Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Astral Magic — Magical Kingdom
(Tonzonen TON130, 2022, CD / LP / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2022-10-23
Back in the 90s there was a space rock band called Dark Sun, and despite existing from 20 years or more, the group only recorded one studio album — the rest of their output consisted of live recordings, either from concerts or studio jams. Some of their recordings featured Nik Turner of Hawkwind. Dark Sun bassist Santtu Laakso started Astral Magic for his solo(-ish) work during the months of Covid lockdown, and he’s been incredibly prolific, with 26 releases since September 2020 on his Bandcamp page as of this writing. Magical Kingdom comes fairly late in that sequence, with a release date in June 2022, and is the only one released by Tonzonen Records. Laakso plays bass, guitar, and keyboards as well as singing the lead vocals and writing and producing the album. He is joined by Jay Tausig (drums, guitar, saxophone, flute), along with guests on individual tracks: Gregory Curvey, Peter Bingham, Markku Helin, Anton Barbeau, and Perttu Lindberg. The music is firmly in a Hawkwind mold, with a good balance between catchy riffs and good songcraft, and the arrangements are in classic form. Welcome to 1975 — in a good way. Laakso and Co. have nailed the sound, and any fan of the genre should eat it up. I can’t speak to the quality of the other Astral Magic albums — with so many, it seems like there must be some variability — but Magical Kingdom is a thoroughly enjoyable cosmic romp. Set up your own personal light show and crank the music for a rocking trip beyond the boundaries of our dimension.
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