To listen to, or download, the show, click on the tab
MIND DE-CODER 6
"In the lazy water meadow I lay me down..."
THE DUKES OF STRATOSPHEAR MY LOVE EXPLODES
What a marvelous way to get the show started - XTC's alter-egos, The Dukes Of Stratosphear and my favourite track from their brilliant little debut album 25 O'CLOCK, released back in 1987. It recently received a well-deserved re-release in a sumptuous gate-fold cover and extra disc featuring demos and extra tracks that deliver up a dizzyingly exuberant rush of dainty kaleidoscopic pop that is whimsical, bright and full of trippy psychedelic gems such as this one. It's one of my favourite trip albums and is absolutely worth saving up your pocket money for.
McGOUGH AND McGEAR SO MUCH IN LOVE
Ah, a genuine 60's curio - Mike McGear and Roger McGough were part of the Liverpool comedy-poetry-music group The Scaffold, who found fame and fortune with such hits as, well, Lily The Pink, say. In 1968 McGear and Mcgough released McGOUGH AND McGEAR as a duo and, legend has it, got Paul McCartney, McGear's brother, in to produce it and possibly jam on a few tracks (McGear having changed his surname to avoid trading in on his brother's name). McCartney also brought along his mate Jimi Hendrix to play guitar and therefore, according to legend, it's the only collaboration between Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix officially released on record. Other guests include Dave Mason, Spencer Davis, John Mayall, Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell and Jack Bruce - so when it grooved it did so quite nicely; unfortunately, there were only four songs on the album, the rest being taken up with Roger McGough's poems. You can see why it must have a seemed like a good idea at the time, but if So Much In Love is anything to go by, you just wish that Roger had spent more time making the tea, leaving everyone else to get on with it. A semi-legendary classic.
THE TOKENS HOW NICE
And speaking of 60's curio's - The Tokens are most famous for their chart-topping 1961 hit The Lion Sleeps Tonight and pretty much remained a doo-wop group for their next six albums until the 60's finally caught up with them and they released a groovy album in 1967 called IT'S A HAPPENING WORLD from which this track is taken - a fine example of psychedelic pop that, sadly, what with The Beatles having just released Sgt. Pepper's and the rest of the world kinda caught up in the Summer Of Love, nobody was listening to - which is a pity, really, because this track is really rather delightful.
AMORPHOUS ANDROGYNOUS THE PEPPERMINT TREE
More trippy beats from Amorphous Androgynous and yet another track I've plucked from their 2008 recording THE PEPPERMINT TREE AND THE SEEDS OF SUPERCONSCIOUSNESS - a psychedelic soul audio collage ethnic blues mash up of an album.
PETER BRODERICK GAMES
HOME is the name of the debut album by 21 year old Peter Broderick, which he released in 2008, who records songs of often stunning choral majesty using his two favourite instruments - the voice and the guitar, although he's not opposed to the odd harmonium, glockenspiel organ, vibraphone, banjo and celeste joining the mix, although never all at the same time. Games is a multi-harmonic affair that sets the tone for the rest of the album and comes over like a beautiful vocal benediction. Exquisite.
IN GOWAN RING ONCE TRUE LOVE
Games floats away and does its thing, so I have a little vocal track by In Gowan Ring drift gently in over it, the lovely Once True Love which seems to be a traditional re-working of Scarborough Fair. It doesn't hang around too long, just let's you recognise the tune and then fades away again. It can be found on COMPENDIUM: 1994-2000, released in 2000. In Gowan Ring, otherwise known as B'eirth (or possibly Bobin Jon Michael Eirth to his mum), makes music that is sublimely peaceful, vaguely medieval and generally unorthodox - there is more than a touch of the troubadour about him, yet despite releasing something like 22 albums a year he remains largely untouched by the world, and indeed, the world remains largely untouched by him.
THE TIME AND SPACE MACHINE THE TRIP
Richard Norris is one half of Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve, and formerly of The Grid, I think, but with The Time And Space Machine he satisfies his itch for cosmic psyche, mind-bending krautrock, lysergic acid folk and warped middle eastern freak beats so, as you can imagine, I think quite highly of him. The Trip is full of middle eastern vibes and can be found on the album VOL. 2, released in 2009.
PINK FLOYD GRANTCHESTER MEADOWS
Classic Pink Floyd at their dreamiest and most pastoral, although strictly speaking, of course, it's performed entirely by Roger Walters and his contribution to the second disc of the UMMAGUMMA album, released in 1969, whereon each member of the band had half a side each to play with. Grantchester Meadows, in Cambridge, is where Syd Barrett lived and was no doubt the home of the odd acid trip. The track, like the meadows themselves, creates a blank canvas for the idle mind to explore. They've probably built a housing estate on it now.
THE COCTEAU TWINS LAZY CALM
Remembering, out of the blue, the other day, how I used to spend a lot of evening's at home listening to The Cocteau Twins in my bedsit days, I recently re-discovered them and allowed myself to be seduced once again by their ethereal charms. Lazy Calm is taken from the album VICTORIALAND, released in 1986; an album made of snow and ghostly blank spaces so filled with beauty and wonder that it makes the heart ache to listen to them, which is why I listened to them so much in my bed-sit days, I imagine - and why I finally had to move on.
KEN NORDINE ONCE UPON A YOU KNOW WHAT
Ken Nordine is an American voiceover artist who is best known for his series of word jazz albums, on which he narrates hip beat observations over cool jazz stylings provided by the Chico Hamilton jazz group. Even if this means nothing to you, you will have heard his voice on countless, indeed, thousands of adverts and movie trailers – he was possessed with something of a resonant voice, which guaranteed him a job on the radio, but in the 1950’s he was adopted by the beat generation who took to his unusual prose-poems because they presented whimsical word-play with slightly disturbing suggestions that showed a mind slightly out of sync with the rest of the world.
Once Upon A You Know What is taken from his 1979 album STARE WITH YOUR EARS on which he trades in his hipsters howlings with something more fleshed out and yet at the same time darker - great for listening to on headphones.
THE JOKER'S DAUGHTER JESSE THE GOAT
At first glance Joker's Daughter are an unlikely pairing that, on paper at least, you wouldn't expect to work - Helena Costas, a bucolic half-Greek folky with a head full of Fotheringay, Pentangle and Vashti Bunyan, and hip-hop producer Danger Mouse, the studio mastermind behind The Grey Album, Gnarls Barkley and the Gorillaz' Demon days - although from the moment I read about them I became unreasonably excited. It turns out I was right to be - between them they've created an album that sounds like a spacey, pastoral mushroom trip through misty Arthurian meadows. Danger Mouse's production is as light as a feather and never dominates the songs, whilst Costas's haunting fair-maiden delivery has the quality of a fresh folk-pop excursion to a Victorian fayre, although I have no idea what she's singing about on Jesse The Goat, or even in what language she's singing, but it sounds just right. The album, THE LAST LAUGH, released in 2009, has a beguiling, haunting charm - a rich harvest from a broad psychic landscape that's a sparkling debut for her, and one of his most interesting collaborations. I'm something of a fan, can you tell?
CREAM TALES OF BRAVE ULYSSES
Classic album, classic cover – Cream’s second album, DISRAELI GEARS, released in 1967, was a move away from the blues based influences of their earlier work as the band embraced psychedelia and colourful pop songs. Tales of Brave Ulysses is a wah-wah freak-out with a pleasingly lysergic undercurrent that Clapton was never able to capture again. I’ve never been a fan of Clapton, or the blues, but Disraeli Gears is one of the defining psychedelic albums of the times.
MARISSA NADLER MEXICAN SUMMER
Or, the lovely Marissa Nadler as she's known round Mind De-Coder central. Mexican Summer is taken from her 2007 album SONGS III: BIRD ON THE WATER, an album that details her pensive loneliness and gorgeous isolation with songs that shiver with acoustic wonderment. She's joined by Mind De-Coder favourites Espers, who augment her acoustic vision with cello, percussion, mandolin and electric guitars - overall the effect is one of heart-broken desolation and soul-aching beauty, with the odd breath-taking desert sunset thrown in. Lovely, indeed.
Something of a psychedelic filler that uses, in part, various bits and bobs from the mash-up artist MP3J who seems to have made a career (well, perhaps not a career) out of re-mixing and otherwise mashing up The Beatles with whatever else he can get his hands on. Check out his website here
SAINT ETIENNE AVENUE
St. Etienne's finest seven and a half minutes, the giddily psychedelic, ambitious and elegant, lemon-flavoured kiss of a song that comes over like a bright hazy morning captured on disc. This was St. Etienne's attempt at the perfect pop record and indeed it would have been were it not for the aforementioned seven and a half minutes of it, which resulted in it getting zero air play on the nation's radio waves. The album SO TOUGH, released in 1993, from which it is taken, shimmers like a faded English sea-side town, a wispy maze of memories coloured in with day-glo crayons - it is in many ways the pinnacle of pop perfection and 18 albums or so down the track, it's still the one I'm waiting for them to beat.
MOON WIRING CLUB A MIND FULL OF MAGIC
To coincide with the release of his 2011 album, A SPARE TABBY AT THE CAT’S WEDDING, Ian Hodgson, in a completely hauntological fashion, released an accompanying vinyl version of the album that, whilst sharing some of the titles, was, in fact, and entirely different collection of music. Hodgson sees it as the dream version of the CD release – so by the end of listening to the CD you’ve fallen asleep, and in your sleep you’re trapped inside the vinyl version. Tripped out hauntological happenings await you there.
THE FOCUS GROUP BROUHAHJA
One of three tracks included on a free release EP from the legendary Ghost Box record label, home to all things hauntological. It includes another track from The Focus Group and one track from The Advisory Circle and serves as a spooky bucolic sampler of the Ghost Box sound. To download the EP click here
THE MEMORY BAND THE WEARING OF THE HORNS (WEYHILL ON MY MIND)
This is the opening track to The Memory Band’s fantastic new album ON THE CHALK (OUR NAVIGATION OF THE LINE OF THE DOWN), an album that pretty much does what it says on the label – explores Britains’s oldest road, the mysterious Harrow Way; the Western part of The Old Way, a pre-historic track that leads from Kent across Southern England to the ancient site of Avebury in Wiltshire. In some ways it comes across as a cross between Adrian Corker’s soundtrack the documentary The Way Of The Morris, and the electronic folk of Tunng, especially on their most recent album Turbines, but the album has a more disorientating, hallucinogenic (I'm thinking of magic mushrooms here) feel to it than either of those two albums that, while its haunting horns, crackles, drones and spooky, disembodied voices puts it more in the hauntological camp. It’s a lovely album that manages to be quite dark and imposing at times, more peaceful and serene at others, and is genuinely evocative in its psycho-geographical mapping of a semi-mythical part of Britain’s identity, withered in time and shrouded in mystery.
KELLI ALI ONE DAY AT A TIME
ROCKING HORSE, Kelli Ali's third release, is an elongated lullaby of an album; steeped in medieval melodies and awash with bucolic charm and whispered, wispy wonder. One Day At A Time is the sound of someone simply lost in bliss. In a year that saw Goldfrapp release The Seventh Tree and The Joker's Daughter introduce themselves to the world, this album is my favourite.
CHIITRA NEOGY KRISHNA AND THE LOVELY COWGIRLS
Aah, THE PERFUMED GARDEN, released in 1968, on which the mysterious and frankly sexy-as-nobodies-business Chiitra Neogy intones Advice For The Lovelorn, reveals that a Woman Is Like A Fruit, and offers the Encouragement Of The Lusty Wife, all in a sultry and erotic voice awash with hints of a forbidden, oriental knowledge. The album itself is a spoken-word translation of Shaykh Umar ibn Muhammed al-Nefzawi's famous Arabic 15th century manual of erotic love, with added exotic string arrangements that lend an aura of depth and mystical allure to the pieces. An album absolutely of its time, it also features four classic Indian poems of a sensual and unabashed nature from which Krishna And The Lovely Cowgirls is taken. Eagle-eared listeners will have noted by now that she’s all over this week’s show. We listen to this album all the time round our house.
REIKO IKE MIDNIGHT WHISPER IN A CURVED AIR
Continuing our theme of erotic pleasure, Reiko Ike is a Japanese actress who starred in a number of soft porn/action movies in the early 1970s known as ‘pink films’ (her film career includes such legendary titles as ‘Hot Springs Mimizu Geisha’ and the semi-infamous ‘Modern Porno Tale: Inherited Sex Mania’). In 1971, aged 17, she released her only album, KÔKOTSUE NO SEKAI, one of Japan’s rarest and erotic artifacts, in which she moans and groans her way through the album’s set-list of conventional covers and kayôkyoku melodies with golden-tongued ease. The entire album is suffused with a unique atmosphere of ecstatic pleasure, honeyed whispers and erotic incantations backed by the sound of a cheesy organ reminiscent of the sort of thing that Ennio Morricone or Serge Gainsbourg were up to at the same time. The track Midnight Whisper In A Curved Air is not quite representative of the whole album but offers a tantalizing glimpse into the previously forbidden world of erotic lounge music.
ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE HYPNOTIC LIQUID MACHINE FROM THE GOLDEN UTOPIA
Just five minutes from this mind-warping track by Japan’s premier shamanic/psychic freak-out/ heavy psychedelic/ head-fucking/ space-rock band because the full 27 minutes and forty seconds, which sounds exactly like the first five minutes, would, I think, lose me even the most ardent Mind De-Coder fan (if indeed such a person exists). Anyway, if you are that person and you want to give it a go, you can find it on the album of the same name, released in 2004. It takes up all of side 1 and side 2 is considered a bonus track. It will blow your mind.
Our only Krautrock offering, Ohrwurm, is buried beneath the Acid Mothers Temple assault and is short meditational piece on an album of short meditational pieces called MUSIK VON HARMONIA, released 1972. I understand that the title translates as ‘earwig’, or ‘catchty tune’, and not, as you might think, ‘earworm’ - although if you were to combine those two meanings then exactly what you’d get, I suppose.
JULIAN COPE HUNG UP, AND HANGING OUT TO DRY
This track is taken from Cope’s epic paen to mother earth, 1991’s PEGGY SUICIDE. As Cope himself says on the liner notes – this is as loose as he gets, and it’s still tense.
THE MONKEES AS WE GO ALONG
One of the great lost songs by The Monkees, hidden away on the much unloved HEAD album, released in 1968 to accompany the surrealistic, psychedelic and the largely plotless mobius strip of a film that nobody went to see and finished off the band once and for all (which was largely the point, I think) - needless to say it's a big favourite of mine. The album is a trip in itself, edited and produced by Jack Nicholson, it includes six new songs and a collage of film dialogue and effects, and this particular track - one of Dolenz's finest moments.
And that was Mind De-Coder 6. Please mind your head on the way out.
To listen to the show click here