An Electric Storm is justly renowned among techno boffins as one of the first albums to fuse pop and electronic music before the advent of the Moog synthesizer. But you don't have to be versed in the language of sine waves and oscillators to enjoy this mostly delightful and hugely inventive album. For although the White Noise were almost exclusively composed of virtuoso knob twiddlers and tape splicers moonlighting from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, luckily they were no slouches when it came to penning a decent tune. There's also anarchic humor at play on the manic "Here Come the Fleas," which contains more edits in its two minutes than the whole of Sgt. Pepper's.Yet it's the retro-futurist textures that still grab the ear most. These are sounds that will be familiar to anyone who knows the soundtrack of Forbidden Planet or the early series of Doctor Who, but they had never before been deployed in the service of pop music, nor have they since. And whereas the Moog would supplant all of these primitive, time-consuming techniques of sound generation and manipulation within the year, it also destroyed much of electronic music's spirit of adventure in the process. How could you boldly go where no man had gone before when your sound universe was suddenly overlaid by tram lines and route maps? So although most of the songs that make up the first half of An Electric Storm are pretty much your standard-issue polite British psychedelia (the somewhat embarrassing United States of America-style orgy of "My Game of Loving" aside), the way they're dressed up still sounds innovative decades later. Sometimes songs dissolve into bleeps, whooshes, and gurgles that hurtle between your speakers, but compared to the extended guitar and organ solos that were common currency at the time, they are the very essence of restraint. That said, restraint was put to the sword on the final two tracks, the 12-minute "The Visitations" and the seven-minute "The Black Mass: An Electric Storm in Hell." The former is a decidedly spooky "Leader of the Pack"-style drama with a supernatural twist. The biker, having departed this life, attempts to make one last attempt to cross over and console his grieving beloved, only to fall agonizingly short. If you can suspend your disbelief -- and persuade yourself that the biker's departing spirit doesn't sound like a cappuccino machine -- it's spine-tingling stuff that you won't dare listen to with the lights off. Which is more than can be said for the concluding track, a would-be satanic jam session botched together in a hurry to meet Island's suddenly imposed deadline.
1. "Love Without Sound" – 2:57
2. "My Game Of Loving" – 3:38
3. "Here Come The Fleas" – 2:31
4. "Firebird" – 2:43
5. "Your Hidden Dreams" – 4:25
6. "The Visitations" – 11:45
7. "The Black Mass: An Electric Storm In Hell" – 7:04
Thursday, 19 August 2010
Review from allmusic, forcedexposure.com)
From New York, this short lived band evolved around the namesake guitarist Steve Morgen.
A foreboding bass riff and staccato drumming introduce ‘Welcome To The Void’, and for the next thirty-eight minutes one is hurled headlong into a vortex of dual-guitar overload, lyrically woven with romantic and Victorian imagery residing on a tab of microdot.
There are some cool passages here, like the sudden rush of Jimi Hendrix/the Who-hybrid notes in “Love” as a jungle beat throbs in the background, and the lasciviously fey vocal and sweetly fuzzy guitar sustains in “Of Dreams.” “Eternity in Between” does make it clear Morgen was a big Who fan, with its lifts of the chord sequence from “Underture” and the stuttering distortion of “My Generation”.
- Steve Morgen / vocals, guitar
- Rennie Genossa / bass
- Bob Maiman / drums
- Barry Stock / rhythm guitar
01. Welcome To The Void – 4:47
02. Of Dreams – 5:37
03. Beggin Your Pardon (Miss Joan) – 4:49
04. Eternity In Between – 5:06
05. Purple – 4:11
06. She’s The Nitetime – 3:30
07. Love – 10:53
There's not much to compare this album to, even in the weird musical climate of 1968 -- there are echoes of Country Joe The Fish and the Doors, perhaps, in the mysterioso organ and morbid imagery. Not that Ken Erwin was in the same league as Jim Morrison, or even Country Joe, as a songwriter. But (with the exception of the brassy good-time cut "Underground Music"), psychedelia was very rarely this dementedly gloomy. Occasional pealing bells and curdling screams (to say nothing of the Boschlike cover art) add to the foggy underworld menace. Reissued without authorization in Europe in the 1980s, the 1995 domestic CD is a first-class job: the 12 bonus cuts gather some rare non-LP singles, alternate takes, and previously unreleased songs, and the liner notes feature extensive interviews with Ken Erwin and engineer Steve Longman.
- Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide
1.Trip Thru Hell (Part 1)
5.Sleepy Hollow Lane
6.Smooth as Silk
7.Trip Thru Hell (Part 2)
8.Dr. Of Philosophy
9.Blow to My Soul
10.Ain't No Doubt About It - (previously unreleased)
12.I Put a Spell on You - (previously unreleased)
13.I Shot the King - (previously unreleased)
14.Fortune Teller's Lie - (previously unreleased)
15.Sadie Lavone - (previously unreleased)
16.Bury Me in a Marijuana Field - (previously unreleased)
17.Colorado Mourning - (alternate version)
18.Underground Music - (alternate version)
19.Smooth as Silk - (alternate version)
Friday, 6 August 2010
Little is known about this late-'60s psychedelic group, except that they were dominated by James Cuomo, who wrote all of the material in addition to producing it. From Urbana, IL, they recorded an album's worth of unreleased tracks in 1969 which finally saw the light of day as a very limited edition German LP in 1998. The record is interesting as an early example of a rock band making heavy use of experimental electronics. These augment, and occasionally overwhelm, Cuomo's rather fragile and spooky songs, which are often real songs, despite the overlays of and detours into effects and noise. It's somewhat in the style of the United States of America or Fifty Foot Hose, although it certainly isn't as excellent and innovative as the U.S.A., nor as conversant with the potential of electronic equipment as Fifty Foot Hose. Worth hearing, though, if you're into that vibe, Cuomo sometimes exhibiting a spacier and folkier sensibility than his counterparts did. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide
-You know from the very start you're in for something extraordinary. With its wailing feedback, layers of spaced out effects and weird-as-weird-can-get lyrics, it's easy to describe The Spoils of War as a psych outfit, and in many ways they are. To do so, however, would short change them. Psychedelic is chiefly a phenomenon of the 1960s and this album was recorded in that headiest of eras, but it sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday. We've all got a lot of catching up to do, to keep up with what these guys were doing 40-odd years ago! There are strong jazz and folk influences, as well as gestures to the modal arrangements of the more experimental classical composers. But in truth, there is no adequate way of describing this recording, due to an absence of referents. It really is that original. Perhaps I should just call it Art and leave it at that. I think that'd be doing it an injustice, though, as The Spoils of War are ultimately listenable. No matter how avant garde they get there is always structure and melody. The group were a short-lived entity, only producing one studio album, and it's hard to determine if the extremely high quality is due to brilliant musicianship, intuitive genius or inspired production. All three are present in abundance here. Add to that a cover that is pure sci-fi nightmare kitsch and you've got something special indeed.
-this is truly one of the greatest pieces of music i ever heard! so freaked out and/but on the other hand it all comes together with harmonies and sections, raw recording,(sounding like it was done in a bathroom...) man this is just wonderful..! i really cant say how happy i am after hearing this! it was missing from my collection for a while, i found the lp and now got a mint copy on disc, if you are lookin to expand your head/collection then get this.. or even if you look for the next thing, this will come as a great surprise..
This has not aged at all. super weird and it hits all the right tones. get freaked and get your head laid! if i only ever had to have one piece of music with me then this would be it.. i love to freak y'see!!
this is a personal lp, it will take you there! i thoroughly recommend this piece of genius!
1. Walk In Walk Out
2. First Love Last Love
4. You're The Girl
5. Now Is Made In America
6. Rit Yellow Of The Sun
7. Crimson Uniform/Jena's Score
8. Record Rejects/After The Party/Lonesome Is A Truer Word/End
9. What Happens Now/Now Is Made In America/Henry T. Joseph
10. Void Of Mystery/Greyness Moves In Quietly
11. Susan Never Smiles
12. Ring Magic Telephone Ring
13. Victoria Falls
PART ONE -ENJOY!
PART TWO -ENJOY!
Formed: New York City, NY, United States
- Danny Prosseda, Guitar
- Drew Sbordone, Bass
- Joe Siano, Vocals
- Jesse Luca, Drums, Percussion
- Milan, Rhythm Guitars and Screams
- Geoff Wright, Hammond/Farfisa Organ, Fuzz Bass (on "Heaven Here We Come" and "I Feel Love Comin' On")
- Maxim, Violin Solo (on "Prophecy")
- Larry Coryell, Guest Musician, Guitar Solo (on "I Feel Love Comin' On")
01. Head Shop (Milan/Maxim/R. Craig), 2:56
02. Heaven Here We Come (Milan), 2:40
03. Sunny (Bobby Hebb), 3:11
04. Listen with a Third Ear (Milan/Maxim), 2:30
05. Opera in the Year 4000 (Milan), 4:25
a. Where Have All the People Gone (Milan)
b. Yesterday (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
01. Revolution (John Lennon/Paul McCartney), 2:28
02. I Feel Love Comin' On (Milan), 6:20
03. Prophecy (Maxim/Milan), 2:17
04. Infinity (Milan), 4:45
ALBUM:1(A) THE HEAD SHOP (Epic BN 26476) 1969
NB: (1) has been reissued on CD.
Along with many other one-off major label psych albums such as Gandalf (Capitol Records) and Savage Resurrection (Mercury Records), the sole album by the Head Shop has become a major collector’s item in recent years. As with Gandalf and Savage Resurrection, the attention given to the Head Shop’s album is fully justified by the excellent psychedelic rock music contained therein. The album’s opening cut, “Head Shop”, begins with heavily distorted guitar and an insane scream. This is an appropriate introduction to a heavy, heady barrage of psychedelia. The group’s style is heavy rock, but it is driven by mind-melting fuzztone guitar rather than the more smoothly distorted guitar sound generally featured in heavy rock of the era (see Blue Cheer and Frijid Pink).
Thus, the Head Shop have created a demented fusion of ’69 era heavy psych and ’66 era garage punk. This makes for some very interesting original songs and cover tunes. The group’s version of “Sunny” is, appropriately enough, totally dark and creepy, driven by funeral-style organ work. Likewise, if you thought the Beatles original version of “Revolution” was heavy, wait till you hear the over-the-top fuzztone version by the Head Shop. The originals are perhaps even more interesting, including the aforementioned “Head Shop”, “Heaven Here We Come”, and the killer “Infinity”. Another of their songs, “Opera in the Year 4000” is a bizarre medly of an uncharacteristically “straight” original tune “Where Have All the People Gone” melded with another Beatles song, “Yesterday.” All in all, this is a most excellent and unusual album of heavy psychedelic rock.
Now that the LP has been reissued on CD by Synton Records, this fine album is finally much more widely available than the extremely scarce original 1969 issue. This is definitely a recommended release for psych fans.
~ Reviewer: Kurt Sampsel (December,2001)
Thursday, 5 August 2010
A great little record of hippie freakout almost like some of the weird bits you'd find in the ESP catalog from some of the sub-Fugs rock groups of the time! The songs have a very trippy nature, mixed with a bit of politics ("draft beer, not students") and the album's produced with lots of cool effects that make the guitars go wild, the voices sound spooky, and which introduce some sound snippets and a small bit of electronics! The whole thing's definitely a "Freak Scene" overall the kind of tripped out album that somehow sounds even better today than it did a few decades back.
The album is virtually a second Deep LP and almost identical in style...[net]
1 A Million Grains of Sand
2 "When In Course Of Human Events" (Draft Beer, Not Students) / Interpolation: We Shall Overcome
3 Rose of Smiling Faces
4 Behind the Mind
5 The Subway Ride Thru Inner Space
6 Butterfly Dream
7 My Rainbow Life
8 The Center of My Soul
9 Watered Down Soul
10 Red Roses Will Weep
11 Mind Bender