Monday, 4 June 2018

MIND DE-CODER 78

MIND DE-CODER 78

To listen to the show just scroll to the bottom of the page

“If God dropped acid – would he see people?”
                                                                Steven Wright


LIONEL BART     IN THE MOVIES/ISN’T THIS WHERE WE CAME IN? (excerpt)


I’ve been fascinated recently by Lionel Bart’s intriguingly bonkers, mind-expanding musical ...ISN’T THIS WHERE WE CAME IN? – THROUGH A LOOKING GLASS WITH LIONEL BART. Lionel Bart, of course, was responsible for the musical OLIVER! (the best musical ever, by the way – I’m a particular fan of the film which often fills a rainy Sunday afternoon here at chez Mind De-Coder), but this appears to be the soundtrack for a musical that was never actually written, conceived as a reflection of experience in songs and sounds. Written and performed by Bart himself, it’s a concept album divided into the seven stages of man with sub-titles to delineate each chapter – Pre-Birth, The Child, The Seeker, The Finder and The Lover. It features the cream of British jazz musicians and is perhaps best understood as classic English music hall filtered through the British psychedelia of the time (Bart was no stranger to the pleasures of LSD so you can see why I might be interested). I return to it several times throughout the show as this is an album you really ought to have heard at least once in your life – although some might unkindly say that once is certainly enough.

NO STRANGE     VUOTO MIRABILE


This is just marvelous – you can almost see a lysergic haze emanating from your speakers. Initially formed back in 1980 by ex-punks Salvatore D'Urso und Alberto Ezzu, No Strange delve deep into the psychedelic experience, taking inspiration from such krautrock luminaries as Popol Vuh and Amon Düül II mixed with the tripped out soundtracks from Italian horror movies of the era and cosmic acid folk. IL SENTIERO DELLE TARTARUGHE (possibly ‘The Truffle Path’, but who knows?), released last year, combines all these elements into one far-out mix that revels in the visionary, artisanal, alienated, dreamlike, celestial-tenebrous, sacred, profane and totally immersive attitude of the band.


LIONEL BART     DREAMCHILD

Following the heady success of Oliver! five years earlier, Lionel Bart destroyed his career and more or less bankrupted himself in 1965 with an ill-conceived, light-hearted musical romp based upon the merry adventures of Robin Hood. It was called TWANG! It was so bad it blighted his credibility forever, but he salvaged the acid-influenced Dreamchild for …ISN’T THIS WHERE WE CAME IN? which makes you wonder what it was doing in the TWANG!  soundtrack in the first place.

RHUBARB RHUBARB     RAINMAKER


There’s obscure, and there’s Rhubarb Rhubarb. They had the one single – it didn’t even merit a picture sleeve – it didn’t chart, and then they disappeared back into ye psychedelic foot-notes of tyme, but it chugs along with all joyful enthusiasm of a band who’d definitely watched A Magical Mystery Tour that Christmas and didn’t want to be left behind. I believe they came from Berkshire.

THE PARADOX     WHAT’S THE RUSH DILBURY? 


This from the Tamworth Herald, 13-06-1969:

TAMWORTH BOYS IN “POP” GROUP
Tamworth boys are members of a highly successful Birmingham “pop” group.
The group is called “Paradox” and is due to have a single and L.P. released in September.
Sixteen-year-old Charles Harrison of 5, Temple Row, Mill Lane, Tamworth, is bass guitarist with the group. He left the Mercian Boys’ School last July and worked as an apprentice at Messrs. Percy Lane’s on the Lichfield Road Industrial estate.

His parents bought him the guitar only fifteen months ago and Charles has had to work hard to master the instrument.

The other Tamworth boy is the most recent addition to the group. He is 18-year-old Victor Motorny, of 20, Bridge Street, Amington, who is the group’s new road manager.
Victor, who worked as a signal-man on British Rail, now drives the group to their different venues, such as London, Margate (next week) and Scotland last weekend.

He has to make sure they get to where they are playing in time and is responsible for seeing that all their equipment is set up. Victor also operates the lights in the “paradox’s” light show.
The group went into the “Mercury” recording studios on June 1 and it took the 12 hours to record four tracks. They are playing in London clubs and are popular in Birmingham.


PSYCHIC MARKERS     SEA WAVES


Psychic Markers are a band made up of bits and bobs of other bands I’ve never heard of but their second album, HARDLY STRANGERS, released earlier this year, is a cohesively cosmic affair taking in 50’s-tinged doo-wop, psychedelic otherness, lush cinematic soundscapes and elongated krautrock jams that owe as much to Joe Meek as they do Conny Plank. It’s a marvelous trip.

LIONEL BART     TRA-LA-LA
Bonkers.


THE BEATLES     DEAR PRUDENCE


The Beatles’ eponymously entitled 9th album, or THE WHITE ALBUM, as the rest of us call it, is a sprawling schizophrenic affair but, for many, therein lies its brilliance. Fractured, dislocated and polarizing, it contains arguably some of their most extreme material and yet contains moments of quiet wonder, like Lennon’s Dear Prudence, written for Prudence Farrow (sister of Mia, of course) in Rishikesh who, according to accounts, became so serious about her meditation that she became a virtual recluse and had to be encouraged out of the cottage she was living in. Fans will be aware that it’s McCartney on drums, following one of those occasions when Ringo had left the band briefly.


DJ KOZE      MUSIC ON MY TEETH


DJ Koze, a German gentleman I understand, seems to be an in-demand DJ who works the big-room European dance circuit but also creates albums that seem to exist in some intriguing place between genres, effortlessly mixing French House, 70s soul, boom-bap beats and minimalist techno with a psychedelic sensibility that finds the hidden connections between Arthur Russell and krautrock, shoegaze and disco. On the lo-fi strum of Music on My Teeth, from his most recent release KNOCK KNOCK, he even seems to be toying with hauntology, imbuing the recording with the feel of a decaying, colour-saturated film strip. If this was a direction he chose to pursue I feel sure he’d be able to blow minds, as it is, KNOCK KNOCK and his previous release, 2013’s AMYGDALA, are a trip unto themselves and well worth checking out.


JEFFERSON AIRPLANE     CUSHINGURA


Blink and you’ll miss it, Cushingura is the only truly psychedelic track on Jefferson Airplane’s 1968 release, CROWN OF CREATION, and comes in at a tuneless, but experimental, one minute and eighteen seconds. The rest of the album is given over to a harder rock sound than was found on their previous albums, and there’s some lovely acid-folk stylings that refer back to SURREALISTIC PILLOW, but there’s nothing on there that comes close to the far-out psychedelia of AFTER BATHING AT BAXTERS, except this little affair, significant, in and of itself, because it was one of the first attempts to introduce electronic music on a rock album. On the whole, I’m more of a fan of their 1967 output.


LIONEL BART     LOOKING GLASS, LOOKING GLASS/GETTING IT ALL TOGETHER (excerpt)


ROLLING STONES     CHILD OF THE MOON


Despite being recorded early on as part of what would become the BEGGAR’S BANQUET sessions, the album on which The Rolling Stones renounced psychedelia forever and returned to their, ho-hum, blues roots for grounded inspiration, Child of the Moon, released as the b-side to 1968’s Jumpin’ Jack Flash, owes more to their THEIR SATANIC MAJESTIES REQUEST period, and, as such, marks the break between psychedelic indulgence and what was to follow. I lost interest in the Stones at more or less this point (being a fan of psychedelic indulgence, an’ all) – I get BEGGAR’S BANQUET, I really do, but I’m always going to prefer the Brian Jones version of the band.


WIMPLE WINCH     BLUEBELL WOOD


Wimple Winch were one of the few Merseybeat bands who expanded their sound to take in psychedelia and, in one instance, pioneered a proto-punk sound, but despite local support, commercial success eluded them. Much of what they recorded after 1967 remained unreleased, including the rather fine Bluebell Wood, all of which have been collected together on the album TALES FROM THE SINKING SHIP, released in 2005, a collection of songs that demonstrates just how weird a seemingly ordinary band could become under the influence of acid.


 THE MIRAGE     HELLO ENID


Like Wimple Winch, The Mirage achieved a near complete lack of commercial success, and if you’ve heard of them at all it will be because of their single The Wedding of Ramona Blair which has appeared on a number of psychedelic compilations over the years. Hello Enid, a song clearly at home to Pink Floyd’s See Emily Play (although they were just as indebted to The Beatles and The Hollies), remained unreleased but can be found on a compilation of singles, demos and lost tracks called TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS, released in 2006.


EPISODE 6     I CAN SEE THROUGH YOU


Episode 6 weren’t so much obscure as unfortunate – in their career they released some 9 singles, each of which spectacularly failed to chart. One explanation for this is that they were simply too versatile for their own good – I Can See Through You is an excellent example of British psychedelia circa 1968, but it merely served as one instance of what the band were capable of, giving the group a sort of dilettantish quality that was difficult to market. Curiously, they found minor success in Beirut where the band were forced to do a long Christmas season due to financial difficulties and lack of chart success anywhere else in the world. Group members Ian Gillan and Roger Glover left in 1969 to join Deep Purple and that was that.


SMELL OF INCENSE      WHY DID I GET SO HIGH?


At first listen you would think the playful Why Did I Get So High? was another slice of ’68-era psychedelia, in the style of The Smoke’s My Friend Jack, say, but, in fact, you will find this throwaway gem on the debut album by my new favourite listen Smell Of Incense. Released in 1994, ALL MIMSY WERE THE BOROGOVES, captures the musical mettle of ‘68 by delivering acid-folk overtures, Eastern exoticism, West Coast psychedelia and extended space jams that take in Pentangle, Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd and the Moody Blues among many others. The joy of listening to the band is that they so completely embrace their influences you can almost smell the patchouli oil wafting out of the speakers.


LIONEL BART     DON’T LOOK AT ME, JUST LISTEN


 EIRE APPARENT     CAPTIVE IN THE SUN


The lovely Captive In The Sun is one of many overlooked gems on the debut album SUNSHINE by Northern Irish psychedelicists Eire Apparent. Released in 1968, the album is a mix of lyrical acoustic and electric guitar sounds, some tasteful light orchestrations (strings and horns), proto-prog trappings and trippy lyrical conceits all of which combine to produce an ambitious psych-pop artefact that’s, sadly, mostly known for being produced by Jimi Hendrix, who also makes guest appearances on several tracks, including this one. The band split up in 1970 but nobody was paying attention.


EROC     OSTERGLOINGG


The particularly weird one on an album of strange and weird recordings by Eroc, drummer and bandleader of the semi-legendary Grobschnitt. His debut album, simply called EROC, released in 1975, is a mixture of electronic sound and tape recordings filtered through a free-thinking German pastoralism which owes something to the Faust Tapes in spirit and ranks right up there with the very best Krautrock has to offer.


NOEL GALLAGHER      BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR


It’s dadrock, but it’s produced by David Holmes, so I find myself pulled in conflicting directions – a bit like the album WHO BUILT THE MOON? Noel’s songwriting remains indebted to the Beatles and the blues, but Holmes’ production lends an air of experimental shimmer to the proceedings. Let’s just say that they both appear to be enjoying themselves.


MILDLIFE     TWO HORIZONS


Melbourne-based space-kraut-jazz outfit Mildlife do an absolutely superb line in kaleidoscopic jams that take in jazz, psyche and disco with the perfect amalgamation of cosmic electronics and soulful acoustic instrumentation. Their debut album, PHASE, released earlier this year, combines kaleidoscopic atmospherics with undulating synth patterns to produce a funky, irresistible groove. Cosmic.


 LIONEL BART     ‘TIL THE DAY THAT I DIE


PINK FLOYD     SEE-SAW


A SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS, released in 1968, saw Pink Floyd struggling to find a way forward without Syd Barrett, their principal songwriter, and essentially sticking to the formula he’d created for PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN – yearning psych-pop tales of childhood and wonder combined with spaced-out explorations that would eventually signal a way forward. Rick Wright’s See-Saw falls into the former category but is nonetheless pleasant enough for all that – the slightly mawkish lyrics are offset by some fantastic use of the Mellotron which provides an abyss of strange noise to lose yourself in.

KEITH SEATMAN     WINTER SANDS


A necessarily atmospheric piece by Keith Seatman, musician, DJ, owner of some synths, records and all manner of old tat, for the latest release by A YEAR IN THE COUNTRY, called AUDIO ALBION, an album which functions as something of a music and field recording map of Britain, focussing on rural and edgeland areas. Intertwined with the literal recording of locations, the album explores the history, myths and beliefs of the places, their atmospheres and undercurrents, personal and cultural connections - the layered stories that lie amongst, alongside and beneath the earth, plants and wildlife. Seatman’s contribution, Winter Sands, appears to have been inspired by a wintery stroll along the beach at East Wittering, in West Sussex, in which he was in danger of being caught by the rapidly advancing tide.

A Year In The Country is a set of year-long explorations of an otherly pastoralism, the undercurrents and flipside of bucolic dreams.

It is a wandering amongst work that takes inspiration from the hidden and underlying tales of the land, the further reaches of folk music and culture and where such things meet and intertwine with the lost futures, spectral histories and parallel worlds of what has come to be known as hauntology.
Those explorations take the form of this website, the posts/artwork on it, music and book releases. You can find out more here


SMALL FACES     TIN SOLDIER


Quite frankly, Tin Soldier is one of the greatest records ever made, and it’s not just made who thinks so – I understand that in 1997 Mojo magazine voted it the 10th best record of all time, but then that’s exactly the sort of thing they would do. Originally written for fellow label mate P.P. Arnold, Steve Marriot liked it so much he kept it for the Small Faces, although Arnold does sing backing vocals. A return to their R n B roots after Itchycoo Park, the band nevertheless retain their psychedelic edge and throw everything they have at the song creating a rarely matched example of the Small Faces at their very best.

LIONEL BART     MAY A MAN BE MERRY?


Released as a single to promote the album, this is generally regarded as the best thing on it, with fans being particularly taken with the loungecore funk vibe that permeates this track. The mad piano break approximately two minutes in is a splendid thing indeed.






Sunday, 13 May 2018

MIND DE-CODER 77

MIND DE-CODER 77
To  listen to the show just scroll to the bottom of the page

“When the light turns green, you go. When the light turns red, you stop. But what do you do when the light turns blue with orange and lavender spots?”
                                                                                                ― Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic


FRANZ FERDINAND     ALWAYS ASCENDING


Not strictly psychedelia per se but you’d have to be a hard-hearted soul not to enjoy Franz Ferdinand’s deployment of the Shepard tone on this cracking tune, which is pretty much the best thing they’ve done in years. Always Ascending is, of course, the title of the band’s fifth album, released earlier this year, and whilst the introduction of Julian Corrie, better known as Miaoux, the Glasgow-based electronic musician, on keyboards doesn’t alter their sound as much as some might have hoped (me, for example), this is undeniably a killer track.

MOBY GRAPE     OMAHA


I’ve never been a great fan of Moby Grape. Despite enjoying no less than five singer-songwriters in the band I’ve never felt that they were really big on tunes. This puts me at odds with the rest of the critical community who lauded their debut album, released eponymously in 1967, as one of the great West Coast psychedelic masterpieces and every bit the equal to albums by The Grateful Dead or Jefferson Airplane, but I remain unconvinced. That being said, Omaha has an infectious Beatles-on-speed energy to it that makes it a riveting listen. Scuppered by bad management, a bizarre record company promotion that saw 10 of the album’s 13 tracks simultaneously released as singles, and a scandalous drugs bust, Moby Grape pretty much crashed on arrival. These days Moby Grape are remembered as contenders, a cult band whose story has taken on something of a mythic quality, and that’s before we even get to the story of Skip Spence, high on LSD, trying to kill his fellow bandmates Jerry Miller and Don Stevenson with a fire axe. On the whole, however, I prefer Jefferson Airplane.

BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY     BALL AND CHAIN


I’m no great fan of the blues, either, but Big Brother and the Holding Company’s take on Big Mama Thornton’s Ball and Chain is simply colossal and impossible to ignore. Janis Joplin’s vocal delivery left absolutely no stone unturned in squeezing every drop of emotion and nuance out of the tune, caressing lines during the verses, yet erupting into searing shouts, stutters, and moans during the choruses. It’s the closing track to 1968’s CHEAP THRILLS, the LP that made stars of Big Brother and Joplin, and the only live recording on the album, despite the rest of the album being produced to sound live. Big Brother and The Holding Company were a heavy blues band and Janis a psychedelic singer – or was it the other way round – but with CHEAP THRILLS (its original title was intended to be ‘Sex, Dope And Cheap Thrills’ but their record company were all over that like a rash) they created an album of far-reaching, soul-searching power that transcended either label. 

CHILDREN     GREAT RIVER


The title track from the album GREAT RIVER, by L.A. based five-piece Children, lasts less than 2 minutes but is nonetheless quite gorgeous. Released in 2015, and recorded in Mississippi (hence the title, I suppose), an analogue haze spills over everything filling a deep pool of lush sounds to dive into.

ARTHUR AHBEZ     SLOW TRAIN COMIN’


Another blues track (with a proper blues title as well) but I’m but I’m giving myself a break because 1) this is very fine indeed, and 2) it’s NZ Music Month, and Arthur Ahbez, a lost soul in the spirit of song, is a New Zealand artist who does a very fine line in jazz, folk, psychedelia and Neil Young acoustic balladry. Slow Train Comin’ is taken from his debut album GOLD, released in 2013. Full of haunting ballads to vast, acid tempered instrumentals this is an album that channels 50 years of acid-folk loveliness in its grooves from Davey Graham to Devendra Banhart and is really quite an immersive listen.

PARTICLE KID     THE OCEAN


Particle Kid, or J Micah Nelson to his mum (or probably just Micah, or possibly just J, I suppose), describes himself as an artist, musician, animator, cymatician (look it up) and explorer so he’s something of a polymath whose eponymous debut album, released last year, contains, as you might expect, the spirit of future folk, low rider funk, riff rock, power pop, lysergic Americana, flower punk, progressive jazz fusion, and Laurel Canyon psychedelia all somehow woven together with deep-rooted melodies, unique improvisational elements, and remarkably intricate arrangements. The Ocean is one of the most wistful and lovely songs I’ve heard in ages. It just makes me yearn right along with him. Have I mentioned that his dad is Willie Nelson?


BOO RADLEYS     BLUES FOR GEORGE MICHAEL


Not blues at all, but an engagingly tripped out paean to the man himself, which you can find as one of the extra tracks on the bona fide hit single Wake Up, Boo!, released in 1995. I’ve been really getting into the Boo Radley’s lately. I was a massive fan of the epic GIANT STEPS, but recently I’ve been playing WAKE UP! And C’MON KIDS on repeat. Martin Carr has said that the thing he likes most about this track is that it’s more or less the weirdest thing they’ve ever made and more people own it than all of their other singles put together.

MOON WIRING CLUB     LANGUID TELEPATHY


The title says it all. Ian Hodgson’s CATEARED CHOCOLATIERS, released last year, is a conceptual album that unfolds as part of snakes & ladders-like board game based on a dream by Hodgson involving decaying discount carpet shops and missed trains. Enter a world of sinister whimsy and oneiric eccentricity.

SAVATH Y SAVALAS     RÁDIO LLOCS ESPACIALS

Savath & Savalas is one of the many monikers employed by Guillermo Scott Herren, perhaps best known as Prefuse 73, first adopted following a move to Barcelona where he met and recorded with Catalan singer Eva Puyuelo Muns. This track is taken from their album APROPA’T, released in 2004.  It’s a spectral collaboration of sparse, acid folk songs written in Spanish and Catalan, with Muns’ detached vocals giving the recording a cool, bittersweet feel that places them somewhere between DOTS AND LOOPS-era Stereolab and the hauntologically-inspired pastoral albums of Portugal’s Beautify Junkyards. The songs are insubstantial and nearly weightless, but nonetheless beautiful for all that, recorded using guitar, concertina, bajo sexto and harmonium – think Brasil ’66 under a cloudy sky and you’ll be in the right ballpark.

JESSICA RISKER     CUT MY HAIR


An absolutely gorgeous track, this. I first came across it on YouTube recently and a little research led me to her album I SEE YOU AMONG THE STARS, released a week or two ago. Comprised of eight aural vignettes, the album is a wood-grained, amber-hued world respectfully orbiting influences like Nick Drake, Sibylle Baier, and the softest moments of Broadcast. Paisley fabrics fade beneath an uncovered window, while dust and smoke billow gently through the sunbeams that never fully reach the dark half of the room. Risker, from Chicago, counts herself as a musician, sound designer, and licensed counselor. If the through-line of all psychedelic music is that it casts an inward eye on the subconscious-- and the symbols and emotions therein-- then certainly a mental health care professional is equipped to convey what can be glimpsed in that space. Cut My Hair has a reflective, bruised feel to it, her vocals float ethereally over softly plucked guitar that charms with spectral glamour. Quite lovely.

BEAUTIFY JUNKYARDS     GOLDEN APPLES OF THE SUN


With a title straight out of the Devendra Banhart weird-folk songbook, Beautify Junkyards are joined by Helena Espvall, previously of pastoral-psych collective Espers, who adds the cello to the band’s rich palette of sounds to create a futuristic medieval tapestry, sprinkled with echoes of the Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, Pentangle, Stereolab, Os Mutantes and strange pagan gatherings attended by cosmic-acid entities. THE INVISIBLE WORLD OF BEAUTIFY JUNKYARDS, released in March, entrances with delicate acoustic guitars evoking an autumnal England suffused with Iberian heat by other-worldly voices; the ethereal lilt of João Branco Kyron and the warm languor of Rita Vian, and a production tempered with a haunted electronic palette that anchors the band squarely in the world of their new label, Ghost Box. I simply love this band.

FAIRFIELD PARLOUR     BY YOUR BEDSIDE


You’ve got to love Kaleidoscope – after three or so years of trying to get arrested by the record-buying public, they simply changed their name to Fairfield Parlour and carried on releasing the same whimsical, fairy tale-ish blend of Pink Floyd-inspired psychedelic pop as before which, for them, sadly meant that the record-buying public continued to ignore them, pretty much as before. By Your Bedside is taken from their debut album as Fairfield Parlour, FROM HOME TO HOME, released in 1970 – long after the fickle record-buying public had lost any interest in whimsical, fairy tale-ish blend of Pink Floyd-inspired psychedelic pop and hence, perhaps, one reason for their lack of success (despite opening the Isle of Wight Festival that year). A shame, really, as the album contained much to enjoy, including tasteful early synthesizer that’s heard from time to time, 1969-era Beatles inspired Leslie amplification effects, and acoustic folk-psych passages with added flute, so, as I say –much to enjoy. Fickle buying bastards, I call ‘em.


 MGMT     WHEN YOU’RE SMALL


I think the fact that MGMT were able to sing this ode to childhood with a straight face demonstrates that they’re still agreeably strange. Their most recent release, LITTLE DARK AGE, has garnered mix reviews – for some it’s too weird, for others it’s not weird enough, but with this Barrett-esque track they manage to hit the whimsical nail of psychedelia right on the head, despite managing to sound like a song the Mighty Boosh would write as an homage to drug music.

OCS     THE BARON SLEEPS AND DREAMS


OCS seems to be something of side-project for the otherwise concussion-inducing Oh Sees, but given the 20-year history of that band, it may just be them returning to their roots. Either way, OCS presents the ultra-quiet and altogether more interesting version of that band in which numbing garage rock gives way to their earlier, folkier incarnation. With its prim, string-cushioned arrangements and nods to the English acid folk of the late ‘60s, MEMORY OF A CUT OFF HEAD, released last year, is a lovely affair, lush and almost uncannily graceful.

MAGPAHI     SHEPSTERS IN THE YESSINS




Alison Cooper, a native of Lancashire, is the otherworldly voice and vision behind the fairytale folk of Magpahi. This track - all starling song and sepia vocals – can be found on the first of this years’ releases (I hope) from the very fine A Year In The Country, titled AUDIO ALBION, a music and field recording map of Britain, which focuses on rural and edgeland areas. Each track contains field recordings from locations throughout the land, found and heard when wandering down pathways, over fields, through marshes, alongside rivers, down into caves and caverns, climbing hills, along coastlands, through remote mountain forestland, amongst the signs of industry and infrastructure and its discarded debris.  In this instance, Cooper helpfully adds the following definitions - Shepsters: Lancashire dialect word for starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).Yessins: Lancashire dialect word for the eaves in the roof of a building.


 GRUPPO DI IMPROVVISAZIONE NUOVA CONSONANZA     HASCHICH #2


So, Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, was an avant-garde free improvisation group considered the first experimental composers collective, and if that sounds like your definition of hell then, in the spirit of transparency, I should tell you that my children think that this is the worst record they’ve ever heard, with my daughter demanding to know why anyone would record such a horrible sounding noise. I explained to them the collective was formed in Rome in 1964 and that by drawing on jazz, serialism, musique concrète, and other avant-garde techniques the group was dedicated to the development of new music techniques by improvisation, noise-techniques, and anti-musical systems, and that it’s most famous member was the great Ennio Morricone; but they’d got stuck on the term anti-musical systems, which, they thought, was self-evident. But if we can leave the opinions of my children aside, the lovely Haschich #2 is also to be found on the album EROINA, released in 1971, and is one of the less anti-musical tracks on an album that is best understood as a concept album that features a series of haunting improvisations - each one inspired by the effects of a different drug. I’m assuming that Haschich #2 (for there is a #1 and #3) is the one about hashish. Tune in for the next show where you can find out what LSD sounds like to these crazy free-jazz innovators.

GWENNO     DAROMRES Y’N HOWL


It’s only May but Gwenno Saunder’s Cornish language album LE KOV (place of memory) is already my album of the year. From songs that explore Cornish identity in the wake of post-Brexit-vote isolation to the status of minority languages (she could be singing a phonebook for all I know) Saunder’s way with a tune takes in elements of Broadcast's glitchy retro-grooves, Stereolab's detached easy-listening-period-vibe, krautrock beats, and hauntological ambiance and turns them into psych-pop gold. Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys joins her on vocals for the rather fine Daromres Y’n Howl (traffic in the sun).

LINDA PERHACS     I’M A HARMONY


Like Shirley Collins, Linda Perhacs has been re-born by collaborations with a number of younger musicians, most of which are undoubtedly influenced by her own music: Julia Holter, Fernando Perdomo, and Wilco’s Pat Sansone feature prominently on I’M A HARMONY, released last year, her 3rd album in some 40 years. As a result, Perhacs has expanded her sound with a vast array of psychedelic accoutrements, while still pinning everything down with her graceful and powerfully atmospheric melodies. The aforementioned Holter, best known for her forward-thinking chamber pop, provides some of the album’s most thrilling moments. “I’m a harmony / And I am singing through your laptop,” repeat Holter and Perhacs on the album’s title track over ethereal electronics and a picked acoustic drone. A steady kick drum soon takes hold over a mess of saxophones, upright bass and drum rolls before everything drops into a wash of echoing vocals.
if the craft here feels more 21st century, the heart and soul are very much the same, and Perhacs has remained loyal to the musical vision she first documented in 1970.

SMELL OF INCENSE     CHRISTOPHER’S JOURNEY


An album of pure, whimsical psychedelia in which to immerse yourself. ALL MIMSY WHERE THE BOROGOVES, released in 1994, ticks all the right boxes – Alice in Wonderland, Winnie The Pooh, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, sitars, flutes and mellotrons – all present and correct. Is it pastiche, a homage, a love letter to classic ‘60s psychedelia? I expect it’s all those things but played with such joy that you can’t help but go along for the ride. Gather unto ye your joss-sticks, patchouli oil, lava lamps, paisley bed-sheets and tie-dye wall-hangings for this is the album that will take you there. Whether you wish to come back again is entirely up to you.

TREMBLING BELLS     REBECCA, DRESSED AS A WATERFALL


Well, you can’t go wrong with a title like that. Rebecca, Dressed As A Waterfall, the closing track on their most recent release, DUNGENESS, brings a stark pastoral quality to an album that sees the Trembling Bells draw back from the highly heady psych-folk and medievalist antiquary of their earlier recordings and a forward-prog shift onto equally heady but altogether more rock-guitar-based tapestries – I’m thinking less Gryphon and more Steeleye Span, or maybe Jethro Tull, here, neither of which are evident on this track which owes more to David Munrow’s early Music Consort and the British freak scene (if you know what I mean).

HERMAN’S HERMITS     SLEEPY JOE



This song reached #4 in the New Zealand charts when it was released back in 1967. I believe that covers everything.