Archive for August 28, 2014

Soft Hearted Scientists – “The Slow Cyclone” (Hip Replacement 2014, CD)

The latest from Welsh Psych-Folk-Prog alchemists Soft Hearted Scientists (SHS) is a 24 track “song cycle” divided into 4 parts and consisting of songs and often very brief but strange and fun transitional bits.

The album opens with melodic acoustic guitar and spacey electronics, and quickly moves into a dreamy organ led segment, and from there the trip takes off. The transitional tracks simultaneously tie things together, break things up, and just generally add fun variety. SHS frequently flex their experimental muscles a bit on these tracks.

We’ve got some great songs too. Drifting Away is a classic example of what I’ve come to recognize as a trademark SHS sound, where a mystical and beautifully melodic brand of Psychedelic minstrel Folk-Prog traverses through multiple segments and is enhanced by all manner of zany alien space electronics. Nothing sits still for very long on an SHS song. The Ups and the Downs is a playfully head-bopping ditty that sounds like its being performed in some cosmic pub. I like head scientist Nathan Hall’s description of the album as “homemade and spooky and innocent and timeless”. You can feel the homemade part, but these guys are studio craftsman and masters of incorporating effects into songs that most others would keep stripped down so that the song can speak for itself. For example, Away is a beautiful song given a magical quality with a ghostly, almost cavernous sound, and peppered with whooshing effects, haunting organ, and more. I like the floating away feel of the cosmically pastoral Psychedelic Folk-Prog tunes Sonar Rays and Cobra Clouds. For You is a somber yet lovely tune with a luscious mix of acoustic instruments and simple yet effective keys. I love the sci-fi salsa swinging to a Casio beat Robots Remember. Cwm Cadian is a bouncy and hypnotically lovely acoustic guitar and keys instrumental. And there’s so much more.

The vocals and harmonies are a huge part of what SHS are about, and the lyrics are deeply personal and often quite surreal. Of all the SHS albums to date, The Slow Cyclone may well be the most complete full album experience; you really must hear all 24 tracks from beginning to end. Now that I’ve been immersed in the SHS catalog for a couple years I’m convinced that there’s no way to adequately categorize this band, and analogies to others are tenuous at best. They’re like a Proghead’s idea of marrying 60s Psychedelia, traditional minstrel/pub styles, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, and then shoving it all down Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole. If you like both magic and fun, then SHS are for you. Highest recommendation!

For more information visit the Soft Hearted Scientists web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Simones – “Majic Ship” (Fruits de Mer Records 2014, 7″ vinyl)

Al Simones is a NE Ohio based musician who privately released 4 LPs on his own Purple Phrogg label between 1992-2009 (Purple Phrogg was also a record store Simones owned for 22 years). Simones has been described as the U.S. answer to The Bevis Frond, a fair analogy given his penchant for both acid minstrel songs and dirty tripped out psych jams. I’ve heard three of the four albums and they have a homemade lo-fi charm, though they’re well recorded and chock full of fun effects and Simones flies his freak flag HIGH.

In 2012 Headspin released a box set of the 4 reissued LPs and through them Fruits de Mer Keith contacted Simones about producing this single. Both songs are from Simones’ 1999 released Balloon Ride LP. Majic Ship is a raw psychedelic rocker that alternates between trippy melodic song and absolutely ripping acid-psych guitar solos, though we’ve also got peacefully pleasant acoustic solos. Seize the Moment is equally trippy and psyched out, with phased guitar and killer molten lava acid laced solos. Very cool and without a doubt will appeal to Frond fans. Simones is definitely an artist deserving of more widespread attention.

The single will be available late September, 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 – “7 and 7 is” (Fruits de Mer Records 2014, 7 x 7″ box set)

7 and 7 is is a box set from Fruits de Mer Records containing 7 vinyl singles featuring 8 contemporary artists covering songs by 1960s US psych bands. Here’s the run down on all…

The Bevis Frond Salomonize two songs from Clear Light’s sole 1967 LP. We’re treated to monster guitar on both Night Sounds Loud and Sand, and Nick amps up the originals with some powerhouse organ.

The Higher State take the 13th Floor Elevators’ Wait For My Love and give it an even more energetic jangly but rockin’ pop-psych feel, while the guitar remains tastily acid-fuzzed. And their cover of You Don’t Know has a dead ringer 60s feel.

The title of this boxed set is a song from Love’s Da Capo album, but The Chemistry Set’s single covers two from Love’s 1967 Forever Changes. A House Is Not A Motel starts off similar to the original in acoustic driven Folk-Rock style and then blasts off into a killer psych jam. Nice touch on the acoustic finale. Ditto for Live and Let Live, which is faithful in spirit to the original and has lovely acoustic instrumentation and an explosive finale.

The United States of America has long been recognized for their use of avant-garde electronics in rock music and Sendelica tackle two from their 1968 LP. Sendelica’s cover of Hard Coming Love has, not surprisingly, some ultra-monster rocking psych guitar, but also inject fun freaky electronic effects. Going in a completely different direction, Sendelica take the gently pastoral Love Song For The Dead Che and make it even more 60s orchestral and electronically strange than the original. Very cool.

King Penguin similarly orchestrate The Byrds’ She Don’t Care About Time, though the trademark Byrds guitars are there as well as some psychedelically surreal solos. Nice. But they really go into the stratosphere with 5D (Fifth Dimension), with a swirling droning sitar and ethnic percussion Indian vibe, while never straying from the spirit of the original. This is one of my favorite covers of the entire set.

The Gathering Grey take two by Moby Grape into interesting directions. I Am Not Willing has a surreal, drugged feel, embellished with alien electronic effects and a nifty Beatles-like backward guitar solo. Ditto on the freaky factor with Sitting By The Window. The core song is faithful to the original, and quite beautifully played and arranged, though augmented by fun spaced out effects.

The final single is a two band split. Black Tempest give Spirit’s Nature’s Way a fuller, somewhat orchestrated feel. Finally, The Seventh Ring of Saturn turn the Grateful Dead’s Cream Puff War into a heavier psychedelic rocker with cool ripping acid guitar.

The boxset will be available late September, 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

Reanimation – “Under the Last Tree on Earth” (self-released 2014, CD/Download)

Reading the promo sheet I can see that Michael Shanahan has a musical resume that dates back to the 1980s, though I first became aware of him through his participation on the 2011 released Negative Space album by Chester Hawkins’ Blue Sausage Infant project. His first album as Reanimation was Giants Hide Among Us, also from 2011. Pat Albertson reviewed that one for AI but I’ve been revisiting it alongside the new Reanimation effort, Under the Last Tree on Earth.

The first album is an intriguingly varied set of Space-Prog, Teutonic Kosmiche, somber Psychedelic song, rocking Pop songs, and more. What struck me most is Shanahan’s flair for being accessible… even Pop accessible… while doing so with adventurous music created with interesting instrumentation and arrangements. Under the Last Tree on Earth continues in this spirit. And while Giants Hide Among Us was recorded with some assistance from other musicians, the new album is a genuine solo effort, with Shanahan playing all instruments.

Dead Heart Souvenir opens the set and is a deceptively accessible rock song. It’s got a standard beat and catchy melody. But there’s lots going on, including spacey soundscapes and effects, hypnotic flute melody, crunchy guitar blasts, throbbing yet cool grooving bass, and a sense of Psychedelic angst. Abigail’s Ashes Came Home Today begins with an extended introduction of melancholy horn and piano melody, church bells and voice samples. It’s not until nearly the 4 minute mark that the vocals kick off the song portion of what becomes a lightly grooving, and once again melodically catchy Psychedelic rocker. Yet it’s still largely instrumental, and I like how the trippy guitar and tinkling piano contrast yet sound so good together. Surprise Hitchhiker is a high energy Space-Pop rocker with a punky edge. The Space Between Words goes in a different direction, being an ambient and soundscape driven Kosmiche excursion with ethnic percussion and a playfully experimental vibe. After a while it takes on an Amon Düül II improvisational feel, though the guitar is different, corrosively winding a droning, bubbling path through the proceedings. I like the avant-Psychedelic Pop intensity and dervish-like backdrop swirl of And You. Growing With the Growing Light is a spirited Pop rocker that sounds like it could have been a hit in the 80s. Opiate of the Hoi Polloi is a Space-Pop instrumental with noise-drone guitar, freaky alien synths, and intermittent samples from a religious TV/radio ad. The Serpent Fire (Everything Fades) consists of cosmic, jazzy, psychedelic, dreamy yet intense Prog-Pop. And She Never Sleeps is a powerhouse yet acoustically subtle and dissonant rocker, in some ways bringing to mind a modern Velvet Underground.

Both Reanimation albums have lots of variety and I can imagine some listeners feeling Shanahan could stand to tighten his focus a bit. Fair enough I say. Regardless, he nails every track. I don’t remember the last time I heard music that is so accessible yet challenging. I probably used the term “Pop” more than any review in recent memory. And yet the spacey, Psychedelic, and Progressive Rock elements abound. If you’ve made it this far and are intrigued, then get ye forth to the Reanimation Bandcamp site where you can get instant gratification and hear for yourself.

For more information visit the Reanimation web site at:
Stream, download and order at the Reanimation Bandcamp site:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Ernesto Diaz-Infante – “wistful entrance, wistful exit” (Kendra Steiner Editions 2014, CDR)

I’ve been following California based musician Ernesto Diaz-Infante since the early Aural Innovations days. Ernesto can always be counted on for a very different musical setting, due in no small part to his multiple collaborations with musicians of varying stripes. In fact, I think this might only be the second solo effort of his I have, the previous one being the Solus set of piano solos from 2000.

wistful entrance, wistful exit is a solo acoustic 12 string set, featuring three 15 minute guitar meditations. The music is minimal, melodic, and subtle. I wouldn’t call it dreamy, though it has a somber yet peaceful quality. I noticed in the promo sheet that Ernesto conceived of these pieces during a period of time when he was dealing with a death in the family and was temporarily left alone, and I pictured the musician playing away with his thoughts to himself. The acoustics of the room are important to this recording, as the sustain of each strum lingers, creating a hypnotic atmosphere that makes this just as much a set of ambient music as it is contemplative solo acoustic guitar. Pleasant… trance inducing…

For more information visit the Kendra Steiner Editions web site at:
wistful entrance, wistful exit is available for $8 postpaid in the U.S. and $11 postpaid everywhere else. Paypal to:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Blue Lily Commission – “In Dub” (2014, Download)

Blue Lily Commission is a Mooch side project Steve Palmer created in 2000 to explore Trance and ethnic music using computers and samples plus real instruments. In Dub is a new EP of Dub enhanced remixes of recent tracks from various albums.

Bangalore Monsoon takes us to the most paisley colored parts of India, with hypnotic droning sitar, cosmic synths, angelic chant vocals, call-to-prayer horn, and loads of spaced out effects. I like how the rhythm is propelled by a cool combination of trippy grooving ethnic percussion and rock drumming. I love the bird chirping Funk-Dub of Shivadub Rainy Season, with its Mellotronic swells and pulsating waves of cosmic Dub. Green Earth brings together floating space electronica, ethnic influences, Dub grooves and energetic rock drumming, plus ripping space guitar licks and cosmic concert piano. And Crescent Moon Fragment is a brief, meditative wind-down that closes the set. The ultimate remix marriage of Space Rock and World Music.

Lots of Blue Lily Commission and Mooch albums are available for digital purchase from
CLICK HERE to go directly to the In Dub EP

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Civilian Zen – “Tell Lie Vision” Review and Interview with Keith Hill

CLICK HERE to listen to a special edition of Aural Innovations Space Rock Radio that showcases Cilvilian Zen and the many bands that Keith Hill has been in. Scroll down to show #335.

Originally organized by Keith Hill and Mark Andrew Broster in support of the UK based Shelter charity, Civilian Zen started life as a multi-musician project that included such luminaries as Nik Turner, Bridget Wishart, Ron Tree, Judge Trev, Jerry Richards, Alf Hardy, Neil Whitehead, Phil Howard, Steve Swindells, and others. I reviewed Songs For Shelter and Return To Shelter in AI #35 and AI #37.

After the Shelter albums Civilian Zen morphed into a proper band, though not all the albums have been released yet. Astral Sea Shanties was recorded in 2008 by Hill and Broster with assitance from Chris Swift on saxophones and Neil Whitehead on electronics. This is one of the yet-to-be-released sets and I hope that’s remedied soon because the whole album is a smoker. We’ve got Hawkwind influenced Space Rock, Space Ritual style spoken word, Krel gone Metal Space Rock, surreal Space-Dub, funky cosmic Jazz, dreamy soundscapes, electro melodic dance groove alien songs, high energy space raves with swirling Ozric-like synths, and lots of fun effects.

Various Hang Up’s & Issues followed in 2009. Ralph Woerdenweber was brought in on drums, and along with Hill and Broster this remains the core Civilian Zen trio to this day. Also yet-to-be-released, this album is very different from all prior and subsequent Civilian Zen music. Clova Perez-Corral is the singer, and the combination of her vocals and the album’s musical style makes this largely a hard rock influenced set, albeit a damn good one. But there are cosmic moments to be found, like the spacey Dub infused Reconnected, with Perez-Corral giving the music a saucy soulful vibe, and the dreamy but thunderous Diamonds.

And then things went quiet for a while. Hill and Broster recorded the unreleased Temporal Solutions Inc. album in 2011, which they consider part of the Civilian Zen discography despite the “band” name being Continuum. A concept album that Hill describes as “kind of the missing link between Various Hang Up’s & Issues and just before New Worlds“, this is another one that deserves to see the light of day. The album has a strong Gong influence, plus Hawkwind, Ozrics, spaced out Jazz, cosmic tribalism, ambience/soundscapes, and freaky samples and effects.

As of 2012 Civilian Zen have been back in action and from this point on all their releases are available on their Bandcamp site: The New Worlds album and subsequent Other Worlds EP are dance floor sets of Space Rock and alien electronica. The Inner/Outerworlds-The Remixes EP consists of spacey, dreamy Dub/electronica. The free download Live Voids EP features the band in full blown Hawkwind inspired Space Rock mode, showcasing a portion of their set at the 2013 Hastrek Festival. And now we have the new album, set for release on September 1, 2014…

Civilian Zen – “Tell Lie Vision” (CZ / Intact Recordings 2014, Download)
Civilian Zen – “Tell Dub Visions” (CZ / Intact Recordings 2014, Bonus download album with first 50 purchases of Tell Lie Vision)

Having been immersed in the entire Civilian Zen catalog these past weeks I’ll tell you up front that this is the best they’ve done yet. The dreamy opening recalls Porcupine Tree’s Sky Moves Sideways, drifting lazily yet meditatively through space, and soon bringing in a variety of voice samples. Songs like Sea Change and Neon Sun feature the brand of accessible song oriented Space-Prog that characterizes much of the album. Sea Change has a metallic edge and is embellished with spacey effects, and while Neon Sun is similar it blazes along at a dance floor churning rhythmic pace. We Follow None is a smoker, injecting a heavy rocking Hawkwind edge and some killer wailing razor sharp gliss-like guitar licks. In fact, the guitar and effects kill throughout, other highlights being Decelaration and Host. Host is one of the longer tracks, consisting of intense Space Rock and tripped out instrumental segments and more really cool rocking heavily efx’d guitar. I like the punky spaced out Hawkwind punch of Golden Future and Too Much Information. Harvest Glitch recalls moments from Pink Floyd’s The Wall. I dig the space-orchestral Mellotron-like strings and classic organ on Distance. And Deep Space Blues is precisely what the title says.

This is a concept album and Civilian Zen tell their story and tie the tunes together with lots of between song transitional bits that are impressively crafted blends of soundscapes, effects, voice samples and narration. But wait… there’s MORE! The first 50 Tell Lie Vision purchases receive a bonus album, Tell Dub Visions, and a nifty companion it is, giving selections from the album the Dub remix treatment to ultra cosmic grooving effect.

Wanting to know more about Civilian Zen and Keith Hill’s other projects, I conducted the following interview by email…

Aural Innovations (AI): Tell me about the origins about Civilian Zen. The first two albums were benefits for the Shelter Charity. I got the impression they were compilations that various musicians contributed to rather than a “band”.

Keith Hill (KH): Mark and myself wanted to do something for the Shelter Charity, as it’s a great charity and needs all the help and donations it can get. We had some basic songs down and thought it’d be a great idea to get some artists from the space-rock/psychedelic musical field that have inspired both Mark and I, like Nik Turner, Bridget Wishart, Jerry Richards, Ron Tree and the late great Judge Trev Thoms, who I have to mention was quite influential and motivated in getting some of the aformentioned to get in touch and to work on tracks (thank you Trev). So we had a lot of material recorded to have both the Songs For Shelter and Return To Shelter albums released in 2006 & 2007. I think both albums are more of a collective yes, with Civilian Zen finding it’s own identity shortly after that with the Astral Sea Shanties album with Mark and myself as the core of the band.

AI: Civilian Zen has mostly been Space Rock and a spacey brand of dance/beat driven music. But Various Hang Up’s & Issues went in a very different direction. There were some funky electro spacey songs, but it seemed to be largely a set of accessible Hard Rock tunes, and Clova Perez-Corral’s vocals certainly gave the band a different sound.

KH: We’ve always been a progressive band in the sense that we’re open to incorporate new and eclectic styles into the band’s dna along the way, as we kind of had an electronica influence too later on with the 2012 trilogy albums (New Worlds, Otherworlds and Inner/Outerworlds).

But the Various Hang Up’s & Issues album in 2009 was written as a bunch of songs to just to get out and play live really, as we’d been pretty lazy regarding doing Civilian Zen gigs. Clova joined, along with our drummer Ralph Woerdenweber, and she did give us that push of taking Civilian Zen live. Personally I like the album and it was nice to step back from the vocals and just do the guitars for it. Clova has a great, distinctive voice, which I think really suited the characters of those songs. Lyrically it’s Clova’s album with a more harder edged attitude lyrically, and with a punk-metal driven style, but there are some spacey, majestic moments on there too I think. But the album has the character of the band and is part of Civilian Zen’s musical evolution through to today too in a way. For instance, one of the songs from the new album,Sea Change, is similar in the feel of the track Diamonds from the Various Hang Up’s & Issues album, but just a lot spacier, which is what we returned to I guess, the core character of the bands sound.

AI: After Various Hang Up’s & Issues there was a 2009-2012 gap between albums. What was going on in this period?

KH: after the album’s initial underground success (of 18,000+ plays and hits) we did some live shows, which were really good actually, and then we all had other things going on musicially. Clova left the band as she was busy working hard on her solo album which I guested on and we played some live shows too. Ralph was busy playing live shows and sessions with some rock-blues bands. I was busy with my main band Signified and Flesh Resonance stuff, and Mark with working on his poetry, although Mark and were still working musically on bit’s and pieces here and there. One of those was a concept idea of Mark’s about a character called Justin Case, a time agent from a ficitional 23rd century time intervention company who is hired to rewrite history while rewriting his own at the same time by default. It was interesting working up the songs and that became the Continuum Temporal Soloutions Inc album.

AI: Probably tied in with the last question, but I understand you recorded the yet-to-be-released Continuum album during this time, which is a really cool album. Tell me about that album and why call it something other than Civilian Zen?

KH: Thank you and glad you like it. By the time we completed it, Mark, Ralph and I were back working on new Civilian Zen stuff, so it kind of got put back on the digital shelf (laughs). It’s under a different name because it was just Mark and I and Civilian Zen is Mark, Ralph and I. Mark called it Continuum. I guess it’s kind of the missing link in the Civilian Zen disography if you like; a different side of the coin of the band in a way. It’s a very concept driven, quite progressive jazz album with some tribal percussive world music in some places.

AI: The Live Voids EP consisted of Civilian Zen’s set at the 2013 Hastrek Festival. This was full blown Space Rock. Was that just a reflection of Civilian Zen live, or a deliberate move from the more beat driven style?

KH: we’ve gradually since the electronica trilogy of albums in 2012 got back to the basics of the space-rock, progressive style of the band, as with writing the new songs in rehearsals it just flowed out that way I guess. But there is also definitely a new, fresh, individual sound to what we do now as Civilian Zen.

AI: Is what’s available on Bandcamp the entire set? If not, do you plan on releasing it in full? It’s good stuff.

KH: It’s just three tracks from the Hastrek Festival set as we only managed to get that part of it as audio. There are bit’s and pieces of Civilian Zen from that festival up on YouYube however. We’d like to see more of that show ourselves actually (laughs). It was a great set though; a kind of rebirth for Civilian Zen as a band really.

AI: Had Civilian Zen been playing live all along or was this a first?

KH: We’ve not done too many live shows so far really, but we’re looking to change that these days. But as with the first three albums we kind of kept it a studio based thing. Plus with me being on guitars and vocals for Civilian Zen instead of my main instrument, the drums. We didnt have a band to do it until we met Ralph and Clova, which is when we started to do live shows in 2009. We’re looking to play as many as we can nowadays and we’ve got some supports coming up later this year with The Hawklords and some more in the works.

AI: You mentioned playing live with Alan Davey and Pre-Med. How did that come about?

KH: Alan mailed me on the myspace site back then asking would I be interested in trying out for a band of his mates, which turned out to be Danny Faulkner and Pre-med. I was only really a kind of stand in for live shows and we did two Sonic Rock Solstice Festivals together. I grew up listening to Alan Davey’s bass playing and music so it was supercool to do it, the same as when I played with Nik Turner. I just thought ‘hey wow!’ (laughs), but I first met Alan around 1996 when he’d just left Hawkwind (the first time) and he was playing with Bedouin at a show in Chester, England. It was a great set, although I ended up getting a little too out of it afterwards, falling over into tables and stuff with the obligatory psychedelic yodel. Years later when we were in rehearsals for Pre-med he mentioned it! (laughs). But I think Alan Davey is an amazing bass player and songwriter and I’m pleased that we got to blast out some space rock ‘n roll together.

AI: The first four (pre-2012) albums aren’t available on your Bandcamp page. Any plans to reissue them?

KH: the Shelter albums were a limited run for the charity only really. The Astral Sea Shanties album will be remastered for reissue release at some point as we’d like it to be a better mixed and edited down representation of that album. Possibly the Various Hang Up’s & Issues album too. We just need to schedule some free time to get all that stuff happening at some point but from Astral Sea Shanties onwards the Civilian Zen disography will be completed.

AI: Tell Lie Vision is the new Civilian Zen album. You said it’s a concept album. Can you talk about the story it’s telling?

KH: it’s a concept myself and Mark sketched out. It’s subjective I guess, as it’s just looking at the way of how vacuous, empty, new low programmes seem to distract some people’s attention away from the real things that need addressing, like the environment and the state of the planet, the economic problems. We’re just kind of channelling all this into one piece of work and I think we got there with this album. It’s as much satirical as it is environmental an album and I guess you could almost see the songs as different programmes being watched by the person changing the channels throughout the album. The channel switching edits between most of album tracks keeps this cohesive thread of said subjects running throughout the album.

AI: I know it’s going to be a digital release, but you mentioned that you would like to do a double vinyl edition. Any chance of that happening? I think this would make a killer vinyl release.

KH: It sure would. We actually paced the album like it was a double vinyl album. We used that as a template for the running order of the album I guess, like if it was on vinyl. Side three would start with Harvest Glitch, that kind of thing, but who knows? We’re planning hard copy digipack CD’s of the album at some point. It’s all down to sales to finance that kind of thing, as we’re putting the album out through our own digital label called Intact Recordings.

AI: I think the first time I heard your name outside of Civilian Zen was with Neil Whitehead’s Vert:x. How involved were you with that? Did you ever perform live with Vert:x?

KH: Yes I did lots of live shows with Vert:x. I was involved with Vert:x for around four years and around three releases think, plus the stuff on the Fruits De Mer Records albums on the psychedelic coloured marble vinyl releases they put out which was cool. I had a blast playing with Vert:x, though I decided to leave after a not very good (i.e. awful) show that I didnt want to play in the first place at all. My thinking was that the Onboard The Craft Festival in late 2012, where we had Nik Turner guesting with us onstage, would be a good one to see out the year with, but Neil had this gig already happening and set to go I guess. It was an awful sound and not the right type of venue as it was a pub; no lights and all that. Although some of our good friends from the festivals came to see us which was nice. But after fighting our way through a shrill of a sound through a cut short set there were a few arguments after it (laughs), so that was that really… I thought I brought a lot to the band with my guitar soundscapes and style, but i think Vert:X is Neil’s band and vision really and I respect what he does with that focus. It’s kind of always been a loose band of players I guess with Fred Laird on guitar before me too, but with Vince now on guitar, who is a great player, and their new EP sounds really good so I wish them all the best and long may they continue. Civilian Zen had Rich Om (Vertx) on FX with us at the Hastrek Festival last year so that was really cool and we’re hopeing Rich can do more with us in the future.

AI: You’ve released a few solo albums under the Oceanfire moniker. These albums covered a great deal of stylistic ground, some of it dramatically different from one release to the next. Is Oceanfire intended as an outlet for various creative needs?

KH: Going back to Vert:x (laughs)… it was basically all my demos I had written for Vertx, some of which we played live but never recorded (apart from 44khz‘ on the Live Transmissions EP), so, I just wanted to put them out really with a collection of other stuff I had recorded along those lines. Some Oceanfire stuff is collaboration, with Rob Pullan guesting on the KHZ4 (glissorchestrations) album which was cool and gave some of the tracks a different perspective. Most of the Oceanfire music is free too on the bandcamp page and the Elevations track was on the Strange Fish Vol.5 CD on Fruits De Mer Records this year. I’m not sure if there will be any more Oceanfire releases in the future, but if there is enough bits of music left around which would be suitable for the Oceanfire project as an EP or album then maybe.

AI: I was reading one of Jeff Fitzgerald’s Oceanfire reviews and he mentioned another band of yours, Signified, which he described as Metal. Tell me about that.

KH: Signified is my main band where I play drums. I would say we have a metal edge but incorporate electronica and different styles. We’ve released two EP’s and currently working on new material. We’ve toured the UK extensiveley, and Europe, with recently a tour and recording on the East Coast USA a year back, but lot’s of new stuff happening.

AI: Anything else you’ve been involved in that we should know about or future plans you care to share?

KH: Lots! (laughs) I recently completed a track for the forthcoming Spirits Burning & Cyrille Verdeaux / Clearlight album which I think will be released early 2015. I’m looking forward to that, having guested on the Spirits Burning Bloodlines album in 2009. Theres also been a new Flesh Resonance album, Carrion Worlds’ Vol.1, just released with Tony Longworth and myself working on the following Volumes 2 & 3.

Some more that come to mind recently are Gene Serene. She’s an influential electronica artist who I’ve been working on and co-producing. Some tracks with that so far sound fantastic. And some musical ideas with Ian O’Brien, a singer-songwriter who amongst other bands was in The Action Transfers (80’s indie alternative rock legends). And we’re planning on working on some songs together at some point soon for an EP or even an album. There’s always something in the works pretty much (laughs), which always keeps things fresh, forward looking and interesting to me.

Thanks for the interview Jerry.

Keith Hill Disography

Morbid Symphony
* KH: drums, electronics, vocals, some guitars on later works

Evil Cares For It’s Own (EP 1991)
Permanence In Dark Earth (vinyl single 1993)
The Obscue Depths Of Light (EP 1994)
The Obscure Depths Of Remixes (EP 1994)
Delirium (single 1996)
Deliriumixes (EP 1996)
Morbid Symphony vs Skinflick (EP 1997)
Seasons Past (album 1998)
Unto The Labyrinth (bonus album 2015 with the forthcoming ‘Delirium’ documentry)
(compilation albums)
Morbid Symphony The Collecction 1 (album 2001)
Morbid Symphony The Collection 2 (album 2002)

SCF (Spiders Can Fly)
* KH: drums, guitars, programming, sampler

The First Five SCF EP’s
(1991-1993) Collection (album upload collection 1994. As yet not reissued)
Cor Blimey (EP 1995)
Live Blimey (album 1995)
SCF Give It To You Good And Propa! (EP 1998)
Final Spiders (EP 2002)
The Worst Of Spiders Can Fly (selected tracks) Vol.1 (album upload on YouTube 2014)
The Worst Of Spiders Can Fly (selected tracks)
Vol.2 (album upload on YouTube 2014)

The Tree Trunks
* KH: drums

Fancy A Hoot Neef? (EP 1992) (lost tapes)
We Arrrr All Eee Unnks (EP 1993) (lost tapes)

Flesh Resonance
* KH: guitars, vocals, programming, keyboards, drums, percussion, soundscapes, fx

The Dark Between The Stars (2002)
The Feast Of Shadows (album 2004)
The Aeon EP (free download EP 2005)
Alchemy The Remixes Vol.1 (2005)
Scriptures Of The Black Sea’s (2010)
Carrion Worlds Vol.1 (album 2014)
Carrion Worlds Vol.2 (album 2015 forthcoming release)
Carrion Worlds Vol.3 (album 2015 forthcoming release)

* KH: drums

Generation 2k (EP 2000)

Twin Method
* KH: drums, electronics

Spiral Wound (the live Studio Sessions) (EP 2001)
Guilty Opinion (promo EP 2001)
Adjust…Then Control (album 2002 unreleased)

* KH: drums, percussion, electronics, occasional backing vocals

The Invasion Of Piracy (EP 2006)
Signified (2010)
TwentyTwelve (EP 2012)
Detour (single 2014. forthcoming release)

* KH: guitars, vocals, programming, fx, soundscapes

Ggantija (EP 2009)
Transmissions UT (EP 2011)
(compilation albums)
Roqueting Throgh Space (Fruits De Mer Records 2011)
Head Music (Fruits De Mer Records 2012)
Unwashed Territoritys Compilation (2010)
Live At The Fellfoot Wood Equinox Paradox Festival 2011 (live bootleg on dimeadozen website 2011 )

* KH: guitars, programming, synths, fx, keyboards, drums

A Set Of Songs (part 1) (EP 2012)
A Set Of Songs (part 2) (EP 2013)
Exit/Rejuvenations (album 2013)
Khz4 (glissorchestrations) (album 2013)
Telex (EP 2013)
(compilation albums)
Strange Fish Vol.5 (Fruits De Mer Records 2013)

Civilian Zen
* KH: guitars, vocals, programming, fx, synths, keyboards

Songs For Shelter (album 2006)
Return To Shelter (album 2007)
Astral Sea Shanties (album 2008)
Various Hang Up’s & Issues (album 2009)
Temporal Solutions Inc. (as Continuum) (album 2011) (unreleased)
New Worlds (album 2012)
Other Worlds EP (EP 2013)
Inner/Outerworlds-The Remixes (EP 2013)
Live Voids EP (free download EP 2014)
Outerspheres/Austerity Axe (free download single 2014)
Tell Lie Vision (album 2014)
Tell Dub Visions (limited album bonus 2014) (a limited bonus album of the Tell Lie Vision album remixed by Citizen Zen in dub. Limited to the first 50 downloads of the album.)

Other Collaborations/Guesting on:

Spirits Burning
* KH: guitars, programming, fx

Bloodlines (by Bridget Wishart & Spirits Burning) (album 2009)
ClearLight & Spirits Burning (forthcoming album 2015)

The Protocol
* KH: programming, fx, synths, guitars

Synergy (album 2012)
Forward Through Reason (promo upload single 2012)
Egopolis (forthcoming album 2015)

Forthcoming collaborations with: Gene Serene,Ian O’Brien & more in 2014 & into 2015.

Some Remixes:

Karl Bartos (Kraftwek/Solo) -15 minutes of fame – KH mix) (an upload remix on the official audio visual gallery on Karl Bartos website gallery 2009)

Jesus Jones -culture vulture – (KH remix) (an upload remix on the official Jesus Jones website 2004)

Skinflick – The Reckoning (KH remix) (halo of flies album 2005)

Roman Jugg – she is (upload YouTube remix 2012)


Civilian Zen Bandcamp site:

Civilian Zen on Facebook:


Signified East Cost U.S. representation:

Flesh Resonance:


Reviews and interview conducted by Jerry Kranitz

The Main Sequence – s/t (self-released, 2014, CD/Download)

The Main Sequence is an ambient prog-psych duo from Iowa consisting of Joel David Palmer (guitar, sound processing, and loops) and Joshua Alan Weiner (Moog, Mellotron, guitar, bass, percussion, and loops). Their debut album consists of four lengthy, spaced out live improvisations.

I wanted at first to compare it to Zeit, Tangerine Dream’s classic of dark ambient space music. Certainly the opening track, Camelopardalis has a Zeit kind of vibe to it, as dark waves of sonorous drones wash over wiry, cosmic noodling. But from there, things change. The Star of Courage is built around a gritty bass sequence. Not really Berlin school though. This is grungier, earthy in a way, but still out there in space. Weaving around and through it are Pink Floyd-esque guitars… wailing, groaning and sighing, singing the anthems of dead worlds lost in time. Triple Indus Sunrise, as its title would suggest, is a brighter piece. It starts out quietly in a tranquil space punctuated with brief rays of light. While initially quite minimalist, it eventually builds into a lush soundscape of flowing waters, cosmic drones, and trippy, sunshine psychedelic synths, heralding in the alien sunrise. The final piece keeps the bright tones alive. Over a rambling, vague sequence, synths swell and guitars explore dreamy, Mellotron spacescapes, eventually drifting off into a starry wilderness.

Despite the moments of sunshine (including the very bright cover art!), this, overall, is perfect music to kick back at night with the headphones on and just let it take you away to unknown dimensions and alien sonic worlds. This is the real stuff! Highly recommended!

For more info, visit:

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

Sendelica – “Live at Crabstock Wales 2014″ (FRG/Friends Of The Fish 2014, CD/LP/Download)

Held on April 26 of this year at the UFO Club, Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales, Crabstock was a gathering of bands that have recorded for the Fruits de Mer label. In addition to Sendelica the lineup included Earthling Society, Crystal Jacqueline, and Jack Ellister (I think that was all). Live at Crabstock Wales 2014 documents Sendelica’s performance, and what a smoker it is.

Sendelica come roaring out of the starting gate with a brief heavy intro, before launching into a monstrously Space-Acid-Metal rocking 16 minute version of Manhole Of The Universe, which at times recalls Guru Guru at their most cosmic, incorporates spaced out 70s Hard Rock, and I always dig that wailing jazzy Sendelica sax. The band eases the pace, if not the intensity with the next tune, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Buddha. The sax leads the way, soon joined by guitar and synths, and it’s all propelled by a chunky driving rhythmic pulse. After a few minutes the guitar and sax launch into the main riff from Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, sounding like a Space-Metal version of Gong covering the Pink Floyd classic. Motorik Jam is a blazing but swinging rocker played against a… you guessed it… Motorik pulse. Screaming And Streaming Into The Starlit Nite is a Space-Rock/Lounge-Jazz jam that rocks hard but is also a swoon inducing crooner. The Return Of The Maggot Brain is Sendelica’s cover of Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain, originally released on a Fruits de Mer single (backed with Venus in Furs) and performed here live for the first time. Sendelica are faithful to the spirit of the original, but amp up the acid guitar and add fun electronic effects. And closing the set is the stoned, jamming, acidic space rocking Spaceman Bubblegum.

God damn, I wish I was there. I’ve been following Sendelica for years and they deliver the goods live. The album is available in LP, CD and download editions, and if you visit their Bandcamp site you’ll see various configurations, including a box set.

To stream and order visit the Sendelica web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Earthling Society – “England Have My Bones” (Riot Season 2014, LP/Cassette/Download)

Earthling Society celebrates their tenth anniversary with yet another winner, England Have My Bones, available in LP, cassette and download editions on the Riot Season label.

The album opens with Aiwass, which begins as an Eastern influenced, mind-bendingly grooving stroll through the Space-Psych bazaars of the ancients, with slowly weaving drones, sitar-ish strings and ethnic percussion. The music jams quietly yet intensely for a few minutes before exploding into a Psychedelically volcanic burst of densely rocking waves that pour into the listener like a sonic hurricane, and ending with a 2 minute acid guitar freakout. Tortuga follows and is a steady paced but thunderous rocking Psychedelic groove tune that is just as acid drenched as it is gently melodic. There’s a lot happening on this song, with swirling acidic waves, tenderly rolling drones, lots of freaky effects, vocals, and a whimsical carnival-esque finale.

Earthling Society reveal more of their influences with a killer cover of Alice Coltrane’s Journey In Satchindananda, a marvel of Psychedelic infused Jazz when it was released in 1970. The band open their homage with the same sitar-like drone as the original, but this is quickly overcome by some seriously mind-fucked acid guitar. The band maintains the same slow melodic riff, pace and jazzy feel as Coltrane, but take it into heavy Psychedelic Space Rock territory. The bass and drums continually recall the original, but the guitar and alien effects are busting out in space, stretching Coltrane’s 7 minutes into a monstrous 15 minutes of cosmically acidic, high intensity ROCK. This is my idea of lovingly and creatively reinterpreting someone’s music. Finally, the title track starts off as a keyboard and machine shop freakout that’s like Sun Ra gone Industrial, before quite startlingly shifting to a sedately drifting bit of ethereal acoustic and sound experimental Psych.

What keeps Earthling Society consistently exciting is their ability to do something different from one release to the next while still sounding like Earthling Society, as well as the inspiration they draw from the pioneering German Krautrock bands, 60s Psychedelia, Jazz, the blanga of Hawkwind, and more, without ever sounding retro and, yes, still sounding like Earthling Society. These guys are keeping Space Rock interesting, stimulating and fresh.

For more information visit the Earthling Society web site at:
Stream samples and order online at the Riot Season Bandcamp site:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz