I started this year’s Top 30 with a shortlist of over 100 albums! So much great stuff came out this year. So you know that this list represents the very best of the best. As always, there is no objective criteria here. These are just the albums I've personally enjoyed the most this year. And of course, I'm just one person, so obviously I didn't have a chance to listen to everything. This list includes only new studio albums, not live albums, compilations or re-issues.
30. Dream Machine - Temple of Dreams
UK psych/space rockers return with their first studio album in 10 years. Swirling, hypnotic psych that is food for the soul, with Jon Egan’s many flutes giving it a rich, exotic flavour.
29. Black Moon Circle - Psychedelic Spacelord
A single, epic 45-minute track from this veteran Norwegian band. Delirious and heavy space rock with some cool violin throughout.
28. Sherpa - Tigris & Euphrates
The sophomore release from this Italian outfit is dark, atmospheric psychedelia overflowing with mystical energy.
27. Korb – Korb
Somewhat mysterious UK duo (who also record electronic music under the name Mutante) come out with this debut, a brilliant little slice of classic style space rock.
26. The Oscillation - Wasted Space
Tribal, experimental explorations of both dark and light from this UK band. Intense and beautiful.
25. Malady - Toinen toista
You could be forgiven if you mistook this album for some lost, obscure gem from the early 70's, because that's exactly what it sounds like. This Finnish group serves up some smooth and flowing proto-prog with psychedelic flair!
24. P'Faun - Sp'roque
This German group offers some stellar space rock jams built around Berlin school electronic sequences.
23. Earthling Society - Mo - The Demon
UK space rock veterans return for what is to be their final album. More of their signature blend of heavy psych, gentle and atmospheric moments, and noise! This time, with a bit of an Asian touch to it.
22. Deep Space Destructors - Visions From The Void
Blisteringly heavy, mind-melting space rock. Some great riffing from this Finnish band.
21. Sun Dial - Science Fiction
Continuing along the same electronica directions developed on Made In the Machine, Gary Ramon also brings back more of the guitar-based rock styles that older fans are familiar with for some weird, deep space sci-fi soundtracks.
20. Nik Turner and Youth – Pharaohs From Outer Space
Pure chillout music with Youth’s spacey electronics and Nik’s lovely sax and flute. Lay back, relax and drift away.
19. Weedpecker – III
Polish band creates heavy psych rock which, paradoxically, has a lovely, warm, mellow vibe to it.
18. Psychedelic Sun's - Distant Light
Weird, trippy and definitely out there! One-man band from Finland takes you on a cosmic journey.
17. Seid - Weltschmerz, baby!
Norwegian legends return with their 4th album. A heavy and seriously trippy psych rock tour de force.
16. Farflung - This Capsule
US band Farflung return with more of the epic space rock they are known for. One track is over 20-minutes long!
15. Vibravoid - Vibrations from the Cosmic Void
Long time psych luminaries from Germany return with an album of heady, heavy psych tunes and two lengthy, ambient, East meets West voyages.
14. Heavy Moon - Heavy Moon 12
Side project of Moonwood’s Jakob Rehlinger, this one finds the Canadian musician in deep Pink Floyd territory. Two long tracks of dreamy, spaced out bliss.
13. Glass – Emergence
The most accessible work so far from this US band blends Canterbury style prog with a touch of ELP, some jazz and even a taste of psychedelia.
12. Kikagaku Moyo - Masana Temples
The latest from these Japanese explorers, their 4th, offers up their uniquely Asian take on psych rock with blissful, drugged out vocals.
11. London Underground – Four
Italian space explorers return for their 4th album. Smooth and spacey funky jazz rock fusion with lots of vintage sounding electric piano. Pure listening pleasure.
10. Landing - Bells In New Towns
The 11th album from these US post-rocking, experimental pop psychedelicists finds them crafting a set of gorgeous, atmospheric tunes. Former lead guitarist Dick Baldwin guests on one track.
9. Melody's Echo Chamber - Bon Voyage
Melody Prochet returns for her sophomore release. And wow, this one is just crazy! The French artist takes us on a trippy journey through a phantasmagoric world where nothing is as it seems, and anything can happen.
8. The Re-Stoned - Stories of the Astral Lizard
These Russian psych rockers turn down the volume for a bit, taking you on a gentle, exploratory excursion into mellow, instrumental desert rock. Great soundtrack for laying stoned in the sunshine.
7. Tammo Dehn/Vintage Cucumber/Surya Kris Peters – Gedankenströme
Amazing three-way split featuring these German artists. Gedankenströme means ‘streams of thought’, and indeed, this pulsing, soundscape of electronic rock and ambient psychedelic excursions will take your mind to new dimensions.
6. Vintage Cucumber - SpaceCucumber vs. SpaceNuss
Germany’s Johannes Schulz aka Vintage Cucumber in a collaboration with Sebastian Adolph aka Nuss. With the word ‘space’ twice in the title, you’d probably expect some space rock, and you would be right! Brilliant, swirling, fluid space rock of the highest order in fact!
5. Paper Dollhouse - The Sky Looks Different Here
Haunting and starkly original, something the UK duo themselves refer to as radioactive, ambient pop. Astrud Steehouder and Nina Bosnic explore a mysterious and beautiful world of fragile darkness and humming energy.
4. Modulo Zero – Undefined
Fantastic debut album from this Canadian duo blends everything from progressive and space rock to electronic music to jazz and acoustic folk! A breathtaking and experimental dreaming of dystopian realities, romantic nightmares, mathematical musings and exotic pleasure palaces. One of my favourite new discoveries of the year!
3. Quarkspace - All These Suns
The legendary US space rockers return for the “first real Quarkspace album since 2001’s Drop." 2018 finds the band in fine form weaving their distinctive brand of space rock with both composed and improvisational parts. Solar and majestic with all the brooding power of their classic works.
2. Starving Daughters - Strange Valleys
This US band has a totally unique take on space rock. This, their 4th album, takes the listener on a dazzling trip through a mythical, psychedelic California. Vintage sounds meet modern production for a funky, dreamy blast from a future past.
1. Astral Son - Wonderful Beyond
Dutch multi-instrumentalist returns with his 4th album and ‘Wonderful Beyond’ is a perfect description for it. A swirling, multi-coloured patchwork of beautiful psychedelic tunes that take the listener on a ride all the way from the pastoral countryside to the vast reaches of the endless universe. Wonderful Beyond indeed!
And there you have it! I'd just like to make a few honourable mentions:
Øresund Space Collective – Kybalion
Great album, almost made my Top 30, but deserves special mention for the first album to include a virtual/enhanced reality experience to go along with the music!
The Spacious Mind – The Drifter
A re-issue of sorts, also a compilation of remastered obscure tracks from The Spacious Mind discography, nice put together by Trail Records.
Various Artists - Moonloonies Invade Mushroom Hill Vol. 1 – 6
A compilation that I was involved in. 6 great CD’s featuring some of the best psych/space and electronic music of today.