Heading from Groningen, Holland, Leonardo Soundweaver is a talented instrumentalist – among other occupations – and since 2003 he is releasing his own Retro-Futuristic, Organic Electronic and Psychedelic Music through numerous side projects. Astral Son is one of these! Having released a fantastic Trilogy – Gurumaya/2014, Silver Moon/2016, Mind’s Eye/2016 – Leonardo spent the whole 2017 in creating, recording, composing, tripping and collecting experiences – normal and astral ones! So, out of all these came his 4th album, the follow up to his Trilogy, entitled “Wonderful Beyond”. When trying to describe it musically, I think of a huge forest with a few paths that somehow magically lead to the same glade deep inside the woods. In this parallelism the “paths” are Space Rock, Acid Folk, Early 70s Progressive, Mid 70s Electronic Rock and the “glade” is the musical genre inside the album! A wonderful ‘Bastard’ space-rock idiom! Well, the LP version consists of 11 tracks and the CD one of 12. The album takes off with “She”, everything starts under a heavy n’ spacey distorted-somehow scenery, lots of spacey effects and a blistering remarkable guitar sound (and solo) but as the song develops, the atmos become more and more psychic without losing its unique complexity! The track blends with the next one, “Matrix Of Creation”, the motive becomes incredibly Cosmic, kind of intergalactic strange atmos, like if The Fab Four during their “Revolver” days decided to experiment and take a ‘space-rock route’! The Space nightingales, the acoustic instrumentation and the heady vocals of “Time And Space” are creating a cerebral psych soundscape, it’s like a Space Shaman offers a Space Litany, in a faraway another universe. Well, the exact specific location where Time and Space are melting has finally been discovered! The same spacey atmosphere continues on “Your Mind”, but it seems that someone sprayed the whole Space (inner and outer) with Acid! The track shows a tremendous psychedelic complexity that floods your inner world with Universal Love! If someone notices carefully the lyrics of “Moving Slowly” he may find an autobiographical point of view inside this song. Macrocosm and Microcosm beautifully collide and a New Universe is emerging under a weird brainiac mysteriously focused musical environment! Next one is “The Universe” that simply tries to answer the all-time-question of “Who Am I”? This is Modern-Age Spacey Psychedelia to Blow Your Mind! Acidly drenched psych music capable to ‘excite’ or ‘irritate’ even the more distant cells of your brain! “Cheap Magic Spells” with its calmly start and the psychic semi-acoustic vein, progressively becomes an interesting neo-space-psych tune. Just imagine a kind of laid-back Hawkwind high-on-acid, jamming somewhere in another galaxy without electric power but getting energy directly from the Suns! Another wonderful electric-less instrumentation goes on “Nothing New”, with backward sounding effects while acoustic & electric instruments are blending together creating a trippy inviting lively soundscape. “The Well” is electrifying space-rock with a more earthly approach and an optimal guitar solo! “Journey” simply states that ‘Space is the only Place to be’! A boundless spacious Trip is in full progress! Under a psychic vein, trippy & creepy atmos, a snarly tune that perfectly blends with “Morning Dew”, Space is Infinite but Earth is wonderfully unique, the Astral Journey ends with the listener gazing the morning dew under an acoustic space-rock sounding. The CD bonus track is called “Quiet Love” and it’s a spacey acoustic song. So, this is an album that successfully manages to safely travel the listener beyond beyond! And hence the title, it’s Wonderful Beyond! A cerebral album, deeply complicated with a sophisticated space-attitude and I highly recommend for the 10 first hearings (at least) to use your headphones! It certainly will help you to understand what’s going on inside “Wonderful Beyond”, inside this Psychedelicious Intoxicated Dream-Like Supra-delic Topnotch Space-Rock flavored Colorful piece of Musical Art! (TimeLord Michalis)
Wonderful Beyond is the latest, fourth solo album as Astral Son by psychedelic musician and painter Leonardo from Groningen, The Nerherlands. I have really enjoyed his previous albums that have all been released on limited vinyl by Headspin and this one is no exception. This is the third one to also get a CD release on the marvelous Sulatron Records and the CD version includes also one bonus track “Quiet Love”. The production values are now higher than before, not that the earlier output had sounded bad by any means. You can still sense a certain home-made, pleasant vibe on this album. As before, the album includes everything from acid folk to psychedelic space rock, experimental electronics and Eastern-tinged ragas.
“She” is a slow and heavy psyche/krautrock track somewhere in between Amon Düül II and Sun Dial. What a great, trippy and spacey tune! The hypnotic “Matrix of Creation” is closer to Steve Hillage or Gong and another winner. “Time and Space” is an acoustic, peaceful piece including also bird-song. “Your Mind” again brings to mind Hillage/Gong in a good way. On “Moving Slowly” we get to take it easy. “The Universe” is a more experimental, mantra-like track with cool narration and backwards guitar. “Cheap Magic Spells” is the longest track on the album at almost seven minutes. This melodic song sort of sounds like a mix of early The Bevis Frond and Ethereal Counterbalance, very nice. “Nothing New” is a bluesy track and “The Well” again brings to mind Ethereal Counterbalance a bit. Great psychy solo guitar work on this one! “Journey” is a hypnotic, heady instrumental and “Morning Dew” a mystical, weird piece that ends the vinyl version in a hazy manner. The CD bonus track “Quiet Love” is a pretty space ballad. This is absolutely another killer album by Astral Son, maybe the best yet!
Dj. Astro from Astralzoneblog
Following on from a recent trilogy (Gurumaya, Silver Moon and Mind’s Eye) by Dutch one-man band Astral Son (aka Leonardo Soundweaver) who took a year to write, play and record this album, an album which takes in space rock, acid-folk, seventies electronics and eastern flavoured tunes.
To give you an indication of Leonardo’s sound, I would say a mix of Steve Hillage and Hawkwind immediately spring to my mind. It is a bit ofa concept album, with one song bleeding into another. ‘She’, the album opener is all swirling, billowing synths, fluid guitar lines, and vocals with a touchof backwards guitar, as this first song progresses, we are definitely in space rock territory, ‘Matrix of Creation’, follows and wouldn’t be out of place onHillage’s Fish Rising, praise indeed. Birdsong and Eastern sounds announce the arrival of the gentle ‘Time and Space’, a foreboding song of astral change.‘Your Mind’, takes us back up into space, with a chugging mid paced rocker, before ‘Moving Slowly’, appears, this is a questing song of wonder, that sees flangedguitar, keyboards, and cymbal washes, then ‘The Universe’, hoves into view; it asks the question Who Am I? A vaguely Eastern space rock tune, imbued withbackward guitar. ‘Cheap Magic Spells’, the longest song on the album, it could well be the album centrepiece, ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space,it’s a classic space rock song, big riffs, spiralling galaxy synths and plenty of organ, before ending in a glorious fluid guitar solo. ‘Nothing New’, issuesan appeal to step off the treadmill, this song is rather Beatles-esque in its structure.
‘The Well’, takes us on a magic carpet ride, it tells of butterflies spreading their wings, of reflections of silver and gold, themessage being we are one… Let’s be honest, it is a bit clichéd and full of the familiar hippie tropes, but it is his guitar playing which impresses enoughto overlook this, and keeps me from being too cynical. ‘Journey’, follows and is an enjoyable space rock song, it builds nicely as it heads off into thefirmament. The album ends with ‘Morning Dew’, (no not that one!) it provides a gentle, meandering song to conclude this enjoyable album.
(Andrew Young) Terrascope
“This Dutch one-man project focuses on the psychedelic music from the era between 1967 and 1975. It blends elements mainly from Pink Floyd‘s 60s psychedelic adventures and Eloy‘s pre-Ocean era, but there are also parts that remind me of Ashra Temple, Tangerine Dream, and sometimes Gong and very early Kraftwerk.
The compositions on Mind’s Eye are truly authentic as are the arrangements and instrumentation. The man behind the project took very much care to sound exactly like the old school idols, and has maintained the production sound to be like the ones of old days. So those who were around when psychedelic and space rock happened originally will experience a full throw-back to old times, and maybe wish they had a joint at hand for the full enjoyment of this album.
Even though it is not progressive at all to create this sort of music in the here and now, listening to Mind’s Eye is still a great retrospective of a time in which creative music was free of genres. If you still have a flavour for the albums of the golden era of prog and psychedelia, and if you love the imperfect sound of those albums, you shouldn’t miss this one!”
“As you can ascertain I am very impressed with Mind’s Eye. A prime example of the psychedelic/space rock genre.”
Jon Neudorf (Sea of Tranquility)
It’s an excellent crossover of space and kraut rock, psychedelia as well as electronics. Rivertree (Progarchives)
It’s one of the first albums with that much influence from electronic music that I like, it’s a real nice surprise to me. Mr. Radio (More Fuzz)
I love every track. The record is incredibly well produced and there are interesting ideas at work in every track which beg for, that’s how you know it is true psychedelia. I hope another LP will follow soon. Richard Bone.
Brilliantly expansive psychedelic rock that mixes guitars, keyboards & synthesizers for a very full, surrounding sound.
Strong melody lines with a prog-pop flair will hook your interest and trippy, near-metal lead riffs
will blow your mind; while otherworldly vocal harmonies float on the electronic paisley-puff clouds
in the catacombs of your brain. A calm center of authentic 60s/70s influence steers the
hallucinogenic atmosphere with a steady, strong blast of epic rock ‘n’ roll drug music. Recalls
bands like Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Saturnia, Brainticket, Baby Woodrose, the Brian Jonestown
Massacre, Hidden Masters, Asteroid No. 4. Limited to 200 copies on marble orange vinyl, this is
a perfect partner for the altered consciousness of toking time.
By Charlie Quaker