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Ouba ‎- Freak Out Total (1968)


More than anything psychedelic (or North American, for that matter) from the era, Ouba sounds like something off the German Krautrock scene, perhaps Can without the structural discipline or the wealth of ideas. The lack of discipline is, more than anything, a matter of the recording's genesis. A1 Freak Out Total, as the title alone implies, was an off-the-cuff, in-studio, freak-out jam, a vamp on certain riffs and (especially) rhythms to which the music frequently returns like organizational motifs, rather than anything remotely resembling songs. On top of that, the four culprits -- all friends and outstanding instrumentalists but all members of different combos on the Quebec, Montreal rock scene -- were admittedly stoned on various illicit substances when the music was set down. The resulting clamor was recorded straight-through, live, and with no editing, overdubs, or extraneous mixing. Although there are two tracks on the record, it is really just two halves of a single freeform studio experiment, not really even meant for outside ears. But although there are quite a number of meandering, nonsensical, or plain painful-to-hear moments throughout said jam, there are also a good many amazing, isolated sections, especially when superb drummer Andy Shorter and guitarist Michael Pagliaro hit upon a funky groove like something off Tago Mago or Ege Bamyasi. Electronic artists could have a field day extracting excellent samples from this music (especially on the rhythmic end). As a pure listening experience, however, it's somewhat less a holy grail. Still, with only a couple extant copies floating around, the original LP is one of the most ridiculously rare Canadian psych pressings. And although it is certainly not worth mortgaging the house over, fans of rare or obscure acid rock should find the Gear Fab reissue a blessing. More fussy or fastidious listeners, on the other hand, can sleep easily without feeling the need to splurge for even the CD. (Stanton Swihart)

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