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ASTRAL MAGIC – MIND MELT MACHINE EP (2024) (Bandcamp)

Released on 1st March, and with more mind-blowing cover art, “Mind Melt Machine” is a collaboration between Santu Laakso and Paul Roland with help from Jonathan Segel’s strings and electric guitar. It is bookended by different versions of the title track, both great, but I have a slight preference for the extended ‘blissed out’ version, with some sterling synth, guitar and violin work. The version that opens the album has a catchy synth hook well supported by bass, guitar and violin, and starts with “I got me a real mean machine, a steam powered mind melt machine” - no, not a silver machine, but a new type that lets you leave your mind and yourself on a trip through a crack into another world, with an obvious steampunk reference. It segues into the marvellous ‘Beyond the Spectral Gate’ with its insistent pulse and loop and beguiling synth and choral effects; it reminded me remotely of Enigma at their most adventurous in places.

In the grand tradition of HAWKWIND, Robert Calvert era, “The Illustrated Man” is based on a sci-fi book: this time written by Ray Bradbury and published in 1951 (a film followed in 1969); it is an engaging piece about a tattooed carnival freak whose tattoos may have emanated from an occult artist sorceress (in the book it is a time-travelling woman and the tattoos become animated). ‘Samsara’ is another instrumental, hypnotic and lenitive, and a nice bridge to the extended reprise of the title track.


“Mind Melt Machine” can be downloaded or bought on CD at a very reasonable price, but please note that the CD is limited to 150 copies.

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Guest
Mar 05

Thanks to Santtu for sending his music for review and for his kind comments.

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