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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 | 3552 ratings
WISH YOU WERE HERE
Pink Floyd
4.60 | 3740 ratings
DARK SIDE OF THE MOON
Pink Floyd
4.52 | 3167 ratings
ANIMALS
Pink Floyd
4.30 | 2680 ratings
MEDDLE
Pink Floyd
4.21 | 874 ratings
OCEAN
Eloy
4.16 | 272 ratings
LEGACY
Hypnos 69
4.13 | 340 ratings
RITUAL
Nemrud
4.11 | 559 ratings
WARRIOR ON THE EDGE OF TIME
Hawkwind
4.12 | 379 ratings
JURASSIC SHIFT
Ozric Tentacles
4.39 | 58 ratings
OBSOLETE
Hedayatt, Dashiell
4.06 | 2558 ratings
THE WALL
Pink Floyd
4.13 | 229 ratings
TOGETHER WE'RE STRANGER
No-Man
4.17 | 136 ratings
KINGSTON WALL II
Kingston Wall
4.06 | 484 ratings
A TAB IN THE OCEAN
Nektar
4.15 | 148 ratings
BY THE WATERS OF TOMORROW
Vespero
4.03 | 514 ratings
DAWN
Eloy
4.18 | 94 ratings
TAKO
Tako
4.06 | 266 ratings
EVERYONE INTO POSITION
Oceansize
4.02 | 535 ratings
SILENT CRIES AND MIGHTY ECHOES
Eloy
4.03 | 440 ratings
THE OCTOPUS
Amplifier

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
GAMELAN INTO THE MINK SUPERNATURAL
Psychic Paramount, The
GAMMAPOLISZ (Ω IX)
Omega
COSMIC MINDS AT PLAY
Spacious Mind, The

Latest Psychedelic/Space Rock Music Reviews


 A Saucerful Of Secrets by PINK FLOYD album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.66 | 1484 ratings

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A Saucerful Of Secrets
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Scorpius

4 stars Saucerful of Secrets is an album that quite effectively summarizes its contents in the title. Many hidden Pink Floyd gems are contained on this album. Syd Barrett, at the peak of his insanity, only gets to sing on one song on this album, which is almost completely opposite of their first. Waters and Wright step up to the plate to serve us this near perfect dish of Prog Psych Salad. Picking standout tracks on this album is like picking which one of my children is my favorite. I don't have any children but I imagine it would be a hard choice. (Bet you didn't expect that cliche to turn into an unfunny joke that is completely unrelated to the discussion at hand). Though the band seemed to be in a bit of turmoil at the time, this album shines through, with its themes of war, insanity, and cosmic beings. Most of these topics would be revisited by the Floyd in later albums, so in a way, this album is one of their most influential. While a little rough around the edges production-wise, this album remains one of my favorites and an underrated classic. The album doesn't really contain enough material to warrant a perfect 5/5 rating, but its an amazing effort that should not be overlooked by any self-respecting Prog fan.

Final Rating: 4/5

Best Tracks: Set the Controls.../ Title Track

Worst Tracks: See-Saw (not really bad, just weaker than the rest of the album)

 A Momentary Lapse Of Reason by PINK FLOYD album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.05 | 1464 ratings

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A Momentary Lapse Of Reason
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Scorpius

2 stars A Momentary Lapse of Reason was the first album "Pink FLoyd" released after Roger Waters left the band. David Gilmour took control of the band in Waters-like fashion and thus, this album was born. As a truly hardcore PF fan, it pains me to say that this album doesn't satisfy me. Sure, some of the tracks are absolutely outstanding - Sorrow being the best with On the Turning Away a close second, followed by Learning to Fly. Thats it, though. Once you have heard these tracks you can walk away from this album and not miss a thing. Not to discredit the album; it was influential in that it started PF on a new path towards a potentially brighter future, one not ruled and dictated by Waters. Yet, there is always something missing when I go back and relive this album. What could it possibly be? Oh yeah, it's Waters. Hes gone. Once Waters left, practically any semblance of lyric writing technique flew out the window. Richard Wright is a lyrical genius, but he only got to write a few songs Post-Waters. To make a long story short, I "like" this album to a certain extent, but as a massive PF fan and lover of Prog Rock, I cannot let this slide. It just isn't progressive. Sorry Gilmour, hopefully you do better next time. (Spoiler alert, he does better next time).

FInal Rating: 2/5

Best Track: Sorrow

Worst Track(s): A New Machine, Dogs of War, Signs of Life

 Nite Flights by SENDELICA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2016
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Nite Flights
Sendelica Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars Welsh band SENDELICA have become quite the presence in the UK rock scene, at least for those who tend to favor psychedelic rock and space rock. They release a handful or so of albums, EPs and singles annually, and from what I can see they are quite the active live band these days as well. And they sell too. The single "Nite Flights" was released by UK label Fruits de Mer Records towards the tail end of 2016, and is already sold out from the label. For those who may have an interest, some copies may still be lurking in shops here and there though.

But apart from being a band with a steadily growing popularity, this is a band that also release good music. This single is merely one more example of just that. It is a cover tune, that is the specialty of Fruits de Mer Records after all, in this case the title track from the final album by The Walker Brothers.

The original is not known by me, but this cover version sounds like one that expands on the original ever so slightly. The slightly cold, firm female lead vocals for starters, but also the rock solid groove that push this track onward like a steam engine at full power. With a distanced piano and mystic, ethereal textures floating on top.

The instrumental B-side is even more impressive however. The percussion has been expanded, the firmness of the instrumentation toned down, and with an ongoing solo duel between the saxophone and the guitar, both of which by accident or design produce a motif and movement that to my mind closely resemble the sax solo in Gerry Rafferty's classic Baker Street.

I often find myself thinking about Hawkwind when I listen to Sendelica's music. So is the case here, although my impression here is that this song in general style resides somewhere on the halfway stage between Hawkwind and David Bowie, if that makes any sense to anyone. If it does, and this sounds interesting, this is a single that now needs to be hunted down through either mail order shops or the second hand market. If anyone feels like doing so after reading this: Happy hunting.

 Revelation & Mystery by SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.44 | 31 ratings

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Revelation & Mystery
Samsara Blues Experiment Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Meltdowner
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars It took me quite a few spins to get into this album, unlike their debut. It seems the progressiveness toned down a bit on this one. I used to lose focus by the third track but one time I paid more attention to side B and noticed how better it is.

The album starts with "Flipside Apocalypse", a nice tune that gets constantly heavier with some parts that remind of Black Sabbath. I quite like the stereophonic guitar on it.

"Hangin' on the Wire" is more straightforward and mostly sung with an eruptive guitar solo near the end.

"Into the Black" is probably the one I like less, because it's difficult to listen: it's unecessarily long and constantly heavy with lots of guitar tracks that seem to dominate everything most of the time. Maybe it could be better with a more even mixing.

Side A ends with "Thirsty Moon", a most desired rest for the ears. It's a soft Rock song (well, for SBE's standards) with acoustic and crunch guitars, it reminds me a bit of Blue Öyster Cult. It also has some organ but it was mixed far too low.

"Outside Insight Blues" begins with a bluesy tune and a great guitar solo. It suddenly becomes faster and in a Hard Rock style. Then there's a cool section that brings Led Zeppelin to mind. After that, it unexpectedly turns into Swing, SBE style, introducing also the harmonica. The song then ends as it started.

"Zwei Schatten im Schatten" is the softest piece on the album, a breezy interlude for acoustic guitar and sitar. The title track starts right after it with a bang. There's a good combination of clean and distorted guitars, very nicely mixed. The vocals appear with vibrato effects, having some stereo interaction with the guitar. There's a crescendo and then a calmer part that includes the remaining instruments I was expecting to hear, synths and harp, with clean electric guitar and sitar. The vocals and distorted guitars join the party and we get to the beginning. The album ends with a long wah-wah guitar solo.

In conclusion, I miss the diversity and the long distance trips with more twists and turns of the debut, but it's still a really good record.

3.5 stars

 Wake to a New Dawn of Another Astro Era by ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.82 | 3 ratings

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Wake to a New Dawn of Another Astro Era
Acid Mothers Temple Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Acid Mothers Temple is a universe apart, obeying its own set of physical laws similar to but entirely different than the rules governing our own mundane cosmos. It would require a truly dedicated explorer to pierce the mystery of AMT and fully understand the band: the shifting incarnations, with different sets of musicians and alternating group names, make it hard for a newcomer to gain a stable foothold.

But this much is obvious: their latest-to-date adventure is the freakout jam album of 2016. To squares like me, for whom music is the only reliable narcotic, it could almost be a gateway drug to a higher dimension, where the fabric of space-time itself is webbed by killer grooves, paranormal guitars, and otherworldly ambient chillouts.

'Freakout' might be the wrong word however, because the album isn't random at all. Replays emphasize the calculation behind the apparent anarchy, and the macro-scale structure of the band's juggernaut sonic attack. There's freedom here to be sure, but it isn't freeform: one minute the music is adrift in a beatific void; the next it's being scrambled in a loud, one-chord motorik blender, insanely strung out (in both duration and mindset) but interrupted by unexpected moments of pinpoint unison playing.

A lazy comparison can be made to Ozric Tentacles and other Space Rockers, but the music of Acid Mothers Temple begins at that point of apogee where the Ozrics typically run out of fuel. The album's opening riff is distinctly Japanese in character, appropriate to the group's country of origin. But with tracks titles like "Nebulous Hyper Meditation", and instrument credits ("...at the time of this recording") that include 'Speed Guru', 'Space & Time', and 'Another Dimension', it's clear we've left the Earth far behind.

It all leads toward a dreamy acoustic guitar epilogue, and a several-minutes-long electronic hum sounding like an audio snapshot of the residual cosmic microwave background from the Big Bang. Four stars from a transported newbie, with a possible fifth star refracted in the much larger AMT omniverse.

 The Early Years 1967-1972 Creation by PINK FLOYD album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2016
3.28 | 13 ratings

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The Early Years 1967-1972 Creation
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars You won't be reading a review from this pauper of the 28(!)-disc "Early Years" box set, compiling (to exhaustive completion) the budding career of Pink Floyd, before they hit the bullseye on "The Dark Side of the Moon". This two-disc reduction is better suited to my proletarian budget, although it's more a frustrating teaser than a suitable alternative.

The frustration is in the track selection, and the overall size of the abbreviated set. Hidden inside the package is an excellent single disc of worthwhile rarities, spread unevenly over two half-filled CDs padded with songs we've heard countless times already: "Arnold Layne"; "See Emily Play"; "Jugband Blues" and so forth. The remixes are fresh but not exactly new, and even the very different alternate version of "Matilda Mother" was recycled from the 2010 CD "An Introduction to Syd Barrett".

That's the bad news. The good news is the remaining unreleased music: pure gold to collectors, only slightly tarnished by age. The various BBC Radio sessions, and in particular the May 1969 set recorded five months before the "Ummagumma" album hit record stores, vividly recapture the underground mystique of the early Floyd: the drifting space-rock tempos, sliced by David Gilmour's emotive guitar runs and that ethereal organ sound Rick Wright favored at the time.

The leftover "Zabriskie Point" soundtrack cues on Disc Two point directly toward "The Dark Side of the Moon". But the real gem here is a live version of the "Atom Heart Mother" suite from late 1970, performed by just the quartet, without any orchestral distraction. All good stuff, if somewhat haphazardly organized, and representing only the tip of an enormous iceberg. If you want the rest of the treasure, you'll need to dig deep inside your pockets for (no joke) the half-grand of loose change the full box is commanding on today's market.

We now seem to have crossed over into the endless archive stage of Pink Floyd's afterlife. Rumors say other individual discs from the box might be made available throughout the upcoming year, but until then this sampler will pacify the many diehard fans who consider the band in these formative years to be the only real Pink Floyd.

 Psychedelic Battles Volume One (with Da Captain Trips) by SENDELICA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Psychedelic Battles Volume One (with Da Captain Trips)
Sendelica Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars The oddly named production "Psychedelic Battles - Volume One" is a joint album featuring the talents of prolific Welsh band SENDELICA and the material of Italian relative newcomers Da Captain Trips. The album was released in the spring of 2015 through Italian label Vincebus Eruptum Records.

This production have obviously been made with a vinyl release in mind, with album sides clocking in at 23 and 22 minutes respectively. Sendelica provides the material for the A-side with a massive, epic length excursion called Day of the Locust, while Da Captain Trips have opted for three shorter tracks to represent them on the B-side of the album.

Sendelica's magnum opus here is one that documents the band exploring a rough, raw and dramatic variety of psychedelic space rock. The bass guitar is the central driving element throughout, the rhythms in support are steady and controlled, while an array of guitar riffs, solo runs, while dramatic surging and floating sounds hover on top. At times with a timbre and intensity that borders the unbearable. A massive, overpowering cycle concludes this raw, expressive trip into and possibly through the locust, a challenging but ultimately rewarding run through Sendelica's home turf.

Da Captain Trips, like Sendelica, have an effective bass line as the arguable main engine in their excursions, but unlike Sendelica their take on psychedelic space rock is one best described as more refined. The instruments are more polished throughout, the individual instruments are rarely if ever providing any sharp, dramatic sounds. Improvised sounding material, just like Sendelica, but with the rough edges smoothed out and with a layer or three of polish applied. If Sendelica is Hawkwind's "Doremi Fasol Latido", da Captain Trips is "Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music".

It is interesting to experience two bands so similar yet so unlike on one album. Both play instrumental psychedelic rock with cosmic and space rock elements, both bands comes across as ones not strangers to improvisation, and at least in this case both bands feature compositions where the bass guitar appears to have a key role in maintaining flow momentum. Those who find descriptions of this nature intriguing will most likely find this production to be well worth acquiring.

 All Is Two by HUMINOITA album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 4 ratings

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All Is Two
Huminoita Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Finnish band HUMINOITA was formed back in 2009, and released their debut album the following year. They describe themselves as a band consisting of five musicians (and sometimes more), and appears to be more prolific as a live band than as a recording one. "All Is Two" is their second full length album, and was released through Finnish label Luova Records at the start of 2015.

It is easy to hear that this is a band with a fascination for many aspect of music, but they have chosen to hone in on what might be described as a psychedelic stoner rock sound of the vintage variety, as in more psychedelic than most stoner bands. Not in a flamboyant or dramatic manner, but carefully and with subtle ease.

Hard, booming vintage era guitar riffs is a key and prominent feature in most compositions, as are delicate echoing guitar details, gnarly but brittle riffs and psychedelic tinged and soaked guitar solo runs. A nervous electric piano finds it's way into the proceedings here and there, as do careful organ textures and nonverbal, layered backing vocals either soft or with a more chant-like expression. The saxophone makes some occasional visits too, and in one instance the flute is brought in to add an earthy, folky vibe to the proceedings.

Expanding the stylistic landscapes ever so slightly are textured guitar layers that adds a slight touch of post-rock to the proceedings, here and there some jazz-oriented instrument details will be tossed in too. The ebb and flow in intensity that is a clear tendency throughout also makes me suspect that these compositions does feature some improvised tendencies. Either de facto, or material developed in improvised runs that have later been developed and recorded proper.

It's difficult for me to define this album in a more precise manner than vintage, stoner-oriented psychedelic rock. Mainly instrumental at that, with occasional post-rock and jazz flavors brought to the table, and with an organic flow that does inspire associations towards material of at least a partially improvised nature. Those who find this description to be interesting are well advised to give it a spin.

 LordFish by LORDFISH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
4.00 | 1 ratings

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LordFish
LordFish Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars LORDFISH is a newer psychedelic leaning progressive rock band taking the city of San Jose, Costa Rica by storm and achieving an eclectic style of sounds all captured up in the world of trippy space rock. Their very first release is their eponymously titled EP that just nudges over the half hour mark at 33 minutes and 53 seconds. The band consists of five members with the usual space rock instruments on board such as guitars, organs, bass and drums but it's how LORDFISH play with different effects and mix and meld different styles of progressive rock with space and jam rock that gives them a distinctly unique flavor. Following the recipe of an interesting album plan, this short but sweet release consists of six tracks that vary substantially enough to create a compelling listen.

It all begins with the intro "An Epic Battle" which begins with what sounds like a heartbeat on keys but quickly becomes lost in a frenzy of echoed effects and swirling guitars. Vocalist Marcio Bonilla begins to recite poetry in English that gradually gets more intense while a second narration accompanies at a less frantic pace. "Sol" continues imperceptibly as the organ drone organ drone connects the two tracks with some jangly guitar noises and bass notes joining in and ratcheting up the tension. Cymbal action slowly falls in line as the keyboards start increasing the tempo until it all breaks into a more Pink Floyd type of space rock sound. As the longest track it continues to morph into a symphonic prog type of sound and then once again abruptly changes it up with heavy hard rock guitars, Rick Wakeman type keyboard wizardry and then some bluesy guitar soloing and this is only half way through the track! It morphs again with a funky bass line and then the rest of the pack joins in for a rather Santana-esque Latin rock jam that turns things around back into spacey rock territory and by the time the track ends it is more ambient space than rock. No sung lyrics on these.

"Dance Of The Madgod" begins with a heavy bass line, echoey guitar effects and vocals that picks up steam and becomes heavy rock laced with Santana-esque organs with a vocal style that reminds me of early 70s heavy psych bands however things change up and it morphs into a more post-rock type of sound for awhile and then a little circus music flair pops in. It ends with a heavy Doors type feel of quickened rock guitars with organ. "Sonatanas" begins as a J.S. Bach organ solo in Baroque style but slowly morphs into Krautrock bizarreness as the organ gets freakier and guitar, bass and drum jump all over the place. It turns into a spaced out run of non-melodic noise for a while but is woken up by a drumbeat and then becomes a retro heavy psych type of vocal jam with guitars on the heavy side with some nice proggy workouts. "Pig-Skin Veil" slows things down a bit with dripping water and thunderstorms ushering in a placid clean guitar run with spacier vocals and a post-rock type of atmosphere. The thunderstorm effects don't just drift away but pop in from time to time. A piano keeps the melody in play. "Requiem" begins with heavy guitars and enters hard rock territory with an alternating piano part that adds a unharmonious type of counterpoint while the bass and drum chug away. Nice guitar solo action as well as well as freaky breakdowns with funk guitar and effects.

I'm impressed with this debut from LORDFISH. They have a very promising sound indeed. They maturely tackle many styles of music and keep them going strong throughout the playing time. There is certainly room for improvement as the compositions could be a little more tightly configured and Bonilla could stand a bit more practicing in the vocal department but overall this is a very interesting slice of psychedelic space rock with all kinds of proggy touches. While influences are aplenty, none stand out as the dominate force and it never feels like anything was merely ripped off from another band. I'm confident that LORDFISH will only continue to refine their sound and create a much improved full-length album. For now, i'm impressed with this debut EP.

 Nature's Clear Well  by GALAXY album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.65 | 26 ratings

BUY
Nature's Clear Well
Galaxy Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars The only thing at all controversial or revolutionary about "Nature's Clear Well" is its backstory. Already somewhat hippy- dippy even for 1975, its release was delayed to 1978, and, in a monumental display of record company hubris, they unilaterally changed the name from Waniyetula to GALAXY, Having said all that, while we still can't quite hone in on the band's precise geographic origins - it's either Germany, Switzerland, or some agglomeration of the two - naming themselves after the Lakota word for winter was almost as brazen as the name change stunt. At least the music and lyrics are congruent with the GALAXY moniker. Yes it is a trite, generic band name, but that too is consistent with the contents of "Nature's Clear Well".

This is generally accessible prog with decent and frequent vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, and plenty of vintage keyboards. I'm reminded of the usual suspects, but also of GRACIOUS, NEKTAR, GROBSCHNITT, and even a few American bands of that time that I can't quite discern. While I'm obviously not a big fan, this is well played with a fair share of pleasant passages, but which are rarely dynamic or lasting in their impact. Similarly, the lyrics are not particularly strong but also not embarrassing. By far my favorite track is "Dreams out in the Rain", with everything you might want in a 6 minute prog song, from a fine melody to exquisite vocal harmonies and keyboards including mellotron flute.

In the universe of 1970s prog rock, "Nature's Clear Well" is obscure for reasons that have nothing to do with its contents, but even if it were better known to more of us, I doubt it would merit more than a tiny-fonted footnote. The band went on to release a slightly better album in the early 1980s under their original name. 2.5 stars rounded down.

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