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    Dom – Edge of Time

    December 29th, 2020

    Dom - Edge of Time

    Dom was a krautrock band that was more obscure than your first pair of socks. They made a personal appearance on Earth–more precisely Dusseldorf, Germany–from 1969 through the early ‘70s and recorded a really captivating and incredibly nice-sounding folk / psych / electro-acoustic merger in early 1972 called Edge of Time. According to the liner notes, Dom was also “the name of an acid trip you could stay on for nearly two days. You will hear this influence throughout the tracks.” Since they only recorded this one album, let us take a blow-by-blow look at it, shall we? 

“Introitus” begins with a flowing atmosphere of gorgeous acoustic guitar picking and strumming, and some really brain-massaging flute and tablas that are all very beyond right on. About four minutes along, the music suddenly dissolves into an abstract collage full of cymbals, bells and hectic electronic static panned to and afro. Some sparse, somber organ notes are then sustained, joined later by nice acoustic guitar strums that fade in, then percussion. After the organ takes a nose-dive, there is a sudden stop. 

A pensive organ field with subtle disruptions opens “Silence” and slowly segues into more supremely mellow, distant, atmospheric jamming with some nice inaudible muttering.

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    Brainticket – Cottonwoodhill

    November 28th, 2020

    Brainticket - Cottonwoodhill

    Brainticket was an experimental quasi-Krautrock band who were belched out of the hub of the spiral galaxy known as Switzerland in 1968. The band released an astounding psychedelic / musique concrete artifact in 1971 that sports the unlikely and awkward name Cottonwoodhill. Although Swiss in origin, it easily crosses over into neighboring Krautrock borders in most people’s minds. After a couple of short, four-minute psych rock jams that prominently display soothing flute melodies, spastic organ outbursts, and rocking bass, drums, tablas and heavily distorted electric guitar, this group of acid gurus launch into a hyper-intense 25-minute masterpiece of psych / concrete insanity.

 A very repetitious, distorted electric guitar line backed with tabla serves as a nice rhythmic backdrop for a myriad of concrete sounds: glass smashing, motorcyle revving, sirens wailing, crowds cheering, school bells ringing, electronic swirls flitting, some insane reverberated laughing, rain pouring, water rushing,

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    Fifty Foot Hose – Cauldron

    October 27th, 2020

    Fifty Foot Hose - Cauldron

    Fifty Foot Hose was a San Francisco psychedelic rock / electronics band that originally operated for a hot minute in the late 1960s. A little bit more short-lived and obscure than your average goldfish, they released only one single and an LP on the Limelight label, which was better known for its experimental electronic fare. Titled Cauldron, it proffered a Jefferson Airplane-like sound combined with primitive, chattering and pinging electronics. 

”And After” pops open the disc with nothing more than two minutes worth of low, pulsing, distorted electronics. The Airplane influence appears most obviously on “If Not This Time,” with its San Francisco-style dry strum and doubled female vocals, which were fortunately sprinkled with odd, flitting electronics and a homely melody. A short, Joe Byrd-like electronic ambience called “Opus 777” appears for all of 22 seconds, followed by more Airplane during “Things That Concern You” but with male vocals. “Opus 11” shows off more short flitting electronics, while “Red the Sign Post” brings forth some raw garage rock with distorted guitars.

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    Kennelmus – Folkstone Prism

    September 17th, 2020

    Kennelmus - Folkstone Prism

    Hailing from the sun-pummeled desert of Phoenix, Arizona, Kennelmus was a local rock band who were notable for belting out an unlikely–and pretty tweaked–combination of psychedelic and surf, and for operating in the same time (the late 1960s and early ’70s) and place as the original Alice Cooper group. While the Coopers, of course, went on to worldwide fame and fortune with a clever songbook that alternated between teen angst and the macabre, and a pioneering violent theatrical stage show featuring Alice’s death sentence carried out nightly on the gallows and guillotine, Kennelmus were content to slog it out in the regional trenches, gigging just for fun, a little money…and girls’ phone numbers. Starting out playing British invasion top 40 covers as the Shi-Reeves, the band quickly grew tired of that schtick and decided the time was ripe for a little creativity. So, they renamed themselves Kennelmus after bandleader Ken Walker’s real name, and wrote a rock opera of sorts called Folkstone Prism loosely based on the band’s life story.

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    Hapshash and the Coloured Coat – Featuring the Human Host and the Heavy Metal Kids

    August 4th, 2020

    Hapshash and the Coloured Coat - Featuring the Human Host and the Heavy Metal Kids

    Hapshash and the Coloured Coat was originally a graphic design duo in late 1960s England who drew a series of highly regarded psychedelic concert posters for such rock luminaries as Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and the Incredible String Band. These busybodies also recorded an amazing improvised group jam session in 1967 called Featuring the Human Host and the Heavy Metal Kids. (Note: The title refers to a line from a 1961 William Burroughs novel called The Soft Machine, not “heavy metal” music, which wasn’t called such until at least 1968.) The title of–and music within–each cut on this album is so beautiful, no wonder it’s among my favorite rock albums from the 1960s! “H-O-P-P-Why?” starts it all off with a super deep, overdriven bass line that totally crushes, joining the drumbeat to form a simple, stomping rhythm. Electric guitar, harmonica and loosely tinkling percussion get sprinkled all over the top like the most delicious aural cupcake you’ve ever savored. A similar vibe continues on the next two tracks, “A Mind Blown is a Mind Shown,” in which bongos lead the way through a multi-layered pastoral rock heaven complete with a humming harmonica and church bells, and “The New Messiah Coming 1985,” which adds buried chorus vocals, a plethora of talking and chattering, and jingly percussion–all supported by steady acoustic guitar strumming.

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    Parson Sound – Parson Sound

    July 3rd, 2020

    Parson Sound - Parson Sound

    Parson Sound was an obscure Swedish rock band that existed for barely an eyeblink back in the late 1960s, creating a beautiful ruckus for a brief two-year period during the peak moments of the psychedelic era in 1967-’68. They blended elements of krautrock, psych, Terry Riley-influenced minimalism and the Velvet Underground into some of the most hazy, mesmerizing, pleasurable and extended music ever to grace the cosmos. We’re talking jams that could and would gently and effortlessly coalesce into the most hypnotizing drones or blurry clouds of cacophony imaginable. Members of Parson Sound went on to form other worthy outfits called International Harvester in 1968 (later shortened to Harvester) and Trad, Gras och Stenar (Trees, Grass and Stones) in 1969. Some of their albums are well worth delving into, as well.

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    The New Tweedy Brothers – The New Tweedy Bros!

    June 2nd, 2020

    The New Tweedy Brothers

    Originating in Portland, Oregon in 1965, the New Tweedy Brothers started out life sounding for all the world like an old-time jug band. But, by the time the Summer of Love hovered up onto the world stage in 1967, they had transformed themselves into a beautiful psychedelic butterfly and descended upon the epicenter of the scene: San Francisco.

 Although they were eclipsed in the public’s consciousness by much more well-known outfits like the Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane, the Tweedies released an LP in 1968 that could easily hold its own among the best of that time and place. The unusual hexagon-shaped cover resembled a trippy 3-D cube and appropriately housed a sublime collection of jangle pop, jug band stomp, mystic folk and psych mantra rock–all recorded real, live, lo-fi and heartfelt. And it’s all just chock-full of that sunny “love is all around” vibe that always puts a big smile on my face.
 The band never toured or enjoyed a widely released record, thus they promptly sank into obscurity as the curtain closed on the 1960s. The original LP was produced in a very limited-edition that sells for exorbitant amounts on the rare occasions that it surfaces on eBay. Other options include an LP reissue on Shadoks from 2000, CD re-issues on Shadoks from 2001 and P-Vine in 2008–both of which faithfully mimicked the original hex cover design–and another vinyl version packaged in a standard square LP cover by Guerssen in 2017.

    Label: Ridon Catalog Number: SLP 234 Format: LP Packaging: Hexagon LP jacket Tracks: 10 Total Time: Unknown Country: United States Released: 1968 More: Discogs, SF Weekly, Salon

    Text ©2007 Arcane Candy

    Ouba – Freak Out Total

    May 1st, 2020

    Ouba - Freak Out Total Back in the sweltering summer of 1968, a gaggle of Montreal rock musicians gathered in a local recording studio for a grand total of a half hour to lay down some tracks. Although that was surely a common occurrence back in those days, what ended up going down during this particular outing was merely one of the most loose and spirited improvised rock jams of the decade. Over a wildly slashing guitar, bobbing keyboards, and peppy, percolating drums and percussion, everyone involved speaks, shouts, and screams the word “Ouba” over and over in myriad ways, unintentionally bestowing a name upon the ephemeral outfit. Then they stop on a dime–maybe even a penny–and effortlessly ascend through a swirling, dissonant cloud, only to swing back into the goodtime jam without warning.

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    Citizens For Interplanetary Activity – C.I.A. Change

    April 2nd, 2020

    The Citizens For Interplanetary Activity - C.I.A. Change

    The Citizens For Interplanetary Activity was an obscure San Francisco band founded in 1966 whose only known output was a soundtrack recorded in New York in September, 1967 for a 23-minute underground experimental film by Jud Yalkut called Kusama’s Self-Obliteration. Never released before outside of the film, it’s quite fortunate for bedroom heads everywhere that Jud decided to have this lost swath of spontaneous sound pressed onto an LP in 2001. 

Right at the start, some wildly oscillating tremolo bar guitar is abruptly cut-out by a sustained atmosphere of held vocal tone, droning organ, solemn muttering, splashing water, Middle Eastern-influenced guitar, bass, percussion and really deep piano rumble. This all eventually coalesces seamlessly into a huge ball of dissonance and on into an array of staggered, clouded, almost rock. A huge room full of darkly stoned murk is maintained with total ease.

 Fortunately, this unique, beautiful moment that had been lost in the immensity of time was finally rescued for our enjoyment. An LP side’s worth of music is repeated on both sides–all wrapped-up in a lovely, full-color, paste-on cover of a hand splattering red paint in a puddle, plus a sheet of notes inside. 

Since the band never toured or released any records, their impact upon the public was limited to the lucky few who saw ’em live in San Francisco, or viewed Jud’s original film; and to the perhaps even fewer folks who picked up the super limited-edition LP described above upon its brief appearance in the year 2001.

    Label: De Stijl Catalog Number: IND-023 Format: LP Packaging: Paste-on LP jacket Tracks: 1 Total Time: Unknown Country: United States Released: 2001 More: Discogs, Soundcloud

    Text ©2008 Arcane Candy

    Brandon LaBelle + Christof Migone – Writing Aloud: The Sonics of Language

    March 22nd, 2020

    Writing Aloud: The Sonics of Language

    The publisher of the book Writing Aloud: The Sonics of Language, Errant Bodies Press, describes it as “an anthology focusing on the relationship of language to sound, writing to music, bringing together a highly diverse collection of essays, interviews, meditations, visual projects, text-sound scores and audio by some of the leading individuals in the field of cultural and performance studies, experimental music and contemporary art.”

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