Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Space Agency - Galactic Vibrationsdotdotdotdotdot
artworkWow, another stunningly original release from England's Space Agency. Surf, influences eleki and traditional eastern forms, psychedelic swirls, and Simon Jones' totally original production style, which compliments the music quite magically. This is an adventurous and very creative CD with 12 new studio tracks and 8 wonderful live tracks as well.
Picks: East Side Vibrations, Yellow Pearl, Headless Hipster, Eleki Twist, Zero Break, Hillbilly Surfer, Tremolos Twomp, Shake A Go-Go, Yozora No Hoshi, The Pink Panther Theme, Candy Wagon, High Tension, Intermission, Hawaiian Surf Ride, Phantom Guitar, You Make Me Nervous, Yosakoi Bushi, Surf Rider, Kaminari, Surfers' Guitar

Track by Track Review


East Side Vibrations dotdotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

This is a stunningly cool track. Long sustained feedback notes, great surf reverb, sinewy bass lines, and a sensual rhythm meld into an exotic piece that incorporates surf and psych and Asian themes. Simon Jones' unique arranging and writing style have once again created a surf instro with imagination and the lure of a siren's song. Utterly enthralling.

Yellow Pearl dotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Perhaps more traditionally Japanese than others here, "Yellow Pearl" employs a damped-dry guitar and dramatically industrial percussion to give the impression of a traditional play. Its percussive nature gives it a mechanical feel, which adds to the sense of theater.

Headless Hipster dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Structured a bit like the Ventures' "He Never Came Back," this song features dribbling glissandos, a space-oriented melody line, and percussive rhythm guitar. Engaging and eerie.

Eleki Twist dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

With a sound morphed from classic Japanese instrumentals, "Eleki Twist" features the warble often heard in eleki recordings, and an odd little melody line that is both enticing and disorienting. If you merge eleki, Vibrasonic, and the sound of the Surf Champlers, you might get something like this.

Zero Break dotdotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Traditionally reverbed with ample glissandos, "Zero Break" is a delightfully psych tinged instro with an exotic melody line and a dark dementia as only these guys can create. A "Pipeline"-esq rhythm pattern and liquid glissandos make it work very well. It fades all too quickly.

Hillbilly Surfer dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Twang and twirl playfully hint at the back woods while keeping a beach party in sight. It's a fun and enjoyable track that might be compared to lighter moments of Buzzy Frets and his Surfabilly Orchestra.

Tremolos Twomp dotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very short piece with a kind of near-Ventures feel, but more angular. Maybe Lonnie Mack in a psycho ward is more to the point. Tweaked out percussive notes found on no other guitar complete the picture.

Shake A Go-Go dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

The haunting sound of a classically style eastern European sounding melody runs above a rich surf rhythm. Sometimes deliberate, sometimes fluid, with the feel of a Ventures track filtered through real reverb.

Yozora No Hoshi dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Yuzo Kayama's song from the sixties is reverbed and tormented as only Space Agency can. The classic eleki melody and style are surfed out and and warmed up. Whammy chords, dribbling glissandos, and an inviting wash of surf.

The Pink Panther Theme dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

never did I think I would hear a really credible surf cover of Henry Mancini's film score. The vibrato shimmer and reverb, combined with the playfully interesting arrangement, give the song an entirely different feeling. Excellent!

Candy Wagon dotdotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Playfully chorded like Dick Dale's "Hodad Machine," or maybe the delicate way he rearranged "Let's Go Trippin' '65," and rhythm dominated at a deliberately moderate pace. It's interesting how vintage this sounds, while being very fresh and slightly psych. The simplicity of the song is well suited for the arrangement. It's like a warm summer mañana kinda afternoon waiting for the surf to rise at Malibu.

High Tension dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Imagine Freddie King's "San Jose" had actually been written as a surf instro, then that he was just a bit psycho. Great chords shimmer, an infectious rhythm, a collection of glissandos, and a fine melody line carry you off. Pretty darn cool!

Intermission dotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Oriental noodles, sitar dissonance, jaws harp, and Indian raga sensibilities. It's an interlude of sorts between the album proper and the 7 live tracks that follow.

Hawaiian Surf Ride dotdotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

A little faster and more immediate than the studio version from the last album, and every bit as enticing. A magnificent surf instro with shimmering chords and very wet guitars. Too cool!

Phantom Guitar dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

A moody haunted reverb drenched tip toe through the grave yard in the wee hours of the night. Watch out, there's an undead surfer right over there! Spooky use of echo and a playful melody line.

You Make Me Nervous dotdotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

This Ventures-like song features whammy dipped notes and splashy reverb drenched surf chords, along with rapid pulse vibrato. Spooky and very cool.

Yosakoi Bushi dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

"Church Key" dipped notes, "Bumble Bee" influenced riffs, and a classically Japanese melody line. "Yosakoi Bushi" presents a very interesting blend of surf and eleki and tradition.

Surf Rider dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

This is not only one of the strangest covers of "Surf Rider," it's one of the most interesting and compelling as well. Sounding like some of it is played behind the bridge, and warm with an unusual mix of bass and guitar, the track seems to be like a psychedelic haze filtered version. Really cool.

Kaminari dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

"Kaminari" is almost tormented in its strangeness, yet remains attractive, like a psycho-scene you can't look away from. Extreme whammy is very psychedelic in its application. There are a few chord progressions from "Walk Don't Run," which only serve to further disturb your sleep. Yikes, this is cool!

Surfers' Guitar dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Lots of delicate glissandos, a fine melody with a slightly sad, almost Spanish feel, and some brilliant vibratoed shimmer. Spooky, playful, adventurous, and warm.