Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out of 5 (but varies greatly by track)
Way back in days of legend gone past (aka 2007), I did a review of the awesome psych-sploitation film "The Trip," which you'll find by clicking "The Trip." I tried to be as objective as possible, and I don't disagree with my old review. Yet despite (or maybe because of) its flaws, it ranks as one of my all-time favorite films and one of the few that I watch at least once a year. This soundtrack, by the Electric Flag, mirrors the film in terms of quality. It has moments of pure, yet manufactured psychedelic brilliance along with a few charmingly dumb sounds. The credits that I tracked down say that blues guitar god Mike Bloomfield wrote all of the music here, which I have trouble believing (and drumming deity Buddy Miles didn't write anything?). Maybe he just did a lot of tripping while working on this one - I guess the whole band did - this sounds absolutely nothing like their proper albums. While there very little horn driven blues rock, there are plenty of great psychedelic tapestries on display, goofy vaudeville inspired tunes, and aimless jamming. Fortunately, when Bloomfield is playing on top of the aimless jams, it remains pretty entertaining. It's even more entertaining in the movie when Bloomfield is wailing away on the soundtrack, yet we see Gram Parsons (who had absolutely nothing to do with the Electric Flag) playing something entirely different on screen. There's also a little bit of early Moog usage scattered about for all of you synth geeks out there.
The real 'money' on this disc musically are the phenomenal Hollywood psych instrumentals. Since we all live in the future, and can program albums however we want now, stick "Peter's Trip," "Joint Passing," "M-23," "Synesthesia," "A Little Head," "Inner Pocket," "Fewghh," and "Flash, Bang, Pow" all together and you'll get one of my personal favorite 15 minute blocks of music. Feel free to add the more traditional jams that actually sound like the Electric Flag from the latter half of the album - you can basically start at "Home Room" and go until the end of the album - but take out the goofy, fake dixieland of "Senior Citizen." You can program that with the equally ridiculous "Psych Soap," "Hobbit," and "The Other Ed Norton," play it in an endless loop, and drive yourself insane. "Green and Gold" is sort of an outlier. It's a pretty groovy fake Tex Mex track. Realistically it probably fits in with the "Senior Citizen" camp, but I like to program it along with the "Peter's Trip" clutch of tracks.
If you're already a fan of this movie, there's no way that you won't absolutely dig this soundtrack - warts and all. For those of you coming in from the outside, there are some treacherous waters, but you'll likely find some psychedelia or blues jamming to your liking. And for that guy out there who considers Harper's Bizarre his number one favorite band - you'll fall in love with the other tracks.