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maanantai 24. lokakuuta 2016

Astral Visions #69 online now!

Astral Visions #69 finally online with cool psychy tracks by The Astral Army, Goat, Kremlin, THE CULT OF DOM KELLER, Flowers Must Die, Gong - Band, The Fërtility Cult, Katla, Sundarata, The Orange Drop, TEKSTI-TV 666, Narcosatanicos, Sherpa, Cary Grace, Steve Hillage, Paul Marcano and Light Dreams, Ahkmed & Neil Anderson. Let the journey begin...

lauantai 22. lokakuuta 2016

Playlist at Blowup II Festival, Korjaamo, Helsinki, 14.10.2016

I had a really great time at the second incarnation of Blowup last weekend! It was so cool to meet so many friends old and new and hear some of the heaviest and best bands ever. I was the dj on Friday and this (I think...) is what I played:

Sleep of Monsters - The Devil and All His Works (thanks again Sami...)
Black Sabbath - Lady Evil
Flowers Must Die - Taskig Stämning Annars
Aluk Tolodo - Burial Ground
The Cult of Dom Keller - Broken Arm of God
Celtic Frost - Procreation of the Wicked
Seremonia - Hasiskultti
The Cosmic Dead - Gustav Björnstrand
Angel Witch - Angel Witch
The Skull - The Skull
Aleister Crowley - Excerpts from the Gnostic Mass
Kikagaku Moyo - Green Sugar
Minami Deutsch - Futsu Ni Ikirenai
Baby Woodrose - Reality
Coven - White Witch of Rose Hall
Black Widow - Come to the Sabbath
Blue Öyster Cult - Don't Fear the Reaper
Mercyful Fate - The Oath
Blood Ceremony - Return to Forever
Aphrodite's Child - The Four Horsemen
Mana Mana - Mikä on sun taivas
Earthless - Acid Crusher
Bathory - Enter the Eternal Fire
Venom - Manitou
Moon Duo - Sleepwalker

Thanks a lot everyone involved! Again next year?

torstai 13. lokakuuta 2016

Uluru - Imaginary Sun

Tonzonen Records (TON 018)

Uluru is a new psychedelic stoner rock band from Instanbul, Turkey. This is their first full-length album released on two different limited vinyl editions on the excellent Tonzonen Records. You can also get this as a double CD including two EP's: Imaginary Sun and Dazed Hill (seven tracks in total), and this LP version has five of those tracks. Two shorter pieces, the title track "Imaginary Sun" and "Set Loose" from Dazed Hill are missing from the LP. Confused yet?

So what do we have here? Long, instrumental tracks of rather heavy and gloomy, but also atmospheric stuff played by a trio of guitar, bass and drums with no (noticeable) overdubs. So it's all real and pretty simple yet effective played with a lot of emotion. These young guys know their shit and can play, and the music they make is rather interesting, but not really that psychedelic or spacey. The first track "Uluru" is slow and sort of bluesy, apart from the faster ending. "Demon Spirit" is similar in style, but has more soloing and also more laid-back jam parts. Cool! "Elegy" is one of my favourites with a bit mystical, melancholic and spiritual vibe. I'm somehow reminded of Finnish band Kingston Wall, very nice! Another slow piece. The almost 11-minute "Dazed Hill" starts off side B and yes, slow jamming again. Some excellent vibes in this one as well, although they might have done something different by now like exploding my brain with some faster psych rocking. Okay, they sort of do that after the seven-minute-marker actually when the track grows and gets more intense! More of that, please. The LP is finished with the dreamy "Blind Camel" that has some Oriental touch. I wish they would use some more Turkish / Anatolian influences since I think that would make their music more unique and memorable. There are just so many bands playing this kind of heavy instrumental jam music, that's it's easy to get lost in the middle. Anyway, Uluru is a very promising band and everybody into atmospheric, psychedelic stoner/hard rock should check out this album.

lauantai 17. syyskuuta 2016

Autumn of Paekward - Cern

Tonzonen Records (TON 014)

Autumn of Paekward is an experimental electronic ambient drone project by Jochen Koch from Leipzif, Germany. Cern is his second album under the monicker and also features the Schmalkalden Philharmonie to give a the album a bit of modern classical music feel and other people on vocals (narration) and solo guitar. As you might have guessed this is a concept album about Cern, The European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva. Yes that's right, it's the world's biggest particle physics lab established in 1954 where the secrets of the universe are being unveiled. What a great idea to use that as a theme for cool ambient music!

The album includes six rather long tracks of mesmerizing, rather psychedelic experimental music that's very electronic in nature and also includes some spoken-word in different languages, field-recordings etc. Most of the music has no rhythm, but the third track "Director's Office" also has some programmed drums and very nice solo guitar work, and "Attic" drums, post-rock styled guitar and even some quiet screamed vocals giving it an icy black metal undertone. Synthesizers and keyboards are the main instruments, virtual or real. The other tracks are called "Canteen", "Wardrope", "Cupboard" and "Collider", so I guess all the titles are from actual (or imaginary) places at Cern. I must say I'm not usually really a big fan of experimental ambient music, but Autumn of Paekward is an exception. I love the laid-back, cinematic mood of the album, and  there's even some koschmische krautrock vibes in there although the sonic landscape is very modern sounding with lots of computer effects & manipulation etc. It would be really cool to listen to this on your headphones while walking around at Cern! This is a rather trippy experience and I've been enjoying it a lot. Check this album out!

torstai 15. syyskuuta 2016

Hotlist September

This is the hottest stuff right now at Astral Zone:

Cult Of Dom Keller – Goodbye To The Light LP
Manilla Road – Dreams Of Eschaton 2LP
Vibravoid – In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida 7"
Camera - Phantom of Liberty LP + CD
Farflung - 5 LP
Circle – 6000 km/h Part 2 LP
V/A – Kraftwerk? Ja Bitte! LP
Minami Deutsch - S/T LP
Pharaoh Overlord – #1 2LP
Saturnia ‎– The Real High LP

torstai 8. syyskuuta 2016

Megaritual - Mantra Music

White Dwarf (WHD06)

Megaritual is a solo project by multi-instrumentalist Dale Walker who is also a member of a psychedelic stoner rock band called Sun of Man. Megaritual has released two digital download solo EP's on Bandcamp, and this LP compiles most of both Mantra Music I and Mantra Music II and I must say I enjoy it very much. The first thing that came to my mind when I put the LP on was the brilliant Lamp of the Universe from New Zealand, another solo project from the same area. Like Craig Williamson, Dale uses bass, guitars, drums, sitar and dreamy vocals to create hypnotic, mantra-like psychedelic soundscapes that you can easily get lost in. Also the lyrics are of the cosmic, esoteric and Eastern / Hindu variety, so I would be very surpriced if Dale is not a LotU fan. Okay, there are lots of similarities, but when Craig leaves the heaviest, doomiest stuff for his other project band Arc of Ascent, Dale also incorporates that into Megaritual making it more varied in intensity. Craig of course uses a much more varied instrumentation including also synthesizers, which is another big difference.

Megaritual gets really HEAVY at times, and I'm sure fans of Om or even Sleep will like this too. Samsara Blues Experiment also comes to mind. But even when the going gets doomy and heavy, you can usually also hear the acoustic guitar or sitar in the background. The album includes eight tracks recorded in between 2014 and 2015, and I got to say I love them all. The shortest is the drone-like opener "Is the Heart of the Mystery" at under two minutes, and the longest the majestetic and magical "Tatt Tvam Asi" (8:23). Most of the album is pretty slow, trance-inducing and hypnotic, but the last instrumental track "Have You Seen The Sky Lately" is faster, and somehow celebratory, happier stuff with also some cool psych sounds. I get the feeling an Indian wedding party went crazy after somebody spiked the traditional wedding cake... Superb! This album is released in limited edition of only 300 copies on cool blue marbled vinyl and comes with a download code. Highly recommended! I hope there will be more (vinyl) releases by Megaritual soon.

keskiviikko 7. syyskuuta 2016

Baby Woodrose - Freedom

Bad Afro Records (AFROLP/CD050)

I've been a fan of Danish psychedelic garage rock band Baby Woodrose from the very beginning, and even before that I digged the main man Lorenzo Woodrose's previous band On Trial. He has also been part of several other band projects like Spids Nøgenhat and Dragontears, and I love it all. Baby Woodrose still seems like his main vehichle for creating and releasing music, although there was a four-year break for a new album after the previous mind-blowing masterpiece Third Eye Surgery put out in 2012. Freedom was recorded and mixed on tape to give it a full-analogue vibe and it does sound amazing. The album concept deals with "mind control, brainwash, hamster wheels, slavely and oppression", some of the darker aspects of our culture that affect as all. The whole idea came from an old gospel / slave song "Freedom" that the band had been playing around for a year or so. You might know this song for the Richie Havens version played at Woodstock in 1969.

Several songs on the new album sound quite a lot like the more stoner rock oriented On Trial, like the heavy rocking opener "Reality". Excellent! "21st Century Slave" sounds more like a standard (but great!) Baby Woodrose song with strong 60s garage psych vibes and excellent melodies. The pounding "Open Doors" was the first video track of the album and I can see why, it has a lot of potential with excellent chorus and I like it a lot. Just check out the video! "Mind Control Machine" starts off with some space sounds and then the heavy stoner rocking begins, wow! Another On Trial sounding song, and why the hell not. Some cool guitar soloing on this one as well. "Peace" is the pretty and melancholic acoustic track of the album, very nice and touching. Baby Woodrose's cover version of "Freedom" rocks pretty hard and once again I'm reminded of On Trial. Great! Another cover follows: "Red The Signpost" originally by the late 60s psychedelic freaks Fifty Foot Hose! I love what they have done to this great tune, it's very psychedelic and fuzzy and really rocks out! "Mantra" is a slower, beautiful and atmospheric song with a rather powerful chorus. As usual, the album is finished with a long, trippy track and this time its the hypnotic, eight-minute "Termination" that takes us into the spheres. Lots of mind-altering effects on this one, what a great way to end an amazing album! If you were fast enough, you could pre-order the first limited edition black vinyl with an exclusive 7", can't wait to receive my vinyl copy... This is definitely one of the best releases this year.