Exposé Online banner

St. Mikael — Visions of the Unknown
(Gallium Arsenide GaAs 2504, 1982/1997, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, Published 1999-11-01

Visions of the Unknown Cover artAmateur psych, like the two reissued titles here by Swedish musician St Mikael, is not flattered by the CD medium. The effect-lavished, drivel-through-a-tunnel sound that these types of garage projects produce sound better to me when surrounded by the symphony of pops and crackles of vinyl. Without this sort of protection, one can be distracted by the poor recording equipment to the detriment of the music. As badly recorded, and sometimes as badly played as these two albums, Visions of a Trespasser and The Unknown, are, they retain the unique charm of late 60s acid rock and acid folk, in that really bad Bevis-Frond-on-a-bad-day songs can be combined with moments of startling brilliance and clarity. St. Mikael obviously has listened to a lot of the early psychedelic rock and folk artists, as this album sounds like a mixture of The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Donovan, Buffalo Springfield, Spirit, Bob Dylan, and Pink Floyd. Often, it's just St. Mikael with acoustic guitar and vocals, letting the simplicity speak for itself, but the better moments come when surrounded by a full band, such as the addition of P. Sjoblom and J. Lachen on "Calling the Djinn'” from Visions of a Trespasser. The bonus tracks added to both discs are of far less interest, sounding even more primitive whether drugged blues or an off-key crooner. The Unknown culls from a wider time period, and it is even less coherent than Visions. There are great guitar freak-outs mixed with echoing folk songs, all reverbed and tweaked out, but often the playing is plain and sometimes extremely poor. A short CD of the best tracks between these two would probably have been more interesting; one really has to wade through a lot to get to the good parts on these basement tapes.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 18, 1997 releases, 1982 recordings

Related artist(s): S.T. Mikael

Latest news

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Yeti Rain - Nest of Storms – Subverted expectations are always a refreshing experience in music. In the case of bassist William Kopecky and sax artist Roger Ebner, the subversion is expected. Nest of Storms opens with “Aa,” a...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues