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ASTRAL MAGIC – SHADOWS OVER JUPITER (Bandcamp) (2024)

“Shadows over Jupiter” is a remix of a 2021 album originally released on a cassette tape by Weird Beard, and fans of Finland’s Santtu Laakso will know just what to expect from the music: flowing passages of ethereal space music on ‘Thousand Eyes’, reflective echoey distant sounding vocals with a warm, fluffy chorus on the 7-minute title track, drums by Jay Tausig (as well as resonating flute), and fluid electric guitar (Jay also adds some nice sax and flute to earlier track ‘The Gateway Experience’). ‘Interdimensional Connections’ is a freaky kind of ‘outer limits’ type instrumental number that I really enjoyed, the sax, flute and drums and spiralling synths all adding a lot to the atmospheric. ‘Astral Dreams’ is another favourite of mine, especially the soaring guitar work and thoughtful use of keyboards, and ‘Spacemen Sunset’ might be easily be described as a space rock ballad! There are three bonus tracks totalling over 20 minutes at the end as well. With its mind-bending stereo effects, ‘Teleportation’ is a particularly wondrous throwback to the ROBERT CALVERT era of HAWKWIND, and ‘Slowburn’ is, as the title suggests, an 11-minute meditative piece that certainly merits inclusion on an album that will reward repeating listening.


Santtu’s fascination with ETs, lost civilisations, myth and magic reveals itself in a most entertaining and thought-provoking way on a most welcome remix of one of his best albums, and what better time to snap it up for the Astral Magic Midsummer sale is on with 4 CDs for 30 euros. I know that Santtu is concerned, as I and a lot of others are, about today’s ‘giveaway’ music culture (Have you ever noticed how few bands there are these days in the mainstream: just a lot of solo artists, most of whom are not particularly adventurous or imaginative?) You can listen to his music for free on Bandcamp, but it is really important that we support this kind of music, which is a wonderful blast from the past as well as having a modern-day appeal.


By the way, Astral Magic is named after an old song by DARK SUN, and a revealing interview with Santtu can be read on this very website.

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