= May 2019 =  
 the Spacious Mind
 Amgala Temple
 V/A Exemption CD
 Weyes Blood
 Jeff Horsey



The Spacious Mind - The No. 4 Or 5 Gravy Band LP / Oh, The Fragmentary Marches Of Bells, Greens & Dolls EP

Essence Music

Brazilian imprint Essence Music is a cottage industry “comprised of a duo of fellow music addicts, art enthusiasts, print producer and craftsman, who are connected with sounds of a darker nature, yet never bound to any defined and closed genre or limits to artistic expression.” Sounds like the perfect label to welcome back after a lengthy five-year absence the latest esoteric psychedelic sounds of Terrascope/Terrastock favourites The Spacious Mind, and they’ve pulled out all the stops on this one! Exquisitely housed in handmade packaging, Essence’s releases are geared towards “people who love the glorious joy of buying, collecting and actually supporting music.” They understand the value of that tactile sensation vinyl enthusiasts have long championed over antiseptic, clinical approximations of that warm vinyl sound. In fact, collectors and completists have their choice of the quickly vanishing 180gm version in a hand-screenprinted die-cut package with a poster and fold-out innersleeve, or the super-deluxe “Special Edition” (99 copies) on orange vinyl (with black splatter), complete with a collage-based canvas/board with hand-painted artwork all housed in a hand-painted tri-fold sleeve with real cinnamon-based inks and fragments. And you also get a 4-track bonus CDR EP, “Oh, The Fragmentary Marches Of Bells, Greens & Dolls” housed in a custom screen-printed and hand-painted sleeve. I’m salivating just describing it… Hell, you might just want to buy it to look at it!

     But this one-of-a-kind packaging complements rather than distracts from the treasures within. The album proper includes three lengthy brain-frying acid jams (including the monumental side-long ‘Creekin’ At The Goose’) that re-established the Swedish psychonauts as one of the supreme psychedelic projects on this or any other planet.

     The album launches with the band finally laying down a studio version of long-time live favourite ‘The Cinnamon Tree’ (versions are available on Take That Weight Off Your Shoulders - Skellefteå 28/02/03, Club Rothko 050905, and the live DVDs from Trästock, Skellefteå, Sweden, July 18, 2003 as well as the Rothko performance). It still stalks around the room like a shamanic call to arms, with sleepy, whispered vocals, tabla-styled drumming, bells, and haunting slide guitar runs that give it a ghostly aura. The hypnotic beat, exotic instrumentation and ephemeral atmosphere creates an eerie, ritualistic vibe that fucks with your head and your emotions.

     ‘You Don’t Know It But You are’ is even spookier, with percussive effects scratching at your brain while rocketship guitars rumble in the background preparing to launch your brain into the outer reaches of the sonic solar system. This one is more atmosphere than an actual “song” per se, and as such probably comes across best in a live setting.

     But once you flip the album over for the 19-minute ‘Creekin’ At The Goose’ you may have to hold on to yourself, loved ones and anything else you hold dear to prevent them from exploding into psychedelic hyperspace with this collision course for spontaneous mind combustion. Straight out of the gate we feel like we have interrupted an insane chemist mixing mind-expanding chemicals in the eye of a shit storm of electrical mayhem. Or maybe that’s just our friendly neighbourhood guitarist wrangling the shit out of his guitar neck, blood, gore, and guts spewing in all directions. This “Goose” sure is up shit’s “creek”!

     Following a few minutes to retrieve our brain cells off the wall, the band settle (if one could call it that) into a heavy groove of screeching guitars, throbbing bass lines and skin-crawling skin pounding that will surely cause all and sunder to welcome the Mind back with open arms (and skulls).

     As for the special half-hour bonus EP, the four untitled tracks are presented as segments (Parts I-IV) of an extended jam, focusing on the more freeform element of the band’s oeuvre. ‘Part I’ eases into the room like a ghost emerging from the shadows in the corner, and we peer through the mist to make out the source of those furtive ambient ramblings. Wobbling synths, far-off guitar scrapings, and almost industrial-like noises approach (think Faust/Einstürzende Neubauten soundtracking the basement scene from The Blair Witch Project). This is as avant garde as we’ve ever heard them, but, curiously, we want more.

     ‘Part II’ is cut from the same cloth – wobbly atmospherics reminiscent of Durutti Column building to a rocketship-up-the-arse explosion of pyrotechnics. ‘Part III’, the shortest segment continues on in a web of eerie guitarscapes and otherworldly ambience (think 2001: A Space Odyssey monolith scene over ”space child” psychedelics), and the concluding ‘Part IV’ brings it all back home from outer space emptiness to inner space contemplation.

     Our dear friends Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. are one of the few bands who shatter brains and expectations like this; but they seem to release 15 albums every year. The pseudonymous B.C. Wolff’s liners hint that this may be a rare corralling of all members at the same place at the same time, so do yourself a favour and grab this while it’s still available at less than house-mortgaging prices!

(Jeff Penczak)

Postscript: the label promises a repress of the first run of this fabulous album "very soon" - Phil




(LP/DL on Pekula Records)


Amgala Temple is yet another fine Norwegian band from this emerging incubator of sound.  Invisible Airships is an impressive debut and an impeccable instrumental album of the space rock, prog and jazz and persuasions.  The band consists of musicians Amund Maarud (guitar), Lars Horntveth (bass, synths), and Gard Nilssen (drums) who all bring experience from other bands with varying backgrounds of rock, jazz, blues, and other genres.  On the five tracks on Invisible Airships, Amgala Temple stretch out and play melodic space rock with plenty of variation, imagination and brilliant musicianship.


What I especially like about the album is the way all the tracks are melodically inscribed throughout with a sense of mystery and wonder, which sets them apart from most of their contemporaries.


The lengthy opener “Bosphorus,” weighing in at 12:20, sets a watery introductory guitar theme by Maarud, before Horntveth and Nillsen drive an expansive, rhythmic middle section.  I can’t tout Gard Nilssen’s drumming on this record highly enough.  Rarely does a drummer make you sit up and take notice of his contribution to a record to the extent that he does.  Space rock albums can have a way of being vehicles for the guitarists to jam their little fingers away.  But on Invisible Airships, while Amund Maarud is an excellent player, this is clearly ensemble work, and all the better for it.  However, Maarud comes out swinging in Bosphorus’s heavy finale.


“Avenue Amgala” starts with Horntveth and Nilssen laying down a funky jazz-prog beat, and Maarud’s effects-laden guitar coasts over the top.  Again, the feeling is a bit mysterious, giving way late to a driving rock section, before returning to the original theme.


“Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine” is a favorite.  The nine-minute track takes all manner of left and right turns.  The song begins with a tip-toeing game of cat-and-mouse between submarines.  The pings are simulated by the bass and guitar, with a mysterious burbling organ theme floating on top.  At last, someone makes contact and the chase is on.  The chase section is packed with as much suspense as any movie, with all three members giving standout performances.  Maarud’s guitar work is extraordinary, and finishes with a sonar-like flourish.


On “The Eccentric,” Maarud plays some imaginative pedal steel, leading to some hyper-intensive interplay between Horntveth’s synth and Nilssen’s drumming.  You will come out of listening to this album a huge Gard Nilssen fan.


The expansive finale “Moon Palace” begins with spacy synths and effects, courtesy of Horntveth.  Again, there’s an air of mystery that permeates the atmosphere.  Horntveth lays down a hypnotic bass groove, and gradually the three build up an extended jam.  The jam builds slowly, with Maarud and Nilssen eventually reaching a fever pitch.  The tide waxes, wanes, and waxes again to a heavy crescendo, with a spacy coda echoing the intro.


There’s a lot of good space rock out there right now, and Amgala Temple rises to the top.  This debut is chock full of great playing, imaginative writing and some incredible mind-melding by the three superb talents.  It’s an enjoyable journey from start to finish.  Finally, the stunning cover art by Jens Jorgen Carelius Krogsveen and Age Peterson deserves a prize, and hey, it won one - a Visuelt gold prize.


(Mark Feingold)







Described on the cover as “an object score based on Japanese items held in Aberystwyth university's ceramics archive featuring no input mixing board, prepared harp,violin and modular synth”, this collection of experimental noise was inspired by, built around the visit of Japanese Noise veteran Toshimaru Nakamura. A study of the excellent sleeve notes from Ed Pinsent reveals that basing a score around ceramics did not sit well with all the participants although the end results certainly conjure up the elemental forces involved in creating a ceramic piece. Given the alchemical bent of organiser Dafydd Roberts this makes the event a success although you suspect all did not run with the harmony perhaps hoped for, indeed maybe it is this tension that helps the music reach such greatness, emotion flowing through the noise.

    Opening track “Katuse Ibata_c1244” is a 25 minute piece that begins in intense fashion, the sound of an angry sea, elemental and sometimes overwhelming, crackling and roaring from within, the musicians seemingly finding the eye of the storm halfway through as the music becomes calmer and more distant, the sound of creatures washed up on the shore. Of course, the calmness slowly intensifies, a squealing drone swooping in to claim control creating a harsh wall of noise that reeks of decay yet is washed with a sense of beauty and renewal, the noise slowly fading until you are left with a ripple of calmness.

     Writhing in slow motion, “Ryoji Koie_c1243” is a more ambient affair, single tones and restrained noise taking thirty minutes to expand and recede, the music created by the duo of Nakamur & Rhodri Davies, each listening to the other, allowing them to weave their threads of sound into a meditative piece that works beautifully at low volume, a distant call from a faraway star.

   Featuring the violin of Angharad Davies, “Pilgrim_c843” is a relatively short piece, 16 minutes of scrapes, rumbles and tones that scurry and crawl beneath the earth. Throughout the track there is tension between the sounds bringing vitality to the music drawing the listener in.

   Accompanying the CD is a booklet containing detailed notes and images from the event making this a very inviting package, although the release date has not yet been confirmed, contact Dafydd for further news and try this link for details of upcoming events. https://listentothevoiceoffire.com/

   Whilst this album is a difficult listen, there are great rewards to be had if you are prepared to really listen (to the voice of fire) and it stands as a fine record of a historic event that will never be repeated. Contact: Dafydd at  drdafydd.roberts@gmail.com

(Simon Lewis)




(CD from duir1.bandcamp.com )

Well this is a surprise, a double CD 30 song set from Duir, of whom I knew nothing about until now but it has quite blown me away. It ticks all of the boxes, a decent concept, well played and arranged songs, some fine playing, narrated sections, megaliths and Norse gods.

This is the second album by the band and it follows on from 2007’s “The Stout Guardian At The Door”, so they are hardly prolific. I must now seek out a copy of this debut. The band comprise of Stephen Coalwood aka COMPUTER coalwood, plus Terry Welbourn aka welbourn TEKH and Simon Brighton aka TEMPLAR brighton. Edgar Broughton makes an appearance on guitar, synth and vocals. From listening quite a few times to this outstanding album, it would appear the COMPUTER coalwood composes and plays most of the music, welbourn TEKH supplies a lot of the narration and lyrics and TEMPLAR brighton composes and plays guitar. The album is a celebration of the quirks, charms and folk memories of the county of Lincolnshire. It covers the topography, the myths, the customs and life around this county. Terry has an interest in megaliths and has visited over 1000 sites and even written a book about them, much like Julian Cope with whom he shares a mutual appreciation of archaeologist T.C. Lethbridge, even forming a band with him in 2003 called The Sons Of T.C. Lethbridge.

This is a sort of concept album, in which the Norse trickster god Loki, sails across the north sea. He is searching for ancient megaliths and along the way gets drunk in a forest, waking confused and with no idea of location, sees all sorts of strange things but is sobered by the discovery of a body hanging from a nearby tree. I can’t go into all of the songs as there are so many but the music is a mix of prog, rock and folk all expertly played. The album begins with ‘Larking Around At The Bowthorpe Oak’ an instrumental about this 1000 year old tree. ‘Ran-Tan-Tan’ is about the persecution of wrongdoers, who for three nights are roundly abused; this persecution ends with the burning of a straw effigy. ‘A Song For Ethel’ celebrates (with an ethereal instrumental) author Ethel H. Rudkin, who published an almanac on Lincolnshire Folklore. ‘Midnight Mask’ sees saxophone and violin added to the proceedings. ‘Blowing Up A Gale’ has synth by Edgar Broughton, a hint of fuzz guitar by TEMPLAR and violin played by Steve Daulton. The first disc ends with ‘Albert: The Death Of The Corn King’ played in its entirety by COMPUTER coalwood.

Disc two opens with ‘Swaddling The Drake Stone’ an instrumental rich with wheezing Mellotron. The title track ‘Sodden Dogs’ is sung and played by COMPUTER, with additional vocals by Ruby McKee. ‘I Dream Of Shony’ narrated by welbourn, has seagulls, lead guitar, more Mellotron and drums by Tom Parratt. ‘Fen’ sees Edgar back again, this time on e-bowed guitar and vocals. ‘Riding The Stang’ in this song the unfortunate Ran-Tan-Tan victim, is whipped and paraded through the town, shame, shame. ‘Events At The Halfway House Inn’ Loki is back and witnessing mayhem in said Inn. ‘The Sandbagger’ is an ode to Loki, realized on guitar, drums, bass and keys. ‘Ghosts At Moggs Eye’ is a song about a beach fringed by a petrified forest, it provides some nice grit with added synth and atmospherics by Steve Bothamley. ‘Stenigot Whispers’ is excellent prog folk, with cloaking Mellotron and strings. ‘John Dee: King Of Crows’ introduces us to the sixteenth century mathematician and astrologer, the song features tubular bells and plenty of crows. ‘Mid Afternoon At Horseshoe Point’ is a fine instrumental. ‘The Drift’ ends the album on a high point, beautifully played and sung.

I urge you to go out and get this album; it is one of the finest things that I have been sent since I have been reviewing records for Terrascope. (Andrew Young)






(LP/CD/Cassette/DL/T-Shirt on Sub Pop Records)


Weyes Blood, aka Natalie Mering, brings us her fourth album Titanic Rising.  It’s a big, bold release of beautiful baroque psych, pop psych, whatever you wish to call it.  Wering has a drop-dead gorgeous alto voice; you know the old adage about singing the phone book?  Yeah, that kind.  Her ethereal voice, along with its sense of melancholic longing, compares with Karen Carpenter, Joni Mitchell, Marissa Nadler, at times, Enya, and Kate Wolf (a folk artist few will probably know, but check her out).  Titanic Rising swells with a bigger-than-life 70s style production, courtesy of Wering, Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, and The Lemon Twigs’ Michael D’Addario (and he and brother Brian contribute heavily to the instrumentation).


Titanic Rising deals with trying to find love and meaning in our troubled times, with the Titanic a metaphor for the sense of dread we tend to live in of disaster looming, be it from climate change or the actions of our own hubris.  There’s barely a song that doesn’t include some sort of imagery of being submerged.  Even the album cover is a picture of Wering in a bedroom…under water.  She is also admittedly a fan of the 1997 movie, and movie imagery figures large in the album as well, both in the lyrics and its widescreen cinematic production.


Opener “A Lot’s Gonna Change” begins with an organ sounding underwater on that big ship, but quickly the production swells to strings and a wall of sound.  Mering’s melancholy message is of lost childhood innocence, and having to be strong amid the heartbreaks of life as you grow.


“Andromeda” is a straightforward song about taking the plunge in a romance and revealing your vulnerability; “I’m still a good man’s daughter/let me in if I break/and be quiet if I shatter.”  The song features a very pretty, old-school slide guitar for embellishment that would’ve done George Harrison proud.


“Everyday” is jaunty, pop candy redolent of Macca, The Mamas and Papas, and The Beach Boys.  The sentiment is of the “I’ve been hurt before, please be gentle” variety.  The sunshine pop makes the song an outlier among the ethereal splendor of the rest of the album, and is clearly done with tongue-in-cheek.


With “Something to Believe” we get another beautiful, bursting adagio production, with more tasteful, sad slide guitar, as Weyes Blood reaches out for meaning and understanding. “Movies” begins with a Ghost Box-style synth pattern before expanding inevitably into a larger production.  The song is a take on the well-trodden furrow of songs about how films give us an unrealistically glamorous depiction of real life.  The twist here is that unlike in those other songs, Wering admits that despite the fantasy, she still loves the movies and wants to make them her own.


In “Mirror Forever,” Wering wonders whether her partner and her are well suited to each other, and dreads a collapse.  She overdubs harmony vocals, and you’d be right to assume that if one Wering voice is a thing of beauty, then two or three are just that much better.  “Wild Time” is my personal favorite. The title refers not to a party, but rather how “it’s a wild time to be alive.”  Certainly is.  On an album soaking in a blissful hot tub of 70s West Coast sound, “Wild Time” really puts it all together – musically, lyrically, vocal performance, production, and the album’s themes.  “Picture Me Better” recalls the schmaltzy torch songs of kd lang and Patsy Cline, with an over-the-top string arrangement.


There are two very brief instrumentals:  The title track at the halfway point, a spacy piece full of underwater atmospherics, and the closing, “Nearer to Thee,” played by a string quartet, and a reference to the song the Titanic’s band purportedly played while the ship went down.


Titanic Rising is a wistful, elegiac, mature work by a rising star.  If, like me, you’re a sucker for a beautiful voice singing lovely melodies backed by a lush, overflowing garden of a production, surrender, Dorothy.  I’d melted into a puddle before the album was half over.


(Mark Feingold)




(10” EP from Hookah Records www.hookah.org.uk)

Very much in the style of the story songs of Townes Van Zandt and Bob Dylan comes this excellent 10” extended player from Cornwall’s Jeff Horsey who is somewhat of a journeyman musician, playing shows all over the world especially Australia.

Specializing in the blues, Jeff is a songwriter who sings, plays slide guitar and harmonica. For this 4 track EP, one side is dedicated to a 10 minutes version of Rattlesnakes. Featuring his daughter Josie Ghost on Farfisa was a good move as this epic song is enlivened by her drifting organ, ala Country Joe And The Fish. The song is very much like a mini film script and is worth the price of admission, over a steady rhythm, Jeff half sings and half narrates this desert fable, aided by Josh Lewitt’s stinging lead guitar, which is very prominent in the mix, exactly how it should be. At times quite psychedelic, the song has plenty of harp and a terrific slide solo towards its climax.

Side two begins with the old Dylan chestnut ‘I Want You’ more acoustic in nature but still with drums. This is followed by another one of Jeff’s original songs ‘Heartstrings’ which is very much in the country blues style, plenty of acoustic slide guitar. The EP ends with Jeff’s version of the classic Noah Lewis song ‘Big Railroad Blues’  an acoustic country blues song which starts with the whistle of a locomotive,  some chicken song harp, light drums and slide guitar. The album cover is a delightful desert scene by John Hurford.

(Andrew Young)




(LP/CD/DL on Tonzonen Records)


Hollow Moon is the latest outing from Vespero, the superb veteran prog/space/psych rock band from Astrakhan, Russia.  The album brings to mind many bands such as Gong and King Crimson, but really, there’s NOBODY like Vespero.  While an instrumental album, Hollow Moon is a sci-fi tale of a trip to the moon, but seen through the lens of visionary writers from antiquity.  According to Vespero, their inspirations included Francis Godwin’s “The Man in the Moone” from 1638, whose imaginative verse graces the album’s web site, plus H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Russian sci-fi fantasy novels from the 1950s (which this author would love to see in translation).


The album also makes me think of early works of cinema, such as Georges Melies’ 1902 classic, “A Trip to the Moon.”  Indeed, like Melies, who was originally a stage magician, and brought his magic craft to the special effects in his pioneering films, I think Vespero have a bit of the magician at heart.  You can hear it in their imagery-fueled music, filled with surprises and incredible showmanship.


Hollow Moon shows how much Vespero have grown over the years, as both writers and musicians.  While they could have played Hollow Moon as straight guitar stoner rock in their sleep, Vespero never takes the easy way out.  The songs are full of twists and turns, and include, besides basic guitar, bass and drums, expansive synths and effects, saxophone, violin, mandolin and all manner of other instruments.


The album opens with the eerie synth ambient piece “Watching the Moon Rise.”  Vespero’s music tends to send your imagination spinning, and this track again reminds me of far distant cinema, with images of misty clouds passing in front of the moon in a sepia tinted shot, while Earth dwellers dream of voyaging there.  Indeed, the album would make for a great soundtrack to early silent sci-fi classics such as “Metropolis” or, staying with the Russian theme, “Aelita, Queen of Mars.”


The voyage proper begins with “Flight of the Lieutenant” and it’s prog at breakneck speed.  Ark Fedotov’s and Alexey Klabukov’s synths and Alexander Kuzovlev’s guitars weave their way around Ark’s brother Ivan Fedotov’s insistent drum beat.  The song, like many on Hollow Moon, features rolling tempo changes, & at any given time a snapshot might reveal a time signature of 9.72/π, or some such.  It makes me wonder how they get through it without resorting to 150 takes.  The tour de force also features violin from Vitaly Borodin and saxophone from Pavel Alekseev.


“Sublunarian” features some lovely acoustic guitar, cello and violin-based jazz fusion.  An interlude leads to some terrific sax playing, before another transition brings some tasteful nylon guitar to see the song out.  On “Moon – Travants,” Kuzovlev plays some great guitar solos over a Mellotron, interspersed between a clockwork-type rhythm piece.  “Mare Ingenii” brings a brief respite from the mayhem, a pretty, jazzy piece featuring Borodin’s violin and Kuzovlev’s guitars and mandolin.


“Feast of Selenites,” at nearly 11 minutes, is the album’s longest track.  The song takes you through a labyrinth of styles and tempos, heavy, light and everywhere in-between.  On the standout track, all Vespero members have their moment to shine and show the band’s prog mastery.  “Watershed Point” is another airy, melodic, brief synth interlude, which recalls the opener “Watching the Moon Rise” in style.


“Tardigrada’s Milk” features sublime violin, followed by some accordion from Vitaly Borodin, which morphs into a full-blown acoustic String Cheese Incident-type jam in which Borodin’s accordion is joined by Kuzovlev’s mandolin.  Vespero’s versatility on instruments and styles is just amazing.  After another furious all-encompassing workout, “Space Clipper’s Wreckage,” the album concludes with “Watching the Earth Rise,” a metallic sheen ambient piece laden with synths, accordion, violin and effects.  Bookended with the opener “Watching the Moon Rise,” our journey is complete.


If the designers of the rides and the environment at Disney World are called Imagineers, Vespero is equally deserving of this title.  There are few bands who can spin a musical tale this creative and make it pop in 3D like they can.  Hollow Moon is a kaleidoscopic trip to the future as seen from yellowed maps from the past, another triumph for an incredible band.


(Mark Feingold)