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Astral Navigations


Price: £14.70 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (8 Dec 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Kissing Spell
  • ASIN: B00008LJHJ
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 270,961 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Golovanov Alexey on 23 Oct 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Astral Navigations" is seriously underrated cornerstone album of vintage (1971) psychedelia and acid folk (although this definition is vague, silly and not sufficient).
This album features 2 different bands - "Lightyears Away" (melodic acid folk) and hard rocking "Thundermother". Both bands and this particular album emerged from Musics From Holyground; their other efforts are saved on Gagalactica, and Thundermother's songs might be found separately on "No Red Rowan" (theoretically only, because this is a mega-rarity).
"Astral Navigations" was a brainchild of larger than life Mike Levon, who produced, recorded and released all albums, and who composed many songs for "Lightyears Away".
Joe Meek is highly praised as innovator and a visionary, although his major achievements are in weird noises and sounds - the music itself is unashamed pop mainly. Phil Spector also is well known and recognized - as inventor of the famous "wall of sound" and "Spectoresque" producing - which again and again covered the lack of real creativity in music itself.
Mike Levon, whose creativity was(and still is) well beyond and above these two names,is neglected. And we are talking about a visionary (not unlike Jac Holzman) who produced exceptionally refined music of highest standard possible.
John Peel was promoting independent music - Mike Levon was making it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Music For Human Mind, 1971 23 Oct 2011
By Golovanov Alexey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
"Astral Navigations" is seriously underrated cornerstone album of vintage (1971) psychedelia and acid folk (although this definition is vague, silly and not sufficient).
This album features 2 different bands - "Lightyears Away" (melodic acid folk) and hard rocking "Thundermother". Both bands and this particular album emerged from previously released effort of Holyground ("A - Austr", see photo) ; their other efforts are saved on Gagalactica (Gagalactica), and Thundermother's songs might be found separately on "No Red Rowan"(theoretically only, because this is a mega-rarity).
"Astral Navigations" was brainchild of larger than life Mike Levon, who produced, recorded and released all albums, and who composed many songs for "Lightyears Away" (and not only).
Joe Meek is highly praised as innovator and a visionary, although his major achievements are in weird noises and sounds - the music itself is unashamed pop mainly. Phil Spector also is well known and recognized - as inventor of the famous "wall of sound" and "Spectoresque" producing - which again and again covered the lack of real creativity in music itself.
Mike Levon, whose creativity was(and still is) well beyond and above these two names,is neglected. And we are talking about a visionary (not unlike Jack Holzman) who produced exceptionally refined music of highest standard possible.
John Peel was promoting independent music - Mike Levon was making it.
All these albums had been recorded in mono on one track of 2-track open reel deck, using a mixer built by the drummer Ted Hepworth. The masterpieces of "Astral Navigations" and "Gagalactica" result from painstackingly re-recording and copying tracks, adding instruments, vocals, and sound effects.
Holyground started as early as 1965 - first as a studio, and then as an independent label. It was never successful commercially, and thus managed to preserve its creativity - all profits (if there were any, which I doubt myself) were invested into upgrading the equipment and producing another album.
Lightyears Away was strictly studio project, consisting of Brian Calvert (vocals, piano), Ted Hepworth (drums), Bill Nelson on guitar (later with Be Bop Deluxe) and Brian Wilson (guitar). Occasionally there were other guest musicians, but no live performances.
The band has astonishing melodies and vocal harmonies with exceptional guitar work, I would say that these were the finest moments in British acid folk (again, not the best definition and description).
Thundermother was totally different, featuring David John (vocals), Fred Kelly (drums), Dave Miller (guitar) and Frank Newbould on bass - the line-up was fluid, and they played live gigs under different names (Shirley Levon). One of the finest hard rock bands I have ever heard - not so loud, but just superb.
Two different bands compliment each other, and the melody gradually evolves into different mood and rhythm - that was the original concept of Mike Levon, and that's why they are on the same album.
That's the "Music For The Human Mind", and it is indeed.
Without exaggerating I would say that this is an important element of international musical heritage and really deserves to be better known. I really wish to live long enough to see TV documentary about Mike Levon and musicians of Holyground, and to read his biography.
Listen to it - the samples are available on Amazon, or YouTube, and buy it! And don't neglect the rest of Holyground catalogue
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