= July 2015 =  
Nick Jonah Davis
Tim Moth Eye
Joxfield Project & Cotton Casino
Beatles Tribute
Round Eye
Onewayness & Modulator ESP
Side Effects
Tom Dyer
Andy Wade
Zone Démersale


( LP from http://bit.ly/1G7ppNL )

Containing ten exquisite guitar pieces, this is an album for dreaming, the music delicate and delightful, the playing accomplished and imaginative. Opening with the title track the listener is quickly drawn in to the sound, the piece free flowing and organic each note perfectly chosen, the melodies sweet and the track displaying plenty of movement and a sense of rhythm that means your attention is held throughout.

    Utilising crocodile clips and a toy zither precariously balanced on the soundboard, “Double peace” has a more experimental flavour, the droning strings giving the track a lysergic sheen which suits its relaxed nature and its Eastern feel. To end side one “Zanzibar Chai” is just plain gorgeous, a beautiful melody that is a sweet as a summer meadow.

    Over on side two, the elegance continues, each track a delight, the whole album flowing beautifully together. Highlights include the How many fingers does he have dexterity of “The peace of the Running Water” and the lovely “When the Fish Fly” but really there is not a bad moment on this album, the whole thing ending with “The Illumination of Nelson Fortune”, the addition of Didgeridoo (Karl Townsend), Banjo and Balaphone (C Joynes) giving the piece a droney feel that works perfectly.

   Housed in an elegant sleeve and containing details of tunings and guitars used, this album is timeless, a collection to grace any home. (Simon Lewis)




Spread over 2 CD-R's this sprawling collection takes the listener on a dark journey through old woods, churchyards and ancient stones, the lyrics and instruments telling stories that mix folk with fairy tales, old gods with an intense beauty.

   Containing 20 tracks Disc one is a wonderful collection of Wyrd Folk tales, Banjo, Harp, Lute, Guitar and percussion creating the backing for Timothy Renner's deep and sonorous voice, the songs almost chanted invoking an atmosphere of ritual both powerful and enchanting. Fans of Stone Breath or Crow Tongue will, I imagine, already have a good idea of what this album sounds like and they would be right, all the trademarks of Mr Renner's work are here, creeping drones, tumbling banjo riffs, the odd guest appearance and plenty of excellent and imaginative song writing including “The Crow On the Cradle” and “A Dead Calling” which features the very fine vocals of Sarada. Throughout the disc there is plenty to enjoy and this disc is fast becoming one of my favourite releases of 2015.

    Moving on to disc two, thing become darker still with “Blood On The Snow” almost funereal in its approach, a rain-soaked, sawing drone and rattling percussion the perfect foil for the lyrical themes presented.  This same bleak, grizzly atmosphere is to be found throughout disc two as “While The Stars Burn Out” drags us further into the mire, the piece featuring Sruti Box and Gutbucket, one of which adds a low end moan that is quite unsettling.

    Hidden in the middle is “This Is Not A Raga” an instrumental improvisation that allows plenty of room for some Banjo mastery, the track eerie and drenched with mystery.

   To end, “Black Night Wake” sounds almost like a curse with its dark imagery and sparse instrumentation.

  Housed in a beautiful cover that includes a booklet of images drawn by Timothy and a patch, this is highly recommended for lovers of dark-folk and gothic images. (Simon Lewis)




(LP from http://www.bambalam.com/)

Featuring our own Stefan Ek and his long time musical partner Janne Yan Anderson, Joxfield Project are a Swedish duo whose music is always varied, interesting and always their own. Here they have teamed up with Japanese musician Cotton Casino, best known as a member of Acid Mother Temple, to create a collection that marries electronic pop with drones and experimental passages with dazzling results.

    Opening with the 13 minute “Another Slow String Perhaps” the listener is greeted with chattering rhythms, droning chords, a Gong like saxophone and Cotton's voice that is half hidden in the mix. The result is a glorious musical romp that sets the standard for the rest of the album. As the piece progresses it becomes more experimental, noise taking over the foreground until it finally collapses into a low droning finale.

    Short but equally strange, “One Trebor” is a distant drone with added noises that create texture in the piece, voices again drifting in and out, whilst “China Syndrome” is a more melodic affair reminding me of some of the odder tracks by Vangelis, the track never losing site of its melodic tendencies, The voice of Cotton higher in the mix and sounding lovely.

    Even sweeter is the more structured “Invisible Totem”, electronic rhythms creating a base for swirling synths and the vocals, the whole thing over too quickly, although it segues beautifully into the similar sounding “Contribution 3”, another fine tune that could go on a lot longer.

  Featuring Kawabata Makoto on bowed guitar, “Submarine Trees” takes us back to the more experimental side of things, strange noises and electronic pulses flickering out of the speakers the spaces filled with odd lyrics that are disembodied and ghostly.

   Finally, “Voyage Pour Deux” rounds things off nicely, perfectly balancing the pop with the experimental, sounding like the soundscape to an ancient ritual performed in a sacred cave.

   Lasting under 40 minutes this is an engaging and inventive collection that could go on much longer, although maybe it is right to leave you wanting more. (Simon Lewis)



(CD from www.cleopatrarecords.com

Having greatly enjoyed the Psych tribute to the Doors, I was very keen to hear this release to see what Cleopatra had put together.

The CD comes in a jewel case with a cover that certainly ticks all the boxes with suitably colourful psychedelic graphics.

    First up we have ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, you can generally rely on Electric moon to put on a good performance and they haven’t let us down here, adding their characteristic guitar style to give some added zing without losing the feel of the original; Sugar Candy Mountain have chosen a less well known 1966 B side in ‘Rain’ and have created a high quality, faithful version adding little to the original; In ‘Julia’ The Vacant Lots have fashioned a much faster, harder edged song that works superbly to bring a more modern character to the song; From The Blank Tapes we have a mellower softer bluesy rendition of ‘The Word’, which for my money has more character than the original; The Ruby Suns have given ‘Martha My Dear’ a slower paced darker edge which gives a whole new depth to the track; A similar approach has been taken by The KVB with their complete reworking of ‘Taxman’ crafting a completely different beast to the original, whilst The Underground Youth have stayed more faithful to the original ‘Come Together’ whilst still making enough changes to stamp their mark; Hats off to the Fantasmes who have gone for full blown tripped out psych on their version of ‘Love You To’. One of the highlights of the CD for me was ‘Cry Baby Cry’, the version by Quilt is just about perfect with a nice trippy element coming in towards the end; The Lucid Dream have created an exquisite job on ‘And I Love Her’; Kikagaku Moyo have gone for an interpretation of ‘Helter Skelter’ that, after a promising start, would be more at home on an album entitled, a “punk tribute to” the Beatles; Strangers Family Band have set all the weird dials to maximum for their interpretation of ‘Sun King’, it is strange, mildly disturbing and works delightfully.

This is very much a curate’s egg of a CD, many of the tracks are truly stunning and leave you wanting to hear more of the artist’s work, others feel as though the bands were daunted by having to rework the material of the fab four and ended up trying just a little too hard. (Steve Judd




(CD  from http://roundeyeband.com/en/ )

Hailing from Shanghai and wearing their experimental punk tag with pride, Round Eye ooze adrenalin and madness through every pore, their music loud, chaotic and lots of fun, reminding me of Gong on steroids with the same manic energy as The Stooges, which makes sense as Steve Mackay is one of their two saxophonists.

    The fact that they squeeze 17 songs into 45 minutes gives you an idea of their working method, the songs short and brutal, ideas flung about and then discarded in favour of a fresh slice of madness. Opening song “PMS 2.5” is a gnarly guitar riff overloaded with sax that distorts into some experimental noise before “Street Light A” brings back the punk guitar and rocks out again, the song a five minute noise fest that it totally immersive.

    Coming on like Big Black jamming with Sabbath “Meat 'N' The Boys” is an early highlight, whilst “City Livin'” is R'n'B for lunatics, an energetic dose of pub rock that makes you want to leap about the room like an adolescent fuckwit.

   With “Fear the Consequence” tackling the subject of cannibalism and “Julie's Got a Suntan” discussing the problems of a suntan in your social pecking order, the lyrics remain as obtuse and experimental as the music, the latter tune also being one of the catchiest on the disc, the whole collection sounding like Amon Duul on 45, or maybe Acid Mother temple in short song mode. However you describe it this is a fantastic album that will blow you away if you let it creep under your skin, play it loud and have a good time right up until a crazed cover of “Wait / See” (Fats Domino) ends it all with a massive grin. (Simon Lewis)




(CD/DL from http://bit.ly/1ChUj6U )

Edited together from live recordings made on a recent collaborative tour, this album contains three long pieces featuring Onewayness (Adam Holquist) and Modulator esp (Jez Creek). During the tour they played merged sets, one musician beginning, the other joining and then finishing the set alone.

     Using Synths, loops, field recordings, guitars, samples and sequencer, the music is mainly ambient in texture, the spirit of Tangerine Dream, The Orb and Craig Padilla to be founds, the sounds beautifully crafted into music that is both light and dense, moving easily forward whilst retaining enough depth and creativity to hold the interest.

    Opening with the 22 minute “Bridge_1”, the piece begins with drones and synths sounding very much like an early Krautrock album, the atmosphere more important than melody at this stage. As the piece moves on drones become chords and the music becomes softer and delicate, hints of melody becoming clearer until the room is filled with sweet music. Adding structure, pulsing sequences then join in pushing the music onward but quietly, the track ebbing and flowing like a receding tide at twilight, the array of sounds ensuring a rich and rewarding listen that is relaxing and beautifully controlled.

   Edited together as one long suite, “Bridge_2” finally lets the sequences take control, the Tangerine Dream comparisons almost inevitable as the music takes us back to the early seventies in its style, although the sound is fresh and modern with drifting melodies gliding over the pulses fully immersing you in the moment, the sequences constantly changing and evolving.

   Taking us back into more ambient territory, “Bridge_3” is another rich mixture of sound that swirls around the room like smoke, the perfect soundtrack to a lazy day in the sunshine, the track encouraging you to do very little except to lie back and listen until the album fades in a sweet haze of electronic happiness.

    This is ambient music as it should be, far from that New Age sound, alive, controlled and played with love and passion as good music should be, listeners with an electronic bent are encouraged to participate. (Simon Lewis)



(4XLP  from http://www.fruitsdemerrecords.com/)

Retaining their ability to mix whimsy and weirdness with some damn fine music, the latest release from Fruit De Mer gives eight artist the chance to stretch their musical wings over one side of an LP, each band contributing one long cover version, some of which are close to the original, some of which use the original as a starting point and one of which is just plain unlikely.

    To kick things off, The Soft Bombs update “Echoes” (Pink Floyd) retaining the original feel and structure whilst making the heavy bits heavier and the psychedelic bits more psychedelic, more of the bands character coming through as the song progresses, the musicians affection for the tune shining through creating a vibrant and delightful version of this much loved tune.

    Rightly recognised as a Greek Psych classic, the original version of “The Four Horsemen” (Aphrodite's Child) last a mere five minutes, however Arcade Messiah obviously felt this wasn't long enough and have extended the song to almost nineteen minutes. Of course this means many changes have been made and the only reason you know what the song is during the opening passages is that the press release tells you, the music sounding like a lysergic version of Wishbone Ash, stretched out and instrumental, the guitars getting heavier until you suddenly hear the opening riff from the original track beginning to appear.  After six minutes of very enjoyable jamming, everything suddenly mellows out and the vocals appear, heavily processed and sounding so much like the original that I can't help but wonder whether they have been sampled, at least in part. Once the vocals are over, the music turns back to some excellent Space Rock explorations including a heavy passage that really works, the dynamics of the piece giving it life and energy.

     Picking a fairly obscure track, “China” (Electric Sandwich), possibly gives Bevis Frond an edge as listeners may not be that au fait with original making comparison more difficult. Of course, it is easily found on You Tube and turns out to be a stoned electric guitar heavy piece that runs for eight minutes and seems perfectly suited for Nick Saloman and indeed it is, his playing writhing and burning throughout the track supported but a hypnotic rhythmic groove, the whole thing spacing you out nicely and harking back to early Bevis albums.

    Originally a mellow country rock affair “Sundown” (Gordon Lightfoot) is given a shimmering cloak of West Coast Acid Rock as Wreaths elongate it beyond reason creating a gorgeous and very relaxing track that drifts your mind downstream in blissful fashion.

   Quite possibly taking things to the extreme, Superfjord take the two and a half minute jangle of “CTA-102” (The Byrds) and wring seventeen minutes of psychedelic enjoyment out of it, the original tune used as a snippet to kick start another groovy acid style jam that is equally perfect for a late night session or a lazy afternoon in the garden, the track containing plenty of odd noises, samples and effects especially in the second half where things get odder in a psychedelic sort of way. As with all the tracks on this collection it takes a while to really get to know them and they all get better on repeated listens.

     As well as the music the four albums are housed in a beautiful box with stunning artwork by Gregory Curvey from The Luck Of Eden Hall who also contribute a cover of “Starship Trooper” (yes) that retains the structure and dynamics of the original whilst making it sound less Prog and more Psych with some great playing and plenty of noisy guitar throughout.

   Given that “Shhh/Peaceful” (Miles Davis) is a rambling jam anyway Julie's Haicut seem to be on fairly safe ground as they stay close to original feel to create a free flowing and elegant piece of music. Of course, the fact that Miles Davis worked with some of the most respected musicians around including Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, and Herbie Hancock, means the band have to be at the top of their game to compete and they do seem to be the sound drifting lazily across the room in a suitably relaxed manner that is easy on the ear and wonderfully played.

      To round off the compilation Sendelica offer an unlikely, yet excellent, reworking of “I Feel Love” (Donna Summer) that begins with a hazy drone, laden with synth sounds and mellow sax before a sudden rising chord introduces some pulsing drumming, the bass line beginning to creep in as the band invent Space Disco, a new genre that could well catch on as sequencers and saxophones groove together around the vocal melodies. Brilliant stuff and perfectly reflecting the playful nature of Fruit De Mer, I wonder if they will play it when I see them in Cardigan, hope so.

     Epic in its concept and flawless in its execution fans of long mainly instrumental music should jump through hoops to get a copy of this collection and you may well have to as it is limited in  number and quite probably sold out at source by now. (Simon Lewis)



(Green Monkey)

TD2 (That Damn Tom Dyer), proprietor of Green Monkey Records, marketing prankster, and all-around purveyor of “Tom-foolery” has almost pulled a fast one on me. His marketing plan for this new compilation suggests that he’s rounded up the cream of the Northwest garage rock crop and conveniently assembled them in one handy disk. Silly me! What we actually have here is Dyer and a bunch of his drinking buddies (essentially various Green Pajamas/Chemistry Set members) ripping through some of Dyer’s favourite Pac NW garage singles that actually did appear on an album of this name back in 1976, although Dyer & Co. only “cover” four of them. The rest are tracks that were missed the first time round, probably due to rights issues. (To Dyer’s credit, he explains all in his liners, but you have to turn the cover over to discover there are “No original versions on this CD”!

            So now that that’s all settled, let’s have a listen. Alongside undeniable classics from The Sonics (a stonking ‘The Witch’), Ventures (a fuzzy foray into their other hit, ‘Walk Don’t Run’), Raiders (a rather weak, typical bar band rendition of ‘Hungry’, although ‘Just Like Me’ fares better), Kingsmen (a radically rearranged – as in they even changed the chord progression – version of the essential ‘Louie Louie’) and Wailers (a down-and-dirty ‘Dirty Robber’), Dyer offers faithful versions of ‘Angel of The Morning’ (as Warren Zevon might have imagined it) and The Fleetwoods ‘Come Softly To Me’, although these tender love pleas were best left in their original female-sung versions. The band are certainly better off tackling the beer-soaked frat rockers.

It’s obvious the boys had a lot of fun (and perhaps more than a few pints) while recording these chestnuts and even though most of them will be unfamiliar to non-Northwesterners, they will certainly appeal to barflies and anyone who loves to work up a sweat and a thirst on the weekend. (Jeff Penczak)



(Self-released CD on Little Honest Studios)

The sophomore release from the harder rocking of the Wade brothers (Chris, who he dueted with in Rexford Bedlo, releases kinder, gentler acid folkier material as Dodson and Fogg) breaks out the big guns for the metallic crunch of the title track, a crisp instrumental and statement of dick-waving purpose that announces he’s back with a vengeance. A kick ass and take names attitude resurfaces on the strutting ‘Prowl’, before Wade slides into a well-worn bluesy persona on ‘Brand New’ that would sit comfortably on a Jorma Kaukonen album.

            Faces and moods are turned again for the delicately sympathetic love song ‘My Beginning My End My Beautiful Future’. This is one for staring into the fireplace late at night with your own “beautiful future” wrapped in your arms.

            A plethora of styles and arrangements delivers a variety of moods (like a Turtles or Abunai! Battle of The Bands album), but may leave some with heads spinning in an attempt to get a handle on where Wade’s musical heart lies, and that’s probable fine with him. Sometimes labels just inhibit the listener’s ability to enjoy the music. So if you’re up for a little Grateful Dead-y, Dixie two-step toodleoo (‘Till Tonight’), tossed in with a tears-in-your-beers weeper, a wet-sock-in-the-face rawkin’ instro, a 48-second electro ‘Interlude’ that mashes Depeche Mode with Kraftwerk followed by a gnarly bar-brawlin’ Neil & Crazy Horse stomper (‘Fire In Me’), and a couple of spot-on Springsteen tales of love on the ‘Run’ (and ‘One For Life’), then throw caution to the wind and pick this one up soon. (Jeff Penczak)



(LP from Boring Machines Records, Italian Import)

Livorno (Tuscany)- based sound scientist Pietro Riparbelli would be a worthy cove to engage in conversation over a glass or two of absinthe. Chatworthy subjects such as his acousmatic black metal project Tele. S. Therion and his investigations into 'sacred zones' and spirit communication via his alter ego K11; where, using a number of short wave radio receivers as a high tech planchette, once hidden vibes from Aleister Crowley's love shack at Thelema (as one example) would be reactivated. And... of course, this new project where P.R. teams up with producer type Michele Ferretti a.k.a. 'Nubilum'.

    As the duo's monniker refers to 'the part of the sea comprising the water column that is near to/or is affected by the seabed' one would immediately expect one's ears nibbled by some exotic multi-fanged bioluminescent monster of the deep and you wouldn't be that far from the truth. Even though the utilitarian/austere packaging (reminiscent of an seventies' eastern bloc/state run disco label...) suggests otherwise.

    The twosome's vintage hardware/echoplexes/samplers really do appear to trawl the vast oceanic depths. The simplistic melody lines mirror stray sonar blips while the production settings suggest a suitably hemmed-in environment like sounds emanating from some space-age bathyscaped pad, especially so on "Navagazione Sommersa" and the closing "Il Fuori".

    N.B. As we all value the wellbeing of our styluses (stylii?)...please be aware that the playing surface of "Motore Primo", with its distant traces of Nurse with Wound and Robert Hampson's Main (post Loop), only stretches to the one side. Regardless, it still remains a worthy 21.46 minute dip for any discerning armchair scuba diver. (Steve Pescott)