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SH'MANTRA

Psychedelic/Space Rock • Australia


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Sh'mantra biography
Australian band SH'MANTRA developed to an insiders' tip of the psych/space prog genre. They formed around autumn 1995, originally under the name CORNUCOPIA. In December of 1996 the band went into the studio for the first time to record. Roughly six hours later a 10 track, 70 minute long live demo was born. There are no more copies of the original tape available.

The good response generated by the tape encouraged the band to record the album 'Cornucopia' which was released in 1998 due to the New Zealand based psychedelic label Cranium. The band consists of the core members Matt Seldon (bass), Thorin Kerr (keyboards, vocals), Michael Lenton (drums) and Alex Hole (guitar). As for the debut they were additionally supported by second guitarist Shane Wedesweiller.

In May 2001 SH'MANTRA released the second album 'Formula Orange', a double CD independently produced and released. 2002 saw the release of a 3 track improvisational jam EP called 'Sub_Floating' where the third album '... A System Of Moments', a 13 track piece, was finished and self-released in 2005. Their current (2008) album is named 'Beside The Sub_Bunker'.

True to the motto 'diversity is what it's all about' they are playing music with a thought-out balance of jamming and structured parts. This is quite eclectic, sophisticated and experimental as well, mainly instrumental guitar oriented coupled with the well accentuated use of keyboards and drums/percussion.

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Buy SH'MANTRA Music


System of MomentsSystem of Moments
CD Baby 2005
Audio CD$11.44
$6.40 (used)
Formula OrangeFormula Orange
CD Baby 2003
Audio CD$13.64
$2.99 (used)
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SH'MANTRA discography


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SH'MANTRA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
Cornucopia
1998
3.69 | 5 ratings
Formula Orange
2001
4.00 | 3 ratings
... A System Of Moments
2005
3.95 | 3 ratings
Besides The Sub_Bunker
2008

SH'MANTRA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SH'MANTRA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SH'MANTRA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SH'MANTRA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.95 | 3 ratings
Sub_Floating
2002

SH'MANTRA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Besides The Sub_Bunker by SH'MANTRA album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.95 | 3 ratings

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Besides The Sub_Bunker
Sh'mantra Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

4 stars This is a great album deriving from the widespread space rock field based on soaring guitars and synths all over! It is not much known about this Aussie band and the myspace site is frozen since spring 2008 - leading to the assumption that SH'MANTRA went into hibernation at least. Very sad - anyhow - they have left us a legacy of five albums which are really worth it to explore for a genre fan. Many songs are faded in resp. out here and therefore the album sounds like made of hand-picked excerpts from several exceptional jam sessions. A best-of compilation so to say with a vinyl length - enough though to come to the conclusion that they have produced another big hit!

The album starts with a classic and intriguing space rocking thing called Bunker. In contrary to the title which implies rather feelings like fear or anxiety this sounds really unbounded, trancy floating and offers buoyant spirit. A hypnotic bass line and interesting varied drums nearly acting like a solo instrument are getting my attention. Guitars and synthesizer are playfully corresponding. The trip continues on a Boat in this way with sawing guitars. On Paradigm a funky bass strikes, blending into the trippy atmosphere and slowly but surely the band opens the door to the experimental territory.

Magnificent Illusion continues eclectic industrial tinged where Turning Grey and Shifting to the Side seems to run midway through hallucinatory Amon Düül 2 sessions. Next several samples are thrown together with the result that you are running in danger to lose the orientation ... and then the bands changes to the jazzy as well as weird Ping Depth. A heavy bass in the vein of Tribe After Tribe and tribal percussion are serving an ethno note additionally until finally Aarken Khaan returns back to the grooving trippy sound which later escalates with heavy organ support and slicing guitars.

'Besides The Sub_Bunker' delivers a bunch of impressions - anything but boresome - however a conclusion which only matured after some rounds. Hopefully this is not the band's last breathe. It would be a shame. They have the opportunity to make music which is above average. At least one SH'MANTRA album should be a basic obligation for every space rock fan.

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 ... A System Of Moments by SH'MANTRA album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.00 | 3 ratings

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... A System Of Moments
Sh'mantra Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Anyone into Psychedelic music really should check these Ozzies out.Their previous album "Formula Orange" is fantastic, and while I may not like this one quite as much, they have come up with some really good ideas.This is impressive.

After the brief noise of the intro "Play" we dive into "Flat Earth". It opens with a nice guitar / drum melody, and the vocals that come in almost whisper. It turns spacey with almost spoken vocals before it kicks in before 4 minutes with a powerful sound. "Never Look Directly At The Light Of The Sun" opens with a childs voice that is repeated over and over along with children's laughter as this trippy beat comes in. It gets fuller 1 1/2 minutes in as the guitar makes some noise. The organ joins in.Great sound. It settles 4 minutes in with percussion, gentle guitar and vocals. This is mellow and dreamy. Kicks back in at 8 minutes to a heavy sound. Nice bass too. "Sea Shanty For A Lost Cowboy" is spacey to start before deep spoken words and a light beat take over. The guitar comes in quietly. A full sound before 2 1/2 minutes. Vocals are back speaking. A horse comes in after 5 minutes. I can't verify if it's Mr.Ed but this is freaking hilarious as they manipulate the horse's voice. This other voice comes in saying "no no no" as the horse comes and goes. Haha.

"Alternate Ending" opens with this melancholic PT-like strummed guitar. Sleepy vocals join in. Drums and synths follow. Great tune ! "Dust Eye Analogue" is a short track with humming sounds. "Glacial Shift" has a beat with spacey sounds. Acoustic guitar after 1 1/2 minutes before it turns heavy. The heaviness comes and goes. This sounds so good. "The Moss Man Incident c1971" opens with the sounds of crickets and nature which are blown away by this heavy raw guitar. Some vocal samples too of a cop (I think) screaming over and over. Very cool track. Lots of really good ideas here. "Ninety Nine Suns" has a beat with deep bass lines and synths. It kicks in heavier at 4 minutes. "Speak Xhosa (Or Die)" is very short with babble, drums and percussion. "Seacake" has this beat with vocals. Organ floats in and then it gets experimental. "...Wake Me When It's Over" is laid back with organ, synths, acoustic guitar and drums. "Static Head" kicks in quickly then settles just as fast. This contrast continues until it stays kicked in at 1 1/2 minutes. Love the bass after 4 minutes. It's experimental 6 minutes in. Organ before 9 minutes as it settles,piano comes in to end it.

A very cool trip from the boys from down under. As I said earlier, they have come up with some excellent ideas here.

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 Sub_Floating by SH'MANTRA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2002
2.95 | 3 ratings

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Sub_Floating
Sh'mantra Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is the first in a series of five "live jam session" EPs the band is planning on putting out.They basically set out mics in their place of rehearsal and record their jamming sessions, and then mix it later. This is almost 40 minutes so it's pretty long for an EP.

"Floating" is led by the drums as spacey sounds come and go. Some organ 3 1/2 minutes in. It turns chaotic after 5 minutes to end it. "Clam" has this spacey atmosphere which is joined by acoustic guitar before 3 1/2 minutes then drums around 5 minutes. The bass then comes in as we trip along. I like this. Organ 10 minutes in.

"Head Hurts" is bombastic to start with lots of feedback 1 1/2 minutes in. The guitar lights it up a minute later as the sound builds. A good heavy beat here and a raw sound. It settles after 7 minutes then we get spacey synths after 9 minutes then a calm. A change before 16 minutes as we get these machine-like sounds. A human voice can be heard for the first time before it ends.

Far from being essential yet there's lots to enjoy here.

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 Formula Orange by SH'MANTRA album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.69 | 5 ratings

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Formula Orange
Sh'mantra Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is Psychedelic music at it's best. These Australians really impressed me with this double album released in 2003. Lots of melancholic and spacey soundscapes contrasted with outbursts of pounding drums and fiery guitar. These guys can play but they also have some great ideas, and yes PINK FLOYD did come to mind several times. Oh I should mention they thank Greg Dixon "for instrumentation, inspiration and turd polishing".

"Kiuti" opens with these loud hums that come and go with a spacey backdrop. A vocal sample from "Mission Control" follows before the main melody comes in. This sounds so good with the thick atmophere floating powerfully in the background while a guitar line is repeated. Drums 3 1/2 minutes in. It kicks into gear after 5 minutes. This is great ! It turns experimental then spacey. Drums are back to the fore 7 1/2 minutes in as it builds. Here we go ! It then settles with vocals before 10 minutes. "Robots On The Beach" opens with bass and then percussion joins in. Guitar then almost whispered vocals follow. I like this. Drums before 4 minutes. Nice. Heaviness follows. Amazing ! "Pit And The Pendulum" opens with laid back guitar. Drums and a spacey soundscape before 1 1/2 minutes.This is FLOYD-like and it building. Vocals after 2 minutes as it settles. Love his vocals (reminds me of ANEKDOTEN) and the way this sounds.The tempo picks up 8 minutes in then it fades out. Great tune and one of my favourites. "74040S167.20E04:46:18" opens with slowly picked guitar as synths ping then this hum comes in. Spacey winds after 8 minutes.This is a trip. "Sweat Of The Sun,Tears Of The Moon" opens with strummed guitar as a second guitar comes in then drums. Good song. "<~~>" is 5 seconds of noise. "Sunburst On The Cayman Trench" opens with gentle guitar before a darker sound with drums takes over. It's building. Spoken word samples before 4 minutes. Electric guitar after 5 minutes as it kicks into gear.

"Absence_Substance_Quantity_Quality_Relation_Action_Affection_Position_Time_Lo cation_Condition_Place and State_Presence" is a long song title. Guitar feedback as vocal samples come in and FLOYD-like synths that come and go. Drums and a change after 2 minutes. Love it ! It kicks in heavily before 4 minutes then the guitar starts to solo 2 minutes later. It turns spacey 9 minutes in.Drums are back.FLOYD-like organ after 11 1/2 minutes. What a song ! If I was rating disc one alone I would seriously consider 5 stars. Disc 2 begins with "Recurring Nocturnal Habit II" a shortish song that opens with some cool bass before the guitar joins in. Keyboards too as it builds. A TANGERINE DREAM vibe here. "Inanimate Articulate" is all about the beat; bass joins in then a guitar line.The guitar starts to make some noise then it settles again. Contrasts continue. "TWS" is the almost 25 minute closer. This is spacey. Drums before 3 minutes as guitar comes in too. A calm with electronics 5 minutes in. Piano comes and goes starting around 8 1/2 minutes. Eerie sounds also come and go as well. Guitar and drums lead the way 19 1/2 minutes in as the sound changes.This is killer ! The guitar is excellent. Vocals before 22 minutes. What a way to end it !

A must for all you space cadets out there. I'm really impressed. Easily 4 stars.

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 Formula Orange by SH'MANTRA album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.69 | 5 ratings

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Formula Orange
Sh'mantra Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Greger
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Australian band SH'MANTRA was formed in 1995 under the name CORNUCOPIA. When the released their debut CD "Cornucopia" in 1998, they changed the name to SH'MANTRA.

Now they have released a double CD independently named "Formula Orange". The music is a blend of slowly progressing and mostly instrumental ambient, jazz, psychedelic rock and space rock. SH'MANTRA has reminiscences to Brian ENO, KING CRIMSON, PINK FLOYD, RADIOHEAD, SOFT MACHINE and TANGERINE DREAM.

If I should mention any Swedish bands, they have a lot in common with Joakim SKOGSBERG, The SPACIOUS MIND, TRAD GRAS OCH STENAR and ALGARNAS TRADGARD. t

It's necessary to like this kind of music to really appreciate this album, because it's not that easily accessible, and can be really annoying if you're into harder music. On the other hand there's some songs that could serve as relaxing music. Not bad at all, but not my kind of style.

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 Formula Orange by SH'MANTRA album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.69 | 5 ratings

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Formula Orange
Sh'mantra Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by loserboy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars SH'MANTRA have struck gold with their second album "Formula Orange" mixing the minimalistic tones of RADIOHEAD with the spacey spectrum of PORCUPINE TREE and PINK FLOYD. This space-rock quintet serve up some pretty far reaching music with lots of space background atmospheres. Their music is quite involved and offers a wide range of tempo and mood swings. Infrequently they inject heavy freaked-out KING CRIMSON'ish interludes over their carefully etched musical canvass. They seem to love to play in the "space/mind music" realm with their pattented airy tunes which are given lots of space to meander about. Songs are deep and involved with lots of spacey riffs and lighter rhythm sections. For the most part SH'MANTRA concentrate on playing mostly instrumental music, however at times droned vocals do surface (I think this is where perhaps I get the RADIOHEAD feeling).

My personal favourite parts are when they layer on great space guitar and keyboard expressions over intoxicating percussive landscapes. Without a question fans of PORCUPINE TREE/IEM will drool over the music of SH'MANTRA. Hypnotic yet still very progressive and never repetitive. A real mind melt for sure......I love this album and find it to be a perfect Sunday evening listen. Inquiries about SH'MANTRA can be made at the following link... www.users.bigpond.com/dovoxe

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