Launch300 (Rocket Recordings Compilation) by Various Artists

Release date: June 30, 2023

To quote Nikola Tesla, “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration”. There’s a chance to make the jump to hyper-speed where we can travel through space and time with hypnotic and hallucinated effects that awaits us.

But when it comes to Rocket Recordings which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, their mission is still growing strong. Launched back in 1998 in Bristol by Chris Reeder and John O’Carroll, Rocket has given listeners a big opportunity to put their earphones on, and be taken into a trance where the psychedelic music scene has this big, and very powerful exploration by capturing the sights, the sounds, and the vision, right in front of your very eyes.

Now while I’m very new to the Rocket’s landscape and going through the compilation of Launch300 this year, I couldn’t believe what I was missing. Now mind you, I did a review of The Utopia Strong’s latest album International Treasure here on Echoes and Dust last year which took me on a whole other level in 2022, but this compilation, you need to turn this bad boy up to 11!

You have the Os Mutantes approach of their first sole self-titled debut album with a Tropicalia Fuzztone texture that speaks both of the Nuggets box sets from volumes 1 to 2 with Goat’s freak-out party of the ‘Goatsnake’ that’s occurring. Shit & Shine’s ‘What’d do you mean, what?’ has a mixture of the surreal dadaism, trip-hop, African percussion beats, spoken dialog, and a parallel universe of Gong’s Daevid Allen joining in for the recording sessions of The Last Poets in the early ‘70s.

J. Nunz’s ‘Radix’ has an electro heartbeat, pounding like crazy. There are similarities between Kraftwerk, xylophones, train chugging arrangements, and revisiting the post-rock scene in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s while the brutal forces awaken to see the late ‘60s going into a dooming approach between Smote’s ‘Coal Tongue’ and a spiritual guidance into the unknown with Centrum’s ‘Du är så värdefull’.

Then its back into the deep, dark cavernous caves for Torabi, York, and Davis as they put listeners in a trance once more in The Utopia Strong’s ‘Harpies’. They put you into the heart of the Egyptian desert that’s scorching hot at 125 degrees with sweltering heat between jazz, techno, electronic atmospheres, and elements from the Ohr years of Tangerine Dream and Radiohead’s Kid A, rolled into one.

And who couldn’t forget Och’s ‘Inebriantia’. When I was listening to this track, I was thinking to myself, “Wow, Cluster has been reborn again!” I’m serious, it did remind me of Cluster’s music, mixed in with Harmonia. I can quite imagine that the Rocket label has a huge amount of love for the krautrock genre. And boy do they know that genre, top to bottom!

If you’re very new to the Rocket label, this here is an incredible compilation to get you going. And also check out the article here on Echoes and Dust entitled, The Road to Roadburn: 25 years of Rocket Recordings if you really want to dig deeper into the music. And as Bette Davis once said in the 1950 classic All About Eve, “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night”.

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