July 3, 2013


There is an unspoken affinity between
Psychedelia and the cosmos. It really goes without saying at all that the
concept of infinity will forever ensare the imaginations of mankind. I have
found that the blueprints for Psychedelia and all that it encompasses (Rock
& Roll, Jazz, Blues, Folk, and World music) are tailored better than any
many other art forms to ignite our imaginations and tackle this pandora’s box
of ideas.
It’s a spectrum of art-as-life I have a
special fondness for. Tucked forever into my mind are memories of listening to
Psychedelic artists while nestled beneath a blanket of stars within the haze of
a bottle of wine and a few tokes of grass. The symphonic grandeur of these
songs brought this starscape within arm’s reach, as if I could poke my finger
into the Milky Way, pull the stars along and forever alter the sky.
It brings a sense of comfort and delight in
the face of such infinite perfection, observing from our humble blue nest in
the universe. What really matters in light of all this? On the other hand, it
can also instill a sense of abject terror being faced with such daunting
uncertainty. Roky Erickson, the famed brain behind the 13th Floor Elevators,
was the man to coin the term “Psychedelia.” His band is considered
the first, but numerous others were experimenting with sound and their own
personal ideas that reached far beyond their own fame and glamour. Alas, with
everything that must come and go, Roky succumbed to madness that was only
tempered with a cocktail of medications. The drugs and his ambitious mind
couldn’t find a cohesion and it all lead to the complete destruction of a human
I choose to bask in the delight of the great
beyond without intimidation. After all, who can say what is right or wrong when
we haven’t a clue as to what mysterious forces lie beyond our solar system or
galaxy for that matter. It’s with this wonderment that I embrace Psychedelia
and all the likeminded musicians who wish to delight our imaginations. There
are more than can be imagined, working behind the padded studio walls to blow
our minds, but there are a couple that have caught my undivided attention.
One bears an obvious fascination with the
infinite. It is immediately detected in the first act of their space opus, Echo
Forever. They ignite visions of fiery nebulas and the vast, dreadful
nothingness of space, all while keeping us ensnared with a complex symphonic
splendour. This is Radar Men From the Moon; their name being an homage to a
Sci-Fi cult classic. Larger than life guitar riffage plays circles around
brooding samples of Sci-Fi films scattered throughout. Each track builds with
intensity―layer upon layer of epic compositional movement and sound until the
hairs on the back of your neck are standing on end with unbearable tension. We
truly get a sense for the madness behind space, as well as the mysterious and
spectacular beauty tucked away in the furthest corners of the universe.

While I do choose to approach Psychedelia from
a more enlightened perspective, the demented aspect of it is absolutely
fascinating to me as well. I long to pick the brains of some of the more rabid
musicians in the field. Imagine yourself as Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The
Cuckoo’s Nest and you’ve convinced every lunatic in the ward to hide their
medication under their tongue when Nurse Ratchet starts making her rounds.
Within a week, the magnanimous insanity overcoming each unique patient in a
crowded room of equally insane patients will be a great example of the chaotic
forces I find so fascinating in the more maddening psychedelic bands.
Essentially a playground of children engaging in every chaotic act you can
Radar Men From the Moon find a steady footing
on the threshold of insanity while capable of bringing it all back home again.
That is what keeps me so captivated by their ability―decisive madness. Much
more interesting than a whammy-bar infused twenty minute guitar solo that takes
you nowhere but down a long corridor of boredom and distracted thoughts.
Another group, quite a stretch more
industrious in releasing work than Radar Men is also painting the cosmos with
their own unique brand of sonic color, only their music covers quite a bit more
ground. It wades in spiritual and socio-political themes with both tempered
discipline and ill-tempered ferocity. Their compositions can switch from a
whisper to peeling the paint from the walls in a matter of seconds. You’ll
wonder if they’ve tapped into the spirit of Timothy Leary one moment, then
they’ll peel your eyelids back with explosions of guitar and melt away every
trace of spiritual oneness you thought you’d attained without a second’s
hesitance. This is White Hills, another favorite of mine as of late. Dave W. of
White Hills gave some insight into his muse:
I find organized religion to be a sham. It’s
just another social structure to obtain wealth and control masses. So many
problems arise in the name of a “God”. I believe in the universe. It
gave birth to this planet we inhabit and life itself. Just as we are a living
organism, so is the earth and the greater universe. Without it we are nothing.
It’s fascinating to me the things that humans do to control every aspect of
life. Some seek solace and inner peace in believing there is a God. I don’t
have a problem with that. As for me, I find solace in knowing I’m a very small
part of this greater organism.

I don’t think you need be religious in order
to be spiritual. Everyone has a doorway to spirituality, music…art in
general, for that matter…has been the key to open that door for me. I’m just
one more person in a long lineage that is passing on the key to open that door
to others. I stake no claim to it. The key is there for anyone who seeks it.
What my music does for others is subjective.
I’m not here to dictate what it should mean to someone else. I create for
myself first and foremost. Creating is what makes me feel connected and
grounded to the universe.
Art is the key to our spirituality. Since the
dawn of man it has been so with paintings and writings, as well as music; I
think this key will fit into most of mankind’s collective lock and help to give
us all a more tangible connection to the universe. White Hills are simply
bringing us their concept of what is out there. They are so industrious and
diverse that you truly never know what you will get with each consecutive
release. It’s Hawkwind for the new millennium! With most tracks they start with
a seed. It’s given water and time to develop. The budding is sometimes, brief,
sometimes a gradual budding, but you can be damn well sure it will be worth
your time and attention. Even if the payoff may amount to a melody that took
ten minutes to manifest. Some of their albums will consist of a multitude of tracks
which serve to do nothing but seamlessly build up toward one or two primary
climaxes, much like a broken down “Echoes” on Pink Floyd’s Meddle
album. They are ambitious and absolutely unpredictable―you could even say
they’re out for blood, or our unwavering allegiance.
It’s with these types of bands that I think
humanity can receive a wake up call and realize the potential at our
fingertips. I’m not saying that music will single handedly save the world from
itself, but it is the window to our soul and it can plant a seed in our minds
for greater aspirations if we’re open to it. There is so much to this life
beyond partying, scraping, begging, living paycheck-to-paycheck and writhing in
self pity. Don’t take my word for it, do your own homework! You may realize a
lot of things in this world weren’t worth the hours of dread you’ve spent and
will never regain. What gives me the right to spout philosophical, you ask?
Maybe it’s the Marcus Aurelius I’ve been reading lately, but it’s nothing that
you’d be concerned about. I’ve been through a lot of muck and mire in my short
28 years of life. Music is where I’ve found solace that no amount of money can
compensate for. These two bands in particular have taken me places I can’t even
write about, for there are no words to describe it properly. I’ve seen what
lies beyond this mortal coil in my mind’s eye thanks to Psychedelia of all
walks. I’ve seen a world without agony, where instead of fighting ourselves we
embrace one another and look up, into the stars and fight for understanding!
Article made by Hunter Gatherer/2013
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