Archive for September 30, 2015

Alien Planetscapes – “Space Rock Boogaloo” / “Radio Special Vol. III” / Ricardo D’Orlando – “Extensions Through Dimensions” (Galactus 2015, CDR)

Alien Planetscapes alumnus and band archivist Richard Orlando has reissued two new sets featuring a sextet lineup of the band from 1990-91, plus his own solo album of new recordings.

Alien Planetscapes – “Radio Special Volume III” (Galactus 2015, CDR)
Alien Planetscapes – “Space Rock Boogaloo” (Galactus 2015, CDR)

Both CDs consist of three lengthy jams, all in the 20+ minute range. The lineup on both is Len Pace on drums, L.G. Mair on bass, John Cordes on electric violin, electric mandolin, synthesizer and effects, John Potenza on guitars, synthesizers and effects, Louis Boone on synthesizers and effects, and the late Doug “Dr Synth” Walker on synthesizers, sequencers, keyboards, digital horn, electronic reeds and flutes, and effects.

I love this “big band” era of Alien Planetscapes in which the musicians improvise at the intersection of Space Rock, Free-Jazz and Prog. There’s a lot going on here… We’ve got high intensity spaced out Psychedelic Jazz-Rock. Funky rolling grooves over which the musicians explore are common. The electric violin rips off screeching banshee licks, creating a Mahavishnu Orchestra in space aesthetic. The keyboard solos inject a fuzzed out Soft Machine vibe, but also a high pitched sci-fi morphed with 60s Psychedelic sound. And the electronics flitter, bubble and soar.

Doug Walker was a Jazz musician who was equally influenced by Space/Kraut bands like Hawkwind, Gong, Amon Düül II and Tangerine Dream and Prog bands with a Jazz aesthetic like King Crimson, Van der Graaf Generator and Soft Machine. These influences converged with Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor and electric Miles Davis in a distinctly Alien Planetscapes way on the recordings of this era. The improvisations are completely freeform and exploratory, yet there’s a clear sense of goal oriented control, like a more Jazz disciplined version of Yeti-era Amon Düül II meets Soft Machine with a dose of cosmic Funk and Soul. This is music that has the free-wheeling feel of Jazz-Rock improvisation and the schooled structure of composition.

Throughout the band’s history the Alien Planetscapes roster included a stunning number of musicians. Doug always struggled to find musicians who were both like-minded and accomplished. In a 1998 interview he told me that since 1989 only about a dozen auditioned musicians out of 261 had really worked well within the band. Both these CDs feature a lineup that really gelled and produced some outstanding Free-Jazz inspired Space Rock where multiple diverse influences are synthesized to create a uniquely Alien Planetscapes sound. Doug Walker really is one of Rock history’s criminally under-recognized and under-appreciated visionaries.

In short, if your tastes extend from Space Ritual to The Inner Mounting Flame and In The Court Of The Crimson King, then these recordings are absolutely essential.

Ricardo D’Orlando – “Extensions Through Dimensions” (Galactus 2015, CDR)

The new Ricardo D’Orlando (Richard Orlando) album is his first new solo album in 8 years, which he describes as “an Electronic Experimental Space Rock mashup that will take you on a trip without leaving your sofa. I pointed my Shortwave antenna toward the Stars & the sounds that came back are not of this earth. Apropos really, since the theme here is Ancient Astronauts.”

Extensions Through Dimensions consists of 23 soundscape pieces that Orlando created with synthesizers, shortwave radio, guitar and analog & digital delays. The Ancient Astronauts theme is apparent throughout, as are the sensations associated with solitary space travel and finding oneself on a barren, windswept world. Cosmic droning, pulsating and howling soundscapes combine with subtle sundry sounds and textures and various forms of alien chatter (thanks to the handy shortwave) to create interesting interstellar sound sculptures. Some of the tracks utilize wild and fun sci-fi electronics, some of which get intensely noisy and others sounding like tributes to Louis and Bebe Barron. Among the others are melodic and uplifting reach for the heavens symphonics, meditative ambience, Mellotronic excursions, and spaced out Phantom of the Opera recitals.

Most of the tracks are 1-2 minute snippets though a couple take a little more time and develop beyond the 8 minute mark. Overall it’s a very cool set of deep space and often experimental sound sculptures. If you like this I recommend also checking out Rich’s collaborations with Hal McGee: The Electric Brains (2014) and February Sessions (2013), both available at

Extensions Through Dimensions and the Alien Planetscapes reissues are available for $6.00 each plus $3.00 each for S&H in the U.S. U.S. buyers who purchase all three get FREE shipping.
Those OUTSIDE THE U.S. should contact Richard for a shipping quote.
Email Richard Orlando at to order.
NOTE that all proceeds go to Evan Walker, son of the late Alien Planetscapes founder and ship commander Doug “Dr Synth” Walker.

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Dead Sea Apes- “Spectral Domain” (Sunrise Ocean Bender/Cardinal Fuzz 2015, LP/DL)

The latest from Manchester, UK based Dead Sea Apes is a cinematic journey into the most ferocious and emotionally draining regions of Psychedelic space.

The moods are many on the Side A opening track, Universal Interrogator. We’ve got a cosmic concoction of monstrously fuzzed Psychedelic Doom and alien invasion Space Rock that’s like an intergalactic march into battle. The fuzz bass alone is so terrifying that if I saw these fuckers coming I’d hightail it quick. And combining the bass riffage with the steady tribal drumming, guitar leads and glom of effects creates the soundtrack to a shit storm of spaced out devastation on the horizon. The theme continues with True Believers, which gets even deeper into metallic yet atmospheric Space-Doom territory. Dead Sea Apes excel at packing a wallop of destructive emotion into their music. The intensity level builds slowly and painfully as the sludge congeals and Psychedelic angst licks zing from the guitar like liquid daggers.

After that Side A pummeling the first thing that jumps out on the flip side opener, The Unclosing Eye, is that the Apes have eased up on the molten lava fuzz. The tension level is still off the charts but this is beautifully atmospheric and theme focused music that rocks out and blends numerous Space Rock, Psychedelic and Krautrock influences, though if I had to single anything out I’d say it reminds me of the Finnish band Circle in their mid-1990s period. I like the Western theme imagery that the guitar riff conjures up on Brought To Light, though it’s surrounded by a haunted house cauldron of deep space atmospherics and effects. Finally, Sixth Side of the Pentagon goes in a different direction, being a Dub infused jaunt across a rhythmically grooving and lysergically drifting space-scape that gradually builds in power and ferocity.

In summary, Spectral Domain is a powerhouse of emotional and thematic complexity, creating sensations of stress, anxiety and unease. Highly recommended, but don’t listen without your daily dose of Xanax.

Spectral Domain is a co-release between Sunrise Ocean Bender Records (U.S.) and Cardinal Fuzz (Europe)
Stream samples and purchase from Sunrise Ocean Bender at: and Cardinal Fuzz at:
Visit the Dead Sea Apes web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Us and Them – “Summer Green and Autumn Brown” (Mega Dodo, 2015, CD/LP/DL, limited 4-CD)

Us and Them are the Swedish duo of Britt Rönnholm and Anders Hakanson. They debuted in 2008 with a CD on their own Withdrawn Recordings label and also have had EPs on the Ritual Echo and Fruits de Mer labels. My introduction to the duo was their stunningly gorgeous Pagan-Folk inspired Songs from The Wicker Man collaboration with Frobisher Neck, released by Fruits de Mer. And now Mega Dodo has released their first full length of original songs: Summer Green and Autumn Brown.

Us and Them create some of the most beautifully delicate and pastoral Folk based Psychedelia I’ve ever heard. Britt’s vocals out Sandy Denny’d the original with their cover of Denny’s By The Time It Gets Dark on last year’s Fruits de Mer EP. But there are Prog and spacey influences as well. The music at times evokes early acoustic driven Genesis, but can also be gently symphonic and nearly always includes a spacey Pagan-Folk vibe, plus bits of Medievalism, dashes of Baroque and elements of 60s Pop-Psych. We’ve also got the added twist of cosmic synths and sci-fi effects. The spacey elements are typically light… They color. They embellish. They put Us and Them outside the box without being overly intrusive. The melodies are spellbinding, with guitars and vocals flowing like an enchanted forest magic carpet ride. From one song to the next I felt like I was hearing a siren call, enticing me into Rönnholm and Hakanson’s dreamy wilderness.

The synths get more front and center attention on a couple tracks. Here Again is a little different, going deeper into space than other songs and even getting into some intense electronic experimentalism. And the 10 minute From The Inside, Looking Out is the album’s Space-Folk-Prog epic, with its cosmically moody atmospherics and sometimes doomy vibe that intersperses with the trademark Us and Them Folk infused surrealist beauty. They should have named this album The Seduction. A shoe-in for my Best of 2015 list.

Summer Green and Autumn Brown is available in CD, vinyl LP and download editions, plus a limited (100 copies) 4-CD set that, in addition to Summer Green and Autumn Brown, includes the band’s three Fruits de Mer EPs. The 4-CD set is exclusive to the Mega Dodo Bandcamp page.

For more information visit the Mega Dodo web site at:
Stream, download and purchase Summer Green and Autumn Brown and many other fantastic Mega Dodo releases at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Walls Of Genius – “Walls Of Genius Meets Harry Smith” (self-released 2015, Download)

From 1982-86 Walls Of Genius (WOG) were active in the homemade music underground and released numerous cassette albums, and then disbanded until Spring 2014 when they released the Now Not Then reunion album by the original WOG trio of Ed Fowler, Evan Cantor and Little Fyodor. Absence apparently does make the creative heart grow fonder because the guys have been on something of a tear since then.

I’ll quote from the album notes to describe the background to their latest album, Walls Of Genius Meets Harry Smith: This album was originally proposed by Hal McGee of, that Walls of Genius would take on the material from Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, originally released in 1952. Smith’s anthology was a collection of folk songs culled from vintage 78-rpm recordings and was highly influential in the folk music boom of the late 50’s and early 60’s. Walls of Genius accepted the challenge!

They certainly did. Six of the tracks were recorded on June 21, 2015 and these are sandwiched between two tracks recorded a few days later. All tracks were recorded at the “New Hall of Genius” in Boulder, Colorado.

Peg and Awl is a down on the bayou banjo pickin’ bit of Americana with drawly Leon Redbone type vocals. But offsetting the trad vibe is waves of spaced out soundscapes and drones plus flittering electronic weirdness. The Old Lady & The Devil is a hee-haw’in hoedown barn stomper with trademark whacky WOG vocals and dirty rockin’ guitar and a brief stoned Hendrix solo. John Johanna is a similar WOG vocal number but more instrumentally stripped down. This one will make you either plan your next vacation in Arkansas or steer clear of the place forever. The Titanic is 12+ tasty minutes of whimiscal and strangely soulful Psych rock. WOG lay down a cool groove with an accompanying fuzzed/electro rhythmic pattern and free-wheeling wah’d and wigged out guitar soloing. The guitar has been a highlight on all the new millennium WOG recordings. The vocals tell the story of the Titanic sinking and have an ever so slight phased effect tacked on which makes a cool combination with the jamming guitar and oddball electro grooving pattern. Really killer spaced out Psych guitar which sounds so cool and strange along with the off-kilter yet cool grooving rhythmic pulse and soulfully robotic vocals. Drunkard’s Special features more rippin’ and rockin’ Psych guitar. A slide whistle jams along with the guitar which adds a quirky Punch and Judy dimension and certainly lightens the intensity. And when the theatrical vocals start getting crazy the freeform Psych jamming, slide whistle and vocals trio make for a wild acid rocking electro shock therapy jam. The fun continues with Crash & Burn Medley which starts off like a spin-off from Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner. The guitar goes total freakout and when it fades we launch into a country fried bit of Americana song, before morphing into a combo of freaked out trip guitar, frenzied pulsating radio wave electronics and some kind of Area 51 type spoken word narrative, and eventually closing with an acoustic guitar and slide whistle Country-Folk song. Wow. Hairy is a down ‘n’ dirty heavy Psych rock jam with killer dual guitars and is probably the most straight-forward piece of music on the album. Not a smidgen of strangeness. Which sounds…. strange? But not as strange as Dynamite Joe, which is a damn good banjo and vocal number that permits itself to be a serious rendition of what Harry Smith must have been about. I don’t think I’ve EVER heard such “normal” (EEEEEK!!!) vocals on a WOG song. Surprise surprise…

In summary, WOG excel at being creatively off the beaten path, which may sound to the uninitiated like downright whackiness at times. But for me it’s all a really cool, good fun and distinctly WOG brand of loony bin Psychedelia and oddball songs that throw a much welcome art damaged wrench in the works.

Stream and download Walls Of Genius Meets Harry Smith and other WOG albums at:
For an amazingly detailed Walls Of Genius history, including streaming of all their 1980s cassette albums, visit the Haltapes web site at: (and click the Walls Of Genius link at the top)

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Mooch – “Sunshine” (self-released 2015, CDR)

Mooch ship commander Steve Palmer has indulged his love of 60s Psychedelic Pop by releasing periodic “song” albums under the Mooch name. This has been a wee bit controversial for some fans who struggle to reconcile these songs with the Mooch Space Rock sound. But the fact is that even among the Mooch Space Rock albums there is no one “sound”, so I’ve welcomed them all. The song albums have been damn good and Steve’s latest, Sunshine, is a corker, serving up 20 new tunes, all quite compact at around the 2 minute range.

Sunshine will sound familiar to those who have heard the previous Mooch song albums, though Steve takes this one in some different, though classically 60s oriented directions. The Beatles, Their Satanic Majesties Request, The Bee Gees, early Moody Blues, I could go on with the 60s analogies.

Sunshine demonstrates how production and studio craftsmanship had such an influence on 60s Psychedelia. The songs are beautifully arranged with surreal and totally trippy orchestrations, classical music elements and swirly, mind-bending effects. Steve really scored getting Crystal Jacqueline on board, who sings lead on most of the songs, though Jill Carr makes a return, and Kev Ellis handles some of the lead vocals to surprising effect.

Standouts include He Left Me In The Afternoon, with its flowing sitar waves and cosmic drones that underscore the core Pop-Psych song. The Void goes way out into space, being simultaneously haunting and majestically trippy, with beautifully crafted orchestrations, effects, sitar and drones. Around The World is a production highlight that packs on the effects, being a catchy yet totally disorienting tune. There are lots of songs like these that have catchy melodic hooks but the production and effects make them enchantingly freaky.

Too Many People is a little different, sounding like it would be right at home on an album by The Association. Tell Me How is like Psychedelic Petula Clark. The pastorally Psychedelic Spring Song harks back to previous Mooch song albums with vocals by Jill Carr. Save Me has a jangly Byrds quality and features a very different vocal performance by Kev Ellis, who is delightfully outside his usual element on this album. I never would have guessed that was him singing. Ditto for Red, White & Blue and The Midas Touch, though Kev is a little more recognizable on the lysergically doomy and Psychedelically theatrical The Bad Trip Song.

I listened to this album several times in a short period and have decided that this is Steve’s best 60s song Mooch album yet. The songs are as well written and catchy as previous efforts, but the production, arrangements and effects take the music elsewhere in terms of 60s Pop-Psych. The album really lives up to the Sunshine title. Well done Steve.

CDR copies are available directly from Steve Palmer upon request. They come in hand-printed, recycled card sleeves, with printed art inside. Cost is £6 + postage to your country. Email Steve at

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Dave Mihaly’s Shimmering Leaves Ensemble – “Euro and Solo” (self-released 2015, CD)

Multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Dave Mihaly will be known to Aural Innovations readers as a percussionist on a half dozen Mushroom albums. Euro and Solo is the follow up to his 2013 Rivers album and serves up an equally varied and genre challenged set. Eight of the 12 songs were recorded in Antwerp, Belgium with the trio of Mihaly, Jon Birdsong (another Mushroom alum), and Belgian musician Tim Coenen. The remaining four were solo pieces recorded in San Francisco where Mihaly is based.

I can only communicate the breadth of completely unclassifiable but totally classy variety on this album by touring through the 12 tracks in order…

Mihaly explores Jazz with bits of Americana on T’ai, which is like an acoustic mix of Mushroom and later period Soft Machine. A repetitive bass riff and sparse percussion are accompanied by a cool Jazz “cornetto” lead, lightly pleasant guitar, and an occasional intriguingly jarring zither strum. All The Time is a simple but oh so luscious guitar and vocals song that is given an added dimension of instrumental interest with an accompanying marimba. I like accessible songs that have an underlying not-so-normal “something”. And Mihaly is clearly unconcerned with normality as this is followed by the briefly cool and strange Eyebrow, which I won’t attempt to describe, though it acts as a fun “what’s this guy up to?!” bridge between All The Time and the aptly titled Blues For Izu, which demonstrates how meditatively Jazz flowing a basic combination of guitar, cornet and drums can be. Dig that light touch brush and sticks work on the drums. It’s like a Fred Astaire soft shoe. I like the rug cutting Salsa meets Bossa Nova groove on A Midnight Train. Altriciality is a drums and vibraphone solo piece that features light as a feather yet elusively smokin’ Jazz drumming and spacey melodic vibraphone. Mihaly adds a few logs to the drum fire on Antigoon, Brabo, And The River for some amped up energy level rhythmic gymnastics, soon joined by saucy cornet and ambient Jazz-Psych guitar which makes for a very cool Jazz-Psych-Prog-Ambient narrative excursion. I have to quote the track notes which describes the piece as “Method acting via sound: A sonic telling of the mythic origins of Antwerp, Be. The drums are Antigoon, the cornet is Brabo, and the electric 12 string guitar is the river”. Every Day Is Labor Day is a Mihaly singer-songwriter tune with a humorous edge to the lyrics – “Every day is Labor Day, and you’re my Jerry Lewis telethon” (maybe not intended to be humorous as the notes say “with the utmost respect”). Overboard is an energetic Jazz instrumental that once again has an ambient and even Psychedelic edge. We’ve got fiery drums and cornet jamming along with trippy bubbling electric guitar. I love the contrast between these elements that somehow come together so well. Midnight Dance is Mihaly’s rendition of a traditional Tohono D’Odham (Arizona based Native-American tribe) melody. The bass provides the tribal groove as the drums and cornet do their cool Jazz melodic jam which ebbs and flows in intensity. Petaluma Chan Chan is a light Jazz vocal number with lyrics in Spanish. Finally, Healing is a drums and ocarina (a type of flute) solo piece that ends the set on a freeform improvisational note.

You have to have cross genre tastes to appreciate Mihaly’s work. He could understandably be accused of being too all over the stylistic map. But my response to that would be to relax, put on the headphones, and give Euro and Solo a few close listens, because the whole is truly the sum of its singularly compelling parts.

For more information you can visit the Dave Mihaly web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Joseph Benzola – “Tuareg” (self-relased 2015, Download)

The latest from percussionist/pianist/improviser/composer Joseph Benzola showcases his varied world of Jazz/Classical/Electronica/Kosmiche/Experimental compositions. Though an accomplished pianist, Benzola considers himself a drummer first and indeed Tuareg is a percussion heavy set. Five of the eight tracks continue Benzola’s on-going Portraits Of The Dead series, with three of them focusing on religious figure/writers and two paying tribute to late Jazz greats.

D.T. Suzuki is a drums, percussion, cymbals, bells, blocks, rattles and recorder/flute/horn piece that is alternately sparse and quietly busy. Thomas Merton consists of smoothly flowing Free-Jazz drumming that is so polished and tranquil that it’s easy to not notice that Benzola is really rocking out. Ditto for Benzola’s tributes to fellow drummer Rashied Ali and priest/mystic Padre Pio, though the energy level is amped up considerably. And Don Cherry is a frenetically grooving and ethnic/tribal percussion and flute/recorder workout with a meditatively ambient quality.

The title track is, not surprisingly, African inspired, with tribal Jazz percussion and a whizzing horn melody which together makes for a cool jazzy ethnic groove. But at 3 minutes its way too short, disappointingly cutting out just as its cranking up. I would have liked to hear this one fleshed out more. The hilariously titled Drunken Hipster Pygmy Squaredance Trance in Bushwick goes completely into left field, being a good fun avant-electro/Hip-Hop/mash-up that’s like an urban dance party for the android crowd. And wrapping up the set is Three Short Pieces, which consists of three brief piano musings. The first part is a beautiful solo piano piece that makes me want to run to the nearest smoky Jazz lounge and order a Manhattan. When it shifts gears it becomes an intensely kinetic piano romp that feels like an avant-garde film noir chase scene. And winding down the set is a melodic electric piano coda.

As always Benzola has provided me with music that is enjoyably challenging to listen to, ponder and write about. I’ve probably said this before but this guy should get a cover profile in Wire magazine.

Stream and download Tuareg and other Joseph Benzola albums at his Bandcamp site:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Steven Cerio – Original Film Soundtrack to “The Magnificent Pigtail Shadow” (Wow Cool 2015, CD/DL)

Steven Cerio is known for his artwork including his art and video for The Residents, though Aural Innovations readers will be familiar with his music through the Atlantic Drone albums. In 2012 Cerio’s film The Magnificent Pigtail Shadow was released. I’ve not seen the film but found a short trailer on YouTube (CLICK HERE) and it’s pretty trippy. And so is the music, which has recently been released by Wow Cool. To create the soundtrack, Cerio assembled a sizable ensemble of musicians, prominent among them being Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses, 50 Foot Wave) who contributes narration.

The first 11 tracks are from the original score, and two of those are remixes of tracks from the 2009 A Vivified Sugar Cube Explains The Universe album by Atlantic Drone. Some of this sounds like lost tracks from an early 70s Brainticket album, though Agitation Free and Ash Ra Tempel come to mind as well. There’s a tribal grooving feel amidst a stew of free-wheeling trippy Psychedelia that’s emblematic of the afore-mentioned bands’ experimentalism, with Hersh’s narration adding a raspy voiced poetic and often shamanic presence. There are also Free-Jazz elements, with a surreal combination of wailing horns, drumming and avant-guitar ensemble, leading into narration against a haunting atmospherics backdrop and then melting into an eerie morphing of tripped out soundscapes, effects, West Coast Psych jamming, freakily efx’d narration and avant-garde minimalism. We’re also treated to several beautifully lysergic dream sequence passages that consist of soundscapes and drones, though these are punctuated by a parade of dissonant, orchestral, Free-Jazz and sundry effected bits and pieces. And it all flows seamlessly, making for an image inducing and often mind-bending adventure. Tracks 12-19 are unused outtakes from the sessions which provide about 25 minutes of tasty extras.

In summary, If you like the most free-wheeling of Psychedelic Krautrock, Sun Ra at his most experimental, and the avant-garde minimalist pioneers all brought together in a surreal soundtrack format, you’ll dig The Magnificent Pigtail Shadow. I’d love to be in a theater watching the film with the soundtrack performed live.

For more information visit the Steven Cerio web site at:
Visit the Wow Cool web site at: (CLICK HERE to go directly to the album)

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

Space Invaders – “Dreadnought” (Nasoni Records 2015, CD/2-LP/DL)

After two live albums, German improvisational space rockers Space Invaders release their first studio album. The band has been trimmed to a guitar/bass/drums/synth/Mellotron quartet and it looks like Dirk Bittner is the one who left. We’ve got 8 tracks, both long and short(-ish), and a full 80 minutes of high intensity instrumental Space Rock.

More than half of the 11 minute The Gap You Leave Behind consists of a doomy, droning, tension-laden atmospheric buildup, though it eventually settles into an electro-stoned Space Rock Motorik groove. Dungeons is a mega-fuzzed, heavy rocking space jam that focuses on both atmosphere and laying down a cool groove and includes haunting symphonic-drone synths. The 13 minute Two Skulls consists of acid-laced, stoner-droning, electro-freaky and rhythmically hip shakin’ Space Rock, at times sounding like Hawkwind with Space-Prog keys and at others like a deeply fuzzed metallic freight train in space. And I like how the soloing guitar goes from adding a tasty Bluesy edge to being totally molten fuzz. Hexensabber is like a soaring into the cosmos, deeply majestic Space-Prog soundscape-symphony. The title track is a highlight and one of the most composed sounding tracks of the set, being a monster volcanic slab of acidic steamroller Space Rock that brings to mind Zone Six. It’s Raining Bones is similar but more like a convoy of tanks than a steamroller, with a punishing bass and rhythmic pulse, acid-snake guitar and lots of alien effects. At less than 4 minutes Jolly Roger High Speed Groove is short and to the point, being a high intensity, heavy driving rocker with robotic synths. This leads into the closing track, the 22+ minute Out In The Madness. It starts off like some kind of cosmic Spaghetti-Western soundtrack, but soon goes into trademark Space Invaders stoned, atmospheric, jamming brain fry mode, which ultimately feels like the acid-stoned, and eventually acid-Punk, Space Rock soundtrack to a cosmic volcano eruption.

Wow, what a ride. The album is mixed such that each track melts into the other, making for one big exhausting and brain bruising 80 minute voyage. The intensity level is off the charts throughout. I enjoyed the first two Space Invaders albums but with Dreadnought the band takes things to the next level. There are some really hot improvisational Space Rock bands on the contemporary scene, all quite different from one another, and fans of Oresund Space Collective, Electric Moon, Zone Six and the like should add Space Invaders to their list of essentials. Smokin’ stuff.

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

Magic Bus – “Transmission from Sogmore’s Garden” (Self-Released 2015, CD)

Magic Bus are a UK based dual guitar, bass, keyboards, flute, recorder, drums, vocals sextet who play a 1970s Canterbury and Folk inspired brand of Progressive Rock, with bits of Psychedelia and an Earth/Space lyrical focus.

The 8-song album opens with Sunflower, which is a bouncy, uplifting Sunshine-Pop-Prog dittie with lyrics that traverse flower filled meadows, cosmic little planets and our brains, and includes a beautiful flute solo, rocking guitar and fuzzed out organ. But that’s just the warm up. Magic Bus go into full blown compositionally and thematically complex Prog mode on the Ballad Of Lord Sogmore, which explores Canterbury, Folk, Classic Prog, and Eastern influenced Psychedelic realms. I like the medieval and Jazz infused Cosmic Rays Of Dawn, which features Folk and extra-terrestrial inspired lyrics about living in a tree on bread and tea, but also pointing to Pluto way out in space. Three Days entreats us to climb aboard the bus and then launches into instrumental passages that take us through a beautiful Canterbury and Soft Machine Jazz wonderland, with luscious keys, flutes and guitars, and a tightly grooving rhythmic drive. Jupiter 3am puts a deep space spin on the Prog stylings Magic Bus have adopted. And I guess they would. Because… well… they’re building a “future craft” and planning a new world on red Mars. I love it. And we’ve got a killer instrumental explosion that rocks harder than anything I’ve heard yet on the album, but does so in the gentlest magic carpet floating way. Seven Wonders was my introduction to Magic Bus and the song that left me yearning for more, having heard it recently on the band’s new Fruits de Mer label single (it’s being released right about the time this review is posted, along with a very cool cover of The Byrds’ Eight Miles High). Morning Mantra injects a bit of Grateful Dead West Coast Psych flavor to the Magic Bus Canterbury Folk-Prog sound. And, finally, Earthpod is a Folk/Jazz-Prog and symphonic crooner that pines for a simpler life of space, time and cosmic floating. Don’t we all.

In summary, Magic Bus are a paean to the 70s, though they put a fresh enough spin on those sounds to transcend the retro tag. The compositions and arrangements are pure craftsmanship, with impeccable performances and thematic development that evoke the best of 70s Progressive Rock. Lyrically the band are in a class all their own, with their heads and hearts equally in the most pastoral parts of Earth and the furthest reaches of space. In short, Magic Bus are pure magic. Recommended.

For more information visit the Magic Bus web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz