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LITMUS

Psychedelic/Space Rock • United Kingdom


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Litmus biography
Back in the 1970s HAWKWIND set the template for powerhouse Spacerock and now Litmus have brought it up to date for the 21st century. Not a tribute band as such, but at times sailing dangerously close with material that would not have sounded out of place at a Lemmy-era Hawkwind gig - a heady cocktail of piledriver riffs that splatter your senses to the four winds, a cornucopia of cosmic noise to enhance the 'trip' into other worlds, and searing lead guitar runs the Captain can only dream of. A veritable sonic attack, that has appeared at Hawkfests and often gigged with SPACE RITUAL in a mind-bending audio-visual extravaganza.

Martin Bass and Simon Guitar formed the band in 1999, initially recording demos as a threesome with drummer Ben. Andy Thompson [he of Planet Mellotron website fame] soon joined as principal keysman at live gigs. By the time the band's debut CD 'You Are Here' was recorded and released on their own label, the band had expanded with Anton augmenting Andy on synths and 'audio generator', and Andy's brother Matt also on audio generator, the line-up completed by Marek who replaced Ben as drummer.

As I write, the band's second album has been completed and is scheduled to be released on 30th April. The album was recorded as a five piece [Martin, Andy, Anton, Marek and Fiddler on guitar], but Andy has now left the group. Martin maintains a fairly regular on-line diary, which is accessible from the band's website, as is a MySpace page that holds some excellent audio tracks for streaming.

- Joolz March 2007 -

Litmus official website

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LITMUS discography


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LITMUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 4 ratings
You Are Here
2004
2.73 | 6 ratings
Planetfall
2007
3.73 | 6 ratings
Aurora
2009
3.00 | 1 ratings
Slaughterbahn
2012

LITMUS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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LITMUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Aurora by LITMUS album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.73 | 6 ratings

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Aurora
Litmus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Frasse

4 stars Firmly in the HAWKWIND school of Space Rock and utilising a mellotron to get that retro sound. They've also got a certain crudeness and Punk ethos that put them in the modern Post-Grunge age of today. Even if they got their own sound it's only a variation of said Space Rock genre and that maybe doesn't qualify for a Prog classification. Maybe they're more Retro.

A strong enough album to earn three stars anyway. It has somehow managed to be a favourite of mine when driving my car through the evening or night so I reward it even four stars. It also sports a nice sleeve cover.

Best tracks would be "Kings Of Infinte Space" and "Red Skies".

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 Planetfall by LITMUS album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.73 | 6 ratings

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Planetfall
Litmus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by KeepItDark

4 stars Only a few reviews of what is an excellent album although very derivative of SPACE RITUAL era Hawkwind...full of spacy electronics/synths and extended guitar trips. The CD is long - clocking in at over 76 minutes but certainly not boring and the time passes quickly. There are two tracks over 15 minutes.

Of course the orginality of the compositions has to be questioned but the execution is excellent. These guys know how to play . Andy Thompson (of the Planetmellotron website) features on mellotron and synths although I understand he has now left the band.

Marks are lost for lack of orginality but sound quality and playing is a high standard.

Worthwhile addition to any prog collection.

3.5 stars.

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 You Are Here by LITMUS album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.50 | 4 ratings

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You Are Here
Litmus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by davidsporle

4 stars The first litmus album is good first album its a heavier hawkwind sound and the first song infinity drive is a good starter to get you into listening to the whole album,every track on this is good,this is a album which hawkwind would be proud of,ive listened to this quite alot its that good and same goes for planetfall [litmus 2nd album],the only track on this that i dislike the most is i cant be sane but its still not a bad track,this whole litmus album is a good buy as its new space rock band for this century and a promiseing band to they deserve more people to know about them as there that good its got everything that hawkwind have got or did have[hawkwind are still good but lacking something i think],litmus are like hawkwinds space ritual album and they sound good to so give this a try as its new 2000 s band that are keeping the space rock sound going how it should be heard although it is heavier but thats not a bad thing,get inbto litmus and you,ll love them and they,ll get your old hawkwind albums out to which is a good thing i think as litmus are that good and addictive to,you,ll like this after the first listen i did and ive got 40 hawkwind albums,i give this 4 stars

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 Planetfall by LITMUS album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.73 | 6 ratings

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Planetfall
Litmus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by davidsporle

4 stars Now if your into hawkwind this is a good album,ive got 40 albums by hawkwind and i think planetfall is an album worth having as its like hawkwind kind of heavier hawkwind sounding,i like every track on this album the other reviews are a bit not right i think as i think its an album hawkwind fans would like to,litmus are a good band and deserve more credit especially if you into space rock the singing on this does remind me of dave brock a bit which is a good thing this planetfall album i think sounds more like hawkwind live its just got that sound to it to me,i just cant understand the other reviews on this its alot better than the other reviews say it is believe me,the guitar on this sounds like dave brocks guitar but a bit little heavier,i bet litmus are good live to,the bass in this album is bit little like alan daveys bass to which is a good thing to me,trust me dont take any notice of the other reviews as this is a good album and i give it 4 stars.

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 You Are Here by LITMUS album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.50 | 4 ratings

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You Are Here
Litmus Psychedelic/Space Rock

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

3 stars British space rock in the vein of HAWKWIND - this is not meant literally, only for a similar orientation. 'You are here' is a production provided with diversified impressions - made with much dynamic, very powerful and drifting into heavy rock sometimes.

Significant bubbling synths are accompanying you through the whole album though. And the band also endeavours to give some variety with folksy acoustic guitar parts and lots of hammond, mellotron and moog additions. Every member (except drummer Marek) is contributing some electronical elements.

The title song You Are Here marks a little change to another mood leaving the heavy rocking path with acoustic guitars and birds twittering. And some songs with a spacey ambient touch are following like There and Chime for example. The long and dramatic Stone Oscillator is mellotron and hammond infected but also full of stoner riffs near to BLACK SABBATH. A very gripping hypnotic song, not exactly a standard of the genre but definitely my highlight.

This album reflects a Hawkwind adapted sound - not one of my favourite albums of the genre but a good solid production anyhow. For space rock fans with comfortable feeling in the heavy territory this is a good find - 3.5 stars

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 Planetfall by LITMUS album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.73 | 6 ratings

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Planetfall
Litmus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by FruMp
Prog Reviewer

1 stars I could not stand this album.

This is very poppy shallow space-rock (or modern rock as it would seem to me) and it goes on for far too long. One of the things that annoyed me most was the random synth sound effects - they are relentless for the entire album and they get old really fast, when they first started I thought they were pretty good and then the second song came in and they started back up again and I was slightly perturbed, by the third song I was already annoyed so you can imagine how I was feeling by the end of the album. I never really got a progressive vibe or detected much progressiveness in the music either which is odd considering how there are 2 epics on the album, I'd listen to it again to pay closer attention by I'm really not sure I want to.

Stay away from this one folks you're better off sticking with HAWKWIND.

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 Planetfall by LITMUS album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.73 | 6 ratings

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Planetfall
Litmus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I was really looking forward to this release. Space Rock with mellotron is a combination I can't get enough of. Andy Thompson the man behind the web-site Planetmellotron is the synth, moog and mellotron player. The music on this disc I would describe as very HAWKWIND sounding with more of a metal edge.The synths are firing off all over the place and the vocals are almost yelling over the soundscape. Unfortunately this wasn't a good listen for me as the sounds I mentioned seemed to be relentless for over 76 minutes. I did like the guitar a lot but I couldn't even hear the mellotron except for at the start of one song. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Andy Thompson gave a little review of this album on his site. He mentioned that 15 minutes of this album should have been chopped off and that during the mixing of this record they mixed the mellotron and moog either too low or completely out. Andy says this happened "while I wasn't looking." By the way he has since left the band. Too bad about that and the mixing. By the way he gives this record 3 out of 5 stars as well.

The highlight for me is the song "Expanding Universe". This is the song where you can actually hear the mellotron to open with some great sounding guitar which has a lower sounding tone. Even the vocals seem better on this track. It shifts up a gear after 3 minutes to a nice and heavy sound. Check out the guitar 12 1/2 minutes in. Nice.

I'm sure HAWKWIND fans will eat this up, and it is a good record, but compared to THE FIRST BAND FROM OUTERSPACE and other psychedelic bands (too many to mention) this was a let down.

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 You Are Here by LITMUS album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.50 | 4 ratings

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You Are Here
Litmus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Joolz
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Litmus are Space Ritual wannabees, their heads firmly focussed on those heady days when Hawkwind toured their masterpiece, introducing Calvert, Stacia and Spacerock to an appreciative audience eager to expand their horizons. With this as their muse, Litmus have brought a modern slant with a very heavy sound based on synchronised guitar & bass riffs producing a massive wall-of-sound. Lovers of early heavy metal should appreciate the effect, but it comes at the expense of clarity in detail, particularly of the keyboards which often get swamped - Hammond and Mellotron are both present but you sometimes have to really concentrate to hear them properly.

Theta Wave (Inductor) stands out because it doesn't become swamped by the big riff. It also features a multi-rhythmic base with perhaps three different time signatures in simultaneous use. And it works surprisingly well, building with a hypnotic repeated vocal phrase to a very satisfying conclusion. The 'feature' song - Stone Oscillator (Static Ritual) - is a slow ponderous song that for me is a little over-extended at 21 minutes as it takes far too long to achieve anything worthwhile. This monster track has a superb central section featuring another repeated vocal motif ["this could become the centre of our world"], and it ends in fine Eloy-style with repeated guitar arpeggiuos and spacey effects. Great stuff!

Overall, You Are Here is an excellent example of classic Spacerock and an essential purchase for all lovers of the genre. All tracks are song-based, the unexceptional lyrics are of the 'cosmic explorer' variety which clearly is a necessity! My main gripe is with the mushy production, and an overblown mastering which causes the sound to blow-out as soon as the wick is turned up. I must just mention Andy Thompson's excellent use of the Mellotron, especially accompanying acoustic guitars in the wonderful interlude that is the title song. These guys have the right stuff alright, and I can't wait for the next instalment.

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 You Are Here by LITMUS album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.50 | 4 ratings

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You Are Here
Litmus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by elpprogster

3 stars Hi Progers For you who don´t know this is the band of Andy Thompson which is the mentor of planetmellotron.com, the excellent and definitive website dedicated to the progressive rock´s beloved ancient sampler: the Mellotron. He is the keyboard player, using mostly vintage keyboard instruments like the Hammond organ, the Moog syntheziser and obviously the Melllotron. This is the debut album of the band, featuring a definitive Hawkwind inspired sound, so we´re talking here about more a psychedelic sound than a progressive one or symphonic if you like. Anyway this band rocks! Talke a look at it.

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