Archive for March 30, 2015

Numbra – “Vol. 1: Alloys” (Lonely Whistle 2015, CD/DL)

Numbra is the trio of Eric Hausmann, James Hill and Don Campau, with Hausmann and Campau creating backing tracks over which Hill plays trumpet.

The 8 tracks, all named after alloys, are captivating, provocative blends of ambience, sound creation and Jazz. Ormolu opens the set with droning, cavernous soundscapes and various spaced out effects over which Hill plays jazzy melodic trumpet leads. It’s an unusual but welcome combination that brings together seemingly odd bedmates in intriguing musical ways. Cunife features drifting and windswept ambient waves plus beautifully recorded percussive clatter and bells over which the trumpet jams. Shakudo starts off as a cinematic Ambient-Jazz freakout but quickly settles into an avant-garde space-symphonic soundtrack which soon incorporates raga drones into the alien orchestral mix. I really dig this one. The avant-garde cosmic theater feel continues on Tumbaga, with its thunderous yet quietly ambient percussion blasts and assorted sounds. Elinvar goes in a different direction, bringing in a rhythm section and guitar taking the lead for a bit of ambient symphonic Prog. I love the hauntingly spectral yet dreamily melodic Space-Jazz of Shibuichi. And Indium and Bismuth are all about atmosphere and spaced out mood creation, with even the trumpet taking on an efx’d ambient sensation on Indium.

I’ve always loved the 1987 David Torn album Cloud About Mercury, which featured Torn (guitar), Tony Levin (Stick, bass) and Bill Bruford (drums) creating ambient/electronic/ethnic Jazz-Fusion over which Mark Isham played trumpet. Numbra doesn’t necessarily sound like Cloud About Mercury but the spirit of Vol. 1: Alloys reminded me of that album like nothing I’ve heard since. I’ve probably listened to it a half dozen times already and the blend of electronics and sound with Jazz trumpet is spellbinding and really quite different. Check this out with headphones as the sound and channel separation is like listening in a small studio or performance space.

Purchase the CD at the Lonely Whistle web site:
Stream and Download at Eric Hausmann’s Bandcamp site:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Sula Bassana – “Live at Roadburn Festival 2014″ (Sulatron Records 2015, CD/LP)

Dave Schmidt rarely performs live as Sula Bassana but for last year’s Roadburn Festival he assembled a quartet that consisted of the Electric Moon trio (Dave/Sula on guitar, synths FX; Komet Lulu on bass, FX and Marcus Schnitzler on drums), plus Rainer Neeff from Zone Six and The Pancakes on guitar and FX. In fact, Sula and Lulu also played at the fest in a live version of the Papir meets Electric Moon lineup that released The Papermoon Sessions album in 2013 and their performance is yet another new album on Sulatron. (CLICK HERE for my review)

The four tracks on the album include the complete concert. Rainstorm is a chunky grooving rocker that gets increasingly fuzz dense and psychedelically demonic. I love the dual guitar action bashing out acid-fuzz chords, caustically cranium burning licks and freakout effects while Lulu and Marcus hold down the plodding yet determined rhythmic pulse. The only thing tempering the aggression comes in the form of a pleasant synth melody near the end, which is soon overpowered by the guitars for a volcanic acid-doom finale. Killer jamming spaced out Psychedelia. D-Light gives the listener a little break, opening with freeform trippy guitar, electronic effects and a sailing synth melody. The two guitars explore, being both melodic and atmospheric as acidic tension slowly builds. A faster rocking pace gradually picks up, feeling like an explosion could come at any moment, yet despite the tension and acidic aggression the band somehow maintain a spaced out flowing feel throughout. At 18 minutes, Dark Days is twice the length of the track from the 2012 album of the same name. I love how it alternates between heavy duty Psychedelic acid jam and space symphonic Prog-Psych, the latter bits consisting of anthem-like orchestration that sounds really cool alongside the molten lava guitars and pounding rhythmic pulse. Another killer jam that rocks hard in acid drenched and Prog sprinkled space. Finally, Alienfuzz is a relatively short but high energy Space Rocker with a Farflung edge that closes the set.

For freeform jamming Space-Psych Rock this is monstrous stuff. A great companion to this album would be the Papir meets Electric Moon live at Roadburn set, also released by Sulatron.

Note that the CD is available at the time of this posting and the vinyl is scheduled for May 8th.

For more information visit the Sulatron Records web site at:
Visit the Sula Bassana web site at: and the Bandcamp site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Papir meets Electric Moon – “The Papermoon Sessions: Live at Roadburn 2014″ (Sulatron Records 2015, CD/LP)

In 2013 Electric Moon met up with the Danish band Papir for some jams that ended up on the excellent Papermoon Sessions album. Sula Bassana and Komet Lulu from Electric Moon met up with the band again along with Mogens from Oresund Space Collective to perform at last year’s Roadburn festival, which produced this new live document. In fact, Sula and Lulu also played at the fest in a live version of Sula Bassana and that performance is yet another new album on Sulatron.

The live Papermoon Sessions includes the complete concert which consists of two stretched out 20+ minutes tracks. Powdered Stars starts right off the bat hot ‘n’ heavy rocking in space. The dual guitar, dual bass, drums, synths and effects 6 piece lineup makes for a powerhouse assault of Psychedelic intensity. We’ve got ripping guitar solos, searing acid laced and bubbling trippy licks and loads of other guitar effects. The quieter moments are among the best, with the musicians maintaining an edgy anxious feel. The guitars and effects trip along ominously and the rhythm section creates a dark, expansive atmosphere while the organ plays an eerie melody. Of course this cosmic narrative ever so gradually builds back up to levels of acid drenched, deep space potency that rocks increasingly harder as if it were one big extended supernova explosion. Blazing Milky Way begins in a much more trance-like state, though the magic is that it manages to be hypnotic while simultaneously acid spaced out intense and even a little doomy. But it doesn’t take long before we blast off once again into soaring through the cosmos, Psych rocking space. I love the feeling of sonic rocking assault as an acid snake guitar weaves a corrosively soloing path amidst a sludgy firestorm of densely packed drone. This is seriously heavy and intense but feels oh so rocking good.

In my review of the Papermoon Sessions studio album I noted how well the musicians from the two bands intuitively gelled with one another and that’s even more the case in this absolutely smokin’ live set.

Note that the CD is available at the time of this posting and the vinyl is scheduled for April 17th.

For more information visit the Sulatron Records web site at:
Visit the Electric Moon web site at:
Visit the Papir web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Sonic Federation – “The Village” (self-released 2015, Download)

Sonic Federation is the trio of Mike Hobson (UK), who records as Thought Experiment, on guitars and bass, Bert Hulshoff (Netherlands), who records as Phrozenlight, on various synths and keyboards, and Mac of BIOnight (Italy) on vocals and VST emulations of drums, piano, organ and mellotron.

The theme of the album sprang from Hobson who is a fan of the 60s TV show The Prisoner and suggested a tribute. Quoting from the album notes: “We later decided to use that only as a starting point, turning the album into a commentary on our modern society, where free thinking is being effectively eliminated not just by the establishment, but the people themselves who refuse to think and wonder, thus choosing to be ‘consumers’ instead of human beings.”

We certainly note The Prisoner theme with some of the track titles. Arrival At The Village opens with a few minutes of flowing synth soundscapes. Then a little bass riff signals Mac to start singing: “They took my freedom. They took my life and my friends. They tried to force me to say I was happy again”. After a couple verses the bass and drums kick in and we’re Space-Prog rocking for a while before transitioning to an eerie cosmic dreamland. Village Life consists of rhythmic jazzy grooving Space Rock with vocals, a tasty tinkling keyboard melody, a cool rolling bass melody, Psych-Jazz guitar licks, and myriad spaced out samples and effects. The 21 minute Escape From The Village is the stretched out epic monster of the set. After a few minutes of disorienting and somewhat dissonant fluttering guitar patterns and ambience the trio launch into an energetic rocking Space-Prog segment with Mac singing of the escape and a great combination of driving rhythm section, jazzy space keys, soaring soundscapes and a banquet of effects. But nothing stays the same for long as the music highlights various points of the escape route. The music morphs through drifting ambience led by winding guitar licks to a killer classic Berlin school sequenced section accentuated with foreboding atmospherics and later joined by a swirling church organ. The mood becomes increasingly intense, taking on a space-orchestral cinematic quality and a mind blurring array of instrumental and effects components, before winding down to a mystifying guitar, synths, soundscapes, organ and effects conclusion that brings to mind the Phantom of the Opera sitting in with early Tangerine Dream. Absolutely fantastic! Hooked Up To Electronics follows, beginning with a spaced out guitar and effects intro. Then a bass riff and half sung, half narrative vocals kick in while the guitar and effects continue to teasingly trip along. This track is all about dark and ominous thematic development, being dominated by killer cosmic guitar effects, all manner of soundscapes and atmospherics, and includes some of the most impassioned vocals I’ve ever heard from Mac. The mood is both darkly creepy and deep space cosmic, though optimism reigns at the end as we conclude on a peacefully angelic note. Finally, End Game lays down a steadily jaunty rocking groove with Psychedelic looped or backward guitar licks. After a while the rhythm recedes and we find ourselves floating in space, surrounded by haunting organ and effects whizzing by, before launching into an acoustic guitar driven and happily bouncy vocal segment that leaves at least some hope for the future: “We can evolve into what we could have been since the beginning, free from chains, free from greed… free…”. Overall an excellent set of Prog infused Space Rock and cosmic electronica.

To stream and download visit the Sonic Federation Bandcamp site at:
Visit the Mac of BIOnight web site at:
Visit the Thought Experiment web site at:
Visit the Phrozenlight web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Viaticum – “Kosmikrock” (self-released 2014, 2-LP/DL)

Viaticum are a Swiss dual guitar, bass, drums quartet and Kosmikrock is their second album and my introduction to the band. The set consists of 8 tracks and a full 75 minutes of music.

There’s lots of variety here. Colonize Me Gently is a slow and sultry song with grungy Psych guitars. Entity picks up the pace, being a high energy Stoner Rock ‘n’ Roll tune with cool spacey lead guitar. Fat Heart is a 13 minute spaced out Stoner jam, alternating between trippy soloing and dense wall-of-sound rocking. During its best moments the one guitar is focused on grungy but lulling melodies while the other is exploring deeply efx’d space, including a still grungy but quietly cosmic Space-Ambient interlude that eventually bursts like a thunderclap into sonic assault Space Rock that’s like a multi-guitar and more spaced out version of Colour Haze. Viaticum’s two guitarists really work well together, both as individual soloists and full frontal rocking assault collaborators. In fact, the credits list a guest guitarist on this track so there may be three. The vocals stand out on Hintergrunderfullung, which are backed by rapid-fire marching band drumming and stretched out chasmal guitar licks that gradually take on a searing acidic quality, with it all culminating in a high intensity rocking finale that allows itself to slowly and peacefully peter out. Viaticum return to killer guitar jam mode for the 11 minute Fgy. The first half is psychedelically stoned and heavy rocking. But then the music transitions to a jazzy ambient vibe as the band slowly increase the pace with more interesting dual guitar interplay and bringing the piece to a majestic and beautifully melodic spaced out Stoner-Psych conclusion. Shittle-12 Hates People features 13 minutes of Stoner jazzy vocal number and spacey melodic Stoner-Psych jamming. I don’t see it in the credits but I think I hear a wailing Free-Jazz sax in the background near the end. I also like the extended rumbling acid-drone, alien efx’d, soundscape fade that closes the piece. Beyond The Blue continues in both Stoner-Psych jam and vocal song modes, and while it has its grungy rocking heavy moments (especially the intense finale) the focus throughout is more on pleasantly melodic ambience. Finally, Orbit Island closes the set, being a diverse blend of soaring space guitar, densely crushing licks, and Psychedelic grunge that is both noisily harsh and pleasantly melodic.

In summary, Viaticum excel at blending Stoner, Psychedelic and Space Rock, though they are way off the average every day and brutally beaten Stoner Rock path. The band pack a serious dual guitar punch that kept me on edge throughout and provides lots of interesting variety that bears up to repeated listens.

For more information visit the Viaticum web site at:
Stream, download and order the LP at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Fernwood – “Arcadia” (Fernwood/WhiteHorse One Music 2015, CD/LP/DL)

Fernwood are the acoustic duo of Todd Montgomery and Djam Karet’s Gayle Ellett and Arcadia is their third album since forming in 2006. Check out the list of instruments employed by these guys: Greek, Irish and slide bouzouki, sitar, dilruba, charango, tanpura, surmandal, rhodes, harmonium, ruan, dobro, upright bass, guitar, piano, tenor ukulele, bells/chimes, moog, mellotron, organ, electric guitar, field recordings, banjo, baritone guitar, mandolin, violin, bowed guitar, EBow, electric mandola, and baritone electric guitar… damn!

The core theme is two guys with an arsenal of acoustic instruments performing beautifully composed, lyrically melodic, image inducing instrumentals. I love the subtle blend of styles and instrumentation which makes the music, on a certain level, simple and accessible to all, yet elusively complex. We have a bouncy mixture of Americana and traditional Italian restaurant serenade, accented with a droning sitar undertone. There’s a Classical tinged blend of Greek wedding celebration and filmic chase scene narrative. I love the Indian influenced Irish jig, dancing on a serenely flowing drone. The music conjures up all kinds of confoundingly contrasting analogies. Some of the songs bring to mind Anthony Phillips’ Private Parts & Pieces albums and that Renaissance/Medieval Prog quality. But there’s rarely one identifiable style occurring in a single track, or even a single moment for that matter. Montgomery and Ellett nimbly segue to and from and synthesize multiple styles, with East, West and more coexisting harmoniously throughout single songs. The moog, mellotron, organ and electric guitars are used sparingly and only to add atmosphere, a light Prog shade, and occasional freaky effect.

In short, this is a thoroughly enjoyable set of subtly sophisticated yet universally accessible acoustic driven instrumentals. The promo sheet encourages to “Listen with headphones, you’ll be glad you did!”. I did, and I was!

For more information visit the Fernwood web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Thought Guild – “Third Voyage” (Harmonic Resonance Recordings 2015, CD/DL)

Thought Guild was the duo of Gregory Kyryluk and Christopher Cameron, the latter of whom sadly passed away in 2011. Third Voyage is the final chapter in a trilogy of albums originally intended for release in 2006 but not unleashed until 2012, and then only in a limited edition of 50 CDs. Kyryluk has finally made the album more widely available in both CD and download formats.

The Ebbing Universe opens the set with floating space electronica that melds Berlin school and New Age with a symphonic Progressive Rock sensibility and a spellbinding song-like quality. I love the tinkling sequenced and cosmic whale song melodies on Iridescent Resonance that contrast with one another but glide along in tandem, soon joined by a classic Prog keyboard melody, and all surrounded by a heavenly orchestral atmospheric aura. Last Train To Lyon is a seamless synthesis of multiple elements, sounding in part like a deep space take on 80s synth-pop, but also having an accessible Prog-light feel and cosmic noir quality, plus lots of fun freaky alien effects. The full blown Space-Prog rocking Retropolis has a cinematic edge that could have put these guys in the sci-fi soundtrack business. And speaking of soundtracks, Moon Blossom Meditation has a Goblin/Suspiria character, but is angelic and mystical rather than horror driven. VCO vs. DCO is another slab of deep space Prog with a classic sequenced Tangerine Dream drive. Titanium Ashram is a soundscapes, ambience and effects mash with a playful rhythmic patter that’s like a light skip through the outer edges of the atmosphere. Celestial Glossolalia is pure heart wrenching space symphony. And Ki is a “Bonus Live Improv” from 2004 that was added for this reissue and sounds in part like something from a live Klaus Schulze performance. Overall a very enjoyable set of Space-Prog and floating electronic driven space excursions.

To stream, download and order the CD, visit the Harmonic Resonance Bandcamp site at:
Visit the Harmonic Resonance web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Alpha Wave Movement – “System A” (Harmonic Resonance Recordings 2015, CD/DL)

The prolific Gregory Kyryluk has been releasing albums as Alpha Wave Movement for over 20 years now, in addition to his Thought Guild, Open Canvas and other projects. System A is the most recent of a handful of newer Alpha Wave Movement releases that Kyryluk shared with me, the first I’ve heard in some years (though Kyryluk has been continually active).

Headphones are a must for this music. Cryptic Signals opens the set with rumbling drones that roll like waves against the shore, at times stopping for brief massage pulsations at the center of my brain. Light but heavenly soundscape waves sweep along accompanied by various howls and bleeping, bubbling effects, plus mission control voice samples transmitting from space. Theta Space creates a light cosmic melody that leads a parade of rushing wind, playful shooting star effects and drones, which soon develop into a slowly and meditatively grooving space tune. I like how Kyryluk deftly melds floating space electronica that creates the sensation of both aquatic and extraterrestrial realms, and a dreamily melodic and image inducing sort of cosmic ballet. Asymmetrical Freefall picks up the energy and intensity level, even rocking out a bit and feeling at first like a blend of Berlin school electronica and the robotic futurism of Kraftwerk, before taking on a more deep space orchestral soundtrack quality. I dig the symphonic and highly energetic Space-Prog with an IDM kick on Journey The Existential Plane. Omniverse reaches to the heavens for 16+ minutes of mystery and imagination, drone-symphonic, space-ambient and sound exploratory bliss. Kyryluk blends angelic orchestration with towering effects and serene melodies to create an inspirational yet playful sense of soaring freely but safely through the star strewn heavens. Finally, Dark Space Distant Islands Of Light closes the set on a darker note, creating the slowly droning and atmospheric feel of drifting on a massive space station. The drones are at the forefront and create tension as voice sample narration pops of intermittently.

In summary, Kyryluk brings together a number of worlds, from Berlin school, to New Age, Space-Ambient, and more. Most important, he excels at freeing the mind to experience all sorts of imagery and sensations, which is exactly how I experienced System A.

To stream, download and order the CD, visit the Harmonic Resonance Bandcamp site at:
Visit the Harmonic Resonance web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Jet Jaguar – “Billion Year Spree” (Overlord Records 2015, CD/DL, originally released 2004)

Hot on the heels of the reissue of 2002’s Free Space album, Jet Jaguar give new life to 2004’s Billion Year Spree, all of which is leading up to what for me is the much anticipated first NEW set of Jet Jaguar songs in some years.

The band blast off the launch pad with Nonstop, which epitomizes Jet Jaguar’s brand of phasers on kill, Warp 6, holy shit we’re all gonna die Space Rock ‘n’ Roll. The songs are mostly short and pack a firm boot to the gut, combining high intensity and dangerously corrosive Space Rock with a good time dance party Rock ‘n’ Roll vibe. Other highlights include Future Martyr On Supersonic Waves, with its wildly weaving phased effects, punky rhythmic pulse, and eerie spaced out keys. I really dig the swirling synths and electronics on the punked out Hawkwind infused Turbulent Mirrors. Wastelands of Canaveral recalls the spirit of Hawkwind’s Space Ritual with its sci-fi poetry and space effects blend. Marooned is a dreamy instrumental that tempers the storm. And on we go. The original Billion Year Spree had 15 songs and this reissue has 13. But it also has two that weren’t on the original. Chrononaut is like the synths and effects intro to a global meltdown. And Jet Jaguar’s powerhouse cover of Hawkwind’s Lord of Light originally appeared on the Daze of the Underground Hawkwind tribute, which goes nicely with the caustic Space-Punk cover of Robert Calvert’s Aerospace Age Inferno.

In summary, if you like relentlessly rocking, balls to the walls sci-fi Space Punk ‘n’ Roll, then Jet Jaguar are about the most fun you could hope to have. Highest recommendation!

The CD and download of Billion Year Spree and other Jet Jaguar albums are available from CDBaby:
It should also be available at Amazon and Forced Exposure

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Crystal Jacqueline – “Rainflower” (Mega Dodo 2015, CD/LP/DL)

Crystal Jacqueline and cohort Icarus Peel have been on a roll since the debut Honey Pot album in 2012, chocking up a bevy of beautifully composed, executed and produced Psych/Folk/Pop/Prog songs and killer covers of both classic and obscure tunes. If you’ve read my past reviews you’ll know what a great job they do with the covers. But Peel has been flying high on my radar so I’m pleased to see a higher ratio of his originals on the latest Crystal Jacqueline outing – Rainflower.

The album opens with the Lullingly intense, Prog steeped, Pop-Psych song Siren, which takes a lighter bouncy turn near the end. The first part of the 10 minute Winter Deep / Dress Of White Lace is co-written by Peel and Mordecai Smyth, being a tenderly hypnotic, ethereally mind-bending Folk-Psych song with beautiful vocals, leading into a spaced out lysergic sound exploration passage before launching into the heavenly space-orchestral Dress Of White Lace. I floated along with the acoustic/electric guitar, organ, percussion and flute blend on Water Hyacinth. Daisy Chains is a heavy rocking blast of Psychedelic Pop. Mary Waiting consists of dreamily orchestrated Folk-Pop-Psych and lots of trippy jamming. I swooned to the darkly surreal and hauntingly seductive Strange Bloom, which is like a 60s Psychedelic take on the Torch song. The gently uplifting Rainflower is a gem. And Again… Dragonfly starts off with sparse, atmospheric instrumentation, the spotlight being on the vocals, before soaring into the cosmos for a blistering Psychedelic anthem finale.

Rounding out the set are two cover tunes: Jacqueline goes down ‘n dirty Psych-Blues rocking and injects freaked out efx into Status Quo’s In my Chair. And the spirit of the original is retained on Roger Waters’ Grantchester Meadows, though it’s imbued with a cool combination of acoustic drift and atmospheric intensity.

The production, also by Peel is stellar, giving the music an expansive and majestic back-in-the-day but with modern technology feel. This is like the best of Psychedelically orchestrated, craftily arranged and freakily efx’d 60s songs, but without feeling overly retro. And the vocals… Jacqueline is a wonderful singer but the way the harmonies and multi-tracking is handled brings a tear to the eye.

The album will be released on May 18th in CD and LP editions, both limited to 250 each, and of course there will be a download available as well.

To pre-order and hear song samples visit the Mega Dodo Bandcamp site at:
Visit the Mega Dodo web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz