= June 2015 =  
The Left Outsides
Brendan Quinn
Dodson and Fogg
Cathode Ray Eyes
Demian Castellanos
Lamp of the Universe
Ole Lukkoye
Dream Weapon Ritual
Chester Hawkins


(LP from Dawn Bird Records https://dawnbird.bandcamp.com)

It’s with a glad heart that we are able to announce this welcome re-issue, indeed a first proper release (with apologies to the download medium) of this 2009 collection from Terrascope faves The Left Outsides.

Those of you with long memories and unerring taste may recall that Alison Cotton and Mark Nicholas were part of Eighteenth Day of May, who had the distinction of featuring on Rob da Bank’s now iconic “Folk Off” collection of new folk and psychedelia from both sides of the Big Pond before forming the unit now under discussion. They’ve played the Terrascope Tea Party, Woolf Music Festival and – shameless plug alert – will be at our Terrascope anniversary bash in London this summer (with Bevis Frond and Malcolm Morley, get your tickets here: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/319258).

So we’re biased; so what? That doesn’t mean it’s not good or, in this instance, exceptionally good indeed.

The follow-up to their accomplished 2008 debut “And Colours in Between”, “The Shape of Things To Come” is crammed with Alison and Mark’s trademark atmospheric, gentle psych/folk and the odd jolly pop rocker thrown in for good measure. The songs are invariably strong and the arrangements intelligent and sympathetic, which all add up to a glut of sweeping melodies and haunting refrains. In Cotton and Nicholas’ case this is a marriage in more than one sense, the sum of the parts creating a full and satisfying whole and while it may be tempting to brand all this as “quintessentially English” that overlooks the varied and complex components of the Left Outsides sound.

Latino strains usher in “The Third Light” and thus Nicholas’ smoky and faintly nasal vocals which places him closer to Gruff Rhys than Nick Drake, while the interplay between Mark’s twanging hollow-body guitar intertwines with Alison’s viola. Cotton’s clear, captivating voice comes to the fore on cuts of such gorgeousness as “To Where Your Footsteps Led” and “Fallen By The Wayside”.  The absolute highlight for me though has to be “Ring Out The Bells”, Nicholas’ resigned vocals led on a slow waltz around which Cotton’s viola weaves a spell, although the title dreamy yet dramatic title track runs it close. It’s dark yet playful; “quintessentially English” yet worldly and well- travelled as if part acid folk with hints of portentous balladry and filmic imagery as viewed through a gypsy campfire and all thoroughly delightful.

Rejoice, too, as an album of new material is in the offing.

(Ian Fraser)



(LP/DL http://bit.ly/1FbgW7G)

Featuring some lyrical guitar tunes, field recordings and processed singing bowl, there is a vaguely melancholy feel to this collection, the different styles working well together to create an album that begins in a more light hearted fashion before slowly disintegrating as the bowls take a grip on proceedings. This fell is borne out by the dedication “To lost friends and absent love” that adorns the cover.

   Opening with the gently swaying “A Dream In yellow”, there is a sense of peace to this acoustic guitar track, the processing adding a lysergic touch that serves as a shadow to the music. As the final note fades, the atmosphere change as “”Impression : Haarlemmerstraat” takes over, a field recording that includes church bells that creep under the skin, the recordings treated in such a way as to make them tense and uneasy. Moving on, a cover of “Anji” is beautifully played adding a sense of familiarity to the record, the tune known the world over its sweet melody giving way to a droning field recording treated so that its source is indistinguishable to my ears.

    Continuing the pattern, “Day 2, Improvisation # I” is a short and delicate guitar piece whilst “Impression : Brouwersgracht” is a field recording that includes the always nostalgic sound of children's voices, the track again treated to make it more alive. To end side one, “California Song” is an energetic and beautiful piece that layers two guitars and is liberally dosed with sunshine, as the name suggests, leaving the listener happy to flip the record over and discover the delights that await on side two, that is after the looped run in has awoken you from your reverie.

    Introducing the treated singing bowl, “Invocation” is an eerie drone that scrapes and scuttles about the room although at its centre there is a stillness to be found. Following on, “Imik Imik” is an Eastern tinged guitar piece with accompanying drones, the track managing to sound melodic and abstract at the same time, admirably displaying the guitar playing skills of Brendan as well as making me crank the volume up for full effect. From here on in, the bowl tracks and the guitar pieces are intermingled, the running order arranged perfectly so that the atmosphere is never lost, with “Light of Judah” stepping the album up a gear with the addition of Organ and Percussion, the track containing a psychedelic vein that runs deep, calling you home and demanding your attention. To finish, “Closing Prayer” is a dynamic 12-string pieces that rings clear across the universe, filled with energy before drifting away.

    Housed in a beautiful cover with 12 full colour photographs included, this is a wonderful record that showcases an artist at the top of his game. (Simon Lewis)



(Triple Vinyl/Double CD and Download from Rocket Recordings www.rocketrecordings.blogspot.co.uk)

Gnod’s fifth release on Rocket shows why they might draw comparison with experimental German bands of yesteryear yet retain such a strong identity of their own.

At an average of 13 minutes per cut there are oceans of (deep) space in which to become immersed. Free-form sax and heavy, elasticated bass lines give matters a pronounced dub-jazz feel, while spoken word vocal contributions and crackling electronics only add to the air of sinister mysticism.

Opener Comfort System sounds akin to the Clangers being carpet bombed as heard within the womb, while the industrial and suspenseful “Desire”; the brooding and slow burning brontosaurus beats of “White Privileged Wank” and the heavy almost conventional “Breaking the Hex” are all highlights. So too the melodian-tinged, woozy lope of the title track and all of this shot through with buckets of analogue cosmic drone. Sketches of Space? Why not?

(Ian Fraser)



(CD on Wisdomtwinsrecords.com )

The ever so prolific and equally wonderful Chris Wade returns with his eighth album (in a little over three years!) This one feels a little more sedate and relaxed, the multi-instrumentalist playing almost everything himself without the usual A-list of accompanists (Celia Humphris, Nik Turner, Allison O’Donnell, et. al.) that have graced previous offerings. However, that doesn’t mean that Wade’s become a beard-stroking troubadour – quite the opposite. His passion for pure rock and blues has been emerging across recent releases, and he rips off quite the gnarly solo in ‘Following The Man’ that should sequester all those ‘acid folkie’ tags to the rubbish bin. Hell, even ‘Maybe When You Come Back’ has quite the Neil Youngish grunge factor leaping off his guitar.

            But Wade still dips into reflective moods every now and then, with ‘Can You See’ and the swaying ‘Oh What A Day’ fondly recalling past triumphs. The dreamy ‘The Woman Who Roamed’ has a laidback Help Yourself vibe that will please all readers of this site, and the always reliable Ricky Romaine drops in for his typically exquisite sitar embellishments on ‘Everything Changes.’ And donning yet another musical hat, the lengthy album closer ‘Your Work Is Through’ focuses on Wade’s keyboard prowess with a medieval pastiche of baroque minuets that transformed me back to the court of Louis XIV for a knockabout weekend on the grounds of his “country house” in Versailles. The whole thing morphs into another vintage Help Yourself/Man/Brinsley Schwarz countrified jam-cum Morris On that’s just about the most perfect setting for a stroll around the grounds at dusk. Too bad it seems to fizzle out and fade away just as the gettin’ was gettin’ good.

Once again defying the laws of diminishing returns, Wade has unleashed a diverse collection of folk, rock, and blues with dollops of funk (the ZZ Top-ish ‘Give It A Little More Time’) that should greatly expand his audience while pleasing fans he’s picked up along the way.

(Jeff Penczak)



(Vinyl from Cardinal Fuzz/Captcha

Quick, ring the passing bell, here comes the debut album from Cult of Dom Keller’s Ryan Delgaudio’s solo project and what a playfully dark and delightfully tongue in cheek rascal it is too.

Where to start? Well the beginning is usually a helpful place and a wonderfully stonking one it is too in this case. “And The Burial Had Several Different Endings” is a ghoulish reimagining of the Tales of the Unexpected theme or that of some mythical late sixties psychological thriller series. “Death Song No. 1” is appropriately funereal and repetitive and, like its predecessor, trades on its hallmark cavernous guitar sound. Already we are experiencing a goth/psychedelic hybrid which is half Dr Phibes and half Carry On Screaming. If Cult of Dom Keller sound best in a dark basement then welcome to the crypt under the creaky trap door.

“The Unsuccessful Resurrection of James Dean” continues the almost schlock-horror after hours vibe. It feels like Julian Cope and Bauhaus paying a midnight house visit to Death in June. “I Woke Up This Morning And The World Was On Fire” is garage psych – pure and simple – all bold guitars and cheesy farfisa sound, while “Heaven Down Here” again relies on repetition to keep things inside the pentagram. Now I just love “Drowning Rats” with its dreamy “mellotron” sound and shimmering reverb – a neat counterweight to the strutting “Grim Reaper On My Back” with its, with heavily distorted vocals. On it goes. “And It Came(Barrel of Skeletons)” sounds like someone’s spiked the already spiked kool-aid tub at the voodoo ceremony while “Harry Houdini” is one of the more fully formed rockers on the album, albeit less CoDK and more Josh Homme Desert Session..

It’s lo-fi, it’s nothing elaborate in terms of arrangements or playing and hallelujah for that says I. Dense and feverish, less is more. The DIY sensibility of punk and new wave brought to the dark underbelly of psychedelia. It’s how you wish The Horrors would have sounded.

Now release those fucking bats.

(Ian Fraser)




(vinyl from Cardinal Fuzz/Hands In The Dark www.cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com)

Strange place, Cornwall. Or rather, it’s strange what it does to sensitive and artistically young inclined young men growing up there. Richard James (Aphex Twin) reputedly spent lonely formative years concocting mad max techno rigs cannibalised from old tanks or whatever. Then, just a few years later, young Demian Castellanos, better known these days as lynchpin of the rather scrumptiously sounding The Oscillation, spent his downtime wondering what sounds he could wring out of an electric guitar.

The results of these bedroom experiments were captured for posterity and have found an outlet as “The Kyvu Tapes Vol 1” named after the family house in which they were performed and a title that suggests that there is probably more of the same lying around somewhere. What we find herein is psychedelically inclined exploratory guitar noodling clearly influenced by the shoegaze arm of the genre and which makes use of vast arrays of pedals and indeed items of cutlery. In that sense it is small wonder that, at times, it sounds like what you might expect from the Glissando Orchestra considering that style of playing seems to involve rubbing tent pegs up and down the fret board.

 It’s a lot more interesting and varied and, dare one say, enjoyable than that though. Given that all this was reputedly recorded over a period of many years it all hangs together exceedingly well as a suite of sounds which is why, tempting though it definitely is to do so, I’m not going to single out individual pieces. While you could, if you wish, file under ambient/drone the overall effect while certainly blissed-out and meditative in places is more aurally challenging in a way I’m sure will appeal to quite a lot of our readers. Even so it’s not one that requires endless and undisturbed dissection but is mighty fine with a book or a cryptic crossword or just turn off your mind, relax and float downstream.

(Ian Fraser)





(CD/DL from http://bit.ly/1Fc6DQR )

Treading his own path since 1999, and an old friend of the Terrascope for much of that time, Craig Williamson has created a magnificent body of work under the name Lamp of the Universe, his blend of spiritual drones, acoustic riffs and eastern soundscapes highly meditative and compelling. On his latest offering those elements seemed to have been perfectly balanced, the collection one of his finest albums, easy to listen to with shades of Floyd, Ash Ra Tempel, and  Early Sundial to be found in its spacey kosmiche grooves, whilst the acoustic elements add touches of Donovan, Long Live Death, I.S.B and Wyrd Folk to the sounds giving the infinite a human touch.

  Opening track “Trance of the Pharaohs” seems to sum it all up, a hypnotic drifting tune grounded by the guitar riff as an electric guitar soars above through a cloud of drones and chants. On “God of One” a flute joins the dance more hypnotic percussion keeping your head nodding as smoke rings of sound coil around the room, this is Psychedelia that is timeless and cloaked in golden light, easy to get lost in and appealing to the hippy within.

    Reminding me of Black Sun Ensemble, “Utopian Seed” continues the journey with a similar sonic vibe, indeed one of the strengths of the album is its uniformity of sound, the variations between tracks being subtle, the collection working as a suite of songs that need to be heard together for best affect, something that is true of all the albums I have heard by the artist concerned.

   After 40 glorious minutes drifting through the cosmos, the intrepid traveller finally arrives at “Celestial Forms”, the final tunes another beautiful mix of acoustic riff, chiming keys, percussion and drone, leading you out with a stoned grin and plenty of energy feeling good about the world and yourself.

   I really like this album and fans of Mu, seventies Gong, or any of the above mentioned bands should just dive right in and get lost in the bliss of it all, Aum. (Simon Lewis)




(CD/DL   from www.trailrecords.us)

Hailing from the northern city of St Petersburg, Ole Lukkoye have been evolving and developing since 1993. Here we have two original members of the band; these being Boris Bardash – vocals, keyboards, guitar programming and gluckophone as well as Frol – bassoon and keyboards. Newcomers to the band are Ness Yanushkovskaya, Yuri Lukyanchik, Alexander Vahivski and Tatyana Kalmykova

The CD arrives in a trifold card case adorned with some subtle graphics and deep muted colours. This theme is continued on to the cd label itself, doing little to prepare the listener for the drama and impact of the music itself.

    The first track ‘Kommuna Ra’ starts with the haunting sound of a distant wolf howl this pursued by some excellent percussion before the introduction of the even more evocative vocals of Ness, the powerful beat continues as the track builds and fades throughout as layers of instrumentation and vocals are added and fade away, the bassoon making occasional appearances to bring a further edge to the sound; the second track ‘Dyatly (Woodpeckers)’ is, at over 17 minutes the longest on the album, starting with soft electronic susurration before the pulsing of the percussion picks the pace up making way for the powerful Russian vocals of, in turn Ness and Boris, along with the rather beautiful sounding gluckophone adding a hang drum type sound. Gentle harp introduces us to ‘Bela Dama’ a  mellow hypnotic track with the signature percussive beat tempered beautifully to the deep vocals of Boris, echoed by the notes of the bassoon, whilst ‘Just Wind’ starts out with breathy vocalisation and synthesiser to bring a very psychedelic feel to things, the psych feel continues throughout but with a deep dub rhythm as the vocals merge in with a couple of verses from A. S. Pushkins’s 1882 poem “The Prisoner”, all the while being driven along by the percussion, and punctuated with fuzzed guitar and synthesiser. The final track ‘Veni, Vidi, Vici’ at just under four minutes is the shortest on the album starting out with the sound of rain with added synthesiser and soft vocals which rounds the album off beautifully as it brings you safely and gently back down to earth.

The sound is very difficult to categorise comprising old world Siberian folk, modern day trance, shamanistic chanting and heavy psychedelic overtures but with an immersive earthy primal depth and feel. Imagine a late night jam session with Neu, Korai Orem and Amon Duul with a bit of Deep Forest thrown in for good measure. In conclusion this is an excellent album that stands out as being significantly different and a very rewarding experience for the listener. (Steve Judd)


(LP from Boring Machines Records, Italian Import)

Stating the twenty-four carat obvious, but you simply can't keep tabs on everyone can you? One case in point being Italian experimentalist; Simon Balestrazzi. The first time I encountered his work was w-a-y back in 1987 when I nabbed a copy of "Il Teatro Della Crudelta" L.P. by Tomografia Assiale Computerizzata, of which S.B. was a founding member. A pretty singular affair even now, though the much renowned 'Discogs' website is still in four minds about defining its contents... stating that it should be filed under "Modern Classical / Industrial / Abstract / Experimental" (!)

Since that purchase, I've been aware that there have been other Balestrazzian-related produce, but they've all given me the slip, being no doubt, limited edition runs that have now gone the way of the dodo.... So you can imagine my surprise when after so many years down the pike, I find the man's name credited as one half of the Dream Weapon Ritual duo, (I'm unsure if there's any knowing reference to Spacemen Three's excellent "Dream Weapon" L.P.), whose found to share duties on sundry noise boxes, percussives and found objects with vocalist/actress and fellow T.A.C. member Monica Serra.

The "Ebb and Flow" album (their first for four years), consists of an improvised suite that splits into five easily discernible fragments that plunge into occultist electronics, cavernous dronescapes and weird emanations from the otherworld. And although Simon and Monica (Simonica?) employ a quintet of contrbutors, the opening salvo features the duo alone (as it were) and reveals a number of machines captured in their apparent death throes, while a closely-miked Monica comes on, for all the world, like Patti Smith recorded during a particularly feverish nightmare, fuelled by excessive cheese intake. The other sections really let rip on the general weirdness quotient. "Part Two" has walk-on parts for M.S. Miroslaw's 'Sacred Horse Skull' (!) which certainly puts Psychic T.V.'s thighbone trumpets in the shade, and the poignant tones of Massimo Ola's 'Chalumeau'; a single reed woodwind instrument from the baroque period that was a precursor to the modern day clarinet. While the latter stages' mixture of primitive metallic clankings and heavily-treated femme vocalese finds Monica's alluring lines powerful enough to lure any experienced old salt onto the rocks without showing that much remorse.

More like ancient cave paintings than traditional audio, Dream Weapons' particular dynamic, with its echoes in the Anti Group (Adi Newton's post ClockDVA project) and 23 Skidoo's "The Culling..." make this an immersive/enigmatic union of the goosebumped esoteric and the high tech and is serpently worth your time, should you be so inclined. (Steve Pescott)



(CD from http://chesterhawkins.org/index.html)

Since retiring his Blue Sausage Infant project, Chester Hawkins has continued to make imaginative and wide ranging electronic/experimental music under his own name. This, his latest offering, contains six monolithic slabs of electronic drones that sound both ancient and contemporary at the same time. All the tracks were recorded live or live in the studio and I can only wonder how amazing they must have sounded loud and cloaked in lighting.

    Coming straight from West Germany circa 1970, “Mass/Easter” is a magnificent place to start, a droning chord sequence creating the foundation for some deep space exploration, modular synth and mobile phone combining to create the music for your strangest, deepest dreamscapes.

   Adding loops, sequences, and prepared vinyl to the ingredients “Equinox” sounds like an alternative soundtrack to Herzog's “The Wrath of God”, the music having the same sense of desolation and uncertainty, with the sounds conjuring up images of jungle and ancient civilisations.

   Beautifully arranged, the lightness of “Intifada” allows you to levitate, at least until a pulsing rhythm begins to drive the track forward with purpose, the track retaining its lightness as other sequences ebb and flow through the pulse.

   Having been involved in electronic music for over 20 years, Chester has a deft touch, his live tracks sounding confident, flowing seamlessly together awash with atmosphere and always sure of the path they are following whether it be the quieter drones of “No Body” or the denser sound explorations of “Exterminator Pump”, the latter being a slow building slab of electronic drones that is a personal favourite on the disc.

    To round things off “Mass/Dissolution” is a 20 minute epic that exemplifies all that is good about this collection, the drones slowly dissolving and then morphing into a swarm of tiny insects that create ghostly voices in your head before de-tuning themselves into a fleet of old machinery looking for their next fix. Epic stuff indeed, seek it out and enjoy. (Simon Lewis)