To listen to the show just scroll to the bottom of the page
MIND DE-CODER 44
“To get really high is to forget yourself. And to forget yourself is to see everything else. And to see everything else is to become an understanding molecule in evolution, a conscious tool of the universe”
LEW PRYME (GRACIOUS LADY) ALICE DEE
Back in the 60s Lew Pryme was New Zealand’s premier light entertainer with a number of pop hits behind him when, in 1968, he released the marvellous single (Gracious Lady) Alice Dee, written for him by Bryce Peterson, former frontman for the semi-legendary House of Nimrod who managed to record two singles before collapsing into an acid black-hole. The song got Pryme briefly banned from some stations for its references to LSD but he soon returned to the charts with the wholesome What’s He Got That I Ain’t Got and normality resumed.
THE WHO ARMENIA – CITY IN THE SKY
The Who never really embraced psychedelia, although Pete Townshend wasn’t averse to the odd trip, but this track, taken from their classic 1967 release THE WHO SELL OUT was actually written for them by Townshend’s friend and sometime-chauffer Speedy Keen who went on to find fame himself with Thunderclap Newman’s Something In The Air in 1969. That being said, THE WHO SELL OUT is the nearest the band ever came to flirting with psychedelia featuring fake ads and wicked radio pastiches amongst the guitar distortions, sloping bass lines, pop hooks, experimental effects and occasional acoustic loveliness. Possibly the best thing they ever did.
NICK NICELY’S X-RAY ORCHESTRA PSYCHOTROPIAN DOBBSCAPE
Insanely psychedelic sounds from the semi-legendary nick nicely (who insists that there are no capitals in his name) and a track taken from the cd THIS WAY UP, released in 2004 to accompany Issue 35 of the brilliant and now sadly defunct music magazine Ptolemaic Terrascope which, in its run from 1998 to 2005, concerned itself with the worlds of folk, freakbeat, punk, psychedelia, krautrock, prog, free-jazz, psychedelia, and, not unlike Mind De-Coder, all that music that got lost in the spaces in between. nick nicely inhabits the spaces in between.
THE WHITE KITES EVENING WALK
This is really quite lovely. The White Kites are a Polish psychedelic outfit who sound like they sneaked into the Abbey Road studios after The Beatles had called it a night one evening back in 1967 and quickly knocked off a couple of out-standing tracks for their debut single THE LOVE SONGS EP, released last year (2013). In fact, I understand that that’s just what psychedelic chancers Simon Dupree and the Big Sound did for their hit single Kite, so you see how it all hangs together. Evening Walk is pitch perfect psychedelia, almost entirely pastiche but done with such love I can’t help but applaud.. I like them so much I’m including a track from their album later on in the show.
STEVE CRADOCK STREET FIRE
Lovely pastoral psychedelia with a few mind bending flourishes thrown in for good measure. Steve Cradock’s TRAVEL WILD – TRAVEL FREE was one of last year’s hidden gems.
DEVENDRA BANHART MEET ME AT LOOKOUT POINT
Gorgeous acid folk reverie from New Weird America freak-folk catalyst Devendra Banhart who, on his difficult sixth album, 2009’s WHAT WILL BE WILL BE, creates a languid vibe that that seems to go nowhere much to the consternation of critics that wanted something fuller with some element of direction. Regardless, it would take a mean sprit to deny the loveliness of Meet Me At Lookout Point.
GONG OTHER SIDE OF THE SKY
Opening track from the band’s 1973 release ANGEL’S EGG, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the sounds that await you thereon. Other Side Of The Sky features Gilli Smythe offering whispered invocations to The Goddess, to which Side 1 of the album is dedicated as a Yin to side 2’s Yang, and the whole thing has a quirky, whimsical spaced-out vibe to it the likes of which they don’t make anymore.
FLOATING FLOWER SHIZUKU NO YOUNI
Shamanic acid-folk trio Floating Flower were a one-time side project of Acid Mother’s Temple producer Kawabata Makoto and seems to scratch an itch he has for occasional ethereal loveliness. They only produced the two albums which are now available on one CD. Shizuku No Youni is the opening track from their debut, 1998’s FLOATING FLOWER 1, an album that’s almost transcendentally mind altering.
FAUST STRETCH OUT TIME
This is taken from the by now semi-legendary FAUST TAPES, released in 1973 and my first introduction to the band - admittedly I didn’t come across it until 1981, but it changed my expectations of what music could offer for ever.
HOI’ POLLOI LAST LAUGH
Something of a throwaway track, but nonetheless engaging for all that, from the little, if at all, known Hoi’ Polloi (I can’t tell you how much that apostrophe irritates me). Their one album, a privately printed affair released in 1972, is a pleasing mixture of early 1970’s styles taking in folk rock, country rock and light psychedelia and is considered something of a find these days if you ever happen to come across a copy.
BOBAJ, JONS AND MALONE CHANT
Psychedelic oddity from the equally obscure Bobaj, Jons and Malone, essentially two recording engineers for the semi-mythical Morgan Blue Town label and Wilson Malone from psychedelic also-rans Orange Bicycle, who, in 1970 recorded their one album, MOTHERLIGHT, featuring a slightly off-kilter collection of blissful acid-folk work-outs and proto-heavy metal riffage. Despite both genres appealing to the psychedelically informed at the time it remained largely unheard, but, as is usual in these matters, it is now highly collectible.
TOY JOIN THE DOTS
Absolutely stunning title track from the new album JOIN THE DOTS by psychedelic hopefuls Toy, released late last year and the album on which they begin to transcend their influences to produce a work that’s the perfect mix of noise and melody, Krautrock grooves, swirling feedback, chaotic drones and plate-eyed harmonies.
OASIS MORNING GLORY
I know! It surprised me when they turned up here too, but I was playing the album the other day while I was pottering around the lounge in a not-quite-doing-the-housework type of way and this track simply felt huge; too big to be contained by the speakers. In many ways it’s their Sunshine Superman, perfectly celebrating the invincible confidence of youth, brimming with bravado, money in your pocket and recently ingested acid in your stomach, ready to take on the world and shout from the highest roof tops. Taken from their 1995 release (WHAT’S THE STORY) MORNING GLORY, Oasis were never this crucial again.
WALTER WEGMÜLLER DER MAGIER
Mind-bending brilliance from Walter Wegmüller, Krautrock mystic and folk magician, who was encouraged by Timothy Leary, on the run from the FBI and hanging out in Switzerland, to create an album based around the tarot deck. Wegmüller, a Swiss gypsy, had already created his own deck of tarot cards and was equal to the task. What followed was a massively ambitious work with each track focused upon each of the major arcana with backing provided by a Krautrock supergroup featuring the likes of Walter Westrupp of Witthüser and Westrupp, producer Dieter Dierks and most of Ash Ra Tempel (to name just three of the artists who’ve featured on Mind De-Coder as well as a whole bunch that haven’t – yet) who between them created a sound that’s one of the most powerfully hallucinatory recordings ever to take a trip through your psyche.
TINY TIM TIP-TOE THRU’ THE TULIPS WITH ME
Taken from the 1968 album GOD BLESS TINY TIM, which just about says it all really, doesn’t it? Let’s think of it as a lost treasure.
MARGO GURYAN LOVE
Another lost treasure, Margo Guryan only produced the one album, the rather fine TAKE A PICTURE, released in 1968. Sometimes referred to as something of a hippy goddess she is actually a classically trained pianist and jazz composer by trade and only dipped her toe into the pool of kaleidoscopic soft pop upon hearing The Beach Boys’ God Only Knows for the first time which, by all accounts, changed the way she heard music forever. The album was well received but she couldn’t be doing with a big tour to promote it so it slipped away into the faery mists of time where it abides still.
THE MUSTANGS ACID TRIP
Pretty much does what it says on the label. The Mustangs are a South Korean psych-rock outfit whose second album, ACID TRIP, released in 2008, has everything you’d expect from an album with that title – psychedelic jams, free improvisation, guitar wig-outs and analogue synths. Whilst short on actual ‘songs’ the album pulsates with an ecstatic abandon that puts me in mind of the sound made by a cross between the Electric Prunes live and a P-51 fighter plane travelling overhead, which, of course (he said, knowingly) is exactly the sort of aircraft that would have fought in the skies during the Korean war. I bet that’s what they’re named after – although it might be the car, I suppose. Or possibly a horse.
MONA AND MARIA LET THE SUN
More pastoral loveliness from Norway’s finest purveyors of acid folk charm, Mona and Maria who, on their first album, last year’s MY SUN, are all sun-dappled and exquisite.
WHISPERS OF TRUTH SUNDAY AFTERNOON WITH EMILY
This track, a psychedelic oddity if ever there was one, seems to be something of a well-meant amendment to Pink Floyd’s See Emily Play, in which Whispers Of Truth suggest that, once the drugs have worn off, Emily, now a shadow of her former playful self, may be looking for something else to fill the emptiness in her life and that something else may be Jesus. Whispers Of Truth were the creation of Graham Kendrick, an evangelical Christian who used music as a way of reaching out to young kids in an age where hippy ideologies may have led them astray. The five piece band (which also included his brother and sister) were something of a live proposition and would often play in Christian coffee bars, spreading the word through psychedelic flavoured songs. In fact, they only recorded four songs which eventually appeared on the album ALIVE!, a collection of Christian artists who all performed at the London Sound Vision concerts in March 1969 and is worth tracking down for Kendrick’s contributions alone.
THE WHITE KITES BEYOND THE FURTHEST STAR
Another track from Poland’s tripped out exponents of 60’s psychedelia – Beyond The Furthest Star is taken from the debut album MISSING, released in 2013. It’s an album filled with the sounds of distorted guitars, deep belly rumbling organs, soothing flutes and mesmerising mellotron and is clearly in debt to the likes of Pink Floyd, Robert Wyatt, The Zombies and even Genesis when they extend their range to the 70’s but within their original music one can find varying degrees of influence from folk, music-hall and baroque. The sound is so authentic you can almost smell that mythic 1967 dust that Lee Mavers of The La’s went mad looking for burning up on the studio valves.