Skip to main content

Hidria Spacefolk, Finland


Hidria Spacefolk - HDRSF - 1. 2001 private.
Hidria Spacefolk - Symbiosis. 2002 Silence/Silenze.
Hidria Spacefolk - Balansia. 2004 Silence/Silenze.
Hidria Spacefolk - Live Eleven AM. 2005 NEARfest Records (USA).
Hidria Spacefolk - Symetria. 2007 Next Big Thing.
Hidria Spacefolk - Astronautica. 2012 private. also released on LP.

Finland’s Hidria Spacefolk broke onto the scene in 2001 with “HDRSF-1”, which featured recordings from as early as 1999. And what a debut it is! Hidria Spacefolk are one of the very few bands to take the Ozric Tentacles space rock via Hillage formula, and actually take it further by adding more instrumentation, putting together more complex compositions and rocking harder than Ed Wynne and crew (that’s no small feat right there). While Hidria wasn’t even close to reaching their peak at this stage, there were plenty of signs they could put together a masterpiece (and their subsequent two albums did just that). Most notably ‘Sindran Rastafan’ is the type of space rock rave-up that leaves one amazed, exhausted and overwhelmed. Hidria mixes wah wah style funk, hard rock guitar, cosmic and very fuzzy synthesizers, Middle Eastern melodies, Indian flute and didgeridoo, sometimes all in the same song! Variety is their strong suit, and they mix high energy jams with meditative quiet sections with ease. The band likes to change things around in a rapid manner, so the music never gets stale and always remains exciting. This debut demonstrated to the world that Hidria Spacefolk were to be one of the best space rock bands of the modern era.


"Symbiosis": The obvious comparison to Hidria Spacefolk is of course Ozric Tentacles, but that's only part (albeit a large one) to the entire equation. What's left out of most reviews is what comes after the plus sign - the early 1970's Scandinavia song craft - a certainly melodic sense that adds the key ingredient which makes Hidria Spacefolk so special. As someone who has listened to countless hours of the early 70s Scandinavian progressive scene, it's apparent immediately. From Sweden, you hear snippets here and there of Algarnas Tradgard, International Harvester, Lotus, Kvartetten Som Sprangde and Saga. From Finland, there's Kalevala, Nimbus and Haikara. The driving rhythms, electronica bits, synthesizer sequencers and riffing guitar point to a modern era. The bluesy guitar solos, sometimes with a Latin Santana influence, the Indian Eastern mysticism, the lead melodies, and the Hammond organ samples all point to a different era - one these lads most certainly absorbed growing up, even if unwittingly (though I suspect they are quite aware of their origins). If Ozric Tentacles is the post graduate course, then "Symbiosis" is the perfect score - 100%. "Nasha Universo" is my favorite short-form progressive song for the entire 2000 decade.

My CD says it's on Silence. My guess is the label changed their name to Silenze later to avoid confusion with the legendary 1970s Swedish label of the same name. A label that is still active I might add.


Picking right up from "Symbiosis", Hidria Spacefolk deliver another set of smoking space rock tunes on "Balansia". All of the first 5 tracks are near or above the 7 minute mark, and each add a unique twist to their classic Ozric/Hillage/Gong inspired sound: 'Kokkola' features heavy percussion; 'Modus Operand Hermetik' goes east to India (at the break) for inspiration; 'Astroban' loads up on the wah-wah funky guitar and features some wild extended jamming; 'Pajas' adds bluesy Krautrock styled guitar and sampled organ; 'Pako Originaux' shows a remarkably researched track, full of classic 1970s French references (Clearlight, Heldon, and a host of obscurities). And then there's 'Tarapita', Hidria Spacefolk's one attempt to date at the extended atmospheric and exotic early 70's Kosmiche Kourier styled composition, with plenty of high energy jamming at the finish to polish it all off. Agitation Free meets Ozric Tentacles. An amazing album by an amazing band.


"Live Eleven AM" is a literal title for the band's 2004 NEARfest performance. Like many modern live concerts, Hidria Spacefolk stays true to the original material, with little improvisation or significantly different arrangements. Seeing it live, no doubt, was exhilarating. As an album, though, it serves primarily as a nice compilation of their pre-"Symetria" era. This is the reason I rarely collect live albums. Hidria also released a  live album in 2007 featuring material from 'Symetria', but it appears to be once again a rather straight run through, that I'm sure was best witnessed live.


"Symetria" shows Hidria Spacefolk cutting back on the edgy complexity of their first two albums, while adding more of a steady post-rock sensibility. These changes are somewhat understated, so it's more like a trimming of the hedges, rather than a replanting of another bush. The title track and 'Futrur Ixiom' demonstrate quite well this movement to the center. Gone are the high powered psychedelic sequences and ripping guitar solos, and its place is a more staid melodic and atmospheric approach. That's not to say the band has moved away from mid-tune meter shifts, it's just a bit more toned down. '322' seems inspired by the stoner metal movement, as no doubt the band performs live with many acts that represent that genre. However they do manage to avoid the standard trappings of stoner rock (slabs of metal guitar distortion, raw drunken vocals, etc...), and instead inflect the typical Hidria Spacefolk treatment, that as a bonus inserts midstream a cool funky rock sequence complete with horns. 'Flora/Fauna' is a new twist for the band, calling out their Scandinavian heritage - in this case the region's penchant to produce a type of rural rock, a favorite style of nearby Denmark, especially in the early 1970s. To be honest, at this point of the album, "Symetria" is a bit of a disappointment. However, Hidria Spacefolk saves the best for last, and the last two tracks, totaling close to 20 minutes recall the superiority of "Symbosis" and "Balansia". All the same, I hear this album a full star less (2 Gnosis points) than its predecessors, though still quite excellent obviously. It's probably no surprise that Hidria Spacefolk decided to break at this point, probably realizing they were beginning to hit a rut. Fortunately they reconvened in 2012 for a new album.


Space rockers Hidria Spacefolk return 5 years after "Symetria" with "Astronautica", an album that has been highly anticipated by many, including myself. A couple of changes have occurred in the interim. The original keyboardist moved to Germany and has been replaced by Veikko Sutinen, who seems to favor the Fender Rhodes a bit more than his predecessor (that's a good thing). Hidria Spacefolk have also expanded to a sextet (yet another good thing) with the addition of percussionist Olli Kari, formerly of the much respected Uzva. Olli plays marimba, vibrafone, xylosynth, and sundry percussion. Despite these changes, "Astronautica" is largely a continuation of the style found on "Symetria". Broader strokes, larger sound, simpler compositions, with more emphasis on atmosphere rather than tricky intricacies. However, there's no mistaking that this is a Hidria Spacefolk album, and they continue with their lively instrumental melodic psychedelic music, with plenty of tempo changes and electric guitar solos. Great driving the highway music! Overall an excellent album, though still not up to the high standard (IMO) of "Symbiosis" and "Balansia".

I'm already waiting anxiously for the next album!


Popular posts from this blog

Purson, England

News: Well... It appears Purson has broken up. One band member (George Hudson) has now hooked up with a new project called Flare Voyant. OK, let's see where all this goes. Bummer though, as Purson had enormous potential. Perhaps a reformation will happen. 

Facebook Samples
Location: Southend-on-Sea, Essex

Overview: The Circle & The Blue Door was an homage to 1971 England, whereas Desire's Magic Theatre seemed more geared toward 1969. They're going in the wrong direction for my tastes, but still intriguing enough to leave as an A-lister.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Accordo dei Contrari, Italy

News: "We are very proud and happy to announce that our fourth album Violato Intatto (11 tracks, 70+ minutes of new original compositions) will be officially released on April 21st, 2017.

Accordo dei Contrari is:

Giovanni Parmeggiani: organ, fender rhodes, minimoog, arp odyssey, mellotron
Marco Marzo Maracas: acoustic and electric guitar
Cristian Franchi: drums
Stefano Radaelli: alto and baritone sax, bowed zither


Alessandro Bonetti (Deus ex Machina): violin
Gabriele di Giulio: tenor sax
Patrizia Urbani: vocals

Recorded live in studio, with some overdubs, at Loris Ceroni's Le Dune (Riolo Terme, Italy), July 16-23, 2016. Recorded by Loris Ceroni. Mastered by Udi Koomran."

Samples Facebook Location: Bologna

Overview: Accordo dei Contrari successfully blend retro styled Italian prog with a mid 70s jazz rock mindset. An exciting band with an impressive run of albums and multiple live shows.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Unreal City, Italy

News: As mentioned some time ago on this site, Unreal City's 3rd album is slated for release on September 10 this year!

Website Facebook Samples
Location: Parma, Emilia-Romagna

Overview: Unreal City are yet another band from Italy who are recreating the classic style of the early 1970s. And honestly, there cannot be too many bands in this style as far as I'm concerned.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Wolf People, England

News: Wolf People are currently touring Europe supporting their new album, the massively brilliant Ruins, which is one of the best neo psych albums I've ever heard.

Website Samples Facebook
Location: Bedford, Bedfordshire

Overview: At the beginning of their career, Wolf People were one of the best of the 1971 styled retro prog acts. With their new album Ruins, Wolf People can stake a claim as the best neo psychedelia band going today.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Hooffoot, Sweden

News: Their debut album has finally been issued on CD! Something I plan on picking up. And references to a second album have been mentioned as well.

Location: Malmo

Overview: Hooffoot are a fantastic new retro prog band from Sweden. As of this writing, their debut album is the highest rated for 2015 on Gnosis!

Reviews (click on album cover)

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)

La Torre dell'Alchimista, Italy

News: There's been rumors of a new album in the works, but with a non working website, and a year removed from a Facebook post, one wonders just how active they really are.

Location: Bergamo, Lombardy

Overview: La Torre dell’Alchimista are one of the many current Italian progressive rock acts that are recreating the sounds of the past and moving it forward to the 21st century. They are a bit more purist than most groups in this space (at least in 2007 they were, now it's more common), eschewing modern tendencies such as metal, electronica and post rock.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Agusa, Sweden

News: Agusa have announced their 3rd studio album is currently being recorded. Great news! No release date as of yet.  Also bumping forward to  highlight new notes for their live album which comes highly recommended.

Facebook Samples
Location: Malmo

Overview: Agusa's blueprint is instrumental psychedelic rock like the early 70s masters (think Flasket Brinner here) with Hammond organ, acoustic and fuzz guitar, wordless voices, pounding percussion - all with that distinct Nordic touch (while occasionally looking east towards Asia), that shows up in their melodies and overall atmosphere.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Goat, Sweden

News: No news to speak of. Moving page forward to highlight latest album review.

Facebook Website (Blogspot) Samples
Location: Gothenburg

Overview: Goat are a band that mixes ancient mystic rituals and Swedish folklore, combined with a 1970s exploratory jazz rock sound. The best way I can describe them is like a mid 1970s Embryo, Archimedes Badkar, and Kebnekaise all mashed up and distilled for the modern age. The fact that Goat have achieved commercial success with such a sound is even more remarkable. Amazing to find a band like this on one of the top indie American labels like Sub Pop. Because of that, it's tempting to tag the band with the derogatory hipster designation, but it's entirely unfair. We're 3 albums in, and every one of them is great.

Reviews (click on album covers)

Phlox, Estonia

News: Phlox are still going strong with plenty of live shows. They are also hinting at a new album soon (2017). So great news there!

Facebook Website Samples
Location: Tallinn

Overview: Phlox are a band that play in the VERY heavy fusion category (no metal though). Hard driving, fast, complicated and downright exhilarating. A 6 piece group with guitar, sax, Moog, and electric piano being the primary solo components.

Reviews (click on album covers)