Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In the Labyrinth- One Trail to Heaven (Trail Records 011)

 In the Labyrinth are a Swedish duo playing psychedelic world music that have slowly over the years migrated to a more new age sound from their more organic roots but still are damn cool. This is a compilation record with tracks from all the bands records as well as some remixes and unreleased material as well. They have ten guest musicians on the CD as well. The CD comes in a fantastic digpack with brilliant artwork by Valeria Trubina. The CD opens up with Lost in the Woods from the Dryad CD but this is a version with a longer introduction. The next 3 tracks are all from the bands debut CD called The Garden of Mysteries released on the Ad Perpetuam Memoriam label in 1996. The bands CD, Walking on Clouds gets a sampling as well with the next two tracks. Then back to Dryad and a an all instrumental version of Deep Saffron also from this record. The last three are all unreleased tracks and I will describe them in more detail. The Endless City is very short at just over 3mins. It is a bit spacey, eastern and mysterious and really builds up a cool mood and has a lot of psychedelic things going on in the background and some cool electric guitar but then it is over. Cities is a Moody Blues cover from the amazing Days of Future Past LP. This version features the sitar at the beginning and is also very beautiful. The CD ends with an extract of a song called Cloudburst. It has a female voice and is very floating spacey and new age like music. A really good introduction to this cool band if you have never heard them.

Permanent Clear Light- Higher than the Sun 7” (Regal Crabomphone Winkle 7)

PCL is a pretty new Finnish band. I know a lot of Finnish bands but never had heard of this one. The title track is a great song. It has a bit of Pink Floyd vibe, especially the lead guitar work (lovely slide) and layered vocals. The psychedelic mix, the melodic vibe and catchy theme, make it a fantastic song. The b-side is a Van Der Graaf Generator track from 1969 and they really channel Peter Hamill’s vibe, I am sure he would approve. It is a beautiful song. Cool 7 with a 3D cover and it comes with 3D glasses as well. Printed in 800 copies.

The Chemistry Set- Kiss me vibrate and Smile 7” (Regal Crabomphone Winkle 8)

The Chemistry Set, a UK psychedelic rock band that started in the 80s and then disbanded but is making quite a comeback. This is their 2nd 7” on the Fruits label in less than 2 years and is another set of 3 brilliant tracks that would fit perfect back in 1968 (if the production were not so clean and modern). Come kiss me vibrate and Smile is an uptempo and pretty catchy track but not nearly as psychedelic as the next two tracks. Time to breathe is a brilliant song with a laid back acoustic guitar, some spacey slide and cool lyrics. Hallucinations is a more guitar driven track with some great lead guitar work underneath the heavy bass line and acoustic guitar. The 7” comes in a gatefold sleeve and is pressed in two colors and a total of 800 copies. 

Anton Barbeau- Psychedelic mynde of Moses 7” (Fruits der Mer Crustacean 32)

 The 7” starts off with one of Anton’s own songs called Psychedelic mynde of Moses. It is a melodic track and reminds me of Bevis Frond (even before I read that Nick Saloman actually plays the lead guitar!). It is a mid paced melodic rock track and features singing nearly all the time and the chorus is repeated 30 times of something. A robyn Hitchcock called Sometimes I wish I was a pretty Girl is next and quite a funny track. It has a very different sound production and is a bit more psychedelic. The 7” ends with Julian Cope’s number called Our of my mind on dope and Speed. This version has a pretty heavy bass driving the song and is the most psychedelic of the three tracks and my favourite. You really have to get used to Anton’s voice as it is quite special but if you can do that, I think you will dig this little gem..

Sygeregn- Hvem ved Hvad/Sovengagren Digital Single (Denmark 2012)

Sygeregn is a Danish band playing 70s style blues rock and singing in Danish. They remind many people of the old Danish band, the Young Flowers. This is the first new material with the new guitarist, Freddy (Fuzz Manta). Hvem ved Hvad is a short 3min track and just an excellent simple blues rock track with a great guitar solo and a catchy tune. Soverngagren follows in a similar vibe and Freddy really lets go with a killer solo before the track heads back to the vocal section. It is great to hear young people playing such great organic blues rock with the vibe and feel of the golden years of music.. Great stuff….

Spiders- Flash Point (Crusher Records CRCD019)

The Spiders have released one 10” and three 7” records and now a full length (quite short at only 28mins). The band is on tour in Europe with Graveyard in November to support the record. Axel, the Graveyard drummer played in the band in the early days and on the first release. Anyway, the band is hitting it hard with the band’s latest single, Weekend Nights. A fast paced track with some powerful vocals and a cool mid-section. Hang Man is a fast paced track with a pretty hard guitar riff but still damn catchy. They manage to sneak in some cool guitar parts in all of these tracks, which is one reason why I dig the band. Most bands playing this style of short 2-3mins hard rocking stuff forget about that and it is all just riffs but these guys really got it going.. Female vocalist (she also plays harmonica) Ann Sofie really sounds great. Love Me also has a catchy groove and bass line. Loss and Trouble is a more melodic laid back in the way it is sung but not the aggressive guitar riff and up down rhythm. Fraction was also released as a single and appears next in line here. A more melodic straight up track. Love the guitar riff though and it even features a simple harmonica solo. Above the Sky is by far the longest track (my nearly a minute!) at 4:40. It starts slowly with acoustic and electric guitar but really develops into a rocker. Rules of the Game kicks in with a awesome guitar riff. Hard to keep True has some fuzzed out guitar, harmonica and a pretty cool and different groove from most of the other songs. The most intense guitar solo on the record is also on this track. Great stuff. Stendec ends this CD with a really fast and hard hitting guitar riff. They need to get Alice Cooper to do some backing vocals on the next record.. This is one of those records you really need to crank up LOUD…

Psychedelic World Music- Discovery (Trial Records 013)

This is a compilation CD featuring bands from all over the world and all but three of the tracks are unreleased. The CD starts off with Cosmic Vibration from Germany. This is a nearly 7min track that starts off with a great bass line and chanting style vocal very much like Ole Lukkoye. It then goes off into a spacey guitar section with some synthesizers sweeps and pads as well. Damn cool song. Triptych (UK) gives us the track, Origins of Life, which starts with some hand drums and then the synthesized bass, dreamy synths start to take over the groove. A lead guitar enters in to drive the main thematic section. A spoken word about the formation of water enters in the mid section and then a more eastern theme begins to take hold. Great song. The Misteriosis (USA) have a long 9 min song from 2005 that was from their self titled record.  the track is a slow building track with a spacey female vocal. Mochues a L’Orange (Belarus) Sixty Nine is a live track that is very floating and spacey with some nice guitar, bass, drums and ethereal keyboard. The guitar is mixed really in your face but he plays some really cool delay guitar towards the end. Deti Picasso (Armenia) starts off with a flute before the guitar takes the lead until the female singer kicks in on this track called Kele Lao from the bands Turbo Mairik CD (2008). She has a fantastic voice. Wow.. Grey Mouse (Russia)
Snow (Spiral Walk) starts with some sitar underneath the guitar, bass and drums as the track begins. Once again we are graced by a female singer with another unique voice to compliment the sitar. At 3mins the guitar riff becomes much more heavy (a bit like Siena Root) and then the guitar solo! Plooth (Itlay) provide the track, Caronte from their self-titled record from 2011 and it is a slow spacey blues track so it is completely different from all the other tracks we have heard before. The Narcotic Daffodils (Belgium) have a long 9 min track called the Crazy Dwarf. It starts off with some slow spacey guitar and sitar in the background but the guitar taking the lead as the pad synth gives some support. It has many cool parts and is both guitar and organ and some psychedelic voices as well. Zhaoze (China) ends this CD. It starts with some sort of string instrument and keyboard as the track starts quite slowly and quietly. The track eventually builds up with some melodic and beautiful guitar. The special string instrument returns again. What a fantastic compilation CD. Probably the best compilation album I have heard all year. Open your ears and mind…

Janne Westerlund- Oran (9pm Records 9pm046)

Janne Westerlund is one of the guitar players in the Finnish experimental rock band, Circle. This is his first solo album and it is something completely different. He recorded all of these songs between 2009-2011 and played all the instruments except for the congas and djembe on tracks 2 and 3 (Alvar). The CD is 10 very personal tracks with many just guitars or banjo and voice. The nice digipack also has an insert that folds out into a small poster of the cover and the other side has all the lyrics. The CD starts off with A Prayer for Judee Sill with a beautiful acoustic guitar, double tracked vocals and a nice keyboard accompaniment. Fantastic song. Squeaky Love is an unusual and very nice love song. The way the vocal is sung reminds me very much of Bruce Duff (Jesters of Destiny, Circle) on several of the tracks. Famous Birthmark has a different sounding guitar (not a banjo) and the way the vocal is sung-spoken balanced in a pretty cool way with the guitar playing and deep bass that permeates the track. It has a long cool solo guitar, keyboard section that is fantastic. Great song. Friend is a slow passionate track, more stripped down and personal. For the song Evelyn Rose Janne switches to the banjo. I really like the singing on this track, a bit more like a track from the backwoods of Kentucky! Hallelujah, I’m a Bum, is also played on banjo but the sound of the room is noticeably different but no less passionate! A nice church like keyboard also comes in. Let it Show has a more strumming guitar style rather than hand picking and a more gruff vocal as well. Water Tower is more stripped down and almost sad in its mood but beautiful. North Pole ends the CD and is the shortest track at just under 2 mins. I loved this CD. Very honest, heartfelt music and not very much like Circle, so be adventurous.

Colour Haze- She Said (Elektrohasch)

This has been a highly anticipated record. I have been following and been friends with the band for more than 10 years now was really curious to hear this one. The record is 82mins long and comes in a very nice 3 panel foldout CD pack or a double vinyl record. I have to say that this is the best sounding Colour Haze record ever. The sound production is just fantastic. Look forward to the vinyl, sure it will sound killer…

CD1 starts off with 18min title track, She Said. It has a slow build up with a nice cool piano line and really rich, deep bass line. The mid section is super cool with congas and a real jam, like nothing the band has done on a studio record before. Several of these firsts are reached on this record! I think this track is pretty Hendrix inspired but done Colour Haze style.. Cool stuff. A short interlude track called This comes before the song Transformation, which many of you have probably heard as this has been on the net for a while now. It is like a small false start and then a really cool jazzy track starts up but is too short. I wonder if they play this live in an extended version? Anyway, back to Transformation. This is my favourite track on the CD. Just a really cool floating element and some killer guitar and it really gets flying with some super cool double tracking and probably the most psychedelic song they have ever done. Great stuff..

CD2 starts with the 12min long track, Breath, which is a long emotional journey like the bands version of Third stone from the Sun but with vocals and different instruments like piano and an Mario on backing vocals. They are trying lots of new things. More complex arrangements and a bit jazzy at the end with some fantastic double tracked guitars before they go back to the riffing. Slowdown starts with Phillips bass line and Stefan singing a very forced vocal and he is supported by two other vocalists as well. This is a quite uptempo track with some nice melodic guitar, again with some layers, which is nice but the standard “Koglek” guitar sound is intact. The track fades out as they really start to get it on…. maybe live they jam this one out? Stand In starts slowly with a light bass line and Mani, playing the rim of the drum as Stefan slowly takes the lead. This is a nice 8min riffing instrumental with a cool organ part that comes into compliment the build up towards the end again. Classic Colour Haze! Rite again allows Philip to take the lead and Stefan kicks in with the vocal right away as it stays pretty melodic. The Kyuss/Colour Haze guitar riff kicks in at the break and later he does some skat vocals (do-do-doo) over the top and follows this with a similar guitar line which later morphs into an acoustic guitar layered over the top before the Kyuss riff returns. Grace rings in at nearly 12 mins and closes this record. It starts off with acoustic guitar and surprise, a string section. This is something totally different before the familiar takes over again with some very nice guitar soloing and over the acoustic background. The Symphonic part returns at the end. Cool instrumental song and a good one to have at the end. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

SEID, Black Moon and Wright the Dead Kamel- Dragens Hule, Copenhagen Oct 6th, 2012

Wright the Dead Camel

This was my third concert in three nights but no way was I going to miss my friends from Trondheim, SEID. They drove down from a gig in Oslo last night and came directly to my place and I had made them some Indian chicken curry and Pakistani biryani. Yum…. We hung out and listened to Dragentears, Stoned Jesus, Gov't Mule, Hidria Spacefolk and then around 19 headed out to the club. Black Moon were also with the guys and super nice people. 

The soundchecks all went well and I hung out with Magnus (Mantric Muse) for a bit and came back to the club. A new two piece band called Wright the Dead Camel. They played some sort of desert stoner rock blues thing. They actually were pretty cool but they would be much better with a bass player. There is a huge hole in the sound. It might be unique but they can never get that ballsy sound for playing this kind of music. It would also give the guitar plays some space to play some solos. He had a lot of great riffs and cool ways of playing. I think they played about 30mins. 

Black Moon is a new Norwegian band playing really cool jamming psychedelic stoner rock. Guitar player really knows how to use his pedals in really cool ways and plays some great solos. Good dynamics in the band as well.  They only played 4 songs in about 30mins or so.. Here is a video of the last really long track… Enjoy..

The Trondheim,Norway band SEID came back to play at Dragens Hule almost 9 years to the date they first played here on their first CD tour. Back with an almost completely new band, they blasted the place with their unique brand of psychedelic space rock. Since it was only the bass player and guitarist/singer from the original band, the music focused mainly on the new record with only 1 song from each of the bands other records. The new guys are just great. Fantastic drummer, wow.. I really loved his playing and the new synth guy had a super cool set up and we talked a lot about synths, modulars, etc.. very nice and knowledgable guy. All the guys were great. Where we the fucking people? Very small crowd for such an amazing band but a very dedicated audience and people really loved it. After the SEID 50min set, it was free form jam session for about an hour with a lot of crazy stuff going on… Fun but insane…… A great night in the Dragons Cave…….
Set List: Space Pirates, Ölyok Kok, Birds, Tron, True Merry Poppers, Decode the Glow, Jellyfish, Fire it up, Secret Handshake>Jam

Dragens Hule Space Band

White Hills, Anders, Troldmand- Loppen, Christiania Oct 4th, 2012

I caught a ride with Rasmus from Troldmand, who picked me up with the hard disc recorder so we were at Loppen at 17:15. White Hills had just arrived and had all their gear in the main hall. Anders was setting up to do some soundcheck but time was running fast as all the soundchecks have to be done by 18:30 due to the restaurant upstairs. In the end Anders got a bit of a soundcheck and Troldmand set up and basically did not get one at all and neither did White Hills.  

          We all just hung out and had some nice food that the club had made. The people in White Hills are so cool. They were relaxed and all was well so far on the tour. We hoped for a lot of people. You never know. Roadburn tickets went on sale this night. All the Danes I spoke to got one, that is great…

          Troldmand hit the stage about 10:10 and did a little 3min pre-start as a sort of soundcheck but it did not really work for them, so they plowed on into their set starting with Rockford and then the rest new songs. Sound in the front room was great but the band said they could not hear each other at all and it was terrible on stage so this really effected their ability to improvise, which I can understand. Anyway, Rockford is real Hawkwind like balanga and a cool song and the new songs were also very good and spacey material with some quite intense guitar parts. The audience was pretty attentive and I guess about 60 people were here. They only played 35mins.

Anders Band
          Anders set up pretty fast and also played a pretty short 45min set but some really spacey psychedelic stuff and I think two new songs that I had never heard them play live. The band sounded great but the singing was a bit off and not that great at times. Lots of great guitar sections even though Hobitten was having some technical problems throughout the show. They ended the set with Drop your Bombs which has a really cool hypnotic riff and groove. The Anders band is all old ON Trial members except Anders Grøn on the drums (played in Baby Woodrose, Dragontears, Spids Nøgenhat). Cool songs.

Set List: In the Dark Hours, Hey Hey Bye Bye, Hello Friends Again, Isolator, Don’t Listen, Holding back the tears, Drop your Bombs

          White Hills had a lot of pedals, a Roland sampler thing, a Micro Korg (Ego) and they had no soundcheck but they let it rip with Radiate when they were ready and people were into it, up close and attentive. Maybe 80 people so not a great turn out but a good crowd and the band delivered the goods. The set was almost identical (slightly different order) to the set they played in London when I saw them in March of this year. A lot of intense guitar but they seemed very controlled and not very improvised. I am sure Dave is playing different solos but for always about the same time, they never really just space out and play 15min tracks anymore. H1-P1 is probably one of my favorite tracks that they play these days. Anyway, they kicked major ass and I love seeing this band. Wow… very cool space rock stuff and they invited me to play with them in Malmö tomorrow!
White Hills
Set List: Radiate, Under Skin, Pads of Light, Song of Everything, You Dream, Condition, Robot Stomp, Doluere, H1-P1, Encore: Dead (intense)

About a 65min concert. Great night…. 

White Hills and the Wands- Debaser, Malmö, Sweden Oct 5th, 2012

The folks in White Hills came by my place at 14:45 or so and we drove to Malm’o. They were supposed to be there at 15 so they had no time to come in and check out my place. Drive was uneventful but the weather was just nasty, a bit cold and constant rain. They are all such nice people and easy to talk to about music, politics, art, etc…  Soundcheck and all the boring things like that went fine and we had a lot of time to just hang out. The club staff were very professional and we had plenty of beer, wine, good food, etc.. Nice backstage room as well. I recorded out soundcheck but we did not really play a lot. It was nice to have a chat about the set list and 5 different songs were played from last night in Copenhagen. They play about 8-9 songs a night at each show about 60 mins and have around 20 they shift around all the time to keep it fresh, etc.

          Anyway, there were not many people who looked like the came to see White Hills or the Wands but just came out to a nice bar and what a surprise for them, psychedelic rock with acid oil visuals. The Wands hit the stage about 21:30 and they sounded great. A young new Danish 4 piece band played 60’s inspired psychedelic rock. A mix of shorter and longer tracks. They play well but you can tell they are new and not yet fully confident. I enjoyed their 40min set a lot and really look forward to their debut record coming out in early November. Check out the video below of one of their shorter numbers.

          We hit the stage as soon as we could after all the gear (including a total swap of drums) was done. Opened with synth space thing and straight into Oceans! I had great sound but Dave’s vocal was too low so I had to just watch him sing so I did not make crazy sounds when he was singing. I really got sucked into it and felt comfortable after the first song. The concert actually all went by very fast and we were done in 65mins including the encore. Maybe it is because I am used to play 3 hr concerts? H1-P1 is one of my fave tracks and a blast to make some modular synth sweeps and things in. The really heavy tracks you really have to find your space. The audience was really responsive and all stood quite far back with only one older guy right up in the front. Great gig and I can’t wait to do it again one day. Thanks White Hills….

Set List: Space Intro>Oceans, Three Quarters, Pads of Light, Song of Everything, You Dream, Let the Right one In, Enlightenment, H1-P1, Encore: Condition