= January 2023 =  
 Moon Goose
 Mascot Moth
 Pefkin / Roxane Metayer
 Sproatly Smith
 Trespassers W
Dimensione Umana comp.


(LP available in an edition of 300 red vinyl copies from  www.moongoosecult.bandcamp.com )

Hay-On-Wye instrumental space- rock band Moon Goose, release their second album proper on Fruits De Mer / Invisible Tarmac records (following on from 2020’s snappily entitled EP The Wax Monster Lives Behind The First Row Of Trees).

The band consists of Des Davies – guitar, Antoine Mouquod – drums, Dave Prescott – synths, Rob Robinson – bass and Ade Williams guitar, with producer Leon Johnson acting like a sixth member.

Things kick off with the expansive synth drenched Electrolene, a fast pace is dictated by the drums and bass allowing guitars and synths to fill out the gaps, it’s as fairly frenetic opener with plenty of fine chugging riffs and synth wibbles. This is followed by The Sex Bots Trilogy which sort of sounds like a heavy rock cover version of Mark Fry’s The Witch, well the melody does anyway. This song features waspish guitar and organ fills, with a bit of narration from the point of view of a sex bot.

Lemon Cursed (I see what they did there), is taken a reasonably faced pace, a space rocker reminiscent of prime era Hawkwind. Things then slow down for the expansive Empirium, much feeling around from the musicians until a melody coalesces and emerges from the cosmic soup, which the band proceeds to play the hell out of. This is followed by the clever moves of Urban Farmland, my favourite song on the album and a song split into two distinct parts, the first part is arcing out a furrow, it plods and is clearly rooted in the earth, the second part involves the sky where they set the controls for the heart of the sun, with a magnificent riff laden space rock song, which drives mercilessly towards its jaunty piano laden conclusion.

The humorous titles continue, with The Light That Fried The Vicar’s Brain, which sounds like an outtake from Warriors On The Edge Of Time, leaving footprints in the sands of time. We then hear the opening notes of Tweakshy, on the surface it appears to be a lighter song, a sort of Moon Goose Soufflé, the drums play prettily over a fine open riff, which the players all take time to develop, lots of fine percussion too from what sounds like a xylophone, however it isn’t long before the band up the ante and set off again for the stars.

The final track is Great Halls Of Broken Tools, it’s a kind of sludgefest as it cranks into life, metallic notes pinging all about. Before long, a fuzzy, garage kind of electric guitar enters the fray, playing a distinctly wonky melody, however it isn’t long before the band then once again sets off into the cosmos, with fat riffs and whizzing synths, over a driving rhythm section. This album does not really feature any guitar solos, the band preferring to join together as one to hammer out the songs, with the result being much like a shoal of fish, twisting and turning as one.

(Andrew Young).



(LP, CD, DL on Mr Bongo)


You listen to the haunting strains of this beautiful album, a loving tribute to the classy Brazilian sounds of the 70s.  The album cover’s sticker says “Brazil/MPB/Jazz/Psychedelic Folk” and “For fans of Milton Nascimento, Lô Borges & Arthur Verocai,” and they ain’t telling you no lies.  The breezy “Song with No Words” sets the mood – soft, gentle guitar strums, seductive oohs and aahs, and warm ensemble playing.  On next track “Offscreen,” lush, gentle strings softly envelop you.  Soyuz’s singer, composer, and arranger Alex Chumak sings in quiet, hushed tones.  You’re picturing golden sunny Brazilian beaches and cafes, as he sings in Portuguese, and…hold on, being told now that’s not Portuguese, it’s…Russian.


Soyuz is from Minsk, Belarus, and consists of the visionary Chumak, multi-instrumentalist Mikita Arlou, and Anton Nemahai on drums.  They do an uncanny job of with the classic Brazilian sound, but this isn’t a derivative imitation; Soyuz has created an original, gorgeous record.


Flashback:  We loved the album Estrela Acesa from earlier in the year by Sessa, the phenomenal young Brazilian musician.  In fact, it was one of my favorite albums of the year.  And apparently Bandcamp agreed, placing it firmly in their year’s best list.  Alex Chumak was a big contributor to that album, arranging strings along with Simon Hanes.  A couple of other musicians, flautist Gabriel Milliet and percussionist Cem Misirlioglu play on both albums.  Chumak’s breathy voice even sounds like Sessa, who contributes vocals to this album’s “How Are You (Como é que vai você)” (in Portuguese, not Russian).


With all that cross-pollination, you won’t be surprised to hear that the two albums are quite similar, which is a very, very good thing.  Both albums are amazing, and I consider them bookends.  But you’ve got to give Soyuz credit for doing it 6,600 miles away from Brazil in Belarus.


On “I Knew It,” Russian guest singer Kate NV offers a female vocal counterpoint (yes, in Russian), and it’s perfect.  The production is full of sophisticated piano and fluttery flutes, and ends in a magnificent extended jazzy outro.  “Glance” is deceptively complex, built up around two jazz chords bouncing back and forth like a tennis ball with all kinds of acoustic guitar and electric piano dressing, and Chumak’s soft tenor.


Perhaps the most interesting track is “Beige Days,” which tinkers with the recipe and morphs the sound into a delectable stew of Brazilian jazz, fusion and UK prog.  Its’s peppered with complex tempos, dexterous playing on flute, vibraphone and bass, and a terrific distorted electric guitar solo that would make John McLaughlin proud.


The all-too-brief “Morning Moon” has all the ingredients the title would conjure – a muzzy, heavy-eyed melody flush with dreamy wisps of clouds passing before the waning lunar phase amid a beautifully scored orchestra behind the acoustic guitar and zither.  The title track beams positivity and puts all the album’s elements together – the jazzy uplifting rhythm, the distant wordless vocals, and some delightful analogue synthesizer squalls and squeals playing with whimsical violins like a couple of butterflies chasing each other in a verdant garden.


Force of the Wind is magical.  It’s a perfect companion piece to Sessa’s Estrela Acesa – there, two of my favorite albums of the year that was.  Soyuz defies the geographic odds and makes music that’ll work wonders for your soul.


(Mark Feingold)




Hailing from Wales and having a connection to Strap the Button, a rather fine band I reviewed way back in time, Mascot Moth have created two rather excellent EP's that stand broadly in the Psychedelic corner but also manage to stray into various other camps at the same time. Opening salvo, “A Moth of Cloth” is a rambling tune glued together with a groovy bass line over which various other instruments do their thing, skronking, weaving melody and generally turning the tune into a delightful trip acfross your mind, the Dead meeting Gorky's somewhere sleazy. Even better, “Tell Them What You Like (They Will Never Believe You)” comes across like a woozy Hatfield and the North, some great sax noises, and rhythmic changes adding to the groove, it's all over too quickly as “Space Moth” kicks the Motorik beat back in, another sweet journey for the mind, never too cluttered or complicated for it's own good.

    Spacier and nicely lysergic, “Dusty Wings” continues the Hatfield/Canterbury comparisons, Guitar and Bass weaving together over the drums revealing a strange yet lovable track that slowly builds in tension and dynamics reminding me of Kevin Ayers, someone I also mentioned when I reviewed Strap the Button. Continuing the ambience, “Ellis Vulgaris” has touches of Gong to be found, letting its freak flag fly with glee whilst final track “Ellis Tremendum” condenses all that has gone before into seven fabulous minutes taking us back to 1973, slightly stoned and listening intently.

    Even better, perhaps, is the title track from “Mind Maze” containing all the elements from the previous EP yet adding some vocals, echoed flute, and a thicker sound, the track an absolute standout from the band that will definitely make you smile. Short and Sweet, “Jyst Like Britni” has a pop groove and humorous intent, the kind of curveball that Gorky's sometimes throw at you, must be something in that Welsh water think I better nip across the border and find out. After that light pop moment things get stranger again with the abstract noises that herald the arrival of “I Want to be 1,2,3.”, a nicely spaced tune, that floats around your head before drifting of into the starry night sky,Reminds me a bit of Man, which is no bad thing at all. Finally, “Dark Secrets” rumbles and crackles out of the speakers, complete with the sound of flies, before a cosmic drone fills the room all spaced out and echo-laden, bass and drums adding a warm pulse to the track whilst rolling chords add texture, that is until it all gets turned on its head and sounds like early Floyd or Soft Machine rounding off two EP's that are both mighty fine and worth your time.

(Simon Lewis)




Definitely a game of two halves, the latest release from the ever excellent Morc label features two melodic drones from Pefkin backed by three more playful and experimental tracks from Roxane Metayer.

   I guess that with a split album it does not matter which side you choose to play first but as Pefkin is marked as the A side we will start there although I think the album works just as well when reversed, although that is a minor point.

      Opening with “The Lunar Pull”, we are greeted with a gentle dance between ocean sounds and sweet echoed violin, you can almost seee the moon rising over the water as the music drifts through you, an emotionally engaging wave of sound that slowly changes into a mellow drone overlaid with soft languid vocals. As the piece unfolds around you the violin returns weaving a sonic spell above the drone, ancient sea spirits appearing in your dreams as waves of sound carry you under a mythical ocean. Continuing the theme, the thirteen minutes of “Moondrift” take you deeper within, tense layers of sound softened by chimes and burbles, the voice again adding magic to the track, electronic squeaks mimicking small creatures that scuttle across the room, the music undulating beautifully creating distance and ambience. As the piece continues it is easy to get lost in its landscape especially in the second half as the textures settle into a fluid twinkling drone that is filled with dynamics and a soft organic timbre, the track finally fading with delicate chimes.

     Also featuring violin, this time played by Roxane Metayer, ”Premiere image” begins with fractured notes and chords as if about to break into an ancient folk tune, however the music then disintegrates into drones and experimental flickers of sound, a soft voice peeking between the notes, the music both abstract and playful demanding the listener attention. Leading us in with a harsh metallic melody, “Mage Mesange” sounds like the soundtrack to an obscure Eastern European animation that is until it suddenly breaks down into a series of boings, rumbles and assorted noises that fall and tumble across the room, mind you that could be part of the same soundtrack especially as the metallic melody returns for the final third of the piece this time sharing the space with a rumbling drone. Similar in structure, “Soma Elaphros” retains the metallic sounding ambience this time with added electronics and a bouncing mouth harp (possibly) the piece again abstract yet warm and playful, making me smile as it weaves its magic.

   I have played this album several times and each time it has ended too soon, a fine blend of two artists with similar aesthetics yet very different styles both adding much to an excellent release. (Simon Lewis)



(Vinyl/CD www.sproatlysmith.bandcamp.co.uk )

About ten years ago Terrascope ran an interview with Ian Smith from the band Sproatly Smith. In the intervening years they have put out a number of albums and singles. The band are a part of the Weirdshire collective and hail from Herefordshire, they are made up of Ian and Sarah Smith, Matt King, Kate Gathercole, Mark Waters, Kevin Bishop, Nick Acons and Kieran Terry.

For this album, (first commissioned in 2014, for the Hereford River Carnival in 2014) they have taken the plight of river pollution and in particular the River Wye, and the album ranges from the bucolic to the horror of pollution, so we go from messing about on the river and floating merrily down the stream to dead fish and the dumping of chemicals etc. The charming sleeve was designed by Jus’Jay.

A key song in this suite of river songs, is their cover of the Donovan’s classic River Song, which appears a couple of times during the over sixty minutes of music contained on the CD. The album also includes snippets of dialogue and narration, informed by plenty of bird song and gurgling waters.

Things begin with a dreamlike River Wye Suite, a lengthy piece of music which is split into six distinct parts but flows together as a whole quite nicely. Acoustic guitar, banjo, tabla, fiddle, wooden flute, clarinet, electric guitar and synth’s, along with bass and light percussive elements, form a majority of the instrumentation. Part of this suite is Warm With The Light Of The Song, a melodic, narrated piece which directs us to become one with an emerging dragonfly and the river. Fuzzy electric guitar, full on synth attacks and a full drum kit are employed here, and it is altogether a lot heavier, however it’s not long until more samples of dabbling ducks and celestial harps brighten the day. Samples are scattered liberally throughout the proceedings. Hidden Depths, investigates the dumping of old bikes and shopping trolley’s etc, with snippets of music hall songs, old blues songs, even adding a snatch of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Rollin’ On The River, a snatch of Old Man River, played on a trumpet is dropped in before the final part of the suite The Merry Month Of May appears and delights the senses, it’s a beautiful, thought provoking piece of music.

After this opening suite of songs, the album continues its watery imagery with Beltane Rain, a gentle rain splattered affair with heavenly vocals, drifting accordion, hammered and shaken percussion. This is followed by a plea to accept Jesus into our hearts with Ethelbert And Mary, which develops into something altogether more chaotic and free jazzy as it progresses.

We Are Sea appears next, it deals with flooding and record water levels. It’s a lovely bucolic tune, despite its subject matter. Again we are jolted from our reverie by the narration and laughter Snake Day. A live song From An Acorn is included next, an acid- folk inflected, wobbly jellylike tune. The album ends with a summary of what has gone before with We Are Sea (Octophonic Remix) and an uncredited End, where a music box is wound up which then plays out with the nursery rhyme melody of Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Gently Down The Stream....life is but a dream and this is a dream of an album.

(Andrew Young)



(DL/CD/LP from https://somnimage.bandcamp.com/album/koala-and-other-metamorphoses)

Having disbanded in 2006, Trespassers w, were occasionally sighted from 2014 onwards, their artistic meetings finally culminating in a new LP, the slightly surreal and highly individual “Koala”.

     Opening with a small squall of noise and clanking rhythym, “Koala” gets into its experimental groove as half sung , half spoken words start to paint strange visions in your mind, definitely closer to poetry than lyrics, the harsh music and guitar drones, demand attention, the fun continuing as “Black Cat (1925-2020)” twinkles and bleeps into view, the tune a homage to Honor Blackman, with words that make you smile images of the lady herself popping up as you listen, good stuff.

    After a hazy beginning, “Wild Boar” channels Beefheart in its almost a song vibes, whilst “Squirrel” beeps and skronks across the room, an insistent beat trying to hypnotise you before everything dissolve in a lovely way, my favourite tune from side 1.

   With a deep growling synth and lonesome sax, “Panther” is another fine tune that hooks you in, the music never less than engaging and enhancing the words beautifully. Greeting us with a glitchy rhythm, “Road song of the Bandar-Log, has shades of Tom Waits in its ambience, the mood changed as the jazzy “King Frog” takes over, some delicate percussion giving it a lysergic exotica feel, well in my mind anyway. To end things, at least on the LP, “The Trail of the Hedgehog” which could be a Zen tale concerning your writing style, the music bleeping and pulsing behind the word, the abrupt ending the perfect full stop for the album.

    Available on the digital download and CD are two extra tracks, the eerie psych of “Racoon” and a cover of Syd's “Birdie Hop” which is as strange as it should be and fits perfectly into the album's vibes.

    To be honest I have struggled to enjoy this album, it is definitely something you need to be in the mood for - but it is also evident that it is full of creativity and quality, give it a go. (Simon Lewis)



(Available on Skep Wax )

Kent-based keyboardist Marlody eschewed her classical beginnings after discovering the untutored musical explorations of acts like Yo La Tengo and Shellac. Her debut album (following a self-released digital track in 2021) still retains vestiges of her foundational training, with opening single ‘Summer’ (a child’s conversation with an absent parent) anchored by a rolling piano like a cascading waterfall. Delicate vocals deliver tales of anguish, depression, loss, leaving the comfort of a home life to venture into the world on her own; but through it all she will survive.

     Marlody’s melodies are confidently uplifting despite potential lyrical straightjackets that touch on suicide (‘Change’, the mournful ‘Friends In Low Places’), psychiatric drugs (‘Words’), relationship worries (soaring multi-tracked harmonies imbue ‘These Doubts’ with an almost sanctified aura like a chorale in a monastery ), and uncontrollable urges to violence (the appropriately disjointed cacophony of ‘Malevolence’).

     ‘Up’ floats heavenward accompanied by fluttering, dreamy piano housed in a New Age time warp of good feelings and inner peace, while ‘Wrong’ recalls the late Christine McVie’s tenderest love songs - romantic, yet tinged with hesitant self-doubt and regret. There’s also a hint of the intimate confessionals of Janis Ian and Joni Mitchell, each song exorcising demons or ghosts of past disappointments and painful experiences.

     That Marlody has the courage to share her emotions with us, opening up her diary to scrutiny in order to begin anew speaks to her honesty and emotional heartbreak that we can all appreciate. Perhaps together we can help each other move forward into a not always forgiving world.

(Jeff Penczak)

Links to videos mentioned above:


(Sonor Music Editions)


This re-release of a 1969 comp, originally from the Italian library music Sermi catalogue, is sure to please fans of the genre.  It features tracks by a passel of great composers, highlighted by the eternally luminescent Alessandro Alessandroni.  The collection captures a brace of moods from mournful to giddy and everything in-between, in that Dimensione Umana.


Carlo Pes has five tracks on the album.  Sad love theme “Strada Triste” is Italian through-and-through, in both composition and instrumentation.  The organ-based “Città Deserta” (Deserted City) sounds like a tear-dripping accompaniment to a silent film melodrama (that’s a compliment!).  “Il Manichino” (The Dummy) is heavily influenced by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, with the trumpets accompanied by a groovy Lowrey organ.  “Elegia per un Fagotto” translates to “Elegy for a Bassoon” (get your head out of the gutter!) and is pure Spaghetti Western maudlin drama.  “Sarchiapone” is a bouncy comedy number.  The translation stretches my internet searching skills to the limit; it’s either a delicious dish prepared by village housewives, or its various examples in a sentence translate to “you’ve got a lot of chabaranks in your hard drive” or “I already have a sea monkey, so it’ll be fine.”  I think I’ll forgo the translations from this point on.


There are three tracks by composer Edmondo Rossi.  “Il Pupazzo” is another comedy track, in which I can imagine a nature film scene with penguins frolicking in the snow.  “Dramma nel Fotogramma” is an interesting piece.  It works as a brief cinematic interlude, with tension swiftly ratcheting up as guitar strums are punctuated by timpani building in intensity.  “La Piscina” is my favorite cut on the album.  A jazzy flute and piano piece, it’s that perfect background music for the chic Sixties European hipster party scene.  Composer Sandro Brugnolini’s sole offering “Dafne” is another curious entry.  Its brief three and a half minutes alternate between what I imagine as a scene of someone observing something or someone of delicate, fragile beauty, with another of a pulsing jazz groove, with what I can only describe as a psychedelic rattlesnake marking the segues.


The album sails to port with four short compositions by the incomparable Alessandro Alessandroni.  The two best are straight-up jazz pieces.  In the moody “A Little Sad” and the finger-snapping “Swingin’ Home,” a double-bass and vibraphone share the smoky cellar club spotlight, with some fine drumming on the latter.


Unfortunately, Dimensione Umana has only been re-released to the major streaming services, and it’s not even on Bandcamp.  Hopefully with enough interest, Sonor Music Editions will someday come out with a physical release.


(Mark Feingold)