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Psychedelic/Space Rock • United Kingdom

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Lunar Dunes biography
Born out of 100 years of passionate listening and a shared love of Coltrane, Krautrock and the many and varied eccentricities of English Psychedelia, 'From Above' is a record with many antecedents but precious few contemporaries.

Emerging from the landscape of Iker Spozio's other-worldly cover painting (itself an echo of the Nubian utopia created by Mati Klarwein for Miles Davis) through to the final idiot funk spasms of 'Scatter', the Lunar Dunes' debut album is that very same pagan yawp - seventy five minutes of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies that would have Bugs and Tweety cranking up their JBL 100s at the drop of an ACME anvil.

Lunar Dunes clearly know their 'Live Evil' from their 'Wolf City' but this record offers no hiding place for the oldies fetishist. Recorded in three days, edited and mixed in four, the Lunar Dunes come out sounding at once wholly modern and thoroughly European. Shifting from cacophonies of noise and horror to elongated drifting cadences where time becomes space, here is living proof that the making of truly psychedelic music requires less the ingestion of hallucinogens and more by way of imagination, a love of the form and a disregard for the rulebook.

With three hours of music on tape the selection process that produced this double album was pretty straight forward - anything that sounded too much like something they had heard too often before went straight on the cutting room floor. In the words of John Sinclair, a man with more than a passing acquaintance with rock and roll as chaos theory, they will either "make you feel it or leave the room".

It is wholly fitting that what is, at times, a confusingly contradictory record should be created by three people whose shared personal histories go back thirty years, but who had barely spent thirty hours playing together before making their debut album.

If you can detect some Faust here, a little of 'The Who Live At Leeds' there and the simultaneous holographic presence of Elvin Jones, Tina Weymouth, Hariprasad Chaurasia and even Mick Bolton's UFO then you too are riding down Titan's magic mountains with Saturn's rings visible just out the corner of your eye.

'From Above' - Space Rock without the simulator and available right now from a kosmische kiosk near you.

Bio provided by Ian Blackaby (Lunar Dunes)

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3.52 | 8 ratings
From Above
3.91 | 16 ratings

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Galaxsea by LUNAR DUNES album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.91 | 16 ratings

Lunar Dunes Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

4 stars Four years after the release of the excellent "From Above", the British band LUNAR DUNES launches their second album "Galaxsea", this time even more Psych and acid than their previous release and as usual with a touch of Jazz.

Their classic fluid jamming style makes the music flow gently and offers a great variety of sounds and landscapes which are easy to enjoy despite the complexity of some passages.

Even when they basically keep the same lineup as in their debut (except for Julia Thorton, who plays harp on "Svalbard", "Free to Do", "Eastern Promise" & "Off World Beacon"), t they sound more mature than ever and seem to have completely found their own sound, departing from previous influences such an PINK FLOYD, and managed to create an original style despite the fact that they are playing one if the earliest forms of Prog Rock (Psychedelia).

My problem with modern bands embracing Psychedelic/Space Prog is that they get too close to Ambient music and they become predictable and boring after the first track, this is not the case of LUNAR DUNES, because they combine the haunting choirs and experimental sounds with a hard guitar, frantic drumming and Ian Blackaby who glues the band together with his competent bass.

Albums like "Galaxsea" are hard to review in a song by song style as I usually do, because they sound more like a full 56 minutes coherent work, rather than in separate songs placed together in one album, in other words they respect their style and fluidity of the music. This is more obvious when you notice that they have added all the songs with harp at the end of the album, so the transition is gradual.

If I had to choose favorite tracks I would go with the hallucinating "Oriental Pacific" and the haunting and mysterious epic "Svalbard", two different approaches to the same sound, but to be absolutely honest, they don't present us a weak track.

I also recommend special attention to the unique and delirious guitar sections in "Oh You Strange Tune", simply delightful.

In my opinion "Galaxsea"is a strongest album than the already excellent "From Above", but sadly this won't be reflected in the rating, being that our system doesn't allow the half stars, so I will have to rate this outstanding effort with 4 stars that should be 4.5/5.

I'm impatient for LUNAR DUNES next record, just wish they don't make us wait another four years.

Keep Proggin'

 Galaxsea by LUNAR DUNES album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.91 | 16 ratings

Lunar Dunes Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars There's no mistaking ... LUNAR DUNES is a collective of experienced musicians, featuring bassist Ian Blackaby, guitarist Adam Blake (Cornershop) and drummer Hamilton Lee of world/fusion band Transglobal Underground as the core. It took four years to offer something new - 'Galaxsea' is their second effort, my first attempt though, released on UK based 4 Zero Records label.

This CD starts innocent somehow, on Moon Bathing they say hello by providing some regular downbeat/lounge/nujazz impressions first, decorated with Krupa's charming voice. Usually I would assign this to a Cafe Del Mar compilation. Eh ... not bad at all, but not what I expected exactly. Well. that's all for now? By no means ... step by step they throw weird electronica gimmicks in, Adam Blake's psychedelic guitar appears expressive more and more ... and sooner or later it will be clear, that you're listening to a rather experimental blend of music styles, come what may.

Most of the songs are taking around five minutes, each possesses an unique atmosphere, for example a restrained dub groove featuring spacey guitar and synthesizer adds, oriental touches, an hallucinatory flow as implemented on Svalbard or just take the hypnotic krautrock feel given on Free To Do - absolutely flawless all over. Oh, I should not forget to mention both Pharaoh's Dream and Ayaz - especially the excellent drive due to Blackaby's funky bass and Lee's lively drum playing. And please don't miss to watch out for Larry Whelan's playful and emotive keyboard and electronic contributions.

Bravo, overall the nine songs combine a cool jamming attitude and entertaining variety at once. The positive vibe invites to relax. On the other hand you won't miss a bunch of challenging moments. Krupa's voice is experimentally distorted here and meandering out of this world there, similar to Anisa Romero of Sky Cries Mary. LUNAR DUNES are mixing mellow space rock with some groovy triphop appeal, to sum it up. No weakening in between - promised! 'Galaxsea' is a surprising discovery while presenting an impressing song collection according to my taste.

 From Above by LUNAR DUNES album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.52 | 8 ratings

From Above
Lunar Dunes Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars LUNAR DUNES are a young band from the UK who play a beat driven brand of psychedelia. I was reminded of OZRIC TENTACLES at times although these guys are more mellow. Bass, drums and guitar are the main instruments in play. Over 75 minutes of music here, and for me that's too much especially when there's not a lot of variety.

"From Above" kicks in with a pretty good rhythm right off the bat. Nice guitar too with prominant drums and bass. "As Below" has more of a prominant beat as the guitar plays over top. "Herzegovina" continues with that beat like the first two tracks but this one is even better. I like the guitar melody that comes and goes throughout as drums and bass lay the groundwork. Some female vocal melodies in this one too. "Loophole" features percussion throughout as other sounds come and go. "The Todal Gleeps" is a little spacey to open and quickly becomes the most dynamic and raw song so far. "Seaspray" is back to that more relaxed style with some good bass and guitar.

"Yaman" is a mellow, trippy tune with some excellent guitar 6 minutes in. "Rowing Boat" isn't as laid back as the last track but it's a relaxed tune nonetheless. Vibes 3 minutes in as it gets quite psychedelic. "When I Was On Horseback" opens with tampora an Indian instrument. A beat comes in and for me this one gets better as it plays out. "Scissorbell" is very psychedelic as sounds seem to echo. "My Lagan Love" is the longest song at 9 1/2 minutes. It's again a slow moving, mellow tune to begin with as cello comes in around 2 minutes.The tempo does pick up 5 1/2 minutes in and it sounds great. "Scatter" is more uptempo with distorted guitar. It does settle a little before a chaotic ending.

A good debut from this band and for me a solid 3 stars.

 From Above by LUNAR DUNES album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.52 | 8 ratings

From Above
Lunar Dunes Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

4 stars Back to the 60's and more

I've always been a fan of the late 60's, the Psyche and Proto Prog scenarios always captured me and made me wish I would had been born 10 years before so I was able to enjoy this creative era, so when I listened LUNAR DUNES From Above for the first time, it was almost a dream come true, but even better, because the production is excellent and the band incorporates several different elements that make a very rich blend.

The album is opened with From Above, a track that captures the complete spirit of the Psyche era, with long guitar jamming and a trippy atmosphere, but there's something that makes it different, maybe the cohesive interplay with the drums because all the other instruments take us back to Carnaby Street in 1967.

As Bellow follows the path of the opener, but now there's an early Space Rock sound, as if the band had evolved A la Pink Floyd in a couple of minutes, but strangely with no Pink Floyd reminiscences, it's just a the style, because the music is absolutely original.

Herzegovina (Interpolating Le Petit Chevalier) is a bit different, instead of placing the biggest emphasis in jamming and creating a spiritual atmosphere, the band provides a very solid melody with guttural female chorus that add a bit of mystery to the already odd track, this time the performance is less frantic and more......lets say spiritual and dreamy, with a surprising Post Rock finale that presents us an aggressive edge for the first time.

Loophole is simply fantastic, starts with an oriental taste created by Hami's percussion, while guitar and keyboards are in charge of creating atmospheres over that rhythmic base, I admit that for moment it becomes a bit repetitive, but hey, this is almost pure Psyche, so what else can we expect.

The Todal Gleeps is a radical change, even though the late 60's spirit is present, the band becomes totally aggressive again with a Post Rock edge that is welcomed, yes, dreamy is good but this surprising violence with some radical changes is a healthy change that shows a great dose of versatility. Special mention to Ian Blackaby and his impeccable bass work.

Seaspray starts more melodic than previous tracks, this time Adam Blake takes clearly the lead role with his Psychedelic guitar, providing different and rich sounds with his endless jamming, very powerful performance with a jazzy feeling. But there's a surprising change, while the band is obsessed with the 60's, the keyboards add a Symphonic feeling that reminds me of early Genesis, absolutely unique.

Yaman begins with a very strange guitar solo, somehow jazzy but at the same time like some sort of electric Flamenco, a change that I didn't expected at all, but adds an extra interest to an already fascinating album, the song flows gently from start to end carried at will by Adam Blake and his guitar.

Rowing Boat sounds more like a whole4 band effort, now they radically move to some sort of Jazz or Kraut Rock or God knows what, the spirit of the 60's is present but with a different sound that I would dare to call Space Jazz, this guys have heard Miles Davis, CAN and NEU, because this is a fantastic style sandwich influenced by almost everybody, but at the same time original enough.

Now it's time to move to India with When I Was On Horseback, seems as if Ravi Shankar was hired for some minutes, the oriental sound reminiscent of The End by THE DOORS, blended with string arrangements by John Paul Jones in Their Satanic Majesties Request, just delightful, my favorite song from start to the end (when the band hits us with all they have).

Scissorbell marks another 180 degrees turn, this time they remind me of some Gothic (not Goth) bands like Dead Can Dance or Miranda Sex Garden with that combination of Oriental ethnic music and Post Rock, but in this case fused with early Pink Floyd (Watch the Pompeii DVD), something too complex and weird to be described with words alone

My Lagan Love well, is somebody of the late 60's hadn't been quoted until now is Carlos Santana, but this track is clearly reminiscent of his style, slow, paused,. colorful and rich in variations, but Caroline Lavelle adds a mysterious touch with her cello while the keyboards keep adding dreamy sections, a very interesting blend of Sound and influences.

The album is closed with the Jazzy Scatter, a good change, because if the album is mainly moody and dreamy, the band required a violent finale and this rack provides it, the distorted and aggressive guitar and a cacophonic but extremely strong finale where the LUNAR DUNES guys leave the last drop of sweat, simply breathtaking.

Excellent album for the Psyche, Space Rock, Kraut, and even Fusion fans, but for Psyche/Proto Prog nuts as me is invaluable, hope the band releases more of this stuff soon, I'll be waiting for it. Now I have to rate From Above, and as usual I won't give 5 starts to a debut album, because this would mean I believe they reached their peak, and I expect more of them, so will go with four solid stars.

Thanks to ivan_melgar_m for the artist addition.

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