= December 2020 =  
 Green Pajamas
 Buck Curran
 Head 2 comp
 Tristan Perich
 Nathan and the Sinister Locals
 Los Days
Øresund Space Collective



( LP from www.sugarbushrecords.com  )

Terrascope favourites The Green Pajamas have had their classic 2004 live in the studio album released for the first time on vinyl, the format on which it quite clearly belongs; the original ten songs that were featured on the original compact disc release have been pared back to eight due to vinyl limitations. It’s a terrific record which highlights a band at their rocking best, with Jeff Kelly clearly channelling his fierce lead guitar breaks very much in a Steve Wynn/ Neil Young kind of mode with his vocals being reminiscent of Jim McGuinn and Tom Petty, just to give you some idea of what they were sounding like at this time. The band at this point consisted of Jeff playing electric guitar, Joe Ross - bass, Eric Lichter – keyboards, Laura Weller – acoustic and electric guitar and Scott Vanderpool – drums.

Things kick off with ‘The Cruel Night’, which has a very deliberate long intro before the band finally coalesce and the slightly world weary voice of Jeff sings “In the lonely afternoon, I sit and watch the sky for rain” Here we now hear for the first time the ferocious, snarling, snaking lead guitar of Jeff, I’m immediately reminded of the sound of the west coast acid rock band Quicksilver Messenger Service in the guitar playing, no mean feat as that sound was achieved by the twin guitars of Gary Duncan and John Cipollina, so kudos to Laura’s intuitive playing. It is a paean to the previous summer, as storm clouds gather overhead, with Laura providing vocals along with Jeff for the choruses.

The short ‘Blue Eyes To Haunt Me’ adds Hammond organ fills to the sound. There’s more organ on the intro to the Eric Lichter penned ‘Mrs Cafferty’, which has a cooking rhythm section and some stinging lead guitar breaks. Things slow down a little for the excellent ‘She’s Still Bewitching Me’, this is great example of why a live in the studio recording works well, as the vocals are crystal clear and the sound is very much alive. The first side ends with the epic seven minutes of ‘If You Love Me (You’ll Do It)’, informed by plenty of Jeff’s lead guitar

Laura’s song ‘Holden Caulfield’, is the first song on side two, a song which she also gets to sing, it’s a sassy Byrdsian sounding song, Laura’s guitar meshing with Jeff’s stuttering lead lines, propelled by a tight rhythm section, it ends with Jeff’s guitar sounding like a dying electric saw. The album centrepiece is undoubtedly the eleven minute ‘For S’, a yearning, drifting love song which uncoils into a cosmic rock song from the top drawer, of oceans and stars, of night and day. It has a yearning, keening refrain of “You steal the darkness from the day”. The album ends with ‘Lost Girls Song’, a kind of duet which sounds like Roger McGuinn joined by Carls Olsen instead of Gene, like the kind of stuff put out by Green On Red, Dream Syndicate and Rain Parade. This record sounds ace and you all need it in your collection. 

(Andrew Young)




(LP/Digital on Lay Bare Recordings and bandcamp)


The band’s called Atlanta, but they’re really from the Netherlands, and the album title is a Lithuanian word.  You trackin’?


Well, hopefully any cartographic or linguistic confusion you may have will be quickly put to rest as soon as you drop the needle, because this is just plain great instrumental psych music in any language.  Let’s begin again and get properly introduced.  Atlanta, the Dutch instrumental psych trio, consists of guitarist Pieter Holkenborg, bassist Sebas van Olst, and drummer Bob Hogenelst, and hereby proffer their second album.  Nugrybauti in Lithuanian means “to become distracted during a task, literally to get lost wandering in search of mushrooms.”  Ahem.


You have to really distinguish yourself to stand out in the jamming-guitar-psych trio-instrumental field, and Atlanta gets there for me.  They do it with creative melodicism, variety  and discipline.  Although each of the tracks on Nugrybauti are improvised, it’s evident the three musicians went into all of them with a solid game plan, a starting point, and where they wanted to end up, and let the music gods guide them along the path.  Each track has enough variations in tempo, melodic themes and hooks, and loud/soft dynamics to pique the listener’s interest and be unique standalone pieces. Count me a fan of Pieter Holkenborg’s Hendrixian distorted guitar tone and balance between laying low, pace-setting and out-and-out shredding.  And Hogenelst and van Olst make a super tight rhythm section.


Now it’s a common thing for improvisationally-based bands to think their own jamming is better than sliced bread and leave all sorts of noodling into rabbit holes on the record.  And I’ll allow there is some of that on Nugrybauti, where some editing might have come in handy.  But on the whole the playing is never short of stellar.  The three guys soar to some pretty amazing heights, and you have to climb the mountain first.  Atlanta also includes some nice changes of pace to their often frenzied rocking and mushroom hunting, such as the dimly lit nocturnal pacing and quietude of “Firefly Lullaby.”


Atlanta shoots and scores with Nugrybauti, an album of intelligent, inventive instrumental guitar psych.  The talented trio lays down some excellent extended grooves with nice melodic flourishes.  Recommended.


(Mark Feingold)




(Available on ESP-Disk and Oblique Recordings)

Buck Curran will be familiar to Terrascope readers for the band Arborea, but he has also occasionally stepped out from their folkier efforts to create more intimate recordings reflective of his love of the raga and traditional guitar work of John Fahey, Glenn Jones, Robbie Basho and Jack Rose (he has also coordinated tribute albums to Basho and Rose).

His third solo album continues to mine these fertile fields from ‘Blue Raga’ (ably assisted by Dipak Kumar Chakraborty on Tabla) and the stark minimalism of ‘Marie’, ‘Chromaticle’, and the atmospheric title track to the more song-oriented ‘Ghost On The Hill’ that bears more than a passing resemblance to the work of Chris Wade (aka Dodson and Fogg) and Timothy Renner (Stone Breath, et.al.)

     The melancholic emotion seeping through ‘Deep In The Lovin’ Arms Of My Babe’ and ‘Odissea’ bear the familiar stamp of Leonard Cohen, Scott Engel, and Jeff Kelly’s solo work with the latter track updating Homer’s classic epic for the 21st century. Frequent collaborator Adele Pappalardo (aka Adele H)’s occasional vocal support deliver soft counterpoints to Curran’s gruff vocals, lifting the more sombre tracks from devolving into gloom and doom self-pity. Curran’s ‘For Adele’ (Serenade in B Minor)‘ is a loving tribute/thanks for a job well done!

     A forlorn piano in an empty room echoes the inner melancholia of a lonely, post-celebratory ‘(New Years Day)’ [sic], Curran’s parenthetical tribute to ‘Django’ Reinhardt, while the more expansive, heavily-treated sound sculpture ‘War Behind The Sun’ breaks out of the typically mournful surroundings for some elbow-stretching and head-clearing pyrotechnics verging into the industrial noise territory of Jason DiEmilio’s latter Azusa Plane excursions (cf., America is Dreaming of Universal String Theory, The Highway's Jammed With Broken Heroes).

     A quiet, intricate portrayal of sorrow, loss, loneliness, and hopelessness, No Love Is Sorrow is the perfect soundtrack to these lonely days of anger, frustration, and desperation. Stay inside, stay safe, and listen to the sound of a heart breaking.

(Jeff Penczak)






(3xLP set on coloured vinyl from Fruits de Mer )


This one’s a beauty. One of the most successful and sought after records on Fruits de Mer was the original Head Music double album released back in 2012, an album dedicated to the classic Krautrock records released on labels such as Brain in the early seventies. This theme also spawned a classic double 7” on the label, called Shrunken Head and also a little earlier this year a new set entitled Head In The Clouds. And now Keith has added to them with another massive set of krautrock covers (with one original).


The album kicks off with Russian band Vespero who cover Amon Duul 11’s ‘Between The Eyes’. It is a strong opener with a great drum pattern setting the scene and allowing other instruments to fit around it, throbbing bass, swirling synths and some fierce electric lead guitar, the song is unfamiliar to me, mainly instrumental passages, with a few vocals. The genre’s given name of ‘Krautrock’ is next in the sequence, with a Faust cover by Das Blaue Palais who deliver a languid, drifting, lengthy guitar led piece (I am reminded a little of Steve Hillage on some of the latter passages) which chugs and pulses merrily along for a good ten minutes or so. Then Tony Swettenham from Frobisher’s Neck covers Rucksturtz by Agitatation Free, lending it a Parisian flavour, it’s a highly melodic piece, quite short and purely instrumental.


Now there comes a wonderful track which in itself is well worth the price of admission. Cary Grace covers the Amon Duul 11 song ‘Surrounded By Stars’. It has some mesmeric gypsy jazz violin passages played throughout its duration by Graham Clark and a wall of guitars by John Garden. It twists and turns and has some fantastic playing from the ensemble, Grace singing her heart out injecting just the right amount of passion and I haven’t even mentioned the tremendous bass figures, the sympathetic drumming or the mad swirling synths, superb stuff indeed. ‘Dreaming Girls’, originally by Embryo, is covered by Revbjelde who also infuse the song with more violin, adding woodwind, electric harpsichord, glockenspiel, synths and many other exotic instruments, it’s like some narcotic spy theme and is also ace and again purely instrumental. As is the next song by Das Blaue Palais who arrive again, this time covering Mythos’s ‘Dedicated To Wernher Von Braun’, a squiggling discordant song with some fine fluid electric lead guitar lines.


Vespero get another slice of the action with a very busy song, this time it’s a cover of ‘Castle In The Air’, originally by Eloy, maximum riffage to the fore with more mad synths, electric guitar, propulsive drumming and excellent electric violin with what sounds like balalaika, it’s also another song which I can imagine accompanying an imaginary sixties spy film. The surprising thing on the album so far is the amount of electric violin and the quality of the nagging, insistent melodies which are often highlighted to great effect. Jay Tausig gets to grips with the classic Can track ‘Father Cannot Yell’, sticking fairly close to the original, the track shows what a great guitar player he is, playing some blistering lead guitar runs over the top of a cooking rhythm section, with mad vocals and more swirling, bleeping synth.


Amon Duul’s ‘Snow your Thirst And Sun Your Open Mouth’, is covered by Das Blaue Palais, their third song on the set. They dutifully deliver a stonking version. More excellent, drifting languid passages of guitar and synth action, the song feels like one long ending, but in a good way. Now the only original on the album, ‘Galactic Joke Part D’, (inspired by The Cosmic Jokers) hoves into view, by the first band to record for the label, Schizo Fun Addict. Jet Wintzer leads the band through a fairly dense, riff heavy pretty mad twelve minutes of imagined krautrock. The Legendary Flower Punk cover Michael Rother’s Sonnenrad. It starts with a ghostly, wintery synth melody which sounds like the sound achieved by Matthieu Hartley on Seventeen Seconds by the Cure in 1980, before blossoming into a grunge flavoured, highly melodic krautrock song.


 Brainticket’s One Morning covered here by Rob Gould arrives with a peel of thunder, a fine highly melodic nagging piano led song, imbued with mad synth action. He takes us back in time with a sixties flavoured psych pop feel, a song of escape from the mundane drudgery of everyday life, it ends with more ominous thunder. The first of three songs by Kraftwerk is delivered by Maat Lander, he covers Neon Lights to fine effect. A proggy, keyboard rich song delivered with icily detached Germanic vocals, highlighted with another memorable melody, it also has some fine fluid electric guitar bursts over the top of tumbling drums. Phew!


A little injection of the melody from ‘Autobahn’ by Kraftwerk is dropped in by Spurious Transients before Black Tempest arrive with a krautrock classic ‘Nights Of Automatic Women’, by Tangerine Dream’s Edgar Froese, taken from his fourth solo album, released in 1978. Steve Bradbury (who is Black Tempest) delivers a cracking version, which rattles along nicely with plenty of mad synth’s propelled along by a classic motorik rhythm straight out of the Berlin school. A short sharp ‘Moonshake’ by Can is covered by The Arthur Park. They stay fairly true to the original and I’m reminded of how poppy the song is. The album ends with a reprise of the melody from ‘Autobahn’ by Spurious Transients.


The album is released at the end of this month and has already sold out on pre-orders at the label, but some stockists of the label will be receiving copies, so I suggest that you get in quick because it is a fabulous album and one that quite frankly is one of the finest releases on the label to date and one of best things I have listened to all year, you have been duly notified of a bona fide classic.


(Andrew Young)





(CD/Digital on Nonesuch Records and New Amsterdam)


New York-based composer Tristan Perich’s Drift Multiply is a wonder of art, ambition, scope and beauty, where technology and organic sound collide, blend, repel, and shine, where the holistic work vastly exceeds the sum of the parts, or definitely what you might expect of the sum of the parts.


The ten-track work is scored for 50 violins and 50 elements of 1-bit audio electronics.  The one-bit tones take the form of small assemblies of electronic circuitry and wires, each emitting “the most basic digital waveforms made of just ones and zeroes.”  You can see a video on YouTube showing a brief, interesting excerpt from a performance of Drift Multiply.  You’ll see the 50 violinists, each with a circuit board and a small speaker clipped onto their music stands.  The result, rather than the cacophony you might think, is a most pleasing journey of the ears and the mind. 


While the work is Perich’s most ambitious yet, lest you think this is new for him, he actually has a touch of one-bit audio on the brain.  His first foray of many was in 2004 with ‘1-Bit Music,’ an album released on a microchip, with a circuit stored inside a CD jewel case, and a headphone jack built into the case.


My initial impression listening to Drift Multiply’s first tracks was a comparison to the minimalist works of Philip Glass and Steve Reich (and Perich has drawn glowing praise from none other than Reich himself).  But I always found Glass’ and Reich’s works could be a bit harsh and abrasive on the ears.  This is anything but.  Give it time, and the work unfolds itself – drifts and multiplies if you will - and its sonic beauty grows and grows on you, being hypnotic, peaceful and calming.  Headphones aren’t required, but definitely enhance the listening experience.


Oh, this is music that sets the imagination wild.  My thoughts drifted from forests of trees, their leaves fluttering in the breeze, to distant galaxies and nebulas, to tropical reefs bursting with color with schools of fish dancing their ballets together as one before reversing direction in unison, to the psychedelic scene in Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001:  A Space Odyssey.’  And after a while, I’m sure a man with a pocket watch swinging on a chain could have convinced me I was Napoleon, or a Yeti, or a strawberry.


But why 70 minutes?  I’ll admit I found the total length intimidating at first.  But it didn’t take long before I was fully invested and swallowed up, the extended length making perfect sense.  The textures change almost imperceptibly, as insidious as trying to watch the minute hand on a clock.  But change they do.  The tracks are simply titled “Section 1” through “Section 10.”  By the deep zone of “Section 5,” your mind is completely blown.  “Section 5” undulates through flashing, colored lights in your mind to an all-electronic section that sounds like waves on a shore, morphing into wind blowing through the trees, to a chugging train.  I listened sober as a judge, but I got the feeling the slightest form of chemical stimulant would put the listener in another universe.


As “Section 5” slides into “Section 6,” the electronic cascading seas give way back to the violins, soon rejoined by the all-surrounding, sparkling 1-bit music.  It’s another mind-blower, and it keeps going into “Section 7,” a powerful display of strings and pulsating bits and bytes probing and perforating you through and through.


Some of the later tracks do add some discordant touches, alternating with the sound of a sort of church organ from deep within the cosmos.  “Section 9” throws everything swirling, sawing and blinking around you at once again, and the effect is sensory overload of the most pleasant kind.  It also has the most melodic themes and fanfares of the album, courtesy of the violin section, before splintering and fracturing into its base elements in Mendeleev’s periodic table, and recombining into new compounds in a sea teeming with primordial life.


Drift Multiply is a completely uncategorisable work of brilliance, with Tristan Perich bringing together the vibrations from horse hair on strings with the most elemental digital sounds for a stunning whole.  Don’t miss this one.


(Mark Feingold)






(CD  from Bandcamp )

 We do like a bit of Nathan here at Terrascope. Nathan was the leader of Welsh wizards The Soft Hearted Scientists, guiding us through a number of albums before deciding to go it alone a few years back. This is his fourth album since his debut in 2017 with Mute Effigies Soundtracks. This was originally to be his fifth album after the scheduled and nearly completed ‘Pointing Paw’ album had to be put on ice due to the restrictions of Covid 19. The song and title of the album ‘On The Blink’, were conceived before the current pandemic, but just seemed to be an ideal choice of title for obvious reasons.

On The Blink is a double album, stretching to 22 songs. Nathan’s music is very much whimsical pop psych, with haiku like songs; throughout which various instruments frame lyrics of serpents, solar swans, bumbling bees, of country houses, modern day highwaymen, tin robots and orange elephants. The instrumentation is mainly acoustic guitar, organs, analogue synths, pianos and electric guitar with a whole host of others enriching his playful songs. He even had to learn how to play the bass guitar due to lock-down rules.

Along the way we take in the skewed pop psych of ‘Serpent On The Path’. Reminiscences with the barking mad title track ‘On The Blink’, the humorous envisaging of ‘Stand And Deliver’, where all that could be proffered to an assailant these days would be a debit card! It is a cracking tune, with electric guitar rhythm and woozy mellotron to the fore. ‘When We Are No Longer Numb’, adds sitar and drones. There are linking pieces, Interludes and multi part songs such as ‘Solar Swans’, which sounds like a long lost children’s show theme tune, with music by Vernon Elliott. Songs about childhood continue with ‘The Signs’, with its multi tracked harmonies, accordions and synths, drifting down the river on a bed of hammered acoustic guitar notes. Most of the songs are fairly short and whimsical; nothing here is in the slightest bit heavy, the songs for the most part being soufflé light concoctions. ‘Angels Understand’, is a multi part song which incorporates a spoken word section on park life and is pure fun.

More pop psych abounds with ‘The Orange Elephant’, a highly melodic song, a dreaming of Albion. The percussion is quite light and used sparingly throughout the album and used to particularly fine effect on ‘Figure Of Fun’ a did me wrong song with acoustic guitar over which analogues synths bleep and pulse. ‘Insomnia’, playfully deals with lack of sleep to drifting organ and synth, dreamy psych from a man desperate to drop off into the land of nod. The Victoriana of ‘Spring Song’ takes us out into the country to the awakening flora and fauna. ‘Time Stables Its Horses’ unleashes strange forces, another mad melodic merry go round of a song. The album ends some 60 odd minutes later with another multi part song, the playful, organ infested strains of the near instrumental ‘The Sea Is In The Trees/The Sea Ignites The Stones’, a song which does indeed excite these weary bones. This is another terrific album from Nathan and is pure escapism for these troubled times.

(Andrew Young)




(Too Good/bandcamp)


Multi-instrumentalists Tommy Guerrero and Josh Lippi decided to check off the grid into the desert of Southern California’s Wonder Valley, north of Joshua Tree National Park, to a tiny one-room, solar-powered jackrabbit shack called “House of the Rising Sun.”  There, christening themselves ‘Los Days,’ the two spent five days letting the desert work its magic and terraformed this wonderful little instrumental album Singing Sands.


Taking their album title from the tuneful sounds of the sand blown by the desert gusts, the result is some of the finest, laid-back West Coast super-chill music you’ll find.  The 12 short pieces are all named for and inspired by the desert environment our two blissed-out souls were surrounded by, such as “Traveling Light,” “Painted Hills,” “Starlight Lullaby,” “Twilight,” “Wonder Valley,” “Expanding Night,” and of course the title track.


Using acoustic and electric guitars, bass, vibes, bells, and occasional light percussion, Guerrero and Lippi let you choose your own paradise.  It may have been recorded in the desert, but if a margarita by the beach is more your style, by all means indulge, even if doing so only in your mind is the best you can manage during lockdown (or as Sir Paul McCartney has taken to calling it, “Rockdown.”)  The feel is somewhere between the Twin Peaks theme, spaghetti western soundtracks, Santo & Johnny’s 1959 hit “Sleepwalk,” exotica, and even Glen Campbell’s baritone guitar solo in “Wichita Lineman.”


The album is evocative, relaxing and enthralling at the same time, even if a major streaming service has the chutzpah to place a recommendation at the bottom of the page that if you liked this record, you might also like “Music for Plants.”  Big sigh.  Well, I suppose even your monstera deliciosa and draecena draco houseplants needs love.


(Mark Feingold)




(double LP from bandcamp )

Regular readers will no doubt recognise the name Øresund Space Collective, a group of Danish, Swedish and American musicians who specialise in improvised space rock music - they’ve been around since 2004 and sport a bewilderingly complicated discography, of which ‘Four Riders Take Space Mountain’ is their latest, and for my money their best yet; probably because it’s their most “prog”. It’s basically one looooong jam until you reach the final side, when it bursts into a sitar medley; the effect is rather like dining out on a delicious meal after a hard night’s work in the studio. Actually this banquet dates from a later (2016) studio session and aside from being an excellent space-rock raga it’s also notable for some gorgeous violin work from Jonathan Segal.

The previous three sides consist of one 62 minute track, entitled ‘Approach’ (side 1), ‘Ascent’ (side 2) and ‘Summit’ (side 3) which the collective recorded in Denmark in 2014 - the same sessions produced the ‘Different Creatures and Visions Of’ album released last year, although to my mind this is a step up from that, possibly because it has an underlying theme or concept, a thread which can be followed from one end to the other. The musicians involved are predominantly the same, including the outstanding guitarist Mathias Danielsson who brings to it an intensity akin to the early Outskirts of Infinity; “Dr Space” on synths - and Hasse Horrigmoe underpinning the whole thing on bass throughout. Hasse is best known for his work with Norway’s Tangle Edge, who we featured in issue 3 of the Ptolemaic Terrascope and who therefore, along with the aforementioned Outskirts, pretty much counts as Terrascopic Royalty. And if that’s not recommendation enough, I don’t know what is.

(Phil McMullen)