Now more bands ought to do what the Øresund Space Collective have done. Conveniently group and label their tracks into genres, thus making the life of the tired reviewer so much easier. So, here we the tracks grouped as funky, jazzy, reggae, spacey and ambient! Genius. You can just swoop into the section you want, depending on what mood you’re in, and off you go. Of course, you run the danger of missing out on certain delights if you’re a prescriptive type of listener. After all, a space rock fan might miss out on the funky gem, ‘The Space Funk Begins’, although the name alone should be enough to drag you in. A self proclaimed “improvised electro-jazz-spacerock outfit, the Øresund Space Collective was formed in April 2004 and is a group of Danish, Swedish and American musicians that get together as often as possible for free form improvised space rock music. The core of the collective features current and former members of the Danish bands Mantric Muse and Gas Giant as well as the Swedish bands Bland Bladen. Occasionally other musicians join as well from other Swedish band like the Carpet Knights and Sgt. Sunshine. Despite the existence of the CD in my hand (or rather CD player), the collective have put all their jams on to their website for your free listening pleasure. At some pointm they plan to release some of these sessions as limited edition CDs, similar to the Quarkspace Spacefold series, but for the moment you can go download crazy, with over 5 hours of material available. Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised to learn that it was the jazzy section that drew me in with both ‘Jazzy Thing’ and ‘Jazz Envelope’ being absolute delights, especially the soaring guitar lead on the former track. Of the spacey numbers, ‘Space Flight’ is a near 12 minute epic delight that covers all the required space rock essentials, with some particularly fine percussive work. It’s a joy to hear music being performed for the sake of the music, and I would urge you to partake immediately!
Øresund Space Collective: Improvised Electro-Jazz-Space Rock Promotional CD-R
ØSC is a loose group of psychedelic musicians (for example from bands like Gas Giant, Bland Bladen and Mantric Muse) from Denmark and Sweden who quite regularly get together to jam on either side of the Øresund bridge. There are 11 musicians playing on this disc that is a compilation of their a bit earlier jams. The funkier side is presented with the two first tracks “The Space Funk Begins” and “Funker”. Rather groovy stuff featuring great guitar solos and nice space effects. The jazz side is included with “Jazzy Thing” and “Jazz Envelope” where the already shown Ozrics influences are full grown. The going just gets better! It’s also nice to hear some keyboard solos. They also know how to play reggae and prove it with “Space Ska Madness” that has a rather tight rhythm but is a very groovy piece. The space sounds are well presented here! As if this wasn’t enough, the guys take us into space next with their jam called “Space Flight”. Edited down to almost 12 minutes, this very inspirational take-off is real space rock and works like crazy. Space is also the destination on the track “Slow Journey into Space”, although in a bit more tranquil and airier manner. Can I hear some Steve Hillage influences here? “Sunrise” ends the disc with its marvellous ambient worlds; beautiful and relaxing. In the middle the drums join in and the flight gets some new dimensions. Great synthesizer stuff. Although the jams were recorded with just two microphones into MD the sound is very bearable. The band is soon going to record a studio jam album, as well, and I for one am waiting for it very much. Before that you should go to their web site where you can download all the jam sessions and live gigs! I hope we can these boys to jam in Finland soon, as well. www.oresundspacecollective.com
12.07.05 by Dj Astro
Øresund Space Collective: Picks from Space Vol. I Self-released CD-R (OSCPFS001)
Øresund Space Collective is a Danish-Swedish-American co-operative jam project and prior to this release they have released one un-official jam CD-R like this and in early 2006 one proper studio jam album, that I just recently reviewed. This new release was recorded to MD with stereo microphones at rehearsals, but the sound quality is still pretty good. You can easily get into the psychedelic, burbling and groovy sounds of this band with this kind of sound, as well. As always in jamming, there are also some not so perfect moments, but these have been also apparently edited. The music is usually rather spirited and sunny, but there is also some darker material in there like the great “Toes”. Some of the songs are paced with the pulsating sequencers. There is also a bit of jazzy touch. Gong and Ozric Tentacles might be the closest comparison most of the time. The over 19 minutes long “Spacecake” is, as the title suggests, a journey into inner and outer space, simultaneously. Great playing and amazing emotional charges. The delay guitar on “Flying Free” reminds me of the first album by Psychomuzak, and occasionally also Ashra. It’s nice that there are also some Eastern feel in the end! This band also rocks in a nice, spacious way when needed. This disc started the seven-part series of the band’s best, edited rehearsal jams, and you can order all issues from their web site on CD-R or as an MP3 download. Collect the whole series!
Øresund Space Commune: Picks from Space Vol. II Self-released CD-R (OSCPFS002)
This is the second volume in the rehearsal improvisation series of this international psychedelic space rock band. All the four, long tracks are from one specific rehearsals that took place in Sweden on 22.10.2004. The recording technique is the same than on the other volumes, so the sound is good enough but not amazing. On this recording the drums are a tad too loud most of the time, but on the other hand it might enhance the groovy atmosphere. The album is opened with an over 19 minutes long “Off We Go” that starts rather quietly and in a percussive way in a bit of reggae style. Little by little the track grows and has some excellent guitar playing towards the end. As the title says “Jazzy Thing” is a jazzy, groovy number with a repetitive, effective bass line. Also the longest track (26:31) on the disc called “Spacegroove” is very groovy and starts with a sort of disco drum comp and features some tasty piano sounds in the end. “To the End of the Galaxy” continues without a break and has some delay guitar, a bit funky rhythm and plenty of space sounds from the synthesisers. This is a very good summary of one rehearsal sessions by this excellent improvisational group and it proves that these guys can play and improvise together very well.
Øresund Space Collective: Picks from Space
Vol. 3 & Vol. 4
The Danish-Swedish psychedelic improvisation collective has carried on the jam series recorded at their rehearsals; volumes 8 to 10 are already available. I’m still only at volumes 3 and four that were recorded late 2004 and early 2005 in Copenhagen. The sound quality on these discs is very good, and the group is developing musically all the time. I’m dying to hear how good these guys are on their latest releases! Vol. 3 begins with an airy, marvellous Ozrics-styled jam ”Glide Ride with Magnus” where Magnus plays some great guitar stuff. Also the keyboards and sound effects work perfectly. Then follows “Space Ska Madness” and the title tells everything you need to know. The long “Deep and Dark” is more peaceful, a bit incoherent number that still has its good moments. Towards the end it gets quite jazzy. The best track on this album is absolutely ”Yeah!!!!!!!!” that starts off with a synthesizer. Then a rather intensive jam begins bringing to mind Ash Ra Temple a bit. Really psychedelic and excellent stuff! The piano sound works great on top of all the web of delay. The track also has some great guitar playing, and my only complaint is that it “only” lasts for 6:19… The disc closes with 15:36 long “Tolkien Jam” that begins with a Tangerine Dream-sounding sequence. At around three minutes the drum comp joins in and the track begins to sound more like the Ozric Tentacles. Some great guitar on this one, as well. Superb!
On Vol. 4 the theme is space funk, so the first jam is called ”Space Funk Begins”. Airy, nice and a bit jazzy stuff. The guitars are well present on this album. The groovy ”Slow Journey into Space” continues the same theme increasing the amount of space effects. “Journey Picks up Speed” is, as the title suggests, tighter, excellent track that has a straighter drum beat and skilful guitar soloing. ”Space Funker Enters the Black Hole” is at first very funky, but later on changes more relaxing. You can also hear some Fender Rhodes, which is nice. The most wobbly track on this disc is “Space Funker pt 2” that doesn’t have that much going on. Also in a quite lame way begins the next jam “Funk-o-Rama” that is the longest on the disc, but before nine minutes have passed a wild funking begins and a really spacey delay guitar explodes your mind! Oh yeah! The ending piece “GrooveFO” is just synthesizer bubbling at first. A mystical space mood. Later on there comes some very effective, psychedelic delay guitar that works very well in deed. An excellent way to end a very good jam album! I can recommend both of these albums with cosmic warmth to everyone into psychedelic improvisation. The band is also halfway through the mixing of their new studio 2CD, and that album will be sublime, for sure…
28.05.06 by Dj Astro
Øresund Space Collective: Picks from Space
Vol. 5 & 6
Self-released CD-R's (OSCPFS005/006)
Here are a couple more volumes to the series that presents the rehearsal goodies of this excellent commune that plays totally improvised space rock. The band’s rehearsal jams just get better and better all the time, I’m afraid to think what they will achieve one day… Vol. 5 is really psychedelic and spaced out. In spite of the rather primitive recording method all the instruments are in balance and you can hear everything very well. There are four long, cosmic tracks on the album called ”Opening Space Flight”, ”Stoned in Our Zone”, ”Stoners in Space” and ”Sunrise”. All of them work flawlessly and there is some wilder jamming as well as celestial, peaceful floating. In particular, the beautiful “Sunrise” is a really airy, great and psychedelic flight pretty much in the same vein as the slower output of Ozric Tentacles. There is a lot of excellent synth stuff on the album as well as twin-guitar webs of delay. The rhythm section is as tight, groovy and inventive as ever. Great!
Vol. 6 is bit different in nature than the other volumes so far. Eduardo from Sgt. Sunshine is guesting on guitar, and the music is somehow funkier and jazzier than before, due to Eduardo’s wah wah work, among other things. “The Cuban Sex Groove” could easily be Gong, but without vocals. “Trance Pants” also features some groovy conga. The electronics work very well. There are some superb guitars solos also on this disc. “Heavy Spacehead Needs Food” is rather heavy stuff in a real space rock spirit. That, and especially the next track “Hook in Mouth” has some regretful cut offs due to the errors in recording, but there really isn’t anything else to complain about. “Funky Mood Dub” is exactly what is promises. If you get your kicks from instrumental, improvised space rock, it’s really worthwhile to get these albums!
24.06.06 by Dj Astro
Øresund Space Collective: Picks from Space
Vol. 7 & 8
This Danish-Swedish psychedelic, improvisational space rock group has gotten to Vol. 10 in their rehearsal jam series, and volumes 11 and 12 should be available soon, but I’m a bit behind with these reviews (sorry guys!). The band played their first gig in Helsinki last month at our club, and they will hopefully return this autumn.
Picks from Space Vol. 7 includes three long, at least 20-minute-long and one closer to 12 min. jams that were recorded on the Danish side of the bridge in May 2005. The band at this session was Sebastian: guitar, Søren: drums, Michael: bass, Mogens: synthesizers, Dr. Space: synthesizer, Ola: synthesizers and Magnus: guitar. The sound quality is very good, considering that the rehearsals were recorded directly to Minidisc using stereo microphones. “Into the Unknown” begins very peacefully with space sounds and light guitar before two minutes have gone the drums join in gradually. At first the comp is slow and the synths are playing the lead while the guitars wake up little by little. After seven minutes the space trip really begins and we get to hear some really excellent stuff! I’m a bit reminded of Ozric Tentacles. The end gets peaceful again. ”Who Said We Were Tired” starts right away with a rather groovy touch and the guitar work is a lot more intense on this one. It has a sort of funky feel and the beat is maintained for the full duration except for the last few seconds. “Lay Me Down” goes at first in mid-tempo, but after 12 minutes it gets wilder and really starts to rock. Wow, great stuff! This has an uplifting effect with all the space noises. The jam also has some great guitar solos. They go in just one chord as usual. The rhythm slows down and towards the end there is some more laid-back, a bit jazzy stuff (especially the bass). “Ride the Sky” sounds at first a bit unusual for OSC, it has clean guitars and this is not as spacey as usual, although it includes a couple of synths. Pretty beautiful stuff. At around the four-minute-marker the delays kick in and we’re in the psych world again! This track has a lot of suction and drive plus some really nice soloing. After 11 minutes the drums cool down again. This is an amazing disc!
Vol. 8 includes six jams’ worth of material recorded at two separate sessions in September and October 2005, and this time there is also some clarinet and percussion and Emil on synth and Tobias on guitar. ”Waiting for the Space Attack” begins with some synths and is an OK, mid-tempo jam that soon gets more intense. At around the seven-minute-marker it cools down again and the drums drop out for a while. Not long after a faster beat begins and all kinds of interesting stuff like solos follow. Then they cool down again, and it feels like they’re a bit lost for a while with a strange, bit jazzy rhythm. Then comes some hazy, synth-oriented trance stuff, but there are also some delay guitar patterns in there. “Ghosts in My Head” begins pretty much without a break and has an unbelievably heavy riff. This goes on with little less synthesizer and there seems to be some confusion in the air. “The Rats Are at the Bottom” includes some really great going with a disco comp and excellent guitar solos. “OSC Reggae Astronaut” is in deed reggae at one point, but soon changes into something totally different. “Hyperdrive” is at first slower, but after the guitar solo we get to hear heavier riffing again. The last track “OSC Shafted” is a really groovy, funky jam that also includes clarinet and percussion. It’s really nice to hear some new instruments in the band’s music that benefits a lot from new tones. There will be some violin on the next studio album, which will fit in nicely for sure! OSC is a really great band and I’d say it’s worthwhile to get also all these rehearsal discs.
15.05.07 by Dj Astro
Øresund Space Collective: Picks from Space
The Danish-Swedish-American OSC has again released a couple of CD-R’s worth of psychedelic, instrumental improvisation-based space jamming, and that’s great. Vol. 11 is a bit exceptional in this series because instead of rehearsal jams it includes studio recordings with high quality sound. Some of the tracks are out-takes from their three different album sessions, but there are also previously unreleased, whole versions of a couple of tracks (”Falling Stardrops>Explode into Space” and ”Viking Cleaner”). So this will be a really treat for all the fans of the band!
”Falling Stardrops>Explode into Space” begins peacefully with synthesizer, the rest join in after a few minutes and there is also some psychedelic narration. Then we get a guitar solo and some nice Rhodes melodies. The track gets more intense, there is some hallucinatory space sounds in the middle, and the rest is wild stuff in the Ozrics vein. Great! “Space Burst Cinema” is a rather fast, pretty cool track that changes into reggae at some point. I do understand why the track was left off the album, but it’s still a pretty good number. ”Øresund Space Boogie” starts off in an exciting, bit funky manner. The track floats in a nice way without actually going into any specific direction. ”Chased by the Space Police” starts to rock fast and includes some really great going. At times it goes prog, and also includes some jazzy moods. The end is really fierce with killer guitar solos! “Jam 14” is a mid-tempo, guitar-driven jam that grows around the seven-minute-marker. The album’s best improvisation “Viking Cleaner” also has the best sound quality and it’s a really superb track with a totally cosmic suction that takes you straight into space. Amazing!
Vol. 12 includes five tracks from three different rehearsal jam sessions of the collective. The three first jams are the first ones to feature Gas Giant guitarist Stefan creating the heavy grooves and playing top-notch solos. “Chuck Eats the Uranium” is shorter than usual at 4:32 and a rather groovy, Ozrics-like jam that rocks harder towards the end. The over 20-minute-long, epic” Guitar Players Battle in Space to Consume the Synth Player” has some jazzy stuff, cools down for small, strange space sounds, and then Stefan is let loose to play a bluesy solo. In the end the track rocks in a very tight and wild way. This works! “Express Yourself” is at first a bit more experimental, then a pretty laid-back and emotional track that at times gets more intense. ”Anyone Seen Carlos?” has in the beginning a reggae rhythm and delay guitar and lots of superb space sounds. Then they gradually speed up towards the heart of the cosmos. The older jam ”Cruisin’ with the OSC” has a bit surprisingly better sound quality and this surely is a really great, quite progressive track where everyone plays really well. The atmosphere is really psychedelic. Both of these CD-R’s are very helpful when we are waiting for the next studio album that should be out this spring.
13.02.08 by Dj Astro