Archive for November 30, 2014

Census of Hallucinations – “Imagine John Lennon” (Stone Premonitions 2014, CDR)

The latest from Census of Hallucinations is a 30 minute conceptual song cycle, which represents Part 1 of what will be a full length CD scheduled for release in 2015.

Never one to hold back on his feelings and opinions, Tim Jones’ lyrics on Imagine John Lennon are an exploration into the self; a hard look at how or why we fit into this current expression of humanity. It explores subjects such as old age, holidays, the breaking of hearts, the absence of light, the lack of love, the realization of what love is and what infatuation is. As Tim explains, “The idea behind Imagine John Lennon is to imagine the concept. John Lennon was telling us to use our imagination, so why don’t we imagine what he tried to represent in a world where there is no John Lennon? This ‘stupid, malfunctioning society’ does not have an answer because it has no imagination”. Listen closely and you’ll feel both the teeth and the heart.

The four songs on Imagine John Lennon are intended to (and do) flow like a single track and will appeal to fans of Census of Hallucinations at their most spacey and accessibly Prog-like. In Ruins is led by Tim’s alternately spoken and sung lyrics, backed by the lulling backing vocals of Terri~B and Maxine Marten. The combination of Tim’s narrative, the backing vocals, piano, acoustic guitar, and John Simms’ trippy soloing Blues guitar is dreamily surreal. We also have guest narration from Tim and Terri’s son James Jones, who recites his poem Lost In The Lakes. The track winds down with weird vocals and effects, tempered by Terri and Maxine’s serene harmonies, smoothly transitioning into the beautifully melodic, spacey drift of Conspiracy of Silence. The fusion of atmospherics, effects, and Simms’ Jazz-Psych guitar leads is an intoxicating brew, and the ante is upped on the spacey, jazzy, Bluesy, soulful, yet cosmically surreal Faculty of Mirrors. Wrapping up the set is He Who Can Manage Camels, which consists of spacey orchestral, melodic Progressive Rock, with trippy backing vocals and an awesomely freaky Psychedelic finale. I’ll be looking forward to the full production in the new year.

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Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Sharon Crutcher – “Brilliant Shroud” (Reverb Worship 2014, CD)

Sharon Crutcher is the space whispering and equal parts bewitching/angelic vocalist in Austin, Texas band Book of Shadows. I heard last year that she was working on a solo album and it’s finally been completed and released on CD by the Reverb Worship label. Brilliant Shroud includes a dozen songs, some featuring Sharon solo, some with hubby and Book of Shadows co-member Carlton Crutcher, and some with assistance from members of Book of Shadows and ST 37.

Set opener Smoke and Mirrors consists of floating, Gothic, lightly symphonic synths and a pulsating robotic electronic pattern that lay the foundation for Sharon’s whispery half sung/half spoken vocals. It’s haunting, yet strangely uplifting, like some kind of New Age cosmic Wicca ceremony. Namaste goes deep into space, with Hawkwind spacecraft engine room and whooshing/swirling effects providing the backdrop for Sharon’s earth mother spoken word message: “A light came down through the top of my head. I floated out of my body. I was pure energy. I found my true self in the stillness of the space between my thoughts”. Elephant Tree No. 1 and Love Is A Seed feature a unique brand of Psychedelic Space-Folk. Elephant Tree No. 1 is especially strong, with Sharon’s spectral songbird vocals amidst a bubbling miasma of drugged acoustic guitars, slowly soloing guitar and bass, soundscapes and effects. I like the melodic alien-Dub of Where Do We Go From Here?, with its odd but cool combination of dreamy flowing song, Dub groove, and off-kilter freaky electronic patterns. Radiant Childe is a playful adventure in sound effects and experimental space exploration, wrapped around a mystical song. Old Sweetie and Shifting to the Vth Dimension are inspiring songs that bring to mind something Enya might have recorded after taking a Space Rock master class. Sun Dog is an alluring and disorienting blend of Folk-Psych, trippy dissonance and soundscape experimentation. Krisna Mantra is a darkly cinematic experimental Space-Punk-Goth rocker. Green Briar is the sole instrumental track, consisting of moaning and howling electronics and a repetitive guitar pattern that sounds like a traditional Folk style with an avant-garde Psychedelic twist. The mixture of sci-fi and traditional elements has a strangely alluring and difficult to describe appeal. Finally, Sharon’s dreamily haunting vocals on Call to Victory float like a ghost through a mechanic sea of bubbling, pulsating and percolating alien electronics.

In summary, Brilliant Shroud grabbed me on the first listen, though I had to spin it more than most albums before I could write about it, perhaps due to the unusual blend of styles, as well as the mixture of emotions it induced. There is no simple description for this music where Space Rock, Folk-Psych, Goth, electronica and plenty of cosmic undefinables coexist. Sharon is an enchanting vocalist and has created one of the most seductively off the beaten path albums I’ve heard this year.

If all this has aroused your interest you’d best hurry because the CD has been released in a numbered edition of only 40.

For more information visit the Reverb Worship web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Lee Negin – “The Cheeze Chronicles: Volume V” (Passing Phase Records 2014, CD)

Now based in Seoul, South Korea, Lee Negin was part of the 1980s Detroit techno scene. His latest album, The Cheeze Chronicles: Volume V, is a sci-fi musical radio play of sorts, or what Negin calls a “Technopera”.

The story opens with the “Alien Dudes” bidding, “Welcome space cats and kittens, and people of the planet Earth. You are about to embark on a journey that takes place on the stage between your ears”. And from there it’s all fun, freaky and well-crafted studio pastiche electronic mayhem and songs that are like a space crazed blend of 80s New Wave, Neue Neutsche Welle, Kraftwerk and The Residents. Or maybe The War Of The Worlds broadcast meets Carl Stalling on the Planet Gong. Or possibly a Spike Jones collaboration with Hawkwind.

The songs are catchy and danceable but never stay still for long. Negin loads on the effects, creating a surrealistic cinema parade of music, sounds and voice samples, with equal focus on entertainment and disorientation. One moment we’re in what feels like an old World’s Fair World Of Tomorrow exhibit, the next a Berlin School space excursion, and then a beat driven space-rave dance floor assault, with a relentless morphing and meteor showering of voices and effects.

Following the accompanying Transmission Logue, which is formatted like a script, the story is told by aliens, though it seems to be a humorous commentary on consumer culture, the have/have not divide, and the general silliness we humans are capable of. In the end the aliens bid us a less than optimistic farewell, warning against wasting our lives in childish schemes, admonishing us for self-inflicted pain, to stop judging, and, perhaps most important, to not take ourselves so seriously. For pure fun and tongue in cheek creative coolness The Cheeze Chronicles is the best electronic album I’ve heard all year.

For more information visit the Lee Negin web site at:
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Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Space Invaders – “Invasion On Planet Z” / Space Invaders & Nik Turner – “Sonic Noise Opera” (Nasoni Records 2013/2014, CD/LP/Download)

Space Invaders are a German improvisational quintet who formed in 2010 when they met and jammed at the Burg-Herzberg Festival. Consisting of Dirk Bittner on guitar and percussion, Dirk Jan Muller on synthesizer (both Dirks are from Electric Orange), Tipi Mike on guitar and talkbox, Paul Pott on bass, and Dennis Gockel on drums, the band have done sessions with Damo Suzuki, Mani Neumeier of Guru Guru, and, more recently, Nik Turner.

Their first album, Invasion On Planet Z, documents the band’s debut gig and consists of four jams in the 17-24 minute range. Invasion is all about cosmic mood and atmosphere. The drums maintain a slow but steady pace as the dual guitars trip along, playing gliss, space-bluesy, melodic Psychedelic and efx’d licks. As the music develops the vibe gets increasingly volcanic and darkly spaced out, creating a sense of impending interstellar eruption. I like the exploratory guitars and the way they create efx’d soundscapes but also rip off a variety of melodic solos and trippy licks. The explosion never comes, but instead winds down with floating space keys and Blues guitar which melts smoothly into the next track, Surrender, and this is where things start to liven up. The rhythm section picks up the pace, cosmic keys wash over in waves, and the guitars continue their Blues jam, bringing to mind a more spaced out take on Ash Ra Tempel during their more freeform jamming moments. Though it’s all got a funky and somewhat tribal quality, mood and atmosphere still seem to be the main goal, creating a sense of head boppin’ mind massage. But after the 10 minute mark the band veer into a heavier rocking jam with a cool combination of ripping rock solos amidst an atmosphere of grooving yet acidic Psychedelic-Funk.

Invasion and Surrender unfold like one piece but the band start fresh with Leaving the Ruins, which quickly settles into a steady rocking Psychedelic-Jazz jam, peppered with spacey synth flourishes. The groove is once again funky but far more energetic and intense as the music whips itself into a spaced out Psychedelic frenzy. The guitars work really well together. My favorite part is where one is soloing wildly while the other is bashing out cosmic wah’d chords. A killer 24 minutes of early 70s Kosmiche and, for a more contemporary analogy, like a blend of Space Debris and Oresund Space Collective. Finally, we’ve got Laboratory in Space which is like a blend of everything that came before, being variously Psychedelic-Jazz rocking, intensely Stoner-Drone jamming, and deep space meditative. A tasty cool grooving and dreamy jam.

The second Space Invaders album is co-credited with Nik Turner and was recorded live at the 2013 Psychedelic Network Festival in Wurzburg, Germany. The set opens with two nods to Nik, starting with Sonic Attack, which is always a fun piece for musicians to create the freakiest effects they can conjure up. This is followed by the quirkily punky Inner City Unit song, Space Invaders. And it’s all improv from there.

Spicy Spiders is a lightly grooving Space Rock magic carpet ride led by Nik’s jamming sax and flute, tasteful guitar solos, and it’s all surrounded by a heavenly aura of synth magic. It winds down on an ambient wave of soundscapes, flute, gliss guitar, and percussion, and then the sax and an ambient drone wave lead into the next jam, Drum ‘n’ Space. The drums and sax quicken the pace, paralleled by a hypnotic drone, and soon we’re rocking hard like a saxophone led Ozric Tentacles. This is damn good and about the tightest and most composed feel I’ve heard yet on either of these albums. Stardust Part 1 is next and kicks off with fluttering flute and a throb rocking bass groove which leads to a hypnotic yet grooving and totally spaced out stoned vibe. These guys are good at rocking out while maintaining a sense of floating gently through space. Once again we’ve got really cool dual guitars, mind massage drone waves, doomy bass riffage, a comfortably propulsive rhythm, and Nik’s sailing melodic flute. Then in the second half the band gets increasingly more aggressive, culminating in an Acid-Stoner-Space furor. Can You? starts off with space ambience, drones, alien electronics, and a spoken word narrative I couldn’t make out. And once the band start to groove it has a Hawkwind feel at first and then goes into another of those Ozrics with a sax player styled Space Rock jams. But don’t get too hung up on the Ozric analogy. These guys cover a lot of ground, incorporating Jazz, Prog and interesting ethnic percussion elements. The music winds down with another transitional space ambient, noodling guitar and swingin’ sax segment, leading into the final jam, the 15+ minute Stardust Part 2. This is a potent brand of symphonic Space Rock, thundering along like warriors marching into galactic battle, and gradually picking up the pace to where they’re rocking hard and fast. This is a smoker and probably my favorite track from both albums.

In summary, I think these albums make a good pair. Planet Z is the one for loooong stretched out freeform jams, and the Nik set features the more tightly wound side of the band. I’ll look forward to whatever side of Space Invaders the band reveal next.

For more information visit the Space Invaders web site at:
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Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

The Higher Craft – “Delta 9″ (self-released 2014, CD/Download)

The latest from The Higher Craft is sadly also the band’s swansong as they have decided to cease activities. But they created lots of great music in their six year run and that’s pretty good in the underground. Like its predecessor, the 2011 released The Quest into the Steppingstoneage, the new Delta 9 album defies simple categorization, drawing on Metal, Prog, Space Rock, and Psychedelic influences to create a theatrical Rock extravaganza. The band are the quartet of Christina Poupoutsi on vocals and keys, J.D. Tait on guitars, keys and vocals, Andre Thung on drums and percussion, and Richard Alan Weeks on bass and narration, plus guests on flute and narration and original guitarist Craig Twining on a couple tracks.

The album opens with The Healer, which starts with a brief narrative endorsing the benefits of cannabis, and then breezes into a dark but majestic Space-Symphonic segment before launching into the brand of Psychedelic theatrical Goth-Metal that The Higher Craft established on Quest into the Steppingstoneage. The theme continues on the title track with a compositional complexity that sees the music swing through Orchestral-Metal, operatic intensity, and fiery instrumental gymnastics. This is Rock theater meets Space opera at its very best, with the band covering a variety of ground. I like the bouncy yet orchestral Prog powerhouse Dirty Paradise. The high intensity yet uplifting Space-Prog-Symphonic Meta-Universe incorporates elements of Metal, Goth and Space Rock, and an incredible array of vocals and narration. Each track transitions seamlessly into the next, including periodic space-ambient segments with narration. Listening to the narration it sounds like the theme is a sci-fi tale endorsement for cannabis. Go get ’em Christina! Diamond Dealers hop-scotches from swingin’ in the cosmic canteen, to spacey lysergic disorientation, and on to Space-Symphonic dreamland. Sagacious is a kick ass rocker that’s like Symphonic-Prog Hawkwind. I like the combination of high intensity Rock and acoustic Renaissance on Para-Toxic Dream. Far King Clue is a heavy rock smack in the chops, a gentle ride into space, and a carnival ride all rolled into one. Galaxias Kyklos consists of bewitching theatrical Metal with a cosmic edge. And Freedom Pass closes the set with deep space symphonic waves, rave-in-Goth-space beats, and steady paced melodic Rock.

I like all the music The Higher Craft created but on Quest into the Steppingstoneage and now Delta 9 they really hit their stride with the establishment of a powerhouse theatrical sound that is distinctly The Higher Craft. I highly recommend reading the interview I did with Christina in 2011 that coincided with the release of The Quest into the Steppingstoneage, in which we learn about her background and interests in theater (CLICK HERE). If you know the band then waste no time checking out Delta 9. Newcomers should start with Delta 9 and backtrack from there. See you all in 2021 and then again in 2028.

To stream, download and order the CD visit The Higher Craft Bandcamp site at:
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Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Get On Jolly – “Why Was Cupid A Boy” (Acoustic Desaster Records 2014, CD/LP/Download)

Get On Jolly are a Swiss 7 piece band, three of whose members are in Ad’Absurdum who also have a new album on the Acoustic Desaster label. The band employ a variety of instrumentation including guitar, bass, drums, piano, harmonium, organ, Rhodes, synthesizer, electronics, xylophone, and vocals. All the lyrics on Why Was Cupid A Boy are by the poet William Blake.

The set opens with the 11 minute Land Of Dreams, which starts off drudgingly stoned, but soon drifts off into droning, pulsating space. A lightly tinkling piano melody join in, soon followed by pensive, lilting vocals. The combination of atmospheric drones, piano and vocals are dreamily haunting, yet also feel like a mesmerizing Psychedelic lullaby. This quality is only enhanced by spacey effects and eventual descent into pure cosmic drone and angelic aura that leads us to the finale. Why Was Cupid A Boy is a wistfully dreamy acoustic song, nicely embellished by harmonium melody and bells. The Smile is a fuller band song with somber Rhodes leading the way. Plus we now we have a female singer, giving the music a kind of drugged Marissa Nadler feel. The Golden Net is next, and after an extended, mournfully atmospheric intro a guitar melody and dual male/female vocals open the song segment. I like the densely fuzzed wall of sound guitars, creating an Acid-Folk feel that incorporates traditional elements. But then the song portion ends and a pitch black cinematic mood building segment begins, dominated by acid-drone guitars and sparse percussion, floating gently but dangerously to the finale and transitioning smoothly into The Grey Monk, which for Get On Jolly is fairly uplifting and soulful, though still dreamily spacey. Finally, Introduction (Songs of Innocence) closes the set on an optimistic note, continuing the spirited mood but also morphing into hypnotic drone.

In summary, this might be one of most melancholy albums I’ve heard this year. Get On Jolly excel at creating a sense of Psychedelic despair, though it all feels like one big lysergic lullaby and something that can only happen in a dream. I love the vocals, both male and female, and the overall musical feel is a unique blend of Pagan, Wryd and whatever other brand of Folk-Psych you can imagine. Ultimately Get On Jolly just sound like themselves.

For more information visit the Acoustic Desaster Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Ad’Absurdum – “Zeitverschoben” (Acoustic Desaster Records 2014, CD/LP/Download)

Ad’Absurdum are a Swiss quintet who, though new to me, have been around since 1991. Three of the members do double duty in the band Get On Jolly, who also have a new album on the Acoustic Desaster label.

Atomonoton opens the set with a choppy rhythmic pulse and bashing guitars that have a Circle styled vibe, plus synths and non-lyrical vocals that are both haunting and anguished. Phosphor is next and the previous rhythm now morphs into a Motorik beat, and the guitar aggression become dual melodic guitars. After a few minutes the band start to rock harder and it all feels like 70s melodic hard rock meets Krautrock experimentalism. The guitars continue their melodic foray, and the atmosphere is punctuated by trippy Psychedelic Indian tinged drones, as if Neu! took a detour to the mystical East. Then out of nowhere the music abruptly veers into a haunting piano keys and strings assault that segues smoothly into Deep #2, an anguished Psychedelic dirge that gradually builds from valium paced momentum to an acid drenched expression of misery. The guitars wail as if tortured, but there are also beautifully sailing cosmic licks and sporadic mournful vocals. Once again the piece ends with atmospheric piano, this time winding down to a silent conclusion. The mood changes dramatically on the bouncy Sunshine Baby, which rocks steadily with fuzzed guitars, gorgeously wailing spaced out licks, melodic keys, and freaky but endearing vocals. I like the chunky guitar chords combined with the soundscape licks and cosmic synth lines. In Ad’Absurdum terms, this is almost a Pop song. Territor once again takes us in a different direction, being an alluring, acoustic driven and somewhat pagan Folk-Psych instrumental. I love the combination of acoustic guitars, banjo and songbird synth melody. The last four tracks comprise the Suite About A Day at Home. It opens with soundscapes, shimmering guitar and cosmic organ. The band start to settle into an ominous rhythmic pattern but the music soon melts into intense, orchestral Psychedelic angst. Cohesion eventually prevails, which finds the band settling into a robotic electronic space groove, and very quickly culminating in an explosive Space-Punk-Kraut rocking finale.

Three previous Ad’Absurdum reviews have appeared in Aural Innovations by other writers and it seems I’ve been missing something with these guys. I’ll have to start backtracking.

For more information visit the Acoustic Desaster Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

L’Ira Del Baccano – “Terra 42″ (Subsound Records 2014, CD/2-LP/Download)

I became acquainted with Italian Space/Psych/Stoner/Metal quartet L’Ira Del Baccano in 2008 when they made their live performance Si non Sedes Is Live MMVII album available for free download. I was impressed with the band’s all instrumental brand of spaced out heaviness and now pleased that a new studio album is available. The band consists of founder Alessandro “Drughito” Santori on guitar, Roberto Malerba on guitar and synth, Sandro “Fred” Salvi on drums, and Luca Primo on bass.

The album opens with the three part, 32 minute Phase I – The Infinite Improbability Drive. Part 1 kicks off with a hard and heavy Metal assault, but quickly demonstrates that we’ll be rocketing through a continually transitioning parade of themes. We’ve got a spaced out Rock groove with both dirty Stoner guitar and pleasantly melodic leads, a trippy melodic ambient segment with more tasty leads as well as deep space efx’d guitar and a solid funky rocking rhythm section, with the bass injecting a Jazz-like feel. I like the way the band alternate between soundscape excursions and majestic Rock ‘n’ Roll, at times sounding like Rush with a Stoner-Psychedelic and heavily space efx’d edge. Part 2 features blazing Hard Rock augmented by freaked out trip guitar and even more spacey effects. In fact, parts of this sound even more like Rush, though it’s got a Hard Rock vibe, the guitars are more Psychedelic and we’re treated to oodles of freaky effects, especially the Part 2 finale and intro to Part 3 which is all deep space ambience, swirling effects and soaring gliss guitar. Things stay mellow for much of Part 3, cruising along at a steady rolling melodic groove, which feels a little jazzy and is continually colored by intense, spaced out, atmospheric guitar, but also dirtier rocking guitar. And when the band take off again we’re flying high in monster rocking Space-Psych-Jazz-Hard Rock territory. Love that SCREAMING guitar! These guys are constantly shifting thematic gears, though it’s all seamless and makes the entire 32 minutes go by like a cosmic rocking hurricane.

Phase II – Sussurri…Nel Bosco di Diana is next and starts off with a dreamy cosmic flow and spaced out atmospheric gliss guitar, melodic soloing guitar, lots of effects and funky Jazz bass. It’s a cool combination of grooving melodic rock with a jazzy edge and freaky spaced out Psychedelic mind-massage, and when it blasts off it’s got a melodic and easy paced Rush meets Jazz at the cosmic 70s Hard Rock cafe feel. Finally, we’ve got the 15 minute Phase III – Volcano X13, which wraps up the set with a monster blast of Metal edged Psychedelic-Stoner-Hard Rock, high intensity Space-Prog, Jazz inspired segments, and much more. Overall I have to say this absolutely blows away the music I first heard from these guys a few years back. Recommended.

To stream, download and purchase the CD or LP visit:
Visit the L’Ira Del Baccano web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Nick Nicely – “Space Of A Second” (Lo Recordings 2014, CD/LP/Digital)

Nick Nicely is one of those Pop-Psych craftsmen who has yet to get his due, despite brushes with major labels and producers. His song Hilly Fields was released as a single in 1982 and is one of those instantly infectious tunes that immediately brings to mind The Beatles circa Magical Mystery Tour or XTC at their very best. I first became aware of Nick in 2012 when Hilly Fields was reissued in original and revisited forms as a Fruits de Mer Records single, and later that year with the song Rosemary’s Eyes on Fruits de Mer’s The League Of Psychedelic Gentlemen compilation.

In 2003, Tenth Planet Records released Nick’s debut album, Psychotropia, which collected recordings from 1978-2004, and in 2011, Burger Records released Lysergia, which I believe might have been cassette only. Interestingly, Lysergia isn’t mentioned in the promo sheet for Nick’s latest album, Space Of A Second, though most of the song titles are common to both albums.

The songs on Space Of A Second take Pop-Psych into deeply cosmic and surreally experimental territory, as if the spirits of Magical Mystery Tour, Revolution 9, Syd-era Floyd, and the most wigged out Krautrock all congealed to create melodically hook-laden songs. Tunes like Headwind Aheadwind take Pop-Psych into space, being a driving rocker that’s loaded with an infectious melody and wrapped in a hauntingly cosmic Pop-Psych meets Space-Prog wrapper. Rosemarys Eyes is here from the Fruits de Mer League Of Psychedelic Gentlemen comp, and it’s a steady paced rocker with propulsive drumming, acoustic and electric guitars, and bubbling alien keys that really make the song. Wrottersley Road is an oddly alluring blend of noise-drone and dreamy Prog-Psych, but within a larger melodic Pop-Psych song context.

It’s the banquet of effects and sense of spaced out Psychedelic surrealism that slingshots along with, as well as morphs and blends with the songs that I find so captivating. It was interesting to read the Shindig magazine review of the album which warned that fans of Hilly Fields “will be disappointed by Nicely’s current penchant for avant-garde, overindulgent electronics” and “way too many superfluous noises drowning out the actual song”. While I do feel that the sound quality is a bit too cavernous and would have benefitted from more clarity in the production and mix, I disagree that the effects drown out the song. This album strikes me as being about far more than just the core song. There’s a lot happening on these songs which begs an attentive ear and rewards the listener with new discoveries upon each new spin. Psychedelia is HOT these days and there are a lot of youngsters like Temples and a zillion other bands I could name that are doing a damn good job of it. I for one am starving for a little extra oomph and adventure in my Psych, and Nicely stands apart with his brand of freak flag fluttering, cosmic experimentalism enhanced song-craft. (Though I do think he can stop re-recording Hilly Fields.)

For more information visit the Lo Recordings web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Oresund Space Collective – “Music for Pogonologists” (Space Rock Productions 2014, 2-CD/2-LP/Download)

Oresund Space Collective (OSC) are a Scandinavian ensemble with a fluid lineup, the one constant being synth maestro Scott “Dr Space” Heller. The sessions for their new album, Music for Pogonologists, took place in April 2012 with all the members of the Danish band Papir plus American guitarist Daniel Lars. If you’re wondering what a pogonologist is, it’s someone who studies beards! There are significant differences between the CD and vinyl editions, with some tracks being exclusive to the CD, one exclusive to the vinyl, and others being edited to fit the vinyl format. Across both editions we’ve got 9 tracks for a sprawling 2 1/2 hours of music.

Beardlandia opens both the CD and vinyl editions and kicks off with narration by Scott, talking about pogonologist Upton Uxbridge Underwood and his 1913 pamphlet Poets Ranked By Beard Weight (Scott has what must be one of the weightiest beards on the planet). The narration concludes at the 2 minute mark as the band launch into a funky grooving jam with a deep space edge. I love the dual guitars, with one ripping off fiery solos and the other serving the liquid Psychedelic role, and these are soon joined by a cool sounding Space-Prog synth.

The 14 minute Ziggurat of the Beards is exclusive to the CD and is a high intensity monster rocking jam that lays down a funky but rough riding chunky rhythmic pulse and sounds like some kind of demonically possessed Allman Brothers Band cum Ozric Tentacles with a dash of Mahavishnu Orchestra and then shaken and stirred in heavy rocking space. The guitars are freakin’ awesome and the whole piece is gripping from start to finish.

The relatively short The Trichophantic Spire is another CD only track that continues in the spirit of Ziggurat of the Beards and feels like an extended coda to that jam. Really cool extra-terrestrial electronics on this one.

The 17 minute Bearded Brothers (CD only) maintains the funky rolling groove, jamming along steadily as the space synths soar to the heavens and fall to the ground. The band trip along like a Space Rock Allman Brothers, an analogy I’ve made before with OSC, and if that sounds strange I can only insist that Space Rockers, Psych fans and Progheads alike should be schooled in the Allmans. OSC funk it up and add tasty Jazz flourishes in the spaced out way that San Francisco band Mushroom does. And I like the lengthy meditative finale which gives the listener a breather after the rockin’ intensity we’ve experienced so far.

Remnants of the Barbonaeum is a 26 minute jam that’s included on both the CD and vinyl. It opens with a Space Ritual Earth Calling intro of freaky alien synths, electronics, soundscape guitar and light drumming. After a few minutes a combination of Space-Ambient Psychedelic Rock and electro groove-pulse starts to ever so gradually take shape. For a while we stroll along in floating yet grooving atmospheric Space-Prog drift. But a repetitive riff increasingly asserts itself in volume and intensity, threatening to overtake the Proggy elements, though the electronic effects flitter about as if they are untouchable. Everyone eventually decides to cooperate for the greater good and we settle into an ambient Soft Machine meets Psych Rock improvisational drift, which builds back up to a high octane Space-Doom finale.

Music for Pogonologists is on both editions but the full 34 minute epic on the CD loses about 12 minutes to fit the vinyl. It starts off as a free-wheeling spaced out Psychedelic Blues-Funk jam, colored by electronic effects darting about, but also roaring space engine effects. The jam quickly gets heavy rocking intense and I love the hip shakin’ groove that accompanies the funky deep space Hard-Psych assault. Throughout the jam OSC slowly evolve, moving on to Blues infused Ozrics Space Rock, fuzzed and wah’d Space-Psych, Jeff Beck gone Space Rock, white knuckled intensity alien attack, and much more. Not only do they NOT start to peter out but the last several minutes are among the smokinest of the entire set. KILLER guitar action!

Phewwww… what a ride. But there’s no rest for the weary because this is followed by the 24 minute Barboconsciousness, which is common to both the CD and LP. This is a tension laden number with a strangely alluring mixture of Indian influenced Psychedelia and a punishing brand of high energy and deliriously rocking Space-Prog. Another smoker!

The 12+ minute Portal of Pogonic Progress is another CD only number. The sense of tension continues here, with a feeling of slow rolling yet meditative cosmic doom. One of the soloing guitars has a tasty Dave Gilmour feel and the other a lusciously liquid drenched Psych sound, and both end up rocking hard and nicely complimenting each other.

Finally, the 9 minute Bartischlag is exclusive to the vinyl and download editions. It starts off melodic and lulling, but like most of the album things take off pretty quick and rock hard to the finish.

I’ve said this before and it bears repeating that the fluctuating lineup is one of the things that keep OSC exciting from one album to the next, but more importantly the fact that they consistently group up musicians that really gel with one another, creating improvisations that are free-wheeling yet always certain of their direction. Not many bands can bust the half hour mark with nary a dull moment nor lull in the action. If you like all instrumental improvisational Space Rock, these guys are among the absolute must-have bands.

Vinyl junkies should note that the LP is limited to 500 copies – 200 black, 200 purple, and 100 purple with white and blue speckles. I’ve not seen it but if it’s even half as beautiful as the Damo Suzuki meets OSC set from earlier this year it’ll be a genuine bring a tear to your eyes piece of art.

For more information visit the Oresund Space Collective web site at:
Visit the Space Rock Productions web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz