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Hidria Spacefolk - Symbiosis CD (album) cover

SYMBIOSIS

Hidria Spacefolk

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.99 | 119 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars Often compared to the psychedelic space rock sounds of Ozric Tentacles and Kingston Wall, the Finnish band HIDRIA SPACEFOLK indeed adopted those respective bands' hypnotic strolls down the psychedelic and progressive rock highway and created their own unique brand of spiritually uplifting and transcendental spaced out rock based music. This band was formed in Lohja, Finland where a group of psychedelia seeking musicians forged their own sound out of Ozric Tentacle type grooves, Steve Hillage guitar echoes and energetic bass grooves however what sets this band apart from its influences is its liberal use of its homegrown Scandinavian folk music.

While the Ozrics relied on a lot of reggae for its canvas on which to paint a more surreal and psychedelic rock style, HIDRIA SPACEFOLK added more classical and ethnic instrumentation in the lines of cellos, violins, flutes, marimba, mandolin, sitar, jawharp, vibraphone and even a didgeridoo. Dressed up in folky flavors that merge with high energy bass driven rock with swirling Hawkwind styled synth and Gong tinged space whispers, HIDRIA SPACEFOLK fancies its own musical style with the term Astro-Beat which isn't a bad descriptor for this electronica meets rock meets folk fusion-fest of danceability. SYMBIOSIS, the band's debut album consisted of five main members that cranked out guitar, bass, drums and the synthesizers along with some extra sounds like the accordion, sitar and mandolin along with five guest musicians that added the strings as well as the lone vocal performer on board from the feminine charm of Sabrina who only delivers wordless utterances.

As far as the Ozric references go, it's certainly a major staple of this band's overall sound as they churn out one hypnotic high energy groove after another in a similar fashion however it's the extras that really give SYMBIOSIS its charm. The double guitar attacks meander all over the place ranging from funk and space rock to even bluesy solos however its the presence of the flute and vocals that keep this rooted in some sort of modern take on Scandinavian folklore with references to some of the region's prog acts of the 70s. While the incessant bass groove and subordinate percussive drive provides the mesmerizing backbone of the band's style, the synthesizers and guitars slink around all over the place with the relative freedom to do whatever they want. The intros often usher in some folk references before the more incessant grooves burst on to the scene.

Some tracks stand out more than others. 'Jahwarp' for example takes on some jazz-rock features with a stellar vibraphone presence and a syncopated piano roll a la Scott Joplin but not quite ragtime, that is before the heavier guitar trades off and the two styles alternate. The overall effect is sort of a massive release of bubbles of sound that sometimes gel together and sometimes sound quite separate however the hypnotic bass driven grooves always keep the focus on the ostinato effects and therefore keeps things from spiraling out of control. While very much retro rock from the 90s with some 70s Daevid Allen trippiness thrown in for good measure, HIDRIA SPACEFOLK isn't an album that will dazzle you on a technical level but on the contrary is set for total escapism where you can simply let your mind free and feel the waves of sound roll over you like a day at the beach on some mind altering substance. Perhaps too close to the Ozric sounds for some but for me it works.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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