MIND DE-CODER 33
‘…and as I blagged another cigarette from her”.
BUTTHOLE SURFERS SWEAT LOAF
First time I ever heard this track, in a state of blissful delirium brought on following a pleasant experience with the Spacemen 3, I literally erupted from the sofa as if I’d had an electronic cattle prod shoved up the psychic jacksie. The Butthole Surfers aren’t so much a band; more the aural equivalent of a nightmarish acid trip – but, crucially I didn’t know that at the time – ‘listen to this’, they’d said, and left me to it. Sweat Loaf utilizes a warped riff from Black Sabbath’s Sweet Leaf and can be found on Surfer’s heaviest, darkest and most disturbing album, LOCUST ABORTION TECHNICIAN, released 1987 – an album that veers from heavy fucked-up psychedelia to grungy noise rock to progressive guitar and tape effects to almost folky numbers in one big, gloriously schizophrenic mess. Not for the unwary, that’s all I’m saying.
DJ FEMALE CONVICT SCORPION INTRODUCTION (BILL COSBY TALKS TO KIDS ABOUT DRUGS)
DJ Female Convict Scorpion is the rather cool nom de plume for Josh Pollock of psychedelic rockers 3 Leafs, who creates tripped out DJ mixes and self-releases them on the internet. His latest release, A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO DJ FEMALE CONVICT SCORPION, a career retrospective that includes a track from his 10 previous releases, was released in 2012, takes in wigged-out astral jams, low slung slithery funk, strange movie samples, spaced out psychedelia and stuttery old-school hip-hop. As you can imagine, I’m quite a fan, but I can’t tell you much about this track – Bill Cosby Talks To Kid About Drugs was an album released in 1971 which pretty much does what it says on the label; it even won a Grammy for best Album for Children, but what is that acid laced vibe he uses beneath it? It sounds like a lounge version of Black Sabbath. The only DJ you’d want at your wedding.
At this point I played a trailer for a psychesploitation movie called The Love-Ins that, all things considered, I can probably live without seeing.
THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN FIRE
I can’t believe I haven’t played this before, and yet here it is; a song that takes me right back to my nights at Alice In Wonderland and magical mystery trips to Chislehurst Caves (I appreciate that this won’t mean anything to many of you). The big thing about this record, of course, which was a big and, indeed, defining hit for the band back in 1968 is that it had no bass or guitar on it – the lead instrument was, in fact, a hammond electric organ, somewhat augmented by an orchestral section featuring prominent brass. But everyone knows that.
BEYOND THE WIZARD’S SLEEVE DIG IT
Those Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve boys with an adaptation of The Monkees’ Can You Dig It, from the soundtrack to their cult movie Head which more or less saw off the last of their career in 1968. This rather fine interpretation (in hip-hop stylee they take their favourite bits and extend them) is from the Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve album BIRTH, which was available briefly in 2005.
ART AFRICAN THING
African Thing is one of the truly weird tracks on the album SUPERNATURAL FAIRY TALES, released in 1967 by Art – Formerly The V.I.P. s and soon to become Spooky Tooth – which was never quite as weird or as psychedelic as you might hope, given the title and all. This was their only release, and whilst there’s a couple of interesting covers on it, if not particularly inspiring takes of them, Art were pretty much doomed to become psychedelic also-rans. I like African Thing, though.
A little hauntologically inspired piece I put together that I’ve called ‘Mind De-coder teaches you to swim’.
THE SOFT MACHINE FEELIN’, REELIN’, SQUEALIN’
This track, released in 1967, was due to be The Soft machine’s debut single, until semi-legendary producer Kim Fowley famously got his hands on it, spliced up the master-tape, taking a musique concrète approach to the song’s piano-and-flute instrumental section and presented it back to the band, completely blowing their collective mind. It was way too far out for the A-side so was relegated to the B-side of Love Makes Sweet Music. The single failed to chart, but for many the story of the Soft Machine started with Feelin’, Reelin’, Squealin’.
THE STONE ROSES BEGGING YOU
Their greatest sonic assault from the much unloved Second Coming, released in 1992. Focussed; sharp; throbbing with menace. If only the rest of the album had been this good.
FAR EAST FAMILY BAND UNDISCOVERED NORTHERN TERRITORY
A little bit of ambient filler, really, that, on their third album NIPPONJIN: JOIN OUR MENTAL PHASE SOUND, a keyboard heavy space-rock album released in 1975 by the Japanese prog band, serves at the intro to a far heavier track that I decided not to use, and instead, allowed the track to disappear into…
I was always a big fan of the shoegazing scene but I’ve been very sparing in my use of it in Mind De-Coder, despite the transcendental use of shimmering guitars being right up my street back in the day. Ueh are a French avant-rock group who, back in 2002 at least, were connected to Acid Mothers Temple and had this track included on the Acid Mother Temple family compilation DO WHATEVER YOU WANT, DON’T DO WHATEVER YOU DON’T WANT!, a round up of all things Acid Mother Temple-ish and my go to album for cosmic rock goings-on. I don’t know very much else about them really, but I thought after all this time a little transcendental shimmering might be just the thing. Expect tracks by Lush, Ride and Chapterhouse next week.
TRAFFIC DEAR MR. FANTASY
Deeply soulful psychedelic vibes from Stevie Winwood’s Traffic and the title track from their 1967 debut MR FANTASY, a stone-cold tripped out classic of reve
rb-saturated mellow grooves played in a psychedelic jazz-blues stylee.
I’m a big fan of Oliver!, me.
TIMOTHY LEARY AND ASH RA TEMPEL SPACE
In 1972, having been sprung from jail by The Weatherman (of the ‘you don’t need to be a weatherman to see which way the wind blows’ variety, Timothy Leary was smuggled safely out of America and into Algeria where he was delivered into the hands of the Black Panther Party who immediately took him hostage and demanded half the advance of his next book to release him. He somehow escaped this situation and fled for Switzerland with a group of fellow mind-travellers where he avoids deportation back to America by moving from canton to canton, and finally meets up with Sergius Golowin, the disillusioned ex-MP and mystic who takes them to his mountain retreat (see Mind De-Coder 30). In 1972 he was visited by Ash Ra Tempel, accompanied by Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser, the man who more than any other created the krautrock scene, and legendary producer Dieter Dierks, the man who more than any other, recorded it and, most crucially, captured it in the studio. There was a sympathetic meeting of minds shall we say, and the resulting album, 7UP (so called because Leary spiked the bottles of 7Up with acid during the recording sessions) is one of the most far out and gone pieces of music you will ever hear. Space takes up all of one side and is divided into four tracks that segue together and is unlike anything ever recorded before or after – a kosmiche musik astral plane freak-out that will literally blow your mind clean away if you listen to it in the same state in which is was recorded. Absolutely crucial listening for the committed head.
MESMERIZING EYE SIDE 2
In fact, the only way down from 7UP is to drift away into side 2 of PSYCHEDELIA: AN ELECTRIC LIGHT SHOW by The Mesmerizing Eye, who know a thing or two about this sort of thing. It’s pretty much a psychploitation album, put together by a couple of Hollywood-based producers and nameless session musicians in 1967 to cash in on the psychedelic craze. It works as an instrumental sound collage with a wide array of tripped out sound effects and has the best cover art you’ve ever seen. The titles alone should tell you everything you need to know about this album: 1) may the bird of paradise fly up your flute, 2) requiem for suzy creamcheese, 3) the war for my mind, 4) dear mom, send money, and 5) exercise in frustration.
PETER SARSTEDT BLAGGED
Blagged is not strictly a psychedelic record in and of itself, although it does feature a very fine use of phasing, but who can resist a record that starts with the lines : “…and as I blagged another cigarette from her”? Peter Sarstedt is most well known for his 1969 hit Where Did You Go To (my Lovely), but this terrific little track can be found on the B-side to the rather less well-known I am A Cathedral, released in 1968.
THE FLOOR TRUSTING MR. JONES
Here’s something you don’t hear every day, A Danish psychedelic band, who released their only album, 1st FLOOR, in 1967. It’s fairly derivative of what was happening in London at the time, but let’s not forget that English was their second language and that some of the songs are quite impressive. I particularly like Trusting Mr Jones, which seems to have captured the English psyche-sensibility perfectly with its backwards guitars and all.
MOON WIRING CLUB GARDEN GET TOGETHER
More spooky happenings from the Moon Wiring Club wherein the simple hauntological act of a garden get together is made slightly sinister. Taken from the 2011 release CLUTCH IT LIKE A GONK.
THE BLUE MAGOOS RUSH HOUR
The Blue Magoos were one of the first garage-punk bands to achieve chart success, and one of the first to embrace psychedelia. They always had a way with a tune, too, as can be heard on the fuzzy day-glo pop of Rush Hour, from their second LP, ELECTRIC COMIC BOOK, released in 1967.
HOLISM GAEA WEEPING MEADOW
In which Israeli duo translate The marriage Of Heaven And Hell by English mystic William Blake to sound through time and space (it says here). You won’t have heard anything like this album, BLAKESIAN WILLIAMNESS, released in 2012, before; it’s like an astral space-noise journey that sets its sights on infinity – truly cosmic music. I think Copey sums it up best in his March Address Drudion (http://www.headheritage.co.uk/addressdrudion/163/2013) in which he says that he guarantees you will still be playing this at social evenings of utter cunted-ness thirty years hence.
THE BYRDS C.T.A. 102
Roger McGuinn’s love song to outer space, complete with gimmicky effects from The Byrd’s landmark album YOUNGER THAN YESTERDAY, released in 1967.
Thank you for listening