30 April 2014

Listen To Dr. Schluss' Glaze Of Cathexis and Damaged Tape

As I review more albums, I'd love for you to check out my own music and leave some comments to tell me what you think. The Glaze of Cathexis albums are my more psychedelic rock based offerings, while the Damaged Tape recordings are my journeys into electronica. Please have a listen!

Damaged Tape
Damaged Tape - 2014 - Ancient Lights (coming March 2014)
Damaged Tape - 2012 - Conflagration of Nibiru

19 April 2014

Hapsash and the Coloured Coat - 1967 - Human Host and the Heavy Metal Kids

Quality: 4.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

Man, I had a ceremony with this one.  Listen to this and you're down for a primordial psychedelic pummeling.  Yeah, this is the music that the CIA created.  The sound's going straight for the hidden punk rock face of the Velvet Underground follow-up act in the Factory.  They don't necessarily have the talent, but they've got the Owsley to do their thing.  Word on the street is that the group were some English visual artists throwing down the drafting gear, picking up guitars and bongos, and doing their thing.  There's barely songs here, but the tribal gathering is clear and the vibrations are just at the right frequency.

We'll focus straight on the main event.  "Empire of the Sun" is an epic, fifteen minute awakening - drums pounding away with a churning rhythm guitar, punctuated by bells and strange spoken incantations.  The opening "H-O-P-P-Why?" opens the proceedings in a similar vein, but there's plenty of weirdness in between.  "A Mind Blown is a Mind Shown" rides folkier waves and "Aoum" goes spiritual, acapella Ligeti, but the pure freak out comes in "The New Messiah Coming 1985."  It's a warped audiograph of the dosed coffee house of the times - unplugged but electrifying to the ear.

Are songs always the answer?  Hapsash and the Coloured Coat don't seem particularly convinced.  The tunes here are a far cry from psychedelic pop, but they take the raw elements of what was hip and splatter it against the wall Pollock-style.  At least they have the etiquette to warn you with the album cover depicting your mind getting blown.

04 April 2014

Glaze of Cathexis - 2014 - Koans of the Paradox

Psychedelic rock for the chicken soup soul.  The title track is a preview of the "Cryptic Hullabaloo" album coming later this month.  The other three tracks are exclusive to this release and dip through the more tranquil vibrations of shoegaze and cosmic country.  I wrote the music to "Passageway to the Oracle" sometime in the mid-90's, staring out the window of my high school chemistry class.  Scott says this:

Think a musical experience of ye olde merrie pilgrims armed with Casino guitars
on a jolly East Asian ayahuasca cavalcade. 

I suppose that's better than I'm going to put it.  Listen here:

02 April 2014

glu - 2014 - Numbers

Quality: 4.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

This is a very groovy set that rides the slipstream of bloopy 70's analog electronica and the digital planetarium of 1986, while paying heed to all the soil festivities in between.  Most of the tones seem to have been carefully selected and custom fitted right where they need to in the tracks.  The core of most of it seems to spring from the more beastly analog synthesizers and drum machines, but the detail work and fine lines open up the canvas of sound to a primordial world of doomed dinosaurs staring at the new moon, star-splattered sky.

I can't help but notice that glu seems to be somewhat parallel to my own electronic project as Damaged Tape - although glu seems to have it's hand a little more firmly on the production tiller.  "Aztek Sunrise" is that fanfare that comes out when it's time to pull out all the stops on the synths, while "Levels of Power" is framed by a bit of spoken word.  From there's the album shoots through a trip-hop vibe on "Tronic Poutry," before tacking east for more experimental sonic abstractions that eventually morphs into the throughs of ragged hip hop and drum and bass on "Cloudy Days."

This album darts through a variety of sonic motifs, but they do well to serve the whims of the artist rather than mere mimicry.  There is an worthwhile, individual voice to be heard on this electronic opus, but those of you that dig music from Jean Michel Jarre and Vangelis all the way to Boards of Canada and the Orb
are going to find something to latch onto here.


02 March 2014

Damaged Tape - 2014 - Ancient Lights

Here are some psychedelic electronic sound paintings pulsing with the auditory ambiance of Japan.  I've been pretty fixated on playing the guitar as of late, and most of the recent original music at the Psychedelic Garage has been rock n' roll with Glaze of Cathexis.  Still, there's been some tripped out electronica simmering on the back burner.

The majority of these tracks feature field recordings by Scott Atkinson.  The man loves to travel and we hooked him up with a cassette tape recorder early last year (the goal was for a giant Vietnam-era analog recorder, but it's hard to track that kind of thing down).  Most of the tracks congealed on recordings made in Kyoto, the busy streets of Tokyo, or, uh, the zoo.  On my end, I tried to focus more on the vibrations and atmosphere of the tracks than slathering on brazen melodies as I'm often apt to do.

A few tunes here date a little further back.  "Echoes of Infinity" and "Raynbow Sunryse No. 16" are tracks that I totally dig, but never really sequenced well on the last few Damaged Tape albums.  I think they flow rather nicely here.  "The Laboratory of Dr. Humpinstein" receives its odd nomenclature from my occasional film scoring activities.  The track served for the laboratory backgrounds in the 2011 Gonzoriffic film "The Erotik Castle of Dr. Humpinstein."  The name only should be enough info for if you want to watch it or not.

I always love to discover when folks share our music around on the internet.  Please do so if you feel the flow:

Damaged Tape - 2014 - Ancient Lights (Bandcamp)
Damaged Tape - 2014 - Ancient Lights (zip file)

27 February 2014

Glaze of Cathexis - 2013 - The 2013 EPs

Here's a handy compilation of last year's non-album bits of psychedelic rocking from Glaze of Cathexis.  A Lotus Pond in Winter takes a path through stratospheric echoes of shoegazing, while Journey to the Center has a more retro blues, rock n' roll, and 70's rockin' flavor, and The Gates of Ra heads straight for the surf rock.  You can read a bit more about them at the embedded links above.

If you've heard this stuff before, I've added a bit of bonus material as well.  There are a couple mono, instrumental mixes of the surfier tracks from I Often Dream of the Apocalypse that stretch out that particular vibe a bit.  You'll also hear a clutch of six cover tunes.  My daughter only wants to listen to the Beatles and the Beach Boys, which is cool, but I needed to trick her into listening to something I recorded, and thus we have the rest of the bonus tracks.

For those of you who may want to hear some new stuff,  I've got just under twenty tunes recorded for the next Glaze album.  Once we've got the finishing mixing and mastering touches and have chosen the best of the lot, we'll get that out to you.  For now, listen to this, yo:

Glaze of Cathexis - 2013 - The 2013 EPs

17 February 2014

Yeehaw!!! It's Cowboy Schluss' EP Roundup

I should probably note that this photo is almost ten years old - I don't have the hat anymore.  But I will mention that this is the awesome-cheap, gold sparkle ghetto Gretch (read: Silvertone) that I used to record Glaze of Cathexis' "Tokyo Rainbow Bridge" - y'know, if anyone cares.  That's not why we're here, though!  Although I'm a lazy bastard about it, I do get around to scouring the music that folks send to my gmail, and here are a few recent EPs that caught my fancy:

Plastic Man - 2013 - Plastic Man EP
Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

This trio hails from what must be the sleazier part of Italy.  They do the whole whimsical pop 1967 Syd Barrett pretty well.  But a fair amount of folks can do that.  What got my attention is that it sounds the Floyd if they had replaced Syd with Johnny Rotten after his fatal November 1966 car accident (yes, I'm mixing up my facts, conspiracy theories, and frontmen).  They take some fine 60's vibin' songwriting straight through the scum factory.  Or maybe it's like the Soft Boys if Robyn Hitchcock was a real muthaf**ka - that, with better production.  Do I really have to talk about tracks here?  There are four and they're all pretty good.


Prana Crafter - 2014 - Mountain Throne
Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out 5

There's probably a touch too much Neil Young guitar wailing and sad bastard music warbling (could do without the vocal on "Crowd of Amethyst"). to quite fit the bill, but this could, like, 80% of the way function as a soundtrack for Jack Kerouac's "Desolation Angels."  They're from Washington, you can see the snowy mountain for yourself, and the thing sounds like it was recorded in a log cabin full of echo.  Or replace Kerouac in his firewatch post with Johnny Depp's character from "Dead Man."  That should about fit the bill. I think they found just the rough-hewn place to stop recording, complete with weird tape hiss and stuff being dropped in the studio (living room?).


USSA Pleasure Dome - 2014 - Dead Medium
Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out of 5

I went to university in Athens, Georgia and spend countless midnight hours having my hearing destroyed at the fabulous 40 Watt.  This post-rock EP gave me distinct flashbacks of getting dragged out to see Polvo by my dormmates (not that there's anything wrong with Polvo - I just didn't know them at the time).  Oh, but it's not just post-rock.  There's a fine blast of shoegazing gracing the opening "Dreampool Ecstacy" while "Surround the Center" skirts the interstellar space dust that Voyager is currently plowing through.  They probably could've stretched out the Om-ful title track to 15 minutes (it's actually two-and-a-half) and made a full LP out of this thing.  I don't know, maybe that would've been lazy.


13 February 2014

Country Joe and the Fish - 1967 - Electric Music For the Body and Soul

Quality: 4.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

This one was not particularly obscure in its time, but this is a band that has perhaps unjustly drifted towards the edges of obscurity in the time since.  Although Country Joe McDonald is still notorious for his "F-I-S-H" chant at Woodstock, I rarely come across any discussions of this absolutely fantastic debut album.  You can take the mid-60's Beatles, Americanize them with the Byrds and the Buffalo Springfield (should that be Canadianize?), and then throw them directly into the psychedelic eye of San Francisco armed with jug band sensibilities.  With absolutely stellar songwriting and execution, this easily stands up with any of any of the other Summer of Love luminaries.  I grew up with this LP in the family record collection, and to this day when I hear the term 'psychedelic rock,' this album cover is usually the first thing that pops to mind.

Everything on this disc is pretty good.  Those first two tracks, "Flying High" and "Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine" drag you right on in as rough-edged, yet poppy confections that have San Francisco scene written all over them.  You get the full psychedelic lightshow, ballroom blast on the seven minute long "Section 43."  My father told me on multiple occasions that he had wanted "Porpoise Mouth" played at his wedding (it wasn't), but I could never tell if he was joking or not.  "Superbird" serves up another top-notch, full-tilt shuffle, while "Grace" ends the album by taking us to the ghostly outer atmosphere of Height Ashbury-laced folk rock.

I imagine quite of few of those reading this are already completely down with this recording, but I'm guessing that this'll be new for some of you.  This is one of those psychedelic uber-
classics along the lines of "Surrealistic Pillow" or "Buffalo Springfield" again, but I have the impression that it's gotten a little lost in the wilderness.  I could be wrong, but this is prime, key rock to groove along with.

31 January 2014

Brian Auger's Oblivion Express - 1972 - Second Wind

Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3.75 out of 5

Despite what the name would suggest, this is actually the third album from the Oblivion Express.  The actual second album didn't really catch my attention, but I've been grooving to this disc.  The band has a new vocalist/guitarist in tow on this one.  The jazz fusion and Cambridge psychedelic/prog flourishes are still in effect, but this album makes a few moves towards the Led Zeppelin/Black Sabbath sort of 70's rock zeitgeist as well.  This results in a notable drop on the Trip-O-Meter from the first album, but the group keeps their chops strong.

"Truth" and "Second Wind" are the rockingest tunes to be found here.  There are some fine guitar leads from what must be a Les Paul cutting through the British funk, and Auger takes the license to ramble all over his organ since he doesn't have to sing anymore.  In between are plenty of lite-jazz grooves which keep making me think of when Spinal Tap is forced to unleash their jazz odyssey.  Fortunately, Auger's doods can play a lot better than the Tap and keep the tunes floating above the wanna-be-posh, sleazy nightclub atmosphere.  Think red satin stained with a few cigarette burns.  I think it might sound a little like the early Jeff Beck Group, but I've honestly not listened to enough of that to be sure.

Not quite the standout of the first album, "Second Wind" is a fine specimen of its time and place.  This is the kind of group that seems to have had the record-tour-record routine down.  You've got some prime strains of jazz rock and a touch of the heavier stuff being played by pros.  It doesn't really have the psychedelic spark that really sets me off, but when you're on the third album of early 70's British groovesters 'Brian Auger's Oblivion Express,' you probably don't expect that coming in anyway.

22 January 2014

Brian Auger's Oblivion Express - 1971 - Brian Auger's Oblivion Express

Quality: 4.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

I first caught sight of this one back in college.  I headed over for a party at a mate's apartment and he'd just snapped this one up at a boot sale (yes, I'm from the redneck American south, but now I live in Japan and I feel like going with the Brit English).  I couldn't figure out if the cover was a joke or not - the graphic design seemed goofier than hell and the look in ol' Brian's eyes seemed to display some kind of trickery.  And the train's coming out of his chest, man.  Did we actually play the thing?  I can't remember - I hope I didn't insult the poor chap.

Anyway, we probably should've played it, although I was still working on my doctorate in the psychedelic and I may not have gotten it at the time.  Dang if I don't now, though.  This is some prime psychedelic jazz rock, with some deep meat and grit festering in the grooves.  Triangulate the Canterbury with contemporary Floyd and a healthy dose of Miles Davis' fusion experiments and you've got this.  Well, there's a touch of 70's bare-chest Brit blues yelping, but most of this stuff is instrumental anyway.

Auger was probably, like, the eighth most notable rock organist in England at the time, but that's still pretty good and he's backed himself up with a pretty spectacular band, with the rhythm section deftly riding the rails of the Oblivion Express and guitarist Jim Mullen shining through as the MVP with some awesome Cream-inspired soloing.

The instrumentals that bookend the album is the real gold here.  "Dragon Song" and "Total Eclipse" open the album and come pretty close to filling in the album side with some heavy riffing in a jazzy context.  A few years later, with instrumental wankery having taken center stage and record production getting more hi-fi shimmer, these tunes probably wouldn't have fared so well, but 1971 seems to have been the time and place for the Auger Express.  The side closes with "The Light," one of the two vocal numbers, but side two's "The Sword"  is a far better vocal showcase for Auger.  I wonder if the modern sludge rockers "The Sword" named themselves after this track?  "Oblivion Express" end the proceedings, taking us back to the rockin' fusion world of the first two tracks.

I'll have to apologize to Anthony for giggling at his Brian Auger's Oblivion Express vinyl all those years back.  This nicely breathes in the psychedelic exhaust of the late 60's while suggesting some of the fusion and prog routes that rock would barrel down in the 70's.

09 January 2014

Dr. Schluss' Best of 2013

I guess I'm a little late on the uptake for this, but it seems like you can't assess the year until it's over and done with.  Also, I'm lazy.

For those of us willing to dig, the world of psychedelic music has rarely been better.  While the major labels are continuing their slow ossification and death, the indies had a lot to offer and there are plenty of diamonds in the rough if you're willing to make your way through the wide world of self-released music.  It's only a matter of time before 'groovy' reenters the world of accepted speech.  Even some of the blockbusters like Kanye West's "Yeezus" had some trippy sonic curveballs to toss our way.

Here's my top ten for the year to get your mind flowin':

10. Tideland - Lull
Speaking of the endless jungle of Bandcamp, this is a choice pick that I reviewed last month,  While little here is groundbreaking, the shoegazing tones would have fit in perfectly with the Creation Records lineup of the early 1990's.

9. Cut Copy - Free Your Mind
Coming through like a technicolour, Madchester, dancefloor freight train, this is one of the most dancable releases of the year.  Cut Copy sheds some of the strict 80's adherence that they practiced on "Zonoscope" and lets their freak flag fly.

8. Chelsea Light Moving - Chelsea Light Moving
I was sad as anyone to see Sonic Youth fly off into splinters a few years ago, but if we keep getting releases like this, I suppose I can deal with it.  2012 gave us a sterling effort from Lee Ranaldo (who also released a pretty decent album in 2013), but 2013 was Thurston Moore's turn to step back into the limelight.  Most of the Sonic DNA is intact, but Moore pushes his new project even further towards hardcore punk rock blasts of sound.

7. Thundercat - Apocalypse
Gracing the cover with one of the more insane hairstyles I've come across, Thundercat's 2013 release is not quite electronic, not quite R&B, but most often a strange yet seamless fusion of the two.  Plus, there's enough warping sound to bounce your head around in the washing machine for a while.

6. Boards of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest
This elusive electronic duo peeks their head out of their hollowed out missile silo/laboratory/doomsday shelter for the first time in years for this updated soundtrack to the secret life of plants.  The focus is very much on the atmospherics this time around, but that's what BOC does best, so not much is lost.

5. Jacco Gardner - Cabinet of Curiosities
Aside from a tasteful upscale in recording clarity, this album could've come right out of the British psychedelic folk-pop scene in late 1967.  The song writing is of the highest caliber and the chord progressions often take the most wonderful of unexpected detours.

4. Glasser - Interiors
Bjork hasn't released an album that really grabbed me since "Vespertine," so Glasser nicely fills in the void here.  No one is going to convince me that Glasser doesn't sound a whole lot like Bjork at her prime, but Glasser stakes out enough ground of her own with impressively crystalline electronics and fantastic arranging skills.

3. The Field - Cupid's Head
This Kompakt Record mainstay is getting quite skilled at creating impressive ambient soundscapes that hover and float a few meters of the dance floor.  Each of these tracks will take you on a fantastic journey through the core of electronic psychedelia.

2. Julianna Barwick - Nepenthe
Relying mostly on multi-tracked, reverb-soaked, impressionist recordings of her voice, Barwick took up residence in Sigur Ros' swimming pool to create her best album yet.  It fact, this pretty much scratched the itch that the yesr's actual Sigur Ros album mostly failed to scratch.

1. My Bloody Valentine - m b v
I worked my way through the release day internet foibles, and hit the play button with some trepidation to have my first listen to the sounds of the Valentines 22 year hiatus.  It really blew my mind, though, once I realized that I dug this new slab of vinyl from the gods of shoegaze even more than their 1991 classic, "Loveless."

As usual, I'd be honored for you to dig into my compilation of the 2013's best.  Also as usual, I tossed on a few of my own tracks.  I recorded a bunch of Beatles and Beach Boys cover tunes to trick my four-year-old daughter into listening to something I recorded, thus the Glaze of Cathexis track is my recording of the Beatles "Revolution."  She thought a mouse was singing with me on the high parts.  I know I haven't aired out any of my electronic project, Damaged Tape, recently, but I'm still working on new music for that here and there, and I've included one of the tunes that will eventually show up on the next album.

Track list:
1. Glasser - Design
2. Boards of Canada - Slow Earth
3. Jacco Gardner - Where Will You Go
4. Thundercat - Heartbeats + Setbacks
5. Glaze of Cathexis - Revolution
6. Cut Copy - Footsteps
7. Chelsea Light Moving - Sleeping Where I Fall
8. Julianna Barwick - Crystal Lake
9. Tideland - Carved in Mine
10. The Field - Cupid's Head
11. My Bloody Valentine - wonder 2
12. Damaged Tape - Incredyble Tryp

12 December 2013

Glaze of Cathexis - 2013 - The Gates of Ra EP

I've wanted to make a surf rock album since I was 15 years old.  If you've been listening to previous Glaze of Cathexis, the signs were likely apparent (especially on the album "I Often Dream of the Apocalypse").  I guess I still haven't made an album for that genre, but here's an EP.  It's a venue for wailing away on my Fender Telecaster and trying to channel the Ventures and Dick Dale.  Of course, this is the psychedelic garage, and there are a few warped curve balls, but I think I was going more for atmosphere that innovation on this one.  The title track is a preview of the next full Glaze of Cathexis album, which will appear in the first few months of 2014.

Most of these songs were actually composed more than ten years old, and I think this is my third round at recording them (the first two will remain unreleased because I, uh, lost them).  "Journeys of Pilgrims Under Moonlight" only received it's vocal chant last week, but the rest of the track dates from the aforementioned 15-year-old Dr. Schluss and the song titles are all new.  Only "The Gates of Ra" is a recent composition, and even that melody has been bouncing around in my head for the past few years (although with tragically stupid and offensive lyrics that I didn't use).

I hope some of you are on the same trip as me for this one and will dig the tunes.  Please share them around.  Although I'm very appreciative of monetary Bandcamp contributions, I'm still completely lacking in business sense and letting you run away with it for free as well.  Here's a link:

Or you could head here:
Glaze of Cathexis - 2013 - The Gates of Ra EP (mp3)
Glaze of Cathexis - 2013 - The Gates of Ra EP (wav)

11 December 2013

Tideland - 2013 - Lull

Quality: 4.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out of 5

Well, you could say that there's nothing new under the sun here, but then you'd be missing out on some shoegazing bliss.  Yeah, Tideland's going staight for the unobtainable heart of the Bloody Valentines, but they do an enviable approximation of the vibe by weaving in the pounding of Ride and the pure abandon of 80's Dinosaur Jr.  I mean, let's face it, the Valentines don't have a whole lot of music to their name and this is some of the purest, straight ahead shoegazing I've heard in quite a while.  There are no nods to electronic or modern rock here - just the jet engine roar that only the best create.

Once you've heard "Starblood," you'll already know if this is for you.  New acolytes will note the amphetamine rush of buzzsaw guitars heading straight for your soul.  The Valentine effect is in full force on "Carved In Mine," which sounds a bit like "You Made Me Realize," but doesn't suffer too much from the comparison.  "Dinosaur" actually doesn't justif my Dinosaur Jr. reference all that much, but rather comes across like what the reverb god Dean Wareham would've sounded like if he drank a lot more coffee.

These are time tested approaches to melting the roof off of the club, but Tideland knows there stuff and presses most of the buttons that need to be pressed with a proper punk rock heart lurking deep inside the proceedings.  The guitars jangle, roar, or melt right when they need to.  Yeah, there are some diamonds to be found in the no-mans-land of Bandcamp, and this is certainly one of them.

Put a hole in your mind here:
Tideland - 2013 - Lull

Tom Waits For No Man - 2013 - Fun With String

Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

Just to get this off my chest, change the name!!!  For the love of God, change the name!!!  I mean, I dig Tom Waits, but I wouldn't say he ever went psych rock and the pun brings me pain.  I almost didn't give this a listen because of it, but fortunately I did and there's some notable grooviness to be had here.  Back when I was a young buck right around the turn of the millennium, I stumbled into a number of those hardwood floor-shakin', bad-part-of-town house parties which had the hardcore punks wailing until the police showed up (admittedly for me a few times by way the primordial Glaze of Cathexis, Rocket Number Nine - not that we were hardcore punks).  I was always wishing for a garage rock rave up.  Before my partying time was done, the seas were shifting; I especially remember catching the early Black Lips at a few Atlanta shindigs.  Anyway, the somewhat unfortunately named Tom Waits For No Man would have been very welcome to that early 20-something Dr. Schluss.  Plowing with the essence of the 60's underground teens, you'll dig into some of the sounds here.

This stuff 60-70% instrumental, which is a touch of a downer as a properly unhinged vocalist would add quite a bit of sonic value.  But we're going to deal with what we've got, and plug it into the slot of soundtracking for a more deranged take on the psychedelic bro love-hate of Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper in "The Trip."  I guess these folks have something like on their mind as the tracks titles delve straight into the darker side of B-movieism with "Evil Dead," "Doom Patrol," and "Death Rides a Horse" making their names known.  The first half of the album throws some reverb-drenched, yet desert fried early morning tunes our way - sort of like if Brightback Morning Light got dosed with the brown acid.  With "Beauty in Garbage," we start to get some vocal warbling with some wasted Velvet Underground by way of Galaxie 500 intonations.  "Ohm" finally hits the garage rock sweet spot and may be the grooviest, Pebbles-ready tune here.  It's too entertainingly low-fi and warped for "Nuggets."  "Police Chase" goes back to the (mostly) instrumental, but comes on full blast with a brain-melting fuzz fest.

I sort of feel like we may be getting a few iterations of a band here (not that I have any evidence for or against that).  The building blocks for extreme awesomeness are nonetheless present on this offering.  I guess my "working-on-middle-age" advice would be to ditch the name and recruit a singer on the cusp of Roky Erickson to shout to the stars.  Not that I actually know what I'm talking about or anything.  Still, this may very well be a ground floor that you'll want to get in on.

Vibe in here:
Tom Waits For No Man - 2013 - Fun With String

30 November 2013

Sea Train - 1969 - Sea Train

Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3.75 out 5

Word up is that this is the next iteration of the Blues Project, which went through a kaleidoscope of line-ups in its proper history.  We hear a tinge of jazz rhythms and country music bending through the prism of psychedelic styles.  I imagine that this is the music that the bikers in 'Easy Rider' would have heard in the desert compound if those folks at a touch of electricity - it would certainly do better than "Do Your Ears Hang Low."

Really, the band blows most of their wad on the opening, band-naming, title track.  It glides on some fine perlocating bass, mild funky percussion, and a well-controlled variant of the city horn blast that Blood, Sweat, and Tears or Chicago were aiming for.  I dig the harpsichord baroque go-go dance of "Portrait of the Lady as a Young Artist."  Hell, they even manage to fit in a reasonable fiddle, which I typically consider a no-no in rock or jazz.  I used to play cello in the orchestra, so I always felt the violins were a little screechy.  I was down with the violas, though.  Rondo strips down the vibe to acoustic guitar and comes out as a winning, folky track.  Some of the other stuff is probably a touch over arranged.

This slots in with a lot of the other albums that sit on that unstable precipice between psychedelic chamber pop and 70's singer-songwriting.  With the proper professionalism in place, a band vibe, and the vapors of the Blues Project wafting through, this is a pretty respectable effort.  It's not quite firing on all cylinder, but the ones that are functioning are pretty colourful.