Archive for September 22, 2014

Guru Freakout – “Mothership” (Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra Records 2014, CD/Download)

Here’s the backstory: Jurgen Engler of the German industrial band Die Krupps, and who was participated in Nik Turner’s Space Gypsy album, is friends with Krautrock legend Mani Neumeier, drummer and founding member of Guru Guru. Engler apparently resides in Austin, Texas and is also friends with Scott Telles of ST 37. In late 2012 Mani came to Austin to record and play a show Engler had organized. Telles asked Engler if he could meet Mani and next thing you know they’re jamming and recording and the result is the Mothership album.

As you can imagine this is all about classic Kosmiche Krautrock jamming. Notre Dame (Mothership) goes immediately into space, with acid laced wailing and whining guitar. The rhythmic pace starts off slow but steady but soon starts to rock out harder, with Mani’s drums having a jazzy rocking quality and Telles laying down trademark ST 37 grooving bass riffage. Engler’s guitar explores non-stop, tripping out wildly in space, cranking out solos and creating cosmic soundscapes, and throughout sounding like he’s possessed alternately by the spirits of Ax Genrich and Manual Gottsching. A whacking 31 minutes of cosmic jamming bliss. In email communication with Telles I learned that this was the only track on the album recorded in the studio. With the exception of one live track the rest of the album was recorded in Telles’ rehearsal space with a handheld Tascam DR-1 digital recorder, though, as Telles says, “Jurgen doctored it up so well it sounds sonically comparable to the studio piece!” And sure enough, as the nearly 14 minute The Snows of Mt. Bonnell jams away I can’t detect any sound quality differences. This jam continues in similar spirit but gets much more intensely rocking at times and Engler cranks out some incredibly mind-blowing solos.

The remaining three tracks are listed as bonuses, available on the CD only, which I don’t really understand because they are also available on the download and I see no evidence (yet) of an LP edition. A Little Bit Spacier seems an odd title because I can’t imagine these guys going any further into space than they already have. But then I hear Mani’s voice at the beginning asking if they can do precisely that, which is accomplished with the addition of some fun bubbling synth action on this slowly grooving melodic jam. And then we have two versions of Elektrolurch – Mutation, which is a play on the classic Guru Guru track Der Elektrolurch. The first was recorded in Telles’ rehearsal space and the second during a live performance at the Salvage Vanguard in Austin. I chuckled when at the beginning of the live version Mani says this is probably the 957th variation of the song. Of the two versions on the album I definitely like the live one best as its way more spirited and intense and has some crazy electronics.

Overall this is like Guru Guru at their most spaced out, with bits of Ash Ra Tempel at their most freeform jamming, the most effects laden portions of Hawkwind’s Space Ritual, and the Punk pulse of ST 37. Guru FREAKOUT indeed!

For more information and to order the CD or download editions visit, or CLICK HERE to go directly to the Guru Freakout page.

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Charles Rice Goff III & Michael LaGrega – “Organic Matter in the Midst of Space” (Taped Rugs Productions 2014, CD/Download)

Organic Matter in the Midst of Space is an EP consisting of two space excursions by the duo of Charles Rice Goff III and Michael LaGrega, recorded at LaGrega’s studio in Leawood, Kansas on June 5, 2014. I just reviewed the latest from the Basement Of Extra Power trio of Goff, LaGrega and Allan McGinty, recorded just one month later.

Goff and LaGrega’s space journeys aren’t quite as freaky and surreal Basement Of Extra Power, but there’s nothing run of the mill about this as the duo pack their creations with plenty of strange sounds and a varied assortment occurring at once. The first track, 129 To Nall, features an underlying, gradually phased drone over which a banquet of alien sounds flitter, shimmer and float, including some cool Frippoid soundscape guitar. The Book Of Toluene combines a Tangerine Dreamy sequenced pattern with howling and swelling cavernous atmospherics and shooting star electronics. There’s a symphonic segment I liked with an orchestral melody that played alongside the soundscapes and effects, later joined by what sounded like a spaced out saxophone and some haunting voice samples, making for a cool and strange brew. Maybe a good soundtrack to a story of the lone survivor in the bowels of a space station experiencing the onset of madness. Good fun image inducing space treks.

Organic Matter in the Midst of Space can be downloaded for free at:
If you are interested in a CD, email Charles at:
For a mind boggling array of information and catalog of releases dating back over 30 years, visit the Taped Rugs Productions web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Basement Of Extra Power – “Spots Of Spurious Rot” (Taped Rug Productions 2014, CD/Download)

Basement Of Extra Power is the trio of Michael LaGrega, Allan McGinty, and Charles Rice Goff III, whose first self-titled effort was released last year (CLICK HERE to read my comments). Between them they play guitar, bass, synths, keyboards, and a variety of samples, loops, effects, preparations and toys, all of which get a sweaty workout on these recordings made July 10, 2014 at Michael LaGrega’s studio in Leawood, Kansas

Spots Of Spurious Rot consists of two tracks and nearly 50 minutes. The electronics and effects run riot right out of the chute on Blind Spot In Your Mind, like the Forbidden Planet soundtrack merged with an alien circus band. The bass jams along ploddingly, providing a doped rhythmic pulse, as various effects flitter and buzz about, and a computerized voice crops up with bits of narration. This is busy stuff, with multiple elements running parallel. There are floating space electronics that remind me of early Alien Planetscapes, simultaneously accompanied by a Jazzy keyboard, but then an almost symphonic, spaced out Proggy keyboard. The bass gets pretty wild at times and nicely distorted as it continues to anchor and propel the flow of the music. The effects and voice samples come fast and furious, and along with the underlying musical drift it all conjures up some freakishly surreal imagery, all of it not of this world.

Defenestration continues in the same spirit, but at seemingly higher volume and intensity. I like the powerful heavenly symphonic space keys, fractured noise blasts, and on-going parade of voices and effects. The bass continues to lead the way and gets downright groove rocking, and the overall sensation is of a 50s sci-fi avant-arthouse alien insane asylum theme. That’s the effect (on my brain anyway) of bringing together so much at once and somehow making it all work. Like the previous Basement Of Extra Power album this is a fun listen, though full attention is required to appreciate what these guys have stitched together.

Spots Of Spurious Rot can be downloaded for free at:
If you are interested in a CD, email Charles at:
For a mind boggling array of information and catalog of releases dating back over 30 years, visit the Taped Rugs Productions web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Kikagaku Moyo – “Mammatus Clouds” (Captcha Records 2014, 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 I reviewed it earlier this year when it was reissued on LP by Cosmic Eye and Sound Effect Records. CLICK HERE to read my review.

That LP and the next Kikagaku Moyo album – Mammatus Clouds – now have vinyl releases in the U.S. through Captcha Records. The first album consisted of tracks in the 4-7 minute range and a combination of trippy and heavy acid rocking music. With the exception of one short song that combines Acid Rock with a Hawkwind styled Blanga drive, Mammatus Clouds is dominated by two lengthy tracks, the first stretching out to 28 minutes and the second at nearly 17 minutes.

Adorn yourself with your most flowing robes, fire up the hookah and rev up your magic carpet because the epic Pond explores the trippiest regions of Psychedelia. You’ll want your space helmet too because this sucker stretches right out into the cosmos. Sitar, heavily efx’d guitar, droning soundscapes, chants and rumbling percussion trip along and gradually build in volume, tension and Psychedelic potency, like a meeting of early Amon Düül II and The Spacious Mind outside the Taj Mahal. Things get mightily explosive as the music reaches feverish pitches of spaced out and acidicly corrosive frenzy, only to recede into a dreamy yet equilibrium challenged space excursion with soloing sitar and guitar.

Never Know maintains the Indian theme but is more melodically song-like, with sitar and what sounds like a play on The Beatles He Said She Said. There’s also a Psychedelic use of dissonance and off-kilter rhythm that recalls The Velvet Underground at their most experimental and adds a welcome sense of lysergic disorientation. It all eventually develops into a beautifully mesmerizing symphony of sitars that seem to drone away melodically in some floating nether region between angelic heaven and cosmic space. And damned if it doesn’t sound like the underlying chant vocals are actually singing He Said She Said! File under ultra freaky and mucho deep space Psychedelic.

Note to U.S. based vinyl junkies. Captcha LPs are VERY reasonably priced.

To stream, download and order both LPs, as well as many other excellent Captcha Records releases visit:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Marblewood – s/t (Taliesyn Productions 2014, CD/LP/Download)

Marblewood are the Swiss trio of Marc Walser on guitar and vocals, Ariane Bertogg on bass, and David Zurbuchen on drums, with guests adding dilruba and esraj (Indian stringed instruments) and heavy duty organ. Walser and Bertogg were previously in the heavy Psych rock band Ginger and Marblewood’s music is not dramatically different from that band, being heavily 70s influenced. The album consists of 6 tracks, ranging from 8 – 21 minutes, making for a full 70 minute set.

Kailish starts off in Stoner Rock mode with slow but passionate guitar leads. After a couple minutes of song segment the band go into a Hard Rock but still stoned guitar solo jam. After a couple more minutes the rhythm section and organ go into a high energy Santana inspired groove jam, soon shifting to a Deep Purple/Uriah Heep theme, before returning to the opening Stoner song motif. Hit The Brakes features heavy driving Purple/Heep Hard Rock with killer dueling guitar and organ leads. But the song portion and the closing jam are soulful, with an underlying quiet tension and a steamy Psych lead from Walser. Splendour goes in a different direction, creating a strained, droning, Eastern tinged Psychedelic vibe, though it has a lurking Rock groove. The vocals from guest singer Sarah Weibel provide an interesting contrast to the Psychedelia, though the pace eventually picks up as the rhythm section starts to rock out and Walser goes into a whirling devish solo, accompanied by the Indian instruments and power drumming. Silence is another soulfully rocking tune with extended jams that include swoon inducing organ and monster wah’d guitar leads. Postwar Apocalypse is a heavy Prog-Psych epic that opens with a doomy but rockin’ Stoner vibe that perfectly fits the song title. The guitar has a cool dirty sound that reminds me of Stefan from Colour Haze. I love the way the music zigzags between intense Hard Psych, Jazz bits, and Funk grooves. It’s quite a ride and easily my favorite track of the set. Finally, In The Beginning is a 21 minute freeform jam that makes for a potent close to the set. After an extended atmospheric buildup, the band let their hair down and segue through a parade of 70s styled Rock, including cool grooving Funk-Psych, Psychedelic Santana, Prog infused Hard Rock, and more. If you want a guitar and organ overdose this sucker fits the bill. It reminded me a lot of the German band Space Debris. If you like 70s influenced heavy Prog and Psych inspired Hard Rock you’ll surely dig Marblewood.

For more information on the band and purchasing the CD or LP, visit the Marblewood web site at:
Note that the digital version of the album can be downloaded for free.

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

onYou – “Ultimum Photon A Sole” (Captcha Records 2014, CD/LP/Download)

Though the band is new to me, Ultimum Photon A Sole is the seventh album on the Captcha label from Chicago based quintet onYou.

The album consists of 4 tracks and around 35 minutes. The set opens with A Grift, a nearly 12 minute song that’s jam packed with variety. It’s spacey, with a bit of a Motorik pulse. There are Krautrock elements in a Can meets Neu! way. The keyboards are space-symphonic at times, giving the music a Prog edge, but also can be whimsically alien. There are also atmospheric and sometimes freaky Psychedelic segments, as well as an overall accessible Pop feel. If these descriptions sound a bit all over the place it’s not; everything flows quite seamlessly on this Space-Kraut-Pop tune.

Finding the Wronskien is next and is a powerhouse rocker that brings to mind a meeting of early Korai Orom and Circle. The bass and drums are firmly at the helm, propelling the music, as the spaced out and often manic soloing guitar and electronics add color and character and contribute to the fury. I like the bouncy, grooving tribal finale which ends abruptly but immediately launches into The Wronskien, which is really a continuation of the previous track though varying on the theme. It’s a wild rocker with killer, relentlessly soloing guitar, but also an overall tribal feel due to the chant-like vocals. These two tracks together are real SMOKERS!

Adrift On The Wind consists of spacey heavy rocking Prog, and the only track with actual vocals/lyrics. It’s got a high energy drive that’s similar to A Grift, and communicates a white knuckled intensity that kept me on the edge of my seat until reeling in and transitioning to a more ambient but still rocking mode with a grooving but complex and interesting interplay between the guitars and keys. Great stuff. I really need to backtrack and check out these guys previous works.

For more information visit the Captcha Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

The Star Diaries – “Summers in Andromeda” (self-released 2014, Download)

The Star Diaries are the Canadian duo of Jeff Fitzgerald and Dean Marino. Between them they play an array of instruments including electric and acoustic guitars, bass, keyboards, synths, ektara, harmonium, percussion, and ghopi-chand. I’d never heard of a ghopi-chand and Googling it just turned up some Bollywood actor. When I asked Fitzgerald about it he shared that the ghopi-chand and ektara are single stringed instruments he purchased at an Indian music store in Toronto and these are the names they were given. I found that interesting.

Summers in Andromeda is a concept album that tells the story of a space traveler, though it could be any traveler, or even just a life journey, who takes a step beyond what he knows. That’s the core theme. Transit Through the Alamak System opens with deep space atmospherics, effects, rocking percussion and an acoustic guitar twang that gives the music a cosmic Spaghetti Western vibe. This is followed by Deepest Sleep, which starts out as pure soundscapes and atmosphere, with light tinkling and drones, before introducing a somber yet catchy keyboard melody.

Both these tunes set the stage for the epic 23 minute Summers in Andromeda. The feeling of melancholy continues, though it’s not altogether sad, as the melody is uplifting and the music has a Pink Floyd feel though with far more cosmic keys and the effects inject an alien sensation. Then around the 4 minute mark the music transitions from somber to pure joy as we launch into a strumming acoustic guitar and spacey keyboard driven groove. The theme continues to evolve and the entire feel is that of Psychedelically pastoral Prog Rock. The acoustic guitar is quite beautiful and I like the way it combines with the spacey effects, and later a lovely flute/mellotron sounding melody. We also traverse through extended soundscape and effects segments, my favorites being one that includes chirping birds, creating the feel of a dark cosmic forest, and another that has a classic early Tangerine Dream sound.

Some of the melodies seem to be screaming out for vocals, and indeed one of the key melodies is revisited on the following song, One Summer in Andromeda, which is the sole vocal track of the set and a beautifully flowing, bucolically spacey Prog-Psych tune. Long Gone August is a short, spaced out and trippy melodic piece that leads into the 14+ minute Mind of Ptah. Ptah was the Egyptian creator god and sure enough, right away the music consists of Eastern influenced Psych, courtesy of ethnic percussion and the one stringed ghopi-chand, ultimately launching into a spaced out dance of the Pharaohs realm with acidic guitar, cosmic Prog keys, and intense spaced out electronic effects. In search of ancient astronauts indeed. Naturally the music evolves through multiple themes. I especially like the Space-Prog jam with cool rocking Dave Gilmour styled guitar solo, which sounds great along with the grooving tribal percussion and alien effects. Finally, In the Fragile Light closes the set on a spiritually uplifting note, with acoustic guitar that has a George Harrison My Sweet Lord feel, and is accompanied by wah’d Psych guitar, symphonic keys and a rocking beat. A happy ending.

In summary, Summers in Andromeda is an enjoyable and well done set of Space Rock inspired Progressive Rock. I like the solid melodies and Fitzgerald and Marino do a good job of thematic development on their extended tracks. That said, while the album holds up admirably being predominantly instrumental, I do think it could have stood for more vocals, especially given the strength of the singing and lyrics on One Summer in Andromeda. But that’s just something for our dynamic duo to consider for (hopefully) future albums.

To stream and download visit The Star Diaries Bandcamp site at:
Note the invitation to “Name Your Price”, which allows you to make a contribution or simply help yourself.

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Spaceseed – “The Fraternal Order Of” (Self-Released 2014, CD)

It’s been 5 years since the last Spaceseed album, Architects of Twilight, and the Georgia based good ‘ol boys of Space Rock have reemerged with a stunner. Things got pretty exciting for the band this summer when they jetted across the pond to play the Sonic Rock Solstice festival in the UK, and now the new album, The Fraternal Order Of. Check out the stellar list of guests that help make it all come together – Bridget Wishart, Alan Davey, Alisa Coral, Cyndee Lee Rule, Steve Hayes, and Astro Al contributing some of the lyrics.

The album opens with the full bore Metal assault of Driving Force, which includes a Space Rock jamming mid-section. What They Need Me To Be goes in a different direction, being a tense deep space soundscape and effects excursion with hypnotic narration by Bridget and Cyndee’s screaming Viper violin. They Laughed At The Academy is one of the highlight songs, consisting of heavy driving Hawkwind inspired Space Rock, including vocals by Bridget and Alan on bass. It’s got oodles of freaky electronic effects and voices, all quite craftily incorporated to feel multi-layered and intense but not overdone. Hanger 6 is a short soundscapes, drones and effects interlude that leads into the chunky yet swinging space rock ‘n rolling, and later Metallic rocking Werewolves Of Cascade. Killer guitars! The Empire Of Night is a reworked version of a song from the 2007 Spaceseed album of the same name. The core riff is a monster, and the combination of Astro Al’s lyrics and Radio Ray’s intensely narrative vocals give it a Robert Calvert/Space Ritual vibe on this Space-Metal heavy rocker. The Fraternal Order is a spaced out Punk-Industrial rock ‘n roller that sounds like something from an early Chrome album. Capsule is a high intensity cinematic soundscapes and effects parade that serves as a transition to The Future, which is a reworked and extended version of a song from the 2004 Spaceseed album Future Cities Of The Past Pt. 1. It’s a good time swingin’ Space Rock ‘n Roller that feels like a dance party in the cosmos, and then detours into a Tangerine Dreamy sequenced section with flittering alien effects and whispery narrative from Bridget. Finally, The Last Laugh starts off as pastoral Space-Folk, with beautiful flowing acoustic guitars, dreamy effects and light touch vocals by Bridget, before launching into a hot ‘n heavy Space Rock dirge that brings us to the conclusion.

In summary, this is hands down the best effort from Spaceseed yet. Great songs and instrumentals and outstanding use of effects. Very well constructed and produced. A shoe-in for my Best of 2014 list.

The CD is currently available through Ebay UK. CLICK HERE to order.
A U.S. release is in the works and this space will be updated as soon as it is.

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Kanoi – “From The City To The Stars” (Clostridium Records 2014, LP/Download)

Kanoi is the one man band of Austrian musician Benjamin Kantschieder. From The City To The Stars is my introduction to his music but there are over a dozen releases available at his Bandcamp site, all recorded since he started the project in 2011.

There’s quite a variety of music on the album and showcasing the diversity of styles that Kanoi is about is Kantschieder’s intention with this 6 track collection. The title track opens the set and is a blend of classic early Black Sabbath Stoner riffage and 70s Hard Rock with a chunky rocking Psychedelic edge. I like the raw and ballsy yet trippy feel. And we’re treated to a very tasty sludgy Hendrix meets Dave Gilmour guitar solo. Cracks is next and is far more gentle and trippy. I like the combination of acoustic guitar and often spacey Bluesy electric guitar, which provide the melodic Psychedelic backdrop for Kantschieder’s dreamy vocals. Witch Mt. closes the A side and is a very cool dirty Blues-Psych rock ‘n roller with nicely spaced out guitar and screamin’ licks. Obstacles starts off as an acoustic guitar driven song with a powerful Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here vibe. But Kantschieder goes into far more interesting territory as he adds effects, ultimately making this a quite beautiful and dreamy Psych song, and includes a scrumptious Blues-Psych solo. Floyd-ish… but more. The Heather Blazing returns to dirty Bluesy stoned Psych-Rock mode. Despite the rawness of the music, Kantschieder manages to retain a dreamy feel, perhaps due to the vocals and the way the stoned vibe both chugs and flows. I like the contrast. And we’ve got more tastily ripping guitar solos. Finally, except for the acid drenched finale, Suspicions Aside is pure Space-Blues, but also powerfully recalls Porcupine Tree circa Sky Moves Sideways. Overall a nice variety of raw Psych rock and dreamier songs. I’ll have to explore more from Kanoi.

Vinyl junkies should note that the LP comes in a numbered edition of 500 – 200 black, 200 red-black marbled, and 100 die hard edition housed in a cotton tote bag. Each comes with a download code.

For information on purchasing the LP visit the Clostridium Records web site at:
Stream and download this and many other Kanoi releases at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Buffalo Tooth – “Gardeners of the Devil’s Lettuce” (Captcha Records 2014, CD/LP)

Buffalo Tooth are the San Francisco based trio of Greg Downing on guitar and vocals, Eric Kang on bass, and Sean Grange on drums. Gardeners of the Devil’s Lettuce is their debut full length.

This is seriously high octane Psych-Thrash that’s like Acid Mothers Temple meets Motorhead with a dash of Link Wray and a dose of the 80s band X. The songs are short, typically in the 2 minute range, and pack a monster punch to the gut. Nearly every song is loaded with steroidal, tripped out and punked out guitar solos, which I love. These guys are manic but tight as a knot. They can really play. The 13 song set is barely 30 minutes long but it’ll leave you feeling like you’d just run with the bulls. What really impressed me was Buffalo Tooth’s ability to create brief, compact, blitzkrieg tunes that actually have quite a lot happening. That is, tightly wound constructions that make comfortable room for the song and rip-roaring instrumental segments and solos. On the occasions that they stretch out to 3+ minutes the songs almost become multi-themed. There’s variety too. Bank Job charges along like a hard rocking Psychobilly cheetah, before transitioning to stoned, yet amped up Black Sabbath mode. A little hed relief from the relentless onslaught. Ditto for Wet Circumstances, which rocks hard but veers into periodic Psychedelic forays. I dig the blend of 60s Surf, Psych and Punk on Smells Like Jello. And I like the spacey wigged out finale to Greenbacks. Yeah baby… Psych, Punk, Surf, Thrash, Hard Rock, Psychobilly… it’s Rock ‘n Roll!

For more information visit the Captcha Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz