= February 2021 =  
 Cary Grace
 Eyeless in Gaza
 Joss Cope
 Diana Collier
 Badge Epoque
 The Lost Stoned Pandas




www.carygrace.com  Door 13 2xCD

A few albums into her recording career Cary, a lover of all things synth, cats and the furry freak brothers, has marshalled a crack troupe of regular musicians to call upon when it comes time to join her live and in recording in the studio. For this record it’s John Garden, Graham Clark, Andy Budge, David Payne, Steffe Sharpstrings, Victoria Reyes, Ian East, Steve Everitt and Andy Bole with Cary herself playing: synth, acoustic and eclectic guitar, vocals, organ plus a multitude of other keyboard devices. We have reviewed most of her releases to date and I’ve been looking forward to hearing this one and again it doesn’t disappoint.

Things kick off with “Khepera At Dawn”, a drifting, languid, opening instrumental song, full of great synth sounds and Steffe’s probing electric guitar. “Letterbox”, ups the pace a little bit; being more of a traditional rock song, plenty of wah wah guitar from John filling in all the spaces. “Without A Trace”, has a strong melody and a nice string arrangement, it features some beautiful piano from Victoria and some tasteful fluid lead guitar passages. Next up “Into Dust”, this song sees treated vocals, it’s a psychedelically tune with martial drums, dubby bass and churchy organ, ostensibly about life/death, ashes to ashes.

Then we have a brief synth interlude before we enter the realm of the spoken word “Afterglow”, an excellent synth rock epic and continuing the sequence of each song getting slightly longer and more progressive in nature, this one being just over six minutes, favourite line “Having drinks with Baphomet at the end of the world”. “Film Noir”, is indeed a noir with saxophone, dripping with an icy cool. The first disc ends with the sublime twelve minutes of “Costume Jewellery”, an arabesque melody played by Graham on electric violin maps out the melody, slightly reminiscent of Kaleidoscope but with a ton more electric guitar and synth, excellent stuff.

The second discs opens with “Moonflowers (fade to black)”, a slow burner of a song that showcases John’s atmospheric electric guitar, reminding me of David Gilmour’s style of playing mixed with a little Hillage. Then comes “Sacrifice”, a wonderful sly sardonic rock tune taken at a steady pace, featuring some terrific barely controlled electric guitar, great drifting organ and synth and a cooking rhythm section. “Memory”, slows things right down with a dreamy ballad it has a memorable melody before changing gear halfway through, before again winding down. “Castle Of Dreams”, brings a change of pace, a funky fuzzy wah wah piece of progressive psychedelia, eleven minutes of drifting, dreamy bliss. “The Land Of Two Fields” takes us out into the garden with a short instrumental piece on which the synth is highlighted to nice effect. This brings us to “Lady Of Turquoise” the final song and title track  of this excellent double album, it has some amazing synth playing throughout, with plenty of bleeps and squiggles being both expansive yet contained and it motors along very nicely indeed, concluding with a couple of minutes of pure synth. Great album, highly recommended.

(Andrew Young)




(CD on A-Scale)

This May marks 40 years since Martyn Bates and Peter Becker released the “Kodak Ghosts Run Amok” 7” EP, their opening salvo as Eyeless in Gaza. The duo have come a long way since these three stark, synth-heavy, antiseptic, Teutonic soundscapes trickled out to compete with the likes of Kraftwerk, OMD, The Normal, Human League, Gary Numan, et. al. Over the past four decades, their vocal emotional intensity has never wavered, nor has their interest in forging new avenues of electronic expression. But they’ve progresses beyond short synth blasts to incorporate myriad percussion instruments, guitars, ukuleles, glockenspiels, echo boxes, melodicas, keyboards, etc. all of which find their way into surprising places on their latest effort.

     Martyn’s whispered, measured lyrical utterances at first seem in stark contrast to Peter’s eerie percussives and aural manipulations on opener ‘Silvered Song’. But soon you realise that the apparent dichotomy actually works in tandem to create a hesitant opening salvo that puts the listener on his/her toes, not sure when that second show is going to drop. The kinetic, herky-jerky ‘Mirror’ slowly reveals a Dorian Grey public that always requires familiarity in their musical meals, never open to try new directions or chart unfamiliar musical territories. Perhaps a tad autobiographical, Bates sings “I’ll sing yr stolen music to an indifferent world.” (Despite over two-dozen releases and several Indie hits, EiG has always been a cult proposition.)

      ‘The Two Thorns’ is a tender ballad verging into lullaby territory, with quiet horns, ukuleles, and melodica backing another exquisite Bates vocal. The duo’s early material was often lumped into the post-punk basket, and certainly there are difficult listening experiences along the way as they exorcised musical demons while exploring new and exciting ways to present their dark, melancholic oeuvre without copying or repeating past efforts. ‘Comedown’ may be one of their darkest lyrics in recent years, with references to paralytic silences and dead things walking among the living, so fans of those Gothic, darkwave references that trickled into previous reviews will have a lot to sink their teeth into.

     ‘Vostock’ is one of the album’s more accessible tracks: a radio-friendly melody, lilting, cheery  Bates vocal, and traditional guitar/glock/drumbox instrumentation that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Eurythmics or Depeche Mode album, ca. Black Celebration. I also like the amoebic Enoesque atmospherics of ‘Song of The River’, the childlike simplicity of the acoustic ballad ‘Radiance’, and the title track that explains just what that “one star” is and how it has manifest itself into their creative energies that have mesmerised, antagonised, and shook our musical foundations for the past 40 years. Happy anniversary gents!

(Jeff Penczak)





from www.garedunordrecords.com )

Following on from his last album “Unrequited Lullabies” from a couple of years ago Joss is back, with an album recorded pretty much live in a studio in Helsinki. The band consists of Joss: vocals, mellotron, lyrics. Veli-Pekanbaru Oinonen: Lead guitar. Esa Lehtopuro: Bass. Ville Samuel: drums. Simon Dye: organ. Duncan Maitland: piano, moog, harpsichord and backing vocals.

The music ranges from the skewed pop XTC, The Kinks and Robyn Hitchcock, so very English then. He is the younger brother of the arch-druid himself Julian and with this radio friendly release proves himself to be quite a fine songwriter.

After the opening salvo of title track “Indefinite Particles” and “From a Great Height” it’s clear that this record is full of clever knowing pop hooks, nowhere is this more clearly defined than “Healed”, which comes on like The Loving Spoonful before, well Teardrop Explodes really. “Who Are You Trying To Kid” reminds me a little in vocal delivery of Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy and is definitely something that would appeal to fans of literate pop. “She’s Going to Change The World”, comes on like the Who’s organ intro to “Won’t Get Fooled Again” mixed with a soupcon of White album era Beatles.

“Lifeboat Service” is terrific, a delicate piano melody, walking bass and light percussion accompany an arch pop tune of the first order, and as catchy as goosegrass, with added organ and backwards guitar motif. “Radium Came” brings up the tempo a little and rocks a little harder. “Hit The Wall” is where I detect a bit of the Soft Boys brand of punkish pop, it also has a couple of biting, concise guitar solos ala Kimberley Rew. “True Nature” is a gem, sprightly and melodic, it moves along nicely, a little mellotron and sparkling guitar, and for me my favourite track on the album. “Mad King Ludwig”, is a bit of a throwaway song, pastiching 50’s doo wop vocal and rock’n’ roll.  “Hill” the final track is altogether darker, with shades of Richard Hawley, it’s a bittersweet song full of disappointment.

So a really nice, quirky, but accessible album, with enough twists and turns to keep the listener interested.

(Andrew Young)



(LP/CD from

In the event that anyone out there is in need of an introduction then meet Diana Collier, doyen of the Leigh Folk Festival and curator of the inestimably worthy (and downright wonderful) compilation ‘A Place To Dwell’ in aid of Southend YMCA and which Terracope was pleased to cover back in June 2018. She was also a member of The Owl Service and Greanvine, names that may be familiar to the reader given that both have received the occasional and affirmative mention hereabouts.

‘Ode’ is Collier’s second solo outing, following 2015’s All Mortals Rest. However whereas that earlier effort was a brave though disarming collection of unaccompanied vocal renditions of traditional songs, her follow up features largely self-penned compositions imbued with a delicateness bordering at times on the gossamer light, given more corporeal form by the tasteful contribution of several former band mates.

The first thing you’ll notice is that voice, more vulnerable sounding than before yet it’s a fragility underpinned by resilience. A pure voice in the way that folkies laud Shirley Collins, untutored, strikingly effective and gently dignified. ‘Ode To Riddley Walker’ puts this into sharp relief, egged on for the most part by a beautifully sparse, almost threadbare accompaniment delivered at nod-out cadence. It’s essentially just Diana and her guitar, fleshed out in the closing stanzas with bowed banjo and synth courtesy of former Owls Dom Cooper and Jason Steel to form an ominous drone which carries a by now wordless vocal, growing stronger and more portentous.

‘Balm’ waltzes late-era ISB style, at once innocent sounding and eerie, like an imaginary soundtrack to a folk horror short movie that never quite made it to distribution. It’s at this juncture that Emma Reed’s sonorous clarinet first makes its presence felt, as a dewy dawn breaks over a particularly esoteric episode of Pogle’s Wood. A delightful duet with the always listenable Nancy Wallace, who also supplies concertina, follows on the affecting, minor chord ‘Simeon Llewelyn’, at which juncture Collier’s voice sounds emotionally stretched to its limit.

‘The Bonny Hind’ is an odd one out in more than one sense. A child ballad and one of only two traditional numbers here it’s also arguably what Diana does best, offering up a confident rendition of acapella folk. The exquisite ‘Margin’ again trades on the bare essentials of guitar and vocal with just understated percussion from Mark Offord for company. It’s another highly evocative and quite magical offering, timeless yet with the feeling of being locked in a twilight world of Laura Ashley smocks and strange roll ups some point around the move to decimalisation.

What sounds for all the world like an echoing piano in a deserted church hall introduces us to ‘Friends’, the most accessible entry point here for anyone in need of initiation and which might well be a Meg Baird outtake for all I know (except I think I know it isn’t). Clarinet makes a welcome return on ‘Village’ a wistful and ghostly paean to a real or imaginary lost settlement before another take on a traditional number ‘On Christmas Day It Happens So’ ushers in a spectral slide into the supernatural

Remember the old Monty Python sketch Woody and Tinny Words? Well it’s uncanny how this works just as well with music. If we are choosing camps then Ode To Riddley Walker is most well and truly rooted in the arboreal jungle - an organic, oak aged fashioning of bucolic wonder that is at once becalming and uplifting. Wondrous stories indeed, and – for now - as near as dammit essential.

(Ian Fraser)




(LP/Digital on Telephone Explosion)


This exciting Toronto-based sextet conjures up an enticing, (mostly) instrumental brew.  With elements of library music, funk, psych, soul and prog, it can be difficult to pigeonhole them, but whatever you get when you throw these style ingredients into the blender, it’s fantastic.


The band is the creation of Maximilian “Twig” Turnbull (Darlene Shrugg, The Cosmic Range, U.S. Girls) and features Turnbull on a groovy clavinet and Rhodes, plus Jay Anderson on drums and percussion, Ed Squires on congas and percussion, guitarist Chris Bezant, and bass player Giosue Rosati (who together make up the U.S. Girls live band), plus flautist extraordinaire Alia O’Brien, who also plays flute for fellow Canadian outfit, the pagan-folk & hard rock Blood Ceremony, with whom readers may be familiar.


The self-titled debut LP was released first, and is a stunner.  When they’re going full-steam, Turnbull’s clavinet, Squires’ congas, Bezant’s stinging guitar solos and wah-wah rhythms, and O’Brien’s flute leads ratchet up the cool factor and make an unbeatable combination.  Opener “Milk Spilt on Eternity” is a heavenly dose of funk-laden library music.  I also hear traces of Calibro 35’s Seventies action movie style and Blaxploitation soundtracks.  Outlier from left field “Same Thought on Repeat” featuring O’Brien’s flute sounds like it could’ve been something by composer Aaron Copland.  But it’s back to business with signature mission statement, the nearly eleven-minute “Undressed in Solitude.”  Featuring brief vocals by guest R&B singer James Baley, with incendiary wah-wah solos by Bezant, clavinet and congo interludes by Turnbull and Squires, and excellent flute work by O’Brien, you might find yourself thinking of Pam Grier busting up a big street score or Dirty Harry facing off with some punk with his .44 Magnum.  Closer “A Cloud I Dreamt” single-handedly invents a new genre – “library prog.”


The three-track EP ‘Nature, Man & Woman’ came out near the end of the year, and keeps a very good thing going.  While it’s easy to be drawn to the 14-minute variation on Cream’s Badge, “Badge Theme,” that piece only features a couple of minutes of Badge’s verse melody, and the rest of it doesn’t quite hold together for its lengthy duration.  But it’s the opener “Zealous Child” that really turns up the heat, and could have easily been a main feature on the LP.  Featuring guest vocalist Dorothea Paas, her chilled-to-near-catatonic vocals are perfectly countered by the band firing away in all directions, with each of the members getting a chance to shine.


The band scored a backing segment on “Hockey Night in Canada” and for a group from Toronto, that’s a big deal.  Both the LP and EP have a slightly lo-fi sound quality, which I hope they’ll improve with the next release.


Badge Époque Ensemble are seasoned players who conjure up a hybrid of instrumental genres, predominantly a cookin’ funky library music that crackles and struts with coolness and chops.  Not to be missed.


 (Mark Feingold)



THE LOST STONED PANDAS – PANDA 2: TUNE IN….TURN ON…..GET PANDA’D (LP on Regal Crabomophone Records and CD on FRG Records)

Every now and then a new idea for a new side project is hatched at Sendelica HQ deep in the heart of West Wales. This is a good thing which has already resulted in two excellent records from The Fellowship Of Hallucinatory Voyagers and now brings us The Lost Stoned Pandas. The more than slightly surreal ‘Pandas’ name and project were born from a conversation between Pete Bingham and writer/musician Kris Needs which sadly and contrary to rumours did not involve them sitting around for 16 hours eating bamboo like their animal namesakes whilst thinking up the name.  An EP of material ‘Panda 1: Pandamonium’ came out late last year and was a fine introduction to the Panda sound. It’s a fine band too with regular the regular Sendelica crew joined by guest ‘Pandas’ including ex-members of Curved Air and Space Ritual. The record itself includes many expected reference points for fans of Sendelica but it is also unashamedly experimental at times and journeys down some under explored avenues of old and heads for brave new sonic territories.

The opening track ‘Track Seven (White Witch Black Panda Mix) at more than 18 minutes immediately hits the listener with a hallucinogenic collage of spoken word, experimental kosmische and space rock improvisations. It is swirling, spacey, dreamy, murky and spooky in equal measure and creates a sonic landscape where structure always threatens to emerge and never quite makes it but as a listener you are more than happy to stay put and be captivated, especially when a gorgeous windswept and gripping violin melody takes hold. It’s quite a stunning start and shows the breadth of ambition contained in this record. Next up ‘Track Four (Noah’s Ark Mix) is another lengthy piece at a shade over 17 minutes and contains more recognisable Sendelica landmarks in the serene picked guitar melody but with more beautiful violin soloing taking the place of saxophone very effectively indeed. There is a laid back pastoral beauty to this piece which is almost a scratch and sniff postcard of the West Wales countryside complete with ambient livestock and birdsong. On the introduction of the drums a hazy psychedelia infused folk rock feel with big nods to Fairport/Steeleye and Floyd brings this fine track home. ‘Track Six (Bamboozled Mix) is much shorter but by no means short. It’s a much more explicitly folk rock inspired piece with a foot tapping Celtic vibe, a dash of middle eastern colours and once again a starring role for violin. ‘Track Seven (Waltzing Me Panda Mix)’ returns to a swirly electronic ambience but with a strong beat taking the common thread of the earlier violin melody into the mix. It almost feels like closure for that particular theme on the record as on the fifth track (incidentally the only track to correspond in name with its position in the running order!) we head into a more Tangerine Dream and dare I say dance/electronica influenced piece ‘Track Five (Yangtze Basin Mix)’ where the electronic bleeps and beats are occasionally interrupted by brief snatches of ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ flavoured guitar. Closing the record is ‘Track Three (Into The Hadron Kaleidoscope Mix)’ which is an epic 21 minutes in length and another sound collage taking in spoken word, ambient electronica, kosmische, space rock and computer game music in a dense, dramatic and spacey world of weirdness. Sounds emerge and break down, nothing stays for too long, rhythms stop and start, guitars soar and fade, violin is carried on a hazy wave of industrial synths. It’s immersive, playful, and indeed the Lost Stoned Pandas have made their very own ‘Revolution 9’.

I like this record a lot for its ideas and its sounds and let’s hope that The Lost Stoned Pandas will keep this playful, experimental and rewarding project going. I recommend this (and the previous EP) to you not only as fine music but as your way of helping to preserve the Cardigan Panda from extinction. Be warned however that Fruits de Mer and Sendelica do not accept bamboo as payment.

(Francis Comyn)



SEN3 – LIVE (DL on SEN3 Bandcamp)

Anyone who knows me knows my absolute love of progressive and jazz rock, jazz fusion and fine drumming and any record that ticks all of those boxes gets my immediate attention. SEN3 first came to my attention through Fruits de Mer Records which on the face of it is an odd home for jazz rock and jazz influenced instrumental music but I’m extremely grateful as on hearing their debut record ‘The Drop’ released in 2017 and its follow up, ‘Vol 2’ in 2018 I was hooked.

SEN3 are a guitar, bass and drums trio and have an impressive CV of session and sideman work. They are influenced by jazz fusion, progressive and jazz rock, hip-hop, funk and soul and they weave these influences into their sound in imaginative and often exhilarating ways. ‘Live’, their third release, was recorded live at the Jazz Café, London in October 2019 and is an absolute belter.

‘The Drop’ opens up and has a drive, clarity and intricacy not unlike modern day King Crimson and Soft Machine but with soulful flourishes that touch upon Isaac Hayes grooves and Thundercat style fusion. When it takes off it’s quite a stunning blend of groove and virtuosity. ‘Night Pay’ keeps a laid back funky undertone with atmospheric guitar on top that touches on the ambient and spacious jazz atmospheres of ECM records, Bill Frisell’s haunted landscapes with hints of post rock and even the soulful Americana of Lambchop. ‘The Rinse’ has an insistent rhythm and a strong Latin and Mediterranean influence in a lovely jazz fusion workout. Funk and post rock influences emerge once again on ‘Plate Vice’ which works up to another intense peak before peeling back to an elegant melodic finale. ‘Benson Dealer’ once again covers a lot of ground in its near 10 minutes and blends soulful interludes with insistent funk grooves and a soaring jazz rock centrepiece in a song of wonderful dynamics, textures and variations. ‘Pigeon’ concludes this fine set with an urgent rhythm and harder jazz rock edge which raises the temperature in the room by a degree or three.

This is a fine record which blends impressive virtuosity with a deep understanding of light and shade dynamics, riff and restraint, melody, colour and textures and as such elevates it to a more interesting place where music grounded in jazz influenced rock such as King Crimson, Soft Machine and Gentle Giant is sprinkled with a little bit of magic from other musical genres and eras. It’s a record with much to recommend to a wider contemporary audience embracing soul, funk, post rock, psych and improvisational rock. Look out for this release which will initially be a download with a limited run vinyl version hopefully available later this year. Whatever else you do, on this evidence, catch them live at all costs.

(Francis Comyn)




(LP from https://pefkin.bandcamp.com/)

Composed in response to an invitation to a festival on the Orkney isles this album features five beautiful and drifting tracks that are like watching an ever-changing sky, each moment creating a different texture and emotion, the whole a kaleidoscope of image and holy mystery.

  Opening track “Celestial Navigations” is a slow-moving drone with a three-note pulse at its centre, Gayle Brogan's delightful voice adding depth to the piece whilst swirling synths, courtesy of John Cavanagh, create even more layers to music that is timeless and enchanting. This loss of time is even more evident on “Tulungusaq” another slow ambient drone that is best heard lying down with a flickering candle and an open heart, the music beautiful and healing as it flows through you, an array of instruments adding texture to the music that is lead, once again, by the voice. To round off side one “Numenius Borealis” extends the vision, seemingly an extension of what has come before, drone and voice mixing with magical intent, this harmony of sound at the core of the album producing a perfectly structured collection that floats and shimmers across the room.

    With the addition of Alan Davidson's distinctive guitar sound, “I Am John Rae” takes up where side one left off, drone, voice and repetition altering your state of mind delightfully, melody and texture perfectly balanced within the piece. To finish. “Aurora Borealis” takes us into another realm, ethereal drones, electronics and sounds creating the perfect backdrop for Gayle's voice, the track demanding that you listen intently, music that levitates and glitters, the drones slowly building as the piece evolves each sound chosen with care and with purpose.

    An early contender for album of the year, this collection is a complete work that reveals new layers each time it is heard. Mention must also be made of the excellent artwork courtesy of Alan Davidson that adds another layer of beauty to the package. (Simon Lewis)



(LP/Digital on El Paraiso Records)


This is the follow-up LP from the Oslo, Norway instrumental psych trio Kanaan, after 2018 debut ‘Windborne.’  For this album, they’re joined by Causa Sui guitar wizard Jonas Munk for the sessions at his home studio in Odense, Norway.  Kanaan is a strong band, perfectly able to rock out on their own six feet, ten strings and two sticks; however, with the presence of Munk, the four extended, semi-improvised tracks have an unsurprising feel of Causa Sui to them, which is to say, they’re elevated to a higher plane of stoner rock heaven.


Opener “Seemingly Changeless Stars” has some churning riffology.  Like all the cuts on the album, the track builds and builds.  It’s an El Paraiso trademark.  Just when all four of the Kanaanites + 1 are reaching maximum heaviness, Munk adds some great keys to round out the sound even more and float away on a cloud (sounds like Mellotron strings and flute to me).  Just like that, we’re off to a salubrious start.


“Of Raging Billows Breaking on the Ground” is the heavy rocker of the bunch.  It’s all crunchy guitar riffs in your face courtesy of Munk and Ask Vatn Strøm.  While it cools down for a spacy psychedelic middle section, you know you’re in trouble, and sure enough it gradually builds into a blazing, take-no-prisoners electric riff assault.  I surrender, I surrender!


Side Two opener “Vacant Spaces” is a patient slowburner.  While all the tracks on Odense Sessions simmer and cook, this one starts with a camping sterno can and takes its time building up, never quite reaching an inferno.  Bass player Eskild Myrvoll and drummer Ingvald André Vassbø toy with us while Munk and Strøm slowly, almost imperceptibly at first, crank up the guitar wattage, while leaving it in second gear the whole time.


Kanaan leaves the best for last, the 14-minute “Urgent Excursions to the Tundrasphere.”  The story picks up quietly and slowly, but this is no “Vacant Spaces.”  “…Tundrasphere” initially lays down an almost motorik groove – Myrvoll and Vassbø really shine here on bass and drums, respectively.  Munk and Strøm pick up what the other guys are laying down, and gradually build up the guitar intensity to a magnificent freak-out.  The guitars get funky and wild, and the drumming groove transforms into a merciless thrashing.  Things cool off, however, as we look up from the tundra to perhaps the aurora borealis dancing in the skies above for the last few minutes.  If you’re anticipating one more all-out assault, it doesn’t come.  It’s an unexpectedly mellow and floating finish to a fine album.


 “Odense Sessions” is solid instrumental guitar psychedelia, another striking winner for Kanaan, and for El Paraiso’s canon.  Kudos also to Jakob Skøtt for the encephalographic cover art. 


 (Mark Feingold)