Astral Daze – Psychedelic South African Rock 1968-1972 (Retro Fresh Records)

Astral Daze covers eighteen South African groups from the heyday of heavy psychedelic rock and early prog. Despite the breadth of bands, the album is a cohesive mix of psychedelic sounds (reverb in particular plays a large role), proggy musicianship and metallic crunch. Some of the highlights are The Flames’ cover of Vanilla Fudge’s cover of The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hanging On”, the crazy Hendrix-esque guitar solo on Astral 3’s “The Invader”, and “Blue Machines and Dreams” by Bryan Miller’s Destruction, which sounds like The Small Faces playing in a mental asylum. A few numbers, like “Predictions” by Hawk, take the prog-pretentiousness too far, but most of the songs are keepers, making this an above-average comp.


The Whip – Suck

Astral III – The Invaders

The Boy And The Bee – Omega Limited

Straight Ahead – Otis Waygood

My Back Feels Light/What Can You Say – Abstract Truth

The Eagle Has Landed – Dickie Loader with Freedom’s Children

You Keep Me Hanging On – The Flames

Blurry Visions – Buzzard

Fire – The Third Eye

Predictions – Hawk

Kafkasque – Freedom’s Children

Blue Machines and Dreams – Bryan Miller’s Destruction

The Mad Professor – John and Philipa Cooper

Cathy Come Home – The Fireflies

Morning Light – Tidal Wave

Race With The Devil – The Bats

  • Magic Dragon – The Idiots
  • Birds Flying High – McCully Workshop

Astral Daze 2: More Psychdelic Gems From the South African Underground (Retro Fresh)

Like it’s predecessor, Astral Daze Volume 2 collects some of the more far-out psychedelic songs South Africa has to offer. In fact, two-thirds of the bands on Volume 2 are carry-overs from Volume 1. What I’m most impressed by is that even though many of these South African bands were directly influenced by the British psychedelia of 1967, their music seems even more drug-damaged and employs more studio tricks than their UK influences. Freedom’s Children impress with their space-epic “The Kid He Came From Hazareth”, “Solitude” by The Flames is a classic sitar song evoking rooms filled with hookah smoke, and John & Phillipa Cooper’s “Man In A Bowler Hat” predates the sound of The Television Personalities by almost a full decade.