flowing sitar leads. Near the halfway mark the pace picks up a bit and the guitars start to rock out harder and we’re treated to some melodic acid leads. I like how we’re spirited back and forth between the harsh stoner blasts and the warm comfort of the trippy hypnotic flow. Lazy Stoned Monk feels like a 5 minute buildup to something that never comes, though I do like the schizophrenic sensation that’s both mellow and tension laden. Finally, Dawn is a cool combination of Folk-Pop-Psych, harsh Acid-Stoner riffage, and cosmic grooving Indian influences, ultimately blasting off into a totally stoned but trippy rocking jam.

In summary, I like the way Kikagaku Moyo bring together mellow Folk-Psych and heavier Stoner-Psych influences into the same songs. The contrast between the meditative and harsher elements is strange, welcome, and it works. I see that they’re touring the US soon but the shows are all to the West. I’ll be keeping my eye on this bunch.

For more information visit the Cosmic Eye Records web site at:
The e-shop is at:
You can stream and download the album at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

The Space Spectrum – “The Red Eyed Queen” (Cosmic Eye Records 2014, EYE 008, LP/Download)

The Space Spectrum began life as the solo project of German guitarist Nico Seel. Seel released several albums on Bandcamp, and with the new album, The Red Eyed Queen, he has added additional musicians on drums, synths and electronics. The LP has been released in an edition of 350 copies, 150 colored and 200 black. (The colored edition clear vinyl was chosen by the band as homage to Faust’s debut album.)

Can you say Space Rock epic? The Red Eyed Queen is a continuous piece that floats across two LP sides and bears out Seel’s description of his music as Space/Drone/Psych/Kraut. The music is cosmically meditative, darkly but deliciously intense, and takes its sweet time to develop slowly but assuredly. There’s a beginning and an end to The Red Eyed Queen, but it’s the 36 minute magic carpet ride in between that counts, a sweeping Psychedelic symphony of acidic, bubbling, shimmering guitars. As Part I found its groove the music brought to mind a darker, edgier Lamp Of The Universe. But as the piece progressed I envision a stoned, cosmic Spacious Mind. The vibe is stately in the way the bass and drums pound out their thunderous march, ringed by cavernous droning atmospherics, hypnotic synths, and the ever evolving spaced out trip guitar. It’s all about the RIDE!

For more information visit the Cosmic Eye Records web site at:
The e-shop is at:
You can stream and download all The Space Spectrum albums at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Seven That Spells – “Future Retro Spasm” (Cosmic Eye Records 2013, EYE 006, LP, originally released 2010)

Future Retro Spasm, by the great Croatian band Seven That Spells, was originally released on CD in 2010 by Beta-lactam Ring Records. The Greek label Cosmic Eye has now reissued it on vinyl (with 5 of the 6 original tracks) in a limited edition of 150 color and 150 black. For this outing the band are the quartet of Stanislav Muskinja on drums, Narantxa on bass, Lovro Zlopasa on sax, and, as always, guitarist Niko Potocnjak.

The saxophone takes the lead on Olympos, wailing away as a propulsive rhythm section supports to create a Psychedelic Prog-Thrash dirge. Near the 5 minute mark the bass asserts itself, laying down a wildly syncopated pattern while the sax continues to wail. In the last couple minutes the band maintain their relentless assault, soaring into space for the finale. G (yeah, just the letter) kicks off with a Punk-Funk groove, around which the sax and guitar wail, sail, flutter and fly, and Niko soon steps out to the forefront in Psychedelic freakout mode. This is seriously intense and brings to mind Acid Mothers Temple with sax. Niko has collaborated with Kawabata Makoto in the past and Seven That Spells played shows with Acid Mothers Temple and these two bands really are like two peas in a pod when it comes to multi-styled Prog infused freakouts. Terminus Est continues the ferocious Acid-Punk-Funk-Thrash no quarter offensive.

The 14+ minute The Abandoned World Of Automata goes in a different direction, starting off as the most laid back piece of the set. It’s slowly rockin’ Psychedelic drift, with Niko playing a nicely trippy and only gradually changing melodic guitar pattern. And when the sax joins in, Lovro and Niko are soaring along in tandem to create an easy paced but still high powered dream rocker. Even later when the guitar and sax devolve into lysergic mind-fuck territory there’s still a sense of introspective drift to the proceedings. And the luscious last minutes sound like a swirling Psychedelic marriage of Soft Machine and Van der Graaf Generator. Wrapping up the set is Quetzalcoatl, a 3 minute monster that’s like a coda to everything that came before. Freakin’ awesome…

Much of Future Retro Spasm is a bit different for Seven That Spells, but no less wild and intense than any of their other albums. The guitar and sax are a dangerous combo, and supported by an equally threatening rhythm section, Seven That Spells come in for the kill.

For more information visit the Cosmic Eye Records web site at:
The e-shop is at:
Visit the Seven That Spells web site at:
You can stream and download all the Seven That Spells albums at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Kalutaliksuak – “Death Of The Alpinist” (R.A.I.G. 2014, R081, CD/Download)

Kalutaliksuak began in 1993 as the Moscow, Russia based duo of Vladimir Konovkin and Alexander Chuvakov, who performed live with various musicians but produced little in the way of quality recordings. The duo disbanded in 1997, with Konovkin going on to study tube-organ at the Moscow Conservatory of Music, and performing with Rick Wakeman at a 2001 concert in Saint-Petersburg. Chuvakov graduated from the Russian Academy of Fine Arts and went on to become a professional painter and book illustrator. In 2006 the duo regrouped as Kalutaliksuak and at this time are the quartet of Konovkin on keyboards and synths, Chuvakov on guitars, flutes, percussion and voices, Alexei Ohontsev on bass, and Sergei Titovetz on drums and percussion. Their new album is titled Death Of The Alpinist and is a conceptual work based on a story from The Aged Tales, though I’m not quite clear on whether that’s a book by a particular author or a collection of some kind.

The set opens with the 21 minute Hard Climbing, which traverses through various interesting realms. The music is instrumental except for periodic theatrical spoken narratives in what could either be Russian or a made up ranting language. It starts off like a psychedelic blend of 70s Jazz-Fusion a la Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters and early 80s New York “Downtown” Avant-Funk like Material. I love the combination of ripping guitar licks, deep grooving Bill Laswell styled bass, flowing flute melody, and soundscapes. As the music grooves and jams along I’m also reminded of the contemporary Psych-Jazz-Prog of San Francisco band Mushroom. About halfway through we transition to a darkly grooving Acid-Stoner-Funk-Prog-Jazz vibe that I really dig. The overall feel of the piece is loose and jamming, but in a controlled way that is always clear of its direction. Shambhala follows and is a shorter 7 minute nicely flowing melodic rocker that’s just as heavy on the atmospherics as the funky grooves.

At 20 minutes, Buried Horizons is another Kalutaliksuak epic. The first few minutes are loosely trippy and grooving and then go into the cosmos when the spacey keys join in. Around the 5 minute mark the band take off into a steadily rocking Space-Prog theme, with razor sharp guitar licks and spacey effects. But things quickly quiet down with a quiet ambient flute led segment, which slowly but surely starts to speed up again, and as it does I’m reminded of Porcupine Tree’s The Sky Moves Sideways. It’s got that same bass pattern and deep space aura, though there’s also a Psychedelic-Jazz feel, and an intense but heavenly ambience. And our freaky narrator is back! Finally, we have the nearly 10 minute Not a King, which is spacey, tribal, atmospheric, and darkly Psych-Jazz-Fusion rocking with a bit of an ethnic flavor. I love the ambient but rocking guitar solos played against the screaming soundscape keys and bubbling freaky effects.

In summary, I’m really impressed with the way Kalutaliksuak bring together so many styles and influences, because ultimately they are a band that defies description and just have to be heard to get a sense of what they’re about. Highly recommended.

For more information visit the R.A.I.G. web site at:
All R.A.I.G. releases are also available for streaming and download at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Civilian Zen – “Live Voids EP” (self-released 2014, Download)

The Live Voids EP is a free download combination of studio track and excerpt from Civilian Zen’s appearance at the September 2013 Hastrek Festival in Derby, UK. For this performance the band consisted of Keith Hill on vocals, guitar, programming, FX and audio generators, Ralph Wordenweber on drums and percussion, and mark Andrew on bass and vocals, plus Rich Om guesting on audio generators and FX.

This is the most out there Hawk styled space rocking I’ve heard from Civilian Zen yet. Void (intro) could have been titled Welcome to the Civilian Zen Space Ritual. It’s a cosmic buildup of staccato rhythms, whoosing and howling space waves, freaky electronic effects, and mission control voice samples. Quest For Vision is a spoken word piece backed by wild alien effects that recalls Robert Calvert. Careful With That (austerity) Axe takes the core Careful With That Axe riff and otherwise sends it hurtling it completely into their own realm, making it a heavy rocking space jam exploration and managing to out freakout Pink Floyd in the process. Very cool. And Sphere Of Destiny is an easy paced space-metal song. All too brief but very cool so check it out as it’s a free download. Keith told me a while back he’s working on a new full length Civilian Zen album so I hope this is a taste of things to come.

Stream and download at the Civilian Zen web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Kev Ellis – “Space Cadet” (self-released 2014, CD/Download)

I’ve long been acquainted with the music of Kev Ellis, from the Psychedelic Blues and Space rocking Dr. Brown, to the Bubbledubble and Sonic Arcana Space Rock projects, his contributions to Spirits Burning, and the Trev & Kev duo with the late Trev Thoms.

The appropriately titled Space Cadet is Kev’s first solo album under his own name. Guiding Light features rocking Space-Blues, with harmonica jamming to cosmic synths and electronic effects. Maybe it’s the harmonica but some of this is like a more spaced out version of Dr. Brown, which is absolutely ok with me. Celebrate The Day has an 80s UK festie psych vibe, with a cool rockin’ groove, pulsating soundscapes and a spaced out pagan feel. I like the mesmerizing drones, bubbling electronics and wildlife sounds in the trippy grooving Resting Heart. Super Cosmic Space Age Baby is a riot, being a fun bouncy Space-Punk song. If the Ramones ever recorded a Space Rock tune, this would be it. Emerald Eye is a dreamy trippy Bluesy grooving heartfelt love in space song. I really like the dirty drunken Space-Blues of Sunrise Pagan Bop. Time Reflection is a cool floating space electronic driven yet rhythmic and cosmically melodic instrumental. Ancient Flight gets us into heavier Space Rock territory, and again brings to mind Dr. Brown in space, with a rocking rhythm section, swirling space electronics, atmospheric waves and Bluesy harmonica. Wrapping up the set is Morning Raga, which conjures up images of a Gong-like pagan trip around the campfire, with tribal percussion, searing drones, whirring, pulsating, rhythmic electronics and mesmerizing vocals.

Space Cadet is a fun and varied set and I hope Kev gets a good response so he does another one soon. It’s available in CD and download editions, but if you want the CD you better hurry because there are only 100 of them.

For more information visit the Kev Ellis Bandcamp site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Spoke Of Shadows – self-titled (Firepool Records 2014, FR005, CD)

Spoke Of Shadows is an all instrumental collaboration between drummer Bill Bachman and multi-instrumentalist Mark Cook. I’ve been acquainted with Cook through his two albums with Herd Of Instinct and his Warr guitar contributions to some Djam Karet tracks. After the two Herd Of Instinct albums, Cook wanted to take his music into new directions. After some initial recordings, a meeting with Bachman and the discovery of shared musical passions led to the debut self-titled Spoke Of Shadows album. The CD consists of 12 tracks, with Bachman on drums, Cook on Warr guitar, ADG fretless bass, guitar and keyboards, plus guests on guitar, flute, piano, and Djam Karet’s Gayle Ellett on Mellotron and Rhodes.

King Crimson is a powerful influence, though Spoke Of Shadows take that inspiration in a variety of directions. Among the highlight tracks is Dominion, which creates an atmosphere of high intensity Doom-Prog, and within that context weaves a varied path that recalls Discipline-era King Crimson alongside Red-era riff rocking, plus intricate Warr guitar patterns and cosmic orchestral keys. King Crimson is at the forefront on Harbinger, but there’s much more going on, as in addition to Frippoid guitar we’ve got a monster rocking shred solo and some Jazz-Fusion guitar, plus a beautiful flute and Warr guitar duet for the finale. I like the doomy intensity of Tilting At Windmills and the way it alternates between Metal charged King Crimson attacks and orchestral-Prog breaks that can be both airy and quirky. And Dichotomy has a head spinning array of guitar and Warr guitar leads.

But there’s also a dreamier Ambient-Jazz and orchestral Prog side to Spoke Of Shadows. I love the cool Jazz and Mellotron combination on One Day, and the rocking guitar leads, fretless bass and flute solos against a flowing orchestral backdrop on Images. The Space-Ambient-Prog-Jazz, King Crimson-ish guitar and funky freaky effects are a treat on Persona. I love the flute, fretless bass and Mellotron combination on the ambient jazzy Splendid Sisters, wrapping up with a lovely sense of floating dreamy drift. Among my favorite tracks is Pain Map, which starts off with Ambient-Jazz and a cool rolling funky groove, plus a parade of varied sounds in the guitar solos and crunchy metallic bursts, eventually developing into a Metal infused slab of heavy but atmospheric and still grooving Prog jam, and then closing with a dark chamber ensemble and UFO efx’d finale. My other favorite is Drama Of Display, with its freaky synth work that brings to mind an Ambient-Jazz-Prog morphing of King Crimson and Ozric Tentacles.

Most of the songs are in the 2-5 minute range, though there is a lot happening in these brief statements. In both composition and execution the music is complex, but evolves such that it flows smoothly, and it’s not uncommon to feel like I had experienced multiple movements in a 4 minute piece. In the Prog world, turn-on-a-dime transitions can be mightily impressive in compositional and instrumental proficiency terms, but Spoke Of Shadows largely eschews abrupt transitions, making it all happen quickly but sleekly, so that I typically would simply become aware of theme shifts rather than swerving along hairpin curves. An impressive marriage of multiple musical worlds.

For more information visit the Spoke Of Shadows web site at:
Visit the Firepool Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz