MIND DE-CODER 8 (O3-03-09)
Written by El on March 4, 2009
MIND DE-CODER 8
THE CHRISTIAN ASTRONAUTS PREPARE TO FIRE
Taken from the album Beyond The Blue, a home-made album by the Shoup family in 1971 – it’s my favourite Christian kiddie record ever, featuring all members of the Shoup family and a seven foot cardboard robot called Loosenut. Join them as they travel through space in search of the Lord Jesus and his heavenly resting place. Or not.
BEYOND THE WIZARD’S SLEEVE SPACE
The introductory track from the album West released in 2008. It gets your head sorted right for what is to follow.
PINK FLOYD ASTRONOMY DOMINE
I’ve been avoiding using anything by Pink Floyd in the Mind De-Coder series because it’s all a bit obvious, and there are so many other great psychedelic tracks that I’ve wanted to introduce you to. However, they did make the best psychedelic album in the world ever, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, in 1967 and now that we’ve made it to Mind De-Coder 8 I felt that the time was right to slip some into the show. This is taken from the original mono recording that’s been unavailable for some years now, but was recently re-released as part of the 3-CD set they released three years ago to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the album.
ASH RA TEMPLE SCHWINGUNGEN (excerpt)
The great Ash Ra Temple, and I’m sure that there are those who would consider that I have done the band wrong by only playing an excerpt of this beautiful track, taken from the album Schwingungen, released in 1972. The band are normally noted for their mind-bending, soul-enhancing wig outs, but on this track, which I think translates as ‘Vibrations’, they are on on a trip to find God with a great eternal chord sequence that the band themselves believed was the sound of heaven. Hopefully they didn’t find Captain Shoup and family waiting for them there.
GORILLAZ HONG KONG
I was listening to this track the other day and I thought it would sound great on Mind De-Coder. I still stand by that initial thought even though I have no idea why I had it. You can find it on D-Sides, released in 2007, a collection of B-Sides and rarities. Over the introduction to the song I played a snippet from a the album Teenage Diary released in 1965 and starring the then newly crowned Miss America Vonda Von Dyke, designed to scare good American Christian teenagers away from the horrors of sex. Despite it’s simplistic message – sex is bad, Jesus is good, it does ask one very profound question that has stayed with me ever since I first heard it – What does Love require? This is a very deep question and not as easy to dismiss as you might imagine. Or maybe that’s just me. Skin up, eh?
MAGNET GENTLY JOHNNY
From the soundtrack to The Wicker Man, recently released in 2002. One of the sexiest songs I’ve ever heard.
TRACY THORN SEASCAPE
From the absolutely lovely little album A Distant Shore, Tracy Thorn’s first solo release in 1982. Every song is wonderful elegy to vulnerability and heartache, and I was torn as to what track to include, but I decided on Seascape because it includes my second favourite line in any song – when she sings "…and I don’t want to be saved", I realise that I don’t want to be saved either.
THE PRIMITIVES OCEAN BLUE
And then I hear a song as beautiful as this I remember that I do want to be saved, because any world that has a song like this in it is a world worth living in. Gorgeous and ravishing. Taken from their album debut Lovely, released in 1988.
PETER WYNGARDE JENNY KISSED ME
Possibly the weirdest record I own is by Peter Wyngarde, and it’s called When Sex Leers Its Inquisitive Head, originally released in 1970 and then withdrawn almost immediately due to the fact that nobody knew what to make of it. Since then it has become an album steeped in myth and mystery (don’t you just love albums steeped in myth and mystery?). Peter Wyngarde, of course, played Jason King, part TV sleuth, and part hirsute shag-monster for ITC’s Department S show in 1968. For a time, Wyngarde was the world’s number one pin-up, so when he was approached to make an album to cash-in on his popularity, the record company was expecting a set of contemporary standards in the manner of Tony Christie singing ‘Avenues and Alleyways’. What they got instead was an album of unbridled, rampant male sexuality couched in an aesthetic abandon that set of alarm bells even in those permissive times. No one was prepared for the song Rape, in which he explores the possible virtues of rape in several different languages like it was something you might actually want to try out every now and then, or was unlikely to forget ‘Hippie and the Skinhead’, in which Wyngarde reads out a letter to ‘The Times’ by two Home Counties skinhead girls, or the tale of ‘Billy the Queer, Pilly Sexy Hippy’ delivered as the worlds first rap record, over a Nashville honky tonk musical styling. Bizarre doesn’t quite cover it. Amidst all this outrageousness, however, you will also find ‘Jenny Kissed Me’, which always makes me wish that she’d kissed me too. The album is now available on CD after being unavailable for the best part of 30 years. Marvellous.
THE SHORTWAVE SET SUN MACHINE
Taken from last years album Replica Sun Machine, by South London’s junk shop enthusiasts The Shortwave Set. I do believe that is the sound of the hitherto unknown psychedelic banjo I hear being plucked. Possibly my favourite track on tonight’s show.
JULIAN COPE S.T.A.R.C.A.R.
The mighty Julian Cope in epic form on this psyche-folk freakout taken from his 1994 eco-warrior manifesto of an album Autogeddon, in which he rails against car culture and the horrors of urban living. Not everyone’s favourite Cope album, but definitely the one on which he has attitude in his latitude and longing in his longintude.
SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE PROCESSION OF CHERRY BLOSSOM SPIRITS
This track is taken from the album School Of The Flower, a true head-trip of a record that creates vivid psychedelic folk soundscapes that are both beautiful and ominous. Six Organs Of Admittance is the work of Ben Chesney, and this is his seventh album, released in 2001, and it is rain swept, broken and lovely. Allow yourself to float away.
PG SIX GO YOUR WAY
Go your way was originally recorded by Anne Briggs, who has appeared on a couple of Mind De-Coder’s herself. This version is by Pat Gubler, from his first full-length solo release as PG Six, released on the album Parlor Tricks and Porch Favorites, also released in 2001. It is an album of sublime simplicity, unashamedly folk, but blended with a lo-fi pop sensibility. He also uses the harp. More people should use the harp.
THE GO! TEAM WILLOW’S SONG
As I think I may have mentioned before, this is my favourite song of all time, and it’s quite generous to anyone who wants to give it a go. Here The Go! Team
apply their own distinctive approach and it works out really well. You can find this version on the bonus disc that came with their last album Proof Of Youth, that came out in 2007. I think this is an avenue that The Go! Team should explore more fully. I mean, for how long can you make a career out of shouting, no matter how joyously?
IN GOWAN RING CIPHER’S STRING IN THE TREE IN
I have no idea what this song title means. In fact, I know very little about In Gowan Ring; apart from what’s on the Compendium CD, released in 2000, from which this track is taken. But, just for the record, In Gowan Ring is the work of American composer and multi-instumentalist B’eirth. He plays acoustic songs with strong roots in folk, medieval, and psychedelic music. Perfect for Mind De-Coder, then. Somewhere in this track I included a verse from It’s A Fine Day, by Jane, because it felt like it belonged there. Hope that’s all right.
DAVID BOWIE LADY GRINNING SOUL
So if I’ve done my job properly, you should have drifted away on some pastoral little trip that would have taken you off to some place with butterflies and possibly some stoned unicorns grazing in misty meadows, perhaps. And what better way to bring you back than with this track by David Bowie, from 1972’s Aladdin Sane. This has always been my favourite Bowie song because it’s just so late night and sexy and reminds me of someone who haven’t seen for too long. It’s one of those sort of songs.
I thank you.