I’m not doing a end of year ‘best of’ list again this year because there is just too much good music around, so my aim is to do a series of ‘quarterly reviews’ bringing my favourite releases (an maybe a couple that I’ve caught up on during that time). I know that a lot of people just can’t keep up with everything that’s going on so I hope that this will help point you in the right direction to explore further for yourself (hint: all the labels featured here are well worth checking out for their other releases).

Click here for First Quarter Review.

So enjoy this, and do click through to the reviews if you want to find out more; and for updates throughout the year you can follow me on Twitter @psychinsightmscFacebookInstagram, and Bandcamp.

I also do Spotify playlists here.

 

Där Blommor Dör by Flowers Must Die (rev/ vega)

With ‘Där Blommor Dör’ Flowers Must Die takes us on a, non-chronological, journey through their ten year development. In doing so they alight on a number of hidden gems from their past as well as some new and promising tracks from their near present. In doing this they have put together something that is by no means as disparate as you might expect from the original concept. In fact quite the opposite, this is a set that feels coherent and, above all consistent.

Read the full review here.

 

Fight, Cry, Fight by Caudal (Drone Rock Records)

I had high expectations of this album, expectations that have been met. Listening to it a few times now have helped me realise why I like Caudal. Like their other releases the vast majority of this album allows you room to just sit a be. Yet while there is this space it also challenges you on occasions, providing the catalyst to take you on to the next thing. It’s the sort of music that sits between the depressive and the ecstatic… containing elements of both yet knitted together in a way that creates a really nice balance between the two.

Read the full review here.

 

Origins by Our Solar System (Beyond Beyond is Beyond)

All I can really say about his album in the final analysis is that Our Solar System have done it again. They have once more produced something that has at the same time confirmed and confounded my opinion of them. Confirmed because they have produced something that is once again fresh, different, and full of paradoxes.

Read the full review here.

 

Silo by Stephen Bailey (Cardinal Fuzz/ Dusky Tracks/ Rhubarb Records)

This one has been a real slow burner for me. I reviewed it briefly earlier this year, but since then it has grown on me exponentially to become one of my favourites for the year.

Read the full review here.

 

V by Wooden Shjips (Thrill Jockey)

With ‘V’ Wooden Shjips have once again won me over with another album that seeks to hone what is of me a winning formula. With many bands I long for them to do something radically different from album to album. With Wooden Shjips there is something about their approach that means that I want more of the same, because I know that ultimately it’s not going to be the same. So it is with this album, which is overall slower, softer and more subtle than its predecessors, while at the same time is an album you want to envelop you and let the melodies and eddies of sound wash over you.

Read the full review here.

 

Enter the Stream by Prana Crafter (Cardinal Fuzz/ Sunrise Ocean Bender/ Eggs in Aspic)

This is music that really bites into the soul, opening up fissures in our psyche through which we can reflect and learn more about ourselves and our relationship to the world around us. Not the latest advertising slogan, but the earth beneath us, the air we breathe and the sky above. In listening to this we enter the stream, become the stream and leave with a new sense of purpose and understanding. In a word: serene.

Read the full review here.

 

Chtoyant Breath by Øresund Space Collective (Space Rock Productions)

There is something quite liberating about the music of the Øresund Space Collective that I have not yet quite put my finger on and, actually, may never do so. All I do know is that I will be going to that place more often. This, for me, is space music in the sense that it provides you with the space in which to really express yourself psychologically and creatively… let go and enjoy the ride!

Read the full review here.

 

Thuban by Lay Llamas (Rocket Recordings)

With ‘Thuban’ Lay Llamas, or Giunta more precisely, has moved beyond Østro and created an album which in many ways shares it’s DNA, but has developed a much more varied and more complex sound as a result. This album really does stretch out in front of you and mesmerises you with its sincere eclecticism and wide sphere of influence. This is an album that you can dance to, but also sit down an cry to. It’s everything that a modern psychedelic album should be, one with heart and soul, beats and fragments; it certainly meets my criteria of being weird, challenging, chaotic and nebulous.

Read the full review here.

 

CLN by Jochen Arbeit / Paolo Spaccamonti (Boring Machines) 

Although I didn’t review this it is nevertheless a brilliantly dark, throbbing and panoramic album of electronic/ percussive tracks that just keep on giving every time you listen to it.

More information at Boring Machines bandcamp here.

 

Father Sky Mother Earth by Father Sky Mother Earth (Dirty Filthy Records)

This is an album, then, that creates an aura of occasion… an impression that something of importance is being represented… the reflection of a climate… a climate that is both under threat and under protection… a portrayal of significant forces at work. It is a set that also somehow represents a moment in time… there’s no beginning or end here, more the feeling of being part of a greater continuum… a story that really is too big to be told.

Read the full review here.

 

Kräuter der Provinz by Datashock (Bureau B)

All in all this is a hugely satisfying album to listen to because the music on it is great, but mainly because there’s the potential here for it to be a different experience EVERY time you listen to it.

Read the full review here.

 

IV by Cosmic Ground (Adansonia Records)

What I found is that if these recordings do have something in common it is their depth. They seem to pull you in in different ways, but in a manner that is quite profound. Most of all these a very accomplished pieces of music that will only get better and more profound as time goes by.

Read the full review here.

 

Innerland by Mark Peters (Sonic Cathedral)

The cover with it’s map theme won me over even before I heard this album. I really bought into the concept of Peters re-connecting with his roots in North West England, and can imagine walking around those areas listening to this really atmospheric album. Having said that, this album wouldn’t have make the list if the music hadn’t been good. Actually it’s fantastic with a lovely balance between guitar and electronics providing a soothing yet stimulating collection of tracks that are superbly played and nicely arranged.

More detail at Peters’ bandcamp here.

 

Heaven and Earth by Kamasi Washington (Young Turks)

Not my usual area, but I have to say this 4+1 LP set from Kamasi Washington is absolutely amazing. Yes it does have more than a tinge of the psychedelic in a Sun Ra sort of way, especially on the ‘Heaven’ part of the record; but mostly this is fantastic large-scale contemporary jazz from on of the most creative artists around.

More details from Young Turks’ website here.

 

Dag o Natt by My and My Kites (Sound Effect Records)

This then is a stylish album and an album of styles with bucolic English and East Coast 60s psychedelia melding rather marvellously with, in places, folk vocals and that Scandinavian vibe that an number of Progg and more recent bands have excelled in. Whether you’re feeling the warmth of the sun or longing for it, this is an album that will satisfy your needs and leave you in a better state than when it found you.

Read the full review here.

 

Pagus Wasiae by Bart de Paepe

This has been one of the most difficult albums that I have written about. It has been a challenge to listen to and put my thoughts down here. Whether I have done that successfully is probably for others to say. What I would say, though, that this album is one that is for me some sort of sonic mind gym. It is akin to music I have listened to before but it is a bit further down the road to inaccessibility than I have previously travelled.

Read the full review here.

 

Box Set II by The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol (Cardinal Fuzz/ Birdman Sound)

The second box set of TBWNIAS recordings, this time featuring three vinyl albums that have had previously limited releases, and a fourth LP of unreleased session music. On top of that there’s a further the CDs of session tracks which altogether highlight the clout of this band, which is more like a force of nature powering its way through jam after jam of improvised rawk.

At time of writing there’s only a few of these left with Cardinal Fuzz here.

 

A Great Big Smile From Venus by Slows (Deep Distance)

A real treat from Matthew Simms whose Slows project once again delivers something challenging and experimental. Taking drum recording from Matt Schulz (Holy Fuck, Enon, Lake Ruth) he has created two long tracks that are earthy and challenging. Yes they are ‘out there’ but often that’s the most interesting place to be.

 

 

 

Click here for First Quarter Review.