= November 2017 =

ello and welcome to yet another edition of Rumbles, leading you a merry dance through some recent releases that have come to our attention. To kick thing off Andrew Young leads us in gently with Toma   Aroma   CD/DL   www.thebandtoma.comOut of Austin, Texas and produced by friend of the band James Petralli of White Denim and sharing their pop nous, we are presented with a quite short album of succinct pop rock songs, with plenty of cool rocking tunes which remind me in various places of bands like 10cc, The Silver Seas and Todd Rundgren, combining 70’s style songs with a touch of noughties production.

Going Nowhere is the lead off track and single which has some nice organ and a succinct little guitar solo at the end.  Very upbeat, segueing nicely into second track Count Me Out, a softer slower tune. Over a bed of guitars, bass, drums and organ, this short but sweet record has some nice touches throughout, tight and melodic, songs that lend themselves to the radio and could prove quite popular if given enough exposure.

Butch Young   Mercury Man   Little Christmas Recordings   www.butchyoung.com  CD/DL
    Butch is a native New Jersey musician, relocated to California, who presents us with an album of 12 self written songs, full of arch pop tunes with plenty of orchestration.  A bit of the Beatles, a touch of the Beach Boys, playing a variety of instruments himself and drafting in guitarist Matt Lee and Patric Hayes bass, with Daniel Stone drums, joined by various guests, on trumpets, chimes and piano.

    Singing in a voice somewhere between Todd Rundgren and Mark Bolan. Subject matters include songs about sunday drivers, mermaids, asteroids and starlit lullabies.

     It’s not just pop by numbers, as these songs are well played, well written and invested with a fine pop rock sensibility.  Plenty of crunchy guitars, beautiful harmonies, with plenty of twists and turns to keep things interesting.  Indeed lovers of power pop will find much to like here.

    The record flows nicely and should do well if given enough exposure.  Stand out tracks are the melodic pop rush of One Foot In, the tasty Child Of Nature and the horn infested Algernon.

  Back over to this side of the pond,  AHAB’s main man Dave Burn has a solo album out called Arizona, www.daveburn.com CD/DL 

    This is Dave’s debut solo album, which has been produced by Fred Abbot and co-produced by Graham Knight and Rob Heath, with all three also contributing to the record on a variety of instruments, including  lap steel, Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes, both acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums and mandolin.

    The opening track sounds a lot like it could be by Richard Thompson, to give you a touchstone and is firmly in the folk rock field with plenty of Americana/ alt rock.  Dave has spent many summers over in Arizona with family; hence the title of the record.  The state also inspires a lot of the songs by its wide open, big sky country. 

    After working with Danny Wilson from Grand Drive, Kirsten Adamson who provides some beautiful harmony vocals throughout this record, Katzenjammer and more recently Blair Dunlop, he has now struck out on his own.  Recently returning to this country from a sojourn working on a documentary in the Yukon filming gold miners!  After suffering a slipped disc and a broken foot along the way, he found himself with a bit of time on his hands and enough money to rent a studio to make this fine record.  Standout tracks are the rocking Wasted, the lilting Born To Do, the fine piano led ballad Litter And The Leaves, the autobiographical I’m So Numb, upbeat song The Killer and the album closer Long Lost Son

     Requiem  For A World After  Mental Experience LP/CD/ DL  www.guerssen.com   Reissue of this very obscure electronic German album originally released in 1981 on a run of 1000 copies on the tiny Daviton label.

     George Speckert came to make the album after meeting David Cassidy (not that one), who ran a small label/ studio in Hanover where George was a music teacher.  A chance meeting around the same time with guitarist Massimo Grande led to some fine electric guitar parts to his project.

    Taking it’s template from some the then current contempory  synth bands like Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh, Conrad Schnitzler and Moebius.  It progresses through it’s six pieces, on a variety of analog keyboards, such as the Korg MS20, the Casioton CT201, Crumar DS-2 and Jupiter 4, aided and abetted by a drum machine and electric guitar.

    The record tells the story of world annihilation through nuclear war.  Starting with Destruction and ending with Creation, along the way providing ample dark progressive Berlin-School synthscapes, they build and collapse accordingly over 40 minutes.

     A heavenly mix of vintage keyboards, with some lead guitar adding texture to a few of the pieces.  Parts of Realization remind me of Steve Birchill’s summer        distillations. Construction is quite like Oxygen with lead guitar added.  Beats are kept reasonably sparse and the whole thing is structured very well as a listening experience.  If you grew up with early eighties synth groups you will feel an affinity with this release, I like it.

    Cozmic Corridors self titled album, is out now on the same label, also available on vinyl\CD\DL  from www.guerssen.com.  It is another reissue of an album that is scarce, however  this time it probably doesn’t exist, as no copies have ever actually surfaced.

     Mythos drummer Hans Jurgen Putz, alongside keyboard nut Alex Myer, poet Pauline Ford and guitarist Peter Forster got together in 1972 to record this tripped out electronic record that has a distinct horror cinematic vibe about it. Fans of Cluster, Ash Ra Tempel and Popul Vuh should investigate as it sits squarely in that bag.

     Recorded by Toby ’The Mad Twiddler’ Robinson, for his Pyramid label.  It sounds almost sacred in places, with touches of Terry Riley.  A gothic space rock delight, which over its forty minutes soothes and unsettles.  Dark Path is a fine opener.  The Summit, (which sounds pretty desolate, when finally reached nine minutes later) is a drifty spooky synth driven piece.

     Mountainside is my current favourite track, a lofty, swirling, droney affair.  Niemand Versteht, provides a musical backdrop to the poetry of Pauline Ford.  Daruber ends the record with eleven minutes of spooky ambient soundscapes, progressing through three distinct phases (the middle being a keyboard accompanied droning hymnal) before progressing through some dark wave synth washes towards the end.

    Mogollar S/T  released on the Pharaway Sounds imprint of Guerssen   www.guerssen.com .

    Originally released in 1976, this was the Turkish bands third album I believe, it’s a heady mix  of Eastern Mediterranean sounds played on a variety of guitars, flutes and percussion along with plenty of Balalaika’s and Oud’s tracking out the melodies.

    Purely instrumental, with most tracks hovering about the 2-3 minute mark, some of the tracks feature fuzz guitar. One track may be a bit of a snake charmer the other an exotic belly dancer, all invested with light eastern percussion busily bubbling away.

    Standout tracks for me were the slow muezzin call of Katip Arzuhalim Yaz Yare Boyle with its pinging echoing guitars, the fine fuzztastic surge of Karsiki Yayla.  Drama Koprusu-Bolu Bey!  has more fuzz guitar and conjures up the sweeping Anatolian vistas, a true merging of east and west.  Canakkale  Icinde Aynali Carsi  which echoes the opening of Katip Arzuhalim Yaz and album closer, the much heavier Ozum Kald.

    Heading out west we arrive in Belgium, for a 2 track vinyl album by  Babils  Ji Ameeto  released by Sub Rosa  in conjunction with Camera Obscura  www.subrosa.com.

    Heading into the central laboratoire every few months to record every improvised note and every performance in its entirety, with all the results kept in the lab for archiving is nothing if not ambitious.

    Opener C’est la raison pour laquelle motors along in a sort of Hawkwind meets Gong fashion with what appears to be a skylark trapped in the lab during the first few minutes, it’s over 16 minutes long , echoed spoken vocals emerge over a dense rhythm with plenty of spacey keys.

     nous ne cesserons jamais de recommencer the second and final track, follows along similar lines again it’s over 16 minutes long and uncurls over a loping rhythm , more spoken lyrics, keyboard squalls and crashing percussion above a gentle motorik rhythm which continues for the duration of the track.

    Expo Seventy   America Here And Now Sessions released on Essence Records  www.essence-music.com. This outing features a rare line-up of two drummers, who first played in this aggregation in 2010 at the Neon Marshmallow festival in Chicago and Kansas City. This album recorded in 2012 for America:  Now And Here, captures the improvisation and experiment between the four musicians who were asked to participate in a recording session that would later be edited together as a side- long piece of music. That mix was accomplished but due to financial pressures was never released.

    Presented here are the Expo Seventy recordings in their entirety spread over three tracks.  Justin Wright guitar/ synth and Aaron Osbourne bass, percussion along with drummers Mike Vera and David Williams stretch out over the next 56 minutes.

     First Movement starts with a heavily treated delayed guitar being gradually joined by the two drummers and a fierce descending bass. The thing locks into a fine groove based jam, with the very prolific Justin providing plenty of the soaring guitar tropes that he is known for.  Slow burning space rock of the highest order.

    Second Movement is a much slower song; things hang in stasis for a while as the drummers coalesce over cymbal washes and electronic pulses.  When the two drummers gel they do so in a quite restrained but muscular way, with Justin given plenty of room to provide more of that excellent space rock, after the slow build and fairly heavy middle section the song then begins to unwind very slowly in a squall of drone and feedback.  For the CD version a third track is included, titled funnily enough Third Movement. It’s shorter, being only eight minutes long, but quite punchy, with thundering drums and percussion giving way to what sounds like a dripping electronic tap.

    Another disc that has come to the attention of us at Rumbles is the fragile cracked second album by Swedish singer songwriter Peter Thisell  Thisell 11 released on the Jellyfant record label www.jellyfant.com  in the latter half of last year.

    If you have a liking for exquisitely produced chamber folk you will like this slow burner of a record, which over the course of the last few months has been delighting me. The Sun Sets In The Weeds is a gorgeous opener, tender with a lovely melody picked out on the acoustic guitar. Instruments include accordion, piano, violin, acoustic and electric guitars, synthesizer, drums and exquisite vocal harmonies.

    Highlights are the aforementioned album opener, the romantic The Worlds Last Cigarette. The sparse forlorn piano led ballad Amounts To You with its claustrophobic found sound enveloping the soft world weary lyrics of Peter, entwined with the delicate violin of Karin Wilberg.

    I Know It Is True, My Love For You a rumination on loneliness and sadness and It Happened To You another sad eyed lament,  orchestrated with a fine chamber pop arrangement, but enlivened by some electric guitar surges that’s both dramatic and atmospheric.

 Magic Bus   Philip The Egg   www.magicbusband.co.uk

    They now have a couple of albums under their belts, this is their third and a bit of a change in direction I feel, heading in a vintage progressive rock direction.  Mystical Mountain kicks off with a classic dead vibe, pure west coast, sounding like the needle had been dropped in the middle of Europe 72.

     The song is full of English whimsy, light and carefree, the second Twelve Kings is full on Tolkeinesque hobbit country and introduces that fantasy style of vintage prog that develops over the course of the next forty minutes, the song ends some nine minutes later in glorious full rock out mode.

    Fading Light an instrumental is a loose languid tune with some pretty guitar lines. Trail To Canaa starts with flute and has that classic early 70’s prog sound, a tight arrangement dominated by keyboards, with papapa vocal injections, it’s split into two parts, the second part rocks out more as a mellotron fog descends all over it.

    Zeta is a big space-rock song, heavy flute bursts before a questing ”zeta astral portal” is intoned, very reminiscent of latter Hawkwind during their Quark era.  The band stretch out and show us what they can do, great song.  Distant Future  begins with a contrapuntal rhythm, joined by some thick riffs and driving drums, all helped along with some terrific keyboard sounds from Jay.  Some more great lead guitar and flute, with this particular song I’m reminded of the Soft Hearted Scientists, the song ends with lead guitar and mellotron.  It’s also quite Crimsonesque towards the end.

    Kepler 22  (i) The Root  (ii) Zapruder (iii)  Myrrh and honey.  This has a pastoral feel to start with, a soft opening gambit which is soon to yield to something a bit noisier, in the way of some thick crunchy riffs and taught wiry bass.  It’s split into three parts, the second part gives us fuzz guitar to the fore, washes of ‘tron, tight and tricksy, the final part Myrrh and honey eases us out.  Kalimazoo has a delicate acoustic intro with a gentle madrigal by Val and is short and soufflé light.

    Yantra Tunnels is the album closer.  An Eastern vibe gets wafted in with a droning tamboura or perhaps sitar, a signal path is explored and established on the guitar, the keys and the flute join in for a bit before it all turns a little bit heavier and a bit reminiscent of Wolf People.  A full electric rhythm section arises,  along with more helpings of mellotron soup, a Gong like invocation is intoned, before we are carried away on a  Hawkwind breeze, excellent stuff indeed. 

Nathan Hall and the Sinister Locals  The Volga Sturgeon Face E.P www.nathanhallandthesinisterlocals.bandcamp

    Nathan begins the record with the pleasing toy town psych tune “Everybody’s Burning Effigies” Calliope keyboards and martial drumming, a nice introduction with a touch of woodwind and Nathan’s best Keith Emerson impersonation at the end. ”Song For The Flowers” follows and is a warped ecological song, a greening against the ever increasing concrete metropolis, we’re all down to seeds and stems again in the end.

“Like A Setting Sun” is introduced with some acoustic guitar before some classical motifs emerge that suggest a full string section but played on a keyboard, this motif occurs throughout the song.  A tale of pearls and gold, glimpsed through some baby leaves, this is the most musical of the four songs and my favourite.  Catacombs Of Camden rounds of this fine debut E.P and wouldn’t be out of place on a Soft Hearted Scientists album.

The Restless Field S/T released in two editions Dawn and Dusk www.ayearinthecountry.co.uk

    The Restless Field is a study of the land as a place of conflict and protest as well as beauty and escape. Taking in the beauty and escape of rural pastures, intertwined with an underlying unsettledness in the bucolic countryside dream.  Being partial to a bit of field walking I was very much looking forward to this.

    Sinister,  foreboding tones introduce us to a submerged world of sound from the Field Lines CartographersVic Mars follows up his recent sterling work on Clay Pipe and Polytechnic Youth with Mortimer’s Cross, bells and harp strings twinkle away nicely progressing through to some Vernon Elliott style woodwind.  Bare Bones scraping informs (fears) avaunt! Upon ‘The’ Hill.

    Assembled Minds inject some more modern beats into the proceedings;  it’s a squelchy affair, hyper reality.  Grey Frequency with Agrarian Lament has the feel of a drowsy summer afternoon with much birdsong, getting all warm and sleepy now.  Endurance continues with the warm languid tones, lying beneath the cherry tree slowly awakening from a narcotic fug with some delicate electronics chirruping in the distance. 

    Listening Center come up with the goods, with a cool haunting slice of electronica, before Pulselovers shake us all from our reverie, with some strident synthscapes  -very eighties, early Human League.   Sproatly Smith up next with Ribbons acoustics and electronics meet with organ, piano and massed hushed vocals, before Polypores arrive with what sounds like a whirring helicopter overhead, yielding to the tones of a synth’s pulses and washes on Graveny Marsh, bleak and misty with sonar glitches, then off they fly again, leaving DePatterned to tap out a signal on Last Best West (1896) a feeling of ennui, a slow, soporific, electronic Morse. 

    Time Attendant unsettles with fat squelchy beats waking us all up. A year In The Country produce a wonderful, bucolic, skylark infested, hoof clattering, feather rustling piece that is quite unnerving.  David Colohan rounds off this terrific record with Beyond Jack’s Gate, a solo woodwind piece played on multi tracked bass clarinet and flute, minimal and cathartic.

     Federico Dal Pozzo Untitled _TeVet   www.krysalisound.com
Federico lives in Italy, studied Stockhausen and works as a sound designer in various Italian foundations for Audio-Installations and live performance.
For this project he went deep, this is music concrete in two movements.
The first of them concerns the movement of space travellers and the extreme resonances of an ice cube.

    The second is the sound of the freezing of a 380kg block of Ice and says the blurb “it’s granular and rezo synyhesis, pure, deep black ice, stasis, temporality, a signal path” .
    So, it sounds like someone attacking a big lump of ice, with, amongst other implements, a giant corkscrew. (Editors Note : it sounded mighty fine to my ears )

    Gavin John Baker - Rise with the Sun  www.reverbworship.com  big pink records (DL) & Reverb Worship (CD).   Gavin John Baker is an English guitarist and songwriter currently residing in Norway. He also plays guitar in the band Billy Mahonie, a band currently on hiatus but rumoured to be recording again. Gavin has also played in the band Jet Johnson.

    At the moment he plays bass with Swedish group Sightseers and English/Swedish country duo Hoglin Baker, whilst still finding the time to record an album with David C.W. Briggs. ‘Rise with the Sun’ is a purely solo album in the cracked singer- songwriter mould, which Gavin describes as “weirdy bedroom folk”.  Kicking off with the title track he comes across very much like early Will Oldham having a similar timbre, it’s a fine cracked melodic tune, which paves the way for the rest of the album.

     Highlights for me were the quite tender “Breaking the fall”, the bitter confessional “All through the Winter”, the reasonably unsettling “The Mask” and the psych folk of “Second Columbia, a tune in which traces of Mark Fry’s classic song “The Witch” spring to mind.

    Henke Wermelin –Accolades   On Sweet Baby Jesus Records  www.sweetbabyjesus.com  digital and cassette.  Henke is a new name to me and he has put out a startlingly good record. Hailing from the city of Gothenburg, Sweden,  Henke has made an album of soulful Americana that is very much informed by bands such as Wilco and Lambchop, but also of classic 70’s rock, witness the riffing in “If you had a heart”.

     Utilising a large band of musicians, incorporating full horn section, autoharps, pedal steel guitars but also organ and string instruments such as cello and violin.  A couple of the tunes are sung in Swedish the gorgeous “Ga” and the dark lullaby “41”, but mostly it’s euphoric singer-songwriter fare.  Not many people will get to hear this gem of an album (as cassettes are now very niche) and that is a bit of a crime really, as it has much to commend it, from the heartfelt pedal steel driven “I’m a mess” through the rocking” If you had a heart”, the frankly beautiful ”Save yourself” and the highly political “civilized treason” this one is a song written in response to several gang rape cases in Sweden, with the perpetrators going free, or receiving too short sentences.

     If you are familiar with the music of Alberta Cross, and the vocals of singer Petter Ericson Stakee, then you will have some idea of the kind of music made by Henke and his band. A note must also be made of the sympathetic production, plus the clean warm sound of the record make it a joy to listen to.  Henke has made a surprisingly strong record, one that would not be out of place on a whispering Bob Harris Playlist.

    Jonathon Heron – Skylark  www.wishingchairrecords.co.uk  Ltd CD ( with 44 page booklet)/ download. There are also a series of limited prints and photographs available from Wishing Chair.

    John Heron is the pseudonym of guitarist singer- songwriter Jon Chinn, and Skylark is his first album bearing this particular moniker.  This is an album informed by Craddock Moor and its environs, deep in Cornwall and comes with poems, photographs, maps and even GPS location references, so you can land on the coordinates of the song.

     Taking its cue from the recent Robert MacFarlane novels, plus greatly informed by standing stones, cairns, bogs, and the general landscape around that area, and also by the writings of William Blake and Percy Shelly, amongst the many more inspirations and suggested readings all listed in the extensive 44 page booklet.  Split in to two parts (Jon is currently recording part 2) with the second instalment having more of an urban theme, this one is defiantly rural, oh yes! 

     The record begins with some windblown synthesiser, acoustic rhythm guitar and searing lead guitar bursts, a driving bass and drum pattern, we are introduced to “Theme from ‘To The Wilderness’” which sets us firmly in prog territory.  Things turn a little more acoustic and pagan, with “Heron Pond”.  The sound of Skylarks singing accompanies the synth infested title track “Skylark” which burbles merrily along.

     As the record progresses, we are introduced to conversations with ponies, we take in standing stones and walk on wild paths, and we also meet strange trees and gaze into pools of light.  There are some lovely moments throughout this never less than interesting record.  Of particular note is “Because of the Sun” / “Hill of Swallows” where we are taken up to the summit of Brown Willie, the highest point in Cornwall.

 The raw electric spiralling of “Lament” works well, as does the following song “A tree grove” this floydlike song segues nicely into the decidedly wonky “I am Landscape”.  Closing out the record “Theme from ’My Pagan Head’” has more of the corrosive blistering lead guitar, that Jon deploys to great effect throughout the record.

Toby Twirl – Toby Twirl  Megadodo  records  limited edition black vinyl (300 copies) and CD.

Recently discovered tapes of this Newcastle band that were signed to Decca records in 1968, recording these songs in the late sixties that never saw the light of day, however three collectable 7” singles did emerge, which are cherished by collectors of British Psychedelia.

 This mono recording is a mix of covers and originals, with lashings of period organ and lead guitar. Of the covers we have fairly straightforward versions of “Baby You’re a Rich Man”, “American Woman” and that old chestnut “Born To Be Wild” also included is a lovely version of “Something”.

Of the originals “Dark Time of the Year” is a charming period piece all swirling organ sung beautifully by Dave Holland.  Third single “Movin’ In” is a snappy pop song, that received quite a lot of airplay at the time that it was released, but did not result in high sales.  “Marjorine” see’s a switch of lead singer, Steve Pickering- who has more of a rock voice.

The Everly Brothers “When Will I Be Loved”  is invested with a reggae vibe that works quite well, “Gonna Have A Good Time” rocks merrily along, to a Traffic vibe, name checking along the way ‘Short Fat Fanny’, ‘Long Tall Sally’and ’Boney Maronie’.  Fans of the band will be made up by this release which has only taken 50 years to see the light of day. 

Also out on the same label, is an EP of a quite different nature from 62 Miles From Space -Time Shifts  EP (300) red vinyl copies and DL. Duo consisting of Neil Davidson and Russian Roman Kutnov who live in the same city but make music centred around virtual instruments and e-mail.

First track ”Time Shifts” wouldn’t be too out of place on a Soundcarriers album, it has plenty of fine synth and guitar. “The Scope” is a space rock track that builds nicely with a percolating rhythm driving it along. “Outside”  is terrific space rock, lots of sinewy bass anchoring some great keyboard work, this one adds lightly treated vocals sung in a breathy fashion by Roman, not a million miles from Spiritualized
The final song “Bad Actors” introduces virtual Mellotron and drones, keyboard bass and organ, but it is too short really and could have been a great starting point for a longer piece.  In fact the whole EP only lasts for 15 minutes, but shows great promise. I will certainly be looking out, to see what they do next.   

Sound In Silence have a couple of new releases out at the moment. The first of these is an EP by Liam J Hennessy – Held   www.soundinsilencerecords.bandcamp.com  consisting of 6 tracks and lasting for 26 minutes, it is full of found sounds and field recordings, captured with a portable microphone, in situ, then bought back to the studio, where Liam adds guitar, piano, synth, with lots of filters and reverb.

The EP really works as a whole with “beacons” sounding particularly pretty, on this track Liam is assisted by Good Weather For An Airstrike.  “Mirror Lake” weaves it’s calming balm and he is assisted here by Umber, with whom he recorded a split 7” a few years ago. Since 2016, Liam has had the idea of recording a song every month, this EP represents the first 6 songs with another instalment to follow in due course. It will appeal to fans of Helios, Message To Bears and Balmorhea. This one is limited to 200 copies.

Next on the same label is [.Que]-Wonderland also limited to 200 copies.  This is the solo project of multi instrumentalist Nao Kakimoto, based in Tokyo, Japan. Since 2010 he has released seven albums, a couple of singles and has also recorded much film and TV work, mainly for commercials and exhibitions. This concept album has its genesis in tracks recorded for Kurokawa’s Wonderland back in 2015.

It is mainly informed by piano, with folktronica touches and a widescreen appeal, elements of dream pop and also of post rock. Standout tracks in this piece which should really be played in its entirety are lush textures of “Drip”, the bird song infested track “Forest” based on a simple repetitive piano figure, quiet and stately.

 “Afterglow” introduces some sparse beats, which build throughout the track, not unlike that music from the band Fragile State. “Nostalgia” has some nice touches, particularly the lovely acoustic guitar motif that is used as a basis for the track, which builds as it progresses, aided by twinkly electronica, joined by some more of that exotic birdsong, which acts as key signifier.

“Laputa”, has, as a base, some crackles of an old vinyl record, along with backward guitar samples, which Nao then uses to float a whole host of instruments over the top, creating quite a dense texture of sound, weaving all the elements of what has gone before, into a yearning piece that sounds like it’s been telegraphed in from another dimension.   Too soon we arrive at the final track, an edit called “Wonderland”, a synth based, rhythmic song, invested with fat bass and fine piano.  Both of these releases are well worth seeking out, they are both packaged beautifully in handmade, hand- numbered, limited edition CD’s with Polaroid photographs and download codes.  
   Thanks Andrew, much appreciated.

    Originally written for a 1966 short film that was buried by its southern distributors due to the offensive scene with a mixed race group in it, “Watch Out Woman” / ”The Way That I Need You” has now seen the light of day thanks to the good people at State Records. Recorded by Travis Pike and The Brattle Street East, the two tunes or from a batch of ten that Travis wrote for his filmaker father, also responsible for “Demo Derby” a 28 minute film that ran as a support to “Hard Days Night” in 1964. Released in glorious mono, the A-side is a garage stomper, raw and powerful and with a great guitar tone, fans of the Pebbles series should seek it out. On the B-side there is a more melodic rock and roll feel, a mid paced number with some fine vocals and a great groove, sounding like something from the Rocky Horror Show, although pre-dating it. State record releases are always worth investigating and this is no exception. Released on 7” vinyl and limited to 500. (http://staterecs.com/)

    also released on vinyl, this time 10”, one-sided and screen printed with a lovely moth design, comes “The Sparrow EP” a two track wall of noise from X-Ray 5 |(Adam Kalmbach) a man who makes microtonal black metal that shrieks out of the speaker as if spewed from a vast cauldron of darkness. On the title track, piercing noise gives way to distorted vocals and brutal noise that can feel overwhelming as it is relentless and intense in its intent, a sudden change in tones to a shivering drone only changing the tension not dissipating it, the fury returning again. On “Monadanom”, taken from a suite of microtonal ambient pieces, the mood and intensity remains the same, in fact it is hard to tell when the first piece ends and the second begins. Definitely a love it/hate it kinda affair, it will almost definitely remove unwanted caller and the nervous from your presence, I reckon you need to be in the right mood and when you are it is a magnificent slice of noise. (http://bluetapes.co.uk/)  

    Now a few words from Steve Palmer; take it away Steve.

 Spaceship (a.k.a. Mark Williamson) has been making music for a while now, mostly of a spacey or synthesized nature, with much of it passing through my Terrascopic hands. His fifth album "A Prospect Of Loughton Brook" is a sonic assessment of a local journey, with the album grounded in two weekends' worth of outdoor recordings. It all works very well. An interesting twist is that some of the synthesized sounds are indistinguishable from the real world sounds (especially those that are like aeroplanes), but there are more obvious sounds too - human voices, dogs barking, etc, alongside the more traditional water and natural sounds used. The synth and piano overlays are subtle, more often simple, but occasionally composed into standard musical form. It's a good listen, though you do have to lie down and let the whole thing pass by at its own pace - this is very much an album that cannot be broken up 'download-style.' The package is beautifully made in recycled card and completed to a very high standard.

Cary Grace is well known on the festival and alternative circuit, with a good number of live appearances to her name, not to mention nine albums. On the single "Without A Trace" she offers up a melancholy song, rather lovely, with subtle orchestration and soft backing vocals. Really nice. The flip side 'Star Fire' is slightly more uptempo, but retains the melancholy vibe, with Grace's voice harmonised with itself on spectacularly fine form (this would've been my choice of A side!). Beautiful music. A=B & B=A however.

The Insektlife Cycle hail from the Phillipines, and fit somewhere between metal, prog and jazz-rock, with stoner intervals. On their debut "Vivid Dreams Parade" the quartet play well and are as tight as a wheel-nut. Hints of early '70s metal bands suggest themselves, with vaguer hints of Zep and Purple. It's not all metal though, so don't worry, there are softer sections where the more psychedelic element of the band shines through. 'Schizodelia' is a standout track, with enough variety to nod your head to and some super-duper phasing. I was often reminded of a similar band from Finland as I listened to this album - Super-Idiots, who like The Insektlife Cycle are unafraid to bring jazz elements into their music. The closing trio of cuts 'SleepCrawler,' 'SunGaze' and 'Neonderthal' encompass melody, great playing and even a few elements of humour (check out those rock'n'roll rhythm guitars), while the closing track is a kind of prog-metal gone mental.

The self-titled album by The Mothers Earth Experiment lies in roughly similar territory to the above Phillipinos, with the addition of some top-notch vocals and the subtraction of most of the metal. This is a more trad outfit however, and more subtley produced, in a sonic space that can best be summed up by the bands they've supported live: Gong, Syd Arthur, Soft Machine and Acid Mothers Temple. Opener 'Talos' matches a tricksy rhythm with harmonised vocals and a tune created from various key changes. Quality shines through here. 'Quietus' is similar, with some groovy Hammond organ chuntering away, and more good vocals. This is the longest cut on the album, which gives it time to develop into an instrumental section. 'Trust Me' is lighter on its feet, 'Elbow Room' lighter still, though it does develop into vocal and conga territory, while album closer 'Cool Down Mama' is a bit heavier. This is a really good album. Subsequent playing reveals "grower" stature, but I have to mark it down for samples - even in context! - of Theresa May and Donald Trump. Great playing, strong vocals and lots of variety though.

"Smashed" by John San Juan is a collection of short songs recorded at the ending of the man's previous band The Hushdrops, using what studio instruments were around and wrapping the whole thing in an accidents-and-all attitude. Overdubs and a few guests complete the package. Opener 'My Little Red Tape' is strong melodically, 'My Version Of Your Dream' has attitude, 'Someone's Birthday' is quirky and acoustic, and 'I'm Going To Count To Three' is a bit slower and dreamier. None of the songs (with the exception of the instrumentally extended 'Move It') outstay their welcome and the whole thing has a pleasant atmosphere. A few of the cuts at the end of this fifteen track set may be a tad formulaic, but that's the exception not the rule. A couple of the later tracks have hints of The High Llamas soundworld, itself a consequence of the '60s, but this is no retro collection. Fans of bands on the Pink Hedgehog label would like this, I think.

The five track EP "I'm A Boy" by Lys Guillorn & Her Band takes the classic Pete Townshend song and brings it to 2017. (As Guillorn notes, she was thinking about identity issues, including gender and sexuality, at the time of writing the EP.) The rest of the EP is self-penned, opening with the strong tune 'Something' with its delightfully cheesy keyboard addition. 'Nothing To It' shuffles its way into the listener's ears, hinting at Bachman Turner Overdrive, while 'Boylesque' comes over as a Julian Cope mid '90s track with Guillorn ousting Cope to add her own vocals.  Excellent. 'M.K.' is as strong as the rest of the cuts. There's a kind of knowing attitude here, which, alongside the musical chops and tunes, makes this work stand out from the crowd.

Richard Bone has enjoyed a long and illustrious career, and his new album "Age Of Falconry" is an example of why this is so. The music is electronica essentially, using samples and synths, looped and mutated into nine varied tracks. Harps and pianos haunt the opener 'Queensberry Wilde' (an Oscar synth maybe?) hinting at territory somewhere between Steve Reich and Pat Metheney. A lovely, soothing opener. 'Let Us Prey' is deeper and darker, with scary synth sounds and a nice, almost atonal repeating chord; mellotron voices glide over the concluding section. 'A Shooting Star Was I' returns to piano motifs and sonic warmth, while 'Urgent Curious' is a five minute slab of spooky, crepuscular ambience, grown spectral when a drum machine enters the fray. 'Mabuhay' sounds vaguely real-world, 'Banyan Days' goes a bit goth, or maybe industrial-lite, while album closer 'Apotheosis' is a drift through drones and whines, punctuated by an oscillating analogue synth. This is quality electronica - varied, superbly produced, nuanced and listenable. An excellent album, which reveals more as you become familiarised with it.

"Grey Fidelity" by Tow'rs is heartfelt and often intense rock-based music, with lyrics that the band think of more as poems (which many are). The sound is minimal, even sparse, but rather lovely in the way of the band's home land - the mountains of Flagstaff, Arizona. 'Girl In Calico' reveals an emotive voice, lone cello and subtle band backing. The sparseness allows the words to leak out of the music in an engaging way. Female backing vocals and pattering drums bring 'Revere,' while 'Alright' is even slower, but adds heavier guitars. And there are tunes! Strong tunes. The album as a whole in fact comes over like a downtempo Parson Red Heads. 'Liminal' and 'Going' have a kind of doomed beauty about them, while 'Holy Water' is pretty 'country' in mode, while the album closes on the comparatively upbeat (handclaps and a bit of a singalong) note of 'I Can't Help Myself.' A very accomplished album.

Alex Rex is the pseudonym of Alex Neilson, a Glasgow-based musician best known for his group Trembling Bells. On "Vermillion" - his first solo album - nine short tracks, some in band format, some more like folk tales or even singer/songwriter, hove past the listener. Some are upfront, like the Dylanesque 'Postcards From A Dream,' while others ('Lucy') recall retro folkies in their waltztime and their tale-telling mode. I particularly liked 'The Life Of A Wave' for its slightly shambolic bluster. Album closer 'Adam Had No Navel' is a Glasgow tale in folk mode, sung solo. Much here for fans of the band to enjoy.

To readers of Terrascope the name Alison O'Donnell will need no introduction. On her new album "Climb Sheer The Fields Of Peace" twelve new songs jostle for attention. The opener 'Sylvia's Deadbolt' is basically voice plus subtle synth backing, as is 'Green Of Heart,' its accompaniment O'Donnell's own voice and a kind of harmonium sound - sparse, but highly effective. 'In The Snowmelt' reminded me of early Kate Bush in its use of backing/accompanying vocals, and its melody - a lovely song. 'Hunting Down' ups the synth use a little, while, later in the work, 'Pathways' is very reminiscent of Beck Sian, with her vibrato-heavy folk songs circa "Ye Olde Silent Inn." 'Redbreast In A Rowan Tree' has accompanying fox sounds, while 'Sleeping On Strange Pillows' returns to the harmonium sounds, with additional flourishes and a strong melody, here articulated and embellished by O'Donnell's striking voice. 'The Pull And Drag Blues' closes the album but feels completely out of place because of its beat and sequence-laden production, not to mention its somewhat experimental vocal. Apart from this oddity however "Climb Sheer The Fields Of Peace" is a marvellous album.

"Head In The Sand" from American rocker Nathan Oliver is a six track EP of thumping rock tracks, opening with the brief, harsh and angry 'Marbles.' 'Clean Sheets' deals with relationship issues, while 'Little Belle' is a bit calmer with some nice REM-style arpeggiated guitars. 'The Exquisite Wait' is fast and furious, channelling The Buzzcocks I feel, 'Sing Blue Silver' is all about cars and angels, while album closer 'Kim Mi Young' is acoustically quiet and reflective. Variety and proper attitude.

Two releases from Martin Archer's Discus Records to conclude, but these are not the large-scale works that the label has become known for. These are quartets, with music written, rehearsed and recorded in super-quick time - two days. "Felicity's Ultimatum" features Stephen Grew on piano, while Archer takes his usual role on reeds. The mighty Graham Clark contributes violin. The music is jazz to the max, with consistent nods to the outer fringes of the genre. The shorter tracks are more successful I feel, particularly Clark's 'Jane's Ruin' and the blink-and-it-could-be-alt-Gong 'Rachel's Walk.' "Sunshine! Quartet" meanwhile is my preferred album of the pair, with beautiful vibes playing from Corey Mwamba. The saxophones do go a bit ott though - an acquired taste. The twenty-minute 'It's Not Finished' is more traditional, with some very fine soloing, especially from Archer. A brief avante-skronk in 'What On Earth Could You Mean?' again seems to summon up the unlikely spirit of Bloomdido Bad de Grass, while 'Alsten' is more late-night and relaxing.

    ReidGraves are a duo - David Reid and Ron Graves - who on their new album "Slacking On Pain" open with Barrett-esque guitar and spoken word, which is the tenor of the album. Last year I found myself uncertain about their "Lovely As Suspicion" album, and I feel the same about this one. I like the political stance, the real lives described, and I think the tone of the spoken word parts are good. These tales do draw you in. But the musical backing for me doesn't support, augment or mirror the verses as perhaps they could have done. Sometimes a marriage of opposites works, sometimes it doesn't. The irony is that by far the longest track on the album - 'Hot Strawberries,' at thirteen minutes - was my favourite.

The ever-prolific Discus Music release a couple of new CDs, the first of which is crazy-ass jazz by the duo of Trevor Watts & Stephen Grew (sax and piano respectively). By 'crazy-ass' I mean: improvised into all possible dimensions, more often unmelodious than melodious, yet with its own compelling sound which through the virtuosity of the playing does pull you in. Both men are long time members of the scene, with strong reputations of their own. My favourite track is 'Tunnels,' where the saxophone sound is more breathy, more like a sung voice than a cry. It's all played at breathtaking speed, but there are plenty of quieter interludes to bring rest. The final cut has some strange, percussive piano playing, with another more breathy saz part, where the notes flow rather than being punched out. Crazy-ass!

"Theta Three" by Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere is an entirely different kettle of jazz fish. I am a fan of the first two albums, which merged jazz, rock, krautrock and kosmische styles alongside a healthy disregard for the norm to create some marvellous electronic-jazz-rock cuts. This third release is essentially the same, and is as good. The main men are all present and correct - Archer, Bywater, and the excellent Steve Dinsdale on drums, with some new names too on electronics, vocals and assorted instruments. The music is often groove-laden, and remains highly listenable. Opener 'Orionid' brings groove and even melody, 'An Excess Of Protons' sounds like the bastard child of "Atem" and the earlier Jean-Luc Ponty albums. Fab! Though this music is called improvised, you wouldn't think so a lot of the time. There are two disks here, one labelled alpha, one omega, with the mad-as-a-hatter and almost Hawkwind-esque 'The White Dog Is Your Father'  (you could imagine Harvey Bainbridge doing this) my favourite track on the latter. Excellent music from one of the best acts on this record label.

"Epitaph For Venus" by Galactic Explorers is however the real kosmische thing. Recorded in 1974, and by all accounts a rather mysterious creation, it merges synths and electronics to make a fabulously Tangerine-esque entertainment. Beautiful analogue sounds float by most gloriously on the opener 'Lunarscape,' while on the side 2 cuts, 'Ethereal Jazz' and 'Venus Rising' the same happens, but with more menace and less cosmic bliss. There are hints of early Popol Vuh in the former track and more than a hint of "Phaedra" in the latter. A marvellous find, superbly rescued in 24 bit technology from the original master tapes. All EM or Berlin fans will want to hear this.

Also on the retro-looking Guerssen label is the rather extraordinary "Chante" by '60s Belgian maverick vocalist Claude Lombard, singing on this album in French. All the tracks are between two minutes and three and a half, and you can hear the inspiration for such acts as The Soundcarriers (alongside more obvious ones such as Stereolab). The songs are uniformly fantastic - tuneful, authentic, beautifully played. The bass guitar in particular stands out as utterly evocative of the time. Orchestrations are subtle, with some unusual instruments like Messiaen's favourite the ondes martenot. A really gorgeous release of this long-forgotten cult album.

I have to confess a bias when speaking of "The Mayor Of Toytown Is Dead" by Mordecai Smyth, as we have a mutual friend in Devon's finest psycher Icarus Peel, who over the last couple of years has been telling me all about the ups and downs of this album during my visits to North Devon. Mordecai, who I've met once, is an acquaintance, but this review shall of course be entirely objective! So, what is it all about? A few buzz words come to mind, the main one being progressive - or 'regressive' as Mordecai would have it. This is complex, knotty, vaguely Crimson-esque prog made by a quirky, and some would say darkly satirical musician. Opener 'Billywitch' takes us where we want to go: unusual time-signatures, fine solos. 'The River Of Sleep' is more thudding with power drums and a chiming, repeating chord, before the tune emerges, alongside much else. The vocals are uniformly good on this album, which is good, since a lot needs to be carried here. 'Far From The Crowd' rolls along, 'Heading Back West' has a summery, bluesy feel, while 'Golf Girl' is suitably quirky. 'A Knife And A Key' is a beautiful little instrumental, 'Happy' is also quirky, 'Stay With The Pulse' is another very engaging instrumental, while album closer 'Dissent Into Chaos' features The Strawbs' Dave Lambert on guitar. This album is superbly recorded and mixed, which, alongside its many other positive attributes, makes it a very good release indeed. Well done, Mr Smyth!

Legend is a word we have to use carefully in music. Too often utilised, perhaps, but Tír na nÓg can rightly be described as legends - forty years of musical work, classic albums, countless gigs and a reputation the envy of many. So now we come to their first new studio album in a long time, "The Dark Dance," in which the duo, Leo O'Kelly and Sonny Condell, are aided by Garvan Gallagher on bass and autoharp. Opening with a slow, melancholy cut 'You In Yellow' ("You in yellow, the gorse in flower"), the acoustic guitar/violin pairing works beautifully. 'I Have Known Love' has a wider musical palette and is another fine song. 'The Angelus' brings in Sonny Condell on main vocal, its waltztime rhythm augmented by bass and bass vocals (these being particularly effective). An album highlight, this. 'I Pick Up Birds At Funerals' has a strong melody and an understated, loping rhythm; there's a hint of the 'sixties in this one, and it works really well. 'Ricochet' has a bit of a trad folk vibe to it, but there is also more than a hint of exotic climes: the percussion, the stringed instruments and the key - a really lovely sound (the whole album has been recorded to perfection), with the vocal acquiring a mystical echo. 'Andria' returns the listener to calmer, more acoustic territory with a song of girls and all those things to do with girls, while 'Sympathetic Love' brings in Garvan Gallagher to great effect; an evocative vocal here too. 'The Gangway' is perhaps the nearest song on the album to trad folk, 'Time Is Gone' matches a mournful tale with stacked backing vocals, while album closer - the title track - is a terrific, wonderfully atmospheric combination of violins and drone written by Elly Lucas. Following three classic Chrysalis albums from the early to mid 1970s, this new work is a testament to the musicality and vision of this band. Highly recommended.

Patrick Campbell Lyons was in groovy '60s band 'the original' Nirvana ('Rainbow Chaser' et al), and on his new release "You're A Cloud, I'm a Comet" his trademark wise and mournful pop/rock returns. Working with another original member Alex Spyropoulus, and based now in Athens, this album is a great collection of three and four minute numbers, tuneful and tasteful, opening with the sad, reflective title track. The man's voice is hoarse and vulnerable on 'We Climbed A Hill,' while on the trumpet-augmented 'I Found A House' there is an unexpected quirky element. A lot of the tracks on this album have the feel of reflecting on a full life; sometimes this is via the lyrics (the affecting 'A River And A Day') but the addition of that trumpet does tug at the heart-strings. 'Now' is a gorgeous piano-founded ballad, while the album closer 'The World Is A Beautiful Place' has the same highly emotional feel to it as Daevid Allen's moving valedictory 'Thank You' from the last proper Gong album "I See You" : There's room for each other, every creed; And every colour; The world is a beautiful place. A lovely album.

A couple now from Gare du Nord Records, opening with Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" done entirely on modular synths by Willie Gibson, a.k.a. George Barker, who played various instruments back in the '70s, with various bands. This is a difficult album to review, since the tunes are so well known but the style is so alien. It's not bad, nor unlistenable, but the problem for me is that, over the forty minute duration of the album, the insistent sounds of the synths are all a bit much. Which is a shame, as this album took a lot of time and effort to make. Others will doubtless appreciate and like it more than me.
Julian Cope's brother Joss Cope (with whom Julian famously buried the hatchet on 'Wheelbarrow Man' from the extraordinary "20 Mothers") mines psych-pop territory on "Unrequited Lullabies," and while he doesn't have his brother's unique gift for melody, these are good songs on a good album. Perky, well sung and well played: a hint of Anton Barbeau maybe, as a reference point. 'Learn To Float' and 'Familiar Faces' have a jaunty feel, la-la-la backing vocals and all, but 'Cloudless Skies' is a bit more melancholy, though definitely an album highlight. 'Turned Out Nice Again' has a nice tune and accompanying chord sequence, while track 7 'Nobody Knows This Is Everywhere' (the opening of side 2) is also strong, as should be, and usually is; on this cut hints of Lou Reed's voice come through a little more strongly than elsewhere. 'A Guy Like Me' is choppy and bluesy (E,A,B), 'What's The Plan?' is the most Julian-like track on the album (great tune), while closing cut 'Streaming' is slow and solemn. Good songs and variety make this an engaging listen.

Konrad is Jeffrey Konrad, who on his third album "Artbreak" presents the listener with electronic songs of no little quality. The feel of opener 'Are You (Really There)' is modular, with vocoders and analogue, oscillating synths - hints of classic '80s acts like Yazoo and Depeche Mode. The synths and assorted drum machines/electronics are brilliantly put together, it has to be said, while the appearance of acoustic instruments is well integrated. The vocals are also good; not powerful, but certainly able to hold a tune, and with lots of character. Oddly, though he's American, he sounds quite British in places. 'Oh Forever' comes across as Kraftwerk meets Mercury Rev, while 'Circles' is similarly upbeat and bouncy. 'Comes Around (Goes Around)' brings in a lovely flute mellotron, but the effect-ed vocal doesn't quite fit. Elsewhere, 'The Great Compromiser' has a fine motorik feel to it, while 'Nah' is a cover version of the, ahem, Shania Twain classic. Album closer 'Statik' is a bit heavier, but not too heavy. This album is three quarters successful; where it doesn't work it is certainly good to listen to. Could be a grower though, as there's much care showing here, as well as attention to detail. One for fans of classic and new electro-pop.

  Ok, that wraps up this particular Rumbles and my involvement in the column. Before I go I would like to say thank-you to all the musicians and labels that have sent their music, to all the writers who have helped spread the word, to you, dear reader, for keeping the Terrascope spirit alive and finally to my dear friend Phil McMullen, without whom none of this would have been possible. (Simon Lewis)

Terrascopic Rumbles for November was brought to you for one last time *sniff!* by my good friend Mr. Simon Lewis. Artwork, layout & direction by Phil McMullen -

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