MIND DE-CODER 7
Written by El on February 24, 2009
MIND DE-CODER 7
EDEN AHBEZ FULL MOON
Eden Ahbez was a hippy some 20 years before the term was invented. Living a bucolic life from at least the 1940s, he traveled in sandals and wore shoulder-length hair and beard, and white robes. He camped out below the first L in the Hollywood Sign above Los Angeles, studied Oriental mysticism, and claimed to live on three dollars a week (which wasn’t a lot of money in those days), sleeping outdoors with his family, and eating vegetables, fruits, and nuts. He wrote Nature Boy for Nat King Cole in 1948, and in 1960 recorded the exotica album Eden’s Island from which this track is taken. I think he would have liked Waiheke. He liked to dream the dream that the dreamers dream, did ol’ Eden.
KING BISCUIT TIME I LOVE YOU
King Biscuit Time was Beta Band vocalist Steve Mason’s side project until the Beta Band split up and it became his full-time project. This track is taken from the No Style EP, released in 2000. He’s since gone onto produce a dark electronic disco album under the banner Black Affair. I Love You has a lovely ambient-folk texture that is more in keeping with the Beta Band’s first three ep’s than anything he’s done since.
MY BLOODY VALENTINE STRAWBERRY WINE
My Bloody Valentine never aspired to be much more than The Jesus and Mary Chain in their early days. This track is taken from the Strawberry Wine EP released in 1987, a year or two before that discovered what the FX pedal did. It certainly puts the jingle back into jangle, but does it with a coy underlying exhuberance that I adored then and I adore now. I was in my early 20’s when this came out, and was falling in and out of love each week. This song was the soundtrack to all my doomed crushes as extroverted narcissism (if you know what I mean). These lips will find…strawberry wine. Indeed.
THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF THE ALL WINK OF THE THIRD EYE/IT HAS NO EYES BUT SIGHT
A wonderful conceit – released in 1997, Andrew Gold of 10cc makes a faux 1967 album anchored by beach Boys harmonies, Beatle-esque experimentation and a big nod and a wink towards The Zombies, The Byrds, The Doors and just about anyone else who was around then on this spot-the-influence tribute album. The vocals and instrumentation are spot on. One of the great lost psychedelic albums. Irony can be so ironic sometimes.
THANE RUSSELL AND THREE SECURITY
A mighty fine record this – a blistering cover of Otis Redding’s Security. Recorded in 1967, this was a huge hit all over Australia for some reason, but sunk without a trace in England. The identity of Thane Russell was a matter of some speculation (in Australia, anyway) where it was rumoured it may have been Mick Jagger. It wasn’t. It was in fact British singer Doug Gibbons (for all you trivia fans out there), although Gibbons was an associate of the Rolling Stones. The other mad bit of trivia associated with this song was that it was produced by Paul Gadd, also known as Paul Raven, but most famously known as Gary Glitter.
LES FLEUR DY LYS CIRCLES
Speaking of blistering cover versions – this track knocks the socks off the original version by The Who. Recorded in 1965, this track is at least two years ahead the psychedelic explosion that was to follow – the guitar solo, always one of my favourite guitar solos ever, probably gave producer Jimmy Page something to think about. Nobody bought it, of course.
MAGNETIC FIELDS EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC LOVE
Taken from the triple album 69 Love Songs, which is pretty much a triple album featuring 69 love songs, released by the Magnetic Fields in 1999. As frontman Stephen Merritt says 69 Love Songs isn’t remotely an album about love – it’s an album about love songs, which is completely different. This particular track can be found half-way through disc three.
TUNNG OUT OF THE WINDOW WITH THE WINDOW
Psychedelic folkatronica is a dreadful label so let’s not use it. Tunng create scratchy pastoral electronica in a quintessentially English folk manner to create albums that are brittle and bright. This track is taken from their 2005 release Mother’s Daughters and Other Songs. It is a strikingly original album that reminds me of someone trying to busk along to Bert Jansch on a broken stylophone. More or less. (Perhaps less).
NICK DRAKE CELLO SONG
My favourite track from my favourite Nick Drake album. I may have said this before about a different track from a different Nick Drake album, but I mean it this time. I once heard this track under ‘favourable’ circumstances and it just dragged me into its warm intimacy. Turns out I quite like warm intimacy, so that was alright, then. You can find it on Five Leaves Left, released in 1969.
SANDY DENNY MILK AND HONEY
Probably my favourite track on tonight’s show. I’m not sure of its recording history because it only ever shows up on compilation albums, not albums proper. However, if you listen to this song at about two o’clock in the morning, alone, with a bottle of red wine on the go, and perhaps just a single candle flame to light your way, this song will take you the camp fire of your soul where you will hear songs of love, loss and, just maybe if you’re really lucky, redemption. And it’s a good place; it really is. You can find this song on The Original Sandy Denny, released in 1999.
LINDA PERHACS PARALLELOGRAMS
I just had to look up the definition of outré, to make sure I had the right word. Parallelograms an album of outré gorgeousness and elegance, that sounds like nothing I’ve heard before, but with songs that never lose their sense of fragile magic and melodic beauty. Released in 1970 and ignored by everybody, it was rediscovered in the late 90’s and became a big influence on the re-emerging acid-folk scene. Marvellous album, and recently re-released last year with 8 bonus tracks.
GORKY’S ZYGOTIC MYNCI HALLWAY
Taken from the album Spanish Dance Troupe, an LP that holds moments of rare precious acoustic beauty (as well as tracks like Poodle Rockin’, it must be said). This is the opening track from the album and reminds me in part of that Amon Düül vibe from Para Dieswärts. A good album to spend some time with if you ever find yourself alone in a field of magic mushrooms.
KAHIMI KARIE SLEEP
Syrupy-sweet weirdness from avant-garde pop princess Kahimi Karie and a delirium-inducing track taken from her album Trapéziste, released in 2003.
XTC MEETING PLACE
My favourite track from 1986’s album Skylarking – the band’s Andy Partridge describes the album as "a summers day baked into one cake".
AMON DÜÜL II SANDOZ IN THE RAIN
As distinct from Amon Düül I, which was more of an ill-fated politico/musical commune, Amon Düül II is what was left once all the political activists and psychedelic artists cleared off and left the musicians to tidy up after them. Sandoz In The Rain is taken from the album Yeti, released in 1970 and featuring the legendary krautrock image of Shrat the bongo-player, weilding a huge scythe across a field of bright yellow ground fog. On this particular track, a nine minute Kosmische folk improvisation that Julian Cope calls an ‘unearthly impression of mythical times’, Amon Düül I and Amon Düül II re-unite to beautiful pastoral effect.
THE ALIENS CARAVAN
One of my favourite bands from recent times, The Aliens are all ex-members of the Beta Band and have released two albums that I have loved to death. This is taken from their first album, Astronomy For Dogs, released in 2007, a retro-futuristc, intersteller, fun mess of an album that manages to be funky, tragic and joyous all at the same time while forcing the listener, you, forward and backwards in time and inwards in space as you try to unravel its epic, groove-based jams. Or something. You can tell I love it, can’t you?
I Thank you.