Various - Turn Century Turn

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Mother West
Catalog Number: mwr010499
Format: CD
Total Time: 69:40:00

I have been listening to this disc off and on since it came in a couple of weeks ago, but haven't managed to quite put my head around it enough to tell you what I think. Turn Century Turn is a compilation disc from Mother West, featuring such artists as Chameleon, Alien Planetscapes, Escapade, Tangle Edge, and others in the space-rock arm of the genre. The album is subtitled Space Rock and Psychedelia From Around The Globe.

The album opens with Chameleon's "Starskater," an instrumental journey that prompted this thought - a hopped up Pink Floyd. That is, if you take recent Pink Floyd and inject a little energy and sparkle in the music, this is what you'd have. Guitars are in the lead, searing, soaring, and swooping - like the Millennium Falcon dodging asteroids. Chameleon are two Swedes, Patrik Sundkvist on drums and Arne Jonasson on guitars and bass. Great stuff that I'll explore more of.

Holy River Family Band (Sweden) close out the disc with "The Force Comes From The Strength Of A Horse" and are another who have a more symphonic element to their sound, somewhat like Tangerine Dream, somewhat like Djam Karet, somewhat like Pink Floyd. Chameleon's Arne Johnson not only engineered this track, but also provided both bass and telecaster duties. Which all goes to tell me that I like the "spacier" of the space-rock bands more than the more eclectic, chaotic bands.

But, having said that, some of the other tracks that work for me are Finland's Ektroverde's "Kalkutta," where a gentle flute rides over clunky percussion, bass, and guitar. The effect is of two tracks playing simultaneously, and yet it works - calm belies chaos. "Prince Chubbs" by Alien Planetscapes (US) features white hot guitar lines that sear like meteorites streaking across the sky, over heavy percussion and bass. Recent attendees at the Space Daze '99 festival, they are on the bill Quarkspace 2000 festival in May, along with Escapade, who contribute an at first minimalistic "Under An Intrusive Glare" to this album. "Intrusive" isn't, but does contain some atmospheric drums and percussion by Hadley Kahn beneath dramatic keys and vocal effects. This track was recorded live in 1997 (see a review of their Due To A Faulty Premonition).

Zen's "Lady In Red" is a track that made me first think of Pearl Jam, mainly due to vocalist Merih Oztaylan's muttered vocals. Bass and percussion are up front in the mix, though everything seems restrained, giving this track a tension as if something is going to explode, especially when the jogging bass moves more into the forefront. Soon, I'm thinking more of Uz Jsme Doma though not quite as frentic. This Zen isn't to be confused, by the way, with the Zen out of Italy, as this sextet hails from Istanbul, Turkey. Interesting.

"Cornutopia" by Volcano The Bear is the sound of the world coming to a chaotic, apocalyptic end. A high-toned, screeching guitar, like wires pulled tight or fingernails on a chalkboard, dominates this track before odd sonic effects take over, blurping in and around a koto like sound.

Tangle Edge's "Dxui" is dark, ominous, with a deep bass intro soon consumed by a raw and hungry guitar. Somewhat reminiscent of Djam Karet, with percussive effects that made me think of a mid-80's Neil Peart (I was thinking of "Big Money," though this track itself sounds nothing like it).

I wasn't immediately taken with Tibra Komal's "Oriental Orchids Spinned Of A Silkworm," but as it progressed, I liked it a bit more. The vocalist sounds a bit like John Wetton, which gives this a slight King Crimson feel, but not really as I remember Crimson.

Iron Bong are by far the weirdest band on here and words fail to describe their "Grey" - except that you know to what it refers and there are enough alien sounds to reinforce the image.

This is a strange, mostly pleasing mix of some of today's musical purveyors of, well, space-rock and psychedelia from around the globe. As the sleeve says: "Into the new millennium, there exists a worldwide set of musical artists who are creating vital, fresh, and exciting work [?] their aim is to produce music that stimulates the listener - capturing your imagination by revealing new pleasures and wonders with each successive play [?]. This is a lights out, eyes closed kind of album (enhancements optional) and worth checking out.

Chameleon - 'Starskater' (6:40) / Ektroverde - 'Kalkutta' (2:50) / Alien Planetscapes - 'Prince Chubbs' (5:04) / Zen - 'Lady In Red' (8:37) / Chateau De Fleurs - 'Our Moonbands Farewell' (2:37) / F/i - 'Space Station' (5:55) / Escapade - 'Under An Intrusive Glare' (5:48) / Volcano The Bear - 'Cornutopia' (5:23) / Tangle Edge - 'Dxui' (10:24) / Tibra Komal - 'Oriental Orchids Spinned Of A Silkworm' (4:06) / Iron Bong - 'Grey' (4:40) / Beyondomatic - 'Family Chi' (3:49) / Holy River Family Band - 'The Force Comes From The Strength Of A Horse' (6:53)

Alien Planetscapes
Chateau De Fleurs
Volcano The Bear
Tangle Edge
Tibra Komal
Iron Bong
Holy River Family Band


Genre: Psychedelic/Space Rock

Origin VA

Added: February 19th 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 841
Language: english


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