Skip to main content

The Space Spectrum, Germany

Facebook
Samples

The Space Spectrum - The Red Eyed Queen. 2014 Cosmic Eye (Greece) LP

Another great find from our Greek friends Cosmic Eye, The Space Spectrum are amongst the new crop of instrumental German bands following in the footsteps of the 70's Kosmiche Kouriers. Like most modern bands, The Space Spectrum are more about the hypnotic experience of the overall psychedelic sound. Guitars and 70's era synthesizers provide the leads while the rhythm section keeps the steady - at times pounding - beat. This is not about jazzy improvisation, wild solos, and constant shifts in time. This is music that takes awhile to cook, turning ever so slowly over an intense fire underneath. Psychedelic to the extreme, but never unpleasant or atonal. Similar to Scotland's The Cosmic Dead, though less metronomic and more spacious. A very fine debut.

The album is housed in a thick single sleeve cover with an informational inner sleeve. Fantastic job as always from Cosmic Eye!

For my tastes, I would like to see the band explore more options within the context of a composition. While it makes for a great opening move, I feel the chosen style inhibits growth. Let's see where they go from here. I feel the band has enormous potential.

Worth noting, the band has 7 releases to date. I believe most of them are solo efforts from guitarist Nico Seel, before adding new (and much needed) members to his crew. Other than The Red Eyed Queen, all are only available via download, which we typically don't cover on UTR.

I would also like to paste in here our friend Spyros' comments about the album (who is a member of the Cosmic Eye team), because I found them very insightful (especially calling out the landmark year of 1989 - Ozric Tentacles, Tangle Edge, Djam Karet, etc...): "There are two major trends in space rock since 1989. First is that much of it has turned simpler and heavier, oriented towards pulsating stoner music. Second is that part of it has gotten trippier by expanding considerably the psychedelic /jam side of the genre since the 70s, though at root very little of it diverges that fundamentally from what  Hawkwind/Gong/Ash Ra Tempel  etc. were doing in the era.

SPACE SPECTRUM sit definitely in the second category. They are a relatively new band from Germany that had at their earlier stage a substantial output on Bandcamp as a one-man project behind guitarist Nico Seel. At their current stage, "The Red Eyed Queen" is their first album as a real 4-piece band and we are proud to be the label that releases this milestone to their career.

The record features SPACE SPECTRUM on a mammoth trip rock opus that spans both sides of the vinyl. By listening to the band channeling their awesome mind melting spaced out tones into a cohesive ensemble, one can’t deny the influence of the early 70s acid rock vibe. There are the obvious nods to the kraut gods, zoned in on the more jam aspects of cosmic kraut bliss and taking the music way out there into Ash Ra Temple-sque jamming blow out territory. Over a magic carpet of spacious keyboards and below the bass rumble of the spaceship, the guitar wanders in real outer cosmos, transporting us through the heavenly constellation. The result is a full-out attack on the trippier aspect of space rock, a bit brutal in his modern approach (under a creeping Cosmic Dead influence) but also very far-out, when moving to outer dimensions.

SPACE SPECTRUM took creatively the floating aspects of the 70s space rock formula and adopted it to rock styles that occurred in the 90s and onward. "The Red Eyed Queen" is a true cosmic winner and is not to be missed!"

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Forgas Band Phenomena, France

News: According to the latest Wayside flyer, Forgas Band Phenomena's 6th album will be coming soon. No other info has emerged.

UMR notes

La Coscienza di Zeno, Italy

Samples
Facebook

Originally published November 3, 2013 and moved forward to highlight their new album La Notte Anche di Giorno.

The band is still active as of August 2016, and a 4th album is in the works.

La Coscienza di Zeno - s/t. 2011 Mellow (CD); 2014 Fading (CD)
La Coscienza di Zeno - Sensitivita. 2013 Fading (CD)
La Coscienza di Zeno - La Notte Anche di Giorno. 2015 Fading (CD); 2016 Fading (LP)

----La Coscienza di Zeno

La Coscienza di Zeno's debut is fastball down the middle Italian progressive rock. If you're a fan of the style, then hard to imagine one not enjoying this. It does eschew the retro instrumental palette, but compositionally similar to the 70s masters.

----Sensitivita

Continuing on from their debut, La Coscienza di Zeno have made some significant improvements in many areas... and perhaps a few steps back in others. Let's focus on the positive first. The instrumental palette has been increased to include more of an analog orientation, though there is …

Kenso, Japan

Website
Facebook

No new updates from Kenso since 2015.

Kenso - s/t. 1980 Pam (LP); 1995 Arcangelo (CD)
Kenso - II. 1982 Pam (LP); 1993 King (CD); 2002 Pathograph (CD papersleeve)
Kenso - s/t (aka III). 1985 Nexus (LP; CD); 2011 King (CD papersleeve)
Kenso - Sparta. 1989 Crime (CD); 2009 Pathograph as Sparta Naked (CD)
Kenso - Yume No Oka. 1991 King; 2011 Pathograph (CD papersleeve)
Kenso - Esoptron. 1999 King (CD); 1999 Musea (France CD)
Kenso - Ken-Son-Gu-Su. 2000 Pathograph (CD)
Kenso - Fabulis Mirabilibus De Bombycosi Scriptis. 2002 Nexus (CD); 2002 Vinyl Magic (Italy CD)
Kenso - Utsuroi Yuku Mono. 2006 King (CD)
Kenso - Uchi Naru Koe Ni Kaikiseyo. 2014 King (CD)

There are many other live and archival releases from the band, though I only own Ken-Son-Gu-Su. All the other entries above represent their studio albums. There's also a 14 CD box set on King that contains all their studio albums through 2012, as well as a handful of live recordings.

For a band with so many recordings, an…

Gerard, Japan

Website
Fan site (more info than official site)
Samples

Gerard are a long running symphonic progressive rock band lead by keyboardist Toshio Egawa. I presume they are still a functioning unit, though the last activity I could find is 2015. Not sure if they have a Facebook page, but I couldn't find one if they do. My history with the band goes back to their very beginning, and I once owned their first two albums on LP. I sold them, though I'm not sure I'd do that today. In addition, I have heard Irony of Fate and Pandora's Box, but never owned them. I currently only possess The Ruins of a Glass Fortress and the album we're featuring today: Live in Marseille. No matter if I ever buy more Gerard, or not, for certain this album will be a keeper deep into my lifespan. I'll update this post when I revisit Ruins/Glass, or any others I decide to pick up along the way.

Gerard - s/t. 1984 Nexus (LP); 1988/92/99 Crime (CD); 2001 Spalax (France CD); 2011 Nexus (mini-LP)
Ger…

Hills, Sweden

Samples
Facebook
Website

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…

ARC, England

News: ARC has a new album entitled Fleet that was just released on October 20th. Auto buy!

To the best of my knowledge, there is no centralized website or Facebook for the band. There's plenty of samples, mostly under the Ian Boddy name. I have no idea why the band's name is capitalized. As far as I know, ARC is not an acronym that stands for something. Maybe the progenitors will inform us?

Overview: One of the premier Berlin School electronic revivalists going today. Mark Shreeve already is enshrined in the school's hall-of-fame with Redshift, so ARC makes it 2 for 2. And Ian Boddy needs no introduction either to fans of the genre.

UMR notes

Willowglass, England

Website
Samples

Willowglass- s/t. 2005 private
Willowglass - Book of Hours. 2008 private
Willowglass - The Dream Harbour. 2013 private

We pick up Willowglass on the second album "Book of Hours"... What do you do with a guy who is enamored with the European Medieval past of stained glass windows, Celtic crosses, and towered villages - and who has an obsession with 1970-1973 era Genesis? Someone who distills those ideas, reshapes it in his own image, and then pushes back out to the wilds for all to critique. It's easy to pan such an effort, but when it is done this well and with this kind of passion, one really does have to admire the final product. If early Genesis is your thing, and you're OK with no vocals being present in such a setting, then it's highly likely you will enjoy, or at the very least appreciate, Andrew Marshall's Willowglass. 

----

As a reviewer myself, I tend to read dozens of reviews. It can be wearisome to see the same tired critiques…

Necronomicon, Germany

News: Well, forget what I said. There is a new album (see cover above)! It's noted as such in the comments but I missed the meaning. Oh my goodness, this band is something else...
Website Facebook
Location: Aachen

Overview: Necronomicon released one famous album (in the underground that is) in 1972, and only reappeared with some archival releases in 1990s. Then completely out of nowhere they released an album in 2012 that was even better than their original release!

UMR notes

IQ, England

Website
Samples
Facebook

IQ - Seven Stories into Eight. 1982 private. Cassette only. Re-recorded as Seven Stories into '98. 1998 Giant Electric Pea.
IQ - Tales from the Lush Attic. 1983 The Major Record Company (LP); 1988 MSI (France CD)
IQ - The Wake. 1985 Sahara (LP); 1994 Giant Electric Pea (CD)
IQ - Nonzamo. 1987 Mercury CD + LP
IQ - Are You Sitting Comfortably? 1989 Vertigo CD + LP
IQ - Ever. 1993 Giant Electric Pea (reissued in 2013 on LP)
IQ - Subterranea. 1997 Giant Electric Pea (reissued in 2012 on LP)
IQ - The Seventh House. 2000 Giant Electric Pea; 2005 InsideOut (Germany)
IQ - Dark Matter. 2004 Giant Electric Pea (reissued in 2008 on LP by Primal Vinyl)
IQ - Frequency. 2009 InsideOut (Germany)
IQ - The Road of Bones. 2014 Giant Electric Pea (also as a 2 CD set with bonus tracks)

IQ have also released many live albums, outtakes, demos, and other such non-studio recordings that I've left off here. This includes the debut tape, which I will investigate further now that …

Arabs in Aspic, Norway

Website
Samples

Arabs in Aspic - Progeria (EP). 2003 Borse Music
Arabs in Aspic - Far Out in Aradabia. 2004 Borse Music
Arabs in Aspic - Strange Frame of Mind. 2010 Pancromatic LP. 2011 Black Widow (Italy) CD
Arabs in Aspic - Pictures in a Dream. 2013 Black Widow (Italy) CD + LP

Robert Fripp has stated that "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" means: "Something precious which is stuck, but visible. Something precious which is encased in form."  So with that heady bit of insight, it's obvious to me that Arabs in Aspic means... yea, I have no idea either. [shrug]

But what is "in aspic" is the band's ability to recreate the sounds of the 1970s. Specifically the American FM sound of 1975 and '76. Despite being from Norway, Arabs in Aspic are yet another band that would fit well in my USA Midwest / Ontario Progressive Rock (1970's/early 80s) list. Sounds odd doesn't it? Well... it's not as strange as it may first appear.

In 1990, in my Euro…