= J U L Y 2 0 1 8 =

hey call it "High Summer" for a reason, and when you see what we have in store for you this edition you'll see exactly why. I’m beginning to find my feet now and catch up on some of the records that have been kindly sent in so far this year. Thanks so much to all the artists and labels who have contributed over the last few months. This is a fairly lengthy edition of rumbles - apparently being forewarned is to be four armed, and fittingly here we have over 40 albums to get to grips with.

First of all it’s over to acclaimed author and musician Stephen Palmer to ease us in; take it away Steve....

I've been a fan of The Lickets for some time. Their brand of hypnotic, usually acoustic, but electro-enlarged cosmic music is often beautiful and relaxing. On their new album "Offering to Magnetic Mountain," various acoustic instruments make circular sonic patterns of great beauty. Some of these tracks are a bit like 'Unplugged' versions of earlier, large-scale pieces, others are electronic, and some are quite glitchy and distorted. Elsewhere it's rather like Steve Reich in an alternative world, let off the hook and allowed to play in Ray Man's world music instrument shop. Most of the tracks are good, and this is a fine album by a great band, although I do think the extremes of the electronic sound-world let the work down. Progression is fine, as long as it works.
(International Corporation, no contact details provided)

"Gloriosa" by Map 71 (a duo comprising Lisa Jayne and Andy Pyne) make strange, futuristic electro-music, chanted by Lisa Jayne over a kind of tribal electronica. The sound is pretty harsh in places, the feel more dystopia than anything else (a musical George Orwell, anyone?), and so as a consequence this is not the easiest album to get into. The vocals are all spoken rather than sung, and this does lend the album a rather remote surface, which I have to admit I couldn't really get beneath. Perhaps one for New Wave fans.

"Eigh Bee" by Philadelphia resident Flower Girl is a two track EP with long tracks - ten and eleven minutes - where the mood is a kind of retro shoegaze rock, with lots of fuzzed-up guitars and a few riffs peppering the pieces. This is instrumental music with a distinctly West Coast vibe, wah-wah guitars and all. It's good listening, with lots of musical changes and variety in what are after all quiet lengthy pieces. Well worth checking out for fans of laid-back rock.

Martin Archer releases album with only one disk shock horror! That is the headline for Martin Archer & Engine Room Favourites new album "Safety Signals From A Target Town," which is a kind of saxophone-enhanced free jazz of the old-fashioned variety. The pieces (all long) came together pretty quickly, in just a couple of months, and this gives the music a lot of spontaneity, which is to its advantage I think. Rather ironically, the shortest track is my favourite, the nine and a half minute 'Happy Birthday Mr President,' which has some beautiful violin playing from none other than Graham Clark, while drum supremo Steve Dinsdale is also on fine form.

"Charm" by Walk With The Penguin is an album of rock/steelpan music, featuring Terrascope fave Yoshio Machida (reviewed by myself elsewhere on Terrascope). This is music with vocals however, where the steelpan is an accompanying instrument. And this is a global project, with various musicians in various countries. The songs are of high quality, not least the relaxed opener 'Moment.' 'Signal' uses samples to great effect, with more good vocals. The album is very well produced, with a naturalistic, not-very-compressed sound that other bands would do well to copy.

Synth/drums duo Soccer96 release their intriguing album "Rewind" on a wave of crashing cymbals, mighty string pads and much more. The sound is a little like Zombi - analogue sounding with a distinct rush coming from the real drums. Most of the tracks are short, which, it must be said, doesn't help in some cases, as the pieces don't have a chance to get going then develop. But they are all good, well produced, and never less than interesting. Favourites include the thunking 'Button Basher' and the more loping, chunky 'The Future.' Definitely one electro/synth-heads would enjoy.

Also released on the Discus Music label is "in the green castle" by Orfeo 5, a rather nice album of jazz described as "improvised narrative landscape music," which is a pretty good description for this flute and cello enhanced work. There is tremendous virtuosity in much of the playing, and the overall sound-world draws you in, partly I think because of the addition of electronics, but also by the symphony and connectedness of the various elements - although, for me, it's the flute that really makes everything hang together. A particularly nice release this one, which in places gives the impression of being a long-lost early Gong album.

"Swan And Wolf" by Nathaniel Bellows is an album of deep songs, sung by a man with a long record in the Maine/New York music scene. Most of the tracks are the man and his beautifully played acoustic guitar, but other instruments do make appearances, albeit subtly. 'To Wait' is an album highlight, slow and wonderfully sung/played - lovely piece. The concluding track 'In Time' is mournful, with strings emoting beneath the surface. Very nice album, this, confidently sung and beautifully arranged.

A six song EP, "You And I" by Jon Patrick Walker (an American actor turning his hand to music and songwriting), is a varied collection of good songs, opening with the paired male/female vocals of 'Your Open Hand,' which sounds like Americana, yet with a nice bluesy subtext. 'I Won't Sit Around And Cry' is more Nashville in tone, with a lovely wah-slide guitar coming in. Walker sounds a little like Bruce Spingsteen in places. 'The Guilty Party' is a bit more swampy in tone, while EP closer ''I Can't Not Do The Robot' is uptempo and almost punky - the only track that doesn't properly work. Overall though, not bad at all.

If it's psych pop that you want, then "Tell Me All About It" by Oberon Rose is a pretty good place to start. Good songs and great retro production make a terrific blast from the past. The band hail from New England in America, and could certainly be compared with Tom Petty and maybe other guitar bands like Big Star (although Oberon Rose are more overtly psychedelic in tone). The title track is the opener, with variety in pace and feel that makes for refreshing listening. 'Lonely Ghost' beings in a catchy little riff and some Hammond organ to excellent affect. Overall, this is a very strong work, whose confidence and songwriting make a great foundation for musical exploration. Recommended for all psych pop fans reading the online Terrascope...

Meanwhile, in the further reaches of strange electronic musics, John 3:16 brings us a compilation of pieces from 2007 to the present day. (John 3:16 is a solo artist, Phillipe Gerber.) The sound of the album is ambient, reflective, mesmeric. Opener 'The Sun Shall Be Turned Into Darkness' brings a doomy, yet anthemic feel to proceedings, with its repeated guitar motif and slowly expanding sonics over the top. Great track! And there is more, much more, as a series of atmospheric instrumentals oozes out of the speakers. The production and audio imagination is excellent, usually, though not always, drenched in big reverb, making this a great listen. Very enjoyable indeed.

30 minutes of singing bowls and cello is what you get on "Arche" by Lowered (English sound artist Chris Gowers), which is a deep, meditative piece perfect for that last-thing-at-night moment. I loved it. Basically it's one long drone, with the singing bowls adding little percussive moments. There's not too much more I can say about this, as it's essentially one long single thing, but I did very much like it.

One of the joys of reviewing for Terrascope Online is when a hand-made package comes in showing that real attention has been paid to presentation. "a.y." by itdreamedtome (one Johann Wlight, noted of the '90s/'00s underground UK electronic scene) is one such, housed in a recycled card box with more goodies inside. It's a real piece of art! The music is again meditative and drone-like, meant to be experienced over a much longer time scale than other music. The synth and keyboard work on this album is outstanding, making a very good release. Recommended for all ambient heads.

Matt Edible & The Obtuse Angels on their album "Stairgazing" make pop rock music with big playing and big singing (well, lots of falsetto). Opener 'Jumping Houses' is medium-paced, with anthemic chord changes and some nice guitar effects running underneath. The over-emoted vocals are a bit of an acquired taste, and perhaps they don't always work, but overall they're okay. In fact, in places, they remind me of Fyfe Dangerfield of much-missed band Guillemots. This is more shouty pop rock than melodious tunesmithery, but it does work; and the full-on arrangements also work more often that not. The penultimate cut 'The Healing' works in more anthemic chord changes, while closer 'Lullaby' is a sweet little piece with more falsetto vocals, and backing vocals. Not sure who might like this, but certainly worth checking out online if that Big Sound pop-rock is your thing.

"CLN" by Paolo Spaccamonti and Jochen Arbeit is high quality ambient electronica made with subtle electric guitars and lots of synths. The first two tracks are drones, but by the time we get to 'III' (i.e. the third cut) some rhythmic elements come in, to be sophisticated later on. Seven tracks of excellent music is what you get over half an hour - again, perfect for that last-thing-at-night moment...

Thanks very much Steve for your insights and impressive musical knowledge.

Here now are some Rumbles from me (Andrew).

Flutatious  “Festival”  Magick Eye Records.  www.flutatious.co.uk.   This is the fourth album by Flutatious who feature Andy Faulkner guitars, Malcolm Bailey drums, Gerald Williams keyboards, Bill Forwell bass along with Michelle Devonshire flute and Stella Ferguson violin.  Most of the songs on this release are instrumentals with the two main soloists being the girls on flute and violin. The record’s highlights for me are the instrumentals.  Opener “Festival”,  would indeed prove popular at one, as it does have some anthemic passages.  “Acid Rain”,  also aims for the anthemic, but is really too happy, especially considering its title, and for me the worst track on the record, a record which improves from here on in.  “Funky Fish” is much better, showcasing violin and flute, sweet acid jazz vibes.  A few of the highlights for me are the bucolic hazy tones of “Crystal Morning”, a song that develops into a prog classic, enlivened by Andy’s guitar playing where here he reminds me a little of Steve Hillage.  “Lazy Summer Daze” has a nice vibe to it.  “Somewhere’s Near To Nowhere”, ups the funk factor, also oodles of lovely fluid electric guitar, it also achieves an African feel.  “Rendezvous In Marrakesh” takes us up to Morocco, terrific violin throughout.  The folk of “Lady Willow” is charming, some lovely flute and violin playing, the guitars sound great too, again it would not be out of place on an acid jazz release.  We end with the epic “Than I Ban”, beautifully played, full of tricksy time changes, with enough interest maintained throughout this long track to captivate me, beguiling violin passages. This charming flute salad, with oily way vibes has me enchanted.    

I feel it’s time to take a little journey, maybe to some foreign climes , they say travel broadens your musical knowledge and all that, so let’s see what lies beyond these shores and take a little trip, first stop to the Azores.  Nine little volcanic islands, quite a way west of Portugal, here we find The Joy Of Nature presenting us with “Emptiness Is A Long Story - The First 12 years Revisited”. Contact them at thejoyofnature@gmail.com.  A record that captures what they have been all about over the last twelve or so years, collecting together a number of singles, album cuts etc, all re-recorded and remixed.  It’s a lovely collection that shines a light on their strengths, fine pagan/celtic folk songs; with a whole host of instruments from shawm, through to handmade pipes.  The first two are traditional tunes with female vocalists, then the slow intonation of “As Tres Moiras Encantados”, a song to a candle.  “Sombras dos Nassos Ancestrais”, has hurdy gurdy and a really interesting vocal arrangement by founder member and main man Luis Couto, it  also has some simple pastoral reed work.  “Ao Sol”, is stripped back, raw tribal percussion, invested with some light acoustic guitar work.  Oh I must mention “Twilight Of The Old King”, a crepuscular pagan prog rock tune, heavily informed by the mystics.  Other highlights are the icy noir stylings of” Winter Is Coming”, the next song “Cancao Do Desassossego”, full of spoken word sorcery, an incantation over echoed strings and all manner of whistles. “A Song To The Sun”, is mad, like early period Cure, in that the guitars sound similar, at some point a monk like guy appears to creep into the studio with a bunch of whistles, replete with shawm and a lazy lead guitar solo, this one is very good.  Up next is a short exquisite song called “Breathing Your Name”.  The record ends with ”As The River Flows”, wind and seagulls, wide screen and cathartic.  A balmy, dreamy end to a fine compilation.

Right over to Italy now.  Maurizio Abate  “Standing Water”, this is a joint release with Black Sweat Records over in the USA supplying the vinyl and Boring Machines the CD. www.boringmachines.com.

Maurizio is a 12 string guitarist in the school of Takoma style of playing, recalling to mind guys like Peter Laing through to Jack Rose. On this record he is far from dry and boring, bringing to light the subtle nuances of his instruments. These are calm, sprightly, deft melodies, with all of the songs being purely instrumental. “Odonata”, the opener reminds me of the twelve string work of Toulouse Enghelhardt.  “Shaping The Mud”, has splintered acoustic guitar with sympathetic strings and violin by guest Lux, it has plenty of fine playing throughout its seven plus minutes.  “Nymphs Dance”, is a pastoral song in distinct parts, maybe depicting the seasons? I love the way that he tunes up whilst playing the opening parts of the song, it all moves along at a funereal pace through autumn into winter until spring and summer arrive some ten minutes later.

“Pond Mood”, is six minutes of sublime guitar playing, slow finger picked acoustics being the order of the day, as we progress through the day until the final pairing of “Standing/ Crumbling”. Fourteen minutes long it’s a majestic closing song, architecturally structured, nice washes of sound encompassing some beautiful  finger picked slow motion acoustic guitar, bright and questing, darting fireflies of plucked strings ringing true, it has a great ending to, blurring out to a dissonant acerbic jazz tune, like twisting the dial of an old radio picking up bits of sound. A few guests are on hand too Matteo Bennici, plays cello and Lux violin, playing a few string arrangements on a couple of the tracks, this is some fine acoustic music indeed.

Let’s go over to Finland and see ex Kuparilinna front man Tuomas Palonen; a folklorist who has just released his new S/T record on the Palatsi label, out of Helsinki. This is his take on the mid period psychedelic era.

I enjoyed the last release from Kuparilinna, which to be fair is the only one by them that I have heard.  It is a charming, playful, chamber pop album, paying homage to the mid sixties, so I know a little of him/them. For this record he has produced it entirely at home with a bunch of guests.  The artist that I am most reminded of is Gareth Bonello of The Gentle Good, which is no bad thing, being as he is a really fine Welsh acoustic singer songwriter, not a million miles away from the kind of hushed folk music of Nick Drake.

Anyway this is also a very playful record, with plenty of fine songs, entirely sung in his native Finnish tongue, songs with ornate orchestration and some soaring string arrangements, lots of flute courtesy of Otto Eskelinen, harp by Saara Olarte, violin by Seidi Guzejev, with a little trombone Heeiki Tuhkanen.   Some of the songs remind me of Belle And Sebastian and their particular brand of clever pop.  The suspense in “Hamara”, is well observed, “Palkanevesi”, has some nice touches, the dulcimer and the arrangement being of a cyclical nature.  

“Hiljainen Soutaja”, has a mysterious ancient vibe to it. “Avoimin Silmin”, is a charming keening song, with slightly over wrought vocals.  “Olukkainen Juomukkainen”, is playful psych, a la Syd Barrett, crunchy and light, it also has some low down groovy nasty lead guitar, the record ends with a kind of Finnish Fleet Fox choral, in the round, interrupted at times by someone with a persistent sniff.
Here’s a thing, Jon Povey and Twink, both formerly of The Pretty Things, have come together by forming the band Star Sponge Vision to present “Crowley And Me” released on the Mega Dodo label, LP/CD in mini LP style sleeve plus download www.mega-dodo.com.  This is an album entirely about the magician Aleister Crowley who was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter and novelist.

A suggestion by Twink to Jon Povey that came about whilst Twink enquired as to if his friend had ever looked into the poetry and writings of Crowley it sparked a seed and Jon duly set to work writing this album. The band comprise of Jon Povey, Keyboards, Twink, drums and percussion, Max Gibson, lead and acoustic guitars, Nick Ferris, lead and acoustic guitars with Ed Sykes, bass and ethereal guitars. Songs with titles such as “The Pentagram”, “The Mantra”,” Hymn To Pan”, should give you an indication of where we are going, the vocals are really more narrations and provided by Jon.

“Crowley & Me”, the opener has long loping guitars, down and dirty and an impassioned plea from Jon, some wicked electric guitar solos. Plenty of nice keys surface during “Clouds Without Water”, and some really fine fretwork too.  “The Logos”, full of dark imagery, powerful yet restrained.  “Hymn To Pan”, a gothic tale from the woods is terrific, an air guitarists wet dream, plenty of soaring leads. “The Buddhist’s”, has twin guitar action from the start. “The Gypsy”, is rich in text, accompanied by some nylon stringed guitars and moody synths. “Lament For Al”, rocks nicely, sounding not unlike mid period Thin Lizzy. The final track “Why Do You Wait”, being a piano led rock song, again some blistering guitar passages, interesting record all round.
Right, quite a few releases have arrived this spring that I really ought to inform you about, Deep Water Acres.  www.dwracres.com, have a couple of new records out, the first of these is by Mike Tamburo called “Aquarian Drifter”. It’s a 35 minute journey into the outer limits, composed on what I was convinced were synths, but are actually made by a heavily treated guitar, run through a Mel 9 tape replay machine, plus an Eventide 9, a Boss RC-505, an Akai Headrush, oh and a zither.  

Also known as Brother Ong and based in Pittsburgh. He started his recording career in about 2004. Mike is a prolific artist with a whole slew of albums under his belt; he also operates in the fields of relaxation, yoga and healing.  This is a deep ambient slow set of songs that really work best when listened to as a whole, with titles such as “Hubble’s Eye”, “Tundra Swan”, “Epic Transport”, and “Final Days”, you can get some sort of a feel for what is trying to be achieved. It’s a cathartic, soporific listen, with each track flowing nicely into the next, not a lot happens, which is the intention, close your eyes and drift away into the firmament, a fine slice of aquarian drifting.  

Also out on the same label is a new album by United Bible Studies “The Star of the Sea Moves Today to its Rising”.  www.dwacres.com.  This ever evolving band of musicians have amassed quite a back catalogue and are never less than interesting , for this outing we start with a spoken word poem from David Colohan, which evolves into a lovely piano and ghostly vocal piece, unwinding at a very slow pace with curlicues of clarinet and soft drones. “Darkest Hour Is The Dawn”, follows a similar path, a sort of ghostly chamber folk piece.  The centre piece of the record is the title track “The Star Of The Sea Moves Today To Its Rising”, a ten minute slowly unfurling piece played on all manner of instruments, slow and meandering. “The Wait”, is a pretty, harp led song, played here by long standing member Aine O’ Dwyer.  “O Girl Of The Branches”, ups the freak folk factor, an 18 minute song sung by the distinctive voice of Alison O’Donnell, who joins the song halfway through. It is a disarmingly eerie song, cluttered by forest debris, a song that’s based on Aine O’Dwyers piano piece ‘The Sitting Room’.  The record ends with “Waves Which Have Kept Me”, decorated by all manner of strange instruments, creating a calming song which slides by as if in a dream.
The first release this year from A Year In The Country  www.ayearinthecountry.co.uk  is “Audio Albion”, packaged as usual in their sumptuous style. For this record the artists include David Colohan, Keith Seatman, Sproatley Smith, Spaceship, The Heartwood Institute, Magpahi, Widows Weeds and Pulselovers amongst others. There are some gems to be discovered, Time Attendant’s “Holloway”, is both immersive and impressive.  Bare Bones kick things off with the frailing banjo of “Marshland Improvistion”, Grey Frequency give us “Stapleford Hill”, an icy blast of synth and found sound, eerie and unsettling. Field Lines Cartographer arrive with “Coldbarrow” to a bed of twinkling synth. The crows inform us of the arrival of Widow’s Weeds with “The Unquiet Grave”, intoned and sung word female vocals, sounding not too dissimilar to Alison ODonnell, it’s a scary song about a grave; high upon a hill overlooking the city below.  Another highlight and one upon which the record ends, is Vic Mars, whose “Dinedor Hill”, a slowly unwinding song all about said hill, a hill which Vic could see from his bedroom window as a child.  Ebbing and flowing synth lines are punctuated by some very strange whir’s and pulses. Another high quality release from A Year In The Country.
Spaceship “The Last days”  www.darkoutside.co.uk  Mark Williamson is no stranger to these pages and this is his latest release on the small boutique cassette label The Dark Outside. This album was the last one Mark recorded before he moved away from Loughton in Essex, on the outskirts of London, which is a strange place full of curiously orange folk, synonymous with cosmetic surgeries, reality TV, footballers in supercars, being as it is part of the so called ‘Golden Triangle’.  The album imagines the death of the town, the loping album opener “I’m Gemma Collins and I’m Arg”, sets out the stall early on with its ambient drifting synth lines. “Foxy’s Hangs On”, is an icy cool pure tone piece, which is swiftly followed by “No More Fights In The Late Night Bars”, a seven minute synth and organ tune with just the right amount of bleeps wows and flutters. Other highlights were the piano based “The Expensive Cars Our Parents Bought Us”, which introduces some ever so light beats and some pastoral flute sounds. The ghostly “All The Coffeehouses” again informed by piano and whirring noises. “Defeat Of The Blue Plaque Erectors”, a song that sounds strangely familiar, but one that I can’t put my finger on.  The final song on the album is the lengthy “Now Only Ghosts Roam The Streets”, a ten minute tour de force, showcases the capabilities of a synthesiser.
Another record informed by the possibilities of the guitar is the latest by SAGASThe Last Door” again on Deep Water Acres www.dwacres.com.  It says here “Picked, plucked, scraped, faked, improvised and mangled” in the Fall of 2014 to the Spring 2015, at Crickhollow, Pittsburgh, PA. Sagas, is Matt McDowell playing guitars, lap steel, percussion, Raagini and vocals. What we have here are five songs of superlative guitar playing, some with distortion, some with clean picking. “Bristlecone Blues”, kicks things off with a nine minute piece. Electric and acoustic guitars ring out with a touch of distortion and some of the electric filigree notes remind me of Jerry Garcia, there’s also some nice wah- wah towards the end, great start to a record. “Aura Photos”, has shakers for percussion with some Quicksilver ‘Cippollina’ style lead guitar in the middle. ”Permuations For Lap Steel”, is also fuzzy and distorted to within an inch of its life. ”The Mysteries Of Mirror Lake”, a twelve minute song introduces drones and takes us way out East. The final track is the title track “The last Door”,  lunar liquid electric guitar lines over a bed of acoustics, oh and also vocals, delivered as if by some slow southern hick. The song develops and has some quite intense distorted treated guitar moments.

Terrapin  “Sanctuary”  www.gardenofdreams.com.   Terrapin are an off-shoot from Greek band No Man’s Land, who have been around since the late eighties and have a good six or seven previous albums. The album is out on G.O.D. (Garden Of Dreams) record label.  Instrumentation is mainly guitar, bass and drums with guests playing mandolin, sitar, harmonica, cello and keyboards lending colour to this gently pastoral album.  The album is in the prog/folk realm with some nice touches, songs such as the knowing opener “Spiritual bankruptcy”, the title tracks intertwining nylon string guitar and which combine well with the soft warm voice of Vassilis the band’s main singer, writer and lyricist. Elsewhere on the record we have the poppier “Dancing Mice”, “Fog Rolling Out” is pretty mad with all manner of effects, he reminds me in singing style of the guy from Cousteau or a less dramatic Scott Walker or Tom Rush. “All Tears Flow To The Sea”, is elegant. “Summer Elegy”, redolent with delicate mandolin is a pretty tune.  “Sunflower Street”, is a winner, up beat and jaunty with some fine playing all round.  The record ends with a big rock song “The Undead”, a more theatrical kind of affair that sounds strangely like Bowie.

Suss “Ghost Box”  E.V.P. recordings www.suss.bandcamp.com  This comes out of the USA and is a project of various studio musicians, who between them have played on more records than is good for them. Bob Holmes, Gary Lieb, Pat Irwin, Jonathan Gregg and William Garrett make up the band. The record sounds like a cross between Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. Widescreen drifting ambient tunes, populated with tons and tons of pedal steel.  It’s filmic and would respond well to visuals, I can picture slow motion exploding jukeboxes or slowly rolling tumbleweeds. It’s as American as you can get in that Peckinpah and Morriconi kinda way.  The whole thing just works best as one piece, with titles such as “Wichita”, Big Sky”, “Laredo”, “Gunfighter”, and “Canyonlands”, some are redolent with big slow fat guitar notes, some with whistling, plenty of synth and Twin Peaks style guitars to, a bit of stolen dialogue, some dry rasping harp colours the slightly more animated “Gunfighter”, before we drift back and reprise the soft tones of album opener “Wichita”, in the album closer “Canyonlands”.

Right, off to New Zealand now and a CD from Michael Canning  “Cordyline Australis”, now I don’t know anything about him at all,  however with this record Michael has managed to play, sing, write and record the whole thing, it’s self released and his contact details are music.research.uk.ol@gmail.com should you feel like getting hold of a copy.  The opener “Dust Brother”, alone is worth acquiring it for,  it’s an inventive song that sparkles with creativity and is well cool reminding me of ‘Once Around The Block’, by Badly Drawn Boy, whose debut album “Bewilderbeast”, this album kind of reminds me of.  Elsewhere “Back to The Bones”, a tale of funerals that’s coloured with electric piano and trumpets is darkly humorous. The clever lyrics and arrangement, of “Seigniorage”, hints at XTC.  “Roll On Autumn”, is a fine quirky instrumental, “The Liquor Well”, is pretty nuts, as is “Louis And Solange”, “Medicine”, takes us back to the eighties. “Stone Age Europe”, is a touch stodgier and all together grungier.  The record ends with “The Court Of The Bees”, a mad proggy synth fest, imbued with the sounds of running water and tolling bells.

Over to Austin, Texas now and The Aaron Clift Experiment have a new self released CD www.aaronclift.com . Ostensibly a rock band with plenty of progressive tendencies, indeed they won best new unsigned artist of 2013 by the highly respected Prog Magazine and they won the progressive music award in 2016.  For this album they have roped in a few guests like legendary Texan guitar player Van Wilks and also Dave North of The Cuckoos.  Aaron Clift has an English sounding tone to his voice which was one of the first surprises.  The album is really quite accomplished with plenty of sympathetic drums played by Tim Smith, co songwriter Devin North plays bass and Aaron plays keyboards and is the band’s vocalist. Highlights for me are the multi faceted pastoral charms of “Absent Lovers”, decorated with a pretty chamber string section, the knotty “Castles In The Sky”, and “Dream Within A Dream” which has fierce guitar courtesy of Kevin Chin.  There is one track though which for me is head and shoulders above anything else on the record and that track is “If All Goes Wrong”, which manages to sound like the instrumental passage of Barclay James Harvest’s “Suicide”, and King Crimson’s “Moonchild”, foggy mellotrons cloak the track throughout, plus it has a wonderful guitar solo played by Dave North, definitely ones to watch.

 Another self released CD is the latest and fifth album from Lancaster band Three Dimensional TanksA Compulsion For Propulsionwww.threedimensionaltanks.com is a short sharp burst of garage punk rock, most songs hover around the 2-3 minute mark, no fat on these bones, it’s Monk time. 15 tracks of high energy, taut, wiry songs with plenty of sinewy bass, propulsive drums, waspish organ and angular guitars that mesh throughout this great little record, a couple of the tracks stray into the 5 minute mark but we’ll let them off, mostly it’s in and out, wham bam thank you ma’m. Cool artwork too, courtesy of Alan Outram. Highlights for me were the spacey “Racing Car No9”, the crunchy “Chemical Cubical”, the pure garage tones of “The Human Stupid”, and the sixties punk of “Backseat Driver”, any of these tunes would not be out of place on a Nuggets or Pebbles comp.  

Right, it’s time to tell you of some other things that have recently come to my attention.
The fine boutique cassette label Eggs In Aspic www.eggsinaspic.com  are still releasing highly desirable, very limited tapes and the latest two from them continue to impress Behold A Pale Horse a five piece band from Newcastle have released a cool E.P that shows great promise, l look forward to hearing their debut album on the strength of this one, a melding of psychedelic blues, krautrock that’s been likened to MC5 mixed with a bit of early Pink Floyd. Also out on the same label is the debut album by Monumentals, a new Nottingham based instrumental two piece band, the album is called Irregular Heads, the band consist of Ryan DelGaudio and Neil Marsden both from band The Cult Of Dom Keller. This one is a bit more soundtracky and wouldn’t be out of place accompanying a sci fi western with its nods to Brian Eno and Morricone, great stuff, expansive and atmospheric, with tracks like “Dawn Colossal”, and “Collapse Of The Ghost Regime”, being of particular note. Recommended if you are partial to a bit of Godspeed! You Black Emperor. I believe both tapes are now sold out, but I’m letting you know about them because the label should be on your radar and worth checking regularly for future releases.

 A band that I missed out on at the time they were active in the mid eighties, but really should have read my Terrascopes to learn all about are The Palace Of Light, as they made a tremendous album called Beginning Here And Travelling Outwards which was put out on Phil Smee’s Bam Caruso record label in 1987. It is difficult to find but has recently been rereleased by Hanky Panky records. www.hankypankyrecords.blogspot.com. It’s a fantastic album full of great songs that are decorated by a string quartet, cello, violin and viola. The vocals are delivered in a deep baritone similar to Scott Walker, the guitars ring out clear and true and serve the songs well. They were a four piece consisting of Mark Brend six and twelve string guitar and autoharp. Charlie Llewellin – drums and vibraphone. Geoff Smith - lead vocals, six and twelve string guitars and balalaika, plus Matthew Gale - bass, organ six and twelve string guitars. It’s also a double CD with some of the bands favourite songwriters covered on the second disc, so we have songs by Nick Drake, Mickey Newberry, Tom Rush, Tim Hardin, along with some of the band’s early demos, plus a newly recorded song by the original band.  Things then went quiet for a while before they resurfaced, this time as Mabel Joy in the early to mid nineties putting out an album called Wish I Was that is also terrific. The Palace Of Light featured orchestration which Mabel Joy then carried on, adding a full time member with Emma Peters on Violin, they were essentially an alt country/folk band with a distinct English style. Magnificently concise baroque tunes, framed by some gorgeous instrumentation, it also has a fantastic version of the Tim Buckley classic “Buzzin’ Fly”, how I missed them I don’t know, but what I do know is that both are now available again and Hanky Panky have done a fine thing in reissuing the both of them.

Another band who have been silent for a long time but were once championed by the Terrascope is The Special Pillow (feat. Dan Cuddy, ex Hypnolovewheel). 'Sleeping Weird' is their third album, still wearing their psychedelic hearts on their sleeves but now with a dark edginess etched in outline. The album is worth hearing for 'Cryogenic Tomb' alone, which is an absolute tour de force. (Zofko ZK7)

Our old friends Kinski have released a new 7” single put out by These Are Not Records www.thesearenotrecords.com  “Old Gold”, from Love As Laughter is given the In-the-red treatment and is backed by “Loved By You”, from David Kilgour’s band Stephen, both tracks being ‘A’ grade space rock with balls, rattling the windows nicely, it’s good to have them back. I’m still searching for an earlier 7” of theirs which was put out in the early days of The Great Pop Supplement.

The record label K.Ultrax, find them @ www.k.ultraxxxxx@gmail.com have sent along a couple of CD’s the first is by Klaus Joynson & The Type 40New Adventures In Time And Space”. This project sees Klaus tackling a concept album reflecting the 12 doctors who have played Dr Who, from its inception going forward through the ages. The record attempts to move the listener through the various Doctors, starting with a song in the mid sixties British beat, through to Peter Davidson.  “Verity & Delia”, has a snatch of original music with added period beat sounds, he has a voice very much like the male singer in the B 52’s, nice little nod to Delia, along the way we are treated to many knowing winks and nods, he’s quite a funny guy too, I quite enjoyed the stomping glam of “Five Rounds Rapid”, representing John Pertwee. Tom Baker gets some prog, I love the cheesy organs and spy guitars that accompany the songs, the band can sure play in a variety of styles, a case in point being the Human League aping electro pop of “Soap Opera”, the floydian guitars in “Walking In Eternity” are very good however the track really shows up the limitations of his voice. Elsewhere “Vancouver” is pretty good and accompanied by some trip hop. The final track Time And Space rocks us far out in to space. The other release by the label is Koolaid (Holy Sunshine!). Whereas the last disc took its cue from British culture, this one takes us right over to 1966/7 in San Francisco man, Timothy Leary, acid tests, Sandoz, LSD. Plenty of songs punctuated by period dialogue, along the way we hear from Frank Zappa, Alan Ginsberg, Ralph Malph, Herbert Marshall McLuhan, Art Linkletter etc, standout track “Canyon”, is an epic 10 minute ride, deep into the scene, turn on tune in and drop out, one listen to this track and I’m transported. It tells of lookout mountain, and poses the question; where did the hippies all come from, because all of a sudden they were like here, man ? This record also knows of no genre, it kind of has that Amorphous Androgynous vibe, bits of surf, post punk, psychedelia, rock, etc. Some righteous playing, they certainly kick out the jams! 

Until next time, happy trails - Andrew Young.


Terrascopic Rumbles for July was brought to you by Andrew Young and Steve Palmer. Artwork, layout & direction by Phil McMullen (who may also have sneaked in a word or two here and there...) © Terrascope Online, 2018