22 December 2016

You Will Spend Your Christmas With Electrick Sages?

Andwella's Dream - 1969 - Love and Poetry

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

Something in the vibrational energy of psychedelic rock shifted somewhere around New Year's 1968.  Or maybe it's a more prosaic deluge of influences flowing in.  Anyway, in 1967 it seemed perfectly acceptable to put all your vim and vigor into a startling slab of psychedelic pop - big league hitters like "See Emily Play" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" typify this.  Then 1968 rolled around and suddenly you couldn't just be poppy without being relegated to the world of bubblegum.  You had to let in that early heavy metal/electric blooze crunch or get more country (folk was admittedly a key feature of prime psychedelic pop).  I guess it worked out ok for the Grateful Dead, but it counter-intuitively painted a bland streak over other acts.  Of course, I like "Who's Next," "L.A. Woman," and "Abbey Road," but I'll never dig them as much as "The Who Sell Out," "Strange Days," and "Sgt. Pepper."  That 1967 never really seemed to reemerge as far as I can tell until the late 90's, when Elephant Six made its mark.  While it was very groovy stuff, it was also far more low budget and indie.

We've got Andwella's Dream creeping out in 1969, with a foot planted in both dynamics.  Much of the songwriting does harken back to psychedelic pop, but they have the makings of a hard rock backbone (even when they are often mellow) and the vocal bombast of a Traffic-era Steve Winwood or post-"Tommy" Roger Daltrey.  If you are looking for that pop groove, "Sunday" and "High on a Mountain" do a pretty spiffy job of honing on that.  On the other side of the coin, opener "The Days Grew Longer for Love" could get tossed onto side B of Traffic's self-titled album without anyone batting much of an eye and the ballad "Andwella" actual works up a pretty heavy metal head of steam for a few moments.  "Midday Sun" gets into the softer side of Dylan.  I feel like people usually go for the nasally invasive, ranting vibe when they get Dylan-esque.  Meanwhile "Lost a Number, Found a Kite" looks like a psychedelic epic if you look at the track time, but really it's just a tune with half the time a rambling intro.

So, middle of the road?  Pretty much.  But it's got some very nice craft with groovy production and sticks its head up above the sun enough times to take notice.  Let me throw in one caveat.  If you absolutely love the first couple Traffic album and prime Procol Harem, this is directly up your alley and you will like this much more than my rating suggests.  I can see where someone would really dig all of this stuff.  I've made concerted efforts to get into that bubble understanding that there is a worthwhile headspace to work your way into, but I've found that Traffic, Procol Harem, and now Andwella's Dream only hit about half of my pleasure buttons for whatever reason.

02 December 2016

Electrick Sages

Let me set it down straight for you.  We are not looking for wealth, although a bit of coin would obviously be nice.  We are certainly not looking for fame.  That doesn't look like a nice paradigm.  We are looking for your ears, though.  We are trying to speak to your soul, that etheric energy that you can feel when you pay attention to those breaths in and out.

These  are  the  sounds  of  the  Electrick  Sages.  The  sound  is  electronically-infused  art  rock  with  echoes  of  plastic  soul  Bowie,  post-punk  Joy Division,  and  Berlin  School  drones.  The  purpose  is  to  assist  You  in  your  conscious  evolution.  Maybe  you  are  starting  on  your  way  to  seeing  the  true  fabric  of  reality.  Maybe  you  have  already  awakened.  This  is  music  to  engroovy  your  spirit.

Who  are  we?  An  American  and  an  Australian – we  are  both  living  in  Japan.  We  have  taken  up  a  position  outside  the  bubble  and  are  bringing  back  insights.  Who  were  we?  We  were  Glaze  of  Cathexis,  and  brought  you  visionary  psychedelic  rock.  We  were  Damaged  Tape - warping  electronic  sound  to  enlightening  vibrations.  And  now,  we  want  to  vibrate  higher  and  bring  you  along  with  us.  We  are  the  Electrick  Sages.  We  are  going  to  take  you  higher.

We  are  not  priests  or  cult leaders – we  extol  no  religion.  We  are  not  psychics – we  know  not  what  the  future  brings,  only  the  present.  We  are  not  philosophers – we  have  moved  past  that,  into  pure  feeling.  This  is  the  satori  experience  of  "one  hand  clapping."  And,  we  are  not  charlatans – we  are  abstract  but  bring  to  you  truth  as  we  feel  it.  We  are  sages – we  are  musical  seers,  peering  into  the  prismatic  abyss  and  reporting  back  to  you  exactly  what  you  need  to  know.

This  is  not  religion.  This  is  not  a  cult.  This  is  a  pure  expression  of  Spirit,  taking  you  past  the  coarse  physical  plane  and  launching  you  off  into  the  refined  astral.  Trip  with  us.  Spread  the  word  on  the  Electrick  Sages.

Here are the sounds to take in.  The most obvious move is a move to out Bandcamp site:

Or maybe you wanna get a little more direct with the download.  You can do that here:

27 November 2016

The Ceyleib People - 1967 - Tanyet

Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

First off - this is not a good headphones album.  It tosses entire tracks from left to right in the stereo spectrum.  I am listening on headphones and the effect is pissing me off.  Just make it true mono and end my day, please.  Maybe you've got some software to collapse it own your own.  Do it.  This absolutely needs to be a mono album as opposed to immaculately stoned, yet idiotic stereo.

On to the good news.  This is a full out trippy stumble though inspired raga rock, inflected by the vibrations of a professional studio.  Professionals do appear.  Ry Cooder is blasting his guitar through several of the sections and Larry Knetchel is on keyboards.  I'm going to be honest - I don't really know who Knetchel is, but I do recall seeing his name in a lot of places.  I have, like, ten Cooder albums on CD and I'm pretty sure a listened to a few of them at least one time.  But that doesn't matter.  When you listen to Ceyleib People, you are listening to fantastic raga rock instrumentals inscrutably thrown out into either stereo channel - one at a time for 90% of the time.  Allmusic Guide suggests that there are tracks here, but I've got it all lumped into four sections that will engroovy you one at a time.

This is very cool stuff, mixed in the worst way possible.  I would raise the quality half a point if you just collapsed it all into a single channel.  Sometimes mono needs to be king and this is exhibit A.  Otherwise, kudos to the Ceyleib People.

Children - 1968 - Rebirth

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

What do we get here?  We get a very groovy sunshine pop disc and the story behind it.  The Children is a cosmic collision between a couple of West Texas acid rock bands, The Stoics and The Argyles.  This particular compilation bring you the garage stomping sound of both, an intermediary of The Mind's Eye, and the walking through the flowers, tripping out on Donovan and the Zombies vibrations of the titular band here.

Let's cut straight to the marrow.  I dig the two tunes by The Stoics.  They have a wildly spiraling, scream and guitar shout that compares to nothing else but fellow Texans, the 13th Floor Elevators.  The Argyles comparatively suck, frat rocking like the Kingsmen and the Trashmen.  It's not the worst pedigree, but Roky Erickson of the Elevators may not approve (or not!).  So then there is the main event.  After the psychedelically violent kick in that spot between your brows of the Stoics and somewhat of the Argyles and the Mind's Eye, you are now tripping in a meadow of fairies with Children.  It's not bad, but it is a shock.  Isolated on it's own, you are now looking at a Sgt. Pepper reflected surface that flows through California syrup and strings - the hybrid band had in fact relocated to that state.  "I Got Involved" probably perverts the twee side of the Kinks a bit too much, but most of the other tracks give you a finger-picked pattern of laid back psychedelic grooviness.  "Pictoral" ups the stakes a bit, but it is still dreamy and doesn't plow the icepick in your head the way those first couple Stoic tracks do.

You don't just get an album here, you get a little aural biopic.  Children are pretty groovy on their own, and will appeal to those of you with sunshine ears and baroque thoughts.  But dammit!  Those first few tracks!  It's a tease that I would love to fall deeper into.  But y'know, we get what we get with this reality in the end.  This may well appeal to your reality.

26 November 2016

Electrick Sages - Hemlock Butterfly (video)

The Electrick Sages have arrived to explore the labyrinth behind the door of reality.  Our previous project, the Glaze of Cathexis, were simply looking at that door.  You have been bamboozled and you can see it.  We are speaking to your vibrations, and we try to dig it in the grooviest way possible.  This is our mission,  The album will show up on December 5th.  For now - get into evolution - and dive into this video of Hemlock Butterfly.  The video transmutes the vibes of Stan Brakhage and Kenneth Anger.  The sound runs on through the line connecting David Bowie with Joy Division.  The lyrics bounce off of some of those pesky conspiracy theories that drive you to wear a tinfoil hat.  But that is just a vocabulary.  The goal is to wake you up, and open your eyes to the fractal reality that surrounds you.

31 October 2016

Zanov - 1982 - In Course of Time / Moebius

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

Could I find any information about Zanov?  No, I could not.  Admittedly, I didn't look that hard.  Y'know, by 1982 Tangerine Dream were skirting off to higher budget pastures where they were carting around the brand-spanking new digital synths.  Zanov was not.  Zanov was carting around analog weirdness to bring on full Berlin school flavor.  And that is what you get with Zanov.  Any questions?

Bloody 'ell.  I usually rant about specific tracks right about now, but it seems kind of pointless. These are Berlin school sequences with Berlin school leads tacked on top of them.  You maybe know the Berlin school, but if you don't it is trancey analog synths with heavy sequencing,  You are getting a textbook definition with the Zanov recordings.  Even more so than that which Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream stumbled into.

Zanov would have been a perfectly welcome addition to the City of the Domes in Logan's Run.  Assuming he wasn't too old.  I just don't know what to expect with the personal history of Zanov.  Maybe 'he' is a band.  Just listen to it already.

29 October 2016

The Doctor Trips Through Okinawa (Miyako-Jima)

There are a few new albums if you scroll down (and a few more coming), but first you deal with these images from my mandatory trip to Okinawa.  This is a perk of my cash-paying job.

Chad & Jeremy - 1968 - The Ark

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

Oh, it's British, oh so British. For this slab of vinyl, Chad & Jeremy step their ambition, and this basically involves sounding like the psychedelic phase of the Hollies.  I guess that is one approach to take - they sound pretty much on an even keel with those fellows.  All in all you get a more cohesive listen, with the orchestration ever present, but more in vibe with the songs, and the raga rock making itself ever known.

On the last album, you got the single version of "Painted Dayglow Smile," but now you get the LP version, which actually does sound better.  "Sunstroke" is absolutely fantastic raga rock and many of the other tracks present find a good balance between silken British folk and bombastic orchestration.  Only "Transatlantic Trauma 1966" gets called into the dunce's corner for being pointlessly atonal.  Maybe it is there to reprogram your mind?

Do you like the Hollies "Butterfly?"  I do!  Do you hate that album?  Steer clear.  "The Ark" is almost the same flavor.  It's different enough that you are not listening to a xerox copy, but it is definitely flowing through the same slipstream.  A twin shadow of an album you dig is not always a bad thing, jah?

Chad & Jeremy - 1967 - Of Cabbages and Kings

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

If we are not looking at rock royalty, we are at least looking at its nobility.  And the sounds here pretty much bear that out.  I can't recall if he ended up as Chad or Jeremy, but Peter Asher was one of those fellows and his sister was Paul McCartney's main squeeze in the mid 60's, with the two dudes apparently chumming it out from time to time.  Not that there is an obvious Beatles tilt to the sound other than a certain British big budget attempt at stiff upper lip psychedelia.  I would rather suggest equal doses of Donovan and Simon and Garfunkel cross-pollinated with a wall smear of Moody Blues orchestration.  Does that do it for ye? (Edit: comment points out that I am mixing up my Chad & Jeremys with my Peter & Gordons as a joke.  Uh... yeah!  It's a funny joke!  --- Kids, don't drink and then write at midnight.  Turns out Peter Asher is not the same name as Chad Stuart or Jeremy Clyde)

Side A rattles a slew of twee-leaning folk rock your way.  Yes, this is absolutely white people music,  You get your Lewis Carroll reference right at the start of "Rest in Peace," which then takes a six-minute morph through several psychedelic-lite tableaus that Parliament (the government system, not the band) would likely approve of.  The next several tracks run through a more taut run of orchestrated folk rock that will occasionally lull you into thinking that you are listening to the aforementioned Donovan or Simon & Garfunkel.  You'll dig it at a rate of 90% compared to the former and 75% compared to the latter.  These statistics do not suck.  Side B's Progress suite steps up the pretentious meter skyrocketing even past the Moody Blues' "Days of Future Past."  But hey, not blow it halfway and the addition of Indian sitars and orchestration are always a plus in this doctor's book.  They don't start singing until three tracks in, where they give you dietary suggestions, and then just start ranting in "Fall."  Getting down to it, the Progress Suite is pretty much a failure, but it's that spectacular psychedelic failure where you will start looking for, and maybe discover, the sublime in the end.  Sort of like Sagittarius.  As long as your can break through the noticeable smattering of Vegas orchestrated cheese that you are going to hear.  There are a few bonus tracks hanging aboot as well, with "Painted Dayglow Smile" standing tall as a notable single and "Manners Maketh Man" making a Kingsmen reference almost 50 years too early.

You may or may not dig this stuff again, but give it your attention and you will find yourself getting obsessed with the ever shifting grooves in either case.  The germ of an idea that gave birth to this album was probably a bad one, possibly a stoned one.  It is still something to behold.

13 September 2016

A Few of the Doctor's Visions in Toyama, Japan

21 Century Seeker and the Doctor's Ramblings

The Doctor has been distracted -  awakenings to the fabric of reality and such.  My reading list has shifted from light history, science, and bios to metaphysics.  I haven't really been listening to much new music - mostly droning music (much of which I've posted here in the past), 70 jazz and R&B (which may not be the best fit here, but maybe!), and the mid-life crisis resurrection of my junior high school playlist (and this means Pearl Jam, Jane's Addiction, et al; really not a good fit here).  I don't think I'm getting too weird.  My life situation, personal relations, and personal health seem to have actually kicked up a few notches since the start of this year.  And we've still got plenty of our own creations coming to you.  We've got a Glaze album, EP, and an album under a new project called Electrick Sages already in the can - we just want to make some video clips and space out the releases.  I'm not trying to boast or to give you authoritative advice - your own path is up to you.  Still, I can put a few signposts around town.

And here is today's.  May I refer you to this fellow named Victor Oddo whom I first came across about two months ago.  I thought that Glaze bandmate Scott had referred me, but it turns out that I had just stumbled on in, and ended up referring Scott - and now you.  Oddo is a very direct speaker giving very direct reflections to those who get the nagging realization that life is but a dream.  Of course he shouldn't be your only resource for that sort of thing, but he's a very entertaining one.  I'm a little surprised myself that I have been devoting my breakfast viewing listening to a talking head who doesn't appear on the surface appear to be someone I would connect with (gym gear, serious tattoos, and high and tight haircuts are not norms in my own social circles).  Some of the things he says seem very tripped out, but I've found more and more that when he says it, I've already had recent experiences or intimations that synchronize with what he's saying.  Things with a new age whiff do prickle the skeptic in me, but Oddo seems to be lacking the veneer of BS that typically goes with that. If I've got your attention, check this out.  If not, this is probably not your cup of tea right now.  Anyway, let's connect with a blog:


And a Youtube channel:


Let me follow that up with a few reflections on Glaze of Cathexis' Neon Buddha from a few years back.  Maybe it's hard to completely trust and/or believe a speaker on Youtube, or someone who simply managed to get their ideas published in a book - but you've got to put stock in your own perception.  That album was the last time that I did serious lyrics writing (the task is typically up to Scott).  As I pursue the path, I find that the lyrics I wrote contain a lot of truth that I had absolutely no inkling of when I wrote them.  I know what I was thinking at the time, and I was just trying to string together words that sounded cool into phrases, verses, and choruses that sounded cool.  So, paradoxically, my unawakened past self is also serving as one of my guides.  I don't know if that effect will work for anyone else, but it certainly is trippy in the deepest sense of the word.  I think Scott's lyrics often have a similar effect, but I didn't write those, so I don't have the first hand experience to know exactly where they came from.  I dunno, check out our old album if you haven't already?  It's free and it may be this creator's personal favorite of the Glaze of Cathexis recordings:

I may have not been particularly present here, but let me restate that I am not abandoning this blog.  These days I only post when I feel a real push to do so.  Uploading tunes has become quite a multi-step chore for me unfortunately.  While I've more or less been throwing format out the window, I do want to return some focus to the music.  I'm planning to drop the quality scale - if I'm posting here I like it enough that I want you to listen, and you can judge the quality on your own.  I may rely on some Youtube album links if that doesn't bother you too much.  Of course the Trip-O-Meter will remain - that's far too groovy to drop.  Anyone up for more funk, soul, and fusion?

22 August 2016

Glaze of Cathexis - 2016 - The High Desert Prophecies

It's just behind the veil of illusion that tickles your senses. You catch a glimpse of it through the substance that is around you. Your ancestors may seem ignorant in the bright lights of the technological world, but a few of them got it. Let's take a tryp toward the Center fueled by primordial vibrations and rock and roll. Glaze of Cathexis is a long running psychedelic rock concern that plays off the echoes of shoegaze, John Lennon, and the Doors. Dig it.

Sorry I haven't really been updating much recently.  I've been out on my own trip (partially documented in this music) and just haven't felt the fire to crank up psychedelic obscurities and then rate them.  And if you don't feel the fire, you probably shouldn't bother.  Not to say I'm vanishing.  I may tackle the music from another angle, ramble on the metaphysical, continue with the film fests or something else.  You will find new music from us here if you want to hear it.

Now is wonderful and my creative energies are rumbling - just at a different frequency.  Let's move onto the tunes, which live at Bandcamp and are free (contributions are very welcome, but not at all required).  Here we go:

And a touch of the visual for you.  The first one is new and the second you may have caught a few months back.

Of course we hope you enjoy, but our real goal is to spark you, wake you up, and maybe even prod you to open a few new doors of enlightenment.  Shouldn't that be the goal of every musician?

31 May 2016

Dr. Schluss' Psychedelic Film Fest May 2016

We're a bit on the back burner, but I'm busy creating lots of music and video and want to keep my lines of grooviness open to you.  So let's freak out to a few films to pass the time and take another step towards transcendence.

Aleph (1966)
Strange images presented to you under a strange Kabbalah rhythm and Flash Gordon.  Wallace Berman structured this film as a sort of collage, although he apparently didn't have the budget for sound.  Fortunately, this makes a wonderful platform for your own synchronicities.  I gave it another view with Radiohead's new album.  Something like that works nicely, but may I propose to you that some Psychedelic Garage homegrown Damaged Tape or Glaze of Cathexis recordings may fit the bill as well.

MK-Ultra Programming Video
MK-Ultra was a thing where the CIA experimented with mind control using a variety of methods including LSD.  Do I think this is a real programming video?  Not really.  But it is a hardcore psychedelic time and certainly with a view - provided you have not been subject to satanic ritual mind control.  Anyway, as fair warning there is a sheep decapitation that I skipped right over - you may want to as well.

LSD-25 (1967)
Speaking of LSD, here is an educational short narrated by Mr. LSD himself.  What wouldn't you want to watch that?   They didn't really do their job - it sort of sells the experience, albeit with a hint of danger.

24 April 2016

Burn Down the Golden Idol (2016)

Gonna serialize our next project a bit.  The Glaze of Cathexis has peered beyond the curtain of reality and we are ready to report our findings.  Are we enlightened enough to do this properly?  Probably not.  Are we talented enough to pull this off?  We hope so, but you can been the judge of that.  We have glimpsed at the magick that stands through the textured vail.  We may not understand it, but wish to hold a musical communion with you to consider it.  Burn down the Golden Idol.

11 April 2016

Dr. Schluss' Psychedlic Film Fest April 2016

I'm looking for those psychic, electricity-inducing icepicks into the brain.  Ephemeral and experimental films tend to do the trick.  I named my primary music project after one and we've gotten into the business of making them for ourselves.  For the past 15 or so years, I have tended to subject my newfound friends to screenings of this stuff, and now I will screen a few for you.  Will you be my friend on the cybernetic astral plane?

Weird, abstract analog imagery to tickle your brain.  There are no narratives, actors,or anything of that sort to distract you.  I have heard that this is the ground zero for special effects tricks that would later illuminate the lightsabers in the original Star Wars.  I think this is what you would see in the elongated split second between sticking your head into the lightsaber and disintegrating.  Holy crap, I tried to show the younglings The Force Awakens today but ended up with another run though Jurassic World instead.  Bloody hell, just watch "7362."

There was crappy video with the original soundtrack, and better video with someone else's music slathered all over the affair.  I went for option #1, but do keep in mind there are Kenneth Anger DVDs you can go for instead.  The subconscious and Egyptian imagery in this film will make you re-evaluate reality.  Some of the vocabulary for modern music videos and filmatic cultism is certainly created here  That said, while I'm not either, it's probably best to have an open mind towards the homo-erotic and the Satanic with this one.  The stranger realms of archetypes make themselves known here.  If you delve into the conspiracy theories, some suggest Anger is the true head of the Church of Satan, and an Illuminati herald of Aleister Crowley's demonic world-view.  At least it makes for an interesting subtext - sort of like assuming Sgt. Pepper's is a veiled acknowledgement of Paul is Dead.  Less conspiracy-laced is that Mick Jagger was deeply into this shiznatch - he even contributed an unlistenable electronic score to one of Anger's earlier films.  Not that this film gets off the hook.  The soundtrack is fantastic psychedelic weirdness, but you have to deal with the fact that it was created in prison by Bobby Beausoleil, a member of the Manson family.  This is meaty, if not comfortable, viewing.

If someone enters my home for the first time, I am likely going to make them watch this.  No, it's not psychedelic, and it's narrated and, uh, sung, by a substandard Johnny Cash wanna-be, but it is one of my favorite films.  Redundant or not, that theme song will implant itself into the core of your skull for the remainder of our lifetime.  It's a film intended to teach safety to construction site workers.  Most of us do not need this training, but we will enjoy the fact that every horrible accident that we think will happen to our stock actors does.happen.  I can enjoy bright red, fake blood.  This film once backfired on me when I tried to show it to a lady friend many years ago only to find out that the film disturbed her because her dad was a construction worker.  Don't be an asshole like me.  I guess the disclaimer is that you may want to avoid this situation.

David Bowie - 2016 - Blackstar Videos

For better or for worse, I haven't been ramping up a whole lot of the psychedelic obscurities recently.  Mostly grooving to the Beatles, Bowie, Gas, and listening through my new recordings on the trippier end.  So let's take a look at that Bowie.  I'm probably a few months late on this, but this is one of the few celebrity deaths that legitimately bummed me out. As you probably imagine, I never had an interaction with the Man, but my shitty high school punk band did play on the same stage that I caught my sole Bowie concert on a few months later - at least a fun connection for me (Atlanta's International Ballroom for the "Earthling" tour).  The "Blackstar" album is phenomenal - it's an unprecedented late-career masterpiece and I think it may be second only to "Low" in Bowie's catalog.  While ditching your long-time band for experimental jazzmen sounds like a prick move, it seems to have reignited the exploratory instinct of the classic 70's albums.  I've given the mystical, morality-facing album deep listening that I usually only reserve for stuff like the Beach Boys' "Smile" The Beatles "White Album," or, well, Bowie's "Low."  But I'm not going to target this as an album review (quality 5 ; trip-o-meter 4.5 I guess for the quick version).  Let's take a look at the phenomenal videos instead.

Gave a half-attention listening before news of Bowie's passing and thought the second song was cool - but it was just the core of "Blackstar" and when the first half returned I was surprised to be greeted by a "Station to Station" style epic.  I knew Bowie was going for absolute top form when I first heard the synth at 7:06 zoom in.  In the filmic sense, we are observing a strange convergence of Kenneth Anger,  Labyrinth, and weird, obscure Crowley-style Satanism blasting through the cosmic veil with just hint of hip-strutting disco to bring in the funk.  I'm pretty skeptical of releases from the old fogies, but this tune pretty well catapulted into my top five Bowie tunes.  This is an epic, dark sci-fi trip that you should undertake.

This one seems to have picked up most of the attention as a death note, and it is a strong one, but it doesn't quite hit the nexus button of subconscious that "Blackstar" did.  The track is definitely cool, with deranged electric guitar blast spazzed out by the Man himself.  Much smaller scale but well thought out, the button-eyed man returns to cringe on his deathbed.  The emaciated, dying Thin White Duke is quite a site, morbidly creeping back into his closet.  It's an amazing acknowledgement and exploitation of mortal decay, but ultimately a bad ass rebellion against said decay.  I'm knicking the idea from some clickbait article that I read, but I agree that the most profound image here is of our Thin White duke furiously scrawling his ideas and falling off of the desk, unable to express everything he desired with the little time that remained

A few days ago I read that although the Man is gone, we were getting a "lyric" video, which doesn't sound like much.  Of course there is no footage of a man who has left this moral coil, but we surprisingly get a painless syringe of metaphysic DMT injected directly into the eyeball. Yeah, (some) of the lyrics end up on screen, but what is important is the bizarre fusion of black-and-white imagery from Metropolis, vintage Flash Gordon, and Aladdin Sane eventually bursting into a cascade of insane VHS colour that concludes by sending Major Tom on his final trip though the cosmos.  Although on a completely different track, the only other lyric video I like was for the Lonely Island's "Semicolon."

26 January 2016


Various Artists - 1967 - Tropicalia: Ou Panis et Circencis
Quality: 4.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

Caetano Veloso - 1967 - Caetano Veloso
Quality: 5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter; 4.5 out of 5

Gilberto Gil - 1968 - Gilberto Gil
Quality: 5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

Caetano Veloso - 1969 - Caetano Veloso
Quality: 4.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out of 5

Gilberto Gil - 1969 - Gilberto Gil
Quality: 4.75 out of 5
Tip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5

Milton Nascimento - 1970 - Milton
Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

I've got to admit, I've been staring this post down in the face for almost two months.  It's not necessarily writer's block.  The Tropicalia scene in late 60's Brazil carries the cajones of any Beatle-boot wearin' prog rocker among the English speaking music set, so it's important, groundbreaking stuff.  These artists' names typically get tossed around the musical hipster crowd, especially with the more proactive efforts of David Byrne, but the fact remains that I've been looking for a few of these albums for almost 20 years.  I'll blame the language barrier.

I've got a lyric sheet in Portuguese, and one in Japanese, and I'm not to sharp on reading either.  Tropicalia is a wild fusion, owing a base in traditional Brazilian music forms, but basically incorporating outside influences in an indiscreet, and often very trippy way.  Now our British and American musical heroes were not lacking in trying to lyrically take down the Man a notch, but Brazil was under the thumb of a military dictatorship at the time, and the abstractly political lyrics actually put Veloso and Gil in prison for a spell, and then exiled to the UK for a few years.  They were saying important stuff, but I don't know what it is, and thus I've had trouble considering each album as a whole.  That's why I've elected to write about the musical tend as a whole.  So lets get musical.

The Tropicalia compilation is about the most definitive that one can muster for a musical form on a single LP.  It probably helps that despite the various artists nature of the thing, it seems that most of it was recorded as an album, with Caetano Veloso ring leading, and Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Brazilian space rockers Os Mutantes, and LSD-drenched composer and arranger Rogerio Duprat making important contributions.  Some of the tracks are just mildly twisted bossa novas, which are pleasant enough, but the key tunes are real mindbender.  I think I've preached the Os Mutantes performance of "Panis et Circencis" as being completely on the level of a "Strawberry Fields Forever" or "Good Vibrations," and I'll second that here.  The Mutantes also help Gilberto hit one out of the park with the Carnival-funk of "Bat Macumba,"  and Veloso and Costa turn in the absolute best version of "Baby," which I think has become somewhat of a Brazilian standard.  Oop! and let's not forget the Tom Ze-led musical concrete pop of "Parque Industrial."

Following this set, Veloso and Gil both turned in their first post-Tropicalia solo albums (they had done some straight-up bossa nova in the past).  While firmly in the cockpit, the musicians could take their spaceship further out there.  These albums are sort of like bouncing signals of Sgt. Pepper off of the surface of Mars and picking the transmissions up again in Rio.  Veloso's LP is lusher, with Duprat's twisted orchestral arrangements taking the Lewis Carroll whimsy side of British psychedelia and putting it up in a swinging Sao Paulo penthouse.  Although Veloso claims he never liked the tag"tropicalia," this album contains the track that gave the sound its name, along with one of his signature tunes, "Algeria Algeria."  Gil had the Mutantes still in tow, and skews a little more acid rock.  This helps since Gil tends to put the emphasis a little more on the rhythm, so you can twerk to more of this if you want to.

After this happy flowering of Brazilian psychedelia, the sound starts to darken (it would morph into 70's MFB style, which you can hear most easily on David Byrnes essential Beleze Tropical compilation ).  The word is that Veloso and Gil would wrap their political messages in poetic double and triple entendres, but they still ended up in jail for bucking the system.  And this is where they recorded their 1969 albums with only vocal and guitar.  That's not all you hear though, as the tapes were then shipped of to Duprat for full psychedelicization.  Gil comes off a little better under such a dark mood, with the first two tracks being among his best and the closing "Objeto Semi-Identificado" serving the listener with a full-on, experimental freak-out.  Veloso practices his English on a few tunes, but makes a perfect two point landing with "Nao Identificado."  I don't know, maybe I just think 'Identificado' is a cool word.

As the two intrepid singers were scuttled off to the UK, we've got this 1970 album release from Milton Nasciemento.  Although a talent equal to the tropicalia gang, he wasn't really a part of that scene as far as I know.  I think he was flirting around with Verve Records, which established a jazz connection which has allowed Nasciemento to appear on more American recordings, so I suppose it was a good idea.  His songwriting isn't quite as effortless as Veloso and Gil, but it's not shabby at all and his voice is absolutely distinctive in a way that few singers can muster.  I enjoy this CD, but I can't say I know much about it other than the sound.  There seems to be little hard information for this one drifting around on the net.  There is a jazzier glide to the sound, as well as a bit more of a band sound here.  It's sort of a transition from the 60's tropicalia to the somewhat spikier and percussive sounds Brazil would produce in the 70's.  You can get an earful of that at this retro-post: http://psychedelicobscurities.blogspot.jp/2008/01/milton-nascimentolo-borges-1972-clube.html

So there we go.  I totally dig these albums - I want to share them - I'm probably not that qualified to talk about them.  Don't let that dissuade you, though, and dive into to some of the best music the world has to offer.  Tell me if you're into this writing format as well.  I may continue with it a bit.

25 January 2016

Meridians : A Short Film by Scott Atkinson and Matt Comegys

The only way to hear the music we really want to hear is to make it ourselves.  And the only way to see the (art) films we really want to see is to make them ourselves.  We made this for ourselves, but maybe you'll dig it a little too.