27 June 2020

VARIOUS ARTISTS – The 17th Dream Of Dr. Sardonicus – Live (2020, 2LP Fruits de Mer Records)






Label: Fruits de Mer Records / Regal Crabomophone, Winkle 40

Format: 2LP, Album, Limited Edition, Gatefold Sleeve, Colored Vinyl

Release Date: 27 July 2020

Let’s start by saying that for a “live” album the sound quality is pretty damned impressive throughout!!! “The 17th Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Live” is a double LP celebrating the 2019 get-together of the friends and extended family of Fruits de Mer Records and Sendelica, an event that was held as always in the Cellar Bar in Cardigan. The press release reads: “The three days of last year’s festival flew by – brilliant bands played, friendships were made/renewed, barrels of Mantle bitter drained, vast amounts of vinyl purchased and FdM goodie-bags given away – a grand old time was had by one and all and we only had to phone for the one ambulance all weekend… It was a pretty amazing line-up of artists, from legends such as The Bevis Frond, Ken Pustelnik’s Groundhogs and The Chemistry Set to new artists like Moon Goose, Elfin Bow, and Sarah Birch – and of course the mighty Sendelica – but almost as amazing was the fact that all three nights of recordings went really well, so Pete Bingham and I had a hell of a job selecting the tracks for this set… we decided to include as many performances as possible within the confines of 20 minutes per side (not that easy when some of the bands think 20 minutes is the length of a typical intro – hi Pete!). Amongst the tracks, you’ll find Elfin Bow playing Stevie Marriott and the Chemistry Set paying Hendrix…”

Let’s have a look at the bands that are featured in this double LP which contains 11 artists/tracks with timing almost 90 minutes (1:29:48). “Reverence” is the opening track by Sarah Birch, a lovely sentimental folkie tune. Mark McDowell and Friends are performing “Starstreamer” – taken from Mark’s incredible “Breakthrough” LP, released earlier, in April 2020 – and it’s really astonishing how the band has managed to transport their studio sophisticated flowing trippy folkie-acid-spacey electronica into Cellar Bar’s stage! “Lazin’ In The Afternoon” is a track that also appears on the recently released “Live In Cardigan” double LP by Alain Pire Experience, 60’s Brit-Psych with a modern touch! The legendary “Groundhogs” moniker still shines to this very day through drummer Ken Pustelnik who took over the mantle, here through “The Garden”, Ken Pustelnik’s Groundhogs present a little bit of Groundhog’s early 70s incredible Heavy-Blues-Rock Live atmosphere! Through Stevie Marriott’s “Autumn Stone” we have a first-class change to admire, even more, Elfin Bow’s magical voice, an almost naked performance, just piano, and Elfin’s voice, a great reinterpretation with a very “Broadway” intense feeling! Pete Bingham from Sendelica has a side project (which of course all of you are aware of), The Fellowship Of Hallucinatory Voyagers are performing “Taith Yr Afon Teifi”, 16 minutes and 42 seconds of a superb mind-blowing post-prog pleasure! The Chemistry Set did this cover on Jimmy Hendrix’s “Love Or Confusion” back in 2014 on their splendid FdM 7-inch Single “Elapsed Memories”, here they present a psychedelic raw n’ nude raga-like bloody fantastic Live version! Sendelica are performing “Nine Miles High”, a 17 min original tune, a delirium of prog, hard, jazzy, psych, free form sounds, a journey into past indeed! “Racing Car #9” by Three Dimensional Tanx, is a gorgeous mind trip-a-delic tune with a daemonic rhythm, freak-a-delica at its best! Moon Goose are performing “Second Life” (the opening track of their 2019 “Source Code double album), it’s an insane psychic roller-coaster that swirls inside your brain! A Trip, it is! Eventually, the album closes with “Pale Blue Blood” by The Bevis Frond, and it makes you wonder how they do it. Such tremendous energy, feeling and passion into a live-set after so many years! The Bevis Frond are one of the very few bands that you can say about them the “wine” saying… The Older they get…

Well, this album made me feel like I was there at the Cellar Bar, so undoubtedly I recommend it! Go and grab a copy before it’s long gone… TimeLord Michalis



A1 Sarah Birch – Reverence 4:37
A2 Mark McDowell And Friends – Starstreamer 4:32
A3 Alain Pire Experience – Lazin’ In The Afternoon 3:36
A4 Ken Pustelnik’s Groundhogs – The Garden 4:05
B1 Elfin Bow – Autumn Stone 6:05
B2 Fellowship Of Hallucinatory Voyagers – Taith Yr Afon Teifi 6:20
C1 The Chemistry Set – Love Or Confusion 3:39
C2 Sendelica – Nine Miles High 3:41
D1 Three Dimensional Tanx – Racing Car #9 4:05
D2 Moon Goose – Second Life 3:25
D3 The Bevis Frond – Pale Blue Blood 4:02


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