Archive for December 5, 2014

Cobracalia – self-titled (SlowBurn Records 2014, CD)

In the fall of 2012, the members of Black Sun Ensemble reassembled after a 5 year hiatus with the intention of seeking a new direction. What would become the band’s swansong album, Behind Purple Clouds, was only half finished when guitar master Jesus Acedo passed away in March 2013, but with the help of additional musicians the remaining members forged ahead and completed the album which was released in late 2013. Cobracalia, named after a song from the 1985 debut Black Sun Ensemble album, consists of the musicians who completed the Behind Purple Clouds album.

Utilizing guitar, bass, keyboards, violin, flute, saxophone, drums, and a variety of percussion including congas, oud, djembe, dumbek and zills, Cobracalia exude strong Middle Eastern influences but diverge from the Black Sun Ensemble mold. The compositions and arrangements are complex, yet quite accessible, often sounding like a spacey ethnic inspired Prog-Psych orchestra. The melodies are simple yet seductively catchy, like a pied piper shaman, and this is one of Cobracalia’s strengths.

The band excel at stirring their Middle Eastern inspired yet stylistically diverse pot. I like how the instrumental Dandyloin meanders between trippy and acid drenched realms, and includes cool Phantom of the Opera organ, plus great dual guitar action. Fistful Of Flowers is similar but more intensely rocking, with beautiful flute and violin solos which sound really cool against the galloping ethnic percussion, and this percussion style characterizes much of the album. Several of the songs are cinematic Prog-Psych rockers that transition through multiple instrumental and thematic themes in just a few short minutes, yet are so nimble in their execution that the accessibility of the music is never lost. Like the aptly titled Arabic Satori, which conjures up images of a tribal celebration in the desert, with swirling organ, classic Prog keys, and a seductively catchy melody. And Queen Of The Night, which whips itself into a frenzy that’s like a lysergic merging of Arabesque and Celtic elements. Egyptian Magician is similar but adds a healthy dose of Funk. Wrong Again is a short, funky rocker that’s one of the more rhythmically interesting songs of the set, striking an intriguing balance between being rhythmically off-kilter and maintaining a flowing groove. Total Internal Reflection is a little different, being a dreamy excursion with excellent efx’d guitar, and kind of reminds me of mid-80s Bill Nelson. Gas Giant has a similar dreamy quality and gets nicely spaced out at times. But it rocks too, having a combination of the Middle Eastern elements that characterized the previous songs, but also has guitar that brings to mind a morphing of George Harrison and Neil Young. Overall a beautiful blending of sweepingly melodic flow, orchestral Prog infused Hard Rock, and subtly incorporated sci-fi effects. If this is the enduing Black Sun Ensemble legacy, I like it and hope these musicians continue together.

For more information visit the SlowBurn Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Mooch – “Mrs Silbury’s Delicious Mushroom Flavoured Biscuits” Review and Radio Special with Steve Palmer Interview

Below the review you will find a radio show which was Aural Innovations Space Rock Radio show #341 (December 4, 2014). This show is dedicated to the music of Steve Palmer and features chats with Steve between tracks. I did a previous radio special dedicated to Steve’s music in 2008, which you can CLICK HERE to check out. Together I think the two make an excellent overview of Steve’s work from the past 20 years.

Mooch – “Mrs Silbury’s Delicious Mushroom Flavoured Biscuits” (Cosmic Eye Records 2014, LP)

You need an open mind and an adventurous spirit to be a Mooch fan. Steve Palmer has guided the Mooch mothership to dramatically different corners of the stylistic universe, from all instrumental space excursions, to heavier Space Rock, and on to 1960s inspired Psychedelic songs. In 2007 Ambientlive Recordings released the 2-CD set, Dr Silbury’s Liquid Brainstem Band. Frequently cited as a catalog favorite by Mooch fans, Dr Silbury was an epic collection of Space and Progressive Rock and was one of the first great Mooch collaborative efforts, bringing in numerous esteemed guests.

As 2014 comes to a close we have the latest Mooch album, and the follow up to Dr Silbury – Mrs Silbury’s Delicious Mushroom Flavoured Biscuits – released on vinyl LP by the Cosmic Eye label. T Minus None opens the set with an electro groove pulse that lays the rhythmic foundation for a variety of alien and melodic synths, plus a killer combination of spacey, Bluesy rocking and melodic jazzy guitar, all building up to a high intensity space rocker with delicious guitar from Gary “Moonboot” Masters. The Golden Rule is next and hits the ground running with a quick paced beat and a deep space Pink Floyd-ish atmospheric aura. I like the combination of drumming and frantic electronic pattern, and the music really hits its stride when Cyndee Lee Rule comes charging in with one of the most intense yet passionately rocking violin solos I’ve ever heard from her. Mellifluo is a lovely melodic piece that makes me feel like I’m at an extra-terrestrial Hawaiian luau. Clouded is a spaced out soundscapes excursion with tasty keys from Jez Creek. At over 12 minutes The Great Retsina Jam is the longest track of the set. I love the combination of classic Prog keys and majestic space synths. There are lots of fun embellishments as the music progresses, including a totally trippy Arabic flavored and slightly Bluesy stringed instrument, shooting star synths, cavernous drones, barren windswept planet effects and much more. This is symphonic Space-Prog at its very best. Pstrings is like a more groove rocking version of Steve’s Blue Lily Commission project and is led by another killer guitar solo, this time from Alex Pym. A steady rocking beat propels the music as Pym cranks out Bluesy licks while a banquet of alien synths swarm about. Finally, Another Time, Another Place is the sole song of the set, being a seductively melodic bit of Space-Pop with mind-massage vocals from Bridget Wishart.

In summary, veteran Mooch fans are pretty much guaranteed to be delighted with this album, and it couldn’t be a better place for newcomers to start… Classic Mooch Space Rock with a solid cast of luminaries contributing.

For more information visit the Cosmic Eye Records web site at:
Purchase the LP from the Cosmic Eye store at:

Additional links:
Mooch, Blue Lily Commission, Stephen Palmer legal downloads at Musiczeit:
Mooch on iTunes – plus some interlopers:
Youtube Mooch Music Channel:
Soundcloud Mooch:
Soundcloud Blue Lily Commission:
Soundcloud Stephen Palmer solo:
Mooch blog (informational, not day-by-day):
Mooch on Facebook:
Ethnic musical instruments, with photos (2007):

Review and radio show interview by Jerry Kranitz


[Track 1: 0:00-7:29] Mooch – “The Golden Rule” (from Mrs Silbury’s Mushroom Flavoured Biscuits)
[Track 2: 7:29-11:22] CHAT
[Track 3: 11:22-26:35] Mooch – “Lughnasadh” (from The Pagan Year)
[Track 4: 26:35-30:54] CHAT
[Track 5: 30:54-39:00] Mooch -“Outside Inside” (from Beltane To Samhain)
[Track 6: 39:00-40:57] CHAT
[Track 7: 40:57-48:28] Mooch – “Alien Culture” (from Planetfall)
[Track 8: 48:28-52:42] Mooch – “Yak Tantrum” (from The Psychedelic Adventures of Mooch in the Country of the Yak)
[Track 9: 52:42-55:35] CHAT
[Track 10: 55:35-1:07:45] Stephen Palmer – “Papyrus Head In The Nile” (from Berlin via Cairo/Berlin via Istanbul)
[Track 11: 1:07:45-1:10:11] CHAT
[Track 12: 1:10:11-1:17:58] The Nonexistent – “Criggion Times” (from Space Roc)
[Track 13: 1:17:58-1:30:12] The Golden Cake Company – “Floating With…” (from Would You Like Some Cake?)
[Track 14: 1:30:12-1:33:35] CHAT
[Track 15: 1:33:35-1:36:22] Mooch – “San Francisco” (from 1966)
[Track 16: 1:36:22-1:40:52] CHAT
[Track 17: 1:40:52-1:44:24] Mooch – “Where My Rifle Begins” (from 1968a)
[Track 18: 1:44:24-1:46:52] CHAT
[Track 19: 1:46:52-1:51:10] Mooch – “The Oak King & The Holly King” (from Stations Of The Sun)
[Track 20: 1:51:10-1:53:28] CHAT
[Track 21: 1:53:28-2:05:09] Mooch – “Train Klang” (excerpt) (from Train Klang)
[Track 22: 2:05:09-2:07:30] CHAT
[Track 23: 2:07:30-2:18:49] Blue Lily Commission – “Samsara” (from Bharatadubs)
[Track 24: 2:18:49-2:23:15] CHAT
[Track 25: 2:23:15-2:33:09] Blue Lily Commission – “Bangalore Dub” (from Eve Songs)
[Track 26: 2:33:09-2:37:40] CHAT
[Track 27: 2:37:40-2:45:14] Stephen Palmer – “The Innkeeper’s Tale” (from Shroomshire)
[Track 28: 2:45:14-2:53:38] Mooch – “Extended Life” (from Bottom Of The Barrel)
[Track 29: 2:53:38-2:56:02] CHAT
[Track 30: 2:56:02-3:05:07] Blue Lily Commission – “Culture 2″ (from Culture 2)
[Track 31: 3:05:07-3:09:17] CHAT
[Track 32: 3:09:17-3:11:35] Mooch – “He Left Me In The Afternoon” (from forthcoming Sunshine)

Sun Zoom Spark – “Left For Dead” (SlowBurn Records 2014, CD)

Sun Zoom Spark formed in Madison, Wisconsin in 1995 and soon after relocated to Tucson, Arizona where they have released their own albums as well as became the backing band for the new millennium reformed edition of Black Sun Ensemble, and continued in that capacity until guitar master Jesus Acedo passed away in 2013.

Their latest album, Left For Dead, began life in 2001 when the band were asked by poet John Galuska to help create music for numerous poems he wrote on the topic of death and rebirth. The music was recorded in a single night and then sat for 12 years until Sun Zoom Spark guitarist/vocalist Eric Johnson revisited the recordings and completed mixing and mastering on the all instrumental album this year. In addition to Johnson on guitar, keyboards, bass, drums and banjo we have Steve Goetz on bass, Bryan Kohl on drums, and poet Galuska on electronics.

A spacey Psychedelic Symphonic-Goth intro leads into a Psychedelic groove rocker with an Arabesque hypnotic pulse, winding trip guitar licks, bubbling soundscapes and freaky effects that are simultaneously meditative and hip shakin’ funky. Following is one of the highlight tracks, Left For Life, which consists of soulfully funky guitar and keys that create a cool Pink Floyd in a Psychedelic lounge jazz feel amidst a gurgling miasma of spacey effects and atmospherics. I enjoyed the Jazz and Surf tinged acidic jamming Hard Rock of Masterpiece By Midnight. The 16+ minute Left For Dead starts off with the same riff as Left For Life, but after a few minutes the band launch into a rocker that has a distinctly Pink Floyd Animals feel. The music transitions through multiple related themes, including exploratory and sometimes playful freaky electronic effect and soundscapes segments. If We Wait is a short spacey groove tune that sounds like it could be the theme for an old sci-fi TV show. Jewel Of The Seven Stars is a proto version of the song that would end up on Black Sun Ensemble’s 2003 released Starlight album. It features Middle Eastern flavored Psychedelia with banjo, wind instruments, and an orchestral feel that conjures up images of a choreographed gaggle of belly dancers. Volcano is a spaced out, freeform electro Stoner jam. The Stoner Hard Rock and Electro Rock elements trade off taking the lead and sound especially cool when jamming alongside each other. And I love the combination of ethnic percussion and sci-fi ooh-wee-ooh Theremin-like melody on Returning To Swim. Overall I enjoyed this set and though it differs in some respects from previous Sun Zoom Spark albums, the spirit and usual variety that can be expected from the band are the same.

For more information visit the SlowBurn Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Siena Root – “Pioneers” (Cleopatra Records 2014, CD/Download)

Swedish rockers Siena Root have been playing their brand of retro 70s Hard Rock/Prog-Psych for over a decade now, and for the first time have a label and distribution in the U.S. via Cleopatra Records. The cover is different from the European edition I see on the band’s web site, and a vinyl edition is available overseas as well.

The music is heavily Deep Purple inspired organ and guitar led Hard Rock, complete with domineering Lord/Blackmore riffage. The band are tight as a knot and do more than ample justice to their influences-on-shirtsleeves style of 70s Rock. Several vocalists have passed through Siena Roots door over the years and Jonas “Joe Nash” Ahlen is a solid singer in the Ian Gillan league, though he doesn’t reach for the higher registers like Gillan. Highlights include 7 Years, with its boogie-woogie swagger and brief spacey interlude. I love the high intensity dueling guitar and organ on Spiral Trip. And Root Rock Pioneers could be the band’s anthem, singing of the spirit of the root rock pioneers. Keep on Climbing is a little different, having a stoned Bluesy quality and a cool spaced out doomy transition to a high octane Deep Purple gone Prog segment. In My Kitchen goes in a different direction too, and at nearly 10 minutes is by far the longest track of the set. It’s soulfully grooving, even a wee bit jazzy, with a drifting Bluesy spacey Psychedelic feel. It has vocals but this is largely an instrumental and a beautifully flowing one at that. I love the guitar solo that starts off sounding like Duane Allman at his most passionate and culminates in a minor freakout. Finally, we’ve got a cover of Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love, which I don’t see listed on the band’s web site so this may be exclusive to the U.S. edition. I didn’t like it at first, sounding too much like the distinctive Deep Purple trying to be the equally distinctive Led Zeppelin, but after a few listens it started to grow on me. File under “interesting”.

In summary, if you like the music that is firmly in the In Rock/Machine Head mold with occasional spacey/psychy detours, then you are guaranteed to like this album. I’m crossing my fingers that the Cleopatra connection leads to a U.S. tour.

For more information visit the Siena Root web site at:
The CD can be purchased from Amazon and the downloaded from iTunes.

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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.

For more information visit the Stone Premonitions web site at:
Visit the Stone Premonitions web shop at:

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:
Visit the Passing Phase Records web site at:
CDs and downloads of several Lee Negin albums are available at CDBaby:

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:
Visit the Nasoni Records web site at:
Stream and download at

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:
Visit The Higher Craft web site at:

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