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Astra - The Weirding CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.89 | 297 ratings

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4 stars Hey, man! This is so groovy; when I brought the album back to my pad I was so hip to this gig, man! Cool, cool, cool. Peace, man! I mean talk about retro, baby! (Did we really talk like this back then? Egad!) I purchased this upon two recommendations from my PA friends sinkadotentree and synthphony and I had that palm-scratching vibe that this was going to be grand trip. Hey, I am an avowed "retro-nostalgia-give me some wah-wah" kind of guy, so I had no problem diving into the depths of this interstellar voyage. All that was missing was the ultraviolet light posters of Hendrix, Morrisson or Ché, the beaded curtains, the incense burning and the candles aglow. Freaky, baby! Advisory: This is one of those styles that require the proper mood (not great driving music, or while sun tanning!): candles lit, lights out, slightly buzzed and in a "travelling" mode (read: trippy). From the initial flurry of notes, it becomes quite clear that this is an unmitigated psychedelic exhibition, highly infused by the basic characteristic foundations of the genre (sweet almost dreamy vocals, dripping and extensive guitar solos) with intense doses of theatrical mellotron, the whole certainly remindful of early Pink Floyd, with orchestral touches of the Moody Blues with some West-coast psychedelia references (Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger) tossed in for good measure. My ex-wife would have labeled this "drug" music, much to my sheer sober pleasure, (anything to escape her devious ignorance and malignance). This could have easily fallen into a parody of a bygone era but it is essential to comprehend that all music is inherently timeless, some of it as vibrant now as it was when first composed. (In fact some late 80s electronica like John Foxx sounds more futuristic now than today's music, even after a 20 year separation, so go figure!), Truth is, the performance here is quite exemplary, the bass playing is riveting, the drums highly exuberant as befits the genre, the dual guitar play is set on overload and the torrential waves of the ubiquitous mellotron are a true blessing. There is no formatted rush to adhere to some strict sing-song formula; there are abundant bliss-out sections that have value and meaning. In fact some parts actually tread very near Ashra Tempel territory (the two guitarists surely have listened to Manuel Göttsching!), skipping close to Planet Hillage/Gong, with slight deflections into Hawkwind universes , especially evident on the colossal 17 minute + "Ouroboros", a masterpiece of the genre. No need to dissect track by track, it's just one long twisted psych-drenched affair from start to finish.

So who would go gaga for this? Firstly any Psychedelic rock fan, any devoted Floyd fan , certainly all the space bandits (Gongsters, Hawkfans etc...) as well as aficionados of endless guitar solos and mellotron apologists. I guess that covers pretty much every one of you, out there. In a rather twisted way, this is what prog is all about: an amazing, pulsating 70s style recording, released in 2009! Bang! groovy, man! Real Cool! Let's not even waste any time babbling and drooling on the sumptuous artwork, exactly mirroring the music inside...par for the course, baby, par for the course!

4.5 Astral Timothy Learys

Hey, even my daughters say Peace out!

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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