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PSYCHEDELIC/SPACE ROCK

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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 | 3633 ratings
WISH YOU WERE HERE
Pink Floyd
4.60 | 3821 ratings
DARK SIDE OF THE MOON
Pink Floyd
4.52 | 3241 ratings
ANIMALS
Pink Floyd
4.30 | 2747 ratings
MEDDLE
Pink Floyd
4.21 | 904 ratings
OCEAN
Eloy
4.12 | 573 ratings
WARRIOR ON THE EDGE OF TIME
Hawkwind
4.16 | 274 ratings
LEGACY
Hypnos 69
4.40 | 60 ratings
OBSOLETE
Hedayat, Dashiell
4.07 | 2611 ratings
THE WALL
Pink Floyd
4.12 | 347 ratings
RITUAL
Nemrud
4.11 | 385 ratings
JURASSIC SHIFT
Ozric Tentacles
4.11 | 234 ratings
TOGETHER WE'RE STRANGER
No-Man
4.16 | 149 ratings
BY THE WATERS OF TOMORROW
Vespero
4.15 | 140 ratings
KINGSTON WALL II
Kingston Wall
4.06 | 496 ratings
A TAB IN THE OCEAN
Nektar
4.03 | 528 ratings
DAWN
Eloy
4.05 | 267 ratings
EVERYONE INTO POSITION
Oceansize
4.16 | 100 ratings
TAKO
Tako
4.02 | 448 ratings
THE OCTOPUS
Amplifier
4.11 | 125 ratings
THE FUTURE KINGS OF ENGLAND
Future Kings Of England, The

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

THE SUITE
Analogy
GAMELAN INTO THE MINK SUPERNATURAL
Psychic Paramount, The
CSILLAGOK ÚTJÁN (Ω VIII)
Omega
TAMBOURINE FREAK MACHINE
Dragontears

Latest Psychedelic/Space Rock Music Reviews


 Dark Side Of The Moon by PINK FLOYD album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.60 | 3821 ratings

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Dark Side Of The Moon
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by hi_t_moonweed

5 stars With a squillion and one reviews here, anyone who hasn't heard this album will by now have a pretty good idea of Dark Side of the Moon. Every now and then I will pull out a random album and listen to it in its entirety. Oddly enough DSOTM was my last random. My take on the album is that is like a classic car. There are battle scars from years of use and it is a little frayed around the edges. You immediately forget all that when you see it still has the classic lines and oh such a sweet ride. This is an album that if you do appreciate good music (of any genre) it would not be a waste of time to at least give it one complete listen. Personally this is a favourite album of mine and can easily be considered an essential acquisition, as such I have no problem with giving it 4.5 stars which I will upgrade to 5 as it is almost a masterpiece.
 Colours by ELOY album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.71 | 380 ratings

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Colours
Eloy Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by fenman

4 stars This is where I began with Eloy, finding a second hand vinyl in a record shop in Gilligate, York. I'd never heard of them before, but took a chance. It remains one of my favourite Eloy albums and, for anyone new to the band, the one I'd recommend to start with. Much more focussed than their space rock beginnings, less techno than some of their 1980's work. Their influences were becoming less obvious and the sound more their own. Though I enjoy their earlier albums, I find some of those tracks a bit too long and the lyrics less mature than here. The concept pair of albums, Planets and Time To Turn, followed Colours and follow the course found in this work. All the EMI albums were reissued (with bonus tracks) a few years ago in what was one of the most successful remastering campaigns ever - they sound glorious.
 Strangeitude by OZRIC TENTACLES album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.91 | 200 ratings

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Strangeitude
Ozric Tentacles Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Essentially their third album (although there were six early cassette releases that shouldn't be overlooked!), 1991's `Strangeitude' saw British festival psych band the Ozric Tentacles introduce more fully an electronic sound, although in very different ways from the programmed later direction the band would move into in their more recent years. The band had briefly flirted with electronics on both the `official' debut `Pungent Effulgent' and the follow-up `Erpland', but here it was perfectly grafted to their colourful psychedelic jamming and exotic ethnic flavours, often in a very heavy and intense manner that would in many ways remain exclusive to this album.

Opener `White Rhino Tea' sees the band burn through a range of gutsy electric guitar-driven themes and chunky upfront bass all unexpectedly played with the sleek heavier aggression of Rush, and light tribal touches, ambient synth breaks, busy snapping drumming and whirring keyboard wig-outs are also worked in. `Sploosh!', released as a single at the time and something of a classic Ozrics track, has looped sounds of water effects dripping around pulsing trance-like electronic programming with harsher interludes almost serving as a reprising `chorus', the piece growing more intense and unhinged as it progresses. Full of ancient world mystery, ravishing Arabic-flavoured acoustic guitars weave between purring bass and spiralling synth ripples throughout `Saucers', but pay close attention to how effortlessly the piece glides into a scorching space-rock burst and further hypnotic electronic drift in the final minutes.

The first half of side two's `Strangeitude' unfolds as a meditative eastern-flavoured ambient float laced with just a hint of unease before distorting into a hard electronic drum n' bass-like breakdown with twitching treated vocals and strident drumming, even finding time to tease with wisps of psychedelic glissando-guitar bliss. `Bizarre Bazaar' is one of those frantic up-tempo pieces the band does so well that unleashes wild acoustic guitar flourishes backed by busy drumming, bouncing bass and darting flute with fiery electric guitar snarls. Album closer `Space Between Your Ears' is a seductively chilled reggae/dub groove with purring bass slinking through pools of mellow synth washes before raging to life with mangled fiery guitar histrionics and bashing drums, making it almost an early run for later pieces like `Feng Shui' off their next album.

If you've got the CD version, the disc ends with `Live Throbbe', sure enough a live recording that's more-or-less a stomping drone that fuses Deuter-like meditative flute with plodding heavy drumming, wild guitar soloing and rising/falling electronics.

`Strangeitude' is definitely one of the Ozric's tightest and most focused albums, that doesn't sacrifice the liveliness and energy the group is known for, and the use of particularly heavier electronics makes it real one-off in their discography. `Jurassic Shift', one of their most popular and artistically successful moments was just around the corner, but the Ozrics had already hit gold with this one (hmmm, as well as `Erpland' just before it!).

Four stars.

 The Endless River by PINK FLOYD album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.36 | 621 ratings

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The Endless River
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by The Grand Vizier

4 stars A Pink Floyd album in 2014? After the historic one night reunion at Live 8 and the demise of Richard Wright it seemed to be highly unlikely. Shall we mention, however, that quite a few albums by Pink Floyd, including those of great fame, came to existence or had been critically re-shaped under unforeseen circumstances. Their first multi-part epic, the murky 'A Saucerful Of Secrets' was born in the creative struggle to fill the gap after the sudden collapse of Syd Barrett; Ron Geesin's involvement brought about symphonic arrangements on ATOM HEART MOTHER; an experiment with various household objects provoked them to split THE DARK SIDE's... follower into two (WYWH and ANIMALS); a spat on a fan triggered the construction of THE WALL, while Margaret Thatcher could have rightfully claimed her royalties for THE FINAL CUT. MORE and OBSCURED BY CLOUDS, two generous commissions from Barbet Schroeder, can also be added to this list.

The source of THE ENDLESS RIVER was unearthed by Phil Manzanera. Some years ago David Gilmour handed him over all those recordings of 1993 jams. Gilmour's initial intention was, perhaps, selecting several of these tracks as potential bonus material for coming re-issue of THE DIVISION BELL or future compilations. He, instead, received back a medley consistent enough to form an album. We do not know how much of that original construction made its way into the final product but it is obvious that the team of producers had really cared of its integrity. Neither of the remaining band members needed a sellout to do well and we can be sure they put this album out only because they sincerely believed they had achieved their goal.

It happened, nonetheless, that as soon as critics set about explaining all RIVER's oddities, they deployed their usual cliches and, as a result, produced several stereotypes that should be addressed. First is the claim that the album was composed of outtakes from THE DIVISION BELL. This wording goes down smoothly and, unfortunately, induces the idea that THE ENDLESS RIVER was based on the second-rate material, set aside by the band once upon a time - if only we can ignore the fact that almost all themes for both albums (66:32-long TDB and 53:02-long TER) were selected from the same 20-hour collection of jams recorded by Pink Floyd during their sessions in 1993. In order to designate THE ENDLESS RIVER tunes as "outtakes" we need to make sure they were firstly "taken in", unless one could seriously think that THE DIVISION BELL was supposed to be a 20-hour long opus but somehow 19 hours were excluded and the album shrank to its conventional size against all expectations. "Leftovers" is a better term but essentially in 1993 the band created a 'fund' of tunes and ideas to compose a double album: one disc was conceived as a collection of songs, the other should have become a set of purely instrumental numbers. For the first disc the trio selected tunes most suitable to develop them into songs and proceeded with work. At some point they realised they cannot have the second disk completed in time for the set date of release. Therefore they decided to postpone working on the second disk until after the tour but had never returned to the studio together before the demise of Richard Wright. One can argue rightfully that TER cannot be taken for the missing Disk 2 of TDB, for the band would have had a different attitude to work had Rick Wright been present in the studio. What one cannot deny is that TER was based on the collection of sketches written to make their way on a new disk, not on a mound of rejected nonsense. Otherwise we would also have to agree that 2/3 of ANIMALS are WISH YOU WERE HERE outtakes.

The second stereotype about THE ENDLESS RIVER is a view that the album is nothing else but a selection of seventeen instrumental patches and one song, connected by special effects. Such a claim cannot be prohibited or disapproved; it doesn't mean there is nothing more to say about the content and the structure of the album. In the end, one is free to affirm that THE WALL is just a pile of disconnected songs, half of them poorly developed.

Gilmour in his interview to the Rolling Stone (9 October 2014) states: "THE ENDLESS RIVER is a continuous flow of music that builds gradually over four separate pieces over the 55-odd minutes". These four pieces, strangely, have no other names than 'Side One', 'Two', 'Three' and 'Four', while the bits that constitute them all possess proper titles. I can clearly see the reason behind this arrangement and am going to discuss it later. This situation, nonetheless, provokes critics to engage in describing and valuing tracks with names rather than speculating about concepts and overall ideas. When I try to imagine, for instance, an ATOM HEART MOTHER review that has to deal with nameless

Side One

1. Father's Shout

2. Breast Milky

3. Mother Fore

Side Two

4. Funky Dung

5. Mind Your Throats Please

6. Remergence

Side Three

7. If

8. Summer '68

9. Fat Old Sun

Side Four

10. Rise And Shine

11. Sunny Side Up

12. Morning Glory

I can perceive the famous epic could be easily "overlooked" or "fragmented" beyond repair in reviewer's mind should we designate the compositions on the album this way.

It doesn't help us much when in the same interview Gilmour explains: "The only concept is the concept of me, Rick and Nick and I, playing together in a way that we had done way way in the past but had forgotten that we did, and was instantly familiar..." Most of the readers and critics, it seems, have understood this as "no concept as such". At the same time one can hardly deny that the album and each of its four 'Sides' are well structured. This means the band and the producers had come up with certain ideas and arranged all these bits and pieces into medleys accordingly. I believe that one should indeed pay attention to what David Gilmour says about the concept - he is known for choosing his words with caution.

Let us give it a try. If the album shows the Trio at work, then its bits and pieces reveal HOW they used to work ("it's what we do"). To achieve this, THE ENDLESS RIVER has to delve into the past of Pink Floyd. This collection of themes is, first of all, a recollection of the mood in the studio, creative efforts and the feel of togetherness that the Trio enjoyed in 1993. But this idea, in turn, sends us back to the entire history of Pink Floyd, those relations, emotions and exchanges that brought all their songs and albums to existence. THE ENDLESS RIVER is essentially a retrospective album unveiling to its listeners how Pink Floyd music was born.

In accordance with this idea each of the 'Sides' presents the band in a different "creative mode" (and mood). One can even see this album as Pink Floyd's 'Four Seasons'. Transparent Spring, flaming Summer, contemplative Autumn, harsh and abrasive Winter with its days once again growing longer: "this time together, rain or shine or stormy weather" is, perhaps, the line that has encapsulated the essence of the album. Four elements, Water, Fire, Air and Earth can also reflect the mood of each 'Side'.

'Side One' ('Spring' or 'Water' Side) bears strong resemblance to 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond'. Nonetheless, "Syd's theme" (the famous four notes) is not here. The intro ('Things Left Unsaid') is more similar to 'Speak To Me', and also to 'Cluster One' than to Part 1 of 'Shine On...', while the outro ('Ebb and Flow') sounds close to the last 30 seconds of the '... Crazy Diamond' suite, developed into an almost two-minutes long meditation. The slowly unfurling main theme ('It's What We Do') makes one instantly recall the flow of those poignant bluesy instrumental sections in the beginning of 'Sine On You Crazy Diamond' and especially its final Part 9. This link is meaningful: Gilmour allegedly called Part 9, composed solely by Richard Wright, a "parting musical eulogy for Syd" (http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/47616/Pink-Floyd-Wish-You-Were-Here/)

It seems, 'Side One' (where Gilmour and Wright share writing credits) without words proclaims THE ENDLESS RIVER a tribute to the late keyboard player. In a similar way the Requiem mass, conceived by Mozart and finished by Franz Xaver Sussmayr became, in the end, a requiem for Mozart himself. On its own 'Side One' also laments the "telepathic connection" between the bandmates that shines most vividly in the 1975 epic and, according to Gilmour, is gone forever with the demise of Richard Wright. Might this kind of inspiration be the most important thing "left unsaid"?

As a eulogy for the departed friend (and for the moments of magic that would not come back but will stay forever in memory) 'Side One', in fact, creates a vision of 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' suite without quoting it directly. In terms of structure it looks similar to the aforementioned epic, had it been streamlined - with sung parts and some instrumental variations omitted.

The mood of 'Side Two' ('Summer' or 'Fire' Side) is very different. As soon as 'Sum' takes off in earnest one can feel that 'Side One' was an extended prelude to the album, and here the action begins. With the first vibrations it takes us beyond the "classical" legacy to "pre-Dark Side..." days; powerful and complex drumming would make you instantly recall Nick Mason's flashing sticks at Pompeii amphitheatre. The drums push the assault, fiery keys fill the air with anger, and guitars' escalation goes on and on; finally, the attack crumbles into thousands of pieces. Inside a thundery cloud the battle continues until exhaustion. Synth pulsation resumes anxiously but soon it calms down. In the end, placid and confident piano cords arrive, supported by now subdued rhythm section. Together they set the stage for organised and matured musicianship in which every voice has a say. They make statements and raise disagreements but eventually manage to harmonise and unite. The struggle is over, time for peace has come.

'Side Two' represents the band young, adventurous and determined to shape their experiments into a statement that no-one would ignore. All bandmates seem to be around ("Certainly, Syd! Shall we, Roger?"), all ideas find their way into music, and this is how differences are settled. Here we see the early Pink Floyd at their best (or rather the Floydsters recalling and rekindling the flame of old days). One can notice how prominent Nick Mason's drums are on the first two ("advance" and "fighting") tracks of the medley - his only co-writing credits since forty years ago. Together with Roger Waters, Nick Mason happened to be a chief architect of the first Pink Floyd epic, the 12-minute 'A Saucerful Of Secrets'. The structure of 'Side Two' clearly follows the order of "movements" of the suite written in 1968. Again, it's far from being just a replica: 'Sum', unlike 'Something Else' has a melody. Its escalation resembles 'One Of These Days', 'Sheep' and 'Empty Spaces', while drumming would bring you memories of Eugene's axe and Mother's atom heart. The drum loop of 'Skins' is as tight as in 'The Grand Vizier's Garden Party'. The transitional 'Unsung' sounds more unsettled than mournful, and, in a similar way, 'Anisina', despite its name (meaning "In Memory Of..."), is not a requiem but an anthem. The latter is often seen derivative to 'Us And Them' but it seems to me that it bears a lot of resemblance to the earlier 'Fearless' as well. That song from MEDDLE, clear and cryptic at the same time, is all about overcoming fear and reluctance, rising above doubts and finding courage to speak out loud. With its "quarrel" and "reconciliation", performed by oboe, sax and guitars, 'Anisina', in my opinion, manifests the arrival of the "classical" sound of Pink Floyd after the phase of experimenting. 'Side Two', therefore, reflects main creative trends of Pink Floyd's "sturm und drung" years (up to MEDDLE and THE DARK SIDE...). It also shows how this mood re-emerged in 1993.

The mood changes once again with the beginning of the 'Side Three' ('Autumn' or 'Air' Side). This suite doesn't resemble a particular piece of Pink Floyd music from the past, and at the same time its composition is more peculiar than on any of the other three 'Sides'. It consists of seven themes: three meditations and three more traditional, rhythm-based "instrumental songs" take turns paving the way for the final. A quiet, contemplative intro and a sleepy, rainy jam ('On Noodle Street') are only a mini-prelude to the main five-part entity that starts with a cold and foggy synth meditation; the later explodes with a pulsating rocking theme. Interrupted by stately harmonies of pipe organ, the rocking theme resurrects and delivers us into a power field ruled by a grim simple riff that instantly starts growing, unleashing full force of Pink Floyd sound until a listener is turned into a grain buried in the endless granaries of the Universe...

Admittedly, many critics question the integrity of the medley due to constant change of tempo and mood. Some of them are particularly annoyed by the decision to insert a bit of Wright's pipe organ improvisations into 'Allons-y', turning what they call "a solid instrumental" into a set of allegedly inconsequential fragments. Such alterations, nonetheless, are fairly typical for prog- and art-rock. We can find few examples in classical music as well: the First movement of Vicaldi's 'Summer' is probably the most vivid instance. That piece undergoes four radical shifts in tune, tempo and volume in less than 3.5 minutes (the length of just two parts of 'Alons-y' stitched together). Vivaldi's piece for a band of strings and a keyboard perfectly reflects perpetual change of weather on a stormy summer day. Pink Floyd's 'Side Three' can similarly represent various transformations of atmosphere in the studio, both subtle and sharp. Those shifts set and reset the stage for exchange of ideas, discoveries and revelations. If we take 'The Lost Art Of Conversation' and 'On Noodle Street' for a mini-prelude, where the band looks so comfortable playing together in their studio on a rainy day but yet having no direction, the following five-part piece appears to be a very neatly organised medley, in which 'Night Light' plays the role of an intro, 'Alons-y' functions as a verse in a song, "Autumn '68" is an interlude and "Talkin' Hawkin" emerges as Finale Grande. Its somber growing force and almost frightening depth engulfs an unsuspecting listener in the end of his journey. Based on one primitive proto-riff, the theme serves as a culmination of the whole album.

The 'Side Three' seems to be very diverse in relation to retrospective allusions. 'On Noodle Street' brings about the mood of 'Crying Song' and of the quiet start of 'Sheep', 'Allons-y' with its pulsation and roaring guitars can be distantly related to 'Interstellar Overdrive', 'One Of These Days', some instrumentals from OBSCURED BY CLOUDS and the mentioned 'Sheep' but even more so to 'Run Like Hell', as well as 'One Sleep' and 'Terminal Frost'. Synth/organ meditations (courtesy to Richard Wright) refer to virtually every album he contributed to, starting with the coda for 'A Saucerful...' (and 'Cirrus Minor') and reaching full blossom on 'Shine On...' (with re-emergence on THE DIVISION BELL). Speaking about the final track, critics cannot stop comparing it to 'Keep Talking'. I would argue that musically its true relations are the crescendo of 'Empty Spaces', the acoustic guitar/synth sequence from 'High Hopes' and, through those two tunes, 'Welcome To The Machine' and Part 6 of 'Shine On...'.

Therefore 'Side Three' represents Pink Floyd building their epics (i. e. 'Atom Heart Mother' or 'Echoes') and developing concepts while working together. This attitude brought about THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, helped to finalise their classical albums and to create THE DIVISION BELL.

'Side Four' ('Winter' or 'Earth' Side) is dedicated to Floyd's most radical creative mode - despair. Nick Mason mentioned in his book that rather often Pink Floyd albums were conceived in "quiet desperation", even before THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON (which actually happened to be a happy exception from the rule). No surprise, desperation turned into a recurring theme of their songs. It emerged, probably, with 'Jugband Blues' (1968) by Barrett, and matured with 'Cymbaline' (1969) making the latter a bridge to the band's later albums. With the invention of murkier synth sound on 'Welcome To The Machine' (1975), and relations within the band slowly deteriorating, Pink Floyd entered their 'dark' decade (1977-87), culminating in THE WALL, a journey into radical alienation and embittered isolation. Does not the ambience of 'Calling' closely resemble the aura of 'Is There Anybody Out There' (although its sound has a lot in common with 'Signs Of Life')? One can also recognise metallic screech of clockworks from Syd Barrett's "room of musical tunes" in the background. 'Eyes To Pearls' reminds distantly of 'Goodbye Cruel World', linking it to 'Welcome To The Machine'. With 'Surfacing' we arrive to THE DIVISION BELL pastures ('Poles Apart', although one can distinguish the echo of 'Pillow of Winds' in those acoustic guitar cords). 'Louder Than Words' is the focal point in which the band re-captures the vibe of togetherness and one last time binds the three currents (2014, 1993 and the past) in a single flow. The tone of the song is understated: the last goodbye is not a time for a drama. Its quiet intro, nonetheless, is one of the most beautiful moments on the whole album where Gilmour-Wright telepathic bond shines upon a listener one last time. Its fleeting glimpse disappears in the soundscape that bookends the album.

The structure of the whole 'Side Four' follows the pattern of the second part of 'Echoes' (from "Whales' Screams" onwards) - out of the depth of despair - towards the light - to the horizon where the endless river opens into the sky. With three of four 'Sides' having their lookalikes in the previous albums it is difficult to dismiss these suites as mere collections of random tunes. As their vintage prototypes they tell us stories. These stories are not the same, on the other hand: the themes are different. As I am trying to demonstrate (and as per David Gilmour himself) they are all about the way (or ways) Pink Floyd created and played music. 'Side Three' is no exception. Although it does not resemble any singular composition in PF catalogue, it can be treated as a sketch for an album that does not contain 'epics' but is still essential Pink Floyd (such as THE DARK SIDE...). Shall we presume that every 'Side' of the album outlines a particular formula which the band used to find and develop their ideas?

I tend to approach the album as an interactive museum with the band in the studio showing us various attitudes and different patterns they can turn their wizardry into. Thus there is a reason why all these tracks are designed to sound familiar; we can also notice that they bear more substance than just copycat junk: each significant track makes references to SEVERAL previous compositions, tying the legacy of the band with new surprising bonds. Isn't it intriguing to find a link between the epics on the LIVE AT POMPEII and pieces from ANIMALS and THE WALL, or to trace connection between 'Interstellar Overdrive' and 'Terminal Frost' via 'When You're In', 'Sheep', and 'Run Like Hell'? I have already mentioned these allusions previously, speaking about individual tracks. Strikingly, different reviewers tend to find the same TER tracks to be certain "shameless rewrites" of totally different Floyd's compositions. All in all, I do not want to impose my judgement about the merits of this music on anyone. There cannot be a single true opinion whether the band has succeeded or failed. On the other hand, I would not call aimless an album setting on an errand to prove that even building up their monumental concepts Floydsters have never forgotten their own adventurous beginnings.

Treating TER as an interactive museum of Pink Floyd sound helps to explain one peculiarity of its anatomy: while there are no pauses between tracks, they do not segue into each other as normal parts of a suite would do. On the contrary, each ends with a clear "full stop". That is another reason why so many listeners refuse to see the forest through the trees and accuse the album of being somewhat patchy. It is, indeed, patchy, like a designer shirt that consists of many pieces with stitches as vivid as they can be, being still a piece of close, not a pile of cloths. After all, it is well-known that all those "epics" of the past were composed of bits and pieces seamed together, and THE ENDLESS RIVER simply lays this fact bare. In the end, the whole purpose of the interactive museum is to demonstrate some secrets of Pink Floyd's works. This also explains why the tracks bear proper names, as if they have stuck in the process of writing and arranging, while the medleys are lacking them.

There is another reason for "patchiness" of TER. In 2014 the band wanted to stick to the original material from 1993 sessions preserving the work of Richard Wright (in the case of two exceptions, they at least used the recordings from the same "fund"). They had no desire of adding on new tracks or radically re-writing those in existence. This is why, I believe, Poly Samson, the lyricist on TDB and TER, called the album Richard Wright's swan song (although for me that title has firmly stuck to David Gilmour's LIVE IN GDANSK). Once again, I would like to compare TER to infamous Requiem. Although Sussmayr had to write some parts in order to have the Mass completed, he made a decision to bookend the Requiem with Mozart's own music from the opening movement. This is why virtually everyone knows it as an authentic work by Mozart. Careful attitude to original recordings allows us to value TER as a true Pink Floyd album.

Retaining the original size of the tracks and highlighting their borders does not damage the integrity of the four 'Sides' that so obviously vary in character. Igor Kuryan, a Pink Floyd researcher from Kazakhstan, suggested to name each 'Side' after its opening track. Playing the "funky dung" trick the other way around, I wonder what kind of wording critics would have deployed in order to decipher and judge THE ENDLESS RIVER album consisting of just four tracks:

1. Side 1. 'Things Left Unsaid' 12:38

2. Side 2. 'Sum' 11:48

3. Side 3. 'The Lost Art Of Conversation' 13:39

4. Side 4. 'Calling' (including 'Louder Than Words') 14:50?

No chance of picking on 'Noodle Street' or of lamenting "butchered" Allons-y but there is something to consider. 'Things Left Unsaid' hints on the "unspoken understanding"; 'Sum' reflects integrity and determination of the band; 'The Lost Art Of Conversation' speaks about mutual attention and exchange of ideas; 'Calling', in turn, is a cry for help to break isolation.

The names of other tracks of any significant length also guide us along the course of the album. 'That's What We Do' and 'Skins' speak for themselves; 'Anisina' ("In Memory Of...") is Gilmour's tribute to Wright and the band's glorious years. 'On Noodle Street' presents the band jamming together with no point so far, while 'Allons-y' ("Let's Go") sets the target - "... we're here for a ride...". In "Talkin' Hawckin" the voice of a man destined to endure the most exceptional kind of human presence breaks through to tell a listener and the whole world how crucial it is for us to rely on our bond by speech. 'Eyes To Pearls' is a kind of enigma, whether it can be related to a "pearl-eyed" gaze, the "pearly-eye" butterfly or even to a Chinese proverb "passing off fish eyes for pearls" (each can be a matter of an elaborate "floydean" speculation) but 'Surfacing' is a clear transition between the somber opening parts of the 'Side Four' and its calm and spectacular finale. There are four little tracks with more "abstract" titles (and clearly auxiliary functions): 'Ebb And Flow' is an outro; 'Night Light' works as a true intro (or re-intro); 'Unsung' is a bridge, and "Autumn '68" is an interlude. These names can be interpreted within the canon but my review has already grown too long. Let me just make a point that tracks lasting longer than anything on The Beatles' REVOLVER occupy approximately some three fifth of THE ENDLESS RIVER. And in the end, the meaning is to be found not in tracks but in the medleys.

Taking this into account, let us also keep in mind that none of Pink Floyd concepts can be reduced to a single idea. THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, WISH YOU WERE HERE, ANIMALS, THE WALL and later albums all revolve around some point where general observations come in touch with very personal experience, whether they contemplate about recording industry, one's state of mind or power and aggression. THE ENDLESS RIVER, as much as it invokes the feeling of the band playing together, brings about the theme of interaction, communication, conversation. It comes up with some of the track names ('Things Left Unsaid', 'Unsung', 'The Lost Art Of Conversation', 'Calling' and 'Louder Than Words') and binds together the rest of them referring either to the past of the band or to the aura in the studio. All of the sparse vocal bits also speak about communication.

There is no surprise that the album reaches its summit at the end of 'Side Three' - after trying on all those various modes and moods of writing and playing music together. The lines, narrated by Steven Hawking are not just background noise; these words really concern both the human Universe and the microcosm within the band. Everything that our wizards of sound had achieved, was brought about by communication of ideas: take it away, and there is no Pink Floyd. But on the other hand, speech can be utterly divisive; it can estrange a human being from others and even from things we keep close to our heart. Isn't the infamous Wall just an obsessive narrative in the head of Mr. Floyd? 'Side Four' is a reminder: if we want to get out, we should trust unspoken understanding and endorse certain things that go unsaid.

Some critics have called THE ENDLESS RIVER an experimental album, and I would agree. If a circle of four long medleys constructed of 20 years old jams and sketches instead of conventional songs is not an experiment than what is? The settings this time are neither Syd Barrett's "room of musical tunes", nor the alchemist lab of UMMAGUMMA, not the furnace where bits of the 'Amasing Puddung' and 'The Return of the Son of Nothing' were melted into epics, not even the Large Personality Collider of the "classic" years. In 2014 Pink Floyd deploys a detector capable of catching a trace of ghostly particles sent by a remote star now long extinguished. And just as particles are ambassadors of the space-time they have been travelling through, bits of our speech unfurl the horizon of mutuality and understanding where words and phrases make sense. "Wandering and dreaming the words have different meaning". Yes, they did. Early in their journey Pink Floyd became aware of the peculiar space-time of human interaction. In their music the band tried to echolocate its vastness, to re-create its vibes, to be at home with infinity. Music written by Pink Floyd tends to reveal unspoken as a scene where events take place and words come together to be meaningful.

This is how I read the message of the album. Instrumental music, of course, is supposed to have many different ways to understand it. I only would like to highlight that my approach is based on both David Gilmour's own words and on all sung and spoken lines on THE ENDLESS RIVER, as well as on track titles, on structure of the medleys and on mood of the themes. This approach also allows to assign a rightful place for the band's fifteenth studio album in their 50 years long journey. Roger Waters once said that he tended to consider THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, THE WALL and AMUSED TO DEATH to be his most important creative involvements, his "great trilogy". Can we similarly perceive THE ENDLESS RIVER as the final act of Pink Floyd's "lesser trilogy", which also includes WISH YOU WERE HERE and THE DIVISION BELL and showcases the message from Gilmour and Wright in the most definitive and intimate way? "Wish You Were Here is essentially the closest rock music ever came to producing a meticulously structured and engineered, yet also totally heartfelt requiem mass", states George Starostin. John Mcferrin in his review on THE DIVISION BELL, insists that "... just as WYWH was largely an open letter to Syd Barrett, much of the album [TDB] largely functions as an open letter to none other than Roger Waters (the band has denied it, but given that I thought of this early on while listening and later found out this is the consensus among a lot of fans, I suspect there's something to it)." THE ENDLESS RIVER is a tribute which appears to be both a requiem in memory of Richard Wright and a letter to listeners unfinished by him and brought to completion by his band mates.

All this does not mean the album is totally flawless. My main complaint is about 'Anisina'. It was obviously supposed to be a stately anthem crowning 'Side Two' but its mid-tempo pace makes it sound a bit on the ordinary side. I still can enjoy the interplay of the instruments resembling so closely tensions in the band at work ("we bitch and we fight, diss each other on sight") but if only it could have been a little slower... Some other themes are too short for me, for example 'Sum' suffers from an abrupt finish just after the keyboard solo when our ear begs for repeating the main motif. The same can be said about the celestial intro to 'Louder Than Words', hinting on the first and final piano passages of 'Echoes'. However, there is nothing truly offensive in the whole album and I love it for what it is: it helps to establish that the sound of Pink Floyd was not a random anomaly encapsulated in 1970-s; it is pretty much alive, ready to invoke a conversation and refuses to be put on an appropriate shelve in H. M. History's archives. In the end, according to Plato, knowledge is recollection of something we had already experienced.

Therefore, when it comes to the rating, I do not have any reason to value this album less than OBSCURED BY CLOUDS. I actually think, these two experimental cycles have a lot in common. Thus let it be 3.5 out of 5 to begin with, but let us not forget that Pink Floyd's albums tend to grow on a listener who does not mind to go with the flow.

 Elevator by THE BAND WHOSE NAME IS A SYMBOL album cover Studio Album, 2017
2.90 | 2 ratings

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Elevator
The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars Smoke breathing apes always get my attention on album covers especially when it looks similar to the series of solo Kiss albums from the 70s with that jet black background and the stylized SYMBOL in the upper lefthand corner which i presume represents the identifying factor of THE BAND WHOSE NAME IS A SYMBOL (aka TBWNIS). This group comes from the capital city of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, North America, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way etc and is an example of one of the many newer psychedelic rock jam bands that is the closest thing i've heard to modern Hawkwind inspirations. While the band formed in 2008, fast forward to 2017 and they release not one but two albums! The first of these releasees is their 9th studio album ELEVATOR which exudes a 70s zeitgeist but employs all the modern technology to make it a crystal clear listening experience.

No credits seem to be given for instruments as the musicians are simply listed as "performers," but ELEVATOR contains the usual rock instrumentation with guitar, bass and drums with some ambient touches including a space horn on "Bridge Of Regret" the megalengthened 16 minute track on the album. For the most part ELEVATOR is a predictable psychedelic rock jam session with grooves emerging slowly at the beginning and picking up steam and repeating in a predictable looping manner. The style is much like early 70s Hawkwind before they got terribly complex in their ambitions. The music reminds me of them in particular because it is fairly heavy with strong distorted fuzz guitars, groovy bass hooks and hyperactive drumming action. Guitar solos sizzle on in tripped out manners once the music reaching the boiling point and all is entirely instrumental without a vocalist to be heard.

Well, Hawkwind may be the first thing to come to mind but this ain't Hawkwind. This is a fairly simple formula for getting lost in for sure and is a pleasant listening experience but there certainly isn't very much that stands out as dynamic, original or exciting. This is simple jamming sessions that extend out with subtle variations and not much more. While the production, tones, fuzz and passion are clearly there, i can't say this album blows me away and like the smoke coming out of the chimp's mouth, no fire either. After a near solid decade of pumping out albums, i would expect more from this band but i'm just finding them average and it doesn't beckon me to explore their discography any further. Having stated that, the track "Bridge Of Regret" is an awesome track with spaced out atmospheric intro that extends to the heavens into trippers paradise. This one reminds me of the long winding buildups of Acid Mothers Temple. The horn is a nice touch as it distinguishes the track from the rest. Good album but not much more. Cool album cover, smoking simians rule :)

 Surpassing All Kings by VESPERO album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.10 | 85 ratings

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Surpassing All Kings
Vespero Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Russian space rock cosmonauts offer up their second studio album in the form of Surpassing All Kings, which incorporates aspects of trance-inducing zeuhl and krautrock repetition to offer an offbeat musical journey. Natalya Tujrina offers a grand vocal performance and Arkady Fedotov's contributions on bass and synthesiser guide the bands through territories ranging from cosmic krautrock to jazz. The various compositions by and large are crammed with ideas, never outstaying their welcome even when they extend to over 10 minutes. With an energetic, twitchy atmosphere, Surpassing All Kings ties a rocket onto Vespero's sound and launches it into the stratosphere, taking it to new heights.
 One With The Universe by SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.12 | 14 ratings

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One With The Universe
Samsara Blues Experiment Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars Hey, when listening to that album you're inclined to say a quintet is playing here, though currently they are a trio in fact. And this applies to their live performances in the same way, unfortunately, I must say. Richard Behrens left the band after they had recorded the predecessor 'Waiting For The Flood', which totally slipped below my radar level. Second guitarist Hans Eiselt then eventually turned to the bass. So it took 4 years finally to arrive with a new effort. When talking about a possible quintet, band leader Christian Peters substitutes a second electric guitar due to a few overdubs and cares for proper keyboard stuff too.

They remain true to their fundamental music style on 'One With The Universe', which is a quite unique melange of blues, stoner and psych/space rock, hence could be summed up under the label 'heavy psych prog' at best, this occasionally garnered with some indo/raga feel. The matured compositions, five songs are given, two of them beyond the ten minute mark, are strong, absolutely convincing. As usual this is provided with an appropriate portion of heavy load, though basically relaxed and very melodic, rarely changing into a somewhat furious or aggressive approach.

There's a rather mellow start to state with Vipassana, though they're also turning into some heavy riffing parts featuring agile bass lines contributed by Eiselt. The synths and the soaring lead guitar later on are really appealing. Sad Guru Returns seems pointing to yogi Sadghuru Jaggi Vasudey, this probably presenting a link to the related solo project Surya Kris Peters. The prominent title track is provided with different stages, nice e-piano, plus a reference to Band Of Gypsys' Machine Gun, furthermore reminding me of Grand Funk Railroad when it comes to the uptempo parts and predominantly due to the bass. Highly recommended, they are still one with the universe as this is their best outcome so far.

 Arzachel  by ARZACHEL album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.64 | 171 ratings

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Arzachel
Arzachel Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars One of the big bangs of Canterbury Scene talent began right here after three young students: Steve Hillage, Dave Stewart and Mont Campbell met in 1968 at the City of London School. They soon hooked up with another, Clive Brooks and formed a simple blues rock band called Uriel (named after one of the archangels in Hebrew tradition) playing covers of Cream, Hendrix, John Mayall and The Nice. Then it got a bit complicated. After visiting London's famous Middle Earth Club they were indoctrinating into the cult of 60s psychedelia which steered their musical interests into completely new arenas. The new Uriel quickly caught the attention of Decca records but because their name sounded too much like "urinal," were forced to changed their name to Egg, however the contracts were signed as a trio without Hillage who had planned to return to his education and due to legalities when the band wanted to release an album together they had to choose yet another name and settled for ARZACHEL which is the Latin truncation of the Arab Muslim astronomer Abū Ishāq Ibrāhīm al-Zarqālī who created all kinds of new gadgets but the name was inspired by the crater on the moon. While Egg would soon deliver their debut album ARZACHEL managed to record this one single album that was recorded in a single 8-hour session and released it before Hillage quit the band to return to school. As expected from the influences on board this Canterbury Scene related act delivered a healthy dose of psychedelic blues rock although nothing on ARZACHEL's eponymous album really displays where Hillage would go with Khan, Gong and solo and likewise displays little of what the rest of the members would conjure up with Egg and later National Health. The strange thing about this one is that not only did the band change their name at the last minute for this album but the members all adopted aliases as well.

Basil Dowling (Clive Brooks) / drums Njerogi Gategaka (Mont Campbell) / bass, vocals Sam Lee-Uff (Dave Stewart) / organ Simeon Sasparella (Steve Hillage) / guitar, vocals

ARZACHEL threw together two distinct sides on their LP. Side one consisted of four groovy psychedelic blues tracks mostly with vocals all quite distinct from one another whereas side two consisted of more extended jamming sessions that offered a couple very tripped out acid dripping experiences. "Garden Of Earthly Delights" is probably the most Canterbury sounding track on the album with the harmonizing vocal effect of Campbell and Hillage and apparently made enough of an impression that the title (which originated from the Hieronymus Bosch painting) inspired the beloved prog rock label of the same name. "Azathoth" is an organ based piece that has a rather trip hop sort of beat to it and i could easily see this appearing on a DJs set list. Another vocal track that continues the Canterbury vibe without emphasis on the blues. The instrumental "Queen St. Gang" has a more funky bass groove to it and has the ultimate chilled lounge lizard vibe with lots of organ gymnastics. "Leg" begins as a psychedelic stew of organ noodling but breaks into a Cream sounding heavy blues psych number.

"Clean Innocent Fun" begins as a call-and-response between a unified vocalist / blues guitar lick and the hard and heavy organ which reminds a lot of the very first Led Zeppelin album that came out the same year only drenched in intoxicating doses of Pink Floydian psychedelics with heavy organ attacks, blues guitar runs and atmospheric freak outs. The yummiest treat of the album is the closing 16 minute and 19 second instrumental "Metempsychosis" (a fancy term for reincarnation) which is the most psychedelic and free form track on the album. It is obviously inspired by early Pink Floyd and while having the same alienating effect as their "Saucerful Of Secrets" track however the guitar is clearly more derived from their "Astronomy Domine" track. This one goes into interstellar hyperdrive with a heavy rhythmic drive and sizzling guitar solos, psychotropic organ runs and very much incorporates the most detached aspects of Floyd while going on a huge meandering jamming tangent that adds some of the best musical chops the band has to offer ushering the album out with a big bang of cacophony.

ARZACHEL is clearly a mandatory listen for anyone interested in the development of progressive rock's Canterbury Scene branch as it is the antecedent of the much greater works of its members at an early stage. While not as accomplished or original as their respective works as solo members or with Egg, Gong and National Health, ARZACHEL does have its own appeal as a psychedelic blues rock album. While clearly steeped in the influences they wear on their sleeves with not quite enough time to simmer them down into their own cohesive sounds, it's still an interesting listen nonetheless. The musicianship is clearly of the highest quality and although i've heard that the production values of the earliest pressings were not the best, my 2014 Prog Temple remastered CD sounds like it could have come out in modern times. This is an album i teeter back and forth about rating. The first time i heard it i loved it and it was a 4 star album. The second time i was less enthralled and it dropped down to 3. The third time i loved it again and it was once again a 4. While being fully aware of the weaknesses of the album which mostly resides in the lack of creativity in the compositions, despite this i love to listen to this one as it not only has addictive bluesy hooks with psychedelic fixings but also resonates as an interesting historical artifact of the prog rock world. When all is said and done this is an essential album to be experienced.

 Silent Cries And Mighty Echoes by ELOY album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.01 | 548 ratings

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Silent Cries And Mighty Echoes
Eloy Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Seyo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Oh my, oh my... Just when I finished praising "Ocean" in my previous review here, I stumbled upon their next album "Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes". There are two things about this album that stand for me the most.

First, the sound and style is almost the same as on the previous "Ocean". The formula was successful, so why not repeat it? Fair enough; we should not blame ELOY for something that many, if not the majority of, rock bands in this period did on a regular basis.

Second, as if I could hear Bornemann and his company saying: "Hmmm, they accuse us of imitating Pink Floyd too much in the past!? OK, then let's give them those mighty Floyds in abundance on this new album!" And they did just that. The seventh ELOY album is saturated with Floydian references from almost all their albums between "Atom Heart Mother" and "Animals", and this is especially evident on side A. Only "Master of Sensation" track stands out a bit, and it is really one of better and signature compositions by ELOY.

B side tries to offer more of their own true spirit, but the problem is that we have heard all these ideas in a better form on "Ocean" and even "Dawn". The closing "Mighty Echoes" tries, after several more Floydesque noodlings, to finish the album on a grand note and it succeeds in it only partially. So, if this is supposed to belong to something called "progressive rock", then I have an issue with that. There is no much progress going here; and given that ELOY looks often more to the past (both their own and of other famous Brit rock acts like PF) than to the present or future, I can only call this "regressive rock", if that makes any sense.

But, my misgivings notwithstanding, I have to emphasise again that this album is very nicely performed and produced and the band deserves a hats off for that. It is listenable and catchy music, so it kind of makes my guilty pleasure. Still, I cannot say that this album makes an "excellent addition" to a truly "progressive rock" collection.

 Resurgent Resonance by OHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Resurgent Resonance
Ohead Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Progfan97402

— First review of this album —
4 stars Another installment in David Hendry's space rock project OHead. Resurgent Resonance was released five years after the last one, Visitor and it's pretty much in a similar vein, although a bit more calm and more ambient. The overall feel of this album is Porcupine Tree circa The Sky Moves Sideways. A great deal of the more ambient parts of this album reminds me of "Moonloop". "Valley of Veils" bears more than a passing resemblance to Edgar Froese's Epsilon in Malaysian Pale, which I'm sure was totally intentional, as Mr. Hendry was a big fan of Froese/Tangerine Dream, and I'm certain he was paying tribute to Froese as he passed away in 2015. Other parts of the album have a bit of a Berlin School feel to it, while other parts occasionally flirt with heavy metal, particularly "Serpent in the Sky". "Blue Pyramid" and "Blue Pyramid Pt, 2" is close to Pink Floyd and early Porcupine Tree territory, with Gilmour-like guitar and "Moonloop" type of ambience. He gets some guests on this album, most notably John Simms of Clear Blue Sky (yes, the heavy rock band who recorded for Vertigo in the early '70s). The Ozric influence seems less than on previous albums (since Gaia's Garden, at least, as Steps Across the Cortex and Silent Universe is more like a techno/electronica version of the Berlin School sound). If you've enjoyed what Hendry/OHead has been doing since Gaia's Garden, you should give this one a try.
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Bands/Artists Country
3 LEAFS United States
35007 Netherlands
3RD EAR EXPERIENCE Multi-National
THE 4 LEVELS OF EXISTENCE Greece
ABUNAI! United States
ACID FLORIANI Russia
ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE Japan
AD'ABSURDUM Switzerland
AGAMEMNON Switzerland
AGUSA Sweden
AHKMED Australia
AHORA MAZDA Netherlands
AKASHA Norway
ALAMEDA 5 Poland
ALASEHIR United States
ALEX DELIVERY United States
ALGARNAS TRADGARD Sweden
ALHAMBRA Italy
ALICE France
ALIEN PLANETSCAPES United States
ALIENTAR United States
ALITHIA Australia
ALMUADEM Portugal
ALPES & CATHERINE RIBEIRO France
ALPHA NORD Germany
ALPHA OMEGA Australia
ALRUNE ROD Denmark
AME SON France
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
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