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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

├śresund Space Collective

Inside Your Head

Review by Gary Hill

The latest release from OSC, this disc showcases what makes them so great – killer improvised space rock. As always Hawkwind is a big influence, but they seem to be stretching out, too. I hear more pure psychedelia on this release. I make out hints of The Doors at times and certainly early Pink Floyd. This is another killer disc from a band that just keeps putting out great music one jam at a time.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Substantia nigra
Dramatic, yet atmospheric elements lead us off. As it turns louder it feels like they may be about ready to launch into something akin to modern King Crimson. Instead it modulates down to a droning space rock texture and different sounds rise and fall as this carries on. I hear bits of Hendrix’ “Third Stone From the Sun” here. Then they create a true “song” type element that has both the trappings of space rock and bits of psychedelia. This rises and we get some lines of noisy guitar that call to mind Hawkwind here and there. As this is transformed into a powerhouse jam the Hawk-comparisons are more prominent. It gets quite intense at times and works through a number of changes and variations. At a little over ten minutes in length this is the second shortest track on show here. It drops down to segue into the next number.

Optic chiasm
Keyboards start this off and then we get a little psychedelia. A processed voice that’s one part helium talk, one part synthesizer and one part Donald Duck comes in, bringing a rather humorous texture while instruments wander around in the background. Sounds and motifs come again, but nothing seems ready to take root. The voice leaves and at times this feels jazzy at other points Pink Floyd comes to mind. Eventually it begins to take on a more cohesive structure and the Floyd comparisons are quite definite. They make their way through alterations and transformations, but the first six or so minutes (this is a sixteen plus minute song) are dominated by elements that call to mind early Pink Floyd. They make their way into more Hawkwind-like territory for a time, but move back outwards towards Floyd again. The two elements seem to merge later as the song rocks out harder. There is some fiery guitar soloing that just goes on and on (and I mean that in a good way) later in the track. Keyboards take over in the end and segue into the next number.

Fornix
A fast paced percussion line comes in over the remaining keyboards from the previous piece. They take a spirited solo. The keys hold in there the whole time and after a time the other instruments join. They launch out into an energized jam that makes me think of a cross (if you can picture it) between Hawkwind and Genesis. It moves more towards pure Hawklike territory as they carry forward. They work through a number of alterations and changes, but nothing veers off quickly. We get some killer guitar soloing on this one, too. There’s also some cool retro keyboard soloing at points. The bass even takes control for a while later. I hear bits of The Doors at times on this. They move out towards more purely Hawkwind territory later, but even then we get hints of reggae at times. There are also some cool echoey, rather twisted passages later. We hear more merging of Pink Floyd and Hawkwind on this here and there. It dissolves down to randomized sounding space to move into the next number.

Aqueduct of Sylvius
Elements from the previous piece start this off and they gradually bring in other things as it rises up in a dramatic and mysterious fashion. At just under ten minutes in length (epic proportions on many albums) this is the shortest number on show here. It turns pretty weird and rather dissonant as it carries forward. After a minute plus percussion enters and seems about to steer us into more “song” oriented territory. It’s obvious, though, that the other elements don’t want to give up their control just yet. We’re past the two minute mark before it launches out into the first real rocking movement. This is again quite like Hawkwind. At times there are Eastern tones to this music. Eventually this shifts towards keyboard dominated for a time, feeling a bit like The Doors. Then they move it back out to a more guitar driven space rock and there is some killer instrumental work. Around the seven minute mark this becomes a real powerhouse. Around the eight and a half minute mark lines of keyboards work melody over the top and I’m reminded of Levitation era Hawkwind. It fades down to segue into the next number.

Vermis
At over twenty minutes in length this is the epic of this collection of epics. Keyboard elements from the previous number start us off in a dramatic, mysterious sounding motif that has bits of Eastern music in them. As it works through this shifts more towards science fiction film sounds and bass guitar begins a slow pattern to drive it. Guitar joins and the track begins to take on elements of 1960’s psychedelia. As this carries forward it’s certainly another place where you might think of The Doors. They wander in this format for quite a while. Different elements take the fore here and there. At times you will hear Hawkwind, but at other times more purely psychedelic bands come to mind. Early Pink Floyd seem again to be an influence here. It’s not until around the six minute mark that they launch into any real rocking motifs. They do this with a killer jam that’s really very much in the mode of Pink Floyd. This even gets a little funky at times. We get some more extended guitar soloing that just plain rocks. Keyboards lead us down some cool paths further down this musical highway. They drop it down for a more staccato grind that has vintage Hawkwind written all over it. They bring it back up and continue down an organic musical path. It eventually makes its way back down to more pure space to end.

 
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