Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Saddar Bazaar - The Conference of the Birds (1995)

Saddar Bazaar are a group from Bristol, UK that formed in 1990. The Conference of the Birds is an entirely instrumental album that combines Eastern influenced raga with Western instrumentation like slide guitar and keyboard. There is a heavy use of the sitar and other Eastern instruments such as kubing, dholak, agoul, sitar, duff and tablas. I've yet to hear their other material so I'm not sure if this is their typical style, but I think that it's in a similar vein. The Conference of the Birds makes for nice background music yet it's also impressive when closely observed. The instrumentation and composition seem highly considered, making for an overall consistent album.

Download The Conference of the Birds

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Olivia Tremor Control - Explanation II: Instrumental Themes and Dream Sequences (1999)

This is a collection of ambient "cycles." It was apparently meant to be played simultaneously with Dusk at Cubist Castle to create quadrophonic sound, yet some contest this because it's shorter than Dusk at Cubist Castle. Whether or not this is how it was intended to be heard, it definitely does make for some interesting sounds when the two are played together. It's also a good listen in and of itself. The music apparently consists of guitar feedback, organ, piano, chimes, and clarinet. It's said to have been recorded on the band's back porch in Athens, Georgia, which adds some interesting background noises like barking dogs, chirping crickets, and thunderstorms. I'm still unsure of the band's true intent with this music, but I suspect it has something to do with their side project the Black Swan Network, which was music inspired by submitted recordings of descriptions of dreams.

Download Explanation II: Instrumental Themes and Dream Sequences

The Olivia Tremor Control - Music from the Unrealized Film Script, Dusk at Cubist Castle (1996)

The Olivia Tremor Control were the only group from the Elephant Six collective that's ever been able to really hold my attention. I definitely enjoy a lot of the other material, but OTC seemed more mysterious and capable of creating authentic psychedelic sounds. Formed in Athens, Georgia in 1992, OTC consisted of primary creative forces Will Cullen Hart and Bill Doss. Jeff Magnum of Neutral Milk Hotel was an original member and Robert Schneider of Apples in Stereo contributed to the recording of this album. Dusk at Cubist Castle is a collection of catchy psych-pop tunes and extended ambient explorations, all of which are heavily layered with manipulated tape loops, a wide range of instrumentation, and various psychedelic textures. It's an ambitious album which apparently took around three years to complete. I've always found it to be an impressive album because of its balance between great songwriting and experimentation. Along with the Dukes of Stratosphear, OTC is one of the main reasons I originally became interested in psychedelic music. By the way, the name of this blog is lifted from the lyrics of "Define a Transparent Dream."

Download Dusk at Cubist Castle

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mr. S is a supersonic streak in the sky

I'll get back to posting some albums soon, but until then enjoy this very psychedelic children's program from the 70s. Somehow I missed out on this when I was a kid. Be sure to listen to the original version of the song at the end.

Mr. S and his secret box

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Psychedelic Sampling

Bubble Puppy - A Gathering of Promises

Bubble Puppy was a psychedelic band formed in San Antonio, TX and this is the title track from their one and only album from 1969, A Gathering of Promises. Man, those guys looked like some oddballs.

Manitoba - Skunks

Manitoba was the name of a project consisting of primary creative force Dan Snaith from Ontario, Canada. Snaith is an electronic musician who's very influenced by psychedelia. This is from the Manitoba album from 2003, Up In Flames. Snaith now makes music under the name Caribou due to a legal dispute with Richard "Handsome Dick" Manitoba of the Dictators.

As I'm sure you'll notice, Snaith has sampled the intro from Bubble Puppy's "A Gathering of Promises" and integrated it throughout his own song. I'm curious as to whether he structured the rest of the song around the sample or if he added it after he had already developed other elements of the song. I'm guessing it's the former judging by how the sample starts the song off and then other elements seem to layer on top of it as it continues to loop. Either way, I think it's a nice use of an obscure sample. I'm planning to do at least one more entry about the sampling of psychedelic music. Hopefully I can come across some more.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fifty Foot Hose - Cauldron (1968)

This is without a doubt one of the most tripped-out albums you will ever hear. Hailing from San Fransisco, Fifty Foot Hose's music is idiosyncratic west coast psychedelia layered with electronic madness similar to that of the United States of America and White Noise. The group consisted of founding member/bassist Louis "Cork" Marcheschi, guitarist David Blossom, vocalist Nancy Blossom (married to David), drummer Kim Kimsey and guitarist Larry Evans. Influenced by experimental composers like Edgard Varése, John Cage, Terry Riley, and George Antheil, Cork Marcheschi created his own electronic instrument from various elements like theremins, fuzzboxes, a cardboard tube, and a speaker from a World War II aircraft bomber...what a total fucking badass. His experimentations proved to be worthwhile because some of the noises created on this album sound from anywhere but earth. The rest of the group is on point too. There are some top-notch acid guitar leads and Nancy Blossom's powerful vocals are reminiscent of Grace Slick without being too derivative. There are some male vocals as well that are good, but Nancy Blossom's contributions are more compelling and confident. The vast experimental explorations of the album never seem to hinder the quality of the songs, making for one beast of an album. The last four songs are bonus tracks, which includes Cork Maraschi's wild atonal experiment, "Bad Trip," which foreshadows the directions noise bands would be headed a decade later. Another thing worth noting is that the song "God Bless the Child" is a Billie Holiday cover, which I've yet to check out.

Download Cauldron