Fjodor are a guitar/bass/drums/synths quartet from Croatia, and though new to me, St. Anthony’s Fire is their third album. The album consists of a single 46 minute excursion split across two LP sides. But though it may play as a continuous track, this sucker veers through multiple stylistic twists and turns.
The journey kicks off with a combination of spirited jazzy drumming and cosmic Space-Prog synths. Soon the full band launch into a heavy rocking jam with blasts of guitar power chords and twisted rocking licks, and it all gets seriously intense as the music reaches devastating levels of heavy rocking fury. Just after the 10 minute mark the theme shifts to a space jazzy groove with guitar that reminds me of early Ash Ra Tempel. But this proves to be something of an interlude because before we know it we’re back in a furious monster heavy space rocking blast that’s like roaring down the first big hill of a roller coaster. And the music continues to evolve, nearly always rocking hard. There’s lots of 70s hard rock influences, though near the end of part 1 the band shift into complex Prog mode, with elements of Red-era King Crimson, jazz drumming, and bubbling space electronics. These guys can really play and as a unit they are devastatingly tight and intense.
After the frenzy of the part 1 finale we’re given a breather as part 2 begins with dreamy atmospherics and slowly soloing guitar. The pace gradually picks up, jamming along with a feeling of tension like an explosion is just over the horizon. The band transition through multiple themes, shifting to King Crimson mode again, more volcanic rocking yet intricately constructed Space-Prog explosions, Ozric Tentacles inspired moments and more.
Wow, what a ride. No meandering here. These guys are on a mission and know exactly where they’re headed throughout the entire set. Note that the LP comes in a limited edition of 360 – 200 colored vinyl and 160 black.
For more information visit the Cosmic Eye Records web site at: http://cosmiceyerecords.blogspot.gr
Stream and download at: http://fjodor.bandcamp.com
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz
Here we have a split 10″ from Mega Dodo with three songs each from UK based songwriter/musicians Icarus Peel and Mordecai Smyth.
I’m pleased to hear more from Icarus Peel, whose music I’ve only become acquainted with in the past year through his work with The Honey Pot and Crystal Jacqueline. Aunty Powders Her Nose features bouncy Pop-Psych that’s firmly in the Syd-Floyd realm. It’s well produced, with tasty guitar and keyboard arrangements and appropriate placed effects. Almost Murder Ballad is a Mordecai Smyth cover, with killer ripping psych guitar on this dark, doomy, and lightly orchestrated bit of twisted Psychedelia. Peel shares vocal duties with a female singer that I don’t see mentioned in the promo sheet but I’m sure is Crystal Jacqueline. The horn solo is a nice touch too. And speaking of Crystal Jacqueline, that’s the title of Peel’s final entry, a cool grooving 60s West Coast Psych inspired song that’s like a cross between Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, and Bob Dylan.
I was previously unfamiliar with Mordecai Smyth but these three songs left me interested in checking him out further. Out In The Stars is a soulful Pop-Psych tune with an R&B edge and a Beatles feel during the instrumental break. Smyth reciprocates with a tip of the hat to Peel by covering his song Plastic People. The music begins like it’s going to blast off into space, but quickly becomes a freaky brand of what I’ll call Carnival-Psych. It’s weirdly fun, with piano, flute and effects, and has the briefest of moments when it threatens to explode into something heavier. Finally, Drifted Along is a dreamy but grooving song, once again with an underlying R&B feel, which is offset by flowing Mellotron-like keys. I like the interesting contrasts that all come together nicely.
Barnburner will be pressed on 10″ blue vinyl in an edition of 250 copies, and is available to stream and download too.
For more information visit the Mega Dodo web site at: http://www.mega-dodo.co.uk
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz
Supersound is Italian heavy rockers Void Generator’s first new album I’ve heard since 2010’s Phantom Hell And Soar Angelic, though I see on their web site that they released an EP in 2011. The band are the quartet of Gianmarco Iantaffi on guitar and vocals, Sonia Caporossi on bass (and acoustic guitar on one song), Enrico Cosimi on keyboards and FX, and Marco Cenci on drums.
The jacket is designed like an old LP, proclaiming “New improved full dimensional stereo”, and the back cover describes Supersound as Phonosphera Record’s newly developed system of recording. I guess that’s not just a fun attempt at reproducing a design style because the quality of the mix jumped out at me right away. The album opens with the heavily fuzzed Stoner-Psych Behind My Door. During a jam segment the fuzz guitar is shredding to the right and soloing to the left, with the bass drum thudding in my head under the headphones and nice crisp cymbals. This sound is characteristic of the entire album. The haunting organ is a nice touch too. Synapsex is similar but with a more upbeat rocking tempo, and includes cool spacey organ and efx. The theme continues on Master Of The Skies, which at over 9 minutes is an ultra fuzz-fest, ambling along with a stoned vibe. The simple eerie organ melodies fit nicely, contrasting with yet complementing the guitar. What Are You Doin is rhythmically different, having a snappy, bouncy groove, with the organ giving the music a carnival-like feel, yet never losing its monster fuzz focus. I like the subtle yet spacey pinging wave and slowly oscillating UFO effects that embellish Hidden Orbit. Ditto for Globular Cluster, which adds freaky swirly electronics and rushing space waves that color the steady rocking powerhouse fuzz. Finally, Universal Winter is very different, being a mellow, melodic instrumental with Sonia on acoustic guitar (sounds like both Sonia and Gianmarco are on dual acoustic guitars). Very nice and adds a welcome variety to the set.
This album could have just as easily been titled Superfuzz, and if that appeals to you then you’re sure to dig Supersound. The album is available on CD and the web site says they plan to release a vinyl edition soon too.
For more information visit the Void Generator web site at: http://www.voidgenerator.tk
Visit the Phonosphera Records web site at: http://www.phonosphera.com
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz
Melbourne, Australia based musician Tony Tralongo has been recording since the early 1980s, covering a range of music from Pop to Prog. Spaceship Cocoon is his homage to Krautrock and the Kosmiche music of the 1970s. Tralongo uses virtual synthesizers to emulate the sounds of the era, though there is some guitar on the album and a couple tracks with additional musicians.
The album opens and closes with space symphonic pieces that are simultaneously majestic and freaky. Sandwiched between are tracks like the_path_I_follow, which takes us deep into Klaus Schulze land, with classic syncopated synth patterns that manage to create a robotic sense of rhythm, plus throbbing and rumbling effects, all surrounded by a cosmic, uplifting symphonic aura. galactic_station is an adventure in sound and effects, conjuring up images of a drag race in space film sequence. Tralongo launches into Space Rock mode on planets_of_rock, a dark, droning rocker with swirling and blazing effects, propelled by programmed (but effective) drums. A similar theme continues on complicated_apparatus, which includes guest musicians E. Sarpa on bass and R. Parisi on drums. This piece rocks but is equally focused on atmospherics that are both dreamy and droning. We’ve also got freaky voice samples from which we learn that the complicated apparatus of the title is one that is jacked into your brain. This track reminds me of Pressurehed. transition is a quirkily rhythmic piece that’s a little disorienting under the headphones. Along with the mission control voice samples it brings to mind some of the cool minimal synth underground works from the 80s. Tralongo cranks out some chunky rocking guitar on take_the_trip. motor-cycle is one of my favorites, being an interesting mix of motorik Neu! and psych rock a la Colour Haze. In fact, Tralongo’s guitar sounds a lot like Stefan from Colour Haze, and E. Sarpa returns on bass, giving this piece a rockin’ band feel. At over 11 minutes the music stretches out, floating through space-psych jams, 90s Hawkwind inspired bits, and space symphonic washes and drones. I like how the motorik drive pervades throughout, until the several minute electronic fade.
In summary, Tralongo does a great job of capturing the spirit of 70s Kosmiche, though there’s far more variety throughout the album than the purely retro experience his mission statement would suggest.
CLICK HERE to order the CD from Musea Records.
If you’re in Australia/New Zealand, order directly from Tony Tralongo for $20AUD (incl postage). Email Ton at: email@example.com
Hear Cocoon online at: https://soundcloud.com/cocoonconcepts and
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz