CIRCLE, The Spacious Mind, Moon Fog Prophet, Dark Sun
live at The Psychotropic Zone, Gloria, Helsinki, Finland January 25, 2002
From Aural Innovations #19 (April 2002)
This was one hell of an amazing night of music. I had not seen The Spacious Mind and Dark Sun live since the Jönköping Space Rock Festival in 1998, although I had been in contact with both bands and had visited Finland and stayed with Dark Sun in 1999. I arrived on Thursday night and Mikko from Dark Sun picked me up at the airport and we went to Santtu's new flat. The next day I got up and gave a talk about my diabetes research at the Biomedicum at the University of Helsinki. After 2½ hours there, I found my way to Gloria, where the Spacious Mind were doing a soundcheck. It was great to see Janne (Singer in Dark Sun), Ylli (guitar player in Dark Sun) and meet Jurtsu for the first time (guitar player in Dark Sun). Hemppa, the drummer had two broken fingers so he was going to do the sound and Esa from Saunabaud (band with Kingston Wall bass player Jukka Jylli) was playing drums with the band. After TSM did their soundcheck I had a chat with them while Dark Sun did their soundcheck. By the end, the guys in Circle had arrived from Pori. I had met them at Loppen in Christiania back in August.
After the soundcheck we left and went back to Santtu's place to listen to some music and have a drink or two, and then we came back to eat around 8:45. Dark Sun started right at 9:45. I should say that the Psychotropic Zone (www.unimeri.com/psychotropiczone) is a regular psychedelic night that Santtu and Ylli put up at various Helsinki night clubs. It has been quite a success having such excellent bands as Wasami, Hidria Space Folk, Circle, Ektroverde, Pharoah Overlord, and other great bands performing as well as spinning lps and cds by the latest and most classic bands. IT has been a great success and they had more than 300 paying people this night.
Dark Sun opened with the excellent "Black Spires". Janne sounded great as did the whole band. Next up was a great new song called "Innerspace Astronauts". One of the bands best songs, in my opinion. Now a string of very interesting cover songs was to follow and Santtu would sing some lead and backing vocals. All the band had been sick the whole week before the gig so none of the voices were perfect, although I thought Janne sound excellent. Anyway, a fantastic psychedelic version of "Reflections In A Tall Mirror" by the Bevis Frond was performed. Next up Santtu sang "Pictures In My Mind" by the Magic Mushroom Band (A band that both he and I like very much!). And a real huge surprise was the spaced out "My White Bicycle" by Tomorrow (Remember, Steve Howe from Yes and Twink from Pink Farires fame). Very cool. "Assault And Battery-Golden Void" followed and was performed excellently. "Electrified", a song now 3 years old, but played without the backing tapes sounded quite good. The studio version of this song will appear on the Copenhagen Space Rock Festival 2002 Compilation CD out now on Burnt Hippie Recordings. The band closed their set with "Psychedelic Warlords" by Hawkwind. Excellent psychedelic lights and projections as well by the club. This was the bands first gig since December 2000 and they still sounded very fresh and exciting.
Next up was Kuusumun Profeetta (Moon Fog Prophet) from Pori. The lead singer-songwriter also sings in Circle. This night they played a very unique set of very Finnish folk rock style music. Everyone in the club was sitting on the floor in front of the stage just sort of mesmerized. The band consisted of bass, drums, acoustic guitar and vocals and a person who played flute and violin. It was very difficult to describe and a very special music, especially since you could understand nothing of the lyrics. See the review of their CD in this issue of Aural Innovations.
The Spacious Mind now took the stage and I could tell from the Soundcheck it was going to be a totally new sound for them. Jens was only playing the Rhoads piano and the MOOG Opus 3, a very simplified set up for him. They had a new guitar player, Niklas, and Henrik, who used to play guitar was now playing bass. The band played only 3 songs in 60 minutes and was totally spaced out but the heavy guitar sound was gone now and the songs floated in complex layers of sound, as Thomas used a lot of e-bow and Niklas played very few chords. Jens would then layer across the top some very cool piano with a bit of delay on it to give a very spaced out effect. Again, the audience was totally spaced and focused just sitting there in a trance. The end of the 2nd song which was 30 minutes long got quite heavy and the audience needed this to sort of wake up out of the trance. The songs were all ones that I did not recognize but sounded very cool.
Circle closed the show and the place was pretty packed and people were all standing up now when they hit the stage. They have quite a good following in Helsinki that come out for their shows. They played some of the same songs that they did when I saw them in August but some different ones as well. The singer (Teemu), who plays percussion as well, also played the electric piano this night which was a very cool addition to the wall of sound that the band creates. A big influence on this band is the British band LOOP. Thomas from TSM had never heard Circle before and he is a big fan of Loop. He was totally mesmerized and into the sound they create. Teemu has such a unique and powerful voice in Circle, totally different than the way he sings in Moon Fog Prophet. You would have a hard time telling it was the same singer. The band played only 6 songs in 63 minutes and were great. Very spaced but very consistent and driving and pulsating.. They are a one of a kind band. Excellent!
After the music was over, the backstage party went on until nearly 4 when Santtu and I tried to get a taxi back to his place. It was -8C and about 20-30km/hr wind and snowing out, so we were desperate and cold. After 10 taxis passed us by (didn't want to pick up the long haired freaks!), someone picked us up. What a night...
Reviewed by Scott Heller