MIND DE-CODER 88
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In an empty, unarticulated space our mind loses our sense of time as well. Our mind loses our sense of time and we enter the twilight of the immeasurable. Dämmerung des unermesslichen.
PETER COOK AND DUDLEY MOORE THE BEE SIDE
Quite literally the b-side to their 1967 single The L.S.Bumble Bee, a satire upon all the fuss being stirred up in the popular press regarding LSD use amongst the cognoscenti of the swinging London set, of which Pete and Dud were undoubtedly a part and a remarkably well-informed part at that. The b-side is done in the style of a Dagenham sketch taken straight from Not Only...But Also in a knowing style that suggests the pair knew of that which they were talking about.
THE DIRTY FILTHY MUD FOREST OF BLACK
The unpromisingly monikered Dirty Filthy Mud were little-known garage act who released just the one single in 1968, a fuzzed-out slice of propulsive rock that I’m pretty sure has been co-opted by Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve at some point or other in their career. It’s just the sort of thing they’d go for - audaciously obscure with an electronic pulse that owes more to the likes of United States Of America and Fifty Foot Hose than Uncle Joe And The Fish who were, at the very least, an inspiration. I just read that last sentence back to myself - I could be talking gobbledegook.
THE CHAPTA JOURNEY TO THE SUN
New Zealand’s Chapta unleash their inner Spinal Tap (in their Listen To The Flower People phase) for this gloriously dippy track, taken from their debut album, the fittingly entitled THE CHAPTA - ONE, released in 1971 (although, rather disappointingly, their second and final album was called OPEN DOOR). Hailing from Christchurch (one of New Zealand’s least rock ‘n’ roll cities - let’s face it), the band released five singles in the couple of years they remained together and were highly regarded at the time - sadly they’ve been swallowed by the mists of time - you may have to ask your parents about them.
JEAN LE FENNEC MES ENFANTS D’AUTRE PART
Generally regarded as one of the weirdest French psychsploitation albums to emerge from the 6os, Jean Le Fennec’s PHANTASTIC, released in 1969, is a bizarre mix of spacey instrumentation, distorted vocals and far-out synthesiser effects that comes over like a cross between Serge Gainsbourg and Bruce Haack channeling the spirit of Syd Barrett. Jean Le Fennec remains a tantalizingly obscure figure in your psych-pop circles, although a bit of research reveals that he may have been Belgian and also responsible for the space-age cosmic krautrock release PLANÈTES released in 1981 under the name Jean Hoyoux, if that’s any help.
THE HARE AND THE HOOFE LADYE LOVIBONDE-GOODWIN PAVANNE
A marvelous, marvelous band - The Hare And The Hoofe are a polymesmeric force of cosmic far-outedness whose eponymously entitled debut album provides a head-spinning mix of bonkers psychedelia which critical opinion places somewhere between The Who, The Stooges, ELO, Sparks, Pink Floyd, Brainiac, Bowie, Judas Priest, and, if I may throw my own tuppenth worth into the hat, Cranium Pie. Available as a gatefold double LP, Disc One rounds up the ‘hits’ so far and includes the mind-bending Ladye Lovibonde-Goodwin Pavanne, whilst the second consists of a rock opera featuring time-traveling scientists and giant laser-eyed robots. So, a proper band then. It really is as good as it sounds.
THE TRANSPERSONALS TO FIND HER EVERYWHERE
To Find Her Everywhere is a song so transcendentally gorgeous it instills within the listener an almost-state of narcotic bliss, which it pretty much defines as ‘falling in love, drinking red wine and taking strange drugs’ - which is kind of hard to disagree with. Taken from their debut release SAY GOODBYE TO FREE WILL (THE PERILS OF CHEERLEADING), an album of majestic psychedelia, released in 2011, this track is simply sublime and is the musical equivalent of being intoxicatingly loved-up.
TANGERINE DREAM FLUTE ORGAN PIECE
This track is taken from Tangerine Dream’s recent 18-CD boxset IN SEARCH OF HADES: THE VIRGIN RECORDINGS 1973-1979, a lavish and, indeed, definitive statement of this period in the band’s history. It features newly remastered versions of all the albums released in this creatively fecund period and includes a number of bonus discs, including a selection of out-takes from their PHAEDRA sessions, recorded in 1973, from which the rather lovely Flute Organ Piece is taken. PHAEDRA pretty much marked the end of Tangerine Dream’s truly experimental stage - after this album they would veer more towards the Vangelis scheme of things, but here they largely eschew melody for experimentation and atmosphere, the music creating an introspective soundspace of colour.
Rokurokubi is the stage name of Brighton based singer-songwriter Rose Dutton whose debut album, SATURN IN PISCES, is an astonishing collection of lush acid-folk songs redolent of times spent jamming in woods and otherwise getting it together in the country. The songs explore kaleidoscopic fairy tales of love, lost innocence, longing and revenge that exist somewhere between the traditional folk canon found in Cecil Sharp House and the psychedelic folk re-imaginings of the 1970s. Absolutely spell-binding.
SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS PLEASE READ ME
This track sees the welcome return of Soft Hearted Scientists with a cover of the Bee Gees 1967 psych-pop gem Please Read Me, recorded especially for the wonderful Fruits De Mer record label. An understated flourish of sitar introduces the song, which then soars like a magical white kite on the gentlest of lysergic breezes. It really is quite captivating. The b-side is just as lovely and features an SHS original which will, no doubt, find itself in the next show. Croeso yn ôl, bechgyn.
I’m playing this song for my good friend Rhys who loved this band and who sadly passed away before I could play him this record. Wherever you are now, brother, I hope it’s full of stone circles, magic mushrooms and comely maidens with pupils the size of dinner plates.
MEG BAIRD AND MARY LATTIMORE IN CEDARS
Ambient folk gorgeousness from Espers’ Meg Baird - who could sing a shopping list and make it sound celestial - and acclaimed harpist Mary Lattimore, whose enigmatic, spectral experimental harp sounds move and unfold like nature itself. Their first album together, 2017’s GHOST FORESTS, plays to both their strengths, but rather than produce the album of exquisite pastoral loveliness you’d expect, the pair have made an album that’s altogether stranger, exploring the sound of light on water here and seismic geopolitical anxiety there, both ethereal and earthy, bucolic and avant-garde, in which Baird’s voice is as much the instrument as Lattimore's harp. Beauty, previously unimagined, awaits.
JUSTIN HOPPER & SHARRON KRAUS WITH THE BELBURY POLY WANDERER
This track is from the latest Ghost Box release, CHANCTONBURY RINGS, a spoken word and music project by Justin Hopper, author of the book ‘The Olde Weird Albion’, folk musician Sharron Kraus, and Belbury Poly’s Jim Jupp, whose production permeates the album with a hauntological ambiance that takes in distorted pipes, ghostly morris dancers, accordion groans and dark synths. Equal parts folk, electronic music, poetry, prose and found sound, the album is a poetical, autobiographical and psychogeographical account of Chanctonbury Ring, a pre-historic hill fort that sits atop Chanctonbury Hill on the West Sussex Downs. Evocative, to say the least, and completely compelling.
CARL TURNEY & BRIAN CAMPBELL LO SATURNALIA!
“Mid-winter is the low ebb of the year, the heart of the lifeless season when the sun describes a wearily flattened arc across the sky: its luminosity dimmed and wan, its passage brief. Shadows lengthen, branches grow bare and bony, temperatures drop and darkness prevails. There is a need for cheer, for hope and conviviality, for reminders of Spring’s renewal to come. Old mid-winter rites and rituals...bring a little warmth and light to this chill time of scarcity and spiritual despond”.
Thus reads the accompanying notes to THE FOLKLORE TAPES CALENDAR CUSTOMS VOL.III - MID-WINTER RITES AND REVELRIES, the label’s exploration of the other side of winter. Each of the artists contributing to this limited edition cassette compilation from Folklore Tapes - an open-ended research project exploring the myths, mysteries, magic and arcana of Great Britain - researched a particular mid-winter ritual and, informed by their findings, conjured a soundpiece in response. The Clinic’s Carl Turney and Brian Campbell looked to Saturnalia, the ancient Roman festival of Saturn - a period of general all-round merrymaking and good cheer, and, otherwise, a pagan pre-cursor to Christmas - as their inspiration, and take us on an hallucinogenic sleighride through the season with acousmatic carolling, text-sound collage, composed music and augmented field-recordings. Perfect for these crisp evenings when the smell of woodsmoke fills the air.
THE COMET IS COMING TIMEWAVE ZERO
The Comet Is Coming inhabit a boundaryless world in which cosmic jazz, grime, dubstep and psychedelic rock wash over each other to create a potent brew that owes as much to Slimzee and 808 State as it does The Mahavishnu Orchestra or Sun Ra’s space(d) excursions. Taken from their second album, TRUST IN THE LIFEFORCE OF THE GREAT MYSTERY, released in 2019, Afro-beat rhythms carry Timewave Zero, pushing the limits of jazz beyond conception, but in a good way.
GRAND VEYMONT UPIE
Grand Veymont are one of those bands that we fans of Stereolab and Broadcast turn to when we’re looking for a percolating hauntological fix, although Upie, taken from their eponymous debut album, transcends the band’s influences and shows just how far-out they can go when they become untethered. Taking their name from the highest peak in the Vercors Regional Nature Park in South Eastern France, this French band excel at combining a pastoral kosmische vibe with the rhythmic pulse of Can and Neu! and the more off-kilter moments of Air to create what they call a krautrock salon.
MOON WIRING CLUB PHANTOM FUNGICIDE
Ian Hodgson’s Moon Wiring Club picks up on a latent oddness and hauntological nostalgia associated with GHASTLY GARDEN CENTRES for his latest release. Phantom Fungicide is a woozy, discombobulating trawl through the ramshackle aisles of your nearest Placemakers gardening section.
THE OTHER WITHOUT NATURE HAS MADE A GARDEN IN THE WILDERNESS AND ITS NAME IS BEAUTY
I came across this track on Day 7 of Julian Cope’s SydArthur Festival - the world’s first psychic rock ‘n’ roll festival - in which the archdrude invites us to celebrate, indeed, cerebrate, the full lunar month that separates the deaths of those two psychedelic giants - Syd Barrett and Arthur Lee - who passed away within 28 days of each other in 2006. The awesome tranquility of Nature Has Made A Garden In The Wilderness And Its Name Is Beauty is presented by Wiltshire duo The Other Without from their current release THE OTHER WITHOUT 2, a collection of four long blissed-out trips of quiet motion, field recordings, keyboard swells, birdsong, waves, motifs a-tinkling, and slow planetary turns.
NATHAN HALL AND THE SINISTER LOCALS GHOSTS ARE NOT AS STRANGE AS BEING ALIVE
Nathan Hall is emitting - not only do we have a new single from the Soft Hearted Scientists, yesterday saw his new album with The Sinister Locals, SCATTERSPARKS, arrive in my mailbox. The album features 24 songs that cover a lot of ground, from psychedelic lullabies, communing with dead Roman soldiers on a boring Bank Holiday, sentient scarecrows, the death of smugness, vile blood soaked royalty, yummy mummies, hallucinations in a garden in Devon, a smack down between Winter and Spring, a requiem for Laika the space dog, a modern take on the House of the Rising Sun theme of corruption in bad places, a horrible prelude of winter during an August walk in Cardiff Bay near a deserted fairground, and an Ivor Cutler influenced end of the album song.
As usual, we’re offered a cornucopia of psychedelic delights, wistful imagery, baroque flourishes, bucolic whimsy and analogue electronics, and whilst the spirit of Syd is never too far away, these songs owe more to the visionary soundscapes of Brian Wilson; spacious and light, with swirling melodies, inventive touches and a lysergic sense of playfulness, this is an album to charm the senses and entrance the mind.
THE PULSELOVERS THE EDGE OF THE CLOUD
For its latest release, the very fine A Year InThe Country brings us ECHOES AND REVERBERATIONS, a field recording-based mapping of real and imaginary film and television locations that is, in part, an exploration of their fictional counterparts’ themes - from apocalyptic tales to never-were documentaries and phantasmagorical government-commissioned instructional films via stories of conflicting mystical forces of the past and present; scientific experiments gone wrong and unleashed on the world; the discovery of buried ancient objects and the reawakening of their malignant alien influence; progressive struggles in a world of hidebound rural tradition and the once optimism of post-war new town modernism.
Each track contains field recordings from the spectral will-o’-the-wisps of locations’ imagined or often hidden flipsides. The Pulselovers present The Edge Of The Cloud, inspired by K. M. Peyton’s book ‘Flambards’, which was filmed for television in 1978, and tells the story of Christina Parsons and her struggle to find her place in a world of Edwardian tradition (a privileged life in the titular country manor where servants, horses and fox hunting are a way of life) and modernity (suffrage, aviation, emancipation and independence). The track features field recordings made near Sawley Hall, Yorkshire where the series was filmed, but I do wish they’d been able to include snippets of David Fanshawe’s stirring Theme For Flambards - I always enjoyed it and don’t think I’ve heard it in 40 odd years.
MOON WIRING CLUB AN ETERNITY IN GARDEN RETAIL
Room for one last trip around the garden centre as spectral presences dip in and out of earshot like potentiality just beyond grasp.
Owl Service end titles music
AL STEWART MY CONTEMPORARIES
Al Stewart was a key figure in your British folk circles. He played at the first-ever Glastonbury Festival in 1970, knew Yoko Ono before she met John Lennon, shared a London flat with a young Paul Simon, and hosted at the Les Cousins folk club in London in the 1960s. His debut album, BEDSITTER IMAGES, released in 1967, is an engaging but slightly twee recording, replete with observational storytelling, poetic lyrics and baroque orchestration. He would go on to better things but the album is not without a particular charm all of its own. I include the outrageously throwaway My Contemporaries because it brings a smile to my face each time I hear it.