= April 2011 =  
Endless Trip book
Delerium Comp
Dead Sea Apes
Zsolt Sores Ahad
Tippets & Archer
Infinite Exchange


(Thrill Jockey

Occasionally something comes along which is both reassuringly familiar and yet refreshingly new. Such is the case with Baltimore’s Arbouretum’s fourth full-length offering, “The Gathering”. Based around the extended guitar playing and evocative baritone voice of Dave Heumann and underscored by an over-heated bass, this latest incarnation takes the acme folk rock template and adds a super-app of stoner grunge to make, well, “stoner folk”. Think about it, there aren’t that many acts that have explored this sub-genre and it makes you wonder why given that the electrification of folk music has been around for well over 40 years. The results, as best typified on the bookends “The White Bird” and the already-a-classic “Song of the Nile”, are Fairport Convention, or more accurately perhaps Richard Thompson, given the Butch Vig treatment and then dragged through the residue of an industrial sized bong emblazoned with the legend “wig out”. It all points to a spiritual home at an annual festival in Cropredy Oxfordshire with a hot-knives concession instead of a real ale bar.
The only non-original track out of the seven featured here is Jimmy Webb’s “The Highwayman” and is the one offering ne that might be described as mildly disappointing. It’s not that there is anything particularly wrong with the song (it was good enough for Glen Campbell after all), it’s just that it sounds too clean somehow and out of kilter with the otherwise portentous and gritty sound of the rest of the album. If the band’s treatment of Webb’s standard hints at late ‘70s Kansas (a guilty pleasure indeed) then the nod to prog is further underlined by a lyrical content that permeates much of the set and which I’m reliably informed by those better read than me amounts to a conceptual journey through Carl Jung’s mystical archetypes. To quote from the aurally exemplary “Destroying To Save” “There is a righteous band that's marching/ They're beating on drums and even speaking tongues/ They're passing plates along/ Clothed in garments of the sun”. Phew.

However it matters not whether the lyrical influence is derived from Carl Jung or Neil Young, this is a righteous and at times riotous vibe that is hard to resist. “When Delivery Comes” is a concise, funereal nugget, that refines Fairport’s “Sloth” template, while both “Walking Crescents” and “The Empty Shell” rub the grime back into the grooves following the briefly sanitising effect of “The Highwayman”, before the glorious finale of “A Song of the Nile”.

If recent releases like Wolf People’s debut have breathed new life into “folk rock” then “The Gathering” provides a further tonic whilst taking it into altogether darker and more interesting realms. Check this out and you’ll not be disappointed. Oh and do yourselves a big favour and try and catch them live if you can, as that’s when they really ramp it up.  (Ian Fraser)




Across nearly 800 pages, from Aaron Space to ZZ Top, Jack and more than a dozen fellow contributors have crafted “the fullest study of the 60s and 70s US and Canadian music scene ever published.” Their remit covers the North American rock, pop, and folk scenes between 1965 and 1974 if for no other reason than, as Jack writes in his introduction, “that period saw a massive increase in the number of albums released on both major and minor labels.” As with last year’s  sister companion, Galactic Ramble, each entry includes retrospective analyses coupled with contemporary reviews, thus allowing the reader to compare an album’s initial critical reaction with more recent re-evaluations to see which albums have stood the test of time and which were strictly “of the day”. Catalogue numbers, approximate release dates, and a treasure trove of contemporary album and gig adverts transform the reader back in time to relive the experience of discovering and hearing these albums for the first time. Perhaps, after you’ve digested your first thousand entries, you’ll sit back like I did and ruefully admit that they really don’t make albums like they used to anymore!

But this is so much more than a collection of mouldy oldie reviews. You’ll laugh, cry, and gnash your teeth over the opinions of Jack’s co-writers, whether they’re trashing one of your most cherished albums or praising that worthless piece of shit you sold every time it found its way back into your record collection. There are three sections of colour plates illustrating nearly 300 album covers – the best evidence yet that CDs killed the much-maligned artform of the record sleeve design.

The contributors also compiled a selection of fun Top Ten lists to tease and tantalise your friends, including “Overlooked Hard Rock Classics”, “Truly Psychedelic LPs”, “Cool Instrumental LPs”, “Lost Prog Goodies”, and “Insultingly Short Albums.” For you collectors with bank vaults of cash, there’s “Seriously Rare Major Label LPs”, “Great Private Pressings”, and the “Hardest US LPs To Find As UK Pressings.” And if you want to arm-wrestle over drinks or other indulgences, each contributor has selected the ten best well-known and lesser-known albums in the book so you can build your own shopping list to fill in those gaps in your collection. A third list of albums not in the book seems rather superfluous, especially since most of these albums are British or European releases beyond the book’s scope.

As an argument starter (or settler), few books come close to containing as much information about the North American music scene during this fertile period. You can use the book to retrace your favourite artists’ careers across all their releases from the period, or simply discover all the great music you never knew existed. Cross-references to other bands an artist was involved with help completists track down those elusive splinter projects and a Foreword by Lenny Kaye inviting us all to “Freak freely” places everything into a historical context.

You probably won’t read these 800 pages from cover to cover in one (or even one hundred) sittings, and you may have more fun just randomly opening the book and perusing a few dozen entries at a time, but eventually you’ll keep coming back until you’ve read it all. It’s a fascinating, exceptionally well-researched project that will please musicologists and the casual fan alike and is my early candidate for music book of the year. (Jeff Penczak)

(We'll be bringing you an interview with Richard Morton Jack on the story behind this book in the not too distant future - Ed.)




Perhaps the most popular psychedelic band name, Kaleidoscope has graced releases from the US (David Lindley’s merry band of San Franciscan pranksters), the UK (Britain’s cult faves responsible for two of the finest psychedelic albums from the 60s heyday), and this quartet of international psych heads, who are often mistaken as Mexicans, but were in fact natives of Spain, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, where this rarity was recorded in 1969.

Unlike the avant garde wackiness of Lindley’s crew or the dreamy, floating pop of the UK version, these guys go straight for the jugular with ferocious fuzz leads, swirling organs, and howling vocals to create a true garage-cum-acid classic. Sound effects galore are peppered throughout the album, from the freeze-in-your-tracks bomb explosion in opener ‘Hang Out’ to the Moog-y blooping bubbles (actually falling water droplets sped up) and horns lifted from a Marx Brothers film on the dizzying delirium of the Seeds-like ‘Colours’, and the insane war whoops punctuating the hard driving ‘A New Man’.

Other highlights include the somnambulistic, Vanilla Fudge-y ‘Let Me Try’ and the epic, 8-minute psychotic breakdown, ‘Once Upon A Time There Was A World’, which alone is worth all the plaudits  heaped upon this record since its original release in a miniscule run of 200 for the tiny Mexican label, Orfeon. It’s been extensively bootlegged over the years, but this definitive version is the first legitimate release, produced with full cooperation of all the original band members and containing the original cover art (heavily cropped on the bootlegs), a full band history, numerous contemporary photos, and three bonus tracks, including a nearly unrecognisable (and unfortunately abbreviated) live rendition of Donovan’s ‘Season of The Witch’ from 1969 and two later recordings from bandleader Frank Tirado and Bodo Molitor: the sludgy ‘Cairo Blues’ (Molitor lives in Egypt) which sounds like Motorhead-meets-Black Sabbath, and the bluesy, boogie stomper ‘Take It To The Limit.’

You probably have a bootleg – here’s your chance to upgrade. For the uninitiated, if you’re a fan of The Doors, The Seeds, ? & The Mysterians, Black Sabbath, Nuggets & Pebbles, Alice Cooper, et al., then this is right up your alley. (Jeff Penczak)



(3CD boxed set from Esoteric Recordings)

Listening to this collection is a trip from start to finish, although at my advanced age I’m not perhaps interpreting the term “trip” in quite the way you might immediately expect, given that we’re tapping in here to arguably the richest seam of sub-cultural post-punk ‘80s psychedelia ever assembled: the entire Delerium / Freakbeat catalogue. No, to me, this is a fascinating trip down memory lane, as the timescale covered by vast majority of the assembled releases on this collection (1991 to 1999) neatly coincides with the early days of the Ptolemaic Terrascope, launched in 1989, and thus just about every song on here is familiar in name at least.

The Terrascope never did slavishly review every single release submitted to it – we were intentionally rather picky, choosing to judge everything received on what we considered to be its merit, rather than any labels attached to it, either literally or metaphorically.  There’s a fair few numbers on this expansive three CD boxed set therefore that had previously slipped under my own personal radar, either because someone else on the Terrascope’s review team covered the album at the time or more probably because I’m far from infallible and just plain missed the merit first time round! On the other hand, it’s also fair to say I never was a huge fan of either rave culture or the “festie” scene, and Delerium’s roster certainly had sympathies if not direct connections in many cases with the likes of the Ozrics, Magic Mushroom Band and latterly the Orb.

Disc Three of this very loosely chronological collection therefore has me skipping around from track to track like a cosmic bunny on amphetamines, swooning and drooling over contributions from Tangle Edge and the Spacious Mind (very much Terrascopic favourites from the very outset) and skipping over Zuvuya’s ‘Shaman I Am (Solar Ray Mix)’ and the techno-dub of Nine Invisibles and their ‘Gondwanaland’ – not that I have anything against either; it just ain’t my cup of tea (I am though aware that they are very much to the liking of a large number of the Terrascope’s readership and not a few of our reviews team!). Liberation Thru Hearing’s ‘The Root Versus the Six Bardos’ is another I must admit to skipping, although by Richard Allen’s own admission it was one of the strangest releases on the label in any case, a veritable Marmite moment of a release!

This is probably a timely moment to mention what for me is the most charming, entrancing and downright enjoyable element of this collection: the statesmanlike liner notes from label founder and curator Richard Allen himself. The story of the journey from Freakbeat Magazine to Delerium Records and their eventual demise is worth a book in itself, and when accompanied by the music which mapped the way it turns an interesting compilation into an essential document of a fascinating period of recent history. The booklet that accompanies this release spends four pages outlining the story behind the magazine, the label and the characters involved (fair play to Ivor Trueman who set the whole thing up in 1986 – even I’d forgotten that he’d published 3 issues of the incredible 3D fanzine before Richard Allen had joined!) and then lists each and every band involved, including an update on their current whereabouts which I have to say I found just as interesting a read as where they’d come from in the first place. The back of each CD also features an essay on the historical and political background to the “scene”.

Back to the contents, though. Disc One is an absolute gem, with well-chosen selections (i.e. Richard’s choices coincide with what would be mine!) from the likes of Praise Space Electric, the Treatment (whose ‘Keep Ahead’ is for my money one of the best cuts on this whole collection, along the with brilliant and sadly underrated Northamptonshire quintet Moom’s two, ‘What a Little Sunshine’ and ‘I Can’t Remember The 60s’; Wobble Jaggle Jiggle’s gloriously proggy ‘Thoughts of the Sky’, and Nova Express’ ‘Let The Powers’), Kryptastesie, the Aardvarks, Reefus Moons, The Steppes, the Suicidal Flowers and of course Porcupine Tree, whose eventual success funded the whole Delerium operation towards the end there. Disc Two covers arguably the heyday of Delerium’s timeline, with contributions from Dead Flowers, the Sons of Selina, Nick Riff, Mandragora, Saddar Bazaar and Praise Space Electric as well as more from the above mentioned.

All those hauntingly familiar names! And yet it took one I’d previously not heard before to finally nod sagely to myself and admit that yeah, those were bloody good times. Stoner rock power trio Josiah were briefly signed to Delerium subsidiary Molten Records and were compared favourably in the press of 2002 to the likes of Stray, May Blitz and Budgie. I hadn’t heard them before, but damn am I ever pleased I have now – and if just one of the 43 cuts on this collection has a similar effect on you (and there’s a strong chance it will) then I’d say it’s well worth the outlay. (Phil McMullen)


(CD EP from Soul Desert Records )

Released last December but only now snapping to our attention – thanks, it has to be said, to a nod and a wink from our own good Mr. Nigel Cross - Dead Sea Apes, from Manchester, assaulted my speakers from the off like few others have done in recent months. It’s no exaggeration to say that DSA are without a doubt THE most stunning, visceral and downright thrilling “new” discovery for me at least since Teeth of the Sea, and before that the mighty Wolf People. From which you might gather that only three or four new bands a year are getting me sufficiently excited right now to set pen skimming across paper. I’m not sure if that’s entirely a reflection on me or the scene right now, but either way you’re going to have to trust me on this one – Dead Sea Apes are really something very, very special indeed.

Bear with me for a minute while I try and explain this one as best I can. First, imagine Ed Cassidy’s sublime, bass-heavy rolling thunder drumming from ‘Spirit of ‘76’ laid down as a backwash, then an increasingly frenetic bass-line not that far removed from another of the Cass Clan – Jack Casady from the Jefferson Airplane – bouncing around on top of that. Got that? Good. Now, remember that exquisitely shrill yet heavy, vibrato-laden guitar tone that Green on Red’s Chuck Prophet used to stroke seemingly effortlessly out of his guitar during live versions of ‘The Drifter’ (circa. ‘Gas Food Lodging’)? Excellent. Now put those three together and imagine them playing cinematic post-rock. Loudly. You are some way towards imagining what Dead Sea Apes sound like.

The band consists of Brett Savage (guitar), Nick Harris (bass) and Chris Hardman (drums). Soy Dios is their debut, and it’s an absolute killer. The nearest contemporary release I can throw up by way of a comparison is Nudity’s similarly extraordinary debut LP from 2007 (was it really that long ago?!), ‘The Nightfeeders’, which consisted if you remember an alternate twenty-minute mix of the same number on the B side. These guys do something similar, with two ten-minute reworkings of the titular instrumental inspired by the Mexican psycho-Western ‘El Topo’. I can’t really say more except that it works, and it works REALLY well. Do yourself a favour and track it down. Apparently more tracks are currently being worked on for a new EP, to be released later this year. I can’t wait…. (Phil McMullen)




(DCD - Fourth Dimension Records, Ul.S. Czernieckiego 8/10, 30-536 Krakow, Poland www.fourth-dimension.net )

An utterly compelling double set of sonic wonderment from a Budapest-based composer/ multi-instrumentalist whose bulging c.v. takes in numerous collaborative projects with Evan Parker, Phill Niblock and Mats Gustafsson at the front of an orderly queue. Zsolt also claims membership of The Paw Music Trio, The Sonic Catering Band and The Abstract Monarchy Trio, is a big wheel in avant garde zinery with 'Magyar Muhely' and is also Forbidden Radio's programme managing editor.

Back in the day of more than one weekly music mag, 'Melody Maker' used to pepper certain reviews with terms like 'Oceanic' and 'Cathedrals of Sound' to describe some of the wider vistas of sonic grandeur blasted out by My Bloody Valentine and the now sadly forgotten A.R. Kane. More than twenty-five years (!) after the event, I'd like to think that those epithets could be re-employed in an equally fitting way for this beauty, which was surprisingly only ever visible before as a severely limited cdr (!) "Ahad's" (a joint release with Audio Tong - www.audiotong.net), comes as an amalgam of instrumental compositions from dance performances and segments of film and theatre soundtracks, fashioned from an exotic armoury which includes the electric tampura, modified sitar and springaphone.

What immediately strikes the fortunate listener is that this is a particularly individual and intensely personal vision in which folk-derived psychedelia is embraced by electroacoustic supplementals and magnified field/stream ambience. Pieces like "On the Top of the Darwin Tillite" with its snaking Steven Wray Lobdell-like lines and the dilated pupil raga of "Potlatch on the Beach of the Dirty Little Hoare Pond" seem to have been beamed out of totally unfamiliar, yet welcoming terrain. Merely attaching an "east meets west" tag on this simply won't cut it. It is, simply..."of itself"... "a stand alone release" etc etc.

'4D' really need to be heartily applauded for putting "Ahad's" on a more easily accessible platform and if you need further signposting - this is The Magic Carpathians, Tangle Edge, The Orchestra of the Eighth Day, Osian and perhaps even Between wrote large. Wrote immense even. After immersion, you'll wish all your dreams could tap into a wellspring as rich as this.  (Steve Pescott)



(Discus www.discus-music.co.uk)

Notwithstanding the fact that this is only their second joint release, Martin Archer and Julie Tippetts are in danger, musically speaking, of becoming the Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Lane of avant-garde jazz. “Tales of FiNiN”, carries on in similar vein to their debut, 2009’s “Ghosts of Gold” although the musical breadth is widened quite noticeably over what is definitely a concept album of sorts and set in an imaginary world but were the listener, according to the company blurb, is left to interpret the story. Well apologies from me as I’ve not quite worked it out yet, but then there’s been so much to take in musically. 

Spread over two discs, the first of these is a largely juxtaposition between Archer’s Dolphy-style clanks, scratches and skitters and Tippetts’ gymnastic vocals – that’s when she isn’t narrating in spoken word, of which there is an awful lot. While Tippetts would sound simply divine just reading from the telephone directory, it is the sheer uniqueness and dexterity of her singing voice that most commands the attention not to mention unstinting admiration. At times she appears to do battle with or just fills in for played instruments to elevate Archer’s evocative and complex musical arrangements to new levels. If occasionally this part of the opus sounds a bit too much like performance art for comfort, then it is enlivened by “The Other Side” wherein the jazz singer goes head on with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, or so it sounds. Scintillating stuff.

While listeners may find CD1 something of an acquired taste then the second half of the tale seems more accessible, or perhaps it’s because these ears have become more accustomed to what the artists are serving up. The jazz is all of a sudden more soulful, catchier and, to me at least, makes more sense, while Archer introduces more in the way of world music influences such as with the sopranino saxophone phrasings on “FiNiNsridge” and far eastern strains of “Away Too Far”. Most strikingly, however, is the introduction of a hefty slab of trip-hop, to the extent you can be forgiven for thinking you’ve stumbled upon the Bristol Collective circa 1993 or perhaps some darker urban space inhabited by the likes of Burial, and which “Taunts of the Fallen” and “Straight Talking/Eulogy” (which claustrophobically reprises “The Other Side”) are both cases in point.

“Tales of FiNiN” is not without its challenges and demands both the listener’s attention and repeat visits in order to be able to fully absorb what is on offer. However, listen and then listen again and patience will be well rewarded. Not for the first time – and hopefully not the last - one has to marvel not just at Archer’s great ability as a composer, arranger and musician (and hats off to a strong supporting cast) across a range of styles but at the truly sublime and ageless Tippetts. Dame-hood surely beckons - anything less would be a travesty. (Ian Fraser)



(CD-R from theinfiniteexchange@hotmail.co.uk )

Small, independent and run by a man names Waz, Infinite Exchange specialise in drone, ambience noise and experimentation. Their CD-R releases are housed in beautiful covers and the whole operation is obviously a labour of love, something we appreciate greatly here at the Terrascope, leading to this review of their back catalogue, a mini Rumble of some great music.

     Recorded over the sounds of a waterfall, “Thief of Men” is a thirty minute drone from Eyeball, the tone is dark and harsh, slabs of crackling noise and black clouds of atmosphere vying for attention, the whole thing intense and unsettling, worming its way into the room with Stygian intent. Halfway through the piece, the sounds of a train and (Possibly) a fairground organ add a somewhat surreal sheen to the music, although this does not distract from its dark intensity
    Next up, the excellent Posset, grab the experimental bull by the horns and force it into playful submission on their “Mump Grumpy” disc, which contains seven slices of noisy pleasure. Sounding like a Child's TV schedule that has been cut-up and manipulated, “Children's Film Foundation” is both discordant and humorous, the blend of sounds perfectly balanced into a surreal dream of childhood. Filled with crackles, scratches and denseness “Coleslaw Surfeit”, is definitely easy listening, although, it too contains an underlying humour that eases the tension in the sounds. This sound palette is maintained for the rest of the disc, each piece containing enough variety to sustain interest, whilst the whole album has a pleasing sonic consistency. Of course, any album that contains a track called “The Pete Best of Noise” must be doing something right.

    Stepping back into the caverns of drone, The Zero Map have an almost ritualistic feel to their sound, with “Sentience”, the first track on their “Felis Cattus Domesticus” album, really hitting the spot,  its deep bass foundation and Arctic wind drones opening up huge spaces and then filling them with sound. Adding a hint of slow melody, “Giving Birth” has more than a hint of early German electronics, the piece containing a slow-burning beauty that is hard to ignore, whilst “The Voices in my Head” the final track, comes on like early Pink Floyd lost in an underground cavern, the rolling drone balanced beautifully with the background noise, levitating your mind with ease.

   Something of a surprise within the package is a split disc featuring Haunted Trails and Blue Queen. Opening with some heavy lo-fi guitar riffage, Haunted Trails have got their sound spot-on as “heavy Metal” detonates the room, the droning riff topped off with some excellent solo guitar, the sound not too distorted, the backing rhythms simple and uncluttered, but still heavy as fuck. Mellower and more psychedelic, “Hjartat” ends the bands contribution in beautiful style, a gentle strummed riff slowly revolving around a haze of effects to create a very relaxing piece of music that works beautifully. beginning with a hazy drone and some sitar “Torture”, the first track from Blue Queen remains a ghostly presence as it slowly dissolves into chaos, a twisting, writhing piece of experimentation that refuses to stand still and be classified. Clocking in at eleven minutes, the final track “Happiness” is a low-end guitar drone with added percussion, the result sounding not unlike the album of ritual Buddhist     temple music that I own, a walk into the Bardo, the faces of demons mixed with the scent of nirvana, all adding up to a classic slice of Kraut/psych that deserves to be heard by a wider audience.

    Continuing the ritualistic feel, “The Metal Eggs”, a four track disc from Jazzfinger, contains the same low end rumble, the dense, foggy sound akin to walking through tar into primeval forests. After the impressive “Golden Sailor afraid”, thing get even spookier as “Three Generations of Stale Air” creeps and howls from the speakers, the impressive arrangements and variety of tone holding the listeners interest throughout. After the metallic rattle of “Only Steam left”, the album bows out with “Place of Nine Hundred Fellows”, which could be the soundtrack to a film about the Mary Celeste and comes complete with a rather excellent twangy noise.

    Next up “Convictual Tongue”, a double disc from Mechanical Children that features a collection of stark and bleak soundscapes epitomised by the opening “Herons Leaf of Loss”, a scrape of fingernails across a giant blackboard, drone at its most difficult and obtuse. After this uncompromising beginning “Moisture Lapse” is almost ambient in its approach, at least at the start, a warm bass drone interspersed with harsher sounds and interludes, those sounds becoming more frequent as the track moves forward until they have become the dominant force. The last three pieces on disc one continue these themes, the extended tracks giving the musicians plenty of room to navigate their murky waters. Featuring only two tracks, Disc Two is a marathon experimental drone-fest, with both “Mary Melts Metal” and “Joined by Shine”, challenging the listeners senses in a controlled and dazzling display of sound manipulation, the pieces changing and evolving slowly and with purpose creating a disc with great substance and interest, not for the faint-hearted maybe, but well worth the time.

    Equally elongated is the two track disc from Bong which features two twenty minute slices of sludge metal noise that creep and crawl from the speakers like an ancient demon bent on unholy mischief. Like Sabbath played at 16rpm the sound destroys all before it, with the introduction of a distorted, wah-infested lead break adding another layer to “Stone Mountain”, whilst the strangely soothing title track “Bethmoora” slows things down even further, hardly breathing at the beginning before morphing into a softly spoken instrumental that still contains a hint of menace within its powerful grooves. Whilst there are only two tracks listed on the cover, a second disc contains a twenty seven minute re-working of “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” that takes the best bits from the first disc and welds them into a monolithic slab of Psych-Sludge that is powerful enough to raise the dead or at least get their skulls nodding, a single candle and oodles of volume are highly recommended.

     To bring things full circle we finish with an album by label boss Waz which is released on the Red Guard label. (http://www.myspace.com/redguardrecords). Recorded under the name Waz Hoola, “Multiply Reality by Infinity” features two long slices of warm ambience that shimmer and sparkle like sunlight on the ocean. Opening with “Infinity”, the mood is tranquil, softly rippling traces of sound soothing the ears into contemplative bliss, gentle and life-affirming, the addition of some drums in the final third merely adding a heart beat and heightening the Floyd comparison. On “Reality” the sound is more ghostly and distant , an almost perfect drone filled with both warmth and tension, the sound of a journey through the clouds, never ending  yet over in an instant. (Simon Lewis).