Skip to main content

Quantum Fantay, Belgium


Originally published September 15, 2012 and updated on June 29, 2014. Moving post forward to highlight their new album Dancing in Limbo

Flemish group Quantum Fantay, lead by synthesist Pieter Van den Broeck (Pete Mush), are from the latest crop of new bands to play in the post You era Gong style. Following in the footsteps of Ozric Tentacles, Hidria Spacefolk, and Korai Orom, Quantum Fantay are on the heavier side of the continuum. Like Ozric, they embrace the raucous Moog sequencing that is also prominent is some areas of electronica. But Quantum Fantay stop short of techno, and use regular rock structures and instruments, including real drums.

Quantum Fantay might be my favorite band today. They continue to improve and add much needed energy and innovation to the space rock genre - a genre that I'm prone to enjoy in any case. The name was intended to be Quantum Fantasy, but an early concert flyer had it misspelled - and so they just left it. Why not right?

Quantum Fantay – Agapanthusterra. 2005 Pete's Mushroomland (CD); 2007 Herzberg Verlag (Germany CD)
Quantum Fantay – Ugisiunsi. 2007 Pete's Mushroomland (CD)
Quantum Fantay - From Herzberg to Livingroom. 2008 Herzberg Verlag (Germany 2CD)
Quantum Fantay – Kaleidothrope. 2009 Shiver (CD+DVD)
Quantum Fantay – Bridges of Kukuriku. 2010 Bassick (CD)
Quantum Fantay - Bridges of the Old Fishingmine. 2011 Bassick (CD)
Quantum Fantay - Terragaia. 2014 Progressive Promotion (CD)
Quantum Fantay - Dancing in Limbo. 2015 Progressive Promotion (CD); 2016 Pete's Mushroomland (LP)

I have not heard the two live albums to date. Based on timings and reviews alone, they appear to be straightforward interpretations of the studio material. Generally I avoid live albums such as that, as I need more uniqueness to justify the time and expense. Though I suspect had I discovered the band via the live material first, my opinion would be the opposite.


Agapanthusterra is their most Ozric Tentacles-like album - right down to the reggae bits. That said, the compositions are entirely unique and offer one more perspective of an already great formula. On this debut, Quantum Fantay were a four piece with synthesizers, bass, drums and flute. Guitars were performed by a guest of the band (who would later join as a full time member on their 3rd album Kaleidothrope), but despite this designation his participation here remains a centerpiece to their overall sound. Best tracks are the heaviest rocking pieces 'Lantanasch' and 'Chase the Dragon'. Worth noting that the final track 'Amoevha' is hidden and not listed on the CD itself.


While the debut Agapanthusterra could be considered another Ozric album, the sophomore effort Ugisiunsi utilizes to a greater extent other music vehicles like flute (in more abundance than the debut), sequencer based electronics, and haunting wordless female voice, thus adding color to the usual guitar / keyboard rave-ups. The guitarist (from Srdjan 'Sergio' Vucic, in his only stint with the band) adds some metal crunch at times, recalling the Dutch group Kong. And the solos are Ed Wynne-esque in their intensity. Like Hidria Spacefolk (Finland), Quantum Fantay also display a penchant for progressive rock themes and complexities – something that Ozric did more frequently in their past with songs like ‘White Rhino Tea’. Tracks like 'Snowballs in Ghostlands' show Quantum Fantay were capable of writing beautiful melodies as well - moving beyond the usual "if you can't find it, grind it" mentality. At this point in their career, Quantum Fantay looked to be a major force in the space rock circuit. And as it turns out, they ended up being just that.


After the great success of Ugisiunsi, Quantum Fantay return with Kaleidothrope...  ...and serve notice that they are serious and are here to stay. The jumpy sequencers, fluttering flute, hyperactive rhythm section, and - best of all - pyrotechnical psychedelic guitar work, are here in abundance. All of this while never forgetting that melody is truly important to a great composition. Not to mention the constant shifting of themes, meters, and dynamics. Final track 'Telepathy' is a monster and needs to be heard by all. And to think they would actually improve on their next album. Wow! If there's a criticism of Quantum Fantay, it's that they veer too close to Ozric Tentacles. And while that may hold true, one should know that it's more like Ozric extract: All the good stuff is filtered in while leaving the chaff out. This one also comes with a bonus DVD that I have yet to watch (Still! As of July 2016)

----Bridges of Kukuriku

As you can see from the above, I've been a fan of Quantum Fantay since their first album. All are very good variations on the Ozric Tentacles sound. But I wasn't prepared for the greatness that is Bridges of Kukuriku. Everything about this album is exponentially better than prior efforts (and that's saying something). Whether it's the production (listen to the panning from speaker to speaker as if Dieter Dirks himself took the controls), the instrumental interplay (crisp and tight), the energy level (extremely kinetic) - or just the general exoticism surrounding the compositions. And this has real melodies, something you can actually latch onto and remember, rather than just a technical exercise in musical theory. The amazing transition from 'Follow the Star' (track 2) to 'Shiver Moments' (track 3) and the subsequent blitzkrieg of said track practically gave me a stroke. Music like this is truly exciting, as you never know what will happen next, and yet it still rocks hard in a psychedelic way. Ozric has never come close to fully realizing an album like this. We're in the rarefied territory of those Finnish groups Hidria Spacefolk and Taipuva Luotisuora. This album is absolutely brilliant and will most certainly be considered one of my personal favorite albums of the entire 2010 decade.


So exactly how would Quantum Fantay follow up the brilliant Bridges of Kukuriku? It would take 4 years to find out, but the band has finally reappeared with Terragaia, and the CD (that's right - a CD - remember those?) is housed in a fine triple fold out digi-pak. I would say that Quantum Fantay have found themselves back to their roots of Ozric Tentacles' inspired space rock. Unfortunately, there aren't any of the hair raising, head turning moments of the last two albums to be found. However, let's not get carried away and start pointing fingers as if this is some kind of failed effort. Hardly. The music here is as brilliant as "Ugisiunsi", but with a distinct Middle Eastern and Chinese theme running throughout the melodies (and some snippets of Caribbean and Celtic music too). There's so much to admire about Quantum Fantay in the studio - and their variation of the Gong "You" era is as fine as anyone as ever realized, including Ozric Tentacles themselves. So what you have is the usual fiery guitar solos, flute overlays, bubbling synthesizers, and hyperactive rhythms that you expect - and want - from the genre. Quantum Fantay are money, man. I'm already looking forward to the next release!

----Dancing in Limbo

Quantum Fantay has always been a Masters Class course at the Ozric Tentacles University. And on their 6th studio effort, Dancing in Limbo, yet another thesis has been proposed and accepted. So much so, that the professor himself - one Ed Wynne - even guests on the album! If you're the sort that appreciates Ozric Tentacles most in full blown space rock mode with fiery guitar solos and fluttering flute, meanwhile constantly twisting and turning with jumpy rhythms, then Quantum Fantay will certainly blow your socks off. I'm of that sort, and my socks are missing. Dancing in Limbo earns Quantum Fantay yet another "A".


  1. Good as their tunes are, they lack of the most basic aspects of space rock: the jamming. I'm sure I could enjoy their Ozrics-meets-Camel style in a live context (theoretically) though.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Cosmic Dead, Scotland


The Cosmic Dead - s/t. 2011 cassette; 2012 Paradigms (USA); 2013 Cardinal Fuzz (LP)
The Cosmic Dead - The Exalted King. 2012 cassette; 2013 Cosmic Eye (Greece) (LP)

The Cosmic Dead are a Scottish quartet who've been around a couple of years, and whose raison d'etre is improvised space rock. The Cosmic Dead are yet another one of these new bands who seem to be content to issue their albums via download, along with the archaic cassette format (which, to be fair, does allow for 90 and 120 minute albums). They have 6 albums to date but only two are on the more durable and desirable formats like the LP and CD. So those are the only two I have listed. I have heard the first album prior, but it didn't leave a mark.

"The Exalted King" is a sprawling 2 LP set of droning keys, echoed guitars, and pounding rhythms. Hawkwind and the more cosmic moments of Amon Duul II are the obvious comparisons. This is music to turn the lights off, sit back / lay down, a…

Klotet, Sweden


Not much has been heard from Klotet since I first posted this actually (and as I update this in August 2016). As you will read in the comments, the band released a 3rd album in cassette form, which turned out to be in a massive 100 unit set. We don't count those LOL. In any case, the band appear to be on ice for the moment.

Klotet - En Rak Höger. 2008 Musea (France CD)
Klotet - Det Har Aldrig Hänt Och Kommer Aldrig Hända Igen. 2010 Musea (France CD)

----En Rak Höger

Klotet are a modern band who play in a very Swedish 1970's sort of way. Utilizing only analog keyboards, and a fuzzy electric guitar, Klotet conjures up classic Kebnekaise, Harald Hedning, Lotus, and Flasket Brinner. The foundation of the melodies can be found in Swedish folklore, whereas the music approach is pure early 1970s. An excellent combination.

----Det Har Aldrig Hänt Och Kommer Aldrig Hända Igen

As if to prove Det Har Aldrig Hänt Och Kommer Aldrig Hända Igen will be different from it…

Il Tempio delle Clessidre, Italy

News: According to a post from the group in January, mixing is done for their new 3rd album! No date has been given for release yet, though late April has been reported. Il Ludere is the working title.

Website Facebook Samples
Location: Genoa

Overview: Il Tempio delle Clessidre's debut is one of the finer new retro Italian progressive rock in the landscape today. Lead by the beautiful keyboardist Elisa Montaldo, Il Tempio delle Clessidre is the classic five piece Italian band working their way through increasingly complex compositions, but with melody and passion.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Hills, Sweden


Originally published on July 17, 2011 and updated on February 3, 2012. Moving post forward to highlight their new album Frid.

Hills are among the finest of the neo Krautrock bands one can hear today. They are still active as of August, 2016..

Hills - s/t. 2009 Intergalactic Tactic Records (LP); 2010 Sulatron (Austria CD)
Hills - Master Sleeps. 2011 Intergalactic Tactics Records (LP); 2011 Transubstans (CD); 2013 Rocket Recordings (UK CD; LP)
Hills - Live (EP). 2013 Cardinal Fuzz (UK LP)
Hills - Frid. 2015 Rocket Recordings (UK CD; LP)
Hills - Live At Daemonens Port. 2015 Kommun 2 / Svensk Psych Aften (2 LP)

Regarding the debut, this is one of those cases where I bought the LP (the pink vinyl edition no less), since I didn't figure it would be issued on CD. I probably would have waited otherwise, but what the hey, the LP is pretty cool looking. But owning it on CD with the bonus tracks was necessary too. I may one day part with the vinyl, but not in a hur…

Heru Avenger, USA

Heru Avenger - New Aeon. 1998 Initiates International.
Heru Avenger - Magique Mistress. 1999 Initiates International.

Well since we're still on a (sushi?) roll with space rock albums, how about this little odd band that crept out of Orange County, California in the late 1990s? Even in 1998, no one was talking about Heru Avenger. If Greg Walker didn't send me a copy to check out, I probably would never have heard of them - even today. I listened to New Aeon a couple of times, liked it - filed it - forgot about it. An all too common problem when one is in constant accumulation mode, something I fortunately stopped doing a decade ago. And I never bothered to check out the second Heru Avenger until recently, and Greg still has copies - so I bought one!

Heru Avenger is the brainchild of one John Basil, an interesting cat who even managed to get a local article written about him. Sounds like my kind of introspective, intelligent recluse - honestly.

Both albums are remarkably simila…

Egonon, Italy


Egonon - Risveglio. 2011 private

Here's one courtesy of our Gnosis friend Eddie - the same gentleman that brought us all those wonderful Romanian albums earlier in the year.

The 1970's Italian progressive rock greats are regarded as such because of their innate ability to compile and distill the influences of their day. Namely classical, jazz, rock, indigenous folk, avant-garde, and canto. And a big old scoop of youthful exuberance. Considering this, Egonon are true to the philosophy of their ancestors. Rather than recreate the sounds of the 70s, as many Italian bands are doing today (and wonderfully so I might add), Egonon are assimilating their own influences. In their case, the list might look like: Heavy Metal, Alt-Rock, World Music, funk, and... everything that was also included in the 1970s Italian progressive rock scene, including the end result of said scene, which they clearly respect and pay homage to. It may be a restaurant with too many ite…

Side Steps, Japan


Like Gerard, Side Steps are a long running Japanese band, though this time coming from the jazz fusion genre. They received some attention in the Western world, mainly due to their association with Musea Records. As you will see in my notes below, not all is great. I even debated adding them here to UTR, but there's just enough good at the end of their career to at least consider. From a technical perspective, these guys are fantastic. But I tend to like a bit more grit and grime in my music. In giving full disclosure, I only kept the last two albums I featured here. The last activity on their website goes back to 2012, and their final release was 2007, so it does appear the band may be kaput.

Side Steps - Out and Out. 1997 Musea (France CD)
Side Steps - Alive. 1999 Musea (France CD)
Side Steps - Points of View. 2001 Musea (France CD)
Side Steps - Steps on Edge. 2003 Musea (France CD) 1993 recording. see write-up for more info regarding this release
Side Steps - Ve…

Tanger, Argentina


Tanger - s/t. 1999 private
Tanger - La Otra Cara. 2002 Viejero Inmovil
Tanger - Ciudad. 2006 Viejero Inmovil
Tanger - Mundos Paralelos. 2008 Viejero Inmovil

It appears that Tanger's last activity was in 2015. Hopefully they continue on.

Since Tanger practically defines the objectif principal of this blog, I thought it would be a good place to experiment with a slight different format. Besides, I couldn't possibly come up 4 different reviews/sketches/musings... whatever. Why? Because in the 9 years between their first and last release, little has changed in their approach to music. If you like one, you are likely to enjoy them all.

As for the obcurity of the band, our website Gnosis has pretty decent representation. Gnosis is made up of mainly hardcore progressive and underground rock collectors, and Tanger hit the radar early with mail-order availability from Greg Walker along with coverage in the always excellent magazine Expose (a magazine I might add …

Ske - 1000 Autunni. 2011 Italy

Ske - 1000 Autunni. 2011 Fading.

Ske is the new project from Paolo "Ske" Botta, keyboardist for avant progressive rock band Yugen. It's interesting to note that Ske's album is on AltRock's "symphonic progressive" sub-label Fading. I say interesting, because to my ears, "1000 Autunni" fits the avant progressive definition better.

Like some modern groups, Ske seems to have compiled the best parts of what progressive rock has to offer, and reassembles them into a hodge podge of the entire genre. So, in effect, what you get with "1000 Autunni" is Progressive Rock Extract. Especially the Canterbury scene, Anglagard influenced Nordic symphonic rock, and angular avant progressive (similar to his other group Yugen).

Is there anything wrong with that? Well no, not in my opinion. It almost guarantees a pleasant listen, though I do find myself hoping for a more individual persona and style to emerge. At the time of this writing, Ske's album is…

Happy Family, Japan


Happy Family - s/t. 1995 Cuneiform (USA)
Happy Family - Toscco. 1997 Cuneiform (USA); 1997 Arcangelo
Happy Family - Minimal Gods. 2014 Cuneiform (USA)


Perhaps no band arrived with such an in-your-face sound as Happy Family did in 1995. Their fabled live shows were popular amongst the tape trading crowd of the early 1990s. So there was quite a bit of buzz on what their first CD would sound like. The band insisted their albums come out on the preeminent Avant Prog label Cuneiform, and were willing to wait until that label had room on their release schedule. By 1995, anticipation was high, and Happy Family not only delivered, but exceeded, most everyone's expectation.

Consider the first track 'Rock & Young'. Hard to imagine anyone delivering such a strong overpowering opening punch as Happy Family did here. If this track doesn't move your heart rate up a few beats, you're probably dead already, and no one told you (did Aunt Sally for…