The Ape Regards His Tail

Sula Bassana is the project name for German multi-instrumentalist Dave Schmidt.  This is the soundtrack to a sci-fi film.  Schmidt plays a variety of keyboards (Mellotron!) and electric guitar.  The music for this tends towards the mellow, atmospheric side.  This would have been a fitting release for Brain Records if it was released in the 70s.  Ya dig?

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  • Originally released in 2012 on vinyl (and apparently cassette), the second album from this Scottish based space quartet finally gets a CD release...but its a limited edition of 500 copies so you might want to be snappy.The Cosmic Dead wear their influences on their sleeves.  The music is heavily invested in the sounds of Ash Ra Tempel, Can, and even a touch of early Hawkwind.  Loooooong jams that take you further and further into deep space.  A non-stop assault of burbling synths, echoplexed guitar leads, and a rhythm section that is playing off in another galaxy.  Pure unadulterated psychedelic space rock.  These guys played the Roadburn Festival and I'm sure they must have gone down a storm.  If the numbers 7 - 1 - 4 mean anything to you then I think this should be filed away in your collection.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • Fifth album from this German instrumental psych/stoner band is a real mind crusher.  You like My Brother The Wind?  You need to hear this.  If Samsara Blues Experiment recorded an instrumental album it might sound something like this.  The album is interspersed with quieter introspective interludes that just seem to made the heavier parts heavier and the spacier parts trippier.  If you like your psych served up hard you can't pass it up.  Devastating stuff.  BUY OR DIE!BTW - the angry metal guy tells it way better than I can:"It was difficult for me to turn down a promo so intertwined with one of the subjects of my recently-completed dissertation. Aldous Huxley‘s migration to Eastern philosophy, influenced by both Taoism and Buddhism, is well documented in his final novel, Island. The inhabitants of the idyllic island practice such spiritual, philosophical models, culminating in the consumption of so-called “Moksha-medicine,” a hallucinogen which permits heightened awareness and understanding. The band which explores similarly Zen and reflective topics is one to catch my eye and I excitedly embarked on this quest for internal liberation.Moksha is the fifth full-length by Germany’s My Sleeping Karma, succeeding their previous release Soma (also a reference to Eastern spirituality and prominently interpreted in Huxley’s Brave New World). It accordingly incorporates Eastern instrumentation in a groovy, psychedelic exploration of exactly how mellow one can be while the music can still be interpreted as metal. Though it could be described as relaxing mood music, the distorted guitars and surprising technical proficiency of the band grounds Moksha in the space between rock and metal (and also qualifies it for AMG, you goddamned haters).If Kraut or psychedelic rock is your jam then you will assuredly find plenty to enjoy here. The minimalist approach with sparingly-used instruments and catchy but repetitive leads will worm its way into your skull. There aren’t multiple riffs throughout each song; rather, a core motif which gradually progresses and develops throughout, lending a charming coherency to the album – see opener “Prithvi” for this. Occasional synths and piano keys afford an ethereal air too. However, it’s the points at which more overt Eastern instrumentation is used that the material really stands out. The five “Interlude”s which split each of the main songs strongly evoke My Brother The Wind, with groovy bass-lines and the interesting use of monk’s chants and hand-operated drums. The album’s concept is thus drawn into the music and it creates a quite captivating effect. The sudden and disturbing emanation of pop shite from one of my housemates’s bedrooms drew me from my trance and alerted me to how involving the material is.Despite the repetitive and seemingly improvised nature of the music, its technicality is another boon. As the songs progress and layer, the guitars and drums can become quite intense despite the over-arching serenity (I’m aware this sounds like a contradiction but it’s a testament to the subtle song-writing). The nifty transition at 2:30 of “Akasha” foregrounds a sound very similar to mid-era Anathema, and the transition at 4:00 demonstrates the talent of the bassist and drummer, leading into an appropriately-climatic harmony. This is just one song, but jazzy drum fills and strong bass work permeate the entirety of the release. The Floydian jam on “Interlude 5” is compelling too.I would argue that Moksha effectively achieves its goal and nails the style it strives for. However, I do feel that it may be too niche for some listeners – it’s easy for me to concertedly listen for the technical accomplishments as a reviewer, but the music can slip to the background into the realms of mood music. Though a pleasant listen it may be, one could argue it’s a little safe and it certainly doesn’t arouse my passions sufficiently to push my score to excellent. Furthermore, each of the main tracks can sound quite similar if not explicitly listening – that said, the interludes split up the record nicely so this effect is mitigated. I’m also part of the niche rock and metal market that appreciates the spiritual subject matter, if only on an academic level.Turning my gaze to the empirical and away from the spiritual, the solid dynamics certainly aid affairs. The principle tracks hit a DR score of 8, with the “Interlude”s varying between 10 and 14. There is good breathing room for each instrument and each is clean without being over-produced. A holistic sound is achieved which envelops the listener well.I imagine there is quite a specific demographic that this music hits so it may not be for everyone, but I’m enjoying my journey to the geographic heights of Nepal, the enigmatic Sadhus of India and through the tenets of Yin Yang. The ultimate dearth of diversity and Moksha‘s intrinsic tranquility limits my true passion for the record, but it’s a worthwhile investment nonetheless. Aldous would be proud." - The Angry Metal Guy
    $13.00
  • Second album from the Swedish quartet of Nicklas Barker (Anekdoten), Mathias Danielsson (Makajodama), Ronny Eriksson, and Tomas Eriksson. Like their first album, I Wash My Soul In The Stream Of Infinity is pure psychedelic bliss. The songs have their roots in jam sessions. Overall there is a very German underground/krautrock feel. These long jams vary in tempo - from the buzz saw opener "Fire! Fire!" on through the blissed out Yatha Sidhra-like acoustic "Pagan Moonbeam". Lethal guitar leads augmented by dollops of Mellotron and organ are the order of the day. All served up with phat analogue sound. If its possible to get high from a round aluminum disc this is the one that will do it for you. Highly recommended to those you seek to explore the innermost nooks and crannies of their brain.
    $15.00
  • After a four year wait, Colour Haze return with their most lethal effort yet.  Led by guitarist Stefan Koglek, Colour Haze play an (almost) instrumental form of old school guitar driven psychedelia along the lines of early Ash Ra Tempel.  The trio of Koglek, Philipp Rosthofer (bass), and Manfred Merwald (drums) are augmented with keys (some' tron!) and percussion.  The addition of percussion on parts of the album add a Santana-esque feel and there is even some horns tucked away in spots.  The album is split between two CDs (although it would fit on one but Koglek felt it sounds best this way).   Overall the primary focus is on Koglek.  He unleashes the f**king fury on loooooong jamz that will rip apart your skull.  Ocassionally Koglek inserts some vocals at the heads of the tunes but then his voice gets out of the way and his heavily distorted leads take you to another galaxy.  This one should make my top 10 for 2012.  BUY OR DIE!
    $19.00
  • Lethal third album from this German heavy stoner/psych quartet.  Waiting For The Flood clocks in near 50 minutes and consists of only four tracks (!).  While mixing in Eastern motifs and instrumentation(dig the sitar), the band explores some of their heaviest terrain.  Bass lines distort, drums pound away, and then the wah wah laced soloing blasts into the deepest realm of the cosmos.  Ocassionally some keys will crop up adding a nice effect.  The music effortless morphs from doomy Sabbath metal into Guru Guru sonic explorations that will definitely rattle your cage.  Think Masters Of Reality meets Hinten. A total mind blower that scores a 6 on the vaporizer scale.  BUY OR DIE! 
    $15.00
  • "Death.Taxes.Ozric Tentacles.Since 1984 this loose collective have been releasing reliably great music from the mind of leader Ed Wynne. Their margin of error is enviably tiny – there is no such thing as a bad Ozrics album. Sure, some are better than others, but the body of work is as inescapably consistent as mortality and societal contributions. Technicians of the Sacred is their fifteenth studio album, second double album and the first release in this format since Erpland in 1990. It is also one of the best they have ever recorded.The blend of electronica and inner-space rock is instantly recognisable with ‘The High Pass’. World music and gently undulating synths take their time to ease us back into the required frame of cosmic consciousness. It takes almost 6 minutes for the secret weapon, Wynne’s signature lysergic lead guitar, to be deployed and that is the modus operandi of the whole album – nothing is rushed, each track unfolds lotus-like.‘Changa Masala’ distils all the band’s ingredients into a spicy side-dish. Sequencers, vocal samples and a reggae skank provide the base while acoustic guitar rips like a John McLaughlin solo, interjecting a nod to their past, a musical in-joke for the fans, which I won’t spoil for those who haven’t yet heard it.The Steve Hillage (Gong, System 7 and sometime Ozrics collaborator) influence is foregrounded in the first disc’s closer, ‘Switchback’. Tap-delay guitar slithers over a web of ambient keyboard washes. Portamento bass notes slide and glide their way through the patchouli-scented psychedelic haze.f the first disc was an aromatic treat, then the second is manna. ‘Epiphlioy’ recalls the classic ‘Saucers’. Its serpentine twelve-string acoustic riffs employ Eastern modes to evoke a scene that is paradoxically earthy and otherworldly. Staccato strings conjure Kashmir while a celestial orchestra of whooshing keyboard pads threatens to levitate us into the stratosphere and beyond. We are back in the bizarre bazaar, folks. Brandi Wynne pins down the ethereal mix with a heavy dub bassline. The track changes constantly. This is the most compositionally complex music the band has ever produced.While there are references to Ozric history and a more organic feel similar to early classics with the occasional use of non-electric instruments and ethnic voices, the album as a whole is a step forward. The painstakingly crafted symbiosis of synthesised sounds and rock instrumentation, coupled with a slick production, lend Technicians of the Sacred a holistic integrity not heard since Jurassic Shift (which incidentally entered the UK charts at a very respectable number 11 in 1993). The whole gels together and flows with the multi-layered sophistication of a symphony while retaining some of the jam-band aesthetic of the free festival days.‘Smiling Potion’ features interlocking sequences even Tangerine Dream would be proud of and a tribal metronome-sense beat straight out of Peter Gabriel’s soundtrack for The Last Temptation of Christ.As ‘Rubbing Shoulders With The Absolute’ throbs along on a blissed-out dub rhythm artificially generated voices ensure the weirdness meter is kept firmly in the red.Hungarian drummer Balázs Szende makes his first studio appearance and throughout the album he proves to be a superb addition to the group, whether approximating the tight programmed style of The Hidden Step era or, as on the closing track, ‘Zenlike Creature’, tackling elusive prog time signatures with ease and finesse. As Ed Wynne winds up a solo worthy of fusion maestros Mahavishnu Orchestra he introduces a shimmering Hillage-esque repeating motif that stays in the mind long after the music has stopped.Technicians of the Sacred, for all its dynamic shifts and intricacies, is a very chilled-out release, one for relaxing to and for transportation to the other, wherever that may be. There are no jarring wig-out rock guitar hero sections or all-out sonic attacks like ‘The Throbbe’. Rather this is Ozric Tentacles’ most cohesive and accomplished effort in almost 20 years and a highlight of a long and peerless career." - Echoes And Dust
    $13.00
  • Limited edition reissue of 500 copies.  This is the debut release from the Scottish space rock ensemble.  This one will take you to the furthest realms of the cosmos."This album is a total revelation of sonic imagery. Across eighty minutes the listener is taken on an astronomic road trip that never once wavers in imagination or immensity." - Shindig! (Happening!)"It's Can locked in an eternal psychedelic battle with the cosmos itself, a feast of tripped-out riffage, swelling, swirling bass and juddering sonic explorations that come to a hypnogogic climax with the 40 minute sonic quicksand of Father Sky, Mother Earth." - Rock-A-Rolla"Spacial exploration rather than the psychiatric breakdown. cologne rather than altamont. There’s no hipster arched eyebrow here, no faux-intellectual exploration of unfashionable musical tropes. this is just one monstrous monged jam after another monstrous monged jam." - Cows Are Just Food
    $16.00
  • Danish space rock collective feature a revoloving cast of characters.  Somehow they are always able to put out a high quality release based around improvs that transport you to another universe.  As is the norm with improvs it sometimes takes a bit for the interplay between the musicians to ignite.  OSC are no different - when they lock in to one another WATCH THE HELL OUT!  At this point they may well be the leading light in the instrumental space scene - they eclipsed Ozric Tentacles years ago.  Highly recommended."The Øresund Space Collective is back with a new studio album, the bands 16th release. The material on this gatefold album was recorded at the Black Tornado studios in Copehagen in April 2012. It is the same studio where all of the bands studio releases have been made.The Sessions were heavily guitar dominated as was the last studio session from 2010 but the level of solo intensity was lifted up a notch as Daniel and Nicklas lay down some amazing melodic, spacey and ripping guitar on these exploratory tracks. Besides the opening track, Walking on Clouds (A Daniel original, which we jammed on), the rest of the tracks were totally improvised.The songs presented here were engineered by Lars Lundholm, mixed by Daniel (in his home studio in Colorado in 2012) and mastered by Johan Dahlström in Feb 2013. The fantastic artwork is by the amazing Finnish artist Eetu Pellonpåå.The line up on this recording session included Mogens and DR. Space on synthesizers as it has been on all the releases as well as all the members of the Danish band Papir (Christoffer- Drums, Nicklas- Guitar, Christian- Bass (only on Neptune Rising). In addition, Pär from the bands Sgt. Sunshine, Carpet Knights, Hoofoot played the bass. The line up was completely by American guitar player Daniel Lars. This was his first trip ever to Denmark and playing with the Øresund Space Collective."
    $14.00
  • In the late 80s/early 90s the British space rock/psychedelic scene exploded with so called "festival bands".  Many of these bands recorded one album and disappeared (anyone remember the great Cherokee Mist or Tubilah Dogg?).  Delerium Records signed many of these bands and zines like Ptolemaic Terrascope and Crohinga Well helped cultivate and nature the bands.  One of the bands signed to Delerium was a band called Omnia Opera.  Blim is actually an offshoot of Omnia Opera, with drummer Neil Spragg being the common thread.Blim recorded two professionally done albums that were only released on cassette.  This was still a popular medium and I imagine much easier for the bands to bring along with them to gigs and send through the mail.  Like many of the bands at the time Blim shared a musical affinity with Ozric Tentacles.  In other words the music had roots in the psychedelia of Gong and the space rock of Hawkwind.  In the case of Blim there were slight jazz undertones thrown into the mix.  You will hear similarities to Ozric Tentacles but you wouldn't think of them copying them.  Zero finds the band as a six piece and No Frills has a paired down lineup (now as a quartet). Blim deserved a better fate than what they got.  These guys could really play and their music was as good as any of the bands that got a deal.  If anything there music had a bit more complexity than most of their counterparts and that made their music all the more interesting.This 2CD set includes both cassette releases and each album has bonus tracks.  Over all its 150 minutes of prime space rock.  Highly recommended.
    $20.00
  • There are some changes to the lineup for Belgium's answer to Ozric Tentacles.  Longtime guitarist Dario Frodo only appears as a guest on one track.  He was replaced by Tom Tas.  Also appearing in guest roles are Ozric Tentacles guitarist Ed Wynne as well as a flautist anemd Charels Sla and Karel Baetens on hand percussion.  Overally don't expect any radical change in sound.  Consisting of 4 long tracks, Dancing In Limbo blasts off into space and will trip you out with celestial synths and crystalline, laser-like guitar runs.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • Sweet Smoke were a bunch of Jewish hippie musicians from Brooklyn that uprooted themselves and moved to Germany.  The band cut two studio and one live album from EMI/Harvest.  Darkness To Light was the band's second album, cut after a trip to India.  It was released in 1972.  At this point the band's lineup had expanded a bit.  The music is of its time - basically a head on collision of jazz rock and The Grateful Dead.  The longer tracks tend to be more interesting.  "Kundalini" is a 13+ minute epic that successfully melds Indian music with rock.  In fact the track feels like an outtake from Traffic.  Flute, sax, dual guitars, piano, violincello, and tenpura fuse together over the rhythm section.  Perhaps the lesser of the band's two studio albums but overall a success.  
    $5.00
  • Napalm Records has gone all out entering the psychedelic and stoner rock scenes.  First they signed France's Glowsun and now they have poached My Sleeping Karma from the Elektrohasch label.  While Glowsun bludgeons you with pure power, Germany's My Sleeping Karma take a different approach.  Their music grooves and is purpose driven but it moves along a slower pace.  This instrumental quartet's music is more dynamic, with quieter passages and shadings.  It does explode with sheer ferocity but only after it lulls you into a false sense of security.  More psych than stoner.  Nicely mystical in places.  Limited edition digipak with two bonus tracks.  Highly recommended for those who like to travel to the inner realms.
    $12.00
  • MY BROTHER THE WIND is an improvisational cosmic rock collective consisting of members of widely known Swedish acts Makajodama, Magnolia, Animal Daydream and most notably Anekdoten, one of the more widely recognized names in the 1990s prog rock revival.Recorded live in the studio with no overdubs during a single day in January 2013, Once There Was A Time When Time And Space Were One captures the collective's progressive soundscape qualities with incredible analogue studio production. The band utilized 6 and 12 string acoustic and electric guitars, Mellotron, flute, bass, drums, congas and more to complete the task. Expect 45 minutes of the band's most succinct material to date, recorded deep in the snowy, forested, Swedish wilderness.In 2013, MBTW expanded into an even wider fanbase, having been invited to play the mighty Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, Holland, as well as at Duna Jam in Sardinia.  At the invitation of Opeth’s Mikael Okerfeldt, guitarist Nicklas Barker returned to Roadburn to perform an improv set with Dungen guitarist Reine Fiske.Those who frequent the works of Popol Vuh, Amon Duul, Sun Ra, Träd, Gräs Och Stenar, Albert Ayler, Ash Ra Tempel, Gong, Pink Floyd and other visionary, psychedelic rock artists are advised to investigate this act. "Lush and instrumental for its duration, My Brother the Wind‘s third full-length, Once There was a Time When Time and Space were One (released by Free Electric Sound/Laser’s Edge), rolls out of the speakers much easier than its title rolls off the tongue, though both title and the work itself satisfy rhythmically. The Swedish four-piece — they now seem to be a bass-less trio with Nicklas Barker (Anekdoten) and Mathias Danielsson (Makajodama) on electric/acoustic 12-strong guitar and Daniel Fridlund Brandt on drums, but Ronny Eriksson plays bass on the album — reportedly recorded live to two-inch tape on a vintage machine, and the passion they put in bleeds readily into the nine-song/45-minute outing, fleshed with liberal splashes of Mellotron courtesy of Barker to play up a ’70s prog feel in a piece like the 12-minute “Garden of Delights.” That’s hardly the only point at which those sensibilities emerge, but even more than that, the primary vibe here is one of gorgeous heavy psych exploration, the band adventuring and feeling their way through the material as they go.On peaceful moments like the title-track, which arrives as the penultimate movement before “Epilogue” leads the way back to reality — accordingly, “Prologue” brings us in at the start — that exploration is positively serene, the 12-string complemented by spacious electric tones spreading out across vast reaches, but Once There was a Time When Time and Space were One offers more than drone and psychedelic experiments. Subtly pushed forward by Brandt‘s drums, pieces like “Into the Cosmic Halo” and even “Epilogue” enact classic space rock thrust, and even “Song of Innocence Part 1,” the first part of the journey after the backward atmospherics of “Prologue” introduce, has some cosmic feel amid its echoing solos. Its subsequent complement, “Song of Innocence Part 2,” swells to life on an even more active roll, waves of amp noise up front while drums and bass groove out behind, waiting for the guitars to catch up, which they do in a suitably glorious payoff, relatively brief but masterfully engaging, setting a momentum that continues well into “Garden of Delights,” a focal point for more than its length.Because the songs flow so well one to the next, some directly bleeding, others giving a brief pause, and because later cuts like “Thomas Mera Gartz” — named in honor of the drummer for ’70s Swedish proggers Träd, Gräs och Stenar — and the title-track have a quieter take, it’s tempting to read some narrative into the shifts of Once There was a Time When Time and Space were One, but with the material not being premeditated, I’m not sure that’s the intention so much as a signal it’s well arranged. In any case, the album offers an immersive, resonant listen, with tonal richness to spare and the presence of mind to keep a sense of motion even in its stillest parts and a balance of organic elements — Danielsson‘s recorder and Brandt‘s percussion on “Misty Mountainside,” the 12-string, etc. — amid a wash of effects and swirling psychedelia. This attention to sonic detail makes Once There was a Time When Time and Space were One more than just a collection of jams, and adds further purpose to the already worthy cause of My Brother the Wind‘s thoughtful musings, wandering and not at all lost." - The Obelisk
    $13.00
  • Debut release from this Danish offshoot of Oresund Space Collective.  Pure cosmic psychedelic bliss.  If you are a fan of Quantum Fantay or Ozric Tentacles you need to hear this one. Guitarist Magnus Hannibal offers of killer soloing over Ola Hansson's Crystal Machine sounding synths.  Remember when Ozric Tentacles was a great band?  You know - back before Ed fired everyone.  Think Erpland.  That's what this is like.  A non-stop lethal injection of space rock.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00