Alive At Roadburn (2LP Vinyl)

Rocket Records
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"Forever destined to stand within Goat’s shadow, label-mates Hills may miss out on the hype & glory that the aforementioned psychedelic tribe get. Or they may not, depending on your point of view as to whether they are one and the same band. Forever entwined in mystery, where the former is getting slightly over-egged, Hills have left it to the music to do the talking. Over the course of three albums, Hills, Master Sleeps and Frid, they have created an other-worldy kind of music which takes in psychedelic extremes of dance, space rock and as in keeping with Goat’s breakthrough release, world music.

It is in the live arena that Hills truly excel and having wowed the crowd at Liverpool Psych Fest in 2015, they did the same thing again at the ever impressive Roadburn Festival. Joining a growing number of artists to have released a live recording of their show at this festival, Hills throw in another worthy addition to their increasing music collection.

The thing with Hills is that whilst they sound good on studio releases, live they take those songs and stretch them out into new forms. Always recognisable, they look for that main trigger, the part of the song which gets you hooked and they go for it. Not for them a facsimile of the recorded output, and that urge to continue to explore becomes a pivotal part of the live experience. It also sets them out as true psychedelic warriors and in a genre which is struggling to retain an identity, a beacon of pulsating light in the space rock wilderness.

The eastern twang of ‘National Drone’ kicks us off and if any song sums up what Hills is about it is this one. Repetitive and droned out, it’s incessant melody slowly building into a distortion of noise. Inducing a trance-like state, it’s the perfect introduction. By the time next song ‘Frigorande Musik’ bursts into life you feel like you have woken in some strange land.

‘Frigorande Musik’ is a prime example of how Hills can take a motif and develop it into an extension of what the song originally was. A lengthy jam, unavailable in studio form, it has become a distinct part of the Hills set. A simple psychedelic guitar playing off against a rapid beat, leading you ever down the rabbit hole. It also provides Hills with their chance to stretch out and remould the song into new forms.

‘Master Sleeps’ throws a bit of 70’s funk in the mix introducing a less spaced out side of Hills. It’s a perfect reminder that beneath it all, Hills are in simply in tune with what must be a marvellous record collection and this song seems to channel everything that was great about simple, funky music. Stretched out to much lengthier proportions than the studio release, it becomes the centrepiece of this live performance.

The chilled out vibes of ‘Och Solen Sankte Sig Rod’ lead us slowly out of this wonderful performance. A moment of transcendence, it’s dubby nature brings you down whilst simultaneously trips you out again. Playful to the end, Hills are masters at twisting the sounds you hear. There are times when you are so drawn into the music that you forget your actual surroundings, such is the intensity of the performance.
It could be argued that live albums are somewhat superfluous in these days of YouTube yet in psych music they seem to have found a new lease of life. The sonic nature of the genre enables a displacement to happen which works well when, as on here, the band explore different avenues within the songs. In doing that, Hills have created not only a wonderful memory of a no doubt excellent gig, but also an extension to their music which is endlessly repeatable. Psych music should always be about exploring the confines of the song that has been created and Hills have certainly grasped that. Now, did we mention another Swedish psych band earlier? No?" - Echoes And Dust

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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. 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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
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  • 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
  • Four mammoth length drugged out tracks that will blast you off to the deepest part of the cosmos."The fifth instalment of the Cosmic odyssey on Paradigms. As as you will surely now expect, it's a potent kraut mammoth of the highest order. Four towering psych beasts inhabit this album, commanding 74 blissful minutes. You can hear one of them below.Only previously available on cassette, 'The Inner Sanctum' is now available as a luscious, limited digi-pak album, laden with glorious artwork and some of the band's hardest cuts. Only 500 of these wonders are available. THE COSMIC DEAD on top of their freak-out game, right here.."
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  • Fifth album from this German space rock trio.  The album consists of just three long tracks.  Guitar - bass - drums with plenty of spacey effects through out.  Killer space jams that will rekindle your memory of early Guru Guru.  If you are fan of the Sulatron stable of bands then you will love this one.  Highly recommended"Those intergalactic travellers The Spacelords are back with another space rock monster of a album, following on from last years 'Synapse'. The 'Liquid Sun' vinyl is out next January on Tonzonen, the band moving from one ace German label ('Synapse' was released on Sulatron) to another. The Spacelords are Hazi on guitar nd effects, Marcus on drums and soundscapes and Akee on bass and effects.There are just the three tracks on the album but the running time is still a shade over 43 three minute pop songs here! First up is the title track, 'Liquid Sun', which jumps straight in with some spacey effects over the easy flow of the guitar, bass and drums, conjuring up visions of some desolate planet at the furthest reaches of the cosmos. As the track progresses the guitar becomes more urgent, driving things forward. A nice mid-tempo space track. Next up is 'Spaceship Breakdown' which begins with a throat being cleared and some acoustic guitar before the keyboards and guitar proper join in. In the background are some dense but lush washes of synth giving the track a kosmische feel. Things get heavier as the track goes on, the riffs become almost Sabbath like and the synths add a nice organ feel to it and throughout the drums are rock solid. By the end it has become a space/acid jam. The album's magnum opus is the last track, 'Black Hole' at just over 21 minutes in length. It starts in a laid back manner with just synth and guitar playing a relatively simple melody. After the bass and drums join proceedings it becomes heavier with some nice delay on the guitar. It is an engrossing track and the 21 minutes fly by in the company of spacey effects and synth lines... space rock at its best.You'll never gonna get any great surprises from The Spacelords, but what you do get is fantastic, trippy space rock from 3 guys who must forget what gravity feels like. Germany is producing some awesome psych/ rock at the moment and The Spacelords are definitely part of that. Any space cadet will really dig this album." - Dayz Of Purple And Orange