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Hidria Spacefolk - Symbiosis CD (album) cover

SYMBIOSIS

Hidria Spacefolk

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.98 | 122 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars This is one of only two albums I have from these guys, the other being the more trance- oriented Violent Hippy Remixes, and I have to say I find this one much more accessible. It’s hard to believe these guys are Finnish instead of like – I don’t know, something else. The sound here is quite exotic, and I find myself wondering if this is what Third Ear Band might have sounded like if they’d have grown up in the 90s instead of the 60s and 70s.

In fact, that band may have been an influence on Hidria Spacefolk, and Ozric Tentacles certainly were, plus possibly some early Gong and even a bit of early Santana on the guitars and keyboards. The sound is a hypnotic mix of space rock, acid rhythms, lots of sound effects (including bird-like chirping all over the place – a didgeridoo?) and percussion, and a strong middle-eastern feel with liberal sprinklings of mandolin, jawsharp, flute, and of course the ubiquitous sitar, although this instrument seems to fade from the mix on the almost funk-riffs of “Kaneh Bosm”.

The flute is especially strong and up-tempo on “Kaikados” and “Nasha Universo”, which has some very spacey synthesizer and melodic guitar riffs with marimba that is quite reminiscent of Santana and even some very early Journey (pre-Steve Perry of course). Most of the album is instrumental, and this is one of those rare occasions where I don’t really miss a vocalist.

Pretty much the entire album is very up-tempo with driving rhythms and plenty of strong percussion. “Jahwarp” is full of jawharp and vibraphone, very delicate without sounding trite. The piano is almost jazzy, but strident enough to keep you from getting too comfortable or bored.

Just when I’m starting to get pretty comfortable with the overall sound of the album, “Agents Entropos” comes along with pretty much the same rhythm as “Jahwarp”, but with a much more hypnotic guitar riff and some heavy space-rock synthesizer that turns into a kind of electronic storm before fading out.

“I-Mantra” is totally hypnotic space-funk, with a slowly building bass line that morphs into a pulsating beat overlaid with a series of instrumental variations with guitar, synthesizer riffs, all manner of percussion, and a vibrato fadeout that leads into the final and most extensive track, “Pangaia”. The liner notes show credits for violin and cellos, and this is actually the only track since the opening one where I can actually make them out from time to time, although certainly not in the flowing, extended way you typically hear these instruments on progressive or metal albums. They’re used more to augment the percussion, with brief snippets in between the keyboard sounds. By the time this one winds down after more than ten minutes, I feel like I’ve been on a short journey through the cosmos, and I haven’t even been smoking anything! A very seductive instrumental with plenty of variety to keep it interesting.

This isn’t the kind of album you’re likely to play all the time, and it definitely is meant for some very specific moods, some of which probably involve alternate mental states. But overall it’s a fun album to listen to, especially if you’re looking for a record that doesn’t dominate the mood, but rather helps to gently form it into a casual evening of relaxation and no worries. I have to say that this is just above good, but probably not an essential album, so four stars is a good place to rate it. Well worth picking up if you’re into space rock, heavily percussive music, or just some up-beat, lightly psychedelic sounds to brighten up a dull day.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |

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