It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine

It's Psychedelic Baby is an independent music magazine. We are covering alternative, underground, non-commercial and non-mainstream artists in variety of shapes and genres. Exclusive interviews, reviews and articles. A place where musicians can express themselves. We serve an international readership.

It's Psychedelic Baby presents: TJ & the Reasons to Live - ”Follow You” premiere

© Peter Sørensen

The sound of Copenhagen based TJ & the Reasons to Live is a bit like a journey that includes everything from burning guitars to soothing string arrangements. The music is stripped down and shaded folk rock/alternative rock with echoes of late sixties US sound and later indie singer/songwriter added with input from psych rock.

”Follow You” is taken from the debut album My Mind (released May 2016 in the singer, songwriter and guitarist Troels Joergensen’s name and recorded at Studie73). 

The new video, ”Follow You”, is made by Sebastian T.W. Kristiansen, STWK, who also made the band's first video, ”What Have I Done”.

TJ & the Reasons to Live are: Troels Joergensen, Johan Lei Gellet, Henrik Lysgaard Madsen and Jeppe Thiesen.

Hi-Fi series presents: How To Properly Maintain Your Vinyl

Collecting records is fun. Vinyl, however, requires special care. For those new to vinyl, here are some tips for maintaining vinyl records:

Clean Vinyl Properly

If you buy used vinyl you especially need to be aware that dirt, dust and oil will be present. That will all damage your stylus. So wet-cleaning cleaning is important.
Dust your vinyl with a carbon fiber brush before commencing to wet-clean/deep clean your vinyl. If you don’t dust first, you risk forcing the dirt and dust further down into the vinyl’s grooves. 
Online experts report that a vacuum-based cleaning system is best for cleaning vinyl. These systems suck up any excess applied cleaning solution along with the dust and dirt. If you cannot afford one of these you can try what’s known as a “manual record cleaning machine” like the Spin Clean Record Washer. These machines literally bathe your vinyl with a blend of distilled water and cleaning solution. (If you must clean your vinyl entirely by hand with a cloth and solution then avoid tap water because it might contain lime scale or mineral deposits that can damage vinyl.) 

Don’t Play Vinyl With A Dull Needle

Experts agree that cartridges can last for years but the needle needs to remain sharp. As a needle dulls, its surface area increases. This increase can negatively impact on the grooves in the vinyl and cause damage.

Use Polyethylene Sleeves/Don’t Leave Your Records Out 

Play your records and then immediately put them back in their sleeves to decrease the chances of scratching the vinyl. More importantly, remember that paper inner sleeves don’t fully protect the vinyl from chemical reactions and dust. Instead, use polyethylene lined sleeves. The linings of these sleeves are not only soft but they keep static to a minimum.

Don’t Stack Your Records

Vinyl records are actually made of “polyvinyl chloride”. It’s malleable and soft. Stacking records can damage the shape of the vinyl and permanently distort the sound. It’s best to store them vertically but not too tight as this too could cause damage.

Don’t Expose Vinyl To Heat Or Moisture

Vinyl records, just like most types of plastic, have a very low heat capacity. They will start to melt once the temperature hits 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t store your vinyl anywhere close to such things as heaters, ovens or even anywhere that receives direct sunlight.
Moisture can also ruin your collection. Do not store them in proximity of any water supply or on the floor of a basement or garage.

Additional Vinyl Care Tips

Both before and after you handle your records, remove surface dust with a brush. You may also wish to wipe them down with a fiber-less cloth (such as an eyeglass cloth). The idea is to keep dust particles out of the sound grooves. 

Handle your records by the edges. Put them away, after you play. Use airtight boxes or poly-sleeves for long-term storage of your vinyl collection. Vinyl records aren't CDs. You cannot fix them by applying toothpaste. Once you scratch a record the show's over, music fans.

Jessica Kane is a music connoisseur and an avid record collector. She currently writes for SoundStage Direct, her go-to place for all turntables and vinyl equipment, including VPI Turntables.

The American Analog Set - From Our Living Room to Yours (1997)

The American Analog Set - From Our Living Room to Yours (Emperor Jones Records, 1997)

It’s easy to say that American Analog Set rolls on aimlessly, like ghosts in an old house, never sure of what they’re looking for, but who’s presence is felt in odd little ways, then disappearing as soon as I try to hold an image. While the reality is that their music is not so much illusive, but rather untouchable, like moonlight dancing on water ... there, but not there, ever shifting as the stream flows on.

From Our Living Room To Yours is the second release from this ‘slow drive’ band, a band who in 1997 could not help but be touched by the music of Galaxie 500; though they bend their strings in a much quieter manner, with the vocalization being nothing more than a whisper, riding in from the edges, as if heard from down the hall, or a half opened door. There are also hints of the mystical sounds The Church laid down on their epic release Somewhere, Anywhere; but that nod in no way takes anything away from the beauty of this album. If there’s anything to be taken away, it’s done so by the band, where they use a few rather tired and worn trippy elements [ah la Pink Floyd] at the beginning and end of several tracks ... though a quick run through your music program can eliminate these, creating a nearly flawless body of work.

As with all of the albums by American Analog Set, this release should be taken as a whole, and not as separate songs ... though to that end I’ve created stunning playlists using many of the tracks mixed in with other music of this flavor; leaving me free, to silently float like a transparent ghost though my home.

- Jenell Kesler
© Copyright

Psychedelic Attic #25

Sunrise Ocean Bender Records
The Movements
Sons Of The Void
E Gone
Evenings Fires

Apollon Records
Professor Tiptop
Empty Bottles Broken Hearts
MK's Marvellous Medicine
Kiss Kiss King Kong

Anthology Recordings
Taman Shud 
Träd, Gräs & Stenar Anthology Recordings

Band of Horses - Why Are You OK (2016) review

Band of Horses - Why Are You OK (Interscope Records, 2016) 

It's easy, with the opening track suggesting a dreamy indie rock soundscape, that listeners might think they’re being treated to an entirely new adventure here on Why Are You OK.  But on this their fifth album, that quickly changes as the band shifts into a low gear of eager grooves dominated by a sustained backbeat and reverb laced gestures that moves throughout the entire release, not so much relentlessly, yet certainly with more than a guiding hand, carrying the lo-fi stompers forward with an almost orchestral movement of weighty textured rich and hauntingly dark atmospheric songs designed to reach out and hold you tight … or at least that seems to be the desired destination.  Yet even with the production values laid down to roughen up the edges in 2012 by Glyn Johns, who worked with The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, Why Are You OK comes off as a soft sonic riff that builds little on their past, suggesting that they’ve reworked unused or undeveloped ideas from the previous outings, creating an ambient selection, that while pleasant enough, really doesn’t take the listener anywhere.

Even with all this effort, the songs sound far too weighted and directionless in this thematic dark pool of isolation that can not bother or effect you, coming off as mere comfortable places to sit until the main attraction comes rolling along … and for that coming attraction I kept waiting, but the headlights never rounded the corner, and the album ended with me feeling that Band Of Horses hadn’t reached me, hadn’t opened my door and given me a reason to invite them to stay.  With all that being said, I’ve nothing actually negative to say about the release either, I simply feel that it's all been beautiful homespun foreplay with no payoff, and far too many moments of simplicity strung together, laying at my feet like a sleeping cat.

- Jenell Kesler
© Copyright

Luening / Ussachevsky / Bergsma - A Poem In Cycles And Bells & Other Music For Tape Recorder (1958) review

Luening / Ussachevsky / Bergsma - A Poem In Cycles And Bells & Other Music For Tape Recorder (Aurora Rising, 1958/2016)

You would never believe this record to be a relic from a past of electronic music that happened before anybody even spoke about rock music. In 1957 this compilation of electronic and orchestral compositions by the three masterminds Otto Luening, Vladimir Ussachevsky and William Bergsma saw the light of the stars for the first time and has become a cult piece among lovers of electronic space music since then, despite the fact that only the first side features the so called tape compositions of Luening and Ussachevsky from the 50s while Bergsma's lengthy piece from the B side gets performed by a regular orchestra consisting of living beings. You certainly have to lay back and let yourself drift away upon this stream of sound but it is still a very human effort all in all. All instruments are for real and even though this piece of music moves within the narrow borderlines of classic orchestral music patterns, there is a warm and gentle flow of energy pouring out of it and reaching out for your mind. Luening and Ussachevsky on the other hand work with sounds of undefined origin recorded on tape reels which are their main instruments for creating something new out of everything. The result is dark and gloomy. It pulls you away from your earthly existence and drags you out into space to the furthest corners of the cosmos. This is the right music for all lovers of spaced out sounds from the days before the synthesizer. If you love all the late 60s and 70s stuff like early TANGERINE DREAM, KRAFTWERK / ORGANISATION and KLUSTER you will be happy to find these compositions 10-20 years prior being on par with all the newer and now legendary cosmic music acts. This long out of print gem is definitely one of the important steps towards every kind of electronic music that was successful ever since.

- 'Sir Lord Doom'
© Copyright

Mono - You Are There (Kamikaze Tapes)

Kamikaze Tapes is releasing one of the greatest "post rock" albums of all time, MONO's "You Are There", presented on cassette for the very first time. Created using the original master tracks, individually transferred to CT-30 high bias cobalt tape stock, and housed in an elegant dark blue cassette shell. Full artwork designed using the original specifications and designed to provide an optimum sound quality that is truly outstanding, and makes for a very interesting listen. Limited edition of 150. 

Shipping out on or around October 1, 2016

A decade ago Japan post rock band Mono released one of the most intriguing albums in the genre. You Are There is a masterpiece of post rock and one of seldom albums where all elements consolidate in a massive sound and atmosphere which will take you on your own personal journey through time and space. Personally I would place You Are There album right below the massive Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven! by Godspeed You Black Emperor!. Now available also on cassette, which makes so much more fun to hear how it will sound since it's transferred from original master. You better warm up your Nakamichi.
- Klemen Breznikar

From The Vault: Quicksilver Messenger Service - Happy Trails (1969)

Lets look back to the hay day of Psychedelic Music, and the album ‘Happy Trails’ by the now legendary band ‘The Quicksilver Messenger Service.’

These were heady times, concerts were designed to fuel the heads, open the minds and course your trip [on LSD] to its climax. At the helm of the ‘Jam Bands’ was Quicksilver, who, without a doubt reached the pinnacle of the the trip with the release of ‘Happy Trails,’ one of the first live recordings to try and capture the feeling of an acid experience, or help you enjoy your ride ... San Francisco style, should you have lived anywhere other than California.

But let’s start with the album art. The cover features a cowboy, in full regalia, riding off into the dawn of a new day, leaving all he has ever known and loved, carrying with him the message and hope of his experiences in the west. The lettering on the cover is a fine example of the psychedelic script of the time, the colours are bold and striking. The term ‘Happy Trails’ was either taken from the album title, or the album title was taken from the effect of moving one’s hand threw the air and watching the splendid ‘Trails’ that followed, hence the term ‘Happy Trails.’ And of course there was the reference to Roy Rogers and Dale Evens, who sang the song ‘Happy Trails’ at the end of their TV show.

The first side of the album is composed of one song, with various extensions, additions and adaptations of ‘Who Do You Love,’ by Do Diddley. Quicksilver moves from ‘Who Do You Love, When Do You Love, Where Do Yo Love, How Do You Love, Which Do You Love, and finally finishing with Part 2 of ‘Who Do You Love,’ to tie it all together. It’s everything you would expect of a psychedelic release of this genre. But you won’t find the thundering guitars you might expect. The guitars are mixed low, as if you’re in a room with the ceiling no more than eight feet high. There is no lead by design, each member adds the effects and efforts of their instrument to the ambiance of the whole ... blending, mixing, playing and bouncing off of each other. There are some very fine chord changes that have a definite line of demarcation brought on by the rhythm guitar. The drumming is something else, and when you have a chance to dig Greg Elmore, a smooth smile will cross your face. No lie, Greg sounds like he’s using cardboard boxes as drums, they are perfectly understated, designed to carry the time at heartbeat level. It’s not until the beginning of the song ‘Calvary’ that he steps out at all, and even there he is restrained.

Side two, which begins with ‘Mona,’ a piece of San Francisco musical history, and though it’s not, side two has the feel of being a live recording. There are nice sustained guitars trailing off in various directions, taking your head here and there, only to bring you back ... before they take you off on another journey. There was serious studio musical experimentation going on here, and it’s a shame that this star burned out so quickly, leaving us only three release.

Quicksilver Messenger Service. Photo by Susan Elting for Ramparts (1967).

Groups like ‘The Dark Side,’ ‘Spacemen 3’ and ‘The American Analog Set’ have attempted to update the format laid down here, but this is the original, this is where it all happened first, this is the place at which you can reach out and drop your finger on the map, the point of origin. You will hear groups like the ‘Jefferson Airplane’ pay homage to ‘Quicksilver’ with some of the licks they use on their albums, and ‘The Grateful Dead’ drew heavily on this trippy theme before abandoning it for the free wheeling country style jams that brought them fame.

The group was made up of John Cipollina [guitar], Jim Murray [harmonica, guitar and vocals], Greg Elmore [drums], Gary Duncan [guitar and vocals] and David Freiberg [bass guitar, viola, and vocals]. There were various other incarnations which included Dino Valenti, Nicky Hopkins and Chuck Steaks. At the end, nearly all of these guys folded back into the group for the last release. The album has a genuine personal feel to it, as if the music was an extension of yourself. They don’t need a lot of tricks, gimmicks or volume to bring this across, they just need to step up to the mike, hit the reverb, wah wah and they are off and running. This is by far the best and most concise body of work from Quicksilver Messenger Service, so if you have to pick just one ... hands down, this is the one. 

And that song ‘Happy Trails’ I mentioned ... while your gettin’ your head on straight and gathering up what’s rolled across the floor, they’ll just be finishing up the whistling part as you’re making your way out the door and into a fine clear San Francisco night. I know that’s true, because I was part of the event more then once.

‘Happy Trails,’ ya’ all be sure to mosey on back now.

John Cipollina, 1968.

- Jenell Kesler
© Copyright

This Is 30! A Classic Jerry Garcia Band Show From Oct. '86 Performed by The Avett Brothers & Warren Haynes

For you Jerry Garcia fans, Saturday October 15 at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax VA, a classic Jerry Garcia Band Show from Oct 1986 performed by The Avett Brothers & Warren Haynes. Tickets are on sale now for just $39.50.  More info here.

Saturday, October 15 at EagleBank Arena (Fairfax VA)

Teenage Fanclub - Here (2016) review

Teenage Fanclub - Here (Merge, 2016)

If the hazy layered harmonic and introverted songs of Teenage Fanclub are the ones that grabbed hold of your soul … then you’re in for a deep and most pleasant atmospheric surprise, as the band has shed their volume in favor of intimacy, harmonies, and sonic riffs that will fill your listening space without knocking you back against the wall and struggling to breathe.  Here on Here, they make no bones about being quieter and much tighter, laying out three part harmonies that dance in your head, while sending shivers down your spine; and if I may be so bold, taking a page from the playbook of both Luna and The Beach Boys.

Teenage Fanclub finally sound stable and sure of themselves, dripping with liquid pop laced intoxication, seeming to make an attempt at holding onto summer for one more day, for one last hour of surf, and one second more for a summer love, before the crashing of fall washes it all away, leaving those warm days and heady nights as but a distant memory.  This set of songs bespeak clarity with a gratifying hushed-ness that waylays any notions of immediateness, preferring to linger around the edges of your mind like the last humming birds before they head south, leaving you with something not only beautiful to hold onto, but something to warm your heart as you walk through winter wrapped in scarves and woolen coats.

These are the sort of blissed out love songs that allow you to feel connected, centered, and quietly lost in a session of pure impeccable ecstasy, sounding timeless and essential with their hypnotic jangling guitars and light handed effects.  I suppose what I’m trying to say is that Teenage Fanclub have managed the feat of stopping time, and replacing that time with forever never ending dreams.

- Jenell Kesler
© Copyright

Electric Octopus interview

Dripping with breezy hazed reverb and fuzzed out historic blues references, while interlacing both jazz and psychedelia, Electric Octopus have managed to not only find the key, but have opened some doors that have gone unnoticed for far too long. Here on This Is Our Culture, the trio lay down a bit of hipness layered with psychedelic rock, cool jazz, and extended jams that go down easy, not so much demanding your attention, though making it nearly impossible for you to dismiss this outing as mere background music.

I knew they were waiting for me as I climbed to the dimly lit second floor. I fully expected these guys to be mad as hatters, and while I wasn’t far off the mark, the guys I met were relatively down to earth … at least that is, while they’re not in the presences of their instruments, instruments that seemed to be calling them from the corner.

Jenell: Good evening, thanks for sitting down with me for a bit. Let’s get the basics out of the way for our readers. Could you all please introduce yourselves and the instruments that you play?

Tyrell: Hi I’m Tyrell I play guitar in Electric Octopus!

Guy: Hey Jenell, Guy, and I’m on the drum-kit. 

Dale: Hi there, I’m Dale and I play the bass.

Jenell: (laughing) Why do I feel that I’ve just stepped into a Beatles’ movie?

Jenell: So who’s classically trained here?

Tyrell: I am not at all, getting lessons and that just didn’t feel like a natural thing for me to do.

Guy: I grew up learning the trumpet and played in brass ensembles and orchestras, when I found the drums though it took over everything, played percussion for a decent orchestra for a while but my mainstay has just been behind a kit. 

Dale: I’m interested that you ask this as the first question, does it seem like we are? I like listening to classical music but our approach is very far from what I understand the classical way to be. I’m not classically trained.

Jenell: Well, from what you doing, it certainly seemed that you had an extensive toolbox you were dipping into. The band seems to have grown from a trio for live shows, is this going to be the new structure for the band as a whole?

Tyrell: Like everything we do, there’s no real structure or plan, it just happens, so if we are playing a show and someone wants to get up and jam then we’re all for it, but the band as a core thing is and will most likely remain just the three of us.

Guy: I’d say the same, just keeping the vibes good and exploring. A new person can bring in another viewpoint, dust off that old third eye and help us create new rhythms and sounds. To be honest I don’t really think we’ve thought about it overly, usually the natural thing to do has always just been the best.

Dale: As Guy says, whatever feels natural is what we’ll do. Currently I don’t think we have any immediate plans to bring anyone else in permanently, but we’re down to jam with whoever …

Jenell: I go back to the 60’s, have even seen Hendrix live, and while I don’t particularly like to make comparisons, Electric Octopus have a solid psych feel, with an undercurrent of jazz and jamming … how’ve you managed to pull this all together in a cohesive manner?

Tyrell: Literally just wing it. (laughing with a wide-eyed smile)

Guy: Yeh, I don’t ever really remember thinking too much about the music while jamming, in fact sometimes I swear I'm not even in the room anymore and I open my eyes and I'm still there and its like, ‘Oh shit we’re still playing this jam, how long has this been, where the fuck have I been? (starts going off on some mind wander again), Oh shit yeh, we’re jamming, right.’ We’ve all been playing our instruments for long enough that we can just have fun. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but whenever it doesn’t I swear those are the jams where I learn the most. The only thing worse than people who do nothing are people who copy other people, not about that, just doing us.

Dale: It just seems to have happened. We all have known each other for a while, played together in groups and also played with a wide variety of other musicians, so we’ve just fit in relatively effortlessly. There is some effort to pull an idea together while we’re playing, but that’s no different from just directing a conversation, for example.

Jenell: I’ve heard several descriptions of your sound, even invented a few of my own … how would you describe your music?

Tyrell: The description I’d give our sound today could be completely different tomorrow, it kinda just always changes with the vibe at the time we’re jamming I guess.

Guy: Environment definitely changes the sound, big up the Soiree 2016. Our first gig was surrounded by some of the most beautiful souls wandering the streets of Belfast. Sometimes it’s hard to think that the jams aren’t a direct reply to external influences sometimes.

Dale: It’s just the sound of the space we’re in at the time. It’s definitely a direct response to our surroundings, there’s no way it couldn’t be.

Jenell: Who are your past influences, and who’s on your turntable this very moment?

Tyrell: Sooo many musical influences but I currently have Jesse Ed Davis - Ululu on my turntable, absolutely class record! Also been soaking myself in The Meters for a while, just tying to absorb the funk.

Guy: The main squeeze … Dr. Funk is crawling its way into my ear canals right now. But for past influences its hard to say, teaching drums meant I couldn’t go down a single road with my playing so its probably easier saying what hasn’t influences me most, music that’s based on frustration or something I haven't ever really dug, like metal and that. You can tell if you hear a band searching for the sound, the evolution of that dates back since the first dude hit a rock a few times in a row with the same spacing between each hit and all the dudes round him were like, ‘Yo, that’s sick bro (probably in oo oo ahs)’ It’s a journey, you stand on the shoulders of all the past musicians, its not about being better, its about finding that all unifying sound. 

Dale: I’ve absorbed a lot of different stuff from a lot of different people in the past while, so it’s hard to identify direct influences as it can all tend to just blend down into one big vibe after a while. I still can’t get past Blackstar by David Bowie, utterly unbelievable record. Bowie’s bass players have definitely helped me try to look for a sound on bass that resonates emotionally. I’m starting to really love Jaco recently also, the stuff with Weather Report really succeeds in combining light and dark and madness down into a really funk-heavy package, which is a fantastic musical vision IMO. His work with Joni Mitchell is also glorious, totally batshit crazy but deeply resonant and profound.

Jenell: The album, This Is Our Culture, was comprised of only 3, though rather lengthy tracks, 72 minutes in total, which seemed to suggest that you’re taking full advantage of the digital age, and the amount of material that can be placed onto one disc. And with that in mind, are you foregoing the idea of vinyl? Because I for one was standing in front of my turntable shaking my head with the digital download in hand.

Tyrell: It just doesn’t bloody fit onto vinyl. (laughing) We could split the tracks and fade in and out but you’d lose the vibe when you changed sides. We’re gonna get CDs though. We didn’t really think it was going to become a thing at the time we uploaded it but it’s become a pretty big thing very fast. Vinyl is definitely going to happen with future releases if we do anything short enough. (laughing)

Guy: That thing about the digital age is cool though, I suppose people in the past had to be aware that if they were going to get their music out it had to be a certain length. These jams naturally come to their own ends, it’s like a trip, you can’t just stop, the end is the end.

Dale: We would definitely love to do vinyl but it is just a logistical thing, our songs won’t really fit. If someone can hook us up with some 36” record pressing facilities I’m sure we’d be over the moon.

Jenell: What’s your recording/writing process like? I ask this, because your music is so expansive that I find myself wondering if you began with a notion, and that you actually construct around that notion, leaving it to hang like a gem in the middle of your wanderlust.

Tyrell: The mad thing is though, literally most times, especially gigs, it’s just come from someone tuning up or something and then we just keep going. Like it literally does just go out of my head that we’re actually just making sounds out of the blue … Mad! We wouldn’t actually be us if we tried to structure it, it would have a totally different feel.

Guy: We can talk about it easily together because we hear and feel it, but its impossible to explain externally, there are times when feelings replace words when you talk about it. I don’t really think we know whats going on, the journey feels long, so ask us in ten years maybe. 

Dale: When there’s a specific vibe in the room, you can just take that and begin to let it work on it’s own. The way you begin isn’t super important.

Jenell: Do you find yourselves experimenting as you’re playing live?

( About 7 minutes of sarcasm)

Tyrell: I’d say you’ve probably gathered by now what we’re about. The thing about not having any songs or structure is that theres no right or wrong, we’re all free to explore whatever we want. We’ve maybe just got really good at turning wrongs into rights. (laughing) I love the freedom of it all! If you listen to a track called “Drift” on our Soundcloud. That’s probably the most experimental pieces of music I’ve ever been a part of creating! We summoned something that night!

Jenell: A quick few words about effects and pedals for our musician readers. How are you micing and what electronics do you find most helpful for your sound? How do you determine when to use, what to use, and how not to overuse effects?

Tyrell: I guess I should answer this one. (laughing with delight) For me, effects can be a very hit or miss thing. Sometimes you just get the right sound in the right environment without pedals. Sitting looking at my pedals now, it looks like a lot to me but its really all very basic! My pedal chain goes, fuzz, overdrive, wah, octavia, uni-vibe and delay. The most important thing for me is the guitars tone and volume knobs, its all about dynamics, going up and down with the journey. Again, when and what to use is just experimenting and riding the wave at the time, the wah is definitely an easy one to over use though, but it sounds so damn good! 

Dale: Ty is able to get a huge variety of sounds from a guitar, so I’d add to what he’s said that if you’re a guitar player trying to replicate what he does, the most important thing is probably to find those unique sounds in your own gear rather than copy someone else's. Personally, I just use a Sansamp, mostly for the EQ and tonal qualities rather than overdrive, and also use a very very temperamental Moog ring modulator at times, although it rarely comes out when I’m in the flow these days. I use it mainly on my Rhodes piano, which may one day make an appearance on the recordings.

Jenell: In the past, as now, there are those who’ve attempted to capture the etherial delights of substances through their music, some managing this much better than others. So I’ll politely ask if medications have influenced what you’re laying down?

Tyrell: I definitely wouldn’t say that medications have created our sound as such, but I guess sometimes it helps us explore our minds a bit more than normal. Although to be fair, we’ve had some class jams with nothing involved at all, the playing in itself is almost a drug, I’ve come out of jams feeling very very high on the vibes, just lost for 20 minutes in a musical trance! 

Guy: I’ve been medicating regularly for the last four years, Just existing is the real high though. The reason I’m in Belfast is because I’ve just finished a Masters degree in Astrophysics, Physics is how I know Dale actually. That degree involved a lot of mindsploring and scaping. I can’t say for the other two, although I’m sure this applies, if I find something I love I bring that into myself. Life's width is more important than its length, we have an opportunity to be beautiful, stay centered, explore internally as much if not more than externally and always keep learning. Life is a trip. I could talk for ages about all this, although we were saying about doing a podcast maybe soon, if anyone is interested in the ramblings of a few musician keep an eye out on our Facebook page, it’d be a lot more natural than this.

Dale: The real trip is the trip of existence, as Guy says. Chemicals are a sub-set of that, and psychedelics can be useful for exploring that. They’re by no means essential however, a clear and finely tuned sober mind is a very powerful thing. 

Jenell: How would you describe your core listeners?

Tyrell: Impossible to describe I guess, everyone has their own peculiarities, that’s what makes us all unique. Like, out of the 70 odd thousand people that have listened to our album on youtube, I probably only know or have met about 10 people. (laughing)

Guy: Yeh, don’t know really. If they feel what we feel then peace dudes, I hope your ready for the journey of all journeys.

Dale: It’s mysterious, we know very few of them. Time will tell.

Jenell: You just got back from Spain, how did that tour go?

Tyrell: Yeah that wasn’t actually a tour, it was just a very very long week in the sun having the craic haha! Lots of mountains and lizards!

Guy: People reading this are going to think Craic is something else.

Tyrell: (laughing at an inside joke) Yeah, craic and crack are two very, very different things!

Dale: It was great, a real trip.

Jenell: I understand that you’re coming to America for a short time [and perhaps have been there by the time most people read this], why such a short visit?

Tyrell: What?? Is this actually a thing? (laughing) I don’t actually know where that came from, but ya know, I’d be pretty happy if it were true. Lets make it happen! All help welcome!!

Guy: No idea why this is a thing but we’d all go anywhere, pretty much whenever, its just funding ATM. 

Jenell: I know of only a handful of musicians who are totally happy with their equipment … with your wishes granted, what would you like to be holding in your hands?

Tyrell: I’d actually, at long last say that I’m very content with the gear I’m using now, picked up an old 60’s Fender Amp a while back and I literally couldn’t ask for anything better. Buying guitars and amps has always been a very addictive for me, but now, I’ve got three main guitars I play and even thats too much at times but they all have different sounds stored away so they all tell a different story. Actually, I’d love an old Gibson Firebird III, the one with the three P90’s, played one in Melbourne last year and it sounded so nice, should have bought it!

Guy: I’ve only just got my own kit sent over from England there, until now I’ve just been using rehearsal room kits, But Id probably get a couple more crashes, maybe a big sheet of metal, a gong actually anything that creates a sound that I could incorporate, I’ve got a bit of an old washing machine on the kit atm.

Dale: Probably a couple of vintage SVTs, turned down low as hell to avoid any earthquake damage to our space. A nice P-bass would be good. I have simple tastes.

Jenell: And with that in mind, are there any instruments you might want to incorporate in the future?

Tyrell: It would be absolutely class to get a jam with a saxophone player!! Would love some dirty Hammond organ too, Dale you can just play bass and keys sure?

Guy: Big up Joe Armstrong, you mad bastard, had a crazy gig where we’d started playing and I heard this, “GUY, GUY, I LOVE YOU!, GUY!!!” and I turn to my side and there he is beside the stage chatting away to me, he jumped on stage and starting jamming with his flute, Complete and utter randomness is definitely embraced.

Dale: As Ty says, we’re incorporating a bit of Rhodes piano atm in the jams, it’s a really fucked up unit which I had to rewind all the pickups on myself, so it sounds crazy, very Lo-Fi.

Jenell: I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on the album artwork … who was responsible for that? It’s one of the most brilliant timeless pieces I’ve seen in years.

Tyrell: Yeah the artwork literally couldn’t have been any better in my eyes, blew my mind when I first seen it! What is the guy called again Dale?

Dale: Alfi Andy - He did the artwork for my other band, Elder Druid. He’s unbelievably good and seems to intuitively know exactly what to do.

Jenell: Along those lines, would you please explain the band’s name, Electric Octopus?

Tyrell: (laughing) Once again its another one of those “it just came to us” kinda things. Couldn’t imagine being called anything else now. 

Guy: We were sat in a pub in Camden, London, and Hannah, big up, was chatting to us about doing a charity gig. She needed a name, until then we were called ‘The Blackstaff Rhythm Ensemble’. We brainstormed, sent the loads of random shit, and she like electric octopus, as did we. 

Jenell: Any sense of direction for you next venture? Any thoughts about lyrics or singing?

Tyrell: Its all just a big adventure, sometimes you take time to explore things more closely and other times you just skim past without really taking it in! The fun for me is not actually knowing where it’s going to go next!

Guy: I’m on the same vibe as Ty there. 

Jenell: Of course I must ask about actual music labels here. Is anyone courting you, or do you find that what you’re doing works well enough, and don’t want to be trapped my record management [?] … because it all has it’s pros and cons.

Tyrell: Labels and management seem to be becoming a thing of the past, like the internet makes it so much easier for bands and artist to do things more independently! For us to work with any sort of label or management, they would have to have the same sorta vibe as us for it to work. We don’t really want to be pigeon holed into any specific genre or whatever, people will always try and do that, maybe it’s the norm but we’re definitely not in the normal category haha As long as making music and playing live remains the main thing then i’m happy. 

Guy: Yeah playing is the main thing really. I don’t think any of us are greedy, letting it evolve naturally has been insane, and has taught me not to rush these things, life is art, I’d like that to resonate through anything we do. If anyone was to come in, they’d have to be resonating with all of us. 

Dale: We’re going along pretty solidly without a manager or label atm, we have a nice mind path that we’re going down.

Jenell: Anything I’ve missed, or anything you want to say?

Tyrell: Actually those were some pretty good questions, it’s weird having to try and give answers to it all haha I guess I’d just say thanks to everyone who has supported us so far, it’s a good feeling knowing that other people seem to be enjoying the ride as much as we are!

Guy: Truth.

Dale: Yup.

Jenell: I sincerely want to thank you for your time, and must say, Electric Octopus is one band I’m waiting to see live, so come to New Mexico [USA], we have a great psych scene going here.

Tyrell: Cheers for spending some time with us, I hope we didn’t fry your brain too much.

Guy: Peace to all the people growing trees. 

Dale: Thank you for reading.

At this point I’ll post links to your Facebook and BandCamp page.

Review of This Is Our Culture: here!

- Jenell Kesler
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It's Psychedelic Baby presents: Elephant Stone - Ship of Fools stream/premiere

Enjoy forthcoming album by Elephant Stone. Here's a special stream of their Ship of Fools.

Canadian band Elephant Stone will release their new full length on September 16th through their own label Elephants On Parade / Believe. The physical release will be out on November 25th via Burger Records. 

Evolution, change, artistic growth, exploration – these words are associated with all great rock and roll bands, but they’re quickly becoming synonymous with Elephant Stone, the Montreal trio led by singer/bassist/songwriter/sitar player, Rishi Dhir. With Ship of Fools (their 4th full-length LP), Dhir and his bandmates – Miles Dupire (drummer/backing vox) and Gabriel Lambert (geetar/backing vox) – have solidified Elephant Stone’s place among the greats as innovators who are unafraid of challenging themselves and their audience. 

As album opener, “Manipulator,” attests, Ship of Fools presents a new Elephant Stone emphasizing catchy grooves and vocal melodies that smack of both infectious pop and dance. But Dhir’s lyrics have lost none of their sophistication: his social commentary makes “Manipulator” music for the head and heart. "I've had this song kicking around for a few years... My earlier demos always sounded too rock... And just when I would give up on the song, my wife would always convince me to keep working on it... The recording software I use has some drums loops... playing around with it one day, I mixed a "motown" beat with a "house" beat and then it all made sense. Lyrically, this song is directed at all those who seek to manipulate and control for their own selfish interest." - says Dhir.

The rest of Ship of Fools follows suit. The creation of its eleven tracks, as Dhir says, allowed him to embrace his true identity as “pop songwriter” whose tunes are custom built for the dance floor. Add the talents of producer Marcus Paquin (Arcade Fire/The National) to the works, and the result is an album chock full of stylistically diverse cuts that could all stand on their own as hit singles.

©  Bowen Stead

Dhir formed the band in 2009 and released their debut The Seven Seas that same year. The selftitled 2nd album Elephant Stone followed in 2013 and in 2014 they released The Three Poisons
Elephant Stone will be coming to Europe for shows in Autumn.
Dates will follow soon.

ENTER GIVEAWAY: 8mm compilation with songs by The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Kadavar, Suns Of Thyme ...

We will be sending a FREE vinyl copy of 8mm compilation LP to give away as a prize. The LP features songs by The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Kadavar, Suns Of Thyme ...
Go to our Facebook fanpage to ENTER and WIN the vinyl copy. All you have to do is LIKE on our Facebook fanpage and we will randomly choose the winner on Monday. 
Also, make sure to check SYNÄSTHESIE Festival, starting tomorrow with Michael Rother, The Warlocks, Tess Parks Band, Dead Rabbits and more. 

Allah-Las - Calico Review (2016) review

Allah-Las - Calico Review (Mexican Summer, 2016)

As with their first two gauzy laced-filtered albums, Calico comes off as a collection of sweet memories that have been sitting in the back of your mind nearly forgotten, with The Allah La’s effortlessly ebbing them into a fuzzy dream state of half remembrance, where they hang just out of reach, causing you to smile with delight and warmth as the music of Calico inspires those memories with nearly physical form.

And again, all of the same comparisons can be made as on their last outings, the lineage to the British invasion of the mid 60’s, and of course surf pop psychedelia.  Though having said that, I would be disingenuous if I didn’t point out that The Allah Las’ music is totally their own, merely fashioned on sounds that went down so well, so long ago, mixed with the brilliant dream pop and relaxing minor chord structures of meandering jangling stoner melodies … all held together by subtle hooks and a fluid sonic presentation of fuzz and tremolo that build an intoxicating atmosphere of ease and grace.

Of course this brings me to the obvious observation, that being the notion that The Allah Las have yet to progress their music from one presentation to another.  And truth be told, it’s a valid point to consider, though I’d like to suggest that The Allah Las have progressed, though not in a manner that rattles your bones, or spins you around.  It’s more that their music is a series of footprints in the sand we’re following down the beach, where waves have washed some away, while morphing others, yet the trail is still there to be followed if one has the wayward spirit to allow themselves to get lost in the sound of the surf and warmed by the sun … with all of this set to the soundtrack laid down by The Allah Las here on Calico.

- Jenell Kesler
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It's Psychedelic Baby presents: The Re-Stoned - Return premiere

Ilya Lipkin, the Grandmaster of Moscow psychedelic fuzz orchestra, and his associates made an attempt to rethink the legacy of the primal days of the band. This LP contains their very first EP 'Return To The Reptiles', but with one track remixed, two re-recorded and two more remastered. Also included are four acoustic pieces and psychedelic soundscapes which were composed and recorded during the period.

Ilya Lipkin - guitars, bass
Ivan Fedotov - drums
Mixed by Ilya Lipkin, Mastered by Janne Stark and Ilya Lipkin. Released on the album "Reptiles Return" /Clostridium Records - CR 022/ Rushus records - RR 03 / 2016

SenjiNiban / The Moth Poets - Live At The River Lounge review

SenjiNiban / The Moth Poets - Live At The River Lounge (Bearsuit Records, 2016)

For starters, the title of this split release is a pun [hint: note the dead crab on the cover]. There aren’t any live tracks here, so you don’t have to wonder if the lack of an audience response begs the question as to whether they were too stunned (or stoned) to work up a “Huzzah!” or two! Niban (KoichiroShigeno to his mum and dad) delivers an aggressive-yet-playful set of electronic beats that sound like there’s a video game playing inside your head. Catchy synths and repetitive riffs will draw listeners to the dancefloor to groove to tracks like ‘Klanpki’, while ‘Atomic Blues’ sounds like Frampton coming alive again through his vocoder. A few loungey cha-chas chase bubbles around the room in the Eastern-flavoured ‘Flowers 2’ and audio experimenters will ponder the ‘Sunnyside Remix’ as it seeks extra-terrestrial life in the nooks and crannies of laptop rock.
     The Moth Poets are the Edinburgh duo of Yo-yo Nielson and Ariel Patterson, the former being half of the Whizz Kid that impressed us a few years back with There’s Conjuring To Be Done. The tracks on tap here are more experimental and ambient than Niban’s, almost feeling like they should each come with their own film to watch while you listen. Titles like ‘The Dazzle Ships’, ‘Ham’s Descent’, and ‘Sniper Alley’ reinforce the cinematic vibe. Fans of DeWolfe and associated library music releases will love it, as will collectors of experimental electronica, wordless vocals (‘Vanda;’), and The Conet Project (‘Right Road, Wrong Path’).

- Jeff Penczak
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1960s & 1970s Psychedelia in Czechoslovakia – Chronological Review

Modrý Efekt (Blue Effect) were one of the most important bands from Czechoslovakia.

The band Olympic was established in Prague in 1962 as a group, or exactly rock´n´roll orchestra of many musicians and vocalists and their personnel had been changed often. They began to play a rock´n´roll repertoire of American and British singers and bands as Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly or Brenda Lee and bands like The Shadows or The Ventures.
In 1965, Olympic under the influence of British Invasion changed their personnel into five-men band – Petr Janda- lead guitar, vocals, Ladislav Klein - guitar, vocals, Pavel Chrastina- bass guitar, vocals, Miroslav Berka - piano, organ, harpsichord, Jan Antonín Pacák- drums, percussion. Olympic played cover versions of British bands, but they began to compose their own songs, as well. The first famous song of this era was “Dej mi vícsvélásky” (Gimme More of your Love).

In 1968 they´ve recorded their first LP record – “Želva” (The Turtle), which was actually the first rock LP record published in Czechoslovakia. The album “Želva”contained 12 songs which were strongly influenced by waves of mersey-sound, garage and psychedelic rock, as well. The most psychedelic song of this album was “Psychiatrický prášek”(The Psychiatric Pill) which lasts over 6 minutes.

In 1969 the band recorded their second LP record – “PtákRosomák” (The Wolverine Bird) which was absolutely psychedelic. Bewitching mood, surrealistic lyrics, experiments with guitar feedback, dreamy ballads and mind-bending fuzzy guitar solos – that´s the characteristic of Olympic´s album “Pták Rosomák.”
After Soviet Invasion in August 1968 the political condition in Czechoslovakia had begun to change. In 1970 began political normalisation and rock´n´roll became nearly illegal. From the year 1971 Olympic played mainstream bubble-gum songs or songs tributary to Communist party propaganda.

The band was established in 1966 in Prague. After some changes, the personnel was stabled to – František Francl- lead guitar, Pavel Fořt- bass guitar, Jiří Čížek- Ionica organ, Karel Kahovec- guitar, lead vocals, Petr Novák- vocals, Přemysl Černý- drums. In 1967 joined the band one of the best drummers in Czechoslovakia – Jaroslav “Erno” Šedivý and Přemysl Černý became a manager of Flamengo.
In 1967 the band released plenty of singles with beautiful songs strongly influenced by British Invasion and the beginnings of psychedelic era, which was reflected by fuzzy guitar solos, electric Ionica organ sounds. The very poetical lyrics were written by Ivo Plicka, friend of singer Petr Novák. The best songs of this band´s period were “Paní v černém” (Lady in Black), “Poprava blond holky” (The Execution of Blonde Girl), “Náhrobní kámen” (The Tombstone) or “Svou lásku jsem rozdal” (I Gave All My Love Away).

During the year 1967 Petr Novák left the band with Jiří Čížek and re-established his first group George & Beatovens. In 1968, Flamengo slightly change their repertoire and began to play blues and soul cover versions of songs such as “Land Of 1000 Dances”, “I Got You”, “Hold On I´m Coming”, “In The Midnight Hour”, “Knock On Wood”, “Get Off Of My Life Woman”.

In 1969 the sound of band is getting harder, Karel Kahovec left the band. The new man in the band was Ivan Khunt- lead vocals, Vox organ. In short time, but for short time, as well, joined the band English singer Joan Duggan. Flamengo get an engagement in West Germany where they played for US Army units. Their repertoire consisted of blues-rock and soul songs of Janis Joplin, Canned Heat, Jethro Tull, John Mayall or Screamin´ Jay Hawkins. When Flamengo came back to Czechoslovakia Joan Duggan and František Francl left the band. Pavel Fořt became a lead guitarist. The new members, who joined the band were Vladimír Mišík- vocals, conga, Jan Kubík - tenor saxophone, flute, Vladimír “Guma” Kulhánek - bass guitar. Ivan Khunt replaced his Vox organ by original Hammond. In this line-up, Flamengo recorded their only album, a progressive rock fusion, “Kuře v hodinkách” (Chicken on watch), which is rated as one of the best albums of Czechoslovak music. Nowadays, the original issue of this album is very rare collector´s item. After publishing this album, in 1972, the band has broken-up. 

George & Beatovens
When Petr Novák left Flamengo in 1967, he re-established his first band George & Beatovens, which started in 1964. The new personnel of the band was Petr Novák- vocals, guitar, Zdeněk Juračka-lead guitar, Jiří Čížek - bass guitar, Miroslav Helcl - organ, Jiří Jirásek - drums. The band was known for their tender poetical pop-rock ballads and lyrics of Ivo Plicka. Fuzzy guitars and organ solos brought some psychedelic nuances to the band´s music. In this line-up Georges & Beatovens had successfully performed at The 1st Czechoslovakian Beat Festival in 1967.
After the festival the band recorded their first 7” EP record with famous song “Klaunova Zpověď” (The Clown´s Confession) which was followed by several singles such as “Pokoj č. 26” (The Room No. 26) or “Lež Bláznivého Básníka” (The Lie of a Foolish Poet).
In the end of 1968 the band changed its personnel – Jan “Farmer” Obermayer (ex-The Matadors) – organ, piano, saxophone and Miroslav Dudáček – lead guitar, joined the band. The song “Den štěstí” (The Day of Happiness) was published as a reaction on Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia and protest self-sacrifice of student Jan Palach, who burnt himself to death in Vencel´s Square, in Prague on January 1969.

George & Beatovens´ first album, “Kolotoč Svět” (World, the Carrousel) was published in 1970. After the releasing, the band ended their career.  Petr Novák was prohibited to perform for two years, because of political communist censorship. 

The Matadors
The Matadors band was established in 1965 in Prague. The personnel was Radim Hladík - lead guitar, Karel Kahovec - vocals, guitar, Vladimír Mišík - vocals, Jan “Farmer”Obermayer - piano, Matador organ, Otto Bezloja - bass guitar and Tony Black - drums. In short time, Karel Kahovec and Vladimír Mišík were replaced by vocalist Viktor Sodoma. The name of the band was deduced from the name of the East German electric organ called Matador. The Matadors had used the equipment of best quality in Czechoslovakia, by West German´s company Dynacord.

The Matadors have recorded two SPs, two EPs and one LP album “The Matadors”. The Matadors were strongly influenced by British blues and rhythm & blues music and they played, except their own songs, cover versions of bands Them, The Animals, The Who, Small Faces or Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich. From their beginnings they sounded and looked very progressive with strong psychedelic influence. Radim Hladík was one of the best guitarists in Czechoslovakia, who was characterised as a “Jimi Hendrix from Prague”. He was experimenting with guitar feedback, fuzz boxes and he was first guitarist who was using wah-wah pedal in our country.

During the years 1966 and 1967 The Matadors performed double concerts with Swiss band Les Sauterelles. The tour had begun in Czechoslovakia and then continued in Belgium and Switzerland.
In 1968, The Matadors recorded their first, but the only one LP record, named “The Matadors”. After the publishing of the album the band had broken-up because of engagement of some band´s members in musical “Hair” in West Germany.

The Blue Effect
After the breaking-up The Matadors, guitarist Radim Hladík established a new band with Vladimír Mišík - vocals, recorder, conga, Miloš Svoboda - guitar, Jiří Kozel - bass guitar, Vladimír Čech - drums. The main influences for the band were the bands as Ten Years After, John Mayall or Traffic. The band was using some exotic instruments as sitar, congaor recorder.  In 1968 they won the Grand Prix of The 2nd Czechoslovakian Beat Festival in Prague with song “Sluneční Hrob” (The Sunny Grave). After the festival Miloš Svoboda left the band.
The Blue Effect, 1969, had recorded one 7” single with songs “Sluneční hrob”(Sunny Grave) and “I´ve Got My Mojo Working”and one 7” EP record of compositions “Snakes”, “Sun Is So Bright”, “Blue Taxi” and “Senne ní věčný” (The Dream´s not Eternal). In 1970 was published their first LP “Meditace”(The Meditation).

In 1971 the band changed their personnel and musical orientation, as well – The Blue Effect began to play more progressive music, they had experimented with jazz orchestra, or free jazz group, Jazz Q Prague. In 1970 was released album “Coniunctio” which was collaboration of The Blue Effect and Jazz Q Prague. The album “Coniunctio” is fusion of instrumental progressive/art rock, psychedelia and free jazz improvisation.  

During the 1970s the band released several progressive rock albums such as “Nová Syntéza I”, “Nová Syntéza II” (New Synthesis I, II), “The Benefit of Radim Hladík” or “Svitanie” (The Dawn).

The Colour Images
The Colour Images was a short “living” band founded in Prague in 1968. The band´s leader was vocalist Pavel Sedláček and the other members were persons of Prague rock scene such as František “Fáfa” Mašek or bass guitarist Jiří Kozel, who was a co-founder of The Blue Effect. The Colour Images recorded only few SP recordings with some cover versions as The Move´s “Flowers in the Rain” or Vanilla Fudge´s “You Keep Me Hangin´ On”.

The Yearning Lorry
This band began their musical career in Czech town Jablonec nad Nisou in 1968. The base members were – Tony Vacek - oboe, lead vocal, Karel “Charlie Pope” Papež - organ, Ladislav Špitzer - guitar, Jaroslav Sobotík - bass guitar, Zdeněk “Sally” Miller - drums. The big inspiration for this band was American groups such as Vanilla Fudge or Iron Butterfly. Most famous was their live performance of Vanilla Fudge´s cover version of The Beatles´ composition “Eleanor Rigby”.
In 1969, The Yearning Lorry moved to Prague and Jaroslav Sobotík with Zdeněk“Sally” Miller left the band. Instead of them joined the band Jaroslav Pešl – bass guitar and Ludvík Šíma – drums, the former members of The Primitives Group.
The big pity is that the only one record of their music hasn´t been saved. In 1971 the band ended. Tony Vacek continued, for short time, in Prague band Perpetuum Mobile, which repertoire was based on compositions of groups Captain Beyond (Mesmerization Eclipse) or Beggars Opera (The Witch).

The band was established in mid-sixties in Moravian town Brno. The personnel was Petr Ulrych and his sister Hana - vocals, Stan Regal - guitar, Jaroslav Vraštil - piano, Farfisa organ, Ivo Křižan - bass guitar, Vladimír Grunt - drums. Between the years 1967 -1969 the band published plenty of singles. Their music was influenced by Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, baroque pop, soul and Moravian traditional music. Their first LP recording – “Odyssea” (The Odyssey) was a conceptual album recorded in collaboration with Gustav Brom´s Orchestra. However, the album was recorded in 1969, it was published even in 1990, after The Velvet Revolution, because of communist censorship intervention.

In 1970 the band released the album “13HP”, which is fusion of psychedelia and folk-rock and reminds me on music by American band Sagittarius. 

The Progress Organization
The Progress Organization was band of short existence from Brno. Its personnel was – Pavel Váně - lead guitar, Spanish guitar, organ, piano, harpsichord, vocals, Jan Sochor - piano, organ, guitar, vocals, Emanuel Sideridis - bass guitar, vocals, Zdeněk Kluka - drums, percussions, vocal. The Progress Organization were strongly influenced by Vanilla Fudge.

In 1970 the band published their first 7” EP record with songs “Klíč k poznání” (The key of Congnition), “Snow in My Shoes” and “Fortune Teller”. Their first LP “Barnodaj”was published in 1971. The A-side is in Czech, the B-side is in English. “Barnodaj” consists of their own compositions and two cover-versions – The Beatles´ “We Can Work It Out” and Cream´s “I Feel Free” in like-Vanilla Fudge arrangements. After the publishing of “Barnodaj” The Progress Organization had ended. 

This Slovakian band started in 1963 in Bratislava as The Jets (which is English translation of the word Prúdy). Their first line-up was Pavol Hammel - vocals, guitar, Vlado Kassay - bass guitar, Peter Saller - lead guitar, František Machats - drums.  The band played, as many other bands, in those times, cover versions of instrumental surf-rock songs by The Shadows, The Spotnicks or The Venutures.
In the mid-sixties Pavol Hammel became a big fan of song-writers like Bob Dylan or Donovan. The most famous era of the band was between the years 1967-1969. In 1967, joined the band pianist, and later Hammond organ player Marián Varga who brought to the band influences of classical music (his favourite composers were, Bartók, Shostakovich or Stravinski). The band´s personnel changed into – Marián Varga - piano, Hammond organ, harpsichord, Pavol Hammel – lead vocal, acoustic guitar, harmonica, Peter Saller - lead guitar, backing vocals, Fedor Frešo - bass guitar, backing vocals and Vlado Mallý - drums, oboe, backing vocals.

Their first album, “Zvonky, Zvoňte” (Ring out, bells!) was published in 1969. The album is full of uncommon music which was a fusion of folk-rock, baroque pop, classical music and Slovak traditional melodicism in gentle psychedelic mood with slovak lyrics. Marián Varga was very resourceful composer and he was using some unconventional instruments as a harpsichord, celeste or church organ. On album “Zvonky, Zvoňte” we can hear a string quartet or oboe.

The second album, “Pokoj Vám” (Peace to You) was recorded as outspoken reaction to Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia in august 1968. The publishing of album was stopped by communist censorship and the album was published even in 1999.

In 1970 the band changed the personnel – Pavol Hammel- lead vocals, acoustic guitar, František Griglák - lead guitar, organ, piano, Alexander Filo- bass guitar, Anton Kuruc - drums. This line-up has recorded folk-rock and psychedelic album “Pavol Hammel & Prúdy”. In those times, the sound of band became more stoned & harder, because of the guitar of František Griglák, but folk influences have still lingered. In their live performances Prúdy played long and stoned cover version of Donovan´s Season of the Witch.

Collegium Musicum
In 1969, when Hammond organ player Marián Varga left Prúdy, he had established the new band with drummer Dušan Hájek. In a short time, joined the band bass guitarist Fedor Letňan, who was, in a while, replaced by Fedor Frešo (ex-Prúdy) and Letňan started to play the guitar. The main influence for the band was fusion of classical music with rock. The big impact for the new band was Keith Emerson and The Nice, who performed in Prague at The 2nd Czechoslovakian Beat Festival, as well.

In 1970 Collegium Musicum released their first 7” EP with compositions “Hommage á J. S. Bach” and “Ulica plná plášťov do dažďa” (The Street Full of Raincoats). For this recording joined the band guitarist PavelVáně (ex-The Progress Organization). The next year joined the band guitarist Rastislav Vacho and the band recorded their first LP record “Collegium Musicum”. The album contains 2 own compositions and one transcription of Joseph Haydn´s “Concerto in D”. “Collegium Musicum” album is full of progressive sounds, classical music tendencies and long instrumental parts with psychedelic nuances.

On the autumn of 1971 the band´s line up changed to Marián Varga - piano, Hammond organ, František Griglák (ex-Prúdy) - lead guitar, Fedor Frešo - bass guitar, Dušan Hájek – drums. The personnel recorded double album ”Konvergencie” (The Convergences) which was published in the end of the year 1971. The album was recorded at Experimental studios of Czechoslovakian broadcast. This studio was usually used for recordings of contemporary electronic music and it was in that time the only recording studio with stereo equipment in Bratislava. Thanks to this studio, the album sounds really progressive and experimental, the studio offered to use various sound effects – we can hear, for example, phased drums, organ playing through ring modulator or backward-playing tapes. Marián Varga had used the analogue synthesizer “Subharchord” made in East Germany. “Konvergencie” album contains of four circa 20-minute compositions, the most important is “Suita potisíc a jednej noci” (After Thousand and One Night Suite) based on Rimski-Korsakov´s ballet and Marián Varga´s composition “Eufónia” (Euphony) which is sound experiment with Hammond organ, electronic modified piano, tapes and other studio equipment. 

In 1972 František Griglák left the band and Rastislav Vacho came back, for short time. In this period Collegium Musicum in collaboration with Pavol Hammel (of Prúdy) recorded psychedelic album “Zelená pošta” (The Green Post). The album is full of bewitching songs, dreamy lyrics and still present influences of classical music. The guest on that album was guitarist Radim Hladík of The Blue Effect.

During the 1970s Collegium Musicum has published several progressive rock albums and in 1981 had broken-up. The band was reunited for one tour in 2009.

Read our article Psychedelic sound & Underground movement in Czechoslovakia in 1960s & 1970s here.

- Peter Markovski
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