Exposé Online banner

Saturnia — Alpha Omega Alpha
(Elektrohasch 154, 2012, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2016-09-18

Alpha Omega Alpha Cover art

This two-album set is Portuguese musician Luis Simões’ unabashed love letter to classic British psych. Think Syd-era Pink Floyd, Steve Hillage, early Gong, etc. Even the recording style harkens back to those bygone days of 4-track recordings saturated in enough echo to drown a whale. Simões has obviously spent many hours curled up with all those great albums of the late 60s and has done a fantastic job re-creating the sounds and vibe of the era. For some this might seem overly nostalgic and reverential, but I have a feeling there’s always an audience for this stuff just like there’s always an audience for 70s-era Berlin school EM. About half of the songs feature Simões trippy vocals set to a backing of period-sounding instruments including guitars, sitar, organ, Mellotron, analog synths, flute, and a variety of percussion. In all cases Simões acquits himself well. The arrangements range from throbbing, synth-fueled space odysseys to sun-drenched, flute-driven pastoral escapes to liquid, glissando accented tribal rituals. A modern edge even creeps in at times, like the rhythmic drive to “Arcadian Watcher” which nods to RMI, or the swirling menace of “Trance Dance” that evokes early Porcupine Tree. And the kind of programmable synths heard on “Specialists of the Invisible” would have been science fiction to musicians of the 60s. Song titles like “Obsidian Spiral” and “Grand Lodge of Forever” aptly describe the bubbling and swirling excursions within, and all are given plenty of room to explore and expand (the longest clocks in at over 13 minutes). At times the reference points are easy to spot, but it’s not like there’s lots of bands covering this stuff these days so the listener is forgiven for slapping on headphones and visiting the astral plane for a while. Say hi to Daevid Allen while you’re there!


Filed under: New releases, 2012 releases

Related artist(s): Saturnia

Latest news

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Surge - For the Time Being – Why is European mainland jazz ignored or worse yet, simply prejudiced as being lesser than US contemporaries? And does jazz have to be black to be good? These questions have been asked by reviewers...  (1998) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues