MIND DE-CODER 4
Written by El on February 1, 2009
MIND DE-CODER 4
More trippy than folky, it must be said…
SPACEMEN 3 COME DOWN SOFTLY TO MY SOUL
This mesmerising track offers a gentle introduction to tonight’s show. This is taken from their third album, Playing With Fire, released in 1988, an album that got me through my bed-sit days (along with The Smiths, obviously). By turns gentle, numbed-out and kind, the album also offers up some fairly comprehensive wig-outs too, just the sort of thing to help me through those times when it all seemed a bit too much for a boy to take.
THE ROLLING STONES SHE’S A RAINBOW
I first heard this song under rather enhanced circumstances wandering around Chizlehurst caves in Kent (UK) at a Magical Mystery Trip ‘happening’ put together by a psychedelic club I used to go to in the early 80’s called Alice In Wonderland. The plinky-plonky harpsichord/piano bit in the middle picked me up and took me somewhere very colourful and far away. It occurred to me the other day that I’ve spent a lot of the intervening time since then trying to get back there. She’s A Rainbow, of course, is taken from Their Satanic Majesties Request, released in 1967 as a response to The Beatles’ Sgt. Peppers album, and all recent re-evaluations aside, it’s still a rubbish album which doesn’t sound any good no matter how many drugs you take. It does have 2,000 Light Years From home on it as well, though, so it’s not all bad. Nice cover, too.
TIMOTHY LEARY THE TURN ON
This is taken from one of the trippiest albums I own, and that’s saying something. On Turn On, Tune in Drop Out, released in 1967, Acid guru Leary offers a guided meditation through a trip over some pretty far-out psychedelic rock that, at some points, takes you so far into your head, the idea of ever coming back somehow escapes you. Essential, but kind of scary too.
JULIAN COPE PLANET RIDER: TRANSMITTING
Recorded for a Janice Long session in 1986, this track is taken from Floored Genius 2, a 1994 collection of whimsical recordings for the BBC that show many of his songs as he first imagined them and before a producer got their hands on them. This particular track is a radically different interpretation of Planet Ride, a song that appears on his 1987 album St. Julian.
VERVE WHERE THE GEESE GO
A lovely song, released in the days before Verve records got to hear about them, taken from their little known album No Come Down, a collection of B-sides and acoustic versions of their songs that was released in 1994 and was probably only available in Japan, or something.
Prog-rock bliss, brought to you by dedicated acid-head Terry Bickers, Levitation’s debut release The Coppelia EP was a statement of intent that the band were never quite able to live up to. As Julian Cope says when writing on his Head Heritage site, Smile is "the best example of what they were capable of. Smile is in all senses of the word, an epic. A plaintive vocal over a gently strummed guitar heralds a beautiful, mid paced, proggy riff that is itself shadowed by crystalline chimes of guitar. The sound builds with vocal and guitar harmonies and gorgeous themes and reprises of the main melodies. Then moments of quiet interspersed with gentle guitar echoes until the flailatron drums bring the whole thing to a lush, pompous and grandiose climax….then again, drifting back to quiet…peace, childlike keys and Levitation have left your head. Love it still!
"Levitation went on to make more EPS and eventually released and album Need For Not that contains a fair amount of gems. However it also bears a re-recorded, slightly faster version of Smile which, as far as I’m concerned, just ain’t got IT like the original," which pretty well sums it up very nicely. I played this record all the time when it came out.
TIM BUCKLEY HALLUCINATIONS
Taken from his live album, 1968’s Dream Letter, this song is elegant, otherworldly and gorgeous. When I first heard this track on a tape cassette a friend had made me, I had no idea it was a live performance. I was so entranced that when the spellbound audience erupted into applause at the end of the track I leapt out of my seat in surprise, wondering how six hundred people could suddenly have sneaked into my room behind me while my mind was elsewhere.
FUTURO BREATH WITH ME TILL DAWN
The only mash-up on tonight’s show, but what a sublimely beautiful piece of music it is. Judie Tzuke’s 1979 hit Stay With Me Till Dawn mashed into Pink Floyd’s Breathe, this song is full of late night yearning and as sexy as hell. You can find it on Futuro’s website at www.stevelima.com
Taken from the third full length album by Cornelius, this is the title track from 2007’s Sensuous, an ambient little guitar melody that never goes anywhere much but which holds you in a gentle trance before we come to…
PENTANGLE LIGHT FLIGHT
Possibly my favourite track on tonight’s show and my favourite song by Pentangle, the sublime Light Flight taken from my favourite album by the band, 1969’s Basket Of Light. This is possibly the most hummable song I know, vocalist Jacqui McShee’s spine-tingling voice soars over Bert Jansch’s and John Renbourne’s jazzy guitar playing to create a song that just wraps you up in it’s own sense of wonder. Apparently this song was a huge hit in New Zealand so you might even find it in your parent’s record collection. One for the flower children.
THE MONKEES SWAMI WITH STRINGS
Taken from the soundtrack to the film Head, in which the Monkees deconstruct their teen-pop image in a lysergic mobius-strip of a movie that ultimately means nothing, but in doing so kind of means everything. The album itself, released in 1968, only has six songs, the rest of it is made up of sound collages taken from the movie and edited together by Jack Nicholson of all people. It’s one of the trippiest albums I own ( I know I’ve said that before, but I really do mean it every time I say so) and one of the trippiest films I have in my DVD collection, too. Bizarrely, nobody I know shows the remotest interest in either of them. Weird.
SYD BARRETT DOMINOES
Ah, yes, you see I fretted about including this track, as essentially it is the sound of the man mentally unplugging himself from the world, and I didn’t want to bum anyone out. But the sound of the song is so weird and such a trip in itself that I had just had to play it. You can find this on his second album, the simply titled Barrett, released in 1970. I included some Bill Hicks over the final moments of the song, taken from his live show Relentless, in which he has a few words to say about LSD.
ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE CRYSTAL RAINBOW PYRAMID
The mighty Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso UFO, to give them their full name, Japan’s heavyweight acid rock band and a track taken from their most accessible album, 2007’s Crystal Rainbow Pyramid Under The Stars. I literally don’t have the words to describe their groovy trip-heavy spacey madness, so I’m happy to leave you with all 18 minutes of their ambient(ish) grooves and let you discover them for yourself.
THE BEATLES JULIA (OUT-TAKE)
The ghostly sound of John Lennon in an early take of The White Album’s Julia. Simple, affecting and, when his spoken voice comes in at the end, quite electrifying. You can find this on Anthology 3, released in 1996.