MIND DE-CODER 15
‘(Trocchi)…defended his right to take any drug he chose to take. The murderous behaviour of most modern states –Auschwitz, Katyn, Hirishima, Dresden – having led him to find societies so vicious, any drug that weakened the loyalties they aroused was holy, a blessing.’
DAMON ALBARN THE GOLDEN DAWN
This is the opening track from Damon’s opera focusing on the life and work of Dr. John Dee, polymath, magician, astrologer and spy master for Queen Elizabeth I. Inspired by comic book legend Alan Moore, Dr. Dee: An English Opera, was performed in Manchester as part of Manchester’s International Festival 2011, with the album finding release early 2012. Simply called DR. DEE, it’s a bucolic affair finding Damon refracting folk and church music through the HYPERLINK “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lGRQVkXEts” \o “” African influences he has been steeped in since 2002’s Mali Music. The Golden Dawn, an organ-heavy track, opens with running water and Devonian birdsong, and is possibly, given the work’s subject matter, a reference Aleister Crowley’s The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, but I might be making that bit up.
KEN NORDINE SCRATCH
Ken Nordine was a hip word-jazz poet with what can only be called a deep and resonant voice. He’s most famous for a couple of albums he recorded at the peak of the beat era in the mid-1950’s, namely Word Jazz, and Son of Word Jazz, but his career has taken in commercials, movie trailers and book readings. Scratch is taken from his 1979 recording STARE WITH YOUR EARS and may possibly be about a psychedelic hipster dog, or just a psychedelic hipster, or a hipster dog.
THE AQUARIAN AGE 10,000 YEARS IN A CARDBOARD BOX
An absolute psychedelic pop classic from Twink and Junior, the rhythm section of Tomorrow, whose 1968 debut single as the newly christened Aquarian Age, illustrates their feelings toward singer Keith West’s departure from the band following his success that year with Excerpts From A Teenage Opera, but still remains a playfully psychedelic pop song. Twink would later re-record the song on his debut solo album, Think Pink, without the harsh chorus, but that was a spacier, slower affair.
BROADCAST AND THE FOCUS GROUP TUESDAY’S OFFERING
Broadcast and The Focus Group are responsible for the mind-bendingly trippy Broadcast and The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age which, as I may have mentioned before, is verily a trip unto itself, but this track, Tuesday’s Offering, is taken from the single STUDY SERIES 6: FAMILIAR SHAPES AND NOISES, released in 2010 as part of a series of singles put out by Hauntology’s very own record label Ghost Box, who’s musical aesthetic is influenced strongly by music for schools, cosmic horror stories, library music, English surrealism and the dark side of psychedelia, which pretty much describes this spookily nostalgic track in a nutshell.
GONJASUFI THE CALIPH’S TEA PARTY
(BROADCAST & FOCUS GROUP REMIX)
The unpromisingly named Gonjasufi (Sumach Ecks to his mum) is, and perhaps even more unpromisingly, an American rapper, singer, deejay and yoga teacher who, despite all this, remains a mystical individual caught somewhere between the Mojave Desert, the LA streets and somewhere altogether more cosmic than you’d think. His debut album, A Sufi and a Killer, released in 2010, was a hallucinogenic mix of hip hop beats, 21st century acid rock and a corroded analog wall of zero-fi psychedelic noise, all focused around the man’s remarkable voice – a raw, otherworldly vocal style that can be a bit trying for the unwary. Shortly after, he released THE CALIPH’S TEA PARTY, in which a variety of producers were invited in to tinker around with it. Broadcast and The Focus Group lose the voice entirely and instead spin loops of backspun string-sections and incidental music cues that, in all fairness, owe more to . . .Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age than it does the source material, but then, that’s what they do and I’m not complaining.
ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITI REVOLUTION’S A LIE
More music of a hauntological nature, this time from America’s Ariel Pink who, like his British counterparts, invests his music with a newness cobbled together from the ghosts and traces of the past. In Pink’s case this means returning to 8-track technology, cheap guitars and synthesizers and a low-fi aesthetic which combines hazy nostalgia with a fiercely experimental pop palette. Revolution’s A Lie is the opening track from his 2010 album BEFORE TODAY, the one on which he got a band and a budget behind him and produced something more cohesive than usual. It’s camp, kitschy, ridiculous and manages to sound more right than wrong without losing sight of the fact that, quite often, it’s its wrongness that makes it sound so right.
Atlantis was a huge hit for Donovan in 1968 and reached the top of the charts around the world, including Switzerland, which just goes to show that in 1968 hippies were everywhere.
TREMBLING BELLS OTLEY ROCK ORACLE
Trembling bells are a Scottish experimental psych-folk band who owe more, possibly, to Pentangle than they do The Incredible String Band, but on this absolutely marvelous track, the wild and pounding Otley Rock Oracle, they add some Jimi Hendrix to the mix. This thrilling track is a re-telling of an old Yorkshire legend regarding a seven-headed dog in which vocalist Lavinia Blackwall’s voice soars over wigged out guitars, proggy organ and horns and is to be found on the band’s 3rd album THE CONSTANT PAEGENT, released 2011. This is what the Velvet Underground would have sounded like if they’d toyed with folk. It remains my favourite track from last year.
BEYOND THE WIZARD’S SLEEVE DOOR TO TOMORROW
This lovely track, the first release in quite a while from Erol Alkan and Richard Norris, is the b-side to the single BLACK NOISE, a tripped-out psych-rockin’ wide-screen monster of a track, released earlier this year. Door To Tomorrow is a very different affair – a baroque, folk-tinged meditation that recalls the pastoral beauty of the Left Banke, featuring former Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci frontman Euros Childs on yearning vocals. Lovely.
TNKERBELL’S FAIRY DUST 2010< /div>
As charming a piece of whimsical psychedelia as you could ask for, Tinkerbell’s Fairydust’s second single, 2010, released 1968, was a Bach-inspired piece featuring the liberal use of wah-wah vox organ, mellotron flutes, Spanish-style guitar and choir-like vocals that should have fitted the period like a glove – sadly it sunk without a trace. It’s funny far away into the future 2010 must have seemed back then, now that we’re looking back on it from three years further on. I wonder if it lived up to the band’s expectations?
NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS AKA…WHAT A LIFE
(AMORPHOUS ANDROGYNOUS REMIX)
Another hint of what a collaboration with Amorphous Androgynous might have produced – the epic AKA…What A Life is a tripped out, 16 minute cosmodelic remix that was relegated to the b-side of the otherwise forgettable Everybody’s On The Run thus underscoring the fact that between them they could create psychedelic magic if only they’d all just get on with it. I hope there’s a few more remixes tucked away for a rainy day in there somewhere.
THE VIRGINEERS WE ARE SANTA’S HELPERS
A lysergically enhanced Christmas goody from the mysterious Virgineers, a phantom pair of psychedelic popsters who may hail from Antarctica, but are just as likely to be found on West Coast of the United States (the internet is unclear on this point). They only ever released the one album – the eponymous THE VIRGINEERS (in 2000) – but it ranks right up there with Mind De-Coder favourites The Dukes Of Stratosphear and indeed the Fraternal Order Of The All in terms of your modern day psychedelic homage. We Are Santa’s Helpers was a download only release from 2004 which, sadly, seems to be the last thing they ever did.
THE FAB FOUR SILENT NIGHT
Christmas greetings from The Fab Four, America’s leading Beatles tribute band. This quite marvelous version of Silent Night can be found on their 2002 release HAVE YOURSELF A FAB-ULOUS LITTLE CHRISTMAS.
TAME IMPALA APOCALYPSE DREAMS
One of the more prescient tracks on this evening’s show, Apocalypse Dreams was the taster track for the band’s mind-bending new album LONERISM, which finally saw the light of day in October. It’s not my favourite track on an album that is soaked like a blotter pad in psychedelia but, like I said, what with the date and all, it seems the most apt. If we’re still here next week then I’ll play something better. Incidentally, Tame Impala are getting a lot of positive comparisons made to The Beatles, namely their Revolver album and specifically, the album’s closing track Tomorrow Never Knows – but a better comparison might be made with Tomorrow whose two singles, My White Bicycle and Revolution, recorded the same time as Revolver, are, to my mind, the true template for much of their excellent new album, regardless of whether they, Tame Impala, have ever actually heard of them or not.
LANA DEL REY VIDEO GAMES (AUORA MIX)
Just in case the world does end as we know it tomorrow,I didn’t want to you to go without hearing this the most mind bending dub step remix I’ve ever heard. Stunning.
JANELLE MONAE (feat. DEEP COTTON) 57821
Another track you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find on Mind De-Coder, this time from Janelle Monae,whose 2010 album THE ARCHANDROID (SUITES II AND III) gained a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary R&B’t find it out of place on an album of contemporary acid folk.
STEALING SHEEP SECRETS
Stealing Sheep are three medieval babes (who must be tiring of that epithet by now) who do a very fine line in pagan pop featuring backwards dulcimers, psychedelia, folk music, electronica and funk (if funk could in anyway be mistaken for a dark madrigal, say). Their debut album, Into The Diamond Sun, has just been released, and very fine it is too, but this track is taken from NOAH AND THE PAPER MOON EP released last year.
WITTHÜSER AND WESTRUPP KARLCHEN
I love umlauts. I wonder what they do? Karlchen is taken from the Krautrock album TRIPPS AND TRÄUME, a lovely, unassuming little album of tripped out, cosmic folkiness, released in 1971, by the German duo and featuring the splendidly named Renee Zucker on vocals and flute.
SILVER APPLES OSCILLATIONS
Silver Apples, of course, were one of those seminal and hugely influential groups that never really found fame until much later on, by which time their music had been picked up by the likes of Suicide, Spacemen 3 and Stereolab. Their sound explored interstellar drones and hums, pulsing rhythms and electronically-generated melodies played on an instrument dubbed the Simeon after its creator, the vocalist Simeon, which, according to notes on the duo’s self-titled 1968 debut LP consisted of “nine audio oscillators and eighty-six manual manual controls…The lead and rhythm oscillators are played with the hands, elbows and knees and the bass oscillators are played with the feet.” It was an utterly uncommercial record — consisting of beeps, buzzes and beats in place of actual music — and sold poorly, but John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix were said to be fans. Oscillations was their debut single, also released in 1968. Weirdly, shortly after that, they more or less got themselves sued out of existence by Pan-Am.
SANDY DENNY AND THE STRAWBS WHO KNOWS WHERE THE TIME GOES
I think the version of Who Knows Where The Time Goes that she recorded a couple of years later with Fairport Convention on Unhalfbricking was recently voted The Best Folk Song Ever or something, but I’ve always had a soft spot for this earlier, less polished, version of Sandy’s signature song, that she first recorded with The Strawbs in 1967 on the album ALL OUR WORK. For some reason it never saw release until 1973 when it was finally rushed to the shops to coincide with the unexpected success of their single Part Of The Union.
THE ECCENTRONIC RESEARCH COUNCIL DEVICE KIDS FIND A BOX
OF CHATTOX MELODY
A noodling little filler taken fr
om the album 1612 UNDERTURE by the splendidly named Eccentronic Research Council featuring actress Maxine Peak (the one that looked like Myra Hindley on TV’s ‘Shameless’) as they tell the story of the Pendle Witches who were executed in Lancashire, England, on 20 August 1612. In the form of a 12 chapter sound poem, it’s a marvelous concept album which takes in 1960s feminist poetry, mythical news stories, a synthesiser folk duet and the raising of a dead witch via a ouija board to curse all that is bad about the Jubilee Year. It’s a concept record.
Twink played a key part in the UK underground psychedelic scene, playing in such bands as Tomorrow, The Pretty Things, The Deviants and The Pink Fairies, but THINK PINK, released in 1970, was his first solo album. Regardless of the connotations the term “psychedelic” carries with it, it’s not all Pink Faries and Tolkien, though. Things get ominous and dark on Fluid but by then, and the end first half of the album, the mind is expanded enough to take in side two, where the presence of collaborator Steve Peregrin Took (of Tyranosaurus Rex fame) really starts to come into play. His brilliant The Sparrow Is a Sign is a psychedelic anthem that is worth acquiring the album for alone. Essential stuff, not to be missed by those following the U.K. underground psychedelic scene circa 1968-1972.
JOHNNY TRUNK IN THE WOODS TODAY
Evocative and nostalgic, what better way to end the show than with a little something from alluringly named Johnny Trunk, founder of Trunk Records, a British record label that specializes in releasing film scores from such classics as Deep Throat, Kes, The Wicker Man, and George A Romero’s The Dawn of the Dead, as well as soundtracks for UK Television series such asThe Tomorrow People, UFO, Bod and Vernon Elliott’s score for The Clangers and Ivor the Engine – so as you can imagine, he’s a bit of a good bloke. In The Woods Today is taken from his own debut album, THE INSIDE OUT, released in 2004. On the sleeve notes he mentions that this track reminds him of playing alone in the scary woods as a child and finding a discarded pair of dirty underpants. Do children play alone in the scary woods these days? In away, of course, we all do.
And that was Mind De-Coder 15. I thank you.