Various Artists — Strange Daze '97
(Pangea Music OM-2012, 1997/1999, 2CD)
by Mac Beaulieu, Published 2000-10-01
The inaugural event which was covered in Exposé issue 14 is captured here on 2 CDs. If you have any aversion to space rock at all, keep away. The Gaia Avatara, Red Giant, and Nucleon tracks will most likely hold no interest for Exposé readers: They're definitely not prog and arguably not space rock. I'm sure it's difficult to pick just one song from many bands, but ST37 and F/i had much more interesting songs than those chosen. As expected though, Architectural Metaphor is totally soaking in a trippy, hazy, space funk. I like how the Bionaut and Freak Element tracks seem to build into Melting Euphoria's "Celestial Hysteria." Too bad it was followed by Born to Go's "Burning Inside": just awful. Quarkspace's "Faerienot Space" is beautiful. The instrumental tones are so clean and crisp and perfectly chosen. So unusual and refreshing to hear space rock keyboards dominated by piano – even the electronic drums I thought I'd abhor so much sound great. Alien Planetscape's "Soft Martian" rounds off the disc with their intensely freaky psychedelic space rock.
On disc 2, Dave Brock mixed various songs (including some duplicates from disc 1) into an aural collage ". . . as a sort of 'Cosmic Trip'" through the weekend, and on that level it succeeds. If you were there, it's a real nice flashback. However, I'm disappointed that the disc wasn't devoted entirely to Hawkwind and especially Nik Turner/Farflung, the latter making up only three short songs. Programming out the duff tracks from the two disc set leaves us about an hour's worth of good to excellent space rock.
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more
Canned Heat / John Lee Hooker - Hooker 'n' Heat, Historical Figures, Ancient Heads, & The New Age – If you don't dig the blues and you don't boogie, skip this review. Canned Heat's stock in trade was merging classic blues with rock, and in the late 60s nobody did it better, due in part... (2007) » Read more