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VARIOUS ARTISTS – 19TH DREAM OF DR. SARDONICUS FESTIVAL OF PSYCHEDELIA (Regal Crabomophone/ Fruits de Mer Records – 2 LP on sale on 13th August, 2024)

Blimey, it can’t be the 19th festival already. Only 150 people can get into Cardigan’s Cellar Bar, so it’s only fair that Fruits de Mer record and release some of the event with promo CDs going out (generously) to reviewers. This year’s festival has the likes of ASTRALASIA, MAN, PINHDAR and SENDELICA playing incidentally.

LONDON UNDERGROUND play around with one of my favourite Jazz Rock numbers of all-time by the mighty BRIAN AUGER & THE TRINITY, and get away with it, I’d say: by the way I was seriously impressed by the last London Underground album I reviewed for Acid Dragon. The interesting thing about these ‘samplers’ is discovering new names. SPECTRAL STREAMS must have impressed with their ‘Dust Storms on Mars’ to be included as we are more into laid back TANGERINE DREAM territory here, a nice contrast. But, hey, wait a minute, this is actually SENDELICA whose ‘Maggot Brain’ follows with an instrumental version of HAWKWIND’s ‘Masters of the Universe’ tagged on to it (for your information the whole of their concert as Spectral Streams can be listened to and/or purchased on Bandcamp including a synth homage to STEVE HILLAGE, as can their own guitar/ bass/ drums concert). HANFORD FLYER are up next with their ‘Space Tractor’ - they’ve been reviewed recently on DISS for their excellent UNITED STATES OF AMERICA covers single, but I hadn’t heard this rousing freakout kind of music from them before; this excellent number definitely picked my ears up!

CONSTERDINE was a new name to me- isn’t this Colin Consterdine who released an album called ‘Electronic Organism’ some years ago? Anyway ‘Sepia’ is quite a minimalist soundscape that gets into a little bit of a groove along the line with some tribal rhythms, an interesting construction indeed! PINHDAR, whose mightily impressive new album is also reviewed on DISS, perform an extended version of their ‘Atoms & Dust’ from their “Parallel” album of 2021 and don’t disappoint. Mc DOWELL & WESTAWAY have a very retro sound on the catchy ‘Black Tar Acid’, 60s garage to be more precise (their whole concert can also be heard on Bandcamp). Jam band DARK ZEN KOLLECTIV played at Glastonbury Psychfest I believe, and an edited version of ‘Ice Lock Up Stones’ (interesting title) appears here. The CARY GRACE BAND features the popular singer, who is famous for her unusual and ambitious cover versions of the likes of ‘Archangel’s Thunderbird’ by AMON DÜÜL 11 and CREAM’S ‘Tales of Brave Ulysses’, as well as early PINK FLOYD. This time it’s VELVET UNDERGROUND’s ‘Venus in Furs’, capturing the acerbic and lysergic vibe of the song perfectly in a much extended and enhanced arrangement. Finally, there’s SPYGENIUS with a nice injection of upbeat humour on ‘Café Emery Hill’ from their 2020 album “Man on the Sea”. They describe themselves as a Canterbury based power-pop quartet with “lyrical wit” and “elaborate harmonies” and I see no reason to disagree.

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