We will be making the album "Spirit Of Yellow" available as a digital release for the first time next month, so here's a video of one of the tracks to mark the occasion.
REVIEW FROM BLISS AQUAMARINE
CENSUS OF HALLUCINATIONS - SPIRIT OF YELLOW
This album comprises new versions of tracks from the Stone Premonitions archive, the bulk of which were originally recorded by Tim Jones and Terri-B's previous band The Rabbit's Hat. Having access to improved recording technology since the songs' original release, the aim was to produce definitive versions of these classic tracks. Working with a variety of new musicians has enabled these artists to add something of their own vision to the material, and the songwriters themselves have said that the benefit of hindsight can bring about an entirely different perspective on a song written many years ago. Appearing alongside founder members Tim Jones and Terri-B are David Hendry of spacerock project OHead, John Simms and Maxine Marten of Clear Blue Sky, and Kevin Hodge, a drummer and guitarist who has performed with over 70 bands over the last 35 years, having direct experience with a variety of genres from punk to funk to R'N'B. The cover art for Spirit of Yellow is a collaboration between Terri-B and The Morrigan's Colin Masson.
I am well acquainted with the original versions, and in some cases, subsequent reworkings, of the tracks here, and am pleased to see that Census of Hallucinations have chosen to reinterpret some of my personal favourites, such as Forest, Church, Lie Again, Sara Jane, Hieronymus, and Orion. Forest is effectively augmented with spacey synths and tropical bird samples, and introduces a more overtly proggy sound than was the case with the original. Church, a classic critique of 'one true way' religion, has a harder-edged rock sound in this version, which is much in keeping with the hard-hitting, forceful nature of the lyrics. There is a very fine version of Riding the War, which adds psych and heavy rock touches to a sparse acoustic arrangement. Infra Red is psych/prog with some nicely ethereal moments, including some effective use of floaty ambient synth. Lie Again is an excellent psych-rock track with lyrical condemnation of hypocrisy and selfishness. Sara Jane is a heart-wrenching tale of a lonely young girl ignored by her mother, whose only friend is a doll, the Sara Jane of the title. Here it is set to a hard-edged vintage-style rock arrangement with prog and psych elements. Hieronymus is a darkly ethereal exploration of the art of Hieronymus Bosch and its philosophical implications, morphing into a creative though brief sci-fi ambient-meets-prog excursion near the end. This new version of Orion incorporates ethereal and whooshing spacey synths, a very apt and effective addition.
I first heard most, if not all, of these songs in the 1990s, but they are so timeless and well crafted that they never get old, and they shine no matter what additional musical influences have made their way into the recordings since they first appeared close to 20 years ago. Whether you're into spacerock, prog, psych, or just plain classic, timeless, genre-transcending songwriting, there is a lot to like here. Even fans of the more melodic end of heavy metal may enjoy the album - John Simms' intricate guitar playing has a definite vintage metal quality about it. This is a really high-calibre album. The songwriting and musicianship are in a league above much of what comes out of the underground, but to say the music sounds mainstream would be to do it a grave injustice as it is completely free from the blandness and banality that characterises commerce-driven music. There is an astonishing level of musical talent coming out of the Stone Premonitions collective, and this album is one that best demonstrates that. I fully recommend it as one of the best places to start exploring the label.
(Bliss Aquamarine - (www.blissaquamarine.net)