Archive for April 27, 2014

Juke – “Atom Experiment” (self-released 2012, CD/Download)

Juke are the French quartet of Kévin Toussaint on vocals and guitar, Lancelot Carré on drums and percussion, Quentin Rousseau on keyboards and FX, and Théo Ladouce on bass. Atom Experiment is their first album and is nearly 50 minute long, though its referred to as an EP.

Sphere is the opening track and starts off as an ambient World Music jazzy instrumental with a pleasant keyboard, acoustic guitar, electric guitar and percussion sound. Vocals join in about halfway through and next thing I know I’m swept into a dreamily lulling song that brought to mind a Prog-like Pink Floyd. The dreamy vibe continues on Wave, though we’re far deeper in space, with trippy guitar leads, strumming acoustic guitar, and alien electronic effects. After a while the band really start to rock out and, again, it makes me think of an accessible and beautifully melodic Space-Prog take on Pink Floyd. But don’t get too hung up on the Floyd reference because Juke really are in their own world. Ditto for White Elephant, which takes off into psychedelically dreamy space, being a mesmerizing and graceful song with a strong early 70s Prog-Psych feel.

But the highlight of the set is the epic 28 minute Black Magic. The music starts off very similar to the opening riff of Dark Side Of The Moon, but quickly veers off into a rapidly changing succession of themes, from majestic rocking Prog-Psych to intense concert pianist in acidic swirling space. Then at the 6 minute mark the band settle into a rolling groove as the guitar spits out intense spaced out leads, the piano plays on, and then BANG… we’re rocking in 70s inspired cosmic Prog heaven. But nothing stays the same for very long because soon we’re back in a ballet-like piano driven and beautifully melodic section, and when the guitar joins in I’m reminded of early Camel. At the 11 minute mark we find ourselves in funky Pink Floyd meets 70s Jazz-Fusion territory. And on we go, continually transitioning through a cavalcade of 70s influenced Progressive Rock and Psychedelic themes, most of which are heavily dosed with a spacey edge. Damn good stuff. This album was released in 2012 so I really hope these guys are working on new music.

To stream, download and order the CD visit:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Alien Planetscapes – “Blue Mars” (self-released 2014, CD)

In 2000, a duo version of Alien Planetscapes (AP) – founder and ship commander Doug Walker along with Richard Orlando – performed Red Mars at the Quarkstock Space Rock & Avant Prog festival in Columbus, Ohio. That being my town, I had the pleasure of experiencing this performance. Red Mars was inspired by the first of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy – Red Mars (1993), Green Mars (1994), and Blue Mars (1996). Doug, sadly, passed away in 2006, but his legacy lives on. Richard Orlando recently discovered some sessions that he plans to turn into a trilogy of CD releases, the first of which, Blue Mars, is available now.

The 46 minute set features Walker on flute and Orlando on guitar, plus both utilizing an arsenal of synths, electronics and effects – EMS VCS3, ARP 2600 w/ARP sequencer, ARP Odyssey, SCI Pro One, EMU Classic Keys, Roland JP-8000, CMS MR-2… fun, huh? The set opens with dark, windswept planet atmospherics, engine room rumbling and swirling alien electronics, and builds from there. Like the best of the early era AP duo albums, Blue Mars features a cosmic banquet of electronics that come together like a meteor shower, falling stars, comets, and battle in space all occurring at once. We’re also treated to psych Bluesy, Fripp/Pinhas, and rocking freakout guitar leads, and trippy pied piper flute, both of which sound great amidst the alien invasion electronics. I like the heavy guitar presence, which is what mostly sets this apart from the early AP duo electronic efforts. Like the best soundtrack music, we’ve got some seriously image inducing stuff here, and the intensity level is predominantly high throughout, though there are plenty of soundscape and spacey sound experimental segments, as well as mellow moments like Claybourne’s Dilemma, which is a pleasantly dreamy guitar and flute piece.

The set is comprised of 18 tracks, mostly in the 1-3 minute range. I noticed a couple comments on the Alien Planetscapes Facebook group that wished there were fewer, longer tracks, that took more time to develop. I’m sympathetic to this, but while so many short tracks is unusual for Alien Planetscapes, after a few listens I found myself mostly oblivious to the gaps and hearing the entire album for the concept piece that its intended to be.

NOTE that all proceeds outside shipping will be given to the late Doug Walker’s son Evan.
To order Blue Mars, Paypal $12 to Richard Orlando at That covers shipping in the U.S. Anyone outside the U.S. should email him first.
Check or MOs can be sent to Richard Orlando, 19908 32 Ave #3R, Flushing, NY 11358

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Chickencage Experience – “KamaSutra BlackBelt” (Nasoni Records 2014, CD/LP)

Chickencage Experience is a side project of the German band Polytoxicomane Philharmonie and KamaSutra BlackBelt is their second album. The first album, An Eggspoiltaton Movie, consisted of 6 tracks in the 10-17 minute range that developed from improvisations, and was accompanied by a DVD film of professionally shot images and narration. The new album is appropriately sub-titled “Psychedelic Pop Tunes from the Vault”, as 7 of the 10 tracks on this 47 minute set consist of structured songs in the 2-5 minute range.

One of the benefits of the tighter song focus is that vocalists H.M. Fishli and Michaela Flame really shine. Among the highlights is Mayday Sister Mayday, a trippy, spacey, jazzy, rocking song, with great guitar, sax and soulfully psychedelic vocals. Top Secret is similar and I like the deep space atmospheric carnival finale. I dig the dreamy yet rocking spacey psychedelic prog-jazz of Werküken. Shaken Not Stirred has a nice floating feel with its orchestral strings, though it soon breaks out into a heavier rocking song. At under two minutes, An Ocean Full Of Gold is the shortest song of the set but it packs a punch, being a cool and freaky grooving jazz song that conjures up images of a psychedelic lounge for Beats and hippies in tuxedos and gowns.

There are three songs that stretch out a bit more, each clocking in at the 8 minute mark. Thousand Miles features psychedelic pop-jazz with a drifting groove and great vocals. Still Flaky But Free starts off as a funky and flowing pop-jazz tune, with fuzz-wah guitar and cool horns. Then it takes off into a killer spacey prog-jazz instrumental workout and includes some of the most soulfully stirring vocals of the set. The album closes with Whitewash, a cool grooving instrumental space-jazz jam, with a great Rhodes keyboard sound and the most spaced out guitar leads of the set.

In summary, though KamaSutra BlackBelt is more structured and song focused, there are still plenty of genre bending mixes of music and a playfully joyful sense of fun pervades throughout. If you’re a Polytoxicomane Philharmonie fan who hasn’t yet tried the Chickencage Experience, it’s really not that musically far off.

For more information you can visit the Nasoni Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Sendelica – “The Fabled Voyages Of The Sendelicans” (FRG Records/Vincebus Eruptum 2014, LP/CD/Download)

The latest from Welsh Space-Psych-Ambient rockers Sendelica is a compilation album that consists of what the band describe as “long deleted and hard to obtain tracks from our archives.” The set kicks off with the two opening tracks from the 2009 released The Girl From The Future Who Lit Up The Sky With Golden Worlds album. Standing On The Edge is a short, stoned Black Sabbath in space dirge with chanting female vocals, that segues smoothly into Manhole Of The Universe, a 12 minute monster Acid-Space jam. This sucker gets absolutely volcanic. I like the funky Psych-Bluesy mid-section accompanied by freaky voice narration, which soon transitions to a spacey dreamy but still Bluesy segment. The music trips along nicely like Hendrix meets Ax Genrich and Guru Guru, before building up to the final explosion. Next up is Zhyly Blyly, which was the opening track to the 2011 released The Pavilion OF Magic And The Trials Of The Seven Surviving Elohim album. I love the combination of guitar attack and synths on this tune. It’s a powerhouse rocker, but also has deep space Reggae-ish bits as well.

Screaming And Streaming Into The Starlit Nite and Carningli (Hill Of Angels) were back-to-back tracks on the 2008 released Streamedelica She Sighed As She Hit Rewind On The Dream Mangler Remote album. The former is an easy paced rocker that creates a basic jamming groove, which lays a foundation for the swinging jazzy lead saxophone. But as this 9 minute track progresses, the band go increasingly deeper into space, until finally the sax eases into the background and killer freaked out guitar takes over. Carningli (Hill Of Angels) is the sole non-heavy track of the set, being a surreal, ambient dreamscape piece with Nik Turner on flute. Finally, we have Spaceman Bubblegum, from the 2007 released Spaceman Bubblegum And Other Weird Tales From The Mercury Mind album. This is an Acid-Space jam rocker with a cool rhythmic groove and tasteful Acid-Blues guitar leads that once again brings to mind Hendrix and Guru Guru.

I was already familiar with the music on this album so the attraction for veteran fans would be having some of Sendelica’s hottest heavy tracks on vinyl, and the LP has gorgeous artwork to boot. The album would also be a great introduction to this wonderfully varied band for the uninitiated.

To stream and order this and other Sendelica albums visit:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Spiralmaze – “Back To The Center” (self-released 2014, CD/Download)

Spiralmaze are a Greek quartet who play a heavily Ozric Tentacles influenced brand of instrumental Space Rock. They evolved from a band called Soundtrap, which played an eclectic mix of Space-Prog, Metal and Electronica. Spiralmaze consist of George Arestis on guitars and synths, Aris Terzakis on bass, Eftihis Chelioudakis on drums, and Jon Mor on guitar.

Multiverse opens the set with rocket fueled, Ozric inspired electronica and blistering guitar that is like Ed Wynne at his most rip rocking and most melodic. Yes, this is VERY Ozric influenced, but Spiralmaze really do it GOOD. This is powerhouse Space Rock and a potent album opener. Hwang Ho is a mind-bending blend of Trance and melodic but high power Space Rock, with swirling electronic patterns, tastefully ripping guitar leads and a steady paced but commanding rhythmic pulse. Spiralmaze veer into different territory on Remipede, with its Eastern influenced chants plus heavy Prog and Metal alongside rapid fire synth patterns. Myriad Small Creatures is a cool grooving, magic carpet ride Dub-in-space tune with speak-in-tongues Mullah chants. The Longest Day Parts I and II comprise one 13 minute track, with Part I being the dreamy soundscapes intro. Part II is a Trance whirling atmospheric Space Rocker with a cool sounding Space-Prog synth melody, deep space synth patterns, Reggae grooves, heavy driving Space Rock and more. It’s like a summation of everything this album is about. The album closes with the title track, one of the heaviest rockers of the set, featuring monster Ozrics styled Space Rock fused with crunchy Metallic rock, but is also tempered by more laid back accessible Prog melodic segments.

In summary, this is one hot smokin’ album. Spiralmaze are crack musicians and a tight-as-a-knot unit. The Ozric Tentacles influence is overt, but Spiralmaze do it so damn good and they do take a number of interesting detours.

To stream, download and order the CD visit:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Inside / Outside – “Three Jewels” (Lonely Whistle Music 2013, CD/Download)

Inside / Outside is the duo of Santa Rosa, California based musicians Russell Leach and Don Campau, who play a variety of instruments and electronics. Leach is new to me but Campau is a veteran of the homemade music underground and host of the long lived No Pigeonholes radio show, which celebrates homemade and truly independent music.

Three Jewels is the fourth Inside / Outside album and consists of an 8 part, 28 minute suite that is intended to be heard as a single piece. It opens with atmospherically cavernous drum beats, wood blocks, and scratch rhythms, soon transitioning to a light melody, effects, soundscapes and urban environment field recordings blend. The scenes shift quickly but seamlessly, gently spiriting the listener through an ever changing dreamscape. As of Part 2, we enter a beautiful ambient world music realm, with light percussion, pleasant effects, melodic acoustic guitar and spacey electronics, and from there the music becomes increasing ambient-psychedelic, though it’s all quietly understated, being dreamily meditative in a strangely yet engagingly sound experimental way. The spacey world music feel is never far away, and one of my favorite parts is when we’re treated to flowing chant vocals from Robin O’Brien. I also dig the psychedelically efx’d Japanese Koto oozing through a black hole segment, which bleeds into the cool grooving space rock world music finale.

In summary, I enjoyed Leach and Campau’s brand of space-ambient, sound-exploratory world music, though don’t get hung up on the “world music” description, as it’s often as much a sensation as it is overtly noticeable as such. This is different.

For more information visit the Lonely Whistle Music web site at:
For all things Don Campau visit:
And I encourage everyone to visit Don’s Living Archive of Underground Music web site, which documents the “Cassette Culture” underground music movement:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Strange Turn – “Pink Litmus Paper Shirt” (Mega Dodo 2014, 7″ single)

Strange Turn are based in the UK and headed up by Sir Bastion Longfellow. With the exception of their contribution to a Mega Dodo Christmas compilation it looks like this may be their first release. Pink Litmus Paper Shirt is a catchy psychedelic song that brings to mind a Neil Innes brand of Beatles, in that damn good but let’s have fun with it way. The lyrics, vocals and general vibe have that feel, though Bevis Frond comes to mind as well. It’s got a great melody, guitar, organ and cool freaky I Am The Walrus styled effects. For the flip side we have a cover of Gene Clarke’s Elevator Operator, which is largely faithful to the original, except Strange Turn amp up the guitar and organ on the psychedelo-meter. I hope these guys are working on a full length. Vinyl junkies should note that the single is pressed on pink vinyl, comes with an A3 full color poster, postcard and litmus strip, and is limited to 100 copies.

To stream and order the single visit the Mega Dodo web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Octopus Syng – “Reverberating Garden Number 7″ (Mega Dodo 2014, CD/LP)

Formed in 1999 by Jaire Pätäri, Finland’s Octopus Syng has been releasing psychedelicious songs of the trippiest sort since their Nasoni Records debut in 2004. On their latest album, Reverberating Garden Number 7, the band are the quartet of Jaire on guitar and vocals, Joni on guitar and backing vocals, Antti on bass, and Jukka on drums. The album consists of 11 songs and about 45 minutes.

The promo sheet references Velvet Underground, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, early Pink Floyd, The Beatles and Marc Bolan. Of those I’d say Syd era Floyd is one of the more overt influences, and well-crafted 60s UK Psych in general, though there are strong Folk influences as well. There are several compact songs in the 2-3 minute range that feature dreamy trippy acoustic driven Psych with spot on retro 60s production. And we’ve got bouncy, orchestral 60s Psych songs. Some of the tracks that take a couple more minutes to develop are among my favorites. Avant Garden starts off with shimmering Psych guitars, pulsating atmospherics, freaky effects, lulling melodies, and haunting vocals. Then the mood changes with a jazzy guitar lead before launching into a whimsically orchestrated chorus. It’s Prog-like in the way the music transitions through multiple themes. Ditto for Cuckoo Clock Mystery, which dances from the Beatles at their most lysergic, to searing sitar laced drone, jangly tra-la-la Pop-Psych, and more. Very Strange Trip is a flower-power Pop-Psych tune with an Eastern steeped vibe from the sitar. Reflections Of Time is a little different, being a dark and ominous instrumental that could be the soundtrack to a Psychedelic horror film. The melody is pleasant but at the same time threatening, with additional muscle provided by the fuzz guitar blasts. Wrapping up the set is the 9 minute Listen To The Moths, which originally appeared on the Regal Crabomophone 2014 Annual 7″. While I didn’t do a side-by-side compare, I think the album version might be a wee bit longer. It starts off as a gentle but rhythmic folky brand of 60s Psych. But after a few minutes the music blasts off into a heavier rocking but trippily angelic Psych tune, before coming in for a spaced out landing. I love the vocal harmonies which are gorgeously retro 60s. Jaire really stretches out on this one and we get some scrumptious guitar leads.

In summary, strong compositions and excellent production makes Reverberating Garden Number 7 a luscious experience and a delight for fans of 60s inspired Psychedelia.

The CD will be released on May 5th and the LP on June 30th. You can stream the album now plus pre-order the CD and LP at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Dadirri – “Malum Scienta” (self-released 2013, CD/Download)

Dadirri is the duo of veteran American home taper Ken Clinger and Australian musician Vis Ortis (aka Skt Stklr). My acquaintance with Skt goes back to the early Aural Innovations days and albums by his band Vocabularinist and its multiple offshoots, and, more currently, his Squeegeed Clean and Mekigah projects. Malum Scienta is the second Dadirri album, the follow up to the previous year’s Electrified Space Bacterium. While most of the music on Electrified Space Bacterium was in the 3-6 minute range, tracks on Malum Scienta commonly stretch out to 8-12 minutes.

But individual tracks and lengths are of little consequence on this album, which plays like a continually evolving, deeply psychedelic space excursion and adventure in sound. Right out of the chute the music is hallucinatory and disorienting, like a lysergic lucid dream state, with multiple looped and swirling effects anchored by lulling melodic harp. We’re treated to valium drenched carnival scenes that blend whimsical melodies, soundscapes and effects. There’s rushing, howling and weaving space-scapes. We’ve got floating space electronica with an industrial edge, supported by a gently grooving rhythmic pulse and a pleasant melody. Volatile Particle Conference is a little different, laying down a Reggae rhythm with a trippy melody grooving along, surrounded by a parade of soundscapes, roaring waves of sound, revving engines and ethereal voices. And Genetic Legend Mapping is the most purely musical and meditative track of the set, though it’s also just as dreamily mystifying as the rest of the album.

Dadirri take ambience and floating electronica and propels it into a world of phantasmic psychedelia. Think Fantasia meets The Trip with soundtrack by The Residents. There is so much happening at any given time, so many elements contrasting and converging, that while the music is, at its core, ambient-soundscape, the psychedelic elements keep the imagination continually in overdrive, like an acid trip that is constantly alternating between delirium and off balance dream land. In short, this is one of the most challenging, and often gripping space-ambient-psychedelic releases I’ve heard this year.

To stream and download Malum Scienta visit:
To order the CD, email Skt at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

AsZension – “Biosphere” (Tranquility Impulse Music 2014, CD/Digital)

AsZension is the brainchild of Canadian multi-instrumentalist Kevin Thiessen. The idea: to fuse metal with progressive rock aesthetics, bound together by a glue of ambient space music and exotic ethnic soundscapes.

Their latest album, Biosphere, opens with a track called Star Stream, beginning with the trippy twang of a sitar and some deep space drones. A female voice, wordless, singing in the distance enters the mix as the energy builds, till a stab of notes begin to ring in a circular pattern. Other instruments enter, taking the piece to the next level, as melodic keyboards weave mesmerizingly around metallic guitar riffing, creating a whirlwind, sonic spiral that launches the listener into AsZension’s vision of reality, or non-reality, as the case may be. Biosphere is AsZension’s second album, following their self-titled debut in 2012. Thiessen plays 7 and 8 string electric and acoustic guitars, synths and percussion, and he’s also joined on this album by Evan Arnott playing rhythm guitars, Gabriel Palatchi on keyboards, Etienne Girard on bass, Lee Campese on drums and Lana Benson on background vocals.

There definitely is some metal influence on the album, evidenced by the edgy, staccato guitar riffs, particularly in the second song Elliptical Orbit, but to my ears AsZension is more about complex rhythms and superb interplay between guitars (whether they be acoustic or electric), and the keyboards (piano, organ and synths). So, the progressive tendencies outweigh the metal tendencies for me, and that’s not even to mention the ambient passages and exotic instrumentation which add a very spacey and psychedelic vibe too. Electronic pulses propel the third song Alignment along, leading to a softer middle passage with flute like sounds and exotic cadences, conjuring up images of lush alien gardens under purple skies hung with three moons. Dark, acoustic textures dominate Eclipse until the piece breaks out into a dazzling and funky organ solo, before taking on a much brighter tone, as if the eclipse has passed at this point, and the sun comes shining through. The centrepiece of the album, the four part title track (clocking in at 14-minutes) from its opening of drifting winds, acoustic guitar and twirling synths to its mellow, sailing off into a sea of imaginings finale (complete with crashing waves), covers just about all of what AsZension is trying to do here, each part flowing naturally and organically into the next, from hard edged guitar rhythms, to sumptuous and dreamy soundscapes, it’s all here. It’s like Tangerine Dream meets Ozric Tentacles meets Rush. Rounding out the album is the metallic march of Spin Axis, the smooth glide and hallucinatory textures of Aural Illusions (which bely an underlying heaviness), and the final melodic waves of Hypnosis, that break spectacularly into a washing surf of heavy metal towards the end. On the final, bonus track, the band is joined by vocalist Geoff Ross on the sole song with words on the album. Here, AsZension let their love of Rush show through in a cover of Jacob’s Ladder (originally on Rush’s Permanent Waves album). The band does their own take of it though, with deeper electronic textures and soaring piano runs. It’s very cool!

If you like any of the bands I’ve mentioned (AsZension also cites influences as diverse as Camel, King Crimson, Dead Can Dance, Steve Morse, Porcupine Tree and film score music), you’ll find plenty to like on Biosphere. It’s certainly one of my favourite albums of the year so far.

For more info, visit: and

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald