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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

- Meltdowner
- siLLy puPPy
- Rivertree
- Tapfret
- HarryAngel746

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

4.63 | 4170 ratings
WISH YOU WERE HERE
Pink Floyd
4.61 | 4363 ratings
THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON
Pink Floyd
4.52 | 3745 ratings
ANIMALS
Pink Floyd
4.30 | 3167 ratings
MEDDLE
Pink Floyd
4.20 | 1113 ratings
OCEAN
Eloy
4.21 | 333 ratings
LEGACY
Hypnos 69
4.10 | 2983 ratings
THE WALL
Pink Floyd
4.12 | 446 ratings
JURASSIC SHIFT
Ozric Tentacles
4.17 | 176 ratings
KINGSTON WALL II
Kingston Wall
4.11 | 392 ratings
RITUAL
Nemrud
4.28 | 78 ratings
OBSOLETE
Hedayat, Dashiell
4.09 | 668 ratings
WARRIOR ON THE EDGE OF TIME
Hawkwind
4.08 | 623 ratings
A TAB IN THE OCEAN
Nektar
4.10 | 280 ratings
TOGETHER WE'RE STRANGER
No-Man
4.05 | 640 ratings
DAWN
Eloy
4.29 | 58 ratings
FLYING MICROTONAL BANANA
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
4.05 | 670 ratings
SILENT CRIES AND MIGHTY ECHOES
Eloy
4.15 | 119 ratings
TAKO
Tako
4.13 | 138 ratings
PARALLEL WORLD
Far East Family Band
4.06 | 297 ratings
EVERYONE INTO POSITION
Oceansize

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

A GIFT FOR YOUR DREAMS
Will-O-The-Wisp
GAMMAPOLIS [Ω IX]
Omega
THE XENON CODEX
Hawkwind
TAMBOURINE FREAK MACHINE
Dragontears

Latest Psychedelic/Space Rock Music Reviews


 6 by PHARAOH OVERLORD album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 1 ratings

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6
Pharaoh Overlord Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by nick_h_nz

— First review of this album —
4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

I came to this album with some reservations. Pharaoh Overlord have a larger discography than the title of their latest release might suggest, and that discography is quite varied. The band is one of Jussi Lehtisalo's many offshoots of Finnish band Circle (who themselves have probably released upwards of 50 full length albums by now), and has changed in sound considerably since their first release ? while somewhat paradoxically keeping much of it, too. (In 2015, just to further confuse things, Circle released an album called Pharaoh Overlord, while Pharaoh Overlord released an album called Circle.) As to my reservations, they came largely from knowing that Aaron Turner (Isis, Sumac, Old Man Gloom and several other bands) was taking a larger role, having provided some sparse guest vocals to the previous album, 5 (which I think may actually be Pharaoh Overlord's 10th studio album, and 15th overall!).

Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike Aaron Turner's vocals (and the Sumac album released the same year as 6 is absolutely fantastic, I highly recommend it). In addition, I loved 5, and I didn't mind Turner's vocals on that either ? but they were used minimally for impact, rather than being a main attraction, so to speak. What I was worried about was how well the music of Pharaoh Overlord and the vocals of Aaron Turner might mesh when they formed the basis of the album, rather than a small part. Even after listening to the album several times, my mind is still melting, trying to get my head around the two quite disparate sounds. As well as working with Pharaoh Overlord previously, Aaron Turner has also collaborated with Tomi Leppänen and Jussi Lehtisalo in Split Cranium. Furthermore, Turner is no stranger to Krautrock and electronica, and has stated that both forms of music were influential in the sound of Isis (probably his most famous band), so it should make sense that he is happy to put his vocals to Pharaoh Overlord, who quite obviously enjoy Krautrock and electronica themselves. And yet?.

6 begins with the fantastic beat of Path Eternal, and swathes of melodic synth textures. Turner's initial vocalisations are not too incongruent, and then he starts singing (or growling, if you prefer), and it's like listening to two different songs playing at the same time. I wouldn't go as far to say I hated it when I first heard it, but I certainly wasn't enamoured. But strange things happen over repeated listening. The thing is, the music is just so damn addictive and enjoyable, that soon I find myself able to ignore the vocals. And that's where I'm unsure how to review this album. I'm enjoying it in spite of the vocals, which I'm sure are meant to be a key part. Ultimately, how much anyone enjoys this album may come down to how much they are able to tolerate (or even enjoy) harsh vocals.

But the music is worth persevering through, if you're not necessarily a fan of the vocals. I admit I might not have done so were I not aware of the previous output of Pharaoh Overlord, and I would have been missing out. So if you take just one thing from this review, it's don't give up. Don't even bother reading further. Just listen, and listen again. Let the music crawl under your skin and make itself at home. Let it caress you, and cover you in a blanket of warm fuzziness. Fall into the Arms of the Butcher, which is strangely enchanting. Be woken up sharply by the introduction to Without Song All Perish (lead single, but my least favourite track on the album). Try, try and try again. Don't give up. You're not beaten yet. Don't give up. I know you can make it good.

So, if we remove Aaron Turner from the equation for just a moment, what do we have? Well, some classic Pharaoh Overlord, with fuzzy drones and electronic tones ? psychedelia via a mangled mix of stoner and Krautrock, techno and industrial. Prying open space rock's third eye, and final front ear, with kosmische musik and a healthy dollop of post rock and post metal. Kraftwerk and Hawkwind duelling with Isis and Skinny Puppy, in pursuit of an '80s synthwave pop hit. Pulsating, repetitive riffs and beats, that are far more explorative and interesting than you might expect. I can't compliment Tomi Leppänen and Jussi Lehtisalo enough for the glorious soundscapes they create, and pound continuously until they've made a permanent imprint. The music needs no further ornamentation in my opinion, and this is possibly why I had such difficulties with the vocals initially.

But boy, do the vocals come into their own. Even without repeated listens, it becomes apparent by the end of 6, that the harsh and human voice of Turner can fit to the programmed automation of the metal machine musik of Leppänen and Lehtisalo. Tomorrow's Sun works well, and Blue Light Hum blows everything that came before out of the water. It's an enormous, triumphant near quarter hour epic, and the vocals inarguably match the music. Even if I hadn't grown to love the remainder of the album, which I have, I would argue that 6 is worth purchasing for Blue Light Hum alone. This may well be the single greatest creation of Pharaoh Overlord. In fact, it was this track, more than anything else, that made me listen to the whole album again immediately. I still was unsure of the first half of the album on second listen, but the second hearing of Blue Light Hum blew me away again. Now it's not uncommon for a song to be incredibly impressive when you first hear it, but it's far rarer for it to evoke the same emotional response on subsequent listens. Blue Light Hum does just that. I'm glad, too, because 6's cover art is easily one of my most favourite from 2020, so it would be a shame if the music didn't live up to it. Rest assured, it does. It may just take some getting used to for some listeners. Don't give up.

 We Persuade Ourselves We Are Immortal (with Peter Hammill) by AMORPHOUS ANDROGYNOUS, THE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.63 | 7 ratings

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We Persuade Ourselves We Are Immortal (with Peter Hammill)
The Amorphous Androgynous Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Heart of the Matter

3 stars OK, let's be clear and straight from the outset: the properly progressive meat here is in the opening epic, where the outstanding vocals by Peter Hammill lead the procedures our way. Having said that, however, if you enjoy a well seasoned psychedelic trip on its own merits, there's also a fantastic one: great lead guitar and sax, pseudo-floydian choral passages, nice string orchestra moves here and there. And all that served on a dense background of psych imagery, sounding at moments very nearly like those "tape loops" from the legendary "Tomorrow Never Knows" sessions, but without the guys reeling tapes with a pencil, of course.
 The Eclectic Measure by HYPNOS 69 album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.97 | 108 ratings

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The Eclectic Measure
Hypnos 69 Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars Hypnos 69 is one of the most underrated bands ever, they have released five albums from 2001 to 2010 and the last two in my opinion are prog masterpieces.

Besides heavy organ sound and fantastic guitar work you have clarinet, mellotron, Moog, saxophone, and theramin to widen the sound of this amazing band, a well-paced approach with the energy makes The Eclectic Measure from 2007 one of the underrated jewels of prog rock.

Progrock, jazz rock and their own interpretation of psychedelia goes throughout this masterpiece, you can tell they really brought a new meaning to space rock in general.

I and You and Me is an intro to this album and it's an entrance to The Eclectic Measure and Forgotten Souls, two tracks that yust take you to a magical world of Hypnos 96 filled with heaviness, great melodies. They just get hold of the listener and launch to a place of amazing musicianship, vocals and lyrics. The Antagonist is a real heavy prog rocker, the fantastic uptempo song led by splendid guitar, organ and rhythm section.

This album, for me, really delivers all the ellements that a masterpiece should have.

 Legacy by HYPNOS 69 album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.21 | 333 ratings

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Legacy
Hypnos 69 Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars Hypnos 69 was a progressive rock band from Belgium and one of the most underrated bands ever. Their album Legacy from 2010 is a pure music gold. Hypnos 69 has a really unique sound and the combination of heavy guitars, organ, mellotron, jazz elements with sax and flute parts and it is all masterfully combined into their 18 minute epic Requiem (for a Dying Creed) a three part masterpiece. Various mood changes that stretch from heaviness to calm and back.

An Aerial Architect is one of the coolest songs I've ever heard, fantastic dense brass opening lines and energy that goes out trough out this piece make this an amazing track.

My journey to the stars is a shorter, more melodic song which features a great vocal performance. The Sad Destiny We Lament is a melodic tune filled with space elements it represents a passage from and to the thunder.

The Empty Hourglass is a heavy prog piece and it introduces us to Jerusalem. a tale that is being told trough the clarinet and the interesting vocals.

The four part epic The Great Work is a fantastic way to end this album, a 18 minute prog ride, starts slowly and mysterious and again we have a fantastic build up from the band and down-tempo outro. This album perfectly delivers various styles of prog from space psych to heavy, symphonic and eclectic.

 Space for the Earth by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.77 | 46 ratings

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Space for the Earth
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by prog_traveller!!

3 stars Ozric tentacles is a band that made the biggest impact on modern space rock. Since their Pungent Effulgent from 1989 to my favorite album Arborescence released in 1994, they established them selves as a band that delivers a new and fresh sound to this prog rock sub-genre and influenced and keep influencing the bands that carry on similar style. But the repetition that they did on album after album had made me lose a little bit of interest in the band. Same is with their new album Space for the Earth, don't get me wrong, it's a good record with songwriting that made them who they are, intro, repeating synth lines and then the rhythm section with cool guitar solos and oriental feel from time to time, make this just another Ozric tentacles album.
 K.G. by KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.15 | 18 ratings

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K.G.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by dougmcauliffe

4 stars King Gizzard returns off the back of two 2019 releases. One of which I loved a lot, Infest the Rats Nest, and Fishies for Fishies which I thought was just alright. As this album got hyped up and singles were dropping I started to get a bit nervous cause I found that I was a little lukewarm on the songs that were coming out. After finally getting to sit down and give the album several spins, my worries and expectations were absolutely shattered. This album is fantastic! As usual we get a set of great songs with memorable hooks, riffs, on top of a nice, comfortable runtime. However, on this album I find the songs.... especially good, even for their already high standards. They cover a multitude of styles expanding on the previous venture into microtonal experimentation, which happens to be my favorite King Gizzard album. All the tracks flow into one another creating a very satisfying and fulfilling listen when taken in as a single piece of music. The thing I really like about this as well is that they actually put a lot of effort into the transitions and every song typically delivers something fresh and interesting as it gets ready to head into the following track. From a production standpoint I think this is their strongest yet, the album is pure ear candy and they sound as full and as dialed in as they ever have. This is probably their most psychedelic release in a long time, however the elements of metal and prog they've picked up over the last few years are very much present. I love the 3-punch combo this album opens up with. You got the menacing "K.G.L.W" which sets the dusty middle eastern mood kicking right into the heavy and headbanging "Automation" which just kicks ass! One thing I find within this album is that there is a greater emphasis on the grooves and the drum sound just packs so much punch, there's a lot of awesome odd times in the mix as well. Automation flows right into "Minimum Brain Size" which keeps the energy going and offers some nice breathing room before kicking into a sweet jam at the 2:45 mark. I'm not sure whose singing on this track, but I really dig the softer and more melodic vocals on this one. "Straws in the Wind" was one of the singles that flew over my head and like the others, it really sounds so much better in the context of the album. It has a real trancy feel to it with pretty punchy acoustic guitar playing throughout. There's also some sweet heavier psychedelic sounds coming through in the latter half. The next track, "Some of Us," is a really sludgy venture that hits you with an awesome wall of melting riffage and melodic guitar/vocal lines. The distorted clavinet playing at the end is just so damn cool. It's after this song where the album really takes off for me packing what are probably my three favorite tracks in succession. "Ontology" is a super groovy, driving and mesmerizing track. The main instrumental hook is a harmonica-led celebratory ear worm that alternates comfortably between 7/4 and 6/4. In the last minute and change of this track it hits you with a nasty hypnotic guitar solo. "Intrasport," which seem to be the most talked about track is another favorite of mine. I love the electronic instrumentation, vocal effects and dance-like grooves within it. Towards the middle it sort of fizzles out and strips down before slowly building back up and dropping right back into the main motif delivering an awesome payoff. "Oddlife" follows this and it's incredible. It's super hypnotic and once again, the drum parts sound great. Especially as they're overlaid with crisp psychedelic instrumentation and effects. This song is particularly dense, there's so much going on and I find myself constantly picking up on new details upon every relisten. "Honey" was my favorite of the singles and I still really enjoy it. It's a pretty simple song, but it's very pleasant and warm with memorable bass work in the mix. Closing the album is "The Hungry Wolf of Fate" and it is FILTHY! Wow! The riffs and guitar tones are totally face-melting, and the contrast between soft and heavy in this track creates a really satisfying dynamic. Even during the quieter sections, you can feel something brooding bubbling beneath the surface. The song ascends during the final minute with a illegally heavy playout closing out the album.

This album has really blown me away. As I said before, Flying Microtonal Banana has been my favorite King Gizzard album since I first heard it and without a doubt in my mind, I believe this is a very worthy follow-up. It's still too soon to call, but this is already one of my favorite King Gizzard albums. Who knows? Maybe it'll even take the crown... but i'd have to do some revisiting to say something like that for certain. K.G. doesn't tread the same water as FMB, rather it explores different sounds with instrumentation that just happens to be microtonal, and that's its greatest strength. A very comfortable 4 stars!

 Clairvoyance by HIERONYMUS DREAM album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2020
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Clairvoyance
Hieronymus Dream Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

— First review of this album —
3 stars One or two may argue that new respectively contemporary psychedelic space rock bands are out and about with worn out shoes in general. Just aimlessly jamming, copying successful Pink Floyd recipes, or delivering uninspired heavy stoner riffs for the thousandth time. This, in my humble opinion, mirrors a somewhat negative point of view. Yes, and No, multiple shades of grey, that's the truth, still in 2020. Here we have a rather promising exception to the aforementioned unsophisticated impression. Five musicians, hailing from somewhere out of Greece have recorded this EP, which is consting of four tracks with a total running time of 30 minutes. Not any further informations available about this band, yet, at this time.

Eh, there's no need to hide though, I don't see any reason for that. Instrumentation is genre typical, sound quality top, all comes clear. The band's unique vibe predominantly derives from the fine melancholic dual guitar interplay, and this is paired with a proper krautrock touch. The overall atmosphere is well developed. Bass lines are either lively, though krautish hypnotic in the same way. Prolific drum work, spheric synth layers everywhere. The well arranged songs evolve like ebb and flow, with suspense. No need to emphasize a particular one. A nicely done kick-off I would say. Now waiting for a full-fledged and more varianted debut album to come anytime soon. 3.5 stars.

 Anoia S'apodera by ULLS album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Anoia S'apodera
Ulls Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by nick_h_nz

4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

The debut release from Ulls crashes into being with a glorious sound reminiscent of King Crimson's 21st Century Man, but warmer and less edgy. In fact, what King Crimson might have sounded were they a rock progressivo Italiano band. If you didn't know any better, apart from having far better production, this could have been an RPI release from the '70s. Well, so long as you didn't recognise it isn't Italian being sung. Truth be told, I probably wouldn't even have noticed that, as I'm far from being a polyglot. For all I know, it is Italian being sung ? but I presume it is either Spanish or Catalan. Regardless, this is a great opening track to draw one into the album and begin the journey David Trillo wishes to take us on.

For Ulls is not a band, so much as a one-man endeavour from multi-instrumentalist Trillo ? and he's quite clearly a talented musician, as every instrument is played extremely well. At about the two-minute mark of opening track Corona D'Or, the song shifts from the Crimsonesque, to a quite beautiful bridge, and half a minute or so later we find that Trillo has a very pleasant singing voice, too. After a return to the sound the song began with, it ends with a beautiful and delicate folk-like flourish that I assume might be Catalan. With a title translating, I assume, as 'Golden Crown', I have to wonder if this is a titular reference to how much influence King Crimson has given to the song. He may be a Crimson King, but it would seem he wears a Golden Crown. However, although Corona d'Or comes close to being derivative, it is definitely fresh and original enough to avoid feeling that way. As much as I like it, though, the best is yet to come, and Corona D'Or is my least favourite track on the album.

And for anyone who has any concerns that the rest of the album might continue treading the fine line of being derivative, these should soon be dissipated by the following Reig Bord. It's a delightful wee ditty, with some great drumming to lead us in. The track is rhythm led throughout ? if it's not the drums taking centre stage, it's the bass. As the album progresses, it becomes apparent that each track is longer than the preceding one, which really helps give a sense of a journey. It's not a new trick, and it's one I've come across often, but it rarely works as well as it does on this album. In recent times, the only other album I can think of where it gives such a feeling of distance travelled is oltreLuna by Progenie Terrestre Pura. I find myself enjoying myself further with each longer track. Basically, this album just gets betterand better as you progress further through it. It also helps that such a variety of sound and style is used. I've mentioned Crimson and RPI, and to add to that you could chuck in some space rock and psychedelia, taking in not just obvious subjects like Pink Floyd and Hawkwind, but traversing musical geography from the Canterbury scene to Krautrock.

According to the Bandcamp, Anoia s'apodera is not only the first album from Ulls, but also the first of a series of albums depicting the story of a self-induced posthumous trip. I can't help but wonder then about the possible twin meanings of 'Anoia' for the title. Anoia is a word across several languages which describes a state of extreme mental disfunction, or mindlessness. It can be a term used for the final stages of dementia. Anoia is also a Catalan river, and I'm unsure if anoia carries the same meaning in Catalan as it does in English ? but if it does, it is easy to draw a comparison between Anoia, the river of mindlessness, and Lethe, the river of forgetfulness ? one of the rivers one has to cross to make a posthumous trip in Ancient Greece. Without using Google translate, I have no idea what 's'apodera' means, which means my interpretation could be way off. You'd think I might want to find out, but honestly, I enjoy the music too much to care. Sometimes it's nice to just let yourself be taken away. And, this is an album that can do just that.

Anoia s'apodera ends with the almost quarter of an hour length La Ilum Eterna Tremola, which I'm going to take a guess translates as 'The Eternal Light Trembles'. I know I could use Google translate, and maybe I should, but just as 'Corona d'Or' seemed obvious, so does this, and I'm lazy so I'll stick with my translation. This final track is without doubt my favourite. It's length allows it to develop and unfold its many textures and atmospheres. Indeed, it's almost two songs, so distinct is the second half of the song from the first. It's a gorgeously rich and ambitious piece full of understated nuance and ambience. Trillo shows he's not just an accomplished musician but a great arranger. The first half of the song ends in a delicious burst of electronica à la Kraut, before the second half kicks in, eventually culminating in a symphonic finale.

If this is the first of a series of releases, I can't wait to continue the trip. Let's hope it's not a posthumous one for me. In these days, none of us can take life for granted. In the meantime, you could do far worse than taking a journey with David Trillo?

 For the Moment, Vol. 1 by SUPERFJORD album cover Live, 2020
3.33 | 2 ratings

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For the Moment, Vol. 1
Superfjord Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by nick_h_nz

4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

I was introduced to Superfjord with their second album, All Will Be Golden, back in 2018, and have been hankering for more from the band ever since. As per their Bandcamp, the band's latest release, For The Moment, Vol. 1, "is the first release in a digital series of live recordings that aims to capture Superfjord at their purest and most improvisatory." And what a tasty way to whet my appetite for further volumes in this series!

For The Moment, Vol. 1 contains three improvisational "moments" along with a lengthy jam of Rainbow from All Will Be Golden, and, although that album had structure, listening to it always feels as if it is a natural combination of composition and improvisation. The music of Superfjord is fluid and organic, and For The Moment merely takes that template and runs with it. If you put Santana, Camel and Pink Floyd in a blender, added a pinch of Tool, then sprinkled some sexy brass over the top, the resulting sound might come close to that of Superfjord on All Will Be Golden. It's groovy, it's funky, it's heavy ? it's a trip. So how do they sound, when improvising on stage?

Superfjord, in this live incarnation, comprises six obviously talented musicians, who clearly know each other inside out, and lock into a groove with ease, churning out hypnotic riffs and rhythms bursting with cosmic bliss. But while there is an undeniably jam nature to the band, they never find themselves stuck in a repetitive groove, the way some psychedelic bands do. They paint from a wide palette, and create some quite incredible soundscapes. The line-up is mostly the same as that from All Will Be Golden, with four of the core musicians and one of the guest musicians from that album also on this live album. Three of Superfjord provide percussion on both All Will Be Golden and For the Moment, which indicates the importance of beat and rhythm in their music.

Perhaps strangely, then, the first Moment of For the Moment has very sparse percussion to begin with, with the stars of the show being some wonderful interplay between guitar and keyboard, backed solidly by some very tasty bass. The drums certainly pick up, though, and while they're back in the mix, there's no doubting their groove. The use of space in this piece is great. Superfjord show that they are just as aware when not to play a note, as when to ? which I often wish more bands would consider. It also means that when the guitar goes into overdrive about halfway through, it has far greater effect and impact. As the guitar quietens down, the bass and drum are briefly in the spotlight, before the sax comes to the fore. There's something about sax that seems to elevate any piece it features in, for me. It gives this moment a perfect ending (though I'm not entirely sure if it was the ending on stage, as the music fades out while giving the impression it may have carried on for some time yet).

The second Moment begins with some almost Doors-like psychedelic sounds, before the sax blasts out of the way any such comparisons. In terms of tempo, this quickly becomes almost the complete opposite of the opening Moment, and I'm glad it eases the listener in as it would perhaps be almost too much to take if it kicked straight in after the laid-back bliss of Moment 1. But it's not all high-tempo. I'm actually reminded a little of The Velvet Underground's Heroin, in the way the music picks up, then comes down again. After the hit, the tranquil passage that follows is stunningly beautiful, and again all about space. There's an almost minimalist feel to it, with as much not being played, as is. This is definitely my favourite Moment of the album. It must have been incredible to watch it being played.

Towards the end of Moment 2, you can hear Rainbow beginning. When I first listened to the album, I had to check to see if it had already changed track. The segue is seamless, and explains why Rainbow is included on this album. (I had wondered, when I first saw the track listing, given that the album was of improvisational moments, yet included an album track ? even if it was obviously significantly lengthened.) If I needed any more reason to love Moment 2, I guess this is it. The origins of Rainbow within the dying minutes of Moment 2 are subtle, yet brilliant. As for Rainbow, this jammed out version blows the album version out of the water. Essentially, this Rainbow is another Moment, which merely takes the original Rainbow as a platform from which to take a leap into further improvised jamming.

Moment 3 follows on directly from Rainbow, making Moment 1 the only standalone piece on the album. It's another minimalist beginning, almost ambient were it not for the sax. But after the aural overload of Rainbow, it's a welcome change of pace. Soon even the sax quiets down, and the music becomes expansive and unworldly. Even though not a lot is happening, I absolutely love this passage. The beat starts to pick up, in tempo and volume, and it's a percussive delight to listen to. I find it impossible to not start tapping along to the rhythm. It's infectious and mesmerising. From this point, it's possibly the closest the album comes to hitting that too repetitive groove. It redeems itself somewhat in the last minute, but ultimately I find this a dissatisfying way to end the album.

It's only my opinion, of course, but I think if Moment 1 had been the closing piece, rather than opener, for this album, the whole would have been better served. But as Moment 1 is standalone, there's nothing stopping me from making it the closing number, so my only criticism of the album is rendered redundant! Basically, this is an outstanding album of improvisational jams, and if future volumes of this series are as good as this first release, then fans of Superfjord are in for some real treats!

 Live at Pompeii (The Director's Cut) by PINK FLOYD album cover DVD/Video, 2003
4.59 | 652 ratings

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Live at Pompeii (The Director's Cut)
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Uruk_hai

5 stars As I've said before in another review: I'm not very much into live albums and that includes videos, but Pink Floyd live at Pompeii is an exquisite and unique piece that I enjoy a lot every time I watch it.

In 1972, Pink Floyd played in the ruins of Pompeii Italy, it was a concert without audience and they released an amazing film showing those performances that had become a whole classic among the Pink Floyd fans all over the world.

Absolutely brilliant, the film shows the four members of Pink Floyd in their better years, when they were swimming in the waters of experimentation and creating that solid style that they kept growing through the becoming years. They selected some of their most ambitious songs from the A saucerful of secrets, Ummagumma and Meddle albums, and they exploded the songs into very strong and precise performances.

1.- Echoes, pt. 1: The first song in the video is the first part of the main suite from the Meddle album; it shows beautiful graphics of space, since the idea is that somebody from outer space is coming to Earth to see the show; while the band is playing, we can see shorts from the studio recordings, showing both David Gilmour and Richard Wright giving their voices to the piece. The cuts from the air and the whole performance are amazing. The scene ends with shots of the London subway and the front door of Abbey Road studios, then the music stops and we can see the guys having a tasty lunch.

2.- Careful with that axe, Eugene: The song that was originally released as a single and then recorded live in the Ummagumma album appears again in Pompeii but now with video added to the music. This performance is great, and shows how misty and violent their music could be.

3.- A saucerful of secrets: This song comes from the same titled album released in 1968. It is a great experimental suite that goes from the insanity to the tranquility and ends with the unbelievable vocalizing of Gilmour.

4.- One of these days: The opening song of Meddle was also part of the Pompeii soundtrack. The most interesting here are the mind-blowing drums of Nick Mason (the scene when he loses one of his drumsticks and replaces it in a second has become a classic itself).

5.- Set the controls for the heart of the Sun: another A saucerful of secrets original song, reminding their most obscure (musically) days.

6.- Echoes, pt. 2: The album ends with the second half of Echoes and the spaceship leaving to its origin. It's just a beautiful ending.

The film also shows scenes of Pink Floyd just chilling as a group of friends (more than a group of musicians) in the Abbey Road studios, short interviews that evidences their thoughts about the direction of the band, some shots from the recording of The dark side of the Moon and all of this fits really well into the film.

It's an obligated stop to any Pink Floyd and progressive rock fan.

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Bands/Artists Country
3 LEAFS United States
35007 Netherlands
3RD EAR EXPERIENCE Multi-National
THE 4 LEVELS OF EXISTENCE Greece
ABSTRACCIÓN Spain
ABUNAI! United States
ACID FLORIANI Russia
ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE Japan
ACID ROOSTER Germany
ACTION & TENSION & SPACE Norway
AD'ABSURDUM Switzerland
ADDICTHEAD Switzerland
AGAMEMNON Switzerland
AGUSA Sweden
AHKMED Australia
AHORA MAZDA Netherlands
AKASHA Norway
ALAMEDA 5 Poland
ALASEHIR United States
ALBER JUPITER France
ALCÀNTARA Italy
ALEX DELIVERY United States
ÄLGARNAS TRÄDGÅRD Sweden
ALHAMBRA Italy
ALICE France
ALIEN PLANETSCAPES United States
ALIENTAR United States
ALITHIA Australia
ALMUADEM Portugal
ALPHA NORD Germany
ALPHA OMEGA Australia
ALRUNE ROD Denmark
AMARIONETTE Portugal
AME SON France
AMGALA TEMPLE Norway
AMONULLUNOMA Ireland
THE AMORPHOUS ANDROGYNOUS United Kingdom
AMPACITY Poland
AMPLIFIER United Kingdom
ANALOGY Italy
ANDROMEDA SPACE RITUAL Poland
ANGEL'IN HEAVY SYRUP Japan
ANNOT RHÜL Norway
ANONIMA SOUND LTD. Italy
ANTA United Kingdom
ANTLERS United States
DADDY ANTOGNA Y LOS DE HELIO Argentina
ANUBIAN LIGHTS United States
APHODYL Germany
APPALACHIAN TRANSLATOR United States
APRYL FOOL Japan
APTEKA Poland
AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR France
AQUANAUT Australia
AQUASERGE France
AQUELARRE Argentina
ARCADIUM United Kingdom
ARCHITECTURAL METAPHOR United States
ARIES Greece
ARILYN Germany
ARZACHEL United Kingdom
ASSEMBLE HEAD IN SUNBURST SOUND United States
ASTRA United States
ASTRAL SON Netherlands
ASTRALIA Italy
ASTRODOME Portugal
ATAVISM OF TWILIGHT United States
ATAVISMO Spain
ATAXIA United States
ATHENE NOCTUA Italy
ATLETA Spain
ATOMIC SIMAO Ukraine
ATON FIVE Russia
AURORIS United Kingdom
AUTOMATISM Sweden
AVARUUSKORPRAALI PAHA HIRVI Finland
AXE United Kingdom
AYAHUASCA DARK TRIP Multi-National
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BACKSTREET ROMEOS Germany
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THE BAND WHOSE NAME IS A SYMBOL Canada
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BARNDOMSLANDET Sweden
BARRETT ELMORE Sweden
BARROWS United States
MASAKI BATOH Japan
BËIRUTH Spain
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BIG RED PANDA Portugal
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BLACK LIGHT SECRET United Kingdom
THE BLACK NOODLE PROJECT France
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BLIM United Kingdom
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BLUE PHANTOM Italy
BOAT BURNING United States
BOSQUES Argentina
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BRAINSTORM Australia
BREMEN Sweden
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ARTHUR BROWN'S KINGDOM COME United Kingdom
BUHO ERMITANO Peru
BUNNIES United States
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ROBERT CALVERT South Africa
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CAPITAL SENTIMENTAL Netherlands
CARLTON MELTON United States
THE CARPET KNIGHTS Sweden
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CEDITH Turkey
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ELOY Germany
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FAR OUT Japan
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