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PSYCHEDELIC/SPACE ROCK

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Psychedelic/Space Rock definition

Psychedelic Progressive Rock

Progressive rock music has its roots in the mid 1960's psychedelic cultural phenomena. During that time the British Invasion and folk-rock bands began to expand the sonic possibilities of their music. These groups slowly started to abandon the concise verse-chorus-verse patterns of rock & roll, and moved towards fluid, free-form oriented song structures. Just as important was the incorporation of elements from Indian and Eastern music. Along them the principles of free-form jazz were included to the psychedelic sound, emphasising spontaneous emotions over calculated and estimated compositional constructions. Experimenting with new studio technology, electronically altering instruments and voices, was a part of this altered approach as well. Acid rock groups like THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE and CREAM stand as descriptive and popular examples of the path from psychedelic sunshine pop towards a more aggressive and distinct rock expression, in particular showcased in their improvised live performances.

The boundary dividing the "Experimental" and "Progressive" classification is a thin and at times contested one for this era. The pioneering psychedelic progressive rock bands to be found at www.progarchives.com will in most cases be found in the Proto-Prog section of the site. Amongst these pioneering outfits are acts like THE BEATLES, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE AND VANILLA FUDGE. Artists such as PINK FLOYD will not be found there though, as their career extended well beyond these first, formative years.

Psychedelic progressive rock music may contain the elements previously described in varying combinations, but the artistic perspective of progressive rock is another factor. Some psychedelic rock bands stuck to the mid 1960's beat rock style in purist form, not partaking in the experimental development of the impressionistic possibilities of psychedelic rock music others spearheaded. The evolution of the psychedelic depth within a progressive context could be seen for instance in the 1960's recordings of ARCADIUM and BABY GRANDMOTHERS. One good example of early 70's Continental European progressive psychedelic rock is the album by AHORA MAZDA, and from Britain JADE WARRIOR's early efforts fuse psychedelic rock and ethnic music. Current artists exploring the vintage 60's/70's style and sound are acts like THE SPACIOUS MINDS and ACID MOTHER'S TEMPLE.

The entire Western pop culture scene was influenced by the psychedelic culture to some extent, including other prog genres such as Prog Folk. In Germany, artists influenced by the British psychedelic movement formed their own genre called KRAUTROCK. The pioneering early 70's bands in this genre represent the progressive acid rock sound of Germany, experimenting with long instrumental improvisations, emphasizing the use of psychedelic effects and weird electronic sounds. Some examples are artists like AMON DÜÜL, ASH RA TEMPEL, CAN, GÄA, NECRONOMICON and YATHA SIDHRA. The PROGRESSIVE ELECTRONIC style emerged from Krautrock. Some of the most influential artists of this genre, such as TANGERINE DREAM and KLAUS SCHULZE, explored a distinct psychedelic musical style at first, which was influential for the development of the "space rock" sound:


Progressive Space Rock

The late 1960's psychedelic rock scene also spawned the birth of the space rock genre. The pioneering acts of this genre assimilated krautrock elements like repetitive hypnotic beats and electronic/ambient soundscapes as they moved away from the common musical and compositional approach. The synthesizer with its bubbling tones and spacey patterns, provoking a gliding flow, is a typical instrument of this genre. Guitars are by preference played with glissando technique and delay/echo effects are heavily used, and elements originating from reggae/dub are fairly common. Several bands combine their live performances with trippy lightshows using random fractals. Albums in this genre will often include at least one long meandering jam based on a main theme, where loops and wavelike fluctuations provides slight variations to this structural foundation.

Stories, images, song titles and album names referring to cosmic themes are fairly common features of the genre. HAWKWIND's live album "Space Ritual" is said to be the ultimate space rock album due to the collaboration with sci-fi author Michael Moorcock. His lyrics are performed by a narrator and underlaid with synth elements. PINK FLOYD can be regarded as pioneers of spacey music during the band's early phase, as exemplified by certain tracks from "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" or the stirring live performance of "Careful With That Axe Eugene" from "Ummagumma". GROBSCHNITT provides another fine example of classic space rock with their epic effort "Solar Music". Other bands explored the space rock sound for a limited time period only. GONG released groundbreaking albums in the genre at the start of their career, while British hard rock band UFO released the extraordinary album "Flying - One Hour Space Rock" as their sole contribution to the genre in 1971.

A space rock scene can be found in most countries sporting artists producing music with a western-oriented or influenced sound. Swedish bands are known for a brisk exchange of musicians among each other. The "Strange Daze" festivals from 1997-2000 showcased the American space rock scene. Japan is an inexhaustible reservoir of artists exploring both psychedelic progressivce rock and progressive space rock. Representative examples of the style are bands such as ORESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE with their focus on long grooving improvisations, QUARKSPACE and OZRIC TENTACLES with their stronger emphasis on electronic elements and VESPERO and HIDRIA SPACEFOLK with their inclusion of ethnic-originating musical components. Other groups like ESCAPADE and THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS represent an avantgarde approach to the genre, whereas SUBARACHNOID SPACE and KINSKI are examples of artists that provide transitions to the post rock genre.


The boundaries of Psychedelic Progressive Rock connected with Stoner Rock and Acid Folk

The 1960's and 70's were a time of liberation, a time of rebellion against rigid rules and strict moral boundaries. In those "freedom of expression" days, an artist would typically herald their liberal attitudes as a mind-expanding trip on stage together with the audience in two ways. One was to realize audio/visually the visual and auditory hallucination as it was, and another was to play their repertoire spiritually and improvisationally under the trip. As for the latter approach, they devoted themselves solely to slow-to-mid tempo playing with low-tuned guitars in a heavy and expansive manner for playing steadily under this twilight condition. In the same time period, this approach to the musical trip was also taken on by some artists especially in the hard rock and heavy metal scene. This new style, drenched in heavy and downer psychedelia, was called "Stoner Rock". The name originates from the expression "stoned", referring to people in altered states of mind while under the influence of psychedelic substances. The Stoner Rock genre was universalized "as a strict musical style only" by the Industrial Grunge Rock genre that gained worldwide popularity in the early 1990s. The common denominator of all the artists mentioned is the representation of their personal cultural and political backgrounds, whilst playing slow-paced depressive songs with heavy guitars and echoic rumbling drums as the dominating features. Most of current outfits claiming to be the so-called Psychedelic Heavy Progressive Rock ones should be much influenced by the traditional Stoner or Grunge Rock as well as the early Psychedelic Progressive Rock. They can be considered as a borderline case between Psychedelic Progressive, Heavy Progressive, and Progressive Metal.

"Acid Folk" can be mentioned as another musical style with hallucinogenic approach. Psych Folk or Psychedelic Folk are other names for this genre, and is vaguely defined as a rock subgenre due to the mixture of folk rock and psychedelic rock. This is a style lacking in strict definitions, and it is contested whether or not the term was actually used at what is deemed the dawn of the genre. It's an undeniable fact that the Acid Folk scene gained some popularity by the efforts of artists in "The Folk Revivalism", but it's important to remember that there were two distinctly different approaches taken by those who helped shape the genre in the mid 1960's. Some folk singers approached a psychedelic rock structure as was popular at that time, while some psychedelic rock outfits tried to absorb and incorporate techniques and elements from folk rock. Both have great importance in the development of Acid Folk, and this may be the reason that strict definitions of the genre cannot be given. In view of the history, it's no exaggeration to claim that TYRANNOSAURUS REX, SYD BARRETT or THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND in UK rock scene seasoned the "traditional" Acid Folk with a more progressive spice. They, as eccentric or heretical rock outfits, accepted and incorporated Middle-Eastern and Oriental elements or instruments, and the result was the foundation for the current progressive Acid Folk movement. And in the Eastern parts of the world, different acid streams was provided by artists such as TAJ MAHAL TRAVELLERS or MAGICAL POWER MAKO who exerted a great influence on younger progressive bands. Their amazing achievements resides in the twilight zone between the Prog Folk and Psychedelic Prog subgenres.


A path that never ends

In addition of the styles described, psychedelic elements can be found in many other genres of progressive rock. The psychedelic cultural explosion had an immense influence on the western popular culture, and traces of it can still be heard also outside of progressive rock circles. The collective techno rave parties carry on the legacy of the audiovisual attack from the PINK FLOYD concerts in 1968, to cite one example. As the psychedelic movement was a large cultural phenomenon, it is difficult (and maybe unnecessary) to fence it to a clear category. Psychedelic progressive rock has been developing towards several different directions over time, and the task of classifying them as distinct genres and sub-genres is an ever ongoing process, often loaded with strong opinions. The psychedelic rock artists which are not considered as progressive in style are not listed in the databse of www.Progarchives.com. This in order to maintain the site's scope to be a progressive rock reference.

The aim of this description is to be a tool of reference for potential and existing fans of the genre, and we hope that this will aid those who read it to a better understanding of the genre as well as to enjoy and discuss the subject at hand both in the forums of the Progarchives website as well as in other places online and offline both.


Psychedelic Rock / Space Rock team April 2010

Space rock definition by Rivertree
The boundaries of psychedelic progressive rock chapter by DamoXt7942
Other text by Eetu Pellonpää
with kind guidance and support by Windhawk



The responsibility for the psych/space, indo/raga, krautrock and prog electronic subgenres is taken by the PSIKE team,
currently consisting of
- Sheavy
- Meltdowner
- siLLy puPPy
- Rivertree



Psychedelic/Space Rock Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Psychedelic/Space Rock | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.62 | 3806 ratings
WISH YOU WERE HERE
Pink Floyd
4.60 | 4003 ratings
DARK SIDE OF THE MOON
Pink Floyd
4.52 | 3413 ratings
ANIMALS
Pink Floyd
4.30 | 2894 ratings
MEDDLE
Pink Floyd
4.22 | 976 ratings
OCEAN
Eloy
4.17 | 296 ratings
LEGACY
Hypnos 69
4.08 | 2738 ratings
THE WALL
Pink Floyd
4.10 | 607 ratings
WARRIOR ON THE EDGE OF TIME
Hawkwind
4.11 | 405 ratings
JURASSIC SHIFT
Ozric Tentacles
4.32 | 67 ratings
OBSOLETE
Hedayat, Dashiell
4.10 | 368 ratings
RITUAL
Nemrud
4.14 | 155 ratings
KINGSTON WALL II
Kingston Wall
4.06 | 530 ratings
A TAB IN THE OCEAN
Nektar
4.05 | 571 ratings
DAWN
Eloy
4.08 | 253 ratings
TOGETHER WE'RE STRANGER
No-Man
4.11 | 161 ratings
BY THE WATERS OF TOMORROW
Vespero
4.15 | 107 ratings
TAKO
Tako
4.05 | 282 ratings
EVERYONE INTO POSITION
Oceansize
4.13 | 117 ratings
PARALLEL WORLD
Far East Family Band
4.02 | 587 ratings
SILENT CRIES AND MIGHTY ECHOES
Eloy

Psychedelic/Space Rock overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Psychedelic/Space Rock experts team

LAST DAY OF SUN
Kalutaliksuak
ELEMENT 115
Secret Saucer
FOAM
Vespero
BABY GRANDMOTHERS
Baby Grandmothers

Latest Psychedelic/Space Rock Music Reviews


 MO - The Demon by EARTHLING SOCIETY album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.00 | 1 ratings

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MO - The Demon
Earthling Society Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

— First review of this album —
4 stars The front cover illustration may be a rewarding indication. This still is an odd affair for me. While following Fred Laird's approach a bit during the recent years, I know that he is an innovative head by all means. 'We think we've made a groovy as [%*!#] concept', he says. Okay!? And 'it doesn't really matter, as it all ends up EARTHLING SOCIETY'. Period! In order to get into the music, sometimes further even perhaps, this implies to reserve more time and patience in general. The story, just an everyday one, if you will ask the innovator, is dealing with a Hong Kong kick boxer, who is out all over in Thailand having diverse adventures ...

... then once being paralyzed, but revenged by his brother ... eventually - remember the album title - a demon comes into consideration ... eh ... otherwise, would you please confer with Fred himself for getting deeper into that? The music then, quite simply, who will be surprised, is set to be an imaginary soundtrack for this thematical background. Including him as the protagonist on guitar and other goodies, as well as the reliable longtime companions Kim Allen (bass) and Jon Blacow on diverse percussion instruments.

The forerunner album 'Zen Bastard' reflected a more retrospective orientation, quasi back to the roots due to more common space rock given. Well, this obviously is looking forward, here they are testing boundaries again, I would say. As promised it's a dynamic affair, equipped with much groove served by the solid rhythm section. But you'll be also faced with an orgiastic acid guitar, drone and feedback battle in some cases. The album's Main Theme marks a fantastic entree, multiple guitar tracks are merged, turns out to be really melodic also.

King Boxer comes in a similar way with quirky electronics on top, where Inaugaration Of The Buddha Dome then will appear like a break, a mental downfall hereafter. The vinyl B side is deriving from another recording session. Spring Snow shows a compelling spoken word collaboration with Bomi Seo. Something special for sure, an exotic Korean touch will serve a welcomed variety. The wondrous Jetavina Grove finally comes with vocals and an indo/raga fundament featuring tablas, saz, sitar or whatsoever exactly.

Well, it took me some extra time to get used to this stuff, which will be released on Riot Season Records soon. Repetitive at a first glance, the diverse nuances unfold step by step though. Fred Earthling's next move marks an interesting full-blown expedition. With pleasure I will give some applause for such an ambitious and rather unusual strategy. Dedicated to those listeners who are searching for heavy space rock off the beaten path, arranged with acid guitars all over.

 Ounds by TRIP LAVA album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Ounds
Trip Lava Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

4 stars Already knocked out by kinda Krautrock-ish dry-fruity dissonance and eccentrically colourful sound vineyard, TRIP LAVA aka Joel LEE, my progressive rock mate and a fascinating psychedelic sound generator, has finally released his newest album 'Ounds' in the summer of 2018. Assumed his crazy soundscape would drive me crazy, and it's not wrong at all. Look at the bizarre sleeve that should mean he can launch kaleidoscopic sound world view, methinks.

The first titled strike is such a killa. Distorted, oddball electronic madness sounds rather clean and fresh for me. "Ouseh Of Orsmirr' is another pleasure of mine, that is filled with enjoyable, addictive electronic wave reminding me of authentic Krautrock voyagers like Neu! and so on. Sincere rhythmic stuff attacks my organ directly. Hallucinogenic repetitive endeavour can be heard via the following track "Orf Ontrastc'. Mystic acoustic sound dissection and melodic concentration 'Ongadays' might relax me for a while eventually.

"Oopl De Oopl' is my favourite stuff really, where mad experiments happens one after another, only with simple guitar-based synthesizer sounds. This one sounds leaning towards Manuel G'ttsching's 'Inventions For Electric Guitar' for me and notifies me Joel has opened a novel, innovative 'earsight' up. From the opening until the end 'Ounds Pt. 2' suitable for the epilogue, this fascinating creation should let me say cheers for Joel the multi-instrumentalist and psychedelic adventurer.

 Ounds by TRIP LAVA album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Ounds
Trip Lava Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Trip Lava' is the project of one single musician, Joel Lee, who is responsible for all of the sounds and music on every one of the releases. 'Ounds' (which is an anagram of the word Sound), is 'Trip Lava's' 3rd release. The style of music is psychedelic, electronic and progressive with a lot of free form experimentation and improvisation. There is a lot of work with synthesizers and other sound manipulation to give you a sound of spacey psychedelics for the most part.

The number one positive thing that this album has going for it is that it is entertaining and fun to listen to, with surprises on every corner. At the same time, Joel makes sure that there is plenty of variety throughout the tracks, which is a big plus for this type of music. Not only does he give us what we expect, but he adds in progressive improvisation, crazy sound effects, minimalism and even dance styles. But the key here is that all of these things never linger too long, but are used to create a carefree atmosphere while making sure the listener knows, that while it is often light hearted, it is also serious and done professionally.

The first thing you will probably notice is that all of the track titles start with the letter 'O', and seem to be written in some strange language. In reality, the letters are all scrambled in the song titles, so that all of the words start with 'O', yet the words still take on a semblance of some strange language. I'll leave it to you to figure out the titles, as that is part of the fun here, but be warned that some words are names of fantasy places that don't exist. One title is actually three words pushed together to look like one word. So, there are some tricks here.

So, how is the music? It's actually quite entertaining and surprisingly keeps your interest throughout. There are a few production issues, but they are not bad enough to ruin the overall listening experience. Be prepared for some funky sounds mixed in with the space rock as is the case with 'Ouseh of Orsmirr'. This track is one of the highlights in my opinion as it morphs from a 70s style prog/funk improvisation featuring a synth that sounds like something from an early Styx tune to a spacey sound collage. There are a lot of crazy cartoon sound effects going on also, and these sounds start layering on top of each other giving things a Spielburg-ian nightmare feeling of chaos before it breaks down into a more ambient collage of syth treatments.

'Orf Ontrastc' is a cool study in music morphing as it flows flawlessly from a smooth space rock to disco to chaos to experimental meandering, bending sounds all the way, with hardly even blinking. For those that love ambient electonica, there is 'Oblivision' which fills that need, along with 'Ongadays' which puts improvised bass and keyboards through a tremolo effect.

There's a great synth/bass jam on 'Osmicc Oldeng'' with some treated alien vocals, some loop pitch experimentation on 'Oopl de Oopl', strange guitar psychedelia on 'Oomsmushr' (which according to Joel is 'The sound of someone hallucinating' which should give you a hint at the scrambled title), that switches to synth stylings and a psychedelic sound collage later (someone answer the phone please), and even a multi-part track with 'Ounds pt, 2' which ends the album with a conglomeration of styles, including a drum solo.

The overall style is Space Rock Psychedelic. The music is interesting and varied enough to keep your interest throughout. With its minor faults, the fact that this album is lots of fun to listen to definitely pushes everything to a four star level. I want to thank Joel for giving me a chance to review this exciting album and for sending me a copy. I truly enjoy this album and will be checking out some of 'Trip Lava's other works. Everyone should come to this space party and bring your own headphones.

 Do You Like It Here Now, Are You Settling In? by MAN album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.88 | 69 ratings

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Do You Like It Here Now, Are You Settling In?
Man Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by WFV

3 stars I understand this group being on here but I'd say this is more mainstream rock than pure prog. I like the description hippie prog I read in one of the reviews and they really remind me of the songs I've heard from the somewhat contemporary band Phish. I really like this album and I think this is the first of four good listening records from this Welsh product. These guys are creative and really don't sound like anyone out there during their heyday. Angel Easy and Many are Called but Few Get Up are highlights for me.

I can pull this out every year or so and be entertained

 Out Of The Shadows (DVD) by HAWKWIND album cover DVD/Video, 2004
3.40 | 16 ratings

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Out Of The Shadows (DVD)
Hawkwind Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is a decent Hawkwind live release from the same tour that yielded Spaced Out In London. The tour's notable for the band being fronted by fellow space rock pioneer Arthur Brown - far from just playing a quick Fire cover and getting on with it, the band go for some deep cuts from Brown's back catalogue (Time and Confusion from The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Time Captives from Kingdom Come's Journey) which fit seamlessly into the Hawkwind sound.

Beyond that, it's a reasonably decent Hawkwind gig of this vintage, concentrating largely on late 1970s and early 1980s material. Hawkwind were going through a bit of a slump as far as their studio albums were concerned at the time, but Out of the Shadows proves that there was still at least some life in them.

 Purple Overdose by PURPLE OVERDOSE album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.09 | 14 ratings

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Purple Overdose
Purple Overdose Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars What a pleasant surprise this was. Given the band's name and listed under Psychedelic I was thinking this might be in the vein of fellow Greeks P.L.J. BAND, a heavy duty Psyche album, but no. This is more like another Greek band I like WILL-O-THE-WISP almost a folky Psychedelic sound like the mid to late sixties. And this is very good! The band's leader referenced the first albums by the ELECTRIC PRUNES and 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS as being the major influences to getting him into making this type of music. The band was formed in 1987 and released five studio albums from 1988 to 1999. This is the middle one released in 1994. A five piece with the usual "rock"instruments plus keyboards, flute and sax.

I like all their album art, very psychedelic paintings that would make cool posters. "Fell From The Stars" opens with spacey sounds that are replaced quickly by a catchy beat and a full sound as flute and vocals join in. It turns kind of jazzy before 1 1/2 minutes with that bass as it settles down and the flute leads as the vocals step aside for the rest of the song. Guitar and a heavier sound after 4 minutes. "The Unreal Life Of Emery Wax" has samples of a marching band, crowd noise and bagpipes before flute and strummed guitar take over. Vocals too and this reminds me of WILL-O-THE-WISP. The chorus is beautiful, kind of dreamy. Distorted guitar just before 2 minutes with flute leads the way. Organ leads briefly before 3 minutes as the guitar returns. Again I really like the chorus.

"Blank Empty Space" is a little heavier as vocals join in. I like the wah wah guitar that comes and goes. Another catchy well written tune. A psychedelic calm 2 1/2 minutes in but it's brief as that heavy beat and sound returns. A nice guitar solo after 3 minutes before another calm with vocals arrives briefly before 5 minutes. "My Little Elf" has some fun lyrics. A lighter tune with vocals, flute and strummed guitar leading. Lines like "She dances to the sound of the harpsichord" make me smile. It does turn heavy late. Very cool.

"Lord It's Me" is an emotional song where his vocals almost cry the chorus "Lord! As I'm climbing to the sky, please let my son be by my side." Strummed guitar and vocals lead but it does build as bass and keys arrive before 2 minutes. A full sound with flute 3 minutes in. What a song! "Coming Near To My Brain" opens with brief samples as a heavy distorted sound takes over as flute, vocals and drums join in. I like the drumming and flute here. Background synths provide atmosphere as the guitar grinds away.

"Rainbows" opens in a WILL-O-THE-WISP like manner. Very laid back and dreamy with vocals. It kicks in just after a minute and the tempo picks up. Contrasts continue. I really like the mellow sections. "Chase The Colours" is the 8 minute closer. Solo guitar to start as flute and drums join in then vocals. A catchy with some energy. It settles back around 2 1/2 minutes with flute, drums and vocal melodies. Not for long though and this happens again before 4 1/2 minutes but this time it stays this way until after 6 minutes when it explodes with guitar out front to the end. Nice.

 Great Escape by CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.46 | 15 ratings

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Great Escape
Crippled Black Phoenix Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by javajeff

5 stars This is another excellent release from Crippled Black Phoenix, and it feels like a return to the The Resurrectionists / Night Raider era of music. It may actually be the spaciest of all their releases. Anyone looking for more post-rock, atmospheric spacey stuff, will really enjoy this album. It feels like a very different release from Bronze in the sense that it is loaded with vibe. Crippled Black Phoenix really excel at creating moods in their music by adding a bunch of eclectic styles. Speaking of vibe, the album ends with Great Escape Part 2, which is a long constructed brooding tracking with some bluesy guitar, a progression with orchestral movements, some acoustic guitar with layered vocals, and back again to the floydian solos along with the orchestral movements. It is a highlight to the album, but the preceding tracks take the listener on a complete journey. The bonus tracks Hunok Csataja and Uncivil War (Pt. I & II) are worth having, so the deluxe version is the better option. What makes Great Escape very different from more recent releases is that it does not have a significant sing along track like The Heart Of Every Country from (Mankind) The Crafty Ape. But that is not a bad thing, and the artistic value makes Great Escape a worthy addition to the Crippled Black Phoenix diverse catalog of albums. It is a highly recommend release from a very unique group.
 Is There Anybody Out There?  by PINK FLOYD album cover Live, 2000
4.11 | 467 ratings

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Is There Anybody Out There?
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars My opinion of the studio album of The Wall has wavered back and forth over the years, but on hearing Is There Anybody Out There? I am greatly impressed, and I actually prefer this to the studio version of the album.

A big part of this is because, as is well-known, The Wall is an album that was formulated around an idea for a stage show. Whilst the visual aspect of this obviously can't translate into an audio-only format, and whilst admittedly this set is somewhat Frankensteined together (though absolutely seamlessly) from a range of of shows, it nonetheless seems to benefit somewhat from the concert contexts.

You have concert-only inclusions like the band rudely interrupting the MC both times for In The Flesh?/In The Flesh, or Roger's in-character patter preceding Run Like Hell ("This is for all the WEAK PEOPLE in the audience!!!") which really adds to that section of the narrative. You also get some tracks that, whilst they didn't make the cut for the main album, also feel like natural parts of it - The Last Few Bricks is a little jam restating some themes from disc 1 to cover for the completion of the onstage wall, whilst What Shall We Do Now? adds a much extra dimension to the character of Pink at just the right time.

(To unpack that more: What Shall We Do Now? comes right before Young Lust and One of My Turns, and in that context makes really helps contextualise those two songs; the song effectively marks the beginning of a manic phase of Pink's bipolar disorder, during which he's able to momentarily draw people in - Young Lust - before he drives them away again - One of These Turns. The triptych of songs really does provide a very accurate depiction of the way this particular disorder affects people and as such I feel that cutting What Shall We Do Now? - and thus robbing the other two songs of some of their context - was a serious mistake.)

Most of all, though, you get a harder, more rock-oriented take on the album material, combined with some more scope for improvising and the like - there's some jamming during Another Brick In the Wall Pt. 2 which takes it well away from its disco-influenced studio rendition, for instance.

On the whole, I consider this the definitive edition of the album. Others might propose tweaked running orders or additions here and there - fans of the film love to try to crowbar in When The Tigers Broke Free into the Wall's running order, for instance, but it feels more appropriate to The Final Cut anyway and the early parts of The Wall don't really need more griping about a father that Pink never really knew in the first place.

On the other hand, Is There Anybody Out There? presents The Wall in, as closely as an audio format can, the context it was supposed to be heard in, with all of its constituent parts restored. If you like The Wall at all, you're in for a treat - and if you're on the fence about the studio album you might find that this answers a lot of your issues with it.

 Atom Heart Mother by PINK FLOYD album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.88 | 2049 ratings

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Atom Heart Mother
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Atom Heart Mother" was the transitory album for Pink Floyd, bridging the gap between their experimental and more straight forward, progressive stages. Through the album, you still hear echoes of their past psychedelic and experimental music, but you also hear hints of where the band was going. To make it even more of a fitting bridge, Alan Parsons had a part in the making of this album and "Dark Side of the Moon". Being Pink Floyd, this album has been reviewed so many times, but it is probably the most misunderstood of the albums.

It starts off with the full sided title suite made up of 6 sections, each with individual names. The suite is credited to all members of the band and also Ron Geesen, who was responsible for orchestrating and putting the entire suite into one complete "rock symphony". Most of the themes and material in the suite were written and considered for inclusion in the "Zabriskie Point" soundtrack, but after the falling out between the band and the makers of the movie, the material not used for the movie was taken by the band to improve and expand on. The music was put together and handed over to Ron to turn into an epic production, adding orchestral instruments and choral arrangements. There are really no lyrics, and the vocals are all wordless. There has been plenty of people that have broken the suite down on this site and also elsewhere on the internet, so I'm not going to go into that now. But overall, it is quite a cinematic and stately composition. It is very progressive with returning themes, changing meters, moods and tones. It really does belong in PF's greatest achievements, even if it is a little more rough than later albums, that only adds to the charm.

Where the "Atom Heart Mother" Suite was written by the entire band, the next 3 tracks were written by individual members. "If" was written by Roger Waters and is a folksy and mostly acoustic song, pastoral in feel, and with great lyrics. "Rick Wright" contributed "Summer '68", which is a fuller production which includes a brass section at the end. David Gilmour contributed "Fat Old Sun" which is more psychedelic feeling with an organ and acoustic guitar with other treated sounds. Since he had less song writing experience, he was made to stay in the studio until he came up with a song. The song gets louder at the end as an electric guitar drowns out the vocals. Nick Mason's contribution was the final song, another suite. Even though this was credited to the band, Mason was the primary writer, but it was based on an idea by Waters. It is a three part composition and consists of a rather minimal recording of Alan Styles, a PF roadie, having breakfast. Each part starts and ends with sounds of Alan preparing and eating breakfast, while the middle sections are mostly acoustic improvisations. The overall song lasts 12 minutes. This track seems like a waste of time when you first listen to it, but the more you hear it, the more psychedelic it becomes and the more you appreciate it.

I don't want to go into much more detail that that since there is already a lot of information written about this album. Some people appreciate it and others do not. The thing to remember is that this was an important album in PF's growing stage and would signal the amazing pieces of work that band would produce later. Both this album and Meddle work to bridge the two major eras of PF's music. Personally, I like and appreciate the album, but I don't think it is quite deserving of 5 stars like a lot of their other albums even some that came before this one. I do agree that it is an excellent prog album however, and can easily give it 4 stars. Not my favorite, but great nonetheless. Others may think it's better than that, and others may not like it at all. It is one that the jury is always undecided on.

 I, Vigilante by CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.52 | 110 ratings

BUY
I, Vigilante
Crippled Black Phoenix Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Really disappointed with this one thinking I might have found a gem based on some reviews I've read. Post-Rock styled guitars at times and I suppose Psychedelic isn't too far off the mark but man this isn't good. For me it comes across as an amateur release for the most part. The male vocals in my opinion are weak at best, especially on "Fantastic Justice" that just sounds bad. The final two tracks suddenly have female vocals and I honestly felt the final song was a "joke" by the band. One of those humerous songs showing they don't take themselves too seriously. It is one of the worst songs I have heard in a long time. Just my opinion.
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YUME BITSU United States
YURI GAGARIN Sweden
WILL Z. Belgium
ZEMLJA BROJ 9 Serbia
ZENITH EFFLUVEUM United States
ZODIAC SUNRISE Finland
ZOFFF United Kingdom
ZONE SIX Germany

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