= September 2019 =  
 Vic Mars
Infinity Forms of Yellow Remember
 the Skiffle Players
 Fionn Regan
 The Cold Spells
 Taras Bulba
 the Cosmic Dead
 Mellotron Variations



www.claypipemusic.co.uk   700 x numbered copies with download code on turquoise blue vinyl/DL

This will be Vic’s third release on boutique label Clay Pipe. Following on from 2015’s ‘The Land And The Garden’ and last year’s very limited cassette release of ‘The Soundtrack To The Hospice’.

Inspired, in part, by Alfred Watkins excellent book entitled ‘The Old Straight Track’, written in 1925 about ley lines and desire paths and also by old photographs of Vic’s county of birth, Herefordshire. This record investigates these old paths, it is also informed by derelict buildings, overgrown pathways and Holloways, so right up my psychogeographical road really. It was recorded with 1980’s style ‘tracker’ software, with a range of instruments that include recorders, glockenspiels, acoustic guitars, Korg Monopoly and Roland Juno 60 keyboards.

Vic takes us all on a bucolic pastoral journey, with this his latest, purely instrumental album. It starts with a visit in to town with ‘bric-a-brac shop’, which sounds very much like a schools project, in a good way. ‘Evacuees at Arrow House’ is a charming pastoral reverie, which as it progresses takes on more of an unsettling current, due to the presence of electronics. “Thistle and Briar” has strong melodies and adds more percussion as it works and winds its way through to its conclusion of foggy mellotron. “A Nest In The Warehouse Roof” begins with bright piano with an undercurrent of cello, upon which various instruments such as oboe are layered (I say oboe and cello but really I should think that these are derived from his keyboards). The title track “Inner Roads And Outer Paths” starts slowly and gradually uncoils, it develops into a woodwind, piano and acoustic tune, of gentle reflective beauty.

“The Last Days Of The Great House” all piano and whirring electronics map out the tune of this song of a crumbling building, as the moss and plants gradually establish a foothold, a reclamation by nature. “Broken Spires And Ruined Arches” continues this theme of growth and decay. “Holloways” up next, they are some of my favourite places to visit and so I was really looking forward to hearing Vic bring them to life, he does a fine job with a tune that’s wistful, yet, has an unsettling quality to it. “Paths Beyond The Towns” is charming, suggesting a pastoral rural nostalgia, bought to life through its application of woodwind and electronics.

“Following The River” is a little brighter, again highly melodic and charming, nylon stringed acoustic guitar, picks out the melody, which is underpinned by bass woodwind, hammered notes and electronics. “End Of The Branch Line” has gentle percussive tones suggesting a train in motion, the journey being highlighted by more layered acoustic and electronics instruments. “The Fair Arrives” and the preset buttons dance a merry tune over muted Morris dance bells. This charming and lovely record ends with “Earthworks And Trackways”, a melodic song, which perfectly illustrates the nature of such walks. Vic has delivered another superb album of quiet beauty. I fully expect the record to sell out fairly quickly, when it released towards the end of this month. 

(Andrew Young)


(2XLP from Cardinal Fuzz https://cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com/)

Stop me if you’ve hear this one before.

During Terrascope’s recent dalliance in live music we were honoured to bring Mugstar to the Moon in Cardiff. In fact it almost didn’t happen. As it transpired, Liverpool’s now veteran space rockers, about whom we have waxed lyrically and enthusiastically on this very virtual vellum these many a year, were in a transitional phase having lost half of their hitherto constant membership and almost had to pull out. The fact they didn’t bears great testimony to them as was the fact they made more than a decent fist of things on the day.

So where’s he going with this, you’re probably thinking. Well the night was truly saved by the local support group, Infinity Forms Of Yellow Remember, who were not only playing just their second gig but in the absence of a second act on the undercard turned in a set almost as long as that of the headline act. And they absolutely knocked it out of the park. Drawn from some of the region’s most criminally overlooked acts – Witches Drum, Dharma Violets and The Best Thing Since Powdered Milk among them – their clever mash up of space and garage rock and understated melody showed they were quickly capable of evolving into very much their own animal*.

(*As a six-piece they were also the latest in what had quickly become a Terrascope party trick of fitting large units – Gnod and Hey Colossus among them – on the smallest stage in Christendom. It’s bigger now, but that’s still no comfort to anyone over six foot tall or with big hair).

That was two years ago give or take a month or so, and just as it seemed Infinity Forms were about to join Cardiff’s Museum of Lost Art (the extensive wing where they keep all the really good bands who never made it out of Womanby Street), in rides The Cardinal (gawd bless ‘im) to give them the documented exposure that on the strength of that live performance and indeed this debut recording, they so richly deserve.

To the business in hand.

It’s clear these boys are no strangers to Hawkwind’s back catalogue. There’s nothing at all wrong with that, of course, and rest assured there’s much more to them than that as we shall see. Take opener ‘Strange Flotsam On The Rising Tide’ which leads with an acoustic guitar rumination (something of a recurring theme as it transpires), then gently floats off into space before firing out of the traps on ‘Sub Sonic Dream’. Here, the energetic fuzzed up riffing evokes the aforementioned Hawks played by half a dozen over-excited kids on Christmas morning, with more than a sandblasting of Comets On Fire thrown in for good measure. There’s even a Brainstorm-style bridge thrown in, laying the foundation for a sumptuous dreamy mid-section and allowing the band catch their second breath before the interstellar kicks back in with gusto. In contrast ‘Surely They Know’ clips along brightly enough, for all the world sounding like the Beach Boys and Dandy Warhols going at it like knives. It rocks with a keen pop sensibility and enough hooks to snag even the most carelessly directed of hats. Go on, try it.

The segmented lengthy centrepiece is ‘Great Vibrating Season’, all 16 minutes of it, which waxes and wanes in an orgy of floating, old school ambience. It gladdens the heart, cleanses the soul and tickles the old synapses in the most delightful way. It also shows a band well capable of exercising restraint when required to do so. Yes of course it builds into something you can shuffle along to and that ‘ol space boogie never lurks too far below the surface, before subsiding to a strummed acoustic coda. ‘Walk With The King’ also packs enough rarefied atmosphere to cause nose bleeds before a sharp change of tempo transforms it into another more than passable Brock-buster. This lasts only as long as it takes for someone snaps the handbrake and off she hurtles into deep space before the engines cut and we are again treated to such a gentle landing that even these old ankles wouldn’t snap on impact.

Arguably though, the judge’s nod goes to the album’s other extended track ‘Sun God Grave Gods’. In what might be seen as something of a predictable pattern by now, it starts off innocuously enough with a see-saw drone, gradually building to a languid, dare one say dopey-sounding mantra, the plaintive wailing of a harmonica juxtaposing with the eastern vibe for a surprisingly pleasing result. These are more subtle variations, playful guitar runs intertwining with synth washes over a steady and gradually more insistent rhythm combining to mesmeric effect. A more lengthy acoustic comedown this time and that’s yer lot.

It is often said that punk pretty much passed South Wales by, which may sound a little harsh but is, generally speaking, bang to rights. Infinity’s lush debut tends to lend weight to this impression – to borrow a certain label’s strapline and raise them one “it’s as if the past 45 years never happened”. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes you have to travel back to find the inspiration to move forward. Well I’m going to be happy enough with this for the rest of the year and it’ll probably do me for most of the next one as well. Disturb me only if anything else should happen in the meantime.

(Ian Fraser)





(DL on Spiritual Pajamas)


Many of us were left speechless by the tragic news of the passing of Neal Casal at the age of 50.  The gentle, soft-spoken guitarist packed a lot of great music in his all-too-short time with us.  Casal had as many bands and projects as most of us have socks.  Some were big and famous, and some were small, not to mention 12 solo albums, and it would take pages to detail all of them.  I thought I’d pick something out of his gigantic catalogue for your perusal, this 2016 album Skifflin’ by The Skiffle Players.  Maybe you’ve heard it, maybe not.


Casal was equally at home with jam-friendly bands like the Chris Robinson Brotherhood and straightforward song acts such as this.  The Skiffle Players is Casal; folk writer, singer and guitarist Cass McCombs; Dan Horne, who was with Casal in Circles Around the Sun; and multi-instrumentalist Farmer Dave Scher and drummer Aaron Sperske, both from Beachwood Sparks.  Though they would go on to release the EP Piffle Sayers and a second album, Skiff, this debut is their best.


Although you won’t hear any tea chests or washboards, there’s still a decidedly acoustic, or light electric sound to the record.  Casal dearly loved The Grateful Dead, and embodied a lot of his projects with a Dead ethos, which is clearly present in Skifflin’.  Often times, the album has an authentic Workingman’s Dead/American Beauty sensibility, and that ain’t no bad thing.


Most of the songs are Cass McCombs compositions, with a few exceptions being traditional number “Coo Coo Bird,” murder ballad “Omie Wise,” and Texas bluesman Henry Thomas’ “Railroadin’ Some.”  (Both “Coo Coo Bird” and “Railroadin’ Some” employ a chugging train rhythm).  Then there are the shimmering tracks “Til Stone Day Comes” and “When the Title Was Wrote.”   Someday, if your descendants ask you “Grandpa, what was meant by a ‘laid back West Coast vibe?’” you can put on “Til Stone Day Comes.”  Question answered.  “When the Title Was Wrote” is ’70 Dead meets The Flying Burrito Brothers somewhere off the Pacific Coast Highway.  Casal’s sublime playing illuminates the songs and gives them an abiding beauty.  The love ballad “Always” is slightly out-of-step with the style of the rest of the album, but you’ll get no complaints here, because it sounds like George Harrison and Bob Dylan’s “I’d Have You Any Time,” and again Casal’s tasteful guitar accents lift it to another level.


Skifflin’ was but one of the many leaves on Neal Casal’s tree, now fallen.  He leaves behind both an impressive legacy and a sad void.


 (Mark Feingold)




(LP/CD/DL on Abbey Records)


Irish folk troubadour Fionn Regan brings us this, his sixth album.  Cala is Spanish for “cove,” and watery imagery abounds in this lovely release.  Recorded in his home in coastal Bray outside Dublin, Regan’s songs are ethereal and soothing.  He has a delightful fingerpicking style, his vocals are calm, and the songs dreamy.  Weighing in at a concise 34 minutes, Regan wastes no time at all in the 10 songs.


Cala is also one of the finest home recordings I’ve heard.  Yeah, it’s folk music, just a guy and a guitar, right?  But Regan supplies overdubbed background vocals with lots of oohs and ahhs and the occasional falsetto swoops, plus effects and tasteful soundscapes to sand the edges off this most professional sounding record.  The locales in his travelogue include the Irish coast, Spain, and New York City.


Regan opens “Collar of Fur” with “Wear this crown of light for you/on this August moon/Bring your voice of pearl to sing,” with imagery of doors that open to the beach.  The rest of the album flows naturally from there, like a tidal stream to the sea.


There is a wonderful run of three songs in the album’s second half; title song “Cala,” “Brass Locket,” and “Hunting Dog.”  In each, Regan starts with tender melodies and simple tales of plain folk, and pours on the vocal ahhs and atmospherics to tremendous effect.  Listen to the charming “Brass Locket” and feel all your worldly cares melt away.  Regan has a way of sounding like he’s just singing to himself, or to you, or to everyone at the same time.


The swirling, ghostly “Under the Waves/Tokyo” rounds out the set from whence we came.  “I want to sleep with you for a day, under the waves” sings Regan.  As the song transitions to the “Tokyo” section, a small chorus meets the beautiful guitar playing, as Regan dreams of taking flight to the East.


Cala is a gorgeous, autumnal album to lose yourself in, as placid and soothing as the ocean waters Fionn Regan describes, with gentle waves to match his ethereal voice and playing.  It’s timeless, unforgettable work that touches the soul.


 (Mark Feingold)






Alive Natural Sounds records Vinyl/CD/DL

This record’s a real peach of an album, but one that is tempered by the tragic loss of guitarist/ vocalist Neal Casal, a man whose career I have followed since he first burst onto the scene with his wonderful debut album “Fade Away Diamond Time”, which marked him out as an exceptional talent in the vast Americana genre.

This album is the fourth release since 2015’s “Pacific Surf Line”, and is the one to promote them into the big league, if there was any justice in this old world. The songs on the album were written by Brent Rademaker and Trevor Jimenez.

“Bad Habits” is a glorious opener, a solid rhythm section (consisting of Ben Redell on bass and Trevor on drums), map out and anchor the song, which is brought to life by rocking electric guitars tempered by Mellotron fills. “Dark Angel” begins with a blistering guitar figure with oodles of organ, chiming guitar and sounds very much like classic Tom Petty. “I’m So High” is a fairly straightforward boogie-based song which duly rocks out. Thing slow down with “Baby (It’s All Your Fault)”, a delicate piano led ballad, decorated with beautiful harmonies. “Get It Back” is terrific, it tells the story of a fading star, a highly melodic song with more piano and Mellotron, it’s also quite English sounding and dare I say it, a little Beatlesque.

“Fighter” is another pretty straight up rock song, with some terrific guitar breaks. “Unswung” is a gem of a song, great lyrics, plenty of changes, rinky dink piano, plenty of ‘western swing’ style twin guitars by Neal and Brent, ending up with a glorious guitar solo. “Good Kid” tells the story of teenage love, drugs and escape. Electric piano lends it a kind of Steely Dan vibe, with the guitars and vocals channelling Crazy Horse. “Nothing Ever Changes” is a solid choogling rocker, with plenty of organ. The title track “Let It Burn” sees Brent and Neal laying down some fine guitar, Jonny Niemen’s Fender Rhodes and Mellotron filling in the gaps as it heads heavenwards with an epic spiralling guitar solo. Final track “Hoarder” documents more bad habits and proves to be a fine country rock song, informed by slide guitar and piano.

Who knows what’s next for the band, losing a key member is always going to be hard, especially one as brilliant as Neal. I hope they do, as the band’s now really hitting their stride.   

(Andrew Young)





This is second album by The Cold Spells, whose eponymously titled debut album has received plenty of plays over the last year. The band comprise of Tim Ward: vocals, guitar and synth and Michael Farmer: vocals, pianos, synths, organ and harmonium. It was an eerie album full of wintery flavoured psychedelic folktronica. Think Barrett’s whimsical nursery style songs; add a touch of Hitchcock and a big helping of Tunng.

Estuary sounding vocals, finger picked acoustic guitar and electronica announce album opener “Leviathan”, which fades to the sound of lapping waves. “Codger’s Lament”, follows a tinker’s tale of hard times and thrift. “Mayday” works well, over reasonably happy music the vocals tell of madness, isolation and confusion. “Landscapes” is a real grower; it’s psychedelically inclined. Playful lyrics about size, of being alone in the world, of ciphers, compasses and sun light, to a bed of pulsing and whirring electronics, excellent stuff indeed. “I Hate It When You’re Sad”, is indeed a sad song; one that wouldn’t be out of place on one of Robin Proper Shepherd’s band Sophia’s songs.

I get Pentangle immediately with the title track “Interstitial”, albeit a Pentangle with synths, it’s quite short and almost instrumental. “For All Of Us Sorry Travellers” is my favourite song on the album, a cracking tale of suicide, and of making a deal with the devil. How many songs mention that misery loves company, oh well here’s another to add to the list. “The Blaze”, is a catchy song, it rises and falls, informed by walking bass, organ, acoustic guitar and synth. “Here We Go”, is dense and knotty. It’s the most Tunng like moment on the album, acoustic guitar, treated vocals and piano with oodles of percussion and synths. “You Play My Mistakes”, ends the album with a laconic song for the wee small hours.  

(Andrew Young)





(LP on Riot Season Records)

It was sad to see the dimming of the day for Earthling Society who delivered a wonderful series of records through the years, finishing in this writer’s humble estimation on a career high with the superb ‘MO – The Demon’. It was a record that pointed in new directions for Earthling Society’s music and rather than leaving the unfulfilled promise of sound adventures that could have been, Taras Bulba have risen from the ashes with Fred Laird and Jon Blacow taking those maps and charts to continue the journey into a new musical space full of imagination and invention. By the way that’s the last I’ll say about Earthling Society because this is a new project and deserves to be judged on that basis.  ‘One’ was recorded between September 2018 and May 2019 in various places on home recording equipment. This nomadic recording process is also reflected in the rich diversity of influences from musical styles, traditions, countries and cultures to be heard and enjoyed in the Taras Bulba sound.

The record starts with ‘Hashish’ and the sound of an unwinding, densely layered dream state raga that also has echoes of traditional European folk in its claustrophobic eastern tinged psychedelia. It’s a wonderful atmospheric opener to draw the listener into the world of Taras Bulba. ‘Moroccan Waves’ follows and is in essence a folk dance with a meaty riff propelled by the heavy and hearty beat of Jon Blacow’s drums. It once again creates a hybrid of Eastern desert ambience with hints of European folk melodies. Fred Laird’s joyful electric guitar solo dances through a hazy soup of desert sound occasionally accompanied by high pitched and dramatic synthesised strings. The final third of the track is a strummed acoustic section with recorder floating over the jaunty melody. There are hints of Plant and Page’s more adventurous moments and strong desert blues influences at play but also the folk fusion sensibility of the Incredible String Band to bring it all together into a coherent and original piece of music.

With ‘On Mt. Kailash’ we move to more ambient territory and a much more contemplative sound that recalls Popol Vuh and other Kosmische pioneers. It has a spare and meditative beauty after which the direction of travel once again changes with ‘I Hadit, U Nuit’, a joyful space rocker built on shuffling jazzy rhythms, tense drones and a soaring guitar solo. There is an echo of ambient or triphop/dance music in the repeating keyboard motif that emerges through the track which somehow manages to remain distinct in the eye of the storm. ‘Rising Lazarus Blues’ is a lengthy track of two halves. It starts as an acoustic blues with a lonesome wailing vocal and an almost dirge like rhythm before a blissful Kosmische guitar and keyboards section takes the mood to a higher, ecstatic place. ‘The Neon Midnight’ returns to a darker, mysterious, avant garde ‘thriller noir’ sound with its picked acoustic motif, sax notes, squalls of noise and music box/Eastern percussion working in a cinematic harmony. With another distinct change of direction we get  ‘The YO-YO Man’ where avant funk rhythms and basslines put down a fine groove and underpin an improvised fusion of synth and guitar sounds flying in all directions, barely held together by a repeating chanted vocal of the title. It’s different to anything else on the record but none the worse for that. To end we get ‘Goin’ West’ which returns to a more atmospheric Kosmische informed sound but takes it to a different place with a subtle dub undercurrent in the mix.

This is a wonderful record that really delivers a melting pot of sounds with great intelligence, invention and style. Each play brings something new and rewarding to the experience and is a rich, exotic and occasionally ecstatic listening pleasure. I recommend it to your ears very highly.

 (Francis Comyn)




(LP/CD on Riot Season Records)

It’s been two years since the last recorded encounter with The Cosmic Dead on the excellent ‘Psych Is Dead’ and I’m happy to confirm that the time since that release has been spent very well indeed. ‘Scottish Space Race’ consists of four lengthy side long tracks recorded in Glasgow and it highlights the joyful mix of experiment and exhilaration that I’ve come to know and love from previous releases and live shows.

‘Portal’ kicks things off with a jumble of electrically charged buzz and drone with a flurry of cymbals. Its spacey synths slowly grow more intense and urgent with the cymbals approaching minor blizzard status. From this ‘cosmic’ introductory section the drums kick in hard with heavy riffs, constant waves of slide guitar and a distant vocal in a chanting, occasionally screaming style that gradually build up to a peak of unhinged riffing, squalls of noise, frantic guitar soloing and of course a little screaming. It’s a joyful mix of slow building intensity with the ferocity, speed and abandon of a crushingly heavy psychedelic freak out jam. It’s simply exhilarating and rather wonderful over its 21 minutes.

Where do you go after such an opening jaw dropper? The answer is ‘Ursa Major’, another side long long trip through a (thankfully) calmer musical galaxy. The other ‘Dead’ we all know and love spring to mind with the initial guitar workout and there is a more spacious psychedelia that has an Americana infused Krautrock rhythm and feel which becomes more pronounced as the track gathers steam and pace but there are also big hints of Television in the way the guitar solo builds and builds  to a peak of barely controlled intensity. This is a territory that recent Chris Forsyth recordings have mined very well and The Cosmic Dead have equally struck gold here.

The title track, a relative hit single length at 12 minutes has Sabbath-esque crunchingly heavy riffs, squalls of noise and a shouty repeating vocal line of ‘Can You Dig It?’ all wrapped up in a metallic punk-psych monster. All the ingredients are present and correct for this being a favourite sing along bounce along song at gigs.

The final side ‘The Grizzard’ returns to long form (over 24 minutes) and once again starts off with crunching riffs wrapping around a storm of noise, this time in a somewhat Swans like way where the noise, repetition and general heaviness become almost hypnotic. The track gathers pace after a few minutes and takes on a heavier space rock feel where the heavy shuffle of drums and guitar soloing propel the track on a bed of dramatic synth noise that encourage a shake of the head quite nicely . There’s a touch of a more urgent Hawkwind in the feel of the guitar and general atmosphere for a while but as the track moves more towards an ecstatic chaos it’s all The Cosmic Dead’s own wonderful and thrilling trip to the edge of abandon. At around the halfway point the rhythm becomes punchier and a shouted vocal again comes into the song but the general intensity and drive by no means lets up, it simply moves into a different guise until a climax of pulverising  metallic riffing and noise leaves the shell shocked listener to pick themselves up if they still can.

This is an absolute gem of a record and all these tracks are begging to be seen and heard live so if you see a gig near you get to it. In the meantime I look forward to the Scottish Space Programme launching this record as a greeting to other planets – who will dare to answer the message!

 (Francis Comyn)




(LP/DL on Spaceflight Records)


For a great many years, I thought, why doesn’t somebody make an album entirely on the Mellotron?  Then it finally started.  Papernut Cambridge released Mellotron Phase:  Volumes 1 and 2 in 2017 and 2018, respectively.  Calibro 35’s Massimo Martellotta released One Man Sessions, Vol. 3:  One Man Orchestra in 2018 (though not technically a Mellotron album).  There may be others I’m not aware of.  And now we have this new release, “Mellotron Variations.”  If all-Mellotron albums are to be a regular going concern, I raise my glass to toast this new/old genre.


Interestingly, “Mellotron Variations” is listed as both the album title and the artist.  But we know who the artists really are:  it’s John Medeski (Medeski Martin & Wood), Pat Sansone (Wilco), Jonathan Kirkscey (composer and cellist for the Memphis Symphony Orchestra), and Robby Grant (Vending Machine).  The project dates all the way back to 2016 when Robby Grant enlisted Jonathan Kirkscey for a one-off duo concert in Memphis that was captured in the excellent “Duets for Mellotron” album in 2017 (one more to add to the list above).  Pat Sansone was in the audience for that performance, and with he and later Medeski joining the fold, and the help of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Mellotron Variations was born.  The project was another live concert, held in Memphis in April 2018, with all four musicians facing each other onstage in the round playing Trons amid trippy visuals.  The idea to release an album came later when the musicians liked the raw initial recordings; this LP is basically the live recording from that performance.  But you wouldn’t know it, because it was recorded using the direct output of the Mellotrons, with no crowd noise.  It sounds for all the world like a studio album (Kirkscey is said to have spent about 100 hours mixing and editing.)  As a final note, the concert was also filmed, which will premiere on November 8th.  The four already have a couple of follow-on performances lined up later this year, and have signaled they’re open to do more.


So how’s it sound?  Well, it’s interesting that the artists noted above who’ve contributed to this genre have sometimes taken different approaches.  Martellotta seems to be the only one who aimed for reproducing classical symphonic sound (to spectacular ends, I might add).  The others, including this, seem to have landed compositionally somewhere between library music, ambient and soundtrack.  But here’s where the “variations” in Mellotron Variations come in.  While the others stick primarily to the authentic original instrument sounds from the Streetly Electronics library, this one has plenty of those, but also has many sounds that have been stretched, squished, discombobulated, compressed, expanded, compacted, stomped on, and otherwise modulated until they sound nothing like organic instruments, and more like synths.  Some might applaud the creativity in this approach, while others might think that defeats the purpose of the Mellotron.  Anyway, part of the fun of these records is playing spot the original instrument, which is a little harder on this record, but still fun.


Opener “Waltzing Riverbed Way” employs some nifty Mellotron guitar, clarinets, accordion, and of course, strings, in something that sounds out of Zorba the Greek.  “Agent Cha Cha” is exactly what it sounds like, secret agent music to a cha cha rhythm, with flute, strings, Mellotron’s rhythms and fills, and liberal use of the pitch bend wheel.  “Roller Rink” is an up-tempo piece which uses electric guitar, cello, flutes, and voices.  “Went Home to Meet Konrad” is a gloomy mood piece with some of those unrecognizable synth-like instruments.  With “Into the Sunrise,” we have some Wurlitzer along with strings and accordion.


For “Pulsar,” we return to secret agent music, albeit with some very strange sounds in the background like a dragon hyperventilating.  For a live recording, the arrangements between the four musicians are very interesting and always changing.  “Dulcimer Bill” is my favorite; the style is all over the place, sounds Asian at times, flamenco at others, and also the closest at other times to traditional prog/rock Mellotron, landing somewhere between the Moodies “In Search of the Lost Chord” and “On the Threshold of a Dream.”


“143 i Love You,” written by Kirkscey, is dedicated to Fred Rogers, Mr. Rogers of children’s TV fame.  Kirkscey scored the 2018 documentary about Rogers, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.”  The track is somewhat dark, and reminds me naught of Mr. Rogers - maybe a horror movie about him - but it’s still enjoyable.  The finale “Turtle Monk” is again heavy, dark and creepy, dominated by a ghostly church organ, a sawing tuba on the low end, and some trippy spaceship effects.  It could’ve had a home on a 70s album by Isao Tomita.


“Mellotron Variations” is a bit different from other albums of the sort, and well worth your time.  I plan to track them down at one of their performances later in the year.


 (Mark Feingold)