(LP, Digital on Dreamlord Recordings)


This certainly is a trip beyond the stars, and one you can boogie to, at that.  Studio Kosmische started as the work of multi-instrumentalist and producer Dom Keen.  But he’s grown the project, and on the last few releases added Jonathan Parkes, a friend since their teens, co-honcho of Dreamlord Recordings and one half of the excellent outfit Korb.  Parkes and Keen also make up The Hologram People (check out their terrific Village of the Snake God from last year on Library of the Occult and Dreamlord).


Keen ticked off a lengthy list of influences to the outlet Weirdo Shrine, including classic German groups from the late Sixties and early Seventies such as CAN, Amon Düül II and Faust; US spiritual jazzers including Alice Coltrane and electric Miles Davis; UK bands such as Soft Machine; other genres such as music concrète, shoegaze, early electronic music, underground/experimental rock, and the list goes on.  And this reviewer can say that he can hear bits and bobs of all those influences coming through on this album.


The record is two side-long slabs of the rhythm and depth of the cosmos.  “The Rite of Saturn” is Side One.  Parkes and Keen begin with a percussive, funky rhythm whose repetition is almost trance-inducing.  This morphs into a lengthy middle section ride through the galaxy where order and precision fall away and drifting objects spin up close and dissolve.  I like how this section is equal parts synth weirdness and traditional band instruments such as guitars, bass and drums.  Studio Kosmische always seems to have one foot planted firmly on terra firma even when traipsing around planets and asteroids, an effective combination.  Ultimately, the sounds give way to the return of the witch doctor dance, kind of Goat meets Hawkwind.  Ivan Bursov’s sax towards the end provides a nice additional touch.


Side Two’s “Beyond the Circle of the Fixed Stars” is initially even more rhythm-based, at times little more than bouncy shuckin’ and jivin’ hand percussion buttressed by ladels full of synthy spacy blobs of astral soup.  Again, we have a transformation to that balanced combination of the tangible - a gently strummed acoustic guitar on some celestial beach - amid synth-imagined nebulae, comets and quasars.  This time, the funky rhythms don’t return; we’re just going to settle in and drift off into the long fade forever.


Studio Kosmische are experts in contrast.  Rhythm with melody; out-there synths with guitars and drums; settings in the heavens with vestigial earthly reminders; weird sounds with conventional backdrops.  Jonathan Parkes and Dom Keen herewith cast a heady spell of space magick on yer ears. Recommended headphone music.


(Mark Feingold)

=  rOctober 2023 =  
Eclectic Maybe Band
Spurious Transients
The Luck of Eden Hall
Golden Brown
Sam McLoughlin
Folklore Tapes
Studio Kosmische
Teeth of the Sea




(Both available on CD from Home - Discus Music (


Martin Archer’s Discus Music is a prolific cottage industry based in Sheffield, although one senses it is less chocolate-box thatch and more a warren of workshops in which hosts of ‘little helpers’ parp and paradiddle all-a day to produce an enviable output, not to mention outcomes. Those featured here are but two of a slew of new releases that have come to our attention and with the prospect of more on the production line. Yum.

Eclectic Maybe Band is the creation of bassist, composer and arranger Guy Segers and who combine composition with studio improvisation. The cast list is impressive in terms of its breadth, featuring a plethora of wind and enough brass to buffer the neck of a social media influencer, added to which are strings, exponents of mostly wordless vocal contortions (including Archer’s frequent collaborator Julie Tippets) as well as conventional rock instrumentation. Oh, and there are three drummers credited, which if nothing else suggests a modern King Crimson iteration and the need for a health warning on the packaging. Fear not, though, this is not some unwieldy Chris McGregor mega construct but a judicious use of groupings from within the wider ensemble. Now ‘fusion’ (and herein lies rock, jazz and electronic abstraction) has a questionable reputation suggesting that misters are doing it for themselves and to hell with the rest of us. There is a bit of that, I’ll grant you, but this is outweighed by some sprightly and deftly handled composition and execution that at times suggest a more playful Mothers of Invention and George Duke-Era Zappa (‘Senseless Ostensibly’, ‘Are You Out of My Mind’) paired with early 70s Nucleus, and which even nudges us in the direction of modern classical (the cello and bassoon-heavy ‘Isolation’ is especially delicious). In particular, the lively opener ‘Casanova’ and the good-natured loping elasticity of ‘Painting With Illicit Pigment’ demonstrates how Segers’ authoritative yet expressive bass anchors proceedings in the manner of a conductor or midfield general.

If you think the Eclectic Maybe Band comes across like experimental music’s answer to a Busby Berkley chorus, then meet Murmurists, a group of artists which convenes periodically to perform large-scale (often 100 performer-strong) multi-media events using texts and scores composed and directed by Anthony Donovan.

This release, recorded over an extended period draws upon live and studio performances. The subject matter is partly influenced by the death of Donovan’s mother, who is recorded here intermittently narrating some memories of little Anthony who was, it seems, a bit of a handful. He certainly has his hands full here but whatever slipped through the digits and onto the digital you sense if was for a purpose, although quite what the purpose is defies categorisation or for that matter comprehension. Comprised of three long tracks, the longest and most striking of which is the 35 minute ‘i,m [sic], We’, which announces itself with a distinct absence of foreplay, a screeching blast of wind instrument ushering in a suitably ominous overture before subsiding beneath spoken word narrative, while all the time bubbling and hissing away before periodically (and dramatically) breaking the surface. It’s musical theatre, Jim, but not as we know it. Imagine a David Lynch-directed art house post-horror, produced by Andy Warhol, cut-up screenplay by William Burroughs and soundtracked by Nurse With Wound striving to channel the spirit of Eric Dolphy and you’re probably still not close. It’s like trying to make sense of ‘200 Motels’ or ‘Head’, multiplied by a factor of four; a collage of ideas, sounds and apparently disjointed monologue that beguiles and defiles in good measure. Cast characters delight in such names as Idio Socratic, Id Vicious and J G Power-Ballad, implying that a playful or perverse punster is at play (look it takes one to know one). And is that Ann Magnuson about one third of the way through track 1? Doubtful, but it has me reaching for the Bongwater.

Intense, bewildering, disturbing, compelling. This requires and indeed is deserving of several spins in order to unpeel more and more narrative and musical layers while still stubbornly refusing to cough up much more than name, rank (there’s plenty of that) and serial number (Discus Music 158 CD if you must know). Nerves duly shredded, it’s time I took up new hobbies or ramped up existing ones as a means of distraction. Like drinking or freebasing, or something. Recommended, then.

(Ian Fraser)


Spurious Transients are based in wild West Wales, home of Sendelica and the various dreams of Dr. Sardonicus. This is their fifth full length release and is based on the musical partnership of Gavin Lloyd Wilson playing bass and electronics and the vocals and sax (amongst other instruments) of Craig High. The album covers a number of themes including artificial intelligence, alternative realities and simulation theories but we have checked and nobody in the band answers to the name of Mr Anderson and the music is definitely not ‘neo soul’.

Whilst the themes might lean towards science fiction and Fortean Times-esque subject matter the music is not so much cosmic as cosmopolitan in its musical influences and leanings. The stand out feel from the music is not so much psychedelia but the latter end of post punk where electronic music, dance music and more experimental sounds found a happy space together, sometimes poppier and sometimes edgy, more brooding or gothic. The vocal style of Craig High in particular emphasises this characteristic feel and his voice could grace many a band from that early to mid eighties period when the likes of Kraftwerk, Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, Joy Division and Depeche Mode to name but a few examples provided much used and often abused influences. That’s not to say that the music is formulaic and lacking variety, indeed far from it. There are synth rockers such as ‘Guilt Trip’ with its edgy vocal, insistent motorik inspired grooves and floating washes of melodic synthesised melody that steer a happy path between Krautrock and stadium rock that many a Glastonbury favourite would be happy to have trodden. ‘Kasbah Mizbar’ has a beautiful Middle Eastern vibe where traditional melodies and sax improvisations are interwoven in a captivating and exotic blend of styles. Spoken word tracks such as ‘Bostron’s Theory’ are a little more abstract and experimental  and the closer ‘International Crime Drama’ brings brooding electronica and sax together in a cinematic piece full of menace and mystery worthy of the title.

This is an enjoyable record which wears its influences proudly but never forgets to add details and little moments that give it a personality of its own such as the way sax is used inventively to create melody, colour and atmosphere, use of spoken word and a deftness of rhythmic touch. For those that prefer their dystopia to come with a beat look no further.

(Francis Comyn)


Available on Fruits De Mer

Inspired by paisley underground champions the Church, Rain Parade, and Dream Syndicate Ptolemaic Terrascope favourites The Luck Of Eden Hall formed 35 years ago in Chicago in the midst of the neo-psych revival. In fact, we gave them their first international review in 1994 (issue #16) when we spoke highly of their second album Belladonna Marmalade: “[E]xotic guitar pieces, great songs, a dash of mysticism, and a whole basketful of psychedelic nuances…. Just remember where you read of them first.” The band released several albums and singles through various labels before forming a long, ahem, fruitful relationship with Fruits De Mer with their version of the Monkees ‘Love Is Only Sleeping’ on the 2010 A Phase We’re Going Through compilation. This collection kicks off with that track and offers 15 more selections from their Fruits De Mer discography. Completists and collectors alike will also salivate over two previously unreleased tracks.

     The lads must have one hell of a record collection judging by their eclectic musical palette that includes covers of everyone from Pink Floyd, The Doors, Love, The Beatles, and The Pretty Things to unexpected psychedelic outings from the aforementioned Monkees along with the Association, Alice Cooper, Yes, and Hollies. Let’s have a closer listen.

     ‘Love Is Only Sleeping’ is a bit strained in the vocal department but the phasing and backwards/wah-wah guitars add a nice psychedelic touch with Pepperesque overtones. ‘Lucifer Sam’ boasts screaming guitar solos that venture into “hard psych” and Love’s ‘She Comes In Colours’ nicely captures Arthurly’s playful fairground flourishes. If you didn’t know that the Association opened the Monterey Pop International Festival you’d never look to them for psychedelic pop tendencies, but the band’s sitar-drenched version of ‘Never My Love’ is boldly adventurous and nicely weds a fantasy Harrison-led Beatles cover version with the younger Lennon’s delirious collaboration with Les Claypool.

     Band originals are peppered (no pun intended, honest!) throughout and ‘The Ottoman Girl’ has a groovy Soft-Hearted Scientists glow with a touch of our old friend Øyvind Holm’s Dipsomaniacs in tow. Thunderclap Newman’s old chestnut ‘Something’s [sic] In The Air’ is rattled around the brain with some wild guitar histrionics, the Pretties’ ‘SF [sic] Sorrow Is Born’ gets a faithful run through although ‘The Crystal Ship’ tries too hard to disassociate itself from Morrison’s Lizard King delivery and rates only an B+ for effort.

     Another band original ‘Bangalore’ pits sitars and flame-throwing guitars against each other but the clash is a little disorienting with each side returning to their corners for a well-deserved breather while ‘This Is Strange’ (another original) is a bit of a shambles and the final original ‘A Drop In The Ocean’ echoes its source compilation’s title: The Crabs Freak Out. Nice mellotron bit though!

     If a frantic fistful-of-fuzz thrashing of the Count Five’s ‘Psychotic Reaction’ is your cup of tea by all means drink up, although those of you who checked your watches halfway through Yes’s ‘Starship Trooper’ will probably not sit around long enough to hear the band double its original 9½ minute running time. If little else, it does highlight the group’s improvisational chops, particularly during the extended freakout segment. And if that’s not enough to fry your brain how about Alice Cooper’s ‘Reflected’ in all its heavy metal, headcrunching glory?

     Two new tracks wrap up the album, an unused version of the Hollies ‘Stop! Stop! Stop!’ from Fruits De Mer’s Hollies tribute album Re-Evolution - FdM Sings The Hollies and a ponderous navel-gazing trawl (in collaboration with Sendelica ) through Bowie & Iggy’s ‘China Girl’. While the band hung up their guitars and effects in 2016, this Introduction serves as a fitting finale to a much-admired collective who left behind an expansive discography well worth a visit.

(Jeff Penczak)


(LP, Cassette on Inner Islands)


Colorado guitarist Stefan Beck gifts us this lovely acoustic ambient work under his moniker Golden Brown.  In it, he keeps things very simple, using just his guitar playing the ten compositions with just a wee bit of occasional background instrumentation and effects, including keyboards and cello, which he also plays.  Beck’s been busy this year, with another Golden Brown album Weird Choices released back in February, and his band Prairiewolf also releasing a fine debut album for which I hope to get a belated review in one of these days.


Simplicity may be the order of the day, but simple can sometimes be deceiving.  Beck’s tunes are lovely, and his fingerpicking style draws you in, leaving you soothed and comfortable.  His playing makes it all sound easy, but of course playing and writing at this level still take incredible skill.  By limiting many of the tracks to the guitar alone, you can really feel the resonance and depth of the instrument in the right hands.


I have many favorite tracks on the record, but I tend to gravitate towards the gossamer light and flaky pieces that make you imagine things like watching a butterfly in a garden.  Tracks such as “Raspberry Cloud,” “The Kirghiz Light,” and “Withywindle” all provide calm seas and poignant moments for thoughtful reflection.


Beck also isn’t afraid to try some experimentation.  On “Little Rider” and “Dusty,” what I thought were remnants of an imperfection in the recording were actually done intentionally by weaving a piece of paper between the strings to create a slight buzzing effect, which apparently Beck’s used on some previous releases.  Elsewhere, he sprinkles hints, without going all-out, of slowed down ragtime influences on “Wide Ranging Rider II” and classical stylings on closer “Scurvy.”


This delight from Golden Brown is the sort of release one might expect to find on a label like Tompkins Square Records, but Sean Conrad’s Inner Islands is actually the perfect home, as their catalogue is full of relaxing, warm music to get lost in like this.  Pick up a copy on glorious black wax.


(Mark Feingold)



I’ve become quite a fan of the Folklore Tapes label with their attention to detail regarding history, myth and legend and the eclectic, beautifully packaged releases they put out. Here we have two more releases which further cement that reputation for a high quality of concept and product.

Sam McLoughlin’s release ‘Fae Transit’ is a journey into ‘faerie music’ or as the accompanying information evocatively elaborates ‘a woodland inhabited by spirits and haunted by the living’. The music is composed for harmonium, nylon strung guitar, hand percussion and dictaphone and with environmental sounds it has the authenticity of a field recording and a simple, delicate elegance and charm that immediately captivates the listener. To my ears it’s almost like opening a dusty old library music archive full of little sketches and vignettes that can be put together to tell a tale. It’s a musical journey with nods to long forgotten but still somehow familiar fragments of old folk tunes, sea shanties, long forgotten hymns, children’s TV themes, ancient blues melodies, western movie themes and woozy waltzes wheezing out from the harmonium, barely there rustic rhythm and the minimal but melodic finger picking of guitar, hypnotic in their simplicity but absolutely telling the story of magic, mystery and imagination. Dissonant interludes bring a disturbing dimension to proceedings on occasion and I am reminded of the wonky carnival music of Tom Waits or The Residents at times where nothing is ever quite following a straight path. This is a lovely listen for the home, garden or indeed for walking through your favourite woodland to bring it to life.

Sam McLoughlin also appears on ‘Naia’, based on the story of a renowned and indeed infamous witch who lived in the Breton village of Rochefort-en-Terre. The record is a collaboration between Folklore Tapes and Le Bon Acceuil, a Brittany based arts group.  It’s a quirky and unique project looking at the life of a character who is not well documented at all – a quite stunning photoshoot and article published in 1899 in World Wide Magazine is all that’s out there. The article captures a time of change where the old folk traditions of rural Breton were dying out as people moved to the towns and cities for a new life. Tales of flying on a broom, curing ills and cursing locals, carrying and crushing hot coals with her bare hands and other mythical memories were captured for posterity and this recording includes two interpretations of the witch’s tale.

Breton musician Pauline Marx under the name of Le Diable Degoutant (the Disgusting Devil) provides a murky, claustrophobic and at times disorientating mix of traditional music, treated and chanted vocals and electronic soundscape. It is broken into quite distinct segments, sometimes stark folk melodies and sometimes purely experimental with raw, dissonant electronic beats, whirrs and drones and slabs of sound akin to early electronic pioneers as much if not more than modern sophisticated electronica. The deceptive nursery rhyme simplicity of some electronic melodies and vocal sections somehow convey darker, more mysterious themes and once again reminded me of early Residents.

The second interpretation is played by David Chatton Barker and Sam McLoughlin as Le Voile Universel (The Universal Veil). It’s a very different approach and no less dramatic in a more seamless piece that uses longer form drones and layers of sound with percussion and electronic colourings, sometimes subtle and sometimes dramatic to convey a strange and bygone world full of magical mood and mystery. There are melodic, dissonant and disruptive sections but with more cinematic elements, touches of Kosmische ambience and elegance and darker, more unsettling ritualistic undertones creeping through on occasion along with nods to familiar classical and other more traditional melodies. It’s another intoxicating and imaginative musical journey which over the course of the two pieces of music certainly brings the subject matter to life.

For anyone interested in imaginative and inventive music that tells a well researched and fascinating story, head straight to these records and indeed the Folklore Tapes label.

(Francis Comyn)

(LP/CD/DL available from Music | Rocket Recordings (

Much like the Olympic Games and football (soccer to some) or rugby union World Cups happen every four years, so can Teeth Of The Sea usually be relied upon to turn out a new album in the same time frame.

Following 2015 intense, often brutal Deadly Black Tarantula and 2019’s lighter and less confrontational but still exhilarating Wraith, the post-pandemic Hive finds a band full of confidence and reaching peak maturity (just as some of us hit the treacherous downhill scree to dotage). It is a clear evolution of a singularly crafted identity established by 2009’s ‘Orphaned By The Sea’ when, as so often the case, Editor McMullen was among the first to hop on the footplate of an exciting new sonic vehicle.

Even allowing for Terrascope’s ‘broad church’ philosophy, Hive occasionally manages to test the outer limits of our comfort zone and that’s a challenge which of course we relish. Plus, when all is said and done, this is still discernibly the TOTS we know and love: the icy blasts of electronics, that melancholy disembodied trumpet, the exploratory melding of myriad sounds, styles and structures. If occasionally Hive sounds like a soundtrack of a lost edition of early Noughties cult animation series ‘Monkey Dust’, then it might have something to do with the plaintive ‘Lovely Head’ (Goldfrapp) vibe on the enchanting opener ‘Artemis’ and the woozy ‘Powerhorse’, which nods towards Boards of Canada. So far so not untypically TOTS, perhaps. But then there’s the distinct bouquet of 80s techno-pop, not least on the acerbic and driving ‘Get With The Program’ (sung by band member Mike Bourne, no less) and which combines a much punchier Depeche Mode with ethereal snatches redolent of Simple Minds’ ‘Themes For Great Cities’. However, it’s the danceable, radio friendly ‘Butterfly House’, voiced by Kath Gifford (Snowpony, The Wargs, Stereolab), reprising a role she played on ‘Wraith’, that sounds like the cuckoo in the nest. And yet despite its apparent incongruity it contains a rare and welcome example of Jimmy Martin’s trademark guitaring, which for the most part remains subsumed within the Hive mix.

The pulsating centrepiece of the album is ’Megafragma’; a suspenseful, clanging 9 minutes and a triumph of the questing spirit, not to mention studio engineering. Half a century on, this is what ‘On The Run’ from Dark Side of the Moon sounds like, typifying the edgy paranoia and shattered beauty of the new disinformation age. Brought to you by the letter A, the afore-referenced ‘Artemis’, ‘Aether’ and ‘Apollo’, were all composed for the band’s soundtrack for an Apollo space missions documentary for the London Science Museum (TOTS are no strangers to cinematic interpretation after all, as their reimagining of ‘A Field In England’ will attest). They are, as you would hope, gratifyingly cosmic and thoroughly immersive. With ‘Aether’, ladies and gentlemen we are indeed floating in space, ferried by sheet glacier synthesizers, Sam Barton’s composed yet liberated trumpet and dub-mutation percussive sounds. It’s the third of our ‘As’, ‘Apollo’, that plays us out and sublimely so. While I’m less likely to have a deep space burial than to suffer the indignity of being deposited out to sea as part of some unlawful sewage discharge, this is how I wouldn’t mind being piped out. It makes for a blissful drift and the perfect denouement to an occasionally perplexing but ultimately worthwhile, indeed thoroughly rewarding, long strange trip.

(Ian Fraser)