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(81:30; Fruits de Mer Records)
I first came across Astralasia some 14 years ago when I reviewed their tenth album ‘Away With The Faeries’. Looking back at that review (p58 of ‘The Progressive Underground Volume 1), I said there “This is not music to jump and down to, but rather something that is designed to take your mind into different areas. Well worthy of further investigation”. To be honest, I could easily the same about this album, but how about the band themselves? “Early creators of original Euphoric Trance, Psychedelic Trance, Astral Dub, Trance, Experimental Techno, Ambient Dance...I suggest that you listen on your own in a safe environment and separate yourself from normal reality (if not already). Unplug the phone, draw the curtains and light a candle and incense stick. Partake of any mediatory tools that you usually use and settle down in your most comfortable listening position...” Marc Swordfish has previously worked with FM to release two double albums, but he has also worked with the label to provide remixes and re-imaginings of other bands' tracks as well, which are normally on limited or special edition releases so are no longer generally available. The idea of this double vinyl album is to revisit some of these songs and come up with a new collection of rare songs, along with some which have been especially reworked for the release. Imagine Steve Hillage, Gong and Ozrics all taking too many drugs and bring in some tribal rhythms, along with a massive dose of the late Sixties free festival scene and then you may, just may, get to understand what this is like. One of my favourites is the very last song, “Timothy Leary Forever” which is the closest they come to pure psychedelia. As with everything released by this incredible label, this is a delight from the first note to the very last, 81 minutes of experimentation, layering, and music which releases the mind and takes the listener into a brand-new world.
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