120. interstellar overdrive

“I can’t remember who said it, but it’s stuck. Jimi Hendrix (all gods bless him to the nine known edges of the universe) gets maybe too much credit for defining what one could do, psychedelically, with an electric guitar, in 1967. Because it’s not as if The Pink Floyd‘s Syd Barrett wasn’t also unleashing gobsmackingly apocalyptic electrical storms. Maybe he didn’t have the licks, the elemental voodoo blues bubbling from his soul straight through his fingers … but he did have the angles, the great sheets of discord and noise that it was going to take to get this souped up, superlative noise clear of the earth’s orbit, off into the vastness of beyond, even if it was ultimately within (which in Syd’s case, would sadly prove a bottomless void). The rest of the band† weren’t half bad either.” (Philip Random)

123. she said she said

If you’re Peter Fonda and  you want to impress John Lennon while tripping on LSD in a hot tub, tell him how you died once when you were a little kid. Guaranteed, you’re going to going to send the coolest Beatle someplace dark and scary, the only way out of which will be to write a stunner of a song ††††in which A. he tells you, you’re making him feel like he’s never been born, and B. he and his band will go a long way toward perfecting†††† the psyche-infused power pop record almost before it’s even been invented. Oh, those lovable mop-tops.††

(image source)

163. walk on gilded splinters

“I seem to recall Dr. John getting some late night FM radio play way back when, and not just the obvious hit. And then there was that time he showed up on TV in full Night Tripper guise — headdress, voodoo regalia and deeply strange music to match. But it would be decades before I’d finally hear a full album. 1968’s Gris Gris to be specific, bought cheap at a yard sale, and a delicious gumbo it was – the musical equivalent of rare herbs, old bones, strange elixirs, a little bit of everything. In other words, soul, blues, gospel, honky tonk, even a few voodoo chants. But that’s what it takes, I guess, if you mean to go walking on splinters, gilded or otherwise.”

DrJohn-NightTripperLIVE-1970

(photo: Richard Blair)

191. we did it again

Soft Machine released a pile of albums in their time, but for whatever reason, I never really got past the early ones, the first in particular. 1968 was the year and if you like your psychedelia wild, weird, noisy and more or less free of recognized form, well, let’s just say the revolution starts here (and possibly dissolves as well). Though in the case of We Did It Again, you get a nifty sort of drone driven garage pop that sounds as relevant (in a noisy sort of way) as pretty much anything new I’m currently hearing . All hail the eternal underground.” (Philip Random)

SoftMachine-1968

 

253. Allez Ali Baba Blacksheep have you any bullsh**?

“In which the outfit known as Gong put their psychedelic meandering to punk power, their aerie-faerie bullsh** to pure raw rebellion and somehow keep the f***ing world on its axis, doing its revolutionary thing around the sun, which is itself swerving in weird cycles through the unknown (un)limits of infinity. By which I mean, what value anarchy if it does not float? … or should you ever find yourself tripping on weapons grade psychedelics and feel the need for a soundtrack that’s both youthfully raw yet somehow cosmically smooth, seek no further than the Allez Ali Baba blacksheep have you any bullshit mama maya mantram found here. It makes perfect sense. All fifteen minutes of it.” (Philip Random)

gong-1977-groupshot

477. yin and yang + the flowerpot man

“It’s perhaps hard to imagine now, but come the mid-1980s, so called psychedelic rock was pretty much absent as a musical force, even as an underground item. Chalk it up, I guess, to being two decades on from your various Beatles, Hendrix, Byrds, Cream (and related) eruptions and seductions, and the culture maybe just needing a break for a while. Except Love + Rockets sounded just fine to my ears, and relevant. They were Bauhaus basically, without the singer, which made a big difference — still conjuring cool moods and working powerful dynamics, but they’d left Dracula’s castle in the rearview, opted for a brighter, sweeter, more colourful set (and setting). Look no further than a title like Yin and Yang and The Flowerpot Man, though the song actually seems to be more about the mystical-magical virtues of alcohol than psychedelics, strangely enough.” (Philip Random)

508. talk about Goose Creek and other important places

Apparently, the Goose Creek Symphony were rather a thing for a while, though what that thing was is still hard to figure. Not exactly country, not exactly rock (southern-fried or otherwise). Perhaps best to just drink a little wine, maybe mix it with other weird concoctions outa the holler, such that an easy little backwoods groove devours itself, goes all psychedelic, stumbles off unto imponderable dimensions, other important places.

GooseCreekSymphony-1970

539. around the world in a day

Prince (and his Revolution) go drug free psychedelic in the middle of the least psychedelic decade since at least the 1950s, with the title track of their first post Purple Rain album. And it works. The whole album works in its multi-coloured way, not bothering to try to measure up to what had come before, just being its own voluptuous thing. And, for the record, the 1980s were actually quite psychedelic … if you were going to the right parties, hanging around in the right rec-rooms, mountaintops, isolated beaches and islands. What it wasn’t doing was making the papers, and all the stronger for it.” (Philip Random)

969. depth charge

African Head Charge were nothing if not truth in advertising. Or as I once heard it put, ‘it’s like Africa on acid, except you’re at least ten thousand miles from Africa, so what is it really?.’ What they were was a loose sort of psychedelic dub outfit formed by London based percussionist Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah in the early 1980s, with Adrian Sherwood at the mixing board, having fun with frequencies, noise, rhythm and razor blades (which is how they used to edit audio in those days – direct application of sharpened metal to electromagnetic tape). Depth Charge is pure truth in advertising. It goes deep and the slightest contact leaves you with at least a bit of burn.” (Philip Random)