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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


Current Psychedelic/Space Rock Team Members
as at December 2014

Uwe (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 | 3003 ratings
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4.59 | 3176 ratings
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4.52 | 2674 ratings
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4.31 | 2244 ratings
MEDDLE
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4.23 | 743 ratings
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4.09 | 473 ratings
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4.12 | 269 ratings
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4.11 | 325 ratings
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4.12 | 227 ratings
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4.13 | 203 ratings
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4.05 | 2188 ratings
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4.04 | 460 ratings
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4.18 | 99 ratings
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4.04 | 389 ratings
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4.18 | 88 ratings
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Quantum Fantay
4.02 | 467 ratings
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4.04 | 243 ratings
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4.21 | 69 ratings
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4.04 | 237 ratings
EVERYONE INTO POSITION
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4.01 | 363 ratings
PLANETS
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4.11 | 105 ratings
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4.01 | 259 ratings
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4.34 | 40 ratings
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4.12 | 86 ratings
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4.01 | 226 ratings
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3.98 | 363 ratings
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3.98 | 336 ratings
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4.02 | 152 ratings
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4.00 | 160 ratings
I WASH MY SOUL IN THE STREAM OF INIFINITY
My Brother The Wind
4.11 | 70 ratings
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Mutantes, Os
4.07 | 85 ratings
JOURNEY
Brown's Kingdom Come, Arthur
4.04 | 91 ratings
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4.12 | 56 ratings
TRIP TO INNERSELF
Siddhartha
3.89 | 1478 ratings
THE PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN
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4.18 | 44 ratings
U VRECI ZA SPAVANJE
Tako
4.12 | 54 ratings
IMPRESSIONABLE SOUNDS OF THE SUBSONIC
First Band From Outer Space
4.13 | 51 ratings
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4.05 | 73 ratings
TRI-LOGY
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4.18 | 43 ratings
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4.04 | 74 ratings
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3.94 | 171 ratings
(MANKIND) THE CRAFTY APE
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4.14 | 47 ratings
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Igra Staklenih Perli
3.94 | 178 ratings
LEVITATION
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4.03 | 77 ratings
TUDO FOI FEITO PELO SOL
Mutantes, Os
4.00 | 94 ratings
BRIDGES OF KUKURIKU
Quantum Fantay
4.21 | 34 ratings
FANTASTIC FREAK SHOW CARNIVAL
KingBathmat
4.17 | 38 ratings
MANTRIC MUSE
Mantric Muse
3.88 | 357 ratings
REMEMBER THE FUTURE
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3.95 | 115 ratings
THE HIDDEN STEP
Ozric Tentacles
4.13 | 43 ratings
LIQUID
35007
3.94 | 127 ratings
CURIOUS CORN
Ozric Tentacles
3.85 | 1617 ratings
ATOM HEART MOTHER
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3.89 | 245 ratings
THE WEIRDING
Astra
4.11 | 44 ratings
THE BLACK TOMATO
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4.17 | 35 ratings
MASTER
Teeth Of The Sea
3.88 | 292 ratings
TIME TO TURN
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3.98 | 82 ratings
SUBKRAUT: U-BOATS WILLKOMMEN HIER
Vespero
3.91 | 161 ratings
ARBORESCENCE
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3.96 | 88 ratings
SYMBIOSIS
Hidria Spacefolk
4.03 | 58 ratings
TIME ROBBER
Omega
4.13 | 39 ratings
AHORA MAZDA
Ahora Mazda
4.51 | 17 ratings
ŘRESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE
Řresund Space Collective
4.03 | 56 ratings
WITHOUT INTRODUCTION
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3.92 | 118 ratings
JOURNEY OF THE SHAMAN
Nemrud
3.89 | 167 ratings
STRANGEITUDE
Ozric Tentacles
4.30 | 23 ratings
THE RESURRECTIONISTS
Crippled Black Phoenix
3.86 | 187 ratings
ECHO STREET
Amplifier
3.90 | 116 ratings
RETURNING JESUS
No-Man
3.95 | 74 ratings
LONG DISTANCE TRIP
Samsara Blues Experiment
4.76 | 11 ratings
PSYCHO ERECTUS
Polytoxicomane Philharmonie
4.16 | 29 ratings
2009
Korai Öröm
3.90 | 93 ratings
SOL29
NoSound
4.09 | 34 ratings
FORCE MAJEURE
Solar Project
4.08 | 34 ratings
AQUELARRE
Aquelarre
3.96 | 55 ratings
THE VIEWING POINT
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4.01 | 43 ratings
INTERGALACTIC ART CAFE
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3.86 | 114 ratings
FLOWERMOUTH
No-Man
3.85 | 132 ratings
WATERFALL CITIES
Ozric Tentacles
3.84 | 138 ratings
DEEP POLITICS
Grails
4.06 | 34 ratings
SUMMER SESSIONS VOL. 1
Causa Sui
3.92 | 66 ratings
200 YEARS AFTER THE LAST WAR
Omega
4.03 | 37 ratings
DROGA
Vespero
3.90 | 72 ratings
TERRAGAIA
Quantum Fantay
3.97 | 46 ratings
NEM TUDOM A NEVED (Ω VI)
Omega
4.00 | 40 ratings
THE MARIA DIMENSION
Legendary Pink Dots
3.84 | 124 ratings
LIGHTDARK
NoSound
4.15 | 24 ratings
IN TIME
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3.88 | 77 ratings
FRAMTIDEN AR ETT SVAVANDE SKEPP, FORANKRAT I FORNTIDEN
Algarnas Tradgard
4.08 | 29 ratings
BLUE CATHEDRAL
Comets on Fire
4.16 | 23 ratings
LEVIATHAN
Annot Rhül
4.46 | 13 ratings
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Qoph
3.92 | 53 ratings
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3.79 | 227 ratings
OCEAN 2: THE ANSWER
Eloy
3.98 | 39 ratings
A MATANÇA DO PORCO
Som Imaginário
3.91 | 54 ratings
MUTANTES
Mutantes, Os
4.85 | 8 ratings
UFO PLANANTE
Invisible Opera Company Of Tibet (Brazil)
4.48 | 12 ratings
TOBA TRANCE 1
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3.94 | 44 ratings
DELAYED
Algarnas Tradgard

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Latest Psychedelic/Space Rock Music Reviews


 The White Stag by UNICORN PORN album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 1 ratings

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The White Stag
Unicorn Porn Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars There is a time in your life when My Pretty Pony porn just doesn't cut it any more and the it's time to move on to the real hardcore arenas. So where does one go? Well the next logical step beyond is UNICORN PORN of course. An urban street lingo phrase meaning "sheet that ain't never gonna happen." Well, they didn't know about this band because happen it did. THE WHITE STAG is the product of a four year period of writing and recording and features two keyboardists (Matt Assel and Kristen Scheitler), Nate Larson on drums and Vanderveldt on guitars and anything else.

UNICORN PORN began much like Steven Wilson's band Porcupine Tree. It was all supposed to be a joke which is the passion of guitarist Nick Vanderveldt, it began in Olympia, WA and moved on to St Louis, MO. The band over the years has been under his sole control and has had a revolving door policy which means many a musician has come and gone. This is a jam band all the way around but what a pleasant array of sounds that emerge and despite parts lasting healthy segments of time i personally don't get tired of any of them.

This is psychedelic to the max but there are some serious rockin' segments as well, complex drum and guitar interactions lots of repetitive post-rock type meanderings that add subtle embellishments that keep the listener entertained. Tribal drumming and ambient effects that drift in and out of tune with the guitars is truly hypnotic. The music on this one is simply constructed but the improvisation behind it is fairly complex which reminds me of the best of classic jazz sessions in a space rock context. Great stuff and a splendid example of contemporary space rock that doesn't resort to blatant Pink Floyd ripoffs.

 Mondo Drag by MONDO DRAG album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.14 | 5 ratings

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Mondo Drag
Mondo Drag Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by floflo79

4 stars Mondo Drag is a heavy psych band who made the really cool New Rituals in 2010. Their new self titled album have the Blues Pills band at the rythmic section. Mondo Drag is a really cool album with a very vintage sound. Heavy psych in is pure tradition. Looks like Hawkwind or Grateful Dead. There are parts who looks like Pink Floyd (Pilliars Of The Sky looks like Celestial Voice). A really cool album that I enjoyed very much, It's actually 4th in my 2015 chart. I rated it 8,6/10. The compositions are not complex, the musicians are not really very talented, but the music is so cool and vintage. Rock !
 Mother from the Sun by RAGNI, MARCO album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.36 | 8 ratings

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Mother from the Sun
Marco Ragni Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by posterix

5 stars These songs are so beautiful they make me fly with my fantasy. I love the variations in the rhythm, melody, that underline the different meaning of the lyrics.

Indeed this is not new from this author however, I wish to know how he actually managed to accomplish such an opera and I wish to know more on the meanings he put in it especially because to a careful listener it is clear that there is a huge creativity at stake here. The whole album perfectly reflects the good quality of Marco's Music and yet he was capable of rising the bar once more. This is probably his Marco's masterpiece.

Marco' s music is very good but difficult to find, an example of how great music can grow unnoticed. I am really happy to find this author finally available online !!!

 Everyone Into Position by OCEANSIZE album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.04 | 237 ratings

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Everyone Into Position
Oceansize Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars If Oceansize's first album was a masterpiece, which it was, then this album is about as close to perfection as anything. What an amazing album. It is a testament that amazing music is still being produced. The genre is still somewhere between post rock and progressive metal. However, the sound is even more dynamic than before, the vocals are improved, even though they were great before, the music is more emotional and there is a more varied sound. The band is definitely doing an excellent job exploring sounds. I feel that in this album, Oceansize found their own sound. Many listeners say it is more straight forward than their previous album, and while that might be true, it is certainly a step forward for them. Their music has been fine tuned to almost perfection.

I really love this album. There is still the hardness from the previous album, but there are some amazing soft parts throughout the album and it rounds things out very well. The album starts out with "The Charm Offensive" which is reminiscent of the debut album and you get the impression that this is going to be great like the last one. You get that post-metal atmosphere but with a lot of expression, great vocals and a lot of ingenuity. In between the first track and the 2nd, there is a hidden track which starts off soft but builds quickly and sounds almost like a return to "The Charm Offensive", but this does have an official title called "emp(erical) error". It is easy to mistake this as an extension of the first track. Next comes "Heaven Alive" which is definitely a more mainstream sounding track, but still an excellent song. The vocals are still to the forefront and there is a nice solid baseline. Towards the last part of the song, the chorus becomes a multi-layered vocal that sounds almost like a choir of sorts that along with that ever present bass line, is an exciting and enticing sound. I love this track. Then you get the last of the 1-2-3 punch with the explosive "A Homage to Shame". This one is a solid track, very hard, very emotional and simply astounding. The multi-layered vocals return here but this time the choir has been turned upside down almost giving an opposite effect of the previous track. This has to be heard. That takes up the first part of the album.

Next we move on to more amazing music, albeit a little more mellow but still with a lot of substance, emotion and excellent musicianship. "Meredith", even though it is not as hard as the previous track, is a very complex song with changing and challenging percussion. The drums throughout this album are just plain awesome, beating out rhythms that normally would not match the meter of the songs at times, but still sounding excellent. It gives the songs a more sense of sophistication and originality, there is just no staleness in this album anyway. After this great track, we get the epic masterpiece and also one of my all time favorite songs "Music for a Nurse." How do you describe this piece of art? Now it seems that Oceansize is digging deeper into the post rock sound, adding some space rock, taking the style of the best Sigur Ros song structure, adding their signature multi-layered voice sound, tuning the vocals down further into the total mix (ala Devin Townsend style) and doing this they created an epic masterpiece that just sends shivers down my spine. The format of the song is pretty typical post-rock structure, starting out soft and simple and building to an amazing climax. The difference here is the beauty of the melody, which is based upon a complex chord structure and repeated with the plucked notes of the guitar strings. This is an old Classical Music style called a Ground where the melody is played by the low notes while other counter-melodies and variations are played around that base. The melody that provides the base for the song is beautiful and when the song starts, it is almost the only thing you hear, very much like a Sigur Ros song. Other guitars and percussion and more multi-layered vocals get added in and keep building the music as the emotions continues to build and the tension rises throughout the song. You end up with an orchestral sounding wall of music. Simply amazing!

Continuing on with the album, you get more amazing music, challenging rhythms in places, from this point of the album, the vocals usually stay mixed into the music so they become part of the entire song. I love this method of mixing the voices down into the music and like I said earlier, this is the same method that Devin Townsend uses and also why I love his sound so much also. The music continues to be excellent and original, but it wasn't enough for Oceansize to have just one epic masterpiece on this album. The last track "Ornaments/The Last Wrongs" is another excellent track and ends the album on a high note. This one is more dependent upon sudden dynamic changes, from soft to hard passages throughout and once again with those amazing multi-layered vocals that I love.

I like to compare this kind of music to Classical Music, but this is Progressive rock's version of Classical. It is complex, dynamic, original, emotional. It has it all. My own personal rating system uses 5 stars like ProgArchives, but I also add a 6th star for the albums that I think are perfect. There are not many albums that I consider 6 star albums, so I don't use it very often, only when I find something simply amazing that moves me beyond words. This is one of those albums. Of course, I can only rate this with 5 stars here, but to me, it is better than the debut album, and that is also a 5 star album. Really, I love this album that much. I love the fact that this band progressed even further than on the previous album, that they have made their own sound here. The previous album was compared to Tool, but this album explores into territory that is only touched by the experts, namely Kayo Dot, Sigur Ros, King Crimson, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and so on. They not only explored these sounds, but they carved their own niche in this music style. Excellent album, definitely essential in my opinion, this one should be considered one of the best modern progressive albums. But that's enough praise from me. Don't keep putting this one off so long like I did. Listen to it and hear the level of emotion present. Even if you aren't dripping with praise the way I am, you will still probably agree that this is some of the best new prog available. 5 glowing stars!

 Mother from the Sun by RAGNI, MARCO album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.36 | 8 ratings

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Mother from the Sun
Marco Ragni Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Angelo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars What happens if you take the best things of almost 50 years of psychedelic music and space rock, a bit of jazz rock and add a bit of 21st century technology and composition techniques? Depending on who you are, it could go two ways: either it becomes a mess or you end up with something bordering brilliance. If you are Marco Ragni, you end up with an album called Mother from the Sun, that easily fits the second way.

When Nick Katona of Melodic Revolution Records asked me if I wanted to review the album, I had never heard of Marco Ragni. That's a risk of course - reviewing something you don't like is not a fun thing to do, and in cases like this, it likely doesn't help the person asking for the review. After listening to a single demo track (Into the Wheel of Time) I agreed to review, because I was surprised by what I heard. First of all because I really liked the music, but also because this happened around the time Pink Floyd's The Endless River was released. I was having discussions on what that band could have delivered if they had composed new material in 2014 instead of releasing recordings made 20 years ago. What I heard in that first track of Marco Ragni's album seemed to be one of the possible answers to that question. It was, and it wasn't, because of course Pink Floyd is Pink Floyd, and Marco Ragni is Marco Ragni. Reality is that Ragni does put down a fine piece of psychedelic progressive rock with this album, that addresses the struggle Man's dealings with Mother Earth. It is a double CD, of which disc one addresses the gradual destruction of our planet by human behaviour, and the rising consciousness of this fact, and disc two goes on about what happens once Man re-establishes the balance between his behaviour and the rest of nature, after going through a process of inner growth. All of this is laid down musically in a style that is related to, but different from that of bands like Pink Floyd and Eloy, that also shows some jazz rock influences , but is at times also a bit heavier than aforementioned bands - in a way that resembles Porcupine Tree at the time of The Sky Moves Sideways.

It is worth noting that Marco Ragni is a multi-instrumentalist, and takes care of all lead vocals, bass guitar, keyboards, mellotron and drum's programming (no real drummer on this album, unfortunately), and a large part of the electric and acoustic guitar playing. On acoustic guitar, Giovanni Menarello and Davide Gazzi play along on some tracks, while Enrico Cipollini plays electric guitar on two tracks. Enrico di Stefano plays saxophone on four tracks and Luigi Iacbone adds a flute on three others. Backing vocals, where applicable are taken care of by Marco's girlfriend Allesandra Pirani (who also wrote a large part of the lyrics), Pamela Anna Polland, Silvia Mazzetto and The Bizarre Talisman Choir.

The opening track of Disc One (The Rise and Fall of Human Heart) is the same one I heard as a sample of this album Into the Wheel of Time. It immediately feels like a modern era Pink Floyd, with the keyboard opening that develops into a solid guitar solo. The vocals are slightly high pitched, and maybe on the edge of Marco's range, but not unpleasant to listen to. At the end of the track, we are treated to very nice saxophone solo, with a slight jazz rock touch to it, accompanied by guitar and bass.

This is followed by Sea of Vibes, the first of three very long tracks (15+ minutes) on this album. This one does honour its title, it literally is a sea of vibes. The acoustic guitar intro and the first two verses reflect happiness and bliss, followed later by fear and a form of despair. All of this is reflected in the music - the acoustic guitar part is followed by a guitar solo, and a sort Porcupine Tree like soundscape in which guitar and keyboards guide us through the different vibes. The anger of the guitar at the end matches the despair of the last verse 'I haven't strength to face you, I haven't planned to change this flow'...

The acoustic one minute interlude Panting again brings to mind Pigs on the Wing, in terms of sound, but only slightly. It leaves Man catching his breath after a first realisation that something is going wrong.

I called Painting an interlude, because it separates Sea of Vibes from the second long track on the album, Haven of Marble. This one is about the damage Man does to our planet, and reflects some of the discussions between those involved and those opposing it. It starts on in a melodic, mellow way, but develops into another soundscape that ends with an angry guitar solo. The final verse, accompanied by acoustic guitar seems to bring hope, while the sound of a clock suggests time is ticking away. The ending is instrumental, with another saxophone solo accompanied by keyboards, leaving us in a slightly minor mood.

Faint Memory then is another short piece, with acoustic guitar as the main instrument, accompanied by background sound effects. Man starts to regain his feelings for Mother Earth.

The Light is Burning is the second short piece, which tells how Man realises his mistakes, accompanied by a late '60s guitar sound, and a matching psychedelic guitar solo. It is followed by Turning back the Clock, which features multiple voices (all Marco's) in the lyrics, accompanied by acoustic guitar. Man finds out what really matters: "Only now I realise, I've been wrong the whole time"

That is the bridge to Disc Two, entitled The Awakening of Conciousness. This disc opens with the 22 minute long track, Far Beyond the Line. Spacey keyboards and guitars accompany the vocals that describe Man's 'awakening of conciousness'. Once the vocals stop, the acoustic guitar and flute (or is it a synth on this track?) allow the listener to visualise for himself what man has done and has to do next. Then, a sudden electric guitar seems to reflect Man pulling out his own hair in despair while finding out how to continue. This leads to a 1980s Gilmouresque guitar piece accompanied by church choir like chants, which is then followed by Man's desperate confession of past mistakes, accompanied by acoustic guitar again. After the confession, a long instrumental part starts, with a slick guitar solo, and saxophone and keyboards building another psychedelic soundscape. The vocals and electric guitar return for a final verse, about Man returning to active duty as maintainer of our planet, and a somewhat trippy instrumental part. The multi-vocal chanting and screaming at the end is a surprising part, that does not and at the same time does fit the track.

After this challenging piece, a short instrumental The First Time I Saw the Sun with piano and electric guitar leading, brings us back to quieter atmospheres, paving the way for Skies Painted by the Wind. As the vocals tell how Man sees that his efforts to re-establish balance with nature are working, the flute underneath an acoustic guitar mimics the wind that paints the sunny sky.

The positive mood now continues into In the Air. The acoustic guitar is replaced by a picked electric one, but the flute remains, as Man walks through the fields and talks with the earth, the wind, the sun and the rest of nature. Marco Ragni's bio mentions his interest in the Californian hippie culture of the 1960s - this song would have fit in that time and place perfectly.

The walk through the fields ends with Man breathing and enjoying the air, in the short acoustic and electric guitar piece Breathing that again features some very nice saxophone work. With filled lungs, Marco continuous singing in a lower register (closer to his natural voice, from the sound of it) on Northern Light. The way this is sung, combined with the fuzzy guitar sound somehow bring the feeling of balance, man becoming one with nature again: "Feel me, I'm a part of you". This carries on into the short outro Mother from the Sun, in which programmed strings and a simple guitar accompany the closing lyrics.

The final word of the lyrics is "Begin", and that is what I did after the record ended - begin again, for another listen. Partly to make sure that I heard correctly what I heard, partly to find out if there was more to be heard. This album is so long, and so much is going on that it is easy to miss things, but also to discover new things on every listen. In a way, this is one of the nicest albums I've heard in the past 10 years, and it will get a lot more playing time for sure. Highly recommended for fans of Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, psychedelic rock in general, or Marco Ragni himself.

 An Escalator to Christmas by I.E.M. album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1999
2.87 | 11 ratings

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An Escalator to Christmas
I.E.M. Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This is a short 12" single put out to promote another one of Steven Wilson's projects. The overall feeling of this is a lot like the space rock side of Porcupine Tree. There are two songs on this single/E.P. The first side is a multi-track suite called "An Escalator to Christmas" which overall lasts 10 minutes and goes by rather quickly. The suite is divided up into 10 short tracks, but only 3 of them actually have music on them while the other tracks have sound and voice snippets that tie it all together. I am not sure what the concept behind this is, but the sound and voice bits are somewhat humorous, yet tragic sounding also, almost what you would expect from Steven Wilson. The 3 parts of the suite that are actually musical are definitely short studies in spacey instrumentals. "Sign Language" is more upbeat with a strong bass line and a strong percussion throughout with spacey keyboards and an occasional strong guitar solo being the main focus. "An Escalator to Xmas" is a very minimal bongo-like sound with a psychedelic organ and sustained guitar notes floating around. "In Place of a Requiem" is more spacey and seems to be all keyboards playing sustained notes that fade in and out. These three musical sections are very short, not lasting more than 3 1/2 minutes each, so just as you are feeling it, the suite passes on to another track.

"Headphone Dust" is the b-side and is a +6 minute instrumental that finally lasts long enough for you to be taken away into the music. It is very mellow and spacey and again takes on the sound that you can hear on the early Porcupine Tree albums. If you liked PT's albums like "Sky Moves Sideways" then this might interest you, but this isn't long enough to really have much of an effect. As for "Headphone Dust", you can actually find that track on the CD version of the I.E.M. self titled album, so this particular release is only of interest for collectors, which would be happy to have this rare find as part of their collection. Otherwise, there really isn't a lot of value to this single.

 Lizards Exist by LIZARDS EXIST album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.55 | 4 ratings

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Lizards Exist
Lizards Exist Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Lear'sFool

5 stars This album is the result of the work of four talented and dedicated musicians who uniquely and rather nobly have decided to go back to analog - not necessary but it makes for a treat. And luckily enough, the actual music on this record is some of the finest instrumental space in a long time. They know what their doing both in songcraft and in production, so their magnificent soundscapes and guitar work come out strong and warm. This is just killer and beautiful at once. "58" sticks out as the best track, but the other three, least of all the seventeen minute long "Anunnaki Dance", are not slackers. Simply a wonderful listen that comes out like a lost gem of '70's space dug out from some record company's basement, set to finally blow minds. Highly, highly recommended.
 Lizards Exist by LIZARDS EXIST album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.55 | 4 ratings

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Lizards Exist
Lizards Exist Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Argonaught

4 stars Towards the end of 2014 I decided I was going to review as many new albums by new (less known) artists as I could. Unfortunately, too many albums that I "forced" myself to listen to ended up being a regrettable inwastement of emotional energy .. well, at least I can get some solace from the fact that a few hundred dollars went towards the noble cause of "supporting art" .. whatever.

Thankfully, the Lizards Exist turned out to be a real treat - and the only 2014 debut album I really liked and am going to listen to again (and again). Here is why, in broad strokes:

- The quality of production leaves nothing to be desired - The songwriting is absolute top-notch - In the "taste and measure" category, the Lizards score as high as Pink Floyd in their heyday - The album is fully instrumental, which is a huge plus in my eyes - You can call me a weirdo to my face, but album titles are important. Lizards Exist is one of the best album titles "prog" artists have ever come up with. Ever. - The Lizards plays very well in the car and other less-than-hifi circumstances

Here is one and only thing that keeps me from awarding the Lizards 5 stars: boy, do I wish the bass and the drums (especially on "58") were a little jazzier .. can't feel them groove (I guess?).

Please, please get this album out on a physical carrier, with proper album art. I would definitely love to have it on vinyl.

 Effloresce by OCEANSIZE album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.04 | 243 ratings

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Effloresce
Oceansize Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Oceansize is an excellent band using elements of post-rock, heavy prog and just a touch of space rock, though the latter is used sparingly. Think of them as a very original sound, sort of what Tool would sound like if they used post-rock type sound similar to Godspeed You! Black Emperor but with vocals. They have a heavy use of dynamics which are very important in their music, even at times more extensively than Tool does and more freely then GY!BE. This combination of sound creates music that is unique to Oceansize.

This album was their debut full-album, and it surpasses any expectations. The music goes from soft and flowing vocals and instrumentals to harsh and loud sounds approaching heavy metal at times, even more extensively than later Porcupine Tree does. On this album, the variation in dynamics is most apparent on the epic longer songs. For example, "Massive Bereavement' is a masterpiece of a song that uses dynamics throughout it's 9+ minutes run time to create something that is spectacular and original. This particular song, one of the big standouts on the album, features a collaboration with another famous prog band "Can". I'm surprised that hasn't been mentioned, especially with all the praise given to this song in the Archives. Don't worry, though, this is not the only masterpiece of prog on this album. "Saturday Morning Breakfast Show" is another example of perfect dynamic use with some soft sounds interrupted suddenly by heart-pounding riffs and hooks. "Long Forgotten" is a long and beautiful ballad, but not a ballad in any traditional sense.

This is prog at it's best and it puzzles me as to why this band isn't receiving the popularity in prog circles the way it should be. Lovers of Tool who are looking for more music of the same caliber, yet is not a copy, should listen to this music. It took me long enough to discover them even after being a fan of the song "Music for a Nurse" and a few other tracks that I had heard, knowing that I needed to pick up music from them. I wish I hadn't waited so long. Now I will be recommending Oceansize to all lovers of the harder side of progressive music.

Inventive, dynamic, stellar musicianship, great vocals with a lot of emotion especially at the louder sections, this album and band has it all. Even for a debut album, this music shines and rivals the best progressive bands in existence. Even the shorter tracks are inventive and more than just filler. Great music. I can't praise this music enough. This should be considered a masterpiece. 5 stars.

 A Saucerful Of Secrets by PINK FLOYD album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.65 | 1275 ratings

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A Saucerful Of Secrets
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars After a debut album dominated by frontman Syd Barrett, PINK FLOYD's second release A SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS remains unique, mysterious and strange in not only their own discography but in musical history as well. First of all, it was created in the midst of Barrett's emotional breakdown which left the band to fend for itself and literally reinvent itself in the process. It is very much a transitional album that ushered in David Gilmour while still having Barrett on board. The result of all this turmoil makes this album feel like a grab bag of different sounds and moods and if you approach this as such instead of a full-fledged album that is coherent in nature then you might appreciate it more. It also has the only track in the band's career that features all five members of the band's history on "Set Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" where both Barrett and Gilmour cross paths for a brief moment in time to create a fleeting musical experience.

Like the debut "Pipers At The Gates Of Dawn" this one was a slow burner and didn't really hit me upon first listen but i continued to listen to it because a few tracks stuck out more than others. Like much progressive music it needs to incubate in your subconscious before unleashing its magic. Such is the case with this album as well. This album overall is still very much rooted in the very popular 60s psychedelic pop / rock scene but as with most PINK FLOYD music it has an extra oomph and panache that adds small almost imperceivable layers of sophistication to its final mix.

The tracks vary widely on this one ranging from the upbeat guitar riff oriented intro with psych organ which breaks into the mid tempo lugubriousness "Let There Be More Light" which flows perfectly into the following "Remember A Day" with its cool guitar slide action and piano followed by a groovy 60s riff in tandem with the intro about mourning and loss. "Set The Controls..." is unique in that it has some seriously rolling drum action that accompanies its downer effect. The out of place tracks of "Corporal Klegg" and "Jugband Blues" kinda go together in that they are more upbeat and semi-folky with kazoos and bring 30s Dixieland jazz bands to mind more than anything 60s but for me the true treasure of this album is the space-age bizarre title track that to this day still gives me shivers when i hear it. It really feels like a close encounter of some kind where the aliens are beaming down a musical pattern to help humans decipher certain patterns in the universe aiding us in avoiding self-destruction.

As stated, this album is really a mess if taken as an album, but as a collection of single tracks i have REALLY grown to like this. This dystopian in nature album perfectly coincides with that of the world in 1968 when astrologically and culturally the world was going through a serious upheaval in every possible way. In the world of popular music it was no different as evidenced by this strange second album by PINK FLOYD that couldn't have been created by sheer planning. Despite loving their 70s output i really find myself gravitating towards their 60s albums more often. Even though i wasn't around to experience the glorious 60s in their heyday nothing transports me there more quickly than a sonic exposure to a PINK FLOYD album in their full psychedelic regalia. An acquired taste for sure but if you do indeed get a hankering for such a sound then this album takes you on a wilder ride than even their debut which i find to be a much more consistent experience.

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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
AGAMEMNON Switzerland
AGUSA Sweden
AHKMED Australia
AHORA MAZDA Netherlands
AKASHA Norway
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 OMEGA Australia
ALRUNE ROD Denmark
AME SON France
AMONULLUNOMA Ireland
THE AMORPHOUS ANDROGYNOUS United Kingdom
AMPACITY Poland
AMPLIFIER United Kingdom
ANALOGY Italy
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
APPALACHIAN TRANSLATOR United States
APRYL FOOL Japan
APTEKA Poland
AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR France
AQUANAUT Australia
AQUASERGE France
AQUELARRE Argentina
ARCADIUM United Kingdom
ARCHITECTURAL METAPHOR United States
ARILYN Germany
ARZACHEL United Kingdom
ASSEMBLE HEAD IN SUNBURST SOUND United States
ASTRA United States
ASTRALIA Italy
ATAVISM OF TWILIGHT United States
ATAVISMO Spain
ATAXIA United States
ATHENE NOCTUA Italy
ATLETA Spain
ATOMIC SIMAO Ukraine
AVARUUSKORPRAALI PAHA HIRVI Finland
AXE United Kingdom
AYAHUASCA DARK TRIP Multi-National
AYERMANIANA Argentina
BABILS Belgium
BABY GRANDMOTHERS Sweden
BACHDENKEL United Kingdom
BACKSTREET ROMEOS Germany
BAIKAL United States
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BARDO POND United States
BARN OWL United States
BARRETT ELMORE Sweden
MASAKI BATOH Japan
BËIRUTH Spain
BEYOND-O-MATIC United States
BLACK BOMBAIM Portugal
BLACK LIGHT SECRET United Kingdom
THE BLACK NOODLE PROJECT France
BLACK SCIENCE United States
BLAND BLADEN Sweden
BLIM United Kingdom
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BLUE PHANTOM Italy
BOAT BURNING United States
BOSQUES Argentina
CHRISTIAN BOULÉ France
BRAINSTORM Australia
DAVE BROCK United Kingdom
BROTHERHOOD OF THE MACHINE United Kingdom
ARTHUR BROWN'S KINGDOM COME United Kingdom
BURNT NOODLE United States
ROBERT CALVERT South Africa
CAMEL United Kingdom
CANTERBURY GLASS United Kingdom
CAPITAL SENTIMENTAL Netherlands
CARLTON MELTON United States
THE CARPET KNIGHTS Sweden
CARRÉ.LADICH.MARCHAL Multi-National
CATHARSIS France
CATS ON THE ROOF Ukraine
CAULDRON Sweden
CAUSA SUI Denmark
CENTRIC JONES United States
LES CHAMPIGNONS Canada
CHARLIE & ESDOR Sweden
CHICKENCAGE EXPERIENCE Germany
CHILLIWACK Canada
CHIMERA United Kingdom
CHROMA KEY United States
CIRCLE Finland
CIRCUS 2000 Italy
COBALT BLUE Brazil
COCK C'NELL Japan
COLD SUN United States
COLORSTAR Hungary
COLSTER Italy
COMA STEREO Slovenia
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LA COMPAGNIA DIGITALE Italy
LAS COSAS Argentina
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COSMIC TRIP MACHINE Belgium
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CRONOMAD Mexico
CROW United Kingdom
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CUCUMBER FARMER Finland
CUZO Spain
D SOUND Hungary
D'ARCANA United States
DARK BUDDHA RISING Finland
DARK SUN Finland
DARXTAR Sweden
DASPUTNIK Finland
DATETENRYU Japan
ALAN DAVEY United Kingdom
DAY OF PHOENIX Denmark
DAY SHIFT United Kingdom
DE CRONOPIOS Argentina
DEAD MEADOW United States
DEAF SCENE United States
DEEP SPACE DESTRUCTORS Finland
DEIGEN Japan
EL DIABLO Mexico
DOMO Spain
DR HASBEEN United Kingdom
DR. TOTEM Mexico
DRAGONTEARS Denmark
DRAGONWYCK United States
DRAHK VON TRIP Sweden
DREAM MACHINE United Kingdom
DRUNKEN GUNMEN Australia
DUNGEN Sweden
THE EARLIES Multi-National
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EASTERN SYNDROME Russia
EATING.SEATS Italy
EDEN ROSE France
EGO ON THE ROCKS Germany
THE EGOCENTRICS Romania
EGYPTIAN KINGS Portugal
EIDETIC SEEING United States
EKOS Mexico
EKTROVERDE Finland
ELECTRIC MOON Germany
ELEVATOR Canada
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ELMER GANTRY'S VELVET OPERA United Kingdom
ELOY Germany
AN EMERALD CITY Multi-National
THE ENTRANCE BAND United States
ESCAPADE United States
ETER-K Peru
ETERNAL TAPESTRY United States
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EYE United States
F/I United States
THE FACEDANCERS United States
FAIRUZ DERIN BULUT Turkey
FALSOS CONEJOS Argentina
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FAR EAST FAMILY BAND Japan
FAR OUT Japan
FARFLUNG United States
MICK FARREN United Kingdom
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FIRECLAN United States
FIRST BAND FROM OUTER SPACE Sweden
FISH EYE LENS United States
FJODOR Croatia
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FLOORIAN United States
THE FLOW Greece
FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND Japan
FLOWERS MUST DIE Sweden
FÖLLAKZOID Chile
FONYA United States
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FORCE MAJEURE Hungary
FRAKTAL Argentina
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FROLIC FROTH Mexico
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FUNGAL ABYSS United States
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GALACTICKA Finland
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GALAXY Switzerland
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GHOST Japan
THE GIANT HOGWEED ORCHESTRA Finland
GLOSSOLALIA Multi-National
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GOAT Sweden
ALAIN GORAGUER France
CARY GRACE United Kingdom
GRAILS United States
GREEN MILK FROM THE PLANET ORANGE Japan
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GREYLEVEL Canada
GROUP 1850 Netherlands
GROWING SEEDS Germany
GUILD NAVIGATORS United States
HANADENSHA Japan
HANDLINGNOISE Finland
HASH JAR TEMPO Multi-National
HAUNTED LEATHER United States
HAWKWIND United Kingdom
A HEADFULL OF MONSTERS United Kingdom
THE HEADS United Kingdom
HEAVY WATER EXPERIMENTS United States
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HELLBENDER United States
HEPTAGRAM Bulgaria
HERE & NOW United Kingdom
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HILLS Sweden
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HOLY RIVER FAMILY BAND Sweden
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HOUSE OF NOT Canada
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HUMANOID Canada
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ID United States
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IKIHEVONEN Finland
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IMANISSIMO Indonesia
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INCANDESCENT SKY United States
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INSIDER Italy
INSTANT FLIGHT Multi-National
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THE INVISIBLE BAND! United Kingdom
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ION QUEST United States
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IT'S NOT NIGHT: IT'S SPACE United States
IVORY Germany
IXTHULUH Austria
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JACKS Japan
JADE France
JADE WARRIOR United Kingdom
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JUKE France
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KANZEON Japan
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KARUNA KHYAL Japan
ROSE KEMP United Kingdom
PAUL KIDNEY EXPERIENCE Australia
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KILL FOR TOTAL PEACE France
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KING SUFFY GENERATOR Italy
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KLAR Czech Republic
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LANDING United States
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LAVA Sweden
LE MUR Germany
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SELIM LEMOUCHI AND HIS ENEMIES Netherlands
LENIN Argentina
LENINGRAD BLUES MACHINE Japan
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LOOP United Kingdom
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MICHEL MADORE Canada
MAGIC LANTERN United States
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MAGNOG United States
MAINLINER Japan
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MAN United Kingdom
THE MANDRAKE MEMORIAL United States
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MARBLE SHEEP Japan
MARGIN Germany
ALAIN MARKUSFELD France
MARS EVERYWHERE United States
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MESS Estonia
MESSAGE Germany
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MOLECULE France
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THE MOOR Sweden
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NYL France
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