= November 2021 =  
 Adam G. Cole
 Jack Ellister
 Black Tempest
 Regen Graves
 Empty House
 Sula Bassana
 Talea Jacta
 Thought Bubble
 Phoenix Cube / Kitchen Cynics
 More Experience

ADAM GEOFFREY COLE – FALLOWING (LP/CD on Sunstone Records via www.trappistafterland.bandcamp.com )

Hot on the heels of a lovely and illuminating interview in the latest edition of The Terrascopaedia it seems more than appropriate to say a few words about Adam Geoffrey Cole’s first full length new release since moving on, or perhaps I should say evolving from, his rather wonderful Trappist Afterland project. I think it’s fair to say that Adam has a few fans here at Terrascope and his set was one of the undisputed highlights of the Woolf II festival in that bygone year of plenty known as 2019 at which I also had the pleasure of many chats with Adam at all hours of day and night.

‘Fallowing’ opens with ‘Pools of Christ’ which immediately transports the listener into the world of rich spiritual imagery and elegant folk song form that defined Trappist Afterland. Perhaps it also starts to define a distinct and different thread that runs through this record of beautiful simplicity and spacious yet intimate arrangements that bring Adam and his music into the room in a chair sat opposite to you on a dark winter’s night. The record is largely Adam playing alone but with occasional, perfectly judged embellishments on harmonium and violin from long term collaborator Anthony Cornish, for example on ‘Fabric of Being’ where the chant like vocal is wrapped in a swirl of subtle yet dramatic drones and psychedelic colours. Whilst spirituality continues to be a major feature in Adam’s lyrics which are sometimes akin to ancient hymns, ritual incantations and even dark nursery rhymes , there is a clear shift from explicit gnostic themes into a more general questing and questioning spiritual undertone informing more personal stories.

Adam is clearly heavily influenced by his heritage and the use once more of archive photos depicting Kiama in New South Wales where he grew up are reflective of the journey that this record and indeed the previous Trappist Afterland records are a part of i.e. where recognising heritage is an essential part of moving forward in life and in a musical sense too this record is a skilful blend of traditional stark and foreboding folk styles with more modern singer songwriter influences and acid folk colours. ‘Life Is A Fable’ showcases a more upbeat pastoral feel around themes of harvest and hope for better days and is a gorgeous song. There are hints here and through the record as a whole of lockdown influenced reflection and re-emergence which hint at difficult days, hopefully now left behind and the importance of looking forward to brighter times. ‘Winter Fallows’ also follows a harvest or seasonal theme albeit more reflective and sombre in tone which again drinks from the well of older folk traditions and leads into ‘The Saddest Man’, an old tune sung in a bar room sing around style and in Adam’s words is an ode to the disenfranchised that would be sung after a few drinks late night in a Dublin pub with Brendan Behan. Based on my experience of Dublin pubs I would heartily and happily agree.

This is a beautiful album of personal faith, reflections and humanity from one of the very best exponents of the craft. It’s a wonderful window into a musical and personal world filled with ghosts, hopes and fears wrapped up in simple, often stark yet inventive, melodic, warm and personal music that is gently hypnotic, intelligent and ultimately uplifting, rewarding close and repeated listening. Highly recommended for when you have time to really listen.

(Francis Comyn)


(LP, CD, Digital on Necio Records, Spinda Records and Nafra Records)


From Barcelona, Spain comes this action-packed rocker of a debut from Maragda.  The power trio of Guillem (guitar, synths), Marçal (bass, synths), and Xavi (drums) all sing, in English, usually together as one.  Their style is heavy rock, with a hint of prog.  I will forgo the contemporary tendency to call longer songs with more than one section “prog.”  Maragda plays rock, and they play it very well, while occasionally adding some of prog’s aesthetics.  The songs take the listener on a ride through canyons and valleys, with plenty of variation, light and shade, full of pyrotechnics.


Maragda, the album, is a concept album, which takes place in a post-apocalyptic world dominated by a totalitarian regime known as the Core, where the proud people of ancient Maragda have been forced underground for generations.  A band of rebels seek to rediscover Maragda’s secrets, and use them to liberate the people.


Musically, Maragda comes up aces.  They have a winning combination of the solid rhythm section of Marçal and Xavi, and Guillem who’s a highly talented guitarist.  On one hand, they know how to play thunderously heavy without being cartoonishly metallic.  And on the other hand, they mix things up nicely, as in opener “The Core as the Whole,” combining guitar-driven rock with some nice Mellotron flute passages.


Maragda plays a very melodic brand of rock.  “The Calling” features some fine shredding by Guillem and an anthemic quality throughout.   The shredding continues in “Hermit” and “Orb of Delusion.”  I really like Guillem’s guitar tone on the solos; its high distorted sound has some hallmarks of the late Eddie Van Halen.


Synths dominate the instrumental interlude “Crystal Passage,” atop Guillem’s gentle strumming.  The piece is so melodic and sweet you just know something explosive this way comes.  And that comes in right on cue with “Beyond the Ruins,” which is some outright righteous rawk, split up into multiple sections.


Remember when bands would sometimes wrap up concept albums with a long instrumental finale?  Maragda revives the tradition excellently on “The Blue Ceiling,” combining a montage of melodies, tempo changes, flute and string Mellotron interludes, and of course Guillem’s magnificent guitar work.  It's perfect.


Maragda’s thirty minutes go by quickly.  They have found a winning combination of musicianship, melody and adventurousness, all chugging away to a hard rock foundation.  You will hear from these guys again, I’m sure.  Grab a green splatter vinyl edition while you can.


(Mark Feingold)


Jack Ellister has released some very fine psychedelic song based records on labels such as Fruits de Mer but in addition has been successfully diversifying his output for a while now including the previous volume of Lichtpyramide which began to explore the more experimental world of immersive Kosmiche and electronic sound.

Lichtpyramide II continues that journey with an album of short musical experiments recorded at home in South East London. As with the first volume there is an emphasis on ‘instant composition’ rather than crafted songwriting and as such there is an improvisatory ‘free form’ feel to the flow of the album which is perhaps more overtly electronic in nature this time around. It lends itself to a single listening experience where you could either take the given track order or shuffle it to get a different mix but whatever you do there is much to enjoy in the ambient world Jack has presented.

The music is largely a solo effort based on synthesizers, with guitars, percussion and effect boxes arranged around a loop station. Jack is assisted on two tracks by Sula Bassana and there are occasional moments of spoken word weaving in and out of the soundscapes like distant radio broadcasts or lost messages breaking into the music from the ether. Musically the obvious touchstones are from early pioneering electronic and Radiophonic Workshop soundtracks and German electronic music of the 1970’s with Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream being perhaps the most obvious. Slightly distorted almost orchestral washes of synthesiser combine with a micro world of minimal mechanical bleeps and noise bursts which are part industrial and part Kosmiche. Guitar is sparse and largely textural but occasional snatches of melody do actually hint at Jack’s more guitar based song craft especially on the closing track.

Lichtpyramide II is a fine listen that is in a sense a form of low-fi sci-fi for your hi-fi. Like all good experiments it is inventive, at times fun and rewarding to listen to. Whether this remains an entertaining diversion or is a clue to Jack’s future song based sounds is unclear but if you enjoyed Lichtpyramide I as I did you’ll greatly enjoy this second volume and its further steps into the electronic universe.

(Francis Comyn)

BLACK TEMPEST – PSYBORG (LP on The Weird Beard Records)

Stephen Bradbury has released many a fine electronic psych record but this is perhaps his first leap into full throttle space rock territory. Recent work with Dead Sea Apes and Adam Stone on the excellent ‘Dataland’ may have provided clues but this is a definite change in style and feel from his previous ‘Psyberspace’ release.

It’s a solo effort which is in essence a ‘science fiction’ concept record and a tale based on the opportunities and dangers of AI and human intelligence – almost like an alternative West Side Story or indeed Terminator with a happy love story ending if you will with the use of analogue equipment representing human consciousness and digital of course, Artificial Intelligence.

Things start with the energetic ‘23rd Century Space Station’ -  a roaring storm in space with an all consuming heavy guitar riff barrelling forwards over electronic percussion, swirls of synth and a slightly punky detached vocal. Its not unlike the heavier end of Hawkwind with the guitar much higher in the mix. ‘Sacred Machinery’ flips to a more electronic approach where a Popol Vuh style choral and almost pastoral serenity is blended to great effect with a gently bubbling electronic melody driven by synthetic beats. ‘Spaceway Freedom Fighter’ – takes a more overt Hawkwind direction lyrically and in the interplay between vocals, guitars and synths and that’s not a bad thing at all as Stephen inhabits the…err space.. very comfortably.  ‘Android Daydream 1’ is slower and more stately with gently fizzing, minimal electronic pulses and Kosmiche waves , followed by the more urgent ‘Liberation Space Dub’ where hints of Georgio Moroder beats drive along more of those Popol Vuh undertones creating an almost danceable monastic groove. ‘Android Daydream 2’ has more menace and is a darker, more experimental piece with jarring static sounds and disjointed vocal and mechanical effects or perhaps found sounds in a kind of warped fairground music – more of a nightmare than daydream. ‘Star Fall’ returns to a rockier Hawkwind style but with some twists and tweaks that add an almost jazzy improvisation and at times Spiritualized type grandeur. ‘Temple Of The Sun Machine’ completes the journey with a more reflective and becalmed feel in its use of repetitive minimal beats, piano and electronic sound colours and textures.

This is a fine record which effortlessly glides between the most energetic reaches of space rock and inventive electronic music bringing them together in an entertaining listen. It is I believe sold out at source but is still available out in the wild from your favourite discerning record emporia and I would urge you to invest. Early copies came with a companion E.P. ‘Psyborg Augmented’ which is now available as a download from www.psychlovers.bandcamp.com with proceeds going to Macmillan Cancer Support as part of the Psych Against Cancer fundraiser so you know what to do.

(Francis Comyn)

REGEN GRAVES – CLIMAX (CD on Pariah Child Records)

‘Climax’ is the fourth full length release from Italian electronic artist Regen Graves and is inspired by the work of Hungarian film maker Bela Tarr. It was recorded before the pandemic in 2019 with the exception of a bonus track that was recorded whilst under curfew. Bela Tarr’s films have been described as depicting social realism and a pessimistic, desolate and indeed cynical view of humanity. That darkness and desolation comes through strongly in the brooding, dark collection of electronic and indeed cinematic soundscapes making up this record.

‘Immutable Reality’ generates static fuelled drones with bursts of hymnal or horror film organ and snippets of disembodied voices and sets the tone for a an album that charts the waters between musique concrete, industrial and German electronic music from the 1970’s. ‘The Last Stage of Decline’ has a dark, almost Tangerine Dream like quality at times with its sequences of bleeping and pulsing melody and ‘The Window’ displays more spacey colours and textures making the desolate a little less bleak and more mysterious. ‘Diegetic Distortion’ is a harsher, more industrial piece with dissonance, distortion and slabs of noise peppered with machine like clanking. ‘Nothing Will Be Better’ has slow building waves of buzzing noise like an oncoming tsunami of bees throbbing with dynamic energy and strange occasional fidgety noises. The bonus track ‘Heat’ stands out as being recorded at a different time and its beat driven waves of synth remind me of some of the work of Heldon and Bernard Szajner to name but two.

This is a dark but not unremittingly bleak record where its desolate cinematic influences come through strongly but with some interesting colours and textures to reward repeat listening.

(Francis Comyn)

EMPTY HOUSE – MUSHIN (Cassette on Cruel Nature Records)

Empty House is a solo project from Fred Laird of Earthling Society and Taras Bulba notoriety. As you might expect from those of us who follow Fred’s musical excursions it’s bursting with new ideas from a musical mind that never really stays in one place for very long and is all the better for that.

Mushin is apparently a term in Zen Buddhism for ‘no mind’ or in this context no set plan which sees Fred taking this literally with a kitchen sink full of instruments and no pre conceived ideas about how to construct, arrange or perform the music - in other words a chance to see where the mood would take him. A recipe for a mess in less skilled hands perhaps but here we are taken on a journey through eclectic free form soundscapes that take in many of Fred’s inspirations over 3 days of recording in March of this year. It’s a recording with a certain raw beauty where meditative ritualistic ambience encounters an occasional, sometimes visceral, sometimes bordering chaotic wall of sound creating some fascinating juxtapositions.

‘Mushin’ the title track is a lengthy and often astonishing 27 minutes and is in a sense a series of connected sound paintings or movements or perhaps it actually is Fred’s celestial symphony. It’s an intoxicating blend of meditative and at times unsettling music. It starts with insistent temple percussion and delicate far eastern melodic colours creating a hypnotic and dreamy haze that slowly snowballs into a whirlpool of dizzying sound before a dramatic synth generated wail of lost souls and distant middle eastern melodic whispers creates a strange and eerie cosmic interlude that Ligeti might have considered just a little bit groovy. This leads into a period of floating and serene yet ghostly ambience that has a certain blissful feel but darker edges so that you don’t get too comfortable. Otherworldly and occasionally frantic alien machine sounds and the pulsing, throbbing roar of cosmic noise emerge like an occasionally chaotic but captivating lost industrial Kosmiche soundtrack to a forbidden planet before another brief sea change to a bouncy far eastern tinged melodic march and then a further trip to the clouds where slightly dissonant and distorted celestial melodies, delicate chimes, and radiating drones return to a peaceful finish. It’s quite a trip.

The sound of running water opens ‘Zanshin’ where primitive beats, delicate minimal percussive patterns, floating wisps of melodies on the wind and sparse echo laden guitars create a kind of Kosmiche surf guitar desert dreamscape before a huge wind up of dissonant noise returns us to an almost silent and gentle water drop rhythm. It’s rare that I think of Midori Takada and Dick Dale in the same sentence but weirdly and wonderfully there are touches of both in this superior ambient environment.

The third and final piece is ‘The Empty House’ and it certainly has that creepy claustrophobic B Movie feeling with its slightly distorted noisy peaks , swirling organ drone, free jazz noir and echoing drip drop percussion.

This is a wonderfully immersive release with an array of cosmic and hallucinogenic musical wonders to bring pleasure to your ears and imagination. It’s a limited run cassette only release at this time and there may be a handful left as this goes to print. It would be a shame to miss out.

(Francis Comyn)

JUJU – LA QUE SABE (LP on The Weird Beard Records)

A JuJu release is always a welcome thing and it’s a good thing that it appears on a fine platter of vinyl  on the venerable The Weird Beard label. It’s the work of the prolific Sicilian multi-instrumentalist and producer Giolele Valenti who is also part of a number of other projects including the occult psych Llay Lamas  and the folktronica collective, Herself.

A child’s chuckle kicks off opener ‘Not This Time’, a meaty beaty riff and slightly buried vocals combine to create a catchy rocker with a touch of eighties tinted rock sheen. ‘Nothing Endures’ changes tack and features a moody, melodic but sometimes angular new wave edge to the guitars, growling bass and treated vocals. ‘Could You Believe’ takes the new wave feel further back to raw and minimal basics but then wraps it in a coat of many colours with upbeat percussion, melodic New Order synth pop vibes and dance frills that create a little art pop/rock gem. A change of direction is in order for ‘She’s Perfect’ which has a darker, more claustrophobic feel with heavier guitars and percussion. ‘Walk The Line’ takes no steer from Johnny Cash but the big growling bass and infectious chorus get the toes tapping and silent singalong going quite nicely. Post punk pleasures abound on ‘7 Days In The Sun’ through its off beat melodies, spacious guitars and floating vocals but there’s a subtle 4AD, early Creation Records quality to the sound that adds that extra touch of joy to listening. Finishing the record we have ‘Beautiful Mother’ with its swirling desert rhythms and dramatic, almost chanted vocal encased in a wall of almost chaotic stirring noise.

This fine record is a departure from previous JuJu releases, keeping up a tradition of variety and change. It captures the best of post punk, new wave, 80’s psychedelic guitar rock, art pop and rock and synth pop, mixing influences with class, intelligence and not a little craft to create a memorable collection of songs. It mixes darkness and pop nous where Bela Lugosi dances and doesn’t care who sees him. It’s a soundtrack to brighten up any winter’s day and it cheered me up whilst writing this so what more do you need to know.

(Francis Comyn)


Limited LP/CD www.sulabassana.bandcamp.com

Electric Moon main man Dave Schmidt recorded this new solo album over three evenings during lockdown at home, using guitars, effects pedals, loopstations, an old analogue synth, a drumcomputer, an old organ, a newish Roland SE-02 and a very old Roland SH-5, cut down and edited, but not so as you would notice.

Things kick off with a near fifteen minute ‘Roadburn Haze’, recorded especially for the Roadburn Festival Redux in April of this year. It’s a slow builder, big expansive guitars heading out into the firmament, throbbing and ebbing over a slowly developing motorik beat. It’s a great start to an album given ample room to wrap around the brain before gradually fading away and decaying. ‘Rolling In Outer Space’ is a lot more concise built on the back of a dirty coruscating synth pattern, it’s woozy melody sounding like some far off fairground playing in a distant field somewhere in space, it even has some NASA commentary toward the end as we wind down.

A huge slab of space rock follows this with ‘Die Karawane Der Unsterblichen’, another lengthy song at almost fourteen minutes duration. The guitars are more to the fore etching out a melody whilst a billowing synth fills in the spaces in between. ‘Wastelandgarden’ takes us back down as it shuttles around before another huge slab of a tune emerges from the cosmic debris with the brain frying ‘Dopeshuttle’, and at almost eighteen minutes it doesn’t outstay its welcome, think classic period Hawkwind.  This is followed by another lengthy outing in ‘Stargate’ a much more sedate tune, loping through the cosmos. The album ends with ‘One Way’ a delicate song which rounds off the proceedings very well.

(Andrew Young)


Limited LP/CD www.sualtron.com

Electric Moon met Portuguese band Talea Jacta in September of 2019 in the club Sabotage which unfortunately did not survive the pandemic and has shut its doors but we are left with this album as a memento.

This meeting of two bands features two drummers and two guitar players with Electric Moon’s Komet Lulu on bass duties. Pedro Pestana – guitars and effects. Joao Pais Filipe – drums and percussive instruments. Komet Lulu – bass. Pablo Carneval – drums and Sula Bassana - guitars and effects. A genuine krautrock, psychedelic experience emerges, containing just three tracks Sabotar in parts 1, 2 and 3.

This must of been a hell of a night. Joao is a renowned drummer, who also makes some of his instruments such as handcrafted gongs. ‘Part One’ sets the scene with the drummers eventually locking in together over heavily treated guitar scapes. It is interesting to note that there are no keyboards featured at all, just the sounds of guitars put through various effects pedals.

The labyrinthine ‘Part Two’ genuinely fries the brain. It takes a while to get going as it klangs and clatters about, before it establishes into a dense, heavy piece of space rock. The final song ‘Part Three’ is over twenty minutes long, giving the players plenty of time to gel. It starts off quite slowly as it drifts about but it isn’t long before it develops into a huge slab of molten, space rock, kicking out all the jams. You may think that with two drummers things might get a bit messy, but the two of them fly over their respective kits with a lightness of touch, Lulu’s bass does a great job gluing it all together, enabling Dave and Pedro to head off into the stratosphere, pouring huge slabs of molten chugging guitar riffs all over the place.

(Andrew Young)


Limited to 250 orange vinyl LP’s www.bubble.bandcamp.com 

Thought Bubble are a new band comprising of drummer  Nick Raybould and keyboardist Chris Cordwall with a few guests such as Shaun Bailey adding additional guitar and Gregg McKella adding clarinet plus Suzette and Pablo Raybould contributing vocals. These guys have been in a few bands such as Glowpeople who may well be familiar to Terrascope readers.

The introductory track ‘The Waves’ has spooky synths and alto sax as a bedrock over which all manner of effects, drums and guitars weave around, the sax lending it a mildly middle eastern flavour and is not a million miles from the kind of music made by Sendelica. ‘Beatwave’, is terrific, a busy drum beat with signal injections lays out the beat and a huge synth melody is introduced, it sounds great, particularly the synth which is reminiscent of the synth featured on Adamski’s ‘Killer’.  My favourite track on the album appears next, with the closed loop of ‘Möbius Trip’, enlivened by Shaun’s excellent lead guitar fills. ‘An Escher sketch with Dali’s pen, around it goes and around again’. The drums are very inventive and the whole things shuttles back and forth nicely.

‘Rat Race’, as its title implies is busy and maybe a little bit too busy for me, the effect being like some overactive child that has ingested too many E numbers. Things then calm down somewhat for ‘Fluctuate’, which bleeps, wows and flutters its way merrily along, whilst ghostly synths map out a melody, Gregg’s reedy clarinet adding a jazzy flavour to the steady drum and synth patterns. The album ends with ‘Devoider’ a slower synth and drum tune with glimmering keys and shaun’s electric guitar used to fine effect. I believe that the band have also just finished up their second offering, which judging from this will be well worth getting.

(Andrew Young) 


(LP, CD, Digital on Stickman Records/BJK Music)


As leaves fall, the air takes on a chill, and we start contemplating our plans for the year’s end, we take a peek back to almost the start of the year with one of the year’s highlights, Norwegian prog-jazz band Needlepoint’s blissful ode to the Canterbury sound, “Walking Up That Valley.”  The album’s rightly drawn positive comparisons to Caravan and Soft Machine, among others.  I’ll throw current progsters Magic Bus and Wobbler in as well.


Needlepoint is several highly talented and experienced musicians from Norway’s jazz and prog scene, and is masterminded by Bjørn Klakegg, who, in addition to being the primary songwriter, sings and plays guitar, and adds violin, flute and cello to the proceedings.  Keyboardist David Wallumrød brings a veritable prog complete checklist along, including Hammond, clavinet, Fender Rhodes, Prophet 5, ARP Odyssey, ARP Solus, Mini Moog; oh, and a piano, too (but no Mellotron).  Bassist and producer Nikolai Hængsle (Elephant9), in addition to filling out the bottom, sings and adds guitar, while drummer Olaf Olsen and guest percussionist Erik Nylander complete the rhythm section.  It’s a very busy band, and it shows on the record.


They may be loaded with instruments and talent, but the mastery of Needlepoint is their understated approach.  Klakegg’s vocals are simple and quiet.  Wallumrød, with all those keyboards, takes a less-is-more approach.  Their verses and choruses are more jazz than prog; they’re a bit non-linear, tricky to hitch your wagon to and follow along.  But virtually every song introduces a lengthy instrumental break, and that’s where this band steps out and shows its mettle and its muscular chops.  While Klakegg and Wallumrød trace elegant, progtatstic flights of fancy on guitar and synth solos, the real magic’s happening in the engine room where Hængsle’s crunchy bass playing and Olsen’s frantic drumming whip up a propulsive drive that keeps everything humming along.  Their incredible rhythm often outshines the solo instruments.


On opener, “Rules of a Mad Man,” Klakegg sings repeatedly, “Can you believe it/So many people follow the rules of a mad man?”  Uh, yes I can, quite.  “I Offered You the Moon” serves up another fabulous break like I described above, with Wallumrød’s synth squiggling away over the top of his Hammond, while Olsen cooks up a raucous jungle beat on drums.  “Where the Ocean Meets the Sky” is, like many of the songs here, a staid singing travelogue of a psychedelic voyage, before morphing into a fantastic instrumental passage that reminded me of John Barleycorn-era Traffic.


The nearly eleven-minute closing title track is not only the highlight of the album, but one of the top tracks of the year.  The journey starts with a very simple, introductory section with Klakegg describing a vivid dream.  From there, it expands into a lengthy instrumental where Needlepoint pulls out all the weapons in their considerable sonic arsenal.  Always guided by Olsen’s sure drumming and Hængsle’s bass, Needlepoint take us on a prog joyride of synths, guitars, organ and flute, before Klakegg returns to sing the conclusion of his vivid fever dream.  The ending is somewhat odd, in that it sounds like the band was just about to take flight again for another round – which would’ve been entirely welcome – but abruptly fades out.  Nevertheless, even if you should decide to take a pass on parting with your hard-earned coinage for the album, I urge you to check out the title track.


The interesting cover design, by Bjørn Klakegg’s brother Rune, depicts what looks like a scene from Gulliver’s Travels, but with the Lilliputians replaced by ants.


Walking Up That Valley is a terrific listen, and one of this year’s best.  Chances are, there’ll be many passages that’ll have you calmly thinking, “nice, nice…Yeah!”  As the immortal Hank Williams once sang, “You’re just in time…to be too late.”  Hopefully we weren’t too late in praising Needlepoint for crafting this fine record instead of, say, a wall hanging.  Go enjoy.


(Mark Feingold)




Here’s an instrumental album that’s sure to please.  Norwich’s Guranfoe are a four-piece band that formed in 2012.  They prefer to release live recordings over studio fare, and there are a whole bunch of them available.  They finally took the plunge into studio releases with late 2019’s ‘Sum of Erda,’ but for this one it’s back to live performance.  Well, live in the studio.  Their style traverses a lot of territory, but some stops along the journey include prog, jazz, and I even detect some of the more adventurous variety of new age.


The album is also available in its entirety as a youtube video, if you want to pick up the visual component.  The Boathouse Studio looks like a comfy workspace on the upper floor, with occasional views of ships a-sail in the distance.  And the idea of sailboats in the breeze is a nice image of what the music conjures in the mind.


Guranfoe are James Burns and Ollie Snell on acoustic and electric guitars, Robin G. Breeze on bass and Joe Burns on drums.  For a band often associated with prog, interestingly there’s no keyboardist.  For this recording, they’re accompanied by guests Irene Katsenelson on viola, Malachi Siner-Cheverst on cello, and Rob Milne on flute and saxophone.  The guests make a huge difference in adding a lovely pastoral, classical folk element to the sound.  I’m afraid poor Rob gets the least amount of screen time, though he contributes his parts with great distinction.


In the three lengthy tracks that make up the album, opener “Crowned By Estuary” and follow-up “With the Dumnonii Wayfarer” have similar beginnings, with lightly strummed acoustic guitar leading into a gradual build-up.  James Burnes and Ollie Snell swap guitars between acoustic and electrics on the two pieces.  From there, the two tracks swell to full proportion laden with bucolic vistas, with the viola, cello, and flute or sax adding more delights.  On “With the Dumnonii Wayfarer,” Burnes uses a wah-wah pedal, and a little over halfway through, the tone gradually shifts from idyllic floating to straight-up prog.  Burnes plays a stunning solo, and pretty soon we go around the horn to the other musicians.


“Dumnonii Wayfarer” segues without break into the twelve-and-a-half-minute closer “Etsinta Harvest in the Thar Sands.”  Led-in by Breeze’s bass and Joe Burns’ drumming to a waltzing, almost martial beat, the others join in handily (and the two guitarists swap acoustic and electrics once more).  It’s a rousing ensemble performance where everybody shines together, with Snell’s guitar and Milne’s sax throwing in a thrilling duet.  Katsnelson and Siner-Cheverst help wind things down on viola and cello with a woozy denouement.


On “Live at the Boathouse Studio,” when it comes to prog, you’ll find no stabbing, stomping Hammond solos or banks of synths, but you will find you feel better after listening than before.  Guranfoe’s music falls into an in-between area of genres.  Let’s just call it delightful instrumental music.


(Mark Feingold)


(2xCD on Apple Tree Lament)

This lovingly crafted double mini CD release comes in a hand-dyed, hand-stitched fabric cover with individual card inserts featuring extracts from old maps. Artwork throughout is by The Phoenix Cube’s polymath Simon Lewis. Simon’s own Phoenix Cube contributes two extended tracks recorded in the past year at his Strawberry Minefield studios, ‘Rainy Season’ and the Phaedra-esque ‘Sleep Exchange,’ both pieces choc-full of electronic bleeps, drones, swooshes and plinks interspersed with snatches of nature sounds, the overall effect a bit like experiencing a motorway from the underside with sudden rushes of noise, explosions of light and an adrenalin rush at the climax and if that doesn’t make it all sound particularly appealing then I can only suggest you negotiate yourself a new prescription. Alan Davidson’s Kitchen Cynics meanwhile slow things down a beat or two and dive deep inside your head with two elegant interpretations of traditional Scottish folk songs, ‘The False Lover Won Over’ (aka Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger’s False Lover Won Back) with a gorgeous keyboard intro, and ‘Lady Margaret and the Gardener’ possibly – although I confess to not having checked this - based on Proud Maisri, by Shirley Collins via Ewan McColl, a ballad which recounts the dialogue between a gardener and the lady of the house who deprecates his flowery propositions. Alan’s rich Scots brogue is incredibly well suited to these songs; readers may well have heard it used to similar effect recently on ‘Calling of the Quarters’ on Trappist Afterland’s LP ‘Seaside Tales’, and as with that album, I have found myself returning to these discs again and again.

(Phil McMullen)


CD on Old Hippie Records www.moreexperience.bandcamp.com

I know nothing of this Polish band so I have done a bit of digging and it appears that this is their third album and what an album it is, it is certainly one of the most overt psychedelic albums to come along for quite a while. I have road tested it for quite a while and can heartily recommend it.

The band consists of brothers Piotr Dudzikowski appearing as electric laboratory - guitar, organs, synthesizers, harmonium, cumbus, tanpura sitar, field recordings and backing vocals and Janek Dudzikowski appearing as Force of Jedi- drums and percussion. Marcin Grabowski appears as Vizualised String Theory of Bass – basses. Anna Sobczak-Chona appears as Voice From The Trap Trip- vocals. Eryk Paluch appears as Maha Sadu - spoken words and hoomej. Plus Karol Almert appearing as The Temple Of Oscillators- synthesizers, sequencers, oscillators, arpeggios and frequencies.

The album eases us in with a few serene minutes of bird song, some gentle electric strummery then arrives before a mad organ section and out there lead guitar runs jolt us from our reverie, all on opener “The Twilight”/”The Dream”, a fine opening to the album, some ten minutes of expansive heavy space prog rock sung by Anna, subtle it is not. This is followed by ‘The Trip’, a spoken word planetary invocation with vibes and a superb bass riff, as we reach for the stars and head off into the firmament and become a part of space.

“The Mind”, duly follows “Huge secret gardens with mighty flowers and all that is inside your mind”, it’s a bluesy song sung by Anna, with biting lead guitar, full of great organ and guitar parts. The drumming is also very inventive locking in with the super cool bass playing. The lead guitar on this reminds me of Steve Hillage’s style of playing. “Beelzebufo” gives the drummer and bass player a chance to shine, as they lock into a jazzy groove, this one percolates and develops into a great space rocker, oh sorry, that’s still the last song! Such are the changes of pace within these songs; it appears that “Beelzebufo” is just an interlude of space frogs!

 We arrive at “Fairy Tale” another spoken word epic, a bit more acoustic in nature, keyboard rich and expansive “Are you sleeping, are you dreaming, are you tripping”, I think I may be! The title track follows “Electric Laboratory of High Space Experience”, it’s a little slower out the traps, but develops into a pretty huge song, it’s another slightly bluesy song, sung again by Anna, but it heads off into its own territory, with some unashamedly lewd guitar. The album ends some forty odd minutes after it started with more birdsong and an insistent cuckoo, as part of a dawn chorus in “At The Gates Of Dawn”. This is a terrific album and may well be the most psychedelic thing I have heard all year.

(Andrew Young)