Tuesday, 8 August 2017

MIND DE-CODER 71

MIND DE-CODER 71


“Have your own little revolution NOW!”
                                                 Keith West/Tomorrow

THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE     EXP


AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE was Hendrix’s second release of 1967 following his ground-breaking debut earlier that year. It shows a band stretching in all areas, not just musically but in terms of song-craft as well. It’s a fantastic listen, full of proper songs and therefore not quite as mind-bending as ARE YOU EXPERIENCED. It does however feature the highly avant garde EXP as its opening salvo showing the playful sense of experimentalism that defined the first album was merely bubbling under the surface for this one. Wouldn’t it be great if bands these days could knock out a couple of radically innovative albums a year (or any sort of album, really, let’s face it) instead of making us wait three or four years between releases? Of course, that’s when being in a band meant something.

THE LUCK OF EDEN HALL     SLOW


For their most recent release, Chicago’s The Luck Of Eden Hall have produced a glorious technicolour journey through time that plays around with all of our perceptions of what that could actually mean on a psychedelic record. On THE ACCELERATION OF TIME, released in 2016, time is speeded up and slowed down; dreamscapes unfold and are put back together again; sound is distorted, stretched, and collapsed, ceaselessly shifting and yet, and this is the important thing, never at a cost to the tunes, which are fabulous and dizzying and, in the case of Slow, the album’s opening track, feature the mellotron, which is always a fine thing.

PINK FLOYD     MATILDA MOTHER


Sometimes it physically pains me that I never got to visit UFO and see house bands Pink Floyd, Tomorrow and The Soft Machine play whilst tripping my balls off on a sugar cube of Sandoz’s finest. Really, it just stops me dead in tracks sometime that I will never have got to see Tomorrow play live at UFO and just like that my day is ruined. I console myself that I got to see Doctor and The Medics play countless times at Alice In Wonderland in the 80s, but that’s all it is, a consolation. So, to console myself once more I put together the next three tracks just to remind myself of exactly how good it would have been.

This version of Matilda Mother seems to be an earlier recording of the track that graces 1967’s PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN, featuring lyrics Barrett more or less lifted from Belloc's ‘Cautionary Tales’, much to the evident displeasure of Hilaire Belloc’s estate, who promptly denied him permission to use them, resulting in a re-write and the version we are more familiar with. This version appears on their recent box set PINK FLOYD: THE EARLY YEARS 1965-1972 but I understand you can also find it on the considerably less expensive compilation, AN INTRODUCTION TO SYD BARRETT in 2010.


TOMORROW     THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF TIMOTHY CHASE


My regard for Tomorrow is unbound – they were the band I most regret never having had the opportunity to see play (what with me being two at the time and all) and, if you could have stuck them on a bill with Jimi Hendrix, I would have considered that a good night out. (This actually happened.)


The Incredible Story Of Timothy Chase is from their only album proper, TOMORROW, released 1968. Despite being regulars at UFO (for UFOria, you understand) fame eluded them, partly because their album, recorded in the spring of 1967 was held back until February of the next year, during which time London’s brief love affair with psychedelia was beginning to wane, and partly because singer Keith West so busy promoting the hit single Excerpt From A Teen Opera for which he provided the vocals that he no longer had time for the band which, in the wake of his solo success, the record company was now calling ‘Keith West and Tomorrow’, much to the chagrin of the rest of the band. The album is as fine an artefact of psychedelic London as you could ever hope to hear featuring two of my favourite tracks from the 60s, but it’s not a great album, not in the way that PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN is a great album, if you see what I mean, but I feel they could have made an album that good if the psychedelic dice of destiny had just rolled another way.

SOFT MACHINE     WE DID IT AGAIN


This is the track where Soft Machine also casually invent krautrock alongside the progressive jazz-rock they’re more noted for. Taken from their debut album THE SOFT MACHINE, also released in 1968, I understand they could stretch this track out for 15 minutes or more when playing live. Can you imagine? Far out.

THE MOVE     FLOWERS IN THE RAIN


By contrast, The Move only ever played at UFO once, and by some accounts it didn’t go down too well with the audience of regulars. Never truly a psychedelic band, The Move were more likely to be under the influence of a pint or two of Newcastle Brown Ale than they were LSD, but that didn’t stop them flirting with the imagery of psychedelia and producing a number two hit with Flowers In The Rain in 1967. They had a pyrotechnic stage act the rivalled Hendrix and The Who, which resulted in the blissed-out flower children of UFO dodging exploding television sets and fireworks during their performance. They were never invited back. 

 CHAZ BUNDWICK MEETS THE MATTSON 2      SONMOI



Chaz Bundwick (Toro Y Moi to his fans) has been making idiosyncratic music since his debut in 2010. Musician and producer, his music has taken on many forms but he is often identified with the rise of the chillwave movement in 2010 and 2011. Earlier this year he teamed up with The Mattson 2, a jazz duo from California, and together they produced the album STAR STUFF, an album that takes as its starting point Serge Gainsbourg’s louche production, David Axelrod’s avant garde themes, library records, desert jams, acid-soul struts and neon-punk-jazz which results in the kind of spectacular celestial jazz-prog that is currently ticking all the right boxes for me.

SAINT ETIENNE     ANGEL (BROADCAST REMIX)



I’ve always been grateful for this one collaboration between Saint Etienne and Broadcast and wish it could have led to more. Saint Etienne’s particular blend of retro pop classicism always shared something with Broadcast’s own hauntological retro stylings, and we can only imagine what we’re missing (well, I can; you, more reasonably, might have no interest in it whatsoever). This track was featured on their 1996 release CASINO CLASSICS, a round-up of remixes, B-sides and especially commissioned pieces; in this case, the remix was released long before the original saw the light of day some years later on a fans-only release NICE PRICE! in 2006.  

BECK     CANCELLED CHECK



Beck’s follow-up to the hugely successful ODELAY was the deceptively simple MUTATIONS, released in 1998. By comparison to the former, it’s a subdued collection of acoustic-based, stripped-down, spacey folk-songs that nevertheless more psychedelic layers upon each listen. Cancelled Check appears to be an old-timey country tune pitched half-way between country blues and lo-fi folk that then that scatters off into off-time drumming and random sound effects that sounds as if it were pulled from a spaghetti Western. Marvellous.

THE BYRDS     I SEE YOU



My love for The Byrds is unabashed (at least until they went hairy in 1969) and I See You is one of their great album tracks. Taken from their ground-breaking 1966 release THE 5TH DIMENSION, their first without principle song-writer Gene Clark, I See You simply soars through the premise of it bubble-gum pop restrictions by featuring two Coltrane-type/Ravi Shankar inspired 12-string guitar solos that Roger McGuinn perfected for the album’s lead single Eight Miles High. The Byrds invented so many genres – this is the album where they invented psychedelic rock.

PETER BAUMANN     MEADOW OF INFINITY PTS. 1 AND 2



As the cover suggests, this is very much an album of two halves. Peter Baumann was one of the founder members of Tangerine Dream and was still a member when he released this, ROMANCE ’76, his debut solo album in 1976. Virgin-era Tangerine Dream are all over side 1 of the album, which is very reminiscent of STRATOSFEAR and ENCORE, both of which were released either side of this album. Side 2, however, largely taken up with Meadow Of Infinity, is a very different affair, mixing orchestral instruments - cellos, human voices, percussion – with mellotron and flute-like sounds to create a semi-classical tone poem that places it firmly in the kosmische era of krautrock. There’s actually a bridge to the two parts that I’ve left out but this, nevertheless, is something of a trip.

THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE     IF 6 WAS 9



The second outing from Jimi Hendrix and the boys because, really, EST was more along the lines of a ‘thing’ than a song, say, and If Six Was Nine is by far (the second) most tripped out track on AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE; it soars with studio trickery over a tidal wave of guitar and a cacophonous army of Moroccan flutes.

DZYAN     KHALI



Dzyan are one of the lesser-known Krautrock bands but their third and final album, ELECTRIC SILENCE, released in 1974, is life-affirmingly bold, taking in that exotic far-Eastern sound that other bands at the time were flirting with and taking it into the far-out realms of opium-den weirdness. Khali features two mellotrons, creating a swirling universe of sound for the sitars to float, trance-like, within, and is very beautiful and very strange. This is truly one of the lost gems from the Krautrock era

THE SUFIS     LIGHT TUNNEL



A splendid tripped-out interlude from The Sufis, whose eponymously titled debut album, released in 2012, is steeped in lysergic Rick Wright style organ work, vocals run through oscillators and all manner of vintage sounding studio trickery. This is what I want the light at the end of the tunnel to sound like.

SPROATLY SMITH     THISTLE DOLL




This haunted offering of psych-folk wyrdness can be found on the recent release from the A Year In The Country Project, FROM THE FURTHEST SIGNALS, released earlier this year, which takes as its initial reference points films, television and radio programs that have been in part or completely lost or wiped during a period in history before archiving and replication of such work had gained today’s technological and practical ease. Curiously, such television and radio broadcasts may not be fully lost to the wider universe as they can travel or leak out into space and so may actually still exist far from their original points of transmission and places of creation, possibly in degraded, fractured form and/or mixed amongst other stellar noises and signals. The explorations of FROM THE FURTHEST SIGNALS are soundtracks imagined and filtered through the white noise of space and time; reflections on those lost tales and the way they can become reimagined via hazy memories and history, of the myths that begin to surround such discarded, lost to view or vanished cultural artefacts.

From The Furthest Signals is released as part of the A Year In The Country project, which via the posts on its website and music releases has carried out a set of year long explorations of an otherly pastoralism; the undercurrents and flipside of bucolic dreams, the further reaches of folk music and culture, work that takes inspiration from the hidden and underlying tales of the land and where such things meet and intertwine with the lost futures, spectral histories and parallel worlds of hauntological dimensions. You can check out them out here.

THE ZOMBIES     A ROSE FOR EMILY



Barely recognised at the time of its release in 1968, The Zombies’ second and final album, ODESSEY AND ORACLE, has since garnered a reputation as one of the great lost psychedelic masterpieces of its times. In actual fact, it’s not particularly psychedelic at all, but like The Beatles’ SGT. PEPPER’S, it is an album entirely informed by the spirit of psychedelia. Rather than employ the psychedelic tropes of, say, backwards guitars and astral exploration, ODESSEY AND ORACLE is an album of ornate, baroque arrangements, intricate song-writing craftsmanship and radiant harmonies, which expanded the limits of pop. Even the Emily of the title has less to do with Syd Barret’s muse and is based instead upon a short story by William Faulkner published in 1930. The misspelling of “Odyssey”, by the way, is due to the fact that they were too nice to correct their mate who painted the cover just for them.

SHARRON KRAUS     GILDEROY (HEART’S DELIGHT)



This enchantingly decorous song is taken from the 2015 release SHIRLEY INSPIRED, a 3-cd homage to Shirley Collins, one of the iconic figures of the folk revival movement from the end of the fifties right to the end of the seventies. Sharron Kraus, a British artist very much in the school of subdued yet haunting folk herself, interprets Gilderoy (Heart’s Delight), a piece of music inspired by Shirley and Dolly's version of Gilderoy, a Scottish folk song that can be traced back to before the 17th Century, recorded by Shirley and her sister Dolly on their final album, FOR AS MANY AS WILL, in 1978. I believe all of the artists on this album, which include Graham Coxon, Belbury Poly, Will Oldham, Meg Baird, Angel Olson and lee Renaldo to name just six, gave their songs freely as part of a Kickstarter campaign that funded 'The Ballad of Shirley Collins' - a film that is currently being made about the Collin’s life.

ALULA DOWN     SOUTHAMPTON SONG



Autumnal, brumous, candlelit folk from Alula Down, two members of Sproatly Smith (although I don’t know which members; if you were to show me a photograph of the band, like the one above, say, I wouldn’t be able to pick them out or anything) but I get the impression that this is more than a side-project. Southampton Song has an air about it that puts one in mind of Nick Drake in all of his beautiful melancholy (or, indeed, melancholic beauty, but they all say that). It’s taken from the album FLOTSAM, recorded in 2013 at home with flotsam, voices, acoustic & electric guitars, a xylophone, double bass, frame drums, saucepans, spades, wine glasses, ambient sounds from outside the backdoor, a piano (that needs tuning), a banjo, shruti box, and melodica, so you can see why I might like them. I think at one time they may have been called Loud Flowers. Anyway, quite spectral and lovely.

ANDWELLA’S DREAM     LOST A NUMBER FOUND A KING (excerpt)



This is just the first two or three minutes of a track in which the song that follows isn’t nearly half as good as the intro which precedes it. Andwella’s Dream were an Irish psychedelic rock band, formed in 1968, who remain largely unknown, I think, because despite using a number of psychedelic tropes - heavy progressive rock-tinged psychedelia with keyboards and folk-pop psych with strings and away with the fairies-type lyrics – they were never able to transcend them, and thus ended up sounding like a lot of other bands at that time. This track is taken from their only album under that name, LOVE AND POETRY, released in 1968.

ENDURANCE     BENEATH THE CHERRY TREE



Another track chosen from a never less than prolific A YEAR IN THE COUNTRYSIDE project, this one entitled THE RESTLESS FIELD, released earlier this year, and one on which the land as a place of conflict and protest as well as beauty and escape is studied. It’s a study filled ancient-sounding folk, eerie reels, drones, found sounds, and electronica. Along the way it takes in an exploration and acknowledgment places that are spectrally imprinted with past conflicts and struggles in the landscape and rural areas of the British countryside, in contrast with more often referred to urban events. References and starting points include The British Miners’ Strike of 1984 and the Battle Of Orgreave; Gerrard Winstanley & the Diggers/True Levellers in the 17th century; the first battle of the English Civil War in 1642; the burying of The Rotherwas Ribbon; the Mass Trespass of Kinder Scout in 1932; Graveney Marsh - the last battle fought on English soil; the Congested Districts Board- the 19th century land war in Ireland; and The Battle Of The Beanfield in 1985, none of which would count for anything if the music wasn’t up to much, but I always find these albums enormously enjoyable. I’ve no idea who Endurance are/is at all, though.

THE OWL SERVICE     SPRING STRATHSPEY



Like Willow’s Song, I think Spring Strathspey is one of the most sublime pieces of music ever written, and like Willow’s Song, it invites those musicians who have been spell-bound by its wondrous charms to have a go themselves, if they think they’re fey enough. The Owl Service, the Essex-based alternative folk collective who took their name from a slice of English cult culture, Alan Garner’s spellbinding novel of pre-Christian ritual in a remote corner of Wales; which in turn became a late 1960s TV series that’s often considered a touchstone for hauntological musings, recorded this gorgeous interpretation on their album THE PATTERN BENEATH THE PLOUGH PARTS 1 AND 2, released back in 2011 as a collection music released in that year, and it really is as ravishing as you could wish for.

EUROS CHILDS     SKY/SEA



A charming little piece from Euros Childs, whose new album, REFRESH!, released earlier this year, is full of such doodling’s. In fact, it’s made up in its entirety of them and very nice it is too. Some might even say charming.

BEAUTIFY JUNKYARDS    REFRESCO ELÉCTRICO




A lovely little track taken from their 2014 release THE BEAST SHOUTED LOVE (I’m sure we must be due a new one any day now), an album of exquisite hauntologically-inspired acid-folk that would suit any room that possesses a working lava lamp. Magical.

RIDE     INTEGRATION TAPE



This is the ambient one on their new album WEATHER DIARIES, released some 21 years after their previous album TARANTULA (the one which no one bought). It’s all very nice and good, and all, but it doesn’t entirely satisfy the palette jaded by all those years. I was really looking forward to it, especially when I heard Mind De-Coder favourite Erol Alkan was on board as producer, but despite that, it doesn’t have anything as remotely transcendent as Dreams Burn Down on it. Maybe we’re all a bit older now. That being said, and I don’t wish to damn it with faint praise, there’s nothing bad on it either; it's full of lovely little flourishes; it just doesn’t make me fall in love with the girl in the trouser shop, and at their best, Ride were always able to do that.

TANGERINE DREAM      PHAEDRA



Tangerine Dream always pushed at the boundaries of exactly what psychedelic music could be, even if that wasn’t their explicit aim, but with PHAEDRA, released in 1974, they discover new dimensions as the title track weaves its way through a soundscape full of exquisite texture and rhythms, thanks to the addition of the newly invented analogue sequencer, which takes the music off into psychically ravishing directions. Enjoy this music and slip away into a dreamscape of ever changing colour. 

Facebook

Monday, 12 June 2017

MIND DE-CODER 70

MIND DE-CODER 70

 
'Let's go down and blow our mind's in toyland'


THE ALAN BOWN!     TOYLAND


If I’m ruthlessly honest I only started the show with this track because of its killer opening line: ‘Let’s go down and blow our mind’s in toyland’, an invitation that all but the most jaded cynic would find hard to refuse. There was a penchant for this sort of thing in English psychedelia at the time, largely inspired by Syd Barrett, Lewis Carroll and the spirit of Sgt. Peppers that manifested itself in a particular longing for a return to the nursery. There was a peculiarly Edwardian version of childhood that reflected the English psyche, where things were just simpler, magic flying chairs were stored away in the playroom, and pixies played at the bottom of the garden, skipping gaily around fairy circles of fly agaric mushrooms. Released in 1967, Toyland is a very good example of this sort of thing, but it failed to chart, probably because the Alan Bown were primarily known for their stomping R’n’B/Soul club sets and Toyland was perceived as a shameless attempt to cash-in on a short-lived sub-genre (toytown psychedelia) that possibly had more to do with the amount of LSD the band was gobbling and less to do with the musical tastes of the listening public. I’m all for it, me.

OS MUTANTES     FUGA NO. 2


Psychedelic tropicalia from Brazil’s Os Mutantes, whose second album, simply called MUTANTES, released in 1969, is a playful mix of the experimental and the exotic. Some argue that it’s a bit too playful, others that it’s a bit too experimental – no one seems to mind its exoticness - but I think it’s exactly what good psychedelia should be: a piecing together of sounds that disorientate the senses, bewitches, bewilders and elevates, enabling the mind to float hither and tither to see what it can find. Fuga No. 2 does that very nicely, I think.

THE TRAPPIST AFTERLAND     COME TO ME/THE GOLDEN BOUGH


Two segued tracks from Melbourne based psych-folk artists The Trappist Underland, whose third album, LIKE A BEEHIVE, THE HILL WAS ALIVE, was digitally released by the very fine Active Listener in 2014. The band take a ritualistic, tribal approach to recording which results in a recherché mix of traditional instruments from different cultures and a sound rich in arcane psychedelia. LIKE A BEEHIVE, THE HILL WAS ALIVE, for example, is very heavily influenced by the gnostic gospels and the New Testament; one look at the album cover will indicate a band very much at home to the esoteric.


 THE SUFIS     I DON’T KNOW


On their eponymously titled debut album, released in 2012, The Sufis channel the spirit of Syd-era Pink Floyd to Beatle-esque highs. In truth, they don’t get very far beyond that template, but if you’re a fan of paisley shirts and joss-sticks – a fan of Mind De-Coder, in fact – you’ll find much to enjoy.

ORIENTAL SUNSHINE     ACROSS YOUR LIFE


Indo-prog loveliness from Norway that owes as much to Peter, Mary and Paul as it does Ravi Shankar. Released in 1970, sitars abound and pretty vocal melodies soar on the group’s debut release, DEDICATED TO THE BIRD WE LOVE, a long lost psych-folk album whose mellow charms reveal hippie navel gazing at its best.

NATHAN HALL AND THE SINISTER LOCALS     EVERYBODY’S BURNING EFFIGIES


Nathan Hall, of course, is singer-songwriter with Mind De-Coder favourites the Soft Hearted Scientists, who are on something of a sabbatical to re-charge the old batteries. Nathan, meanwhile, appears to be emitting and has created the Sinister Locals, a shadowy musical organisation with a changing cast of characters, as a vehicle for exploring the darker side of psychedelia.  That being said, the rather fine Everybody’s Burning Effigies wouldn’t actually be out of place on any of the Soft Hearted Scientists’ recent albums, but taken as a whole, THE VOLTA STURGEON FACE EP, released earlier this year and from which this track was taken, is a gorgeous addition to the canon, featuring a bucolic psych-folk charm with gentle baroque flourishes and neo-prog derring-do. As lovely as it sounds.

THE FOCAL POINT     SYCAMORE SID


Named by Brian Epstein, who promptly died, The Focal Point released just the one single of precious toytown psychedelia, in 1967, which was typical of much of the burgeoning psychedelic scene of the time in its sketch of an eccentric character, very much in the tradition of the Edwardian music hall style that so enthralled British psychedelic also-rans of the time – I’m thinking of Koobas (‘Gypsy Fred’), Billy J. Kramer (‘Town of Tuxley Toymaker’), Keith West (‘Grocer Jack’), and Barnaby Rudge (‘Joe, Organ & Co.’) et al. at this point, but not in an unnecessarily bad way. As for the story of Sycamore Sid, the listening public couldn’t give two jots or, indeed, a tittle, and The Focal Point disbanded shortly thereafter, another foot-note in the world of swinging psychedelic music…

GERANIUM POND     DOGS IN BASKETS


…but at least they got to release a single, which is more than can be said for Geranium Pond, who only got to record a single which their record company declined to release. Dogs In Baskets, recorded in 1968, is exactly the sort of acid-baked psychedelic lullaby that gives acid-baked psychedelic lullabies a bad name, and yet somewhere amidst the mellotron, the erratic string quartet splashes of colour and the harpsichord-led whimsy is a song I’m quite fond of. A foot-note to a foot-note, I’m afraid.

ILONA V     GOLDEN HAIR


Ilona Virostek is an American singer-songwriter who sings tender stripped-down songs which embody the charm and wonder of stepping into a secret garden where everything is serene and pure. This radiant version of Syd Barrett’s Golden Hair can be found on the Fruits De Mer release A MOMENTARY LAPSE OF VINYL, released in 2014 as an exclusive double CD made available to club members at the Fruits De Mer website. It features some 30 tracks of pre-Dark Side Pink Floyd/ Barrett covers, taking in nursery songs to deep space epics recorded by the artists on its frankly formidable roster and is quite as wonderful as it sounds.

TEMPLES     IN MY POCKET


Having been playing Temple’s sophomore release, VOLCANO, pretty much none stop now I can safely say that this track, In My Pocket, is the album’s earworm. It’s an album of melodic pop dreaminess that is never less than lovely, but it only touches upon the psychedelic possibilities of their first. It often appears as if I damning the band with faint praise, when in fact I like them a lot, but sometimes they seem a little too cautious for me, a little restrained; but there’s no denying they know their way around a meticulously crafted pop song. A simple unhinged wig-out would solve everything, I think.

THE GREEN PAJAMAS     FALLING THROUGH THE HOLE


Seattle’s Green Pajamas seem to have some 20-odd releases behind them since forming in 1984. The Alice-inspired Falling Through The Hole is taken from their second release, and first album proper, BOOK OF HOURS, released in 1986, although I appear to have stumbled across a 2010 re-issue called THE COMPLETE BOOK OF HOURS, that includes a load of extra tracks garnered from German, Greek and Australian versions of the album. It’s an album unabashedly in love with psychedelic pop in all its glory, mixing a 60s psych fixation with 80s new-wave innovations that manage to make it sound old and new at the same time. It’s generally regarded as a psych-pop masterpiece by those who have actually heard it, and the band itself is widely considered the best band from Seattle that you’ve never heard of, but sadly, despite the critical acclaim, popularity continues to elude them. A bit like a lot of the bands I like, come to think of it.

ERIC BURDON AND THE ANIMALS     POEM BY THE SEA


WINDS OF CHANGE was the debut album by Eric Burdon & the Animals, released in 1967, following the break of the original Animals in 1966. With this new band Burdon began to move from the gritty blues sound of the original mid-1960s group into a new found love of psychedelic music – he even has a song on the album called Yes, I Am Experienced in homage to Jimi Hendrix whom he counted as a major inspiration, and The Beatles get a look in too; WINDS OF CHANGE is dedicated to George Harrison whose espousal of Hindu philosophy following a visit to India the previous year Burdon also cited as an inspiration. Clearly then, Burdon was on something of a psychedelic trip when recording this album, which is awash with conceptual psychedelic mood pieces. Poem By The Sea is an echo-drenched spoken word piece (one of three on the album!) which eventually leads into a cover of The Stones’ Paint It Black, which I couldn’t really be doing with, so instead I have it float away into…

DEUTER     ATLANTIS


I understand that Deuter went on to make quite the name for himself in your new-age circles with over 60 albums or so of the meditational/relaxation/Glastonbury gift-shop variety. His first album, however, D, released in 1971, whilst in many ways containing all of the elements of what he would come to refine later, is an avant-garde krautrock masterpiece that alternates between Indian classical music and abstract synth dreamscapes mixed with tribal, ritual percussions, reversed phasing and tape-recorder experimentation, hissing electronic drones, samples of doves and street noise, sonic explorations, explosions of guitar and, crucially, sweet tunes. Unequivocally recommended to anybody looking for something ‘a bit different’.

PLASTIC ONO BAND     REMEMBER LOVE

     
This is really quite lovely – makes you wonder why she otherwise went in for all the caterwauling, really. Recorded in Room 1742 Hotel La Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, during John and Yoko’s 'Bed-In', after everyone had gone home following the recording of Give Peace A Chance in 1969, and was on the b-side of that very single.

SEDAYNE     GENTLE SISTERHOOD


The bardic Sedayne (Sean Breadin to his mum) appears to be one half of husband and wife folk artists Rapunzel and Sedayne (Rapunzel’s mum calls her Rachel McCarron) but there’s not much more I can say about him, or why Rapunzel doesn’t appear on this song. Between them they record a mesmerising mixture of old folk ballads and newly penned songs, exquisite Arcadian instrumentals often involving field-recorded vagabondian components and obscure instruments, such as the kemence, the kaossilator, and, indeed, the cwrth. The ghostly Gentle Sisterhood, which pretty much illustrates just how far out and beautiful your psych-folk can be, appears on the Sproatly Smith curated WEIRDSHIRE: BEATING THE BOUNDS, released in 2015, an album that celebrates the weird and wonderful psych-folk groups that seem to inhabit that wyrdest of all counties, Herefordshire.

NANCY SINATRA AND LEE HAZELWOOD     SOME VELVET MORNING


The first time I heard Some Velvet Morning it stopped me dead in my tracks; I think I may have even swooned a little. I'd never heard such a weird, ethereal and breathtakingly sexy song before and I stood there entranced, unable to imagine how such a mesmerizingly trippy song could exist in the same world as me without my having heard it before. Fortunately, I’d just wandered into the Rough Trade shop down Portobello Road at the time so I was pretty much able to satisfy my curiosity straight away regarding who had produced something so mystifyingly lovely. I bought LIGHTNING’S GIRL: THE BEST OF NANCY SINATRA straight away and it remains one of my favourite CDs of all time. Some Velvet Morning was initially released on the album MOVIN’ WITH NANCY, the soundtrack to her 1967 television special of the same name, which featured the first performance of the song, and was later released as a single. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate that everyone who hears this song for the first time feels exactly the same way I did about it. It’s spell-bindingly gorgeous and has never been bettered – not by Slowdive, not by The Primitives, and certainly not by Kate Moss and Primal Scream (even though I got really excited by the potential of that version until I actually heard it).

EROC      HORROGOLL 



Otherworldly krautrock vibes from Eroc (better known to his mum as Joachim Heinz Ehrig, although you can see why everyone might just prefer Eroc) who served time as drummer and band leader with the decidedly un-krautrock Grobschnitt (it doesn’t translate – I’ve already looked) who enjoyed too much of a sense of humour to be counted in the krautrock canon. His solo work, however, is, I understand, a thing apart. Horrorgoll is taken from his eponymous debut album, released in 1975, a very abstract affair, rich in electronic synthscapes and, in this instance, experimental sound manipulations that seem to have invented the Moon Wiring Club. I was going to save this track for a Halloween special, but actually like it so much I thought that I’d just get it out there.


 E.E. CUMMINGS     EXCEPT IN YOUR


You never quite know what you’re going to receive from the fabulous Trunk Records, but last week I found an invitation to download E.E. CUMMINGS READS HIS OWN POEMS VOL. 1 in my inbox that I found fairly irresistible. I’ve always been a fan, me (and I’m finding it quite stressful that I haven’t yet spelled his name in the proper way – e.e. cummings - there, I’ll be alright now).

DUNGEN     WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL BE TOMORROW


…or, Det Du Tänker Idag Är Du I Morgon, to give it its correct title, is taken from the album TA DET LUGNT, released in 2004, the third album from Swedish psych-rockers Dungen, although Dungen exist in the same way that Tame Impala exists – they are, in fact, the creation of 24 year old Swedish multi-instrumentalist Gustav Ejstes, who takes on a band when he wishes to tour his material. This is an album very much at home to the spirit of 1967/68 but, crucially, the Swedish spirit of those revolutionary years, so what you get is a peculiarly Scandinavian mix of dew-drop strings, free jazz breakdowns, brief whiffs of AM radio tuning, flute minuets, lushly cascading pianos, prog time changes, florid medieval chimes, sky-melting freakouts, church organs, fuzz-guitar jousts, doubled mountain-top whistles, roaring six-string solos, and autumnal instrumental interludes, lifted, no doubt, from his parent’s record collection. It sounds fantastic.

BABA YAGA     MOKSCHA


This is probably the most intriguing track on the show – a krautrock/middle-eastern hybrid named after a fictional hallucinogenic fungal extract from Aldous Huxley’s novel ‘Island’ that reveals to the user the inter-connectedness of all things. Comprised of Ingo Werner, former member of obscure krautrock act My Solid Ground, and the highly exotic skills of Iranian percussionist and multi-instrumentalist Nemat Darman, this track arguably attempts to do the same thing. It’s one of two tracks on the duo’s second album, COLLAGE, released in 1974, an epic cocktail of Eastern raga like textures, space voyager synth surfaces and occasional funk jazz moments (as opposed to jazz-funk moments) that provide a soundscape of mind bending trippery; a true example of blissful, far-out krautrock grandeur.

MOODSWINGS     SPIRITUAL HIGH


This is the incredibly rare ‘lost’ Star Trek mix of Spiritual High, a track that otherwise features Chrissie Hynde on vocals and sampled Martin Luther’s ‘I have a dream’ speech to improving effect. Originally recorded by Jon and Vangelis as State of Independence, it was also covered by Donna Summer before Moodswings re-recorded it in three parts as Spiritual High (State of Independence) for their debut album MINDFOOD in 1992. That being said, this is the original 12” vinyl version, released in 1990, which also includes the spirit of The Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows, and pretty much does what it says on label, producing a state of spaced out euphoria that is almost narcotic in the high it produces. All four versions of this track are fantastic, and on the internet you can find a mix of all the tracks that someone has kindly segued together – it lasts some 25 minutes or so and is life-affirming in its loveliness – but this is Star Trek version, the Star Trek version, ladies and gentlemen.

THE APPLES IN STEREO    IV. FROM OUTSIDE, IN FLOATS A MUSIC BOX



A trifling little number with which to conclude the show, one of eight interludes from the album HER WALLPAPER REVERIE, released in 1999, and an album I shall return to more fully in my next show.