The Door of Dreams by Mariano Peccinetti
MP3: And When The Sky Was Opened
(Rod Serling Intro)
1. Peter Green – Apostle
2. Psychic Ills – FBI
3. Bardo Pond – Inside
4. Doomsquad – Kalaboogie
5. Rose Windows – Native Dreams
6. Zacht Automaat – We Can’t Help You If We Can’t Find You
7. Z O N E S – Sneaky Mist
8. Merrel Fankhauser & H.M.S. Bounty – A Visit With Ashiya
9. Group 1850- Steel Sings
Few bands possess a cosmic alignment as strong as that of MU, the early ’70s band led by West Coast psychedelic visionary Merrel Fankhauser and Captain Beefheart guitarist Jeff Cotton. Following the relative lack of commercial success with his ’60s projects, the cult-favorite Fapardokly and HMS Bounty, Fankhauser joined with Cotton and a series of players from the Mojave Desert scene and went on to form MU. Taking their name from cloud formations and mythology relating to the lost continent of Lemuria, the group remained true to the psychedelic experience by embarking upon extended “LSD meditations” to compose their songs.
After the release of their debut album in ’71, the members of MU continued to follow their spiritual callings and wound up moving to the Hawaiian island of Maui to explore UFO and extraterrestrial connections. They later purchased a banana and papaya plantation to finance their life on the island, where they continued to write songs and perform at local gigs for years after. When the group finally drifted apart, Fankhauser moved to the jungle where he lived for almost 14 years.
Merrell Fankhauser is performing at the The Hilton Garden Inn Ballroom in Palmdale California on July 17. What a long strange trip it has been, indeed.
Listen to one of the songs composed during MU’s “LSD Mediations” below.
MU “Blue Form” (1971)
Calgary psych-rock voyagers Devonian Gardens have released unto the world a new video set to the title track to their debut album, Solar Shifting. Recorded in the secluded forests of Nova Scotia with analog wizard Jay Crocker, the album first came out in digital form last year on Beyond Beyond is Beyond and is now available on compact disc. Watch the cosmically animated video below.
After playing a series of killer shows in The Great North, Devonian Gardens are now embarking on their first tour of the US (dates). This Sunday, they’ll be playing the Beyond Beyond is Beyond Showcase at Mercury Lounge in NYC featuring Steve Gunn, Prince Rupert’s Drops and Worthless with liquid light projections by Drippy Eye. RSVP for that event here.
Purchase Solar Shifting via BBIB.
We’re honored to welcome Brooklyn’s Amen Dunes to Toronto on June 23. He’ll be passing through in support of his excellent new long-player, Love, out now on Sacred Bones. The evening will also feature performances by Montreal-based Captured Tracks artist Alex Calder along with Wicked Witches and Milk Lines from Toronto.
Tickets available HERE.
“Clearly, Amen Dunes’
New album can result in
- Revolt of the Apes
From the far east of Japan hails Kikagaku Moyo, a bohemian tribe of psychedelic rangers led by cheiftains Go Kurosawa and Tomo Katsurada. During the summer months of 2012, while sequestered among the foothills outside of Tokyo, the band was born out of a series of late-night jam sessions from which it seems they were able to tap into a uniquely cosmic domain of the Mind at Large. Inspired by the music of their forefathers in Acid Mothers Temple, Kikagaku’s trip expands its journey through ambling West Coast psych jams ala The Electronic Hole and Eastern-guided melodies like those of The Incredible String Band. We’re still coming down from their spellbinding performance at this year’s Austin Psych Fest.
Kikagaku Moyo’s sophomore album, Forest of Lost Children, comes out May 20th on Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records.
As a music journalist, I receive a rather large number of press releases and pitches from a countless number of publicists and PR agents. Over the years, I’ve learned to sift through the sheer mass of these releases, preferring only to pursue musics sent by those with both a curated focus and a discerning taste. Some of these folks are constantly at the cutting age of “21st century music,” and falling behind on the bands they are representing means falling behind on what is current and relevant to the most discerning, critical-minded listeners in today’s vast musical world.
If music was to follow the global changes that have taken place over the past 50-odd years, what “should” it sound like today? I sometimes feel like I’m behind the times, simply because I’m still listening to bands that use instruments, and have real people playing them. Walk into these avant-garde venues in the deepest and most subterranean rooms in Brooklyn and, these days, and you’ll typically find one person controlling an array of equipment that is only sold in stores that opened within the past 10-20 years. Stores that are completely foreign to me. Take the guitar store down the street from my apartment, for example. Years back, it was a guitar store and a used guitar store split in two. Now, the used side is gone and it’s been replaced by a “studio” department that sells everything from oscillators to monitors to samplers to stuff where I really don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s a far cry from the four-tracks and basic studio equipment that The Beatles revolutionized on Sgt Peppers, or the drum machines and flangers of the 70s and 80s.
It seems, back in the mid to late ’60s, there existed some idea, predominantly in the southern United States, that Canada was home to a large population of hippies and long-haired bearded folk. I mean, it’s not totally inaccurate, but there was certainly a feeling amongst these southerners that Canada was a hippy haven or perhaps a place for weird folks. Perhaps because of this idea that Texas entrepreneur Colonel Paul Beckingham decided to take his San Antonio group The Hangmen to the metaphorical north and change their name to the Five Canadians. Perhaps it was just a cheap play on the the Five Americans, another band from Texas who had achieved Top 40 success. Either way, these lads were southern to the core.
Never stepping foot in these northerly lands, Beckingham booked the Five Canadians at Abe Epstein’s famous General McMullen studio in Houston to record a series of singles in May of ‘66. None of them ever reached the Top 40, and they certainly didn’t achieve the level of success as their American counterparts. But thanks to the inclusion of “Writing on the Wall” on several influential garage compilations, the song is considered one of the all-time garage punk essentials. Hear that farfisa sing…
Five Canadians ∆ “Writing on the Wall”
Five Canadians ∆ “Never Alone”
A few years back, when I got the idea to first start hosting shows, I reached out to a few of my favourite local bands along with a little-known California psych act by the name of Jeffertitti’s Nile who happened to be making their way through town. Having only heard their seven song EP, Hypnotic River of Sound, I had no idea what their live performance would be like or even how they might look. But when they walked through the front gates of the Church of the Electric Dirt dressed halfway between pranksters and members of Hendrix’s band, it was plain to the eye that these individuals were not of this earthly realm.
Dino Valente (né Chet Powers) is one of those enigmatic types in the footnotes of every third MOJO article dealing with the 60s, and it is plain that he had his fingers in a lot of pies both literally, and figuratively. However, to paraphrase Wayne Kramer’s description of Johnny Thunders in Legs McNeil’s “Please Kill Me,” he “…seemed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.” He wrote “Get Together,” popularized by The Youngbloods and played in every 60s TV/movie flashback scene, but he didn’t make a dime off of it because he sold the rights off to the Kingston Trio’s managers to beat a drug rap; he also had a hand in writing “Hey Joe,” somehow. He was going to be the focal point of Quicksilver Messenger Service, but he went to prison instead. He managed to piss off the CBS brass after signing a lucrative contract by phoning them repeatedly at 4 A.M. and telling them that they didn’t get where he was at.
The main show here, however, is not the man’s life story, but his solo release. His nasal voice, hippie dream poeticisms, and backing jazz instrumentation seems to drop in and out at will. Think Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks meets Tim Buckley’s Happy/Sad with the overtones of a Haight-Asbury hippie dude trying to put the make on a girl, and you’re getting close. Fred Neil is another obvious influence in terms of his 12-string and jazz inflected chording, and it’s no surprise that the both used to play together in Greenwich Village folk scene of the early 60s. Nevertheless, it’s a rewarding listen, especially in the context of the loner folk and DIY-ethic that predominates popular reissues from such labels as Numero Group, whose Wayfaring Strangers: Lonesome Heroes compilation serves as another touchstone.
Since 2008, Richard Gibson and his brother Robert have quietly been operating the underground Toronto-based psych label Optical Sounds. A genuine individual who’s passion for music seeps from his pores, Richard has forged a scene–largely centered around the Kensington Market bar The Embassy–that recalls the prime of the psychedelic heyday.
Home to many of the city’s finest psych and shoegaze bands, Optical Sounds brings together the kind of artists who self release their material, but wave a collective flag and gig constantly around town with one another. A musical collective in its truest sense.
Earlier this week, Optical Sounds released Psych Pop Vol. 2, a compilation featuring songs from artists on the label along with some that are part of its extended family. You can hear the compilation for free via Bandcamp or streaming below. You can also see many of these bands performing live this Saturday night at the compilation release party taking place at The Great Hall.
Richard was kind enough to take a bit of time to chat with us about the label, himself and the new compilation. Read on for the full conversation after the jump.