30.6.10

Yahowa 13 - Magnificence In The Memory (1973/74)



I chociaż Father Yod już nie żyje na tym łez padole, a jego "dzieciarnia" chyba się rozpierzchła - to muzyka grupy Yahowa wciąż jest inspiracją dla wielu współczesnych muzyków, głównie za sprawą sceny drone-owej. O zespole pisałem już u początków tego bloga, więc nie będę się powielał. W każdym razie za sprawą bardzo cenionej wytwórni Drag City w 2009 roku ukazała się płyta "Magnificence In The Memory" zawierające nie publikowane jeszcze nagrania z lat 1973/1974. Muzyka? No cóż, praktycznie status quo - czyli nic odkrywczego, ale dla kolekcjonerów stamowiąca cenne dopełnienie zbiorów.



I have no clue from where they suddenly dug these unreleased recordings from Yahowha 13. I also don’t know how much they originally were intended to be hung together but they show a real pleasant variety, inspired as if from different occasional ideas, with momentual song-improvised directions. Stylistically they seem to span the whole Father Yod/Yahowha period, starting from what came from the Father Yod sort of style weirdness (the over the top screaming on the first track), to the psychedelic guitars and tin drums of the highlighting period of the Yahowha 13 band, as well as some more “normal” somewhat bar contexts of songs, and some surprising humour.

“Camp Of the gypsies” sounds like it is from a live recording, starting with whispery improvised talk on a bed of percussion, a theme full of tension, about sneaking into a camp of gypsies to take or kidnap some son to come with him, as a free choice, but lifting this tension into a rather “amusical” screaming of a rather orgastic nature, freaking out with guitars and with stamping tin drums, and a small electric violin part. This track will need a second listen, I guess. But also here already is revealed a strange surreal exotism and story. One of these chosen ones, son number 182, as he names himself, takes the lead in the next song, chanting an imaginable mantra, which sounds Indonesian. This is very funny, psychedelic and pseudo-exotic as well, but also hypnotic, outsider-weird with the recognisable for Yahowa13 spaced out effects on the electric guitars. The next track is one of the more “normal”, swinging happy bluesrocking songs, sung by Yahowha, like a more “common’ baby” rocking bar song actually, with rough voice, as if with a fully smoked and whisky context occasion effect. The song “Sunshine Man” is weird, in a different way. Here you can hear father’s attractive sort of whistling, full happy feelings, while the guitars keep the spacey psych sort of effects. Don’t I recognise the tune ? Yes, it is the ‘maccarena’ ??? Strange, because this song is from 1992, so this similarity makes this coincidence of similarity (being released only now) a bit in an otherworldly way. Also here are more psych improvised electric guitars added to it, in a more still psychedelically different, bluesrock way. This is followed by a second, short and slightly normal song, a woman-pleasing song, singing this with enjoyable high notes in it. This is followed by a “fertility dance”, once more psychedelic and exotic, with an oriental guitar theme getting heavier with drums and tin drums, in a typical Yahowha manner. Another lovely whistling tune can be heard after this, with a surreal somewhat slide guitar, which sounds strange, slightly abstract, hypnotic and beautiful, also to be heard in the next track. The last short track is another, enjoyable let’s say bar-bluesy song.

A great surprise which is a more than welcome addition to the Yahowha catalogue. It shows his weird, but also humanised aspects. (progressive.homestead.com)



STRAIGHT FROM THE SOURCE

Dave Nuss from the No Neck Blues Band on Ya Ho Wa 13
Story: Ron Hart
Photography: The Source Family Archives/Process Media, Inc.

Ya Ho Wa 13 was a freewheeling psychedelic rock outfit that was led by the late Father Yod, a Rolls Royce driving polygamist and spiritual leader of The Source Family, a cult based out of the Hollywood Hills back in the Vietnam era.

Though the band was originally founded in 1969, Ya Ho Wa 13 didn’t begin making proper albums until 1973, which they recorded in the wee hours of the early morning following all-night meditation sessions inside a soundproofed garage-turned-studio and sold out of the Source Family’s legendary vegetarian restaurant in Los Angeles; Frank Zappa, Julie Christie and John Lennon were among those who frequented the establishment. The music created by the Father and his brood was a completely improvisational mind-meld of drum circles, otherworldly chanting and spacey Magic Band-style guitar jams, creating a challenging and wholly unique style of rock that has since been emulated by such modern-day acts as Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice, Tower Recordings, Sunburned Hand of the Man and the No Neck Blues Band, whose guitarist, Dave Nuss, plays an integral part of this here story.

It has been said that the band’s recorded output consists somewhere along the lines of 65 albums, although only 9 were officially released before a fatal hang-gliding accident in 1975 killed Father Yod. Shortly following the Father’s death, the Source Family scattered across the land, with several key members taking up residency in Hawaii. While much about this most interesting group’s history has been shrouded in mystery for many years, a renewed interest in Ya Ho Wa began in 1998 following the release of God and Hair: Yahowa Collection, a massive 13-CD box set celebrating the many incarnations of the band produced by the Japanese psyche label Captain Trip and curated by the late Seeds frontman and onetime Source Family member Sky Saxon. However, in 2007, surviving members of the core Ya Ho Wa line-up, Sunflower, Octavius and Djin, began playing out again on the West Coast to promote The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wa 13 and The Source Family, an amazing biography written by Source Family members Isis Aquarian and Electricity Aquarian and published by the visionaries at Process Media, Inc. It was then that Dave Nuss from NNCK, through Process publishers Jodi Wille and Adam Parfrey, got to meet and befriend members of the Family. Eventually, Nuss ventured to the surviving Source compound in Hawaii, where he was invited to squirrel through the group’s vast archives of unreleased music. The fruit of his digging appears on Magnificence in the Memory, a compilation released in 2009 by Drag City containing nine of the finest Ya Ho Wa freak-outs available to public ears. IRT had the pleasure to communicate with Dave about his experiences getting to know this most extraordinary rural route of American counterculture and the wealth of knowledge and spirituality it provided him.

For more on Father Yod and Ya Ho Wa 13, please check out this amazing interview with Sunflower, Octavius and Djin, originally published in Jason Gross’ Perfect Sound Forever back in June 2002, now available here.

And please, if you are at all interested in the weird, wild history of The Source Family, you would be foolish not to seek out The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wa 13 and The Source Family, available now through Process Media, Inc. There isn’t a more definitive or trustworthy source on The Source.

A big thanks to Dave for doing the interview and Nicole and Sara from Drag City for supplying the music and the positive vibes.



Interboro Rock Triubune: How did you first discover Ya Ho Wa 13 and Father Yod?

Dave Nuss: I first discovered Ya Ho Wa 13 at an NYC record shop with a vinyl reissue of Savage Sons of Yahowa. I bought if for the cover and took it home and thought, what is this, ROCK music?? I was basically only listening to Stockhausen and Alan Silva at the time and was momentarily blinded to the beauty. Interestingly now Savage Sons is my fave album of the Higher Key releases, followed by All or Nothing at All. [These are] timeless, dramatic, transportive songs.

IRT: How much of an influence does Ya Ho Wa 13 bear on the music you create with NNCK?

Dave: Ya Ho Wa 13 is an influence on NNCK in that it stayed independent from larger business and was buttressed instead by a close knit internal community; also the improvisatory aspect, composing with the music rather than any predetermined plan.

IRT: How did you come into curating Magnificence in the Memory for Drag City?

Dave: I've been traveling already to Hawaii for years because of the mystical attraction, and when I finally heard from Process publisher Jodi Wille about the Source book and reunion of the band in LA, I cruised out there to catch the events, met the Source Family and connected. By the way, the best book about Source is this one on Process, and it is the best place to start for one not familiar with the legacy. So I went to Hawaii again shortly after and stayed with Isis, who toured me around the sacred sites and was kind enough to let me explore the audio archives.

IRT: How much unreleased Ya Ho Wa 13 music is there and can we expect to see more releases like Magnificence in the Memory in the future?

Dave: There is SO MUCH there that is unreleased—hours and hours of Ya Ho Wa 13 and many related projects. Much of it may not yet be ready to pass through the portal into this world. Each track and project really lets us know when it's ready to come in...

IRT: What did the song selection process for this set entail?

Dave: For the songs on Magnificence I selected music which has a unique character vis-a-vis the Higher Key Records. In short I would describe the selections as highly musical - many were selected from rehearsals rather than recording sessions, so there is a sense of freedom and playfulness, as well as a marked lack of self-consciousness. What I recognized in certain moments was a sense of the band, including Yod, working together as a band, rather than musicians supporting a charismatic leader.

IRT: To the layman, Father Yod seems like he started The Source Family so he could hook up with hot hippie chicks. However, what have you come to learn about his teachings in your years listening to his words and music?

Dave: Yod did not start the Source to hook up with hippie chicks; the intention was to provide them - and the guys as well - with a sense of clarity and focus on peace and universal love not available via the status quo. He offered a chance for them to pursue their dreams of living in freedom, care, and comfort, and created the mission of developing a more expansive consciousness via ancient methods, Eastern and Western. the path he showed was exceedingly deep, yet glittered with mirth. Yod strikes me as a man of infectious and irresistible joy.

IRT: If you were of age in the late 60s/early 70s, would you have joined the Source Family?

Dave: I imagine I would have joined had I been around because I have a strong penchant for the values the Source Restaurant espoused dietarily, and an inclination towards learning the metaphysical through symbols. Yod combined the metaphysical and the concrete in a completely artistic and jovial way, and in that sense is one-of-a-kind.

IRT: Did you get any good recipes from the old Source Restaurant while you were in Hawaii curating Magnificence?

Dave: Yes. Actually, all the recipes are in the back of the Source book on Process. When Ya Ho Wa 13 came to NYC, we recreated their restaurant in the NNCK space, the Hint House. The biggest hit of the night was, of course, the cheesecake.

IRT: What do you think young Americans can get out of the Father's teachings?

Dave: Regarding the effect of the Source on people today: Many recognize the message as a familiar call and approach it without questioning. The message of Source is not analytical but experiential, and Magnificence is intended to illustrate that experience of Source metaphysics through music, unashamedly. In the album’s full package, you will see the pictures of the major players, witness the key symbols and tune in to the particular frequency that is the experience of harmony in community, celestial and mundane. It is not important to justify or define this message further, for in the release it becomes self-explanatory.

What is relevant for you is: Can you perceive what is being offered?

Here is the invitation from the top of the first track, "Camp of the Gypsies," spoken by Yod:

"There is nothing you can do,
there is nowhere you can be
that you are away from me.
End it, begin it, always as you seek,
but go with Love...

I'm talking to the few that I'm seeking.
Awake from your sleep, your Father's home.
He wants to find his Sons. You were stolen long ago, yeah,
you were very young you know. But I've come to find you.
Don't worry I've prepared the way for you.
Are you ready?
Let's go!"

(from Interboro Rock Tribune)

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29.6.10

Amanaz - Africa (1975)


Pochodzący z Zambii zespół Amanaz powstał w 1973 roku. Ich jedyny album pochodzi z 1975 roku, stylistycznie jednak zakorzeniony jest bardzo w muzycznych rejonach końca lat 60-tych. Dziewięć otworów na tej płycie zaśpiewanych zostało w języku angielskim, pozostałe trzy jako ciekawostka i urozmaicenie w języku ojczystym. Piosenki skomponowane zostały przez wszystkich członków grupy, całość więc ma  zróżnicowane brzmienie utrzymane w interesujących psychodelicznych klimatach przepojonych tradycyjnym afrykańskim duchem.
 

 
In the early '70s, the Southern African nation of Zambia was mired in political instability and dire poverty with little if any outside assistance, so the mere fact that the country had a rock music scene is remarkable, let alone that any recordings have survived of Zambian rock bands of the era. Amanaz were a five-piece combo from Lusaka who traveled to Chingola (one of Zambia's biggest cities) and recorded an album titled Africa in 1973; almost 40 years after the fact, their sole album has finally made its way to the West. On first listen, what's most surprising about Africa is that most of it doesn't sound especially "African"; this music is based in deep, bluesy grooves (anchored by bassist Jerry Mausala) with a strong psychedelic undercurrent and thick layers of fuzz guitar from Isaac Mpofu and John Kanyepa, and though flashes of traditional influences can be heard in Watson Lungu's drumming and Keith Kabwe's vocals, it's clear that American and British rock of the late '60s and early '70s was what fueled Amanaz's imagination. (Three songs are performed in the African language of Bemba, but the rest are in English.) If the flaws in the recording and mix tend to send the guitars into the distance and flatten out the sound of the rhythm section, Africa does confirm that Amanaz were a talented band with a unique and powerful style; "Amanaz," "Making the Scene," and "Big Enough" are tough, primal rock tunes full of raw and fuzzy lead guitar, "Khala My Friend" recalls Jimi Hendrix's more introspective moments, and "Sunday Morning" and the title cut turn down the tempo without sacrificing the emotional force of the music. Amanaz were a group that eagerly embraced the music of the West, but just enough of their own sound and perspective comes through to make Africa compelling listening as well as a fascinating artifact of an almost unknown rock scene. It's good enough to make the band's short lifespan seem like a sad, almost tragic waste of talent and potential. (Mark Deming)

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27.6.10

Perez Prado & Shorty Rogers - Voodoo Suite (1954)



Perez Prado (1916-1989) - prawdziwe nazwisko to Dameso Perez Prado. Kubański muzyk, aranżer i kompozytor. Znany jest także jako Król Mambo.

Jego matka była nauczycielką, ojciec pracował w lokalnej gazecie. Studiował w klasie fortepianu, potem grał na organach i fortepianie w lokalnych klubach. Przez jakiś czas był pianistą i aranżerem Sonora Matancera, najbardziej znanego zespołu muzycznego na Kubie. Przez większość lat 40. XX wieku występował w orkiestrze kasyna w Hawanie, zdobywając sławę niezwykłego muzyka. Przez kolegów w branży nazywany „El Cara de Foca” („Twarz Foki”).

W 1948 roku przeprowadził się do Meksyku, założył własny zespół i nagrywał dla RCA Victor. Szybko jego specjalnością stało się mambo i zaadaptowany na jego potrzeby kubański taniec. Jego znakiem firmowym było mówione przez niego podczas koncertów - „Say it” oraz instrumenty dęte w połączeniu z mocnym brzmieniem saksofonu.

W 1950 roku aranżer Sonny Burke usłyszał „Que ricomambo” i nagrał je w USA jako „Mambo Jambo”. Piosenka okazał się prawdziwym przebojem, który zapoczątkował udane tournee po Stanach Zjednoczonych. Na jego występy w 1951 roku wyprzedano bilety w rekordowym tempie, a on sam zaczął znów nagrywać dla RCA Victor.

Perez Prado jest kompozytorem tak słynnego hitu, jak „Mambo No. 5” (nagrany w 1999 roku w Wielkiej Brytanii przez Lou Begę i znany z kreskówki Budowniczy Bob z 2001 roku) i „Mambo No. 8”. W 1955 roku osiągnął numer jeden z wersją cha-cha „Cherry Pink and Apple Bossom White” (francuskiego kompozytora Louiguya). Utrzymywał się na szczycie przez dziesięć kolejnych tygodni. W 1954 roku stworzył cover tego utworu na potrzeby filmu „Underwater!”. W 1958 roku jedna z jego kompozycji - „Patricia” - stała się ostatnim nagraniem numer 1 na listach przebojów - TOP 100 i Jockeys, obie otwierały drogę do zestawienia Billboard Hot 100.

Jego popularność w Stanach Zjednoczonych spowodowała pierwszą falę zainteresowania muzyką latino w latach 40., 50., i wczesnych 60., na zewnątrz kręgu państw hiszpańskojęzycznych. Poza tym pojawiał się z takim samym powodzeniem w filmach - amerykańskich, europejskich co w meksykańskich, a jego znakiem firmowym była hiszpańska bródka, podobnie jak noszone przez niego golfy i kamizelki.

W jego orkiestrze grali najwybitniejsi muzycy tamtych czasów – Benny More, trębacz Pete Mandoli, bębniarz bongo i conga Armando Parazo, perkusiści – Johny Pacheco i Mongo Santamaria oraz dyrygent Rene Bloch.

We wczesnych latach 70. Prado stale wracał do swego apartamentu w Mexico City, by jak najwięcej czasu oprzędzać ze swoją żoną i dwójką dzieci – synem Damaso Perezem Saliną (zwanym też Perez Prado Jr.) oraz córką Marią Engracią. Pomimo słabnącej popularności w USA jego kariera w Ameryce Łacińskiej rozwijała się lepiej, niż kiedykolwiek. Stale koncertował i nagrywał w Meksyku i Japonii. Uważany za giganta muzyki regularnie był zapraszany do meksykańskiej telewizji. W Japonii koncert w 1973 roku został zarejestrowany jako longplay we wczesnym czterokanałowym formacie (kwadrofonia).

Jego ostatni występ w Ameryce odbył się w Hollywood we wrześniu 1987 roku. Było to również jego ostatnie nagranie. Zmarł w Mexico City w 1989 roku, w wieku 72 lat. Mambo, w wersji odświeżonej przez niego pod nazwą salsa – pozostaje wciąż tańcem najbardziej kojarzonym z popularną muzyką latynoamerykańską, a Perez Prado Jr. dyryguje do dnia dzisiejszego orkiestrą imienia swojego ojca w Mexico City. (rmf.fm)



It is generally agreed that necessity is the mother of invention, but at least on the basis of the music contained in this album it seems very probable that the word "necessity" should be deleted, and "inspiration" substituted in its place. For the Voodoo Suite, herein recorded, is easily one of the outstanding contemporary examples of spontaneous genius, the end-product of a few hours of idea-development-fruition which might be said to have almost miraculously resulted in the exciting music so immediately evident in this recording. It is a well-known fact that creative work undertaken on the spur of the moment often emerges not only with greater freshness, but with distinctly more flavor and import than something which may have been worked on over a period of weeks or months.

In April, 1954, while on one of his periodic recording trips to Hollywood, Herman Diaz, Jr., of RCA Victor's Artists and Repertoire staff, found himself rather routinely surveying prospective material with Perez Prado. During the conversation — at which, by one of those odd quirks of fate, RCA Victor's jazz director, Jack Lewis, was also present — and without attaching too much importance to it at the moment, Messrs. Diaz and Lewis suggested that, at least at some time in the future, Prado prepare an orchestral work that would depict the marriage of primitive rhythms to American jazz—a sort of tone poem in which the African, the mambo and the basic aspects of jazz would be united in such a way as to show their true relationship. As soon as the idea was formulated, Prado expressed a wild and uncontained enthusiasm — so, amidst really frantic preparations, while Diaz and Lewis corralled the necessary musicians, Prado retired to write and arrange the music. Shorty Rogers was called in as a consultant, and twenty-four hours later, on April 8, everyone was back in the studio — Prado had his manuscript, Diaz and Lewis had twenty-two musicians, and the recording commenced as though it had been planned for months.

The Voodoo Suite is the result of that now-historic session. Prado's score, which called for four saxes, six trumpets, three trombones, French horn, bass and seven drummers, required a greater personnel than that included in his own band, with the result that several of the West Coast's leading jazz musicians were hastily recruited, including practically every available drummer in the area.

The Suite opens with soft, mysterious beatings on the tom-tom, depicting an African dawn—the throbbing becomes increasingly more frantic until it is joined by a series of softly chanting voices. The drums become more fiercely predominant, introducing a heated vocal exchange. The music recedes and starts to build slowly again, with brass and percussion still predominant, spelling out the early African setting. A fast jazz figure enters, featuring a walking bass, after which the entire band pours in, preluding an extended sax solo. The part ends with a jazz figure punched out by screeching trumpet notes.

The following section is introduced by a frantic rhythm in which seemingly all the percussion participates; another sax solo is introduced, floating high above the background; the band drives into a mambo beat and the sax returns, binding the basic rhythms of jazz and mambo into an obvious totality.

The last movement also commences with percussion, leading to a wild jazz interchange between reeds and brass. An almost jungle-like atmosphere is introduced by a growl trumpet, setting forth the absolute dependence of jazz on its African patterns. Changes of rhythm occur at frequent intervals, finally leading to the mysterious African chanting and to the opening phrases of the first section. The Suite ends on a short flash of the drum, again underlying the reliance of the whole on its percussionistic, rhythmic base.

The Six All-Time Greats which are featured on Side Two of this album constitute Prado's tribute to some of the outstanding bandleaders of our time. In four of these, played in mambo/La Culeta style by Prado—Jumping at the Woodside (Count Basie), / Can't Get Started (Bunny Berigan), St. James Infirmary (Cab Calloway) and Music Makers (Harry James)—Prado has added strings to his band, producing a new, more colorful, and immensely heightened tonal effect. In the remaining two—Stomping at the Savoy (Benny Goodman) and In the Mood (Glenn Miller)—we hear the band in its usual mambo style, but usual only in that it is what we have come to expect of the highly contagious music of this modern master. (Bill Zeitung, Radio Corporation of America)

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Kali Bahlu - Cosmic Rememberance (1967)



Kali Bahlu to enigmatyczna wokalistka, która w 1967 roku nagrała bardzo ciekawy album "Kali Bahlu Takes The Forest Children To The Journey of Cosmic Rememberance". W warstwie muzycznej opiera się on głównie na sitarowych brzmieniach nie stroniąc jednak od ciekawych eksperymentów dźwiękowych. Wszystkiemu smaczku nadają teksty mówiące o rozmowach telefonicznych z Buddą, przy kawce i papierosach, wywiady z Buddą etc ....



The enigmatic Kali Bahlu was a young woman in 1967 when she released her Cosmic Remembrance LP on the then-foundering World-Pacific record label. A swirling tableau of gongs, sitars, tablas and Bahlu’s Buddhist chanting and fairy-tale ruminations, Cosmic Remembrance is an album known for its general incongruity and for testing listeners’ patience.

For all of its faux-Eastern artifice and Bahlu’s voice - sometimes a feral soprano, sometimes a jarring, child-like babble - Cosmic Remembrance is nonetheless quite unique, a relic that stands apart from its era. (Hear an excerpt of the album’s “A Cosmic Telephone Call” here).

“Lonely Teardrops” - Bahlu’s first recording, I believe - is not wholly dissimilar from the otherworldly atmosphere of her Cosmic Remembrance LP. It’s just much better. It’s also Kali Bahlu singing from some grimmer place. The ominous rumblings, Bahlu’s naked, if indecipherable, emotion, the wonderfully stark gloom: those of us drawn to sunless, wintry tundras find much to love in the remarkable “Lonely Teardrops.” This is the reason bears hibernate. Brighter days lay ahead for Kali Bahlu, however - they could hardly get any bleaker.

Whether it was the Bahlu of “Lonely Teardrops” banging on a detuned guitar - or the beatific Bahlu rambling in sing-song tones about Lord Buddha and “clocks of never” on Cosmic Remembrance - this is clearly someone on a separate psychic plane.

Often referred to as acid-influenced, that is perhaps a disservice to the peculiar experience of Kali Bahlu, whose Californian, pseudo-Buddhist cosmic consciousness just happened to synchronize with hippie sensibilities. Kali Bahlu would later be involved in some capacity with a few hens-teeth-obscure ‘70s albums of Eastern-inspired singing and commune vibes by the Los Angeles hippie-rock group Lite Storm. Bizarrely, Bahlu was more recently spotted in Taiwanese filmmaker Mei-Juin Chen’s film Hollywood Hotel.

I’ve found no conclusive information on Terra Records or this selection’s producer, Michael O’Shanessey. I believe “Lonely Teardrops” was recorded in 1966 or 1967. (officenaps.com)

The archive contain the single found on officenaps. com. Thanks a lot.

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26.6.10

Wipers - Land Of The Lost (1986)



O grupie The Wipers pisałem już wcześniej dlatego nie chcąc się powtarzać odsyłam do dawnego posta. Powiem tylko, że prezentowany album jest moim zdaniem najlepszym studyjnym dokonaniem zespołu.

Land of the Lost marks the beginning of what I usually refer to as the monochrome period in the Wipers' catalogue, a string of albums that taught me diversity and colourfulness are all too often considered (and expected) essential ingredients for a successful album. It's not that the Wiperss first three albums were all-over-the-place exercises in diversity, but they all had their own, different feel and featured songs that covered almost opposite parts of the musical spectrum, ranging from short and raw punk bursts to epics that showed Sage was one of the few musicians getting away with extended solos in an age when that was not done anymore. It took the Wipers (on this album: Sage, bassist Brad Davidson and drummer Steve Plouf) three years to release this album and even though that's quite long for an album of a good half hour of plain guitar-rock, it also shows they've mastered their "new" style perfectly. It still sounds like the Wipers of before, but it's the first time they released an album that almost seems like one extended song. Some people would call it monotony, but if you can maintain a certain mood and sound throughout an entire album and make it an almost hypnotic experience instead of a drag, you're onto something. On Land of the Lost, Sage & Co. sound like Television, if that band had been more concise and based in Arizona instead of New York. The mood's melancholic and dark, yet never depressing, while the combination of Sage's vocals, his gritty guitar style and the trance-like grooves of Plouf and Davidson cause it to constantly contain both beauty and force, soothing hypnosis and jarring aggression. It's a peculiar combination and there are very few bands capable of sustaining something like this for longer than a few songs.

Brad Davidson - Bass
Steve Plouf - Drums
Greg Sage - Guitar, Vocals



It's music that's perfectly suited for long car trips, repetitive yet never descending into blandness. It's almost stunning how simple most of these songs seem - just a few basic chord progressions, endlessly repeated riffs and Sage's plaintive vocals on top of it. However, the guitar sound - often a beefy, distorted guitar playing the riff, with a clearer one adding accents on top of it - ensures you'll soon be part of a trip. In "Just a Dream Away," for instance, you will hardly notice the transitions from versus to chorus and back anymore. It's all part of the same trip. Some songs are faster and more aggressive ("Way of Love," "Fair Weather Friends," which seems indebted to early Gun Club), but even those continue the groove that's set by the dominant, mid-paced tempos. While each song in itself shows enough identity, the album as a whole meanders from riff to riff, even though its second half offers more diverse sounds, from the gentler dream-like playing of "Nothing Left to Lose" and the nearly-whispered vocals of "Different Ways," to the new wave melancholy of "Just Say," which points forward to the culmination of this approach, Silver Sail. This album remains a special listening experience and album, one without obvious highlights towering above the remaining tracks. Even though I've heard it dozens of times, it still sounds as mysterious as the first time when I put it on and if you'd play me just one song, I perhaps wouldn't be able to tell you its location on the track list. It's not the kind of album you'll advise anyone to check out, because it's so hard to put your finger on what it is that makes this album work, but once you've been turned onto Sage's vision, Land of the Lost is bound to become a minor guitar classic in your book as well (still a damn ugly cover, though). (guypetersreviews.com)

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25.6.10

Moving Sidewalks - Flash (1968)



Moving Sidewalks - to amerykańska grupa z Teksasu, założona w drugiej połowie lat 60-tych przez nikogo innego jak gitarzystę i wokalistę Billa Gibbonsa późniejszego ZZ Top-ianina. Zespół poczatkowo nagrał kilka singli dla wytwórni Wand i Tantra, a ponieważ cieszyły się one lokalnym powodzeniem ta druga zaproponowała jej wydanie albumu. I tak też się stało - w 1968 roku światło dzienne ujrzał album "Flash". Zawiara on gitarową psychodelię, ale też słychać na niej muzyczne poszukiwania (szczególnie na drugiej stronie albumu). Moim zdaniem jest to jedna z najciekawszych grup i swoisty klasyk gatunku. Muzyka Movig Sidewalks była ceniona przez samego Jimi Hendrixa. Zespół istniał tylko do 1970.

Bill Gibbons - guitar, vocal
Tom Moore - keyboards
Don Summers - bass
Dan Mitchell - drums



The Moving Sidewalks ~ founded by Billy Gibbons in 1967, consisted of Gibbons on guitar, vocals & harmonica, Don Summers on bass, Dan Mitchell on drums and Tom Moore on keyboards. The Texas psychedelic group quickly drew a large following, especially in the Houston “teen scene”. They recorded several singles and one full-length album, Flash. Their single “99th Floor” was a hit and topped the charts at #1 in Houston for six weeks. The success of this record led the Sidewalks to sign with Wand Records which then released “Need Me” which also became a Top 10 Hit. The group was asked to open for many legendary rock tours, including Jimi Hendrix and The Doors.

After Tom Moore and Don Summers were drafted into the U.S. Army, Billy Gibbons and Dan Mitchell added Lanier Greig and formed the original ZZ Top. They recorded the first ZZ Top record, “Salt Lick”, which was released on London Records. The Moving Sidewalks opened for the legendary Texas psychedelic group 13th Floor Elevators at the San Antonio Texas psychedelic venue Love Street Emporium located on Commerce Street on the edge of downtown San Antonio. The Elevators set was stopped after only a few songs by the San Antonio police department who arrested the band’s lead singer Roky Erickson. (thesweetestpsychopath.tumblr.com)



Yes, this is the band that Billy Gibbons rose to local fame with, a band that opened and/or played with such legendary acts as The 13th Floor Elevators, The Golden Dawn, Fever Tree, Shiva's Headband, Bubble Puppy, Doug Sahm, and the Winter brothers, just to name a few. They've probably become over-rated by enthusiastic ZZ Top fans, and over-stated by justly proud native Texans lucky enough to have had them play at their local clubs, bars and youth centers back in the day. But the basis of those over-ratings and over-statments was real: they were a fine combo who could cook with the best of the bands previously named.

This LP features a nascent Billy Gibbons in his youth, already with many of the chops and licks he'd bring to ZZ Top a short while later. It's puro homegrown Texas Psychedelic Blues, specifically the genuine South Coast Sound of Galveston, (home of the Bali Room) and that muggy Baghdad on the Bayou, Houston Texas. Granted, it sounds a little dated--most Psychedelic bands of the 60's and 70's do. Granted, you'll only catch a studio portion of the live act that made them such legends, not unlike the 13th Floor Elevators in that respect--locals who saw them still rave about their shows to this day "you should have been there". But until such a time as some live Sidewalks CDs surface, those of us unfortunate enough as to have missed these cats in their heyday will just have to make do with this. (Walter Five)

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Pazop - Psychillis Of A Lunatic Genius (1972)


Pazop to belgijski zespół zaliczany najczęściej do sceny Canterbury, sięgający jednak często po zróżnicowane stylistycznie tematy, z czego wyłania się muzyka złożona, wyrafinowana, pełna zmian rytmu i tempa oraz wypełniona sporą dozą humoru i ironii. Pierwszych osiem utworów pochodzi z albumu nagranego w 1972 roku, reszta zaś z niekompletnej sesji nagraniowej z roku 1973. Co ciekawe, materiał nagrany został bez udziału gitary, za to ze świetną solową rolą skrzypiec (polski akcent), organów i fletu.


Pazop were an early-'70s progressive rock group with some jazz-fusion tendencies from Belgium. Though their music was beyond the ordinary, they were never able to release an album during their short lifetime. Pazop was formed at the end of 1971 by vocalist and flautist Dirk Bogaert, keyboardist Frank Wuyts, violinist Kuba Szczepansky, bassist Patrick Cogneaux, and drummer Jacky Mauer. Wuyts and Szczepanski had just left progressive rock band Wallace Collection, Wuyts had previously been involved with Bogaert, Cogneaux, and Mauer had been in another short-lived prog band, Waterloo. Cogneaux had also been a member of Arkham, a group that included future members of Magma and Univers Zero, while Sczcepansky, a classically trained musician born in Poland, played in the Brussels Opera Philharmonic Orchestra for a couple years before turning to rock with Wallace Collection in 1970.

Even before they had decided on a name, the new group approached Wallace Collection's label, EMI, and though the record company did not sign the group, they offered them a two-day studio session to record a better demo. The four-song demo was in a style far more commercial than their normal sound, which had influences as diverse as Miles Davis, 20th century classical music, progressive rock groups like King Crimson and Caravan, and Frank Zappa. With the new demo Szczepanski and Mauer headed to Paris to hit up every record label there for a contract, but they had no success. They also finally came up with a name for themselves, Pas Op, Flemish for "Warning" but the spelling was soon changed to Pazop



They finally got a contract with producer Luigi Oglival in March of 1972, who was able to get them signed to CBS and the Barclay label. The band went into the Herouville Studio in France in July 1972 to record the album Psychillis of a Lunatic Genius. The group also played several gigs at the Gibus-Club in Paris, which brought them some excellent press, as well as other shows in France and Belgium. Meanwhile, near the end of that year, Barclay rejected their album as being too non-commercial, and chose to release one of the earlier demos as a single instead, much to the group's chagrin. Oglival, who realized he wouldn't recoup the studio costs, dropped the band as well, reneging on his contract and even keeping the master tapes.

In 1973, the group was hired by pop musician Sylvain Van Holme to provide modern rock adaptations of various classical pieces by Tchaikovsky, Dvorák, Mozart and Verdi. Van Holme decided to co-produce a new record by Pazop, and booked them at the Start Studio in Belgium in the late summer of 1973. Van Holme contacted several record companies, but again the album was not commercial enough. The group continued touring Belgium and France until July of 1974 before calling it quits. Their inability to get enough gigs and to release either of their LPs had left them financially and emotionally strapped, and they split up for more successful groups. Their master tapes sat in a desk drawer for years. Pazop's two albums, minus the four commercial demos, were finally released on CD by Musea in 1996. (AMG)

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22.6.10

The Electric Flag, An American Music Band - "The Trip: Original Motion Picture Sound Track" (1967)


[PL]

Kto nigdy nie natknął się na muzykę The Electric Flag, niech wbije sobie tą nazwę w pamięć, by jak najszybciej uzupełnić muzyczne zaległości. Ciężko powiedzieć, jak potoczyłyby się w ogóle losy sceny San Francisco, gdyby nie wjechał na nią z impetem pod koniec lat sześćdziesiątych projekt Mike'a Bloomfielda i Buddy Milesa. Fantazyjna fuzja jazzu, bluesa, instrumentalnego soulu i eksperymentalnego rocka z domieszka psychedelii, którą dali światu The Electric Flag, stała się wielką inspiracją dla masy innych grup tj. The United States Of America, po wsze czasy zapisując się też w szatańskiej księdze rock'n'rolla. Pomimo tego, że grupa pojawiła się tak samo szybko, jak zniknęła ze sceny, nie można nie doceniać jej wkładu w tworzenie się klasycznego brzmienia amerykańskiej psychedelii!

The Electric Flag zostali utworzeni w marcu 1967, w Nowym Jorku, pod enigmatyczną nazwą An American Music Band, pod którą zespół występował na scenie także przez następny rok, min. na Festiwalu w Monterey. Inicjatorem projektu był Mike Bloomfield, pochodzący z Chicago, genialny gitarzysta, który będąc świeżo po wycieńczającej trasie koncertowej z avant-bluesową formacją Paul Butterfield Blues Band, postanowił wypiąć się na zespół i poszukać swojej własnej drogi. Mike wyciął z zespołu bez podania przyczyny i natychmiast skumał się ze swoim ziomkiem, klawiszowcem Barrym Goldbergiem proponując mu stworzenie grupy, grającej muzykę wszechamerykańską. Ten eksperyment totalny miał na celu połączenie ze sobą wszystkich możliwych wpływów muzycznych.




Wkrótce do grupy doszedł basista Harvey Brooks, muzyk sesyjny Boba Dylana, który nagrał z nim płytę "Highway 61 Revisited", zaś następnym krokiem było odbicie z zespołu Wilsona Picketta dziewiętnastoletniego wówczas Buddy Milesa, którego nakarmiono ciasteczkami Oreo wkręcając mu jednocześnie filmy o łatwych dziewczynach z San Francisco, gdzie zamierzano przenieść zespół. Bloomfield znalazł jeszcze wokalistę Nicka Gravenitesa i zaprosił także do składu dwóch innych muzyków, trębacza Marcusa Doubledaya i wszechstronnego saksofonistę tenorowego, Petera Strazzę. W ten sposób powstał w USA pierwszy w historii skład rockowy z sekcją dętą (wówczas absolutna nowość), inspirowany silnie taktyką muzyczną soulowej wytwórni Stax!



Grupa przeniosła się na Zachodnie Wybrzeże w kwietniu 1967 za miejsce zamieszkania obierając sobie duży dom w Mill Valley, którego koszty wynajmu pokrył menadżer zespołu, Albert Grossman. Wkrótce cała siódemka miała własne kwatery i pod koniec kwietnia zespół zaczął pracę nad standardami soul i R&B przy okazji ćwicząc swój pierwszy własny numer, "Groovin' Is Easy". Los chciał, że w tym samym czasie Roger Corman, pracujący dla kultowej stajni filmów exploitation – American International Pictures, przekonany przez Petera Fondę i Jacka Nicholsona, szukał artysty potrafiącego skomponować ścieżkę dźwiękową do jego nowego projektu: filmu, który miał oddać atmosferę tripu na kwasie.

Gdy zadaniu nie sprostała lokalna grupa International Submarine Band, uznana przez twórców za zbyt nudną, Fonda spotkał się z Bloomfieldem w domu Grama Parsonsa (gdzie zespół odbywał próby) i zaproponował mu współpracę. The Electric Flag z zapałem rzucili sie do nagrywania korzystając jednocześnie z pałacu na Hollywood Hills, gdzie zakwaterował ich na czas sesji nagraniowej Fonda. W tym samym czasie kręcili sie jeszcze po rezydencji czlonkowie The Velvet Underground z Nico na czele, którzy razem z Andy Warholem i grupą Factory dopiero zdążyli się stamtąd wyprowadzić. Te wibracje z pewnością nie pozostały bez wpływu na zawartość soundtracku do kultowego "The Trip".

Sam album został nagrany podczas dziesięciodniowej sesji (najprawdopodobniej w United Studios) i stanowił arcydzieło sceny San Francisco! 18 kawałków, które znalazło sie na płycie, oscylowało wokół psychedelii, bluesa i muzyki ilustracyjnej nie stroniąc jednak także od free jazzowych i soulowych wpływów. Właśnie tutaj Bloomfield po raz kolejny dał się poznać jako genialny kompozytor, aranżer i jeden z największych talentów gitarowych w Stanach Zjednoczonych, które w tym samym roku miały dopiero odkryć nowy, wschodzący talent – Jimiego Hendrixa. Jak się miało niedługo okazać, Jimi Hendrix sam stał się wielkim fanem zespołu grając z nim gigi i jam sessions na tej samej scenie nawiązując szczególnie dobrą komunikację z młodym perkusistą The Electric Flag...


Pomimo tego, że "The Trip" został nieco zapomniany przez historię, głównie z powodu ograniczonego nakładu (płytę wytłoczono pierwotnie tylko w USA), należy zdać sobie sprawę że właśnie to, a nie "Long Time Comin'", był pierwszym albumem grupy. Ciekawszy i bardziej eksperymentalny niż późniejsze dokonania Electric Flag, zawiera masę krótkich kawałków, które prowadzą widza przez kwasowy trip Petera (głównego bohatera filmu) od momentu "wejścia" przez okresy euforii, paranoi, szukania miejsca wytchnienia od rzeźni i cyrkowego sądu aż do "zejścia". By oddać specyficzną atmosferę jazdy na kwasie, zespół użył zestawu niecodziennych efektów łącznie z partiami, granymi przez przez Paula Beavera na jednym z pierwszych syntezatorów analogowych Mooga, które dzięki Electric Flag szybko miały podbić amerykańską scenę psychedeliczną. Sam Bloomfield ujawnia się muzycznie tylko w niektórych momentach szturmując jednak jak burza na gitarze w ponad siedmio minutowym kawałku "Fine Jug Thing" - wysmakowanym aranżacyjnie klejnocie, niemal wieńczącym cały album.

Inni nie pozostają jednak w tyle. Sekcja dęta atakuje nas w "Green and Gold" na stronie A i w "Peter Gets Off" na stronie B. W innych kawałkach notujemy zaś pojawienie się takich smaczków, jak partie elektrycznych skrzypiec czy klawesynu, które nadają im prawdziwie odlotowego klimatu – część to prawdziwy kosmos robiący z mózgu elektryczny kisiel. Trudno opisać tą płytę, nagraną przez zespół, który grał ze sobą wtedy zaledwie dwa miesiące, ale bez wątpienia stanowi ona absolutne arcydzieło. I tutaj nie zabrakło jednak nacisków biznesu muzycznego. Jako producent albumu został ujęty John Court, pomimo tego że został on praktycznie w całości wyprodukowana przez Bloomfielda, który skomponował też większość utworów. Z tego też powodu na kolejną płytę The Electric Flag trzeba było czekać niemal rok, zespół lawirował pomiędzy presją wytwórni płytowych, a wewnętrznymi ciśnieniami próbując przeskoczyć ponad obydwoma.

Pierwsza reedycja winylowa płyty pojawia się dopiero w 1987 w Wielkiej Brytanii dzięki małej wytwórni Edsel i od tej pory album na winylu staje się niemal niedostępny w obrocie. Przypomina o nim ponownie reedycja Curb Records na CD z 1996, która jednak koszmarnie psuje oryginalne wydanie skracając jego czas trwania z 50 minut do 27. Jako, że większość nie ma niestety dostępu do rzadkiego i drogiego wydania winylowego z 1967, kupując CD otrzyma niestety tylko niewyraźne wrażenie niecodziennego klimatu "The Trip". Płyta warta jest zaś polecenia wszystkim frikom kochającym sam film, jak też lubiącym się zanurzyć w otchłani wibracji kwasowych lat.




[EN]

Who never came upon music of The Electric Flag, should memorize this name and stop being backward as soon as possible. It's hard to say, what the fate of San Francisco sound would have been if it wasn't seriously influenced in the end of 60's by Mike Bloomfield's and Buddy Miles' wild fantasy. Outstanding fusion of jazz, blues, instrumental soul and experimental rock with a hint of psychedelic sound, coined by The Electric Flag, became a great inspiration for loads of other groups like The United States Of America for example, setting their signature forever in the satanic book of rock'n'roll. Despite their short life with sudden disbanding, we have to remeber their importance for classic American psychedelic sound.

The Electric Flag were created in March of 1967, in New York under an enigmatic name An American Music Band, which has been used for live shows like Monterey Pop Festival in the next year. Chicago born and raised Mike Bloomfield was their creator and main force behind the band. This brilliant guitar player was just past his ultimate tour with avant-blues Paul Butterfield Blues Band, which totally washed him up, thus he decided to split in order to found his own thing. After that he got along with one of his buddies, keybord player Barry Goldberg, whom he proposed establishing a music band, which would play an all American music. It was supposed to be a total experiment combining music influences from everywhere possible.

Soon bass player Harvey Brooks joined the band – session musician of Bob Dylan, who recorded with him "Highway 61 Revisited". Next step was to nick nineteen year old Buddy Miles from Wilson Pickett's band, who was fed with Oreo cookies and made up with stories about hot'n'easy girls from San Francisco, where band was supposed to land eventually. Bloomfield found also a great vocalist, Nick Gravenites and invited two other musicians to the band, trumpeter Marcus Doubleday and all rounded tenor saxophonist Peter Strazza. This was a first rock line-up with brass section in USA (completely new thing then), inspired without any doubt by what was happening in Stax Records.





Band was translocated to Western Coast in April 1967 and rented a house in Mill Valley, costs were covered by Albert Grossman, band's manager. Soon all seven musicians had their own apartments and before April was gone they started working over soul and R&B standards practising as well their brand new piece, "Groovin' Is Easy". Somehow their path was crossed by Roger Corman, working at that time for American International Pictures – cult exploitation film company, who got convinced by Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson that they needed a real artist to compose the soundtrack for his new movie about acid trip.

As they just turned down one of the local music groups, International Submarine Band, considered too vague to accomplish it, Fonda met Bloomfield in Gram Parsons' house (where band kept doing rehearsals) and proposed him collaboration. The Electric Flag have found it with favour and started recording soundtrack, living in a palace in Hollywood Hills, where they've been moved by Fonda for the time of the recording session. In the same time The Velvet Underground's members including Nico and Andy Warhol's Factory group were still hanging out there, cause they just moved out still staying in LA. These vibrations for sure have left their mark on a cult "The Trip" record.



An album was recorded in ten days session (most probably in United Studios) and can be considered a masterpiece of San Francisco sound! 18 tracks cut on the record, were swinging around psychedelic rock, blues, various themes with free jazz and soul vibes. It's here, where Bloomfield unveiled himself as a genius composer, arranger and one of the up-and-coming guitar talents in USA. Don't forget, that the same year Americans were just to discover a new raising talent – Jimi Hendrix. As it became obvious shortly, the future guitar's God himself was on of the ardent fans, playing gigs and jam sessions together with The Electric Flag, getting along especially with the young drummer... Buddy Miles.

Although "The Trip" was nearly forgotten by history, mainly due to limited pressing (the record was originally released only in USA), we cannot forget it was indeed first album of The Electric Flag, not "Long Time Comin'". More interesting in many ways and definitely more experimental than band's later works, includes a lot of short tunes, leading a movie viewer through Peter's (main character) acid trip, from the first kick-in through periods of euphoria, paranoia, searching to be saved from the acid flip-side, „circus court” and finally to wearing off. To imitate peculiar vibe of the acid trip, band used whole set of weird effects including lines played by Paul Beaver on one of the first Moog synthesizers, which were quickly to taka a grip on American psychedelic sound. Bloomfield reveals himself musically only in few moments on "The Trip" thundering over with his Les Paul guitar in "Fine Jug Thing", lasting over seven minutes – genuine arrangement's pearl, which kind of crowns whole album.



The others don't stay aside. Brass section circles down in "Green and Gold" on side A and "Peter Gets Off" on side B. In other tracks band comes up with more soul food like electric violin or harpsichord, which add a real trippy vibe to it all – partly it's a professional freak-out, which just bubbles in our brains like a sort of electric pudding. I'd have a real challenge with a detail description of this record, made by a band playing together about two months, but it is massive, really monumental. Even here we unfortunately find the pressure of music business. As an album's producer John Court was credited (Alan Grossman's friend), although it was produced almost exclusively by Bloomfield, who composed most of the tracks as well. It was one of the reasons why it took more than a year to record a following album – band was jumping between pressure of it's label and inner splits (drugs, drugs, drugs...) trying to tackle both.

First reissue comes up in 1987, in UK, due to efforts of small Edsel label and since that time vinyl release becomes almost obsolete on the market. We can recall it when Curb Records puts on the market another reissue in 1996, which is just CD and turns original into nightmare stripping it from 50 minutes to just 27. Because most people unfortunately cannot get hold of rare and quite expensive original vinyl release, will get a muddy notion of what "The Trip" is about when buying CD. This record is strongly recommended to all freaks loving the movie and those, who want to dive into the abyss of acid years.

############################

"The Trip" issues [DISCOGS]
Mike Bloomfield's official website

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21.6.10

High Rise - Live (1994)


High Rise to założone na początku lat 80-tych japońskie trio grające ciężki, hałaśliwy i pełen powalającej energii rock psychodeliczny. Podstawowy skład tworzyli znakomici muzycy: Asahito Nanjo na wokalu i gitarze basowej, Munehiro Narita na gitarze oraz zmieniający się kilkukrotnie perkusiści. Album z pewnością przypadnie do gustu nie tylko miłośnikom ostrej japońskiej psychodelii.


High Rise is a Japanese trio formed by vocalist and bassist Asahito Nanjo and by guitarist Munehiro Narita. Narita had already recorded Taco (Pinakotheca, 1983). High Rise are a power-trio in the (brutal, improvisational, punkish) vein of Caspar Brötzmann's Massaker. Narita's stunning technique is the main attraction. The 1984 cassette Psychedelic Noise Beats (La Musica, 1996) won't be reissued for years. Ditto for the 1986 cassette Tapes (La Musica, 1996). Not counting the bootleg Psychedelic Speed Freaks (PSF, 1984 - Time Bomb, 1997), High Rise's first album was High Rise II (PSF, 1986 - Squealer, 1998), that opens with a delirious rock and roll number, Turn You Cry and then delves into the uncontrolled urge of Cotton Top, amid neurotic guitar strumming and tribal drumming. Another epileptic fit detonates Last Rights while Wipe Out's epic refrain and cosmic riff could come out of a lost 1960s Pink Floyd album played at double speed. Everything pales compared with the 13-minute trenody Pop Sicle, a calculated gamble on the Velvet Underground's raga-boogie augmented with thundering drums and galactic guitar solos. Their terrorist art and Narita's catastrophic guitar style culminate with this unrestrained bacchanal. The 1998 reissue includes Monster A Go Go and Induced Depression.

Dispersion (PSF, 1992 - Squealer, 1998) has the anthemically noisy and pulsing Mainliner (a` la Stooges) and is crowned by the 15-minute Sadducees Faith.



High Rise recorded a legendary Live (PSF, 1994 - Squealer, 1999) that ranks with Grateful Dead's Live Dead as one of the monumental works of improvised psychedelic rock; except that High Rise build walls of noise in the tradition of Blue Cheer. The breathless rock and roll of Sadame and its explosive guitar solos make Led Zeppelin sound like a band of catholic schoolgirls. Ikon (whose riff is stolen from Electric Prunes' You've Never Had It Better) has the martial, psychotic pace of MC5's best sonic mayhems, amid ferocious guitar distortions and wild arpeggios. Mira is an orgiastic, 8-minute showcase of Narita's thunder and lighning guitar style over demonic drumming, Narita as a guitar semi-god in the vein of Jimi Hendrix. A more human sound surfaces with Outside Gentiles, an extended blues-rock song of the Cream/Hendrix tradition, doubled by the even more Cream-ian, 9-minute song Door, whose panzer-grade blues groove matches Jack Bruce's grandeur (alas, the vocals definitely don't) while the guitar wails and screams in the best Clapton-ian tradition. A supercharged version of Mainliner leads into the earth-shaking riff of Pop Sicle, the song stretched to ten agonizing minutes. Simply terrifying.

Ikon is also the centerpiece of Disallow (PSF, 1996 - Squealer, 1999), their most polished record.

Desperado (PSF, 1998) is a minor work that features only one extended jam, Right On.

Both Durophet (Fractal, 1999) and Speed Free Sonic (Paratactile, 1999) are live albums.



Asahito Nanjo is also active as Musica Transonic, a supergroup with Acid Mother Temple's guitarist Makoto Kawabata and Ruin's drummer Tatsuya Yoshida, which released five albums: Introducing Musica Transonic (PSF, 1995), A Pilgrim's Repose (1996), Orthodox Jazz (1997), Incubation (1998), a collaboration with Keiji Haino, and Swing Strong Mod (1999); and several cassettes: Zilch (La Musica, 1995), Works (1995) Euro Rock Boogaloo (1996), Musica Groove (1996), Damp Squib (1996), Differences (1997). Hard Rock Transonic (Fractal, 2002) collects unreleased material. They returned with the indulgent Kysofbigkou (Vivo, 2007).

Another project is Toho Sara (PSF). Nanjo also contributes to noise terrorists Mainliner and many other bands.

High Rise are probably the greatest purveyors of the fusion of free-jazz and acid-rock.

Destination: The Best Of High Rise (PSF, 2002) is an anthology of the years between 1986 and 2001.

Munehiro Narita also played in a duo with drummer Shoij Hano, Kyoaku No Intention. His debut solo album, Munehiro Narita (PSF, 2005), contains two lengthy solos and two duets (with Ueno Takashi of Aihiyo and Maher Shalal Hash Baz). It was followed by Ether (scaruffi).

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20.6.10

LSD - A Documentary Report (1966)



LSD - specyfik na całe zło epoki dzieci-kwiatów. Ponad dwa lata temu - w kwietniu 2008 roku - zmarł Albert Hoffman - wynalazca tego panaceum. Przeżył piękny wiek. Miał 102 lata. Studiował chemię na Uniwersytecie w Zurychu. Zajmował się głównie biochemią. Pracował naukowo nad budową chityny, z czego się doktoryzował. Następnie został zatrudniony w dziale farmaceutyczno-chemicznym koncernu farmaceutycznego Sandoz (obecnie Novartis). Zajmował się między innymi badaniem alkaloidów sporyszu oraz cebuli morskiej. Doprowadziło to do syntezy LSD. Skrót LSD pochodzi od niemieckiej nazwy dietyloamidu kwasu lizergowego.

Hofmann przez całe dekady bronił swego wynalazku. "Sporządziłem tę substancję jako lek. To nie moja wina, że ludzie jej nadużywają" - mówił. Sam na sobie jako pierwszy przetestował jej działanie, gdy odrobina wyciekła mu na palec. Było to 16 kwietnia 1943 roku. "Musiałem wrócić do domu, gdyż nagle poczułem niepewność i lekkie oszołomienie. Wszystko widziałem zamazane, jak w krzywym zwierciadle" - napisał w notatce dla szefów firmy.

Do domu wrócił na rowerze. Tam przeżył stan, który nazwał "wizją". "Cokolwiek pomyślałem, ukazywało mi się w kolorach i obrazach" - mówił w swe setne urodziny w wywiadzie dla szwajcarskiej telewizji SF DRS.

Trzy dni po pierwszym eksperymencie z zażyciem LSD, Hofmann spróbował większej dawki. Rezultat określił jako "straszną podróż". "Substancja, z którą chciałem eksperymentować, wzięła mnie we władanie. Przepełniał mnie wszechogarniający strach, że zwariuję. Zostałem przeniesiony do innego świata, w inny czas" - napisał chemik.

Hofmann i jego współpracownicy mieli nadzieję, że ich wynalazek wniesie ogromny wkład w psychiatrię, zwłaszcza w diagnozowanie i leczenie schizofrenii. Przez jakiś czas firma Sandoz sprzedawała LSD 25 pod nazwą Delysid. Był to jeden z najsilniejszych leków w historii medycyny. Jeden gram wystarczył, by utrzymywać narkotyczny stan u 10-20 tysięcy ludzi przez 12 godzin.

Rząd USA zakazał sprzedaży LSD w 1966 roku, wkrótce podobne decyzje podjęły inne kraje. Hofmann przez długie dziesięciolecia utrzymywał, że to niesprawiedliwe i że lek ten nie powodował uzależnienia, czego on sam miał być dowodem. Przyznał jednak w końcu, że w niewłaściwych rękach substancja jest niebezpieczna. Swe doświadczenia podsumował w 1979 roku w książce "LSD - moje trudne dziecko", która opisuje psychiczne i fizyczne skutki używania narkotyku. (Rzeczpospolita)

Prezentowany album stanowi dokumentalny zapis wypowiedzi piewców LSD - Timothy Leary'ego, Allena Ginsberga oraz bandy Kena Keseya - Merry Pranksters.


Albert Hoffman

At Capitol Records we live in a world of the young - a world of rock 'n' roll music, amid the need for a constant awareness of teenage interests of all kinds. We are, therefore, perhaps more aware of, and more sensitive to, the widespread use of LSD among the school age population. It is our firm belief that exposure to knowledge on this subject is of utmost importance to this group, and even more so to parents - which is why we have made this album. What better way to study and understand this subject and its dangers than at its very source - by listening in on the LSD community of musicians, pushers, narcotics officers, medical experts, non-medical "experts," and users themselves.

What is LSD? Is it a dangerous psychologically-habituating drug from which there may be a point of no return, or is it, as many users would like to believe, a consciousness-expanding chemical which enables one to see himself and his relationship to the universe and his fellow man for the first time? Is it one of the evils of our highly-complicated society symptomatic of its decline, or is it instead a new "religion" which will lead us into greater awareness and accomplishments?

Who should take it, under what conditions, what are its possibilities for good, and what are its dangers? These questions must be faced by all of us at this time when the widespread use of LSD is threatening to "turn on" the world. It is our sincere hope that the information exposed here will be helpful to those who want to understand what is "happening" in our high schools, colleges, and metropolitan communities today and all of the implications involved.

We did much soul-searching before planning this album. Could we possibly be doing any harm by helping to publicize this very subject, regardless of the nature of our approach? We came to the conclusion that so much publicity has already been given to LSD that it would be unlikely that we would be bringing it to the attention of anyone for the first time. We decided further that the phonograph record might be the best medium through which to properly educate and inform those very people who have only surface knowledge, and have failed to read the few books that have been written in depth on this subject.

We looked to Sidney Cohen, M.D. for help - because he is this country's leading medical authority on the subject of LSD. With 17 years of research on the subject and a United States Government grant behind him, Dr. Cohen represents a responsible medical approach to a still very controversial subject. We felt we had to go further and listen as well to what Dr. Cohen calls the "chemical visionaries" who are raising their voices in support of LSD. It is our belief that this album could not have been a true and honest documentary account of the subject without a presentation of what they have to say. That is why in this album you will hear the voices of Dr. Timothy Leary, Mrs. Aldous Huxley, and Allen Ginsberg.

From an editorial standpoint we cannot help but say that we feel great concern over the seriousness of indiscriminate use of LSD. However, in spite of the fact that we recognize that use of this drug might well be one of the major social problems of our time, this album is not meant to preach. It is meant to expose - as honestly as possible.

There will be a great deal on which the listener will have to draw his own conclusions.

ALAN W. LIVINGSTON
President, Capitol Records, Inc.



(from gatefold notes)

Glossary of terms used in this album

  • ACID - LSD-25, lysergic acid diethylamide.
  • ACIDHEAD - A regular LSD user.
  • ACID TEST - A term coined by the Kesey group to label a rock-and-roll dance performed to multiple sound and light effects.
  • BUM TRIP - A bad LSD experience.
  • BUSTED - To be arrested.
  • CAP - Capsule, often used as "a cap of LSD."
  • DMT - Dimethyltryptamine, a short-acting psychedelic that is injected or smoked.
  • DROP A CAP - Swallow a capsule of LSD.
  • FLIP - Go psychotic.
  • FREAKOUT - A bad LSD experience.
  • GRASS - Marijuana.
  • THE GREATFUL DEAD - A West Coast rock-and-roll group under the the entrepreneurial aegis of Owsley Stanley.
  • GUIDE - A person who "baby-sits" for the psychedelic user during a session
  • "H" - Heroin.
  • HIGH - A state of euphoria or extreme pleasure which may or may not be induced chemically.
  • MCG - Microgram. A thousandth of a milligram.
  • MG - Milligram. A thousandth of a gram.
  • POT - Marijuana.
  • PSYCHEDELIC - Mind-manifesting.
  • STONED - Denoting other than normal consciousness, induced by chemicals or the use of alcohol.
  • TRAVEL AGENT- In the context of psychedelic use, the person who provides the trip
  • TRIP - A psychedelic experience.
  • TURN ON - To alter awareness, with or without chemicals.

This is a documentary album...

about a problem of vital concern to everyone. As you will become aware as you listen to the authentic case histories of LSD users and to interviews with professional people - doctors, scientists and educators - there is no simple, no single solution to the problem. What is offered here is, in a very real sense, LSD in action: the authentic sounds of psychedelic experiences. The album provides no answers, only a vivid exposure to LSD as it exists in our society today.

Facts are the basis for any documentary, but from the very beginning of this project, photo-journalist Lawrence Schiller discovered that far too little is known about LSD and the other psychedelic drugs. Even the experts agree with this, though they disagree on many of the other points. Therefore, Schiller decided that many of the facts and most of the story could be found outside the clinics, laboratories and hospitals, and he decided to try to reach the illicit users of the new drugs. At first his contacts were few and difficult. "Many of them were afraid," he says. "They admitted to using the drugs, but when it came to pictures and interviews they said, 'no.' " There were others, however, who were trying to exercise their rebellion, "and some," he says, "who had a sort of missionary quality. They not only wanted to tell about their experiences; they seemed as though they had to."



In the underground sort of life that drug users find themselves living, a very efficient grapevine soon develops, and it wasn't long until Schiller began attaining a greater measure of acceptance. It became generally known that he was not a representative of the law, but that his goal was one of reporting. He was admitted to "acid parties" and at times he was allowed to take photographs. Teenage users began to speak more freely for his interview microphone. Even so, months were spent on the project, hundreds of photos were taken, and thousands of feet of recording tape expended in an effort to capture a comprehensive picture of this startling situation.

When Schiller and Capitol's Alan Livingston finally came together in an effort to produce this documentary album, they found that many facts do not necessarily make the clear picture. The attitudes of the experts and the users - the terrors, the euphoria, the dedication, the casual search for kicks, the "religion" and indeed the new way of life - are as varied as they are controversial. This you will hear when you listen to the record. The story is here but the end is not in sight.

---

LSD is only a few decades old, but it has become many things - and to many people. In the beginning it was known as model of madness, a temporary schizophrenia. Scientists studied it to understand the disorganized mind. Much was learned, but the answers were far from final. Later, a few psychiatrists wondered whether it could become a treatment for certain patients. That search still goes on.

A half dozen years ago the drug slipped out of medical control. An LSD movement of chemical visionaries actively propagandized its mass use. This powerful drug became the holy water of a cult, no, a religion. For it is a religion that is forming, complete with "persecuted" Prophet, devout disciples, bible and rituals.

The story moves on. Now the "acid" is big business. The black market doses get larger and larger, the age of the takers younger and younger. They "trip out" more and more frequently. Now, for many, it is only a high. But for a few, it is a horrendous low: the complications are increasing.

As this decisive moment, as seductive misinformation pours forth, the factual story of LSD must be told. It must be told in this medium so that you, yourself, can hear the sounds of the youngster "freaking out" - the enticements of the Prophet - the "acidhead" who lost his way - and all the other facets of the LSD problem.

SIDNEY COHEN, M.D.
Chief, Psychosomatic Service
Wadsworth V.A. Hospital, Los Angeles
Author of the best-selling authoritative books on LSD: "The Beyond Within" and "LSD"



This LP was created and released in 1966 by Capitol Records as a response to the burgeoning use of LSD -- lysergic acid diethylamide -- among American teenagers. The rear album jacket proclaims "A documentary report on the current psychedelic drug controversy!" Almost salaciously, the contents are depicted as "Actual recordings of people under the influence of psychedelic drugs...Psychedelic music...The sound of the "Acid Test"...LSD users and pushers and the amazing story of LSD in action." In an ironic and fascinating twist, some of that "psychedelic music" -- particularly the fast-paced tune heard at the beginning of side two -- is that of Neal Cassidy and a pre-Grateful Dead combo called the Warlocks performing "Speed Limit" circa 1965. Each side of the long-player consists of a single, continuous track. Narrated by author Lawrence Schiller, side one sets "The Scene" with information on the history of the drug, its effects, as well as sound bites of acid users -- both novice and seasoned -- during and after use. Likewise there are points of view from leading authorities in the medical community via Dr. Sidney Cohen, M.D. -- from the Psychosomatic Services division of the Wadsworth V.A. Hospital in Los Angeles, CA. Conversely, several minutes are devoted to the warnings and proselytizations of Dr. Timothy Leary and a variety of young men and women -- from equally diverse walks of life -- who speak candidly about their experiences -- both pro and con. Several countercultural iconic names are dropped, most prominent among them is that of Owsley Stanley aka Bear. He is specifically mentioned for creating a synthesis which left the LSD practically free of impurities and, for a time, the safest non- pharmaceutical acid being circulated. Side two contains "The Trip" where Schiller again guides listeners through comments from primarily teens about when they began their experimentation and what (if anything) they were able to take from their use. Next up is the audio vérité eight-party acid trip. One of the participants -- named "Brian" -- is the primary focus of Schiller's occasional commentary. Despite his purported familiarity with the drug, its ability to incapacitate becomes evident and his already fragile psyche turns increasingly dark and introspective as "Brian" is heard going through an especially unpleasant manic and psychotic episode. Or, as Schiller refers to it, a "rocky journey [that] ended 12 hours after it had so innocently begun." As to the positive uses of the compound, both Schiller and Dr. Cohen are not secretive about the treatment of cancer patients, chronic alcoholics, and even the breakthroughs in therapy for mentally-challenged children. After providing a brief update of LSD's legal nature -- circa 1966 -- there are additional quotes from Laura Archera Huxley, widow and biographer for her late husband, author of The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley. She vehemently disagrees with the illegality of the drug, yet is quick to warn of its dangers when used irresponsibly. Following a brief allusion to the infamous Acid Tests held by Ken Kesey and company, portions of a live Allen Ginsberg poetry reading are played prior to some interview clips in which he talks about his revelations and insights on the substance. There are also a few minutes of rambling Acid Test recordings, concluding with the profound statement that "...on the basis of the evidence...the answer to the LSD problem should be just about as obvious as the basic question: Is this trip really necessary?" The LP's inner-gatefold includes a "Glossary of terms used in this album" with an A to Z of hippie slang -- from "Acidhead" to "Turn On," while the back cover has an essay from concurrent Capitol Records President, Alan W. Livingston that, in part, states "At Capitol Records we live in a world of the young -- a world of rock 'n' roll music, amid the need for a constant awareness of teenage interests of all kinds." ~ Lindsay Planer, All Music Guide

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Strawberry Window (1967)



It’s unbelievable how after so many years it still is possible to make discoveries of an unpublished archive from the 60s, with acceptible sound quality, and with great musical quality. Strawberry Window surely had a strong sound and they also were a bunch of talented musicians (a great drummer, an important quality for convincing with jams, and great guitarists). Somehow they were just slightly ahead of things, while using rather twang guitars, they also used wild and freaky let’s say Hendrix like guitars, with peeping effects and such. They were just fantastic with long jams, pushing the full band forward to great moves, playing this amongst ballads and love songs, strong songs actually that stick with you, like the ballad wishing that the other one will break the girls’s heart so that she would return to him, and even one convincing primitive rock’n roller. A small minor point that for the first listen might pull a bit off I think was the live opener which is rather badly recorded, and even showing a great playing (fastly played drums, electric twang solos, harmony vocals) and not too long. After a second listen I thought this opener would have fitted perfectly well as a bonus track too, even after the other version of it with which the compilation closed. One of the other live tracks shows also rather distorted vocals but well recorded guitars, so that it actually feels quite well. A great one to check out ! (progressive.homestead.com)



U.S. 1967... Strawberry Window hailed from the San Francisco Bay Areas East Bay music scene in the mid 60's and were truly one of the "early birds" and innovators who made their own distinct brand of Rock-N-Roll. They played in a heavy-psychedelic-garage style, sounding somewhat reminiscent of the Jefferson Airplane, (early) Mad River, Buffalo Springfield, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Frumious Bandersnatch. These previously unreleased recordings have survived for the last four decades in a box on a shelf of a band member's closet! Meticulous care and detail has been taken to master these recordings with a fresh, open approach, while ensuring that the sound and integrity of the vintage songs remained intact. The amazing music of this guitar based quartet ranges from catchy electric folk tunes and "West Coast" garage rock to raw energetic acid jams lasting over 10 minutes. 65 minutes of intense, but melodic performances...16 page color booklet that will take you on a trip back to the halcyon days of the Summer of Love. In 1968 they switched guitar players added a girl singer, and changed their name to the Dandelion Wine.

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Ame Son - Catalyze (1970)



Ame Son to francuska grupa działająca pod koniec lat sześćdziesiątych i na początku lat 70-tych. Stylistycznie bardzo zbliżona do Gong. Zresztą niektórzy muzycy uczestniczyli w kilku sesjach zorganizowanych przez Daevida Allena. Jest to mieszanina jazz rocka, psychedelii i awangardy. Moim skromnym zdaniem jedna z najciekawszych francuskich grup tego okresu.

***
The end of the '60s saw many groups transitioning from psychedelic to progressive rock. One of these, Ame Son, was one of the earliest French rock bands to go beyond the conventional rock & roll of the time. Combining elements of psychedelic rock with avant jazz, they created a unique, improvised rock sound that laid the path for numerous other French progressive groups who stretched the boarders between rock and free jazz. Ame Son's history goes back to the mid-'60s, when guitarist Bernard Lavialle, guitarist/vocalist Bernard Stizi, bassist Patrick Fontaine, and drummer Marc Blanc formed the group Les Primitivs. From 1965 to 1967, this rock band, influenced by British blues rock like the Yardbirds, played in and around Paris and also for three months on the island of Corsica. When Stizi left at the end of 1967, the other three formed Expression, a more psychedelic band that gigged not only at clubs but also progressive art exhibits as well. When Lavialle temporarily joined the Army, Blanc and Fontaine joined Bananamoon, Daevid Allen's group after leaving Soft Machine and before founding Gong, to play some gigs in Spain in the summer of 1968 and southern France early the next year. Allen's influence in particular, as well as that of the underground psychedelic scene that came out of London that was mostly around the UFO club, was crucial to the development of the musicians by the time Lavialle rejoined the others in June 1969, along with flutist Francois Garrel. At that time, Ame Son, which roughly means soul song or expressive song in French, was born. Within three months, they signed with BYG Records and in two days in London recorded the instrumental tracks of their only proper album. With vocals and final mixing done in October, Catalyse came out in early 1970. Their live performances at large festivals around France over the next year and a half met with both public and critical success, but the band broke up in June 1971. A couple years later, the band re-formed with the addition of guest musicians Jacques Dudon, Alain Renaud, and Jean-Louis Auber and lasted for another few years. Blanc went on to do some solo work under the name Ame Songs in the 1980s and the band re-formed in 1995 for some concerts with avant-garde guitarist Jean Francois Pauvros -- Rolf Semprebon, All Music Guide



Ame Son were one of the first progressive/psychedelic bands in France. Most members of the band played with Daevid Allen of Gong after Allen was denied entrance to England due to visa problems, which basically ended Daevid's tour of duty with Soft Machine. When Allen was with them, they were known as Bananamoon, and after Allen's departure to form Gong, they renamed themselves Ame Son.

The music on "Catalyse" is very much like a cross between early Gong and "Jet Propelled" era Soft Machine. The shorthand explanation would be psychedelic improv-jam rock with jazzy overtones provided by the flute of Francois Garrel, while guitarist Bernard Lavielle provides appropriately fuzzed-out bliss. Vocals are rough but in most cases mercifully brief.



The music is rewarding and inventive, but the recording quality distracts somewhat. Recording quality is about what you would expect for an album of this time and place; American and British musicians in the 1960's had trouble getting recording engineers and producers to understand their visions, and the troubles were tenfold for French and other European psych/prog rockers. Spalax's typically lackadaisical CD "remastering" does not help much in this regard either. To give you a point of reference, the production quality is about the same as it is on 13th Floor Elevators albums.

If you can get past the rough recording quality, "Catalyse" is a bit of a jewel in the rough for Gong fans and for anyone who likes psychedelia. Ame Son was important in the history of French rock for being one of the first bands who broke out of the three-minute pop song ghetto, and deserve attention on that basis. Not a masterpiece, but not bad either; it takes a few listens to understand what's going on, but overall it's worth it.

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