Friday, August 12, 2011
Hail Voyagers! We return to normal programming here at Trip Inside This House HQ. Or, what passes for normal where all manner of quark and strange are revered, cajoled, and held in high regard. This is our life.
For those paying attention, we feted the album by our respondent for this edition of "10 Questions" a few months ago, May to be exact. I also placed it among my "Top 10 of the First Half of 2011" posted per request at the radio station's Trip Inside This House show page.
It's still holding on to a lofty spot among my personal Best Of's for this year. Like the claw of my boy cat, Rollie Fingers. His seem to grow at twice the rate of the girl's, Vida Blue. It's a sturdy claw. OK, where were we..?
Oh, yes. It's Rachel from MMOSS!Highly capable, as you'll soon read, of pulling back the curtain.
So, let's on with this exercise shall we? It's what you came for:
1. In ten words-or less, define "psychedelic music."
mind-altering, hypnogogic dribble encouraging day dreams via sonic journey
2. What is the most psychedelic instrument? ( why that one?)
the thing about instruments is that is all they are. i mean, sitars rule and an infinity exists in the bending of its string, and a shruti box drones and aligns with the player's breathing tricking her into believing they are one and you can sound a bell and move it all around your head and hear the tone change but what makes an instrument psychedelic has more to do with the spirit and breath moving through it than it's dead body.
3. Favorite psychedelic album of all time?
oh man, this is a hard one. time- "before there was time" ('68) - i don't know too much about these guys other than the singer had really tall leather boots, they were from canada and dug on things like poetry, metaphysics and sonic assault. i bought this record on a whim and it didn't leave my stereo for months and months. half of the record is composed of these baroque folk songs, staring harpsichords and lutes and bells and recorders, but the other half is some of the most raucous, heavy grooves i have ever heard - there are spoken word parts, an e. e. cumming's poem turned into a song, "lily has a rose" and embodies everything i love about psychedelia.
4. What song or album that wouldn't fall into the classic "psych" definition is, nevertheless, psychedelic to you?
'psychedelic music' is about the ability to transform the listener's surroundings and take them into other worlds. i remember when i first heard piper i was like, 'holy shit-mythical beasts, mushrooms, happy animals' and my bedroom seemed more like an incense lounge and i lounged. i bought a lot of compilations, like acid drops and circus days, familiarized myself with records in the psych section at record shops and tried to figure out the string that tied all these different styles of music together. like, what do all these vaudeville songs and hard blues songs and pop songs and funk songs have in common?
the thing about psychedelic music for me is this level of uncertainty, the 'this is going to change at any second' or the overwhelming polyphony of free floating vocals, guitars and any other instrument available. it is either gonna posses you by driving rhythms into your skull, hypnotizing you, or it is going to knock your reference point out and force you to float around with it. with that said, here are some of my fave "non-traditional psych" records:
i listen to this lungfish record, 'feral hymns' more than anything really. it's so heavy and hypnotic and dan higgs preachy singing screaming makes it a total terrifying, religious experience.
nine circles is this minimal new wave band that made some spacy tracks in the early 80s in the netherlands-tunes got released in the mid 90s and the record is self-titled. it gives off such a 'the future is now' vibe that it really relics your surroundings.
5. What is your favorite rock or music movie of all time?
rock n' roll high school. no explanation necessary.
6. Name an album that you associate with a powerful memory every time you hear it.
that challengers record that beatball reissued, think it's self-titled. when i first got my head lost into the whole psychedelic cloud that was rapidly changing my wardrobe and thoughts, i would go record shopping everyday at this great, tiny, basement record store in harvard square, cambridge, MA - twisted village. one of the first 'i know nothing about this record, but what an album cover' records i bought was the challengers-and i don't often listen to it and it isn't really even in my top 20 but there is something about their rendition of 'needles and pins' that gets me so pumped i want to wake up early and stretch and make my bed, have an egg and draw a picture kinda thing.
(Editor's Note: Interesting conversations re: Los Challengers here.)
7. Tell us some of your favorite bands working the psychedelic genre today:
the fedavees are ruling my world right now, they have these perfectly crafted pop songs that seem to be coming from underwater in a rain storm. there is also this band called water moccasins that are a mystery to me, they have a few songs up on bandcamp and i want more, can you tell me more?
-valis: New Hampshire band, and solo project of Aaron Neveu, formerly of The CQ.......(more here.)
8. What album would you most like to cover, beginning to end, even if you were the only one(s) who ever heard the recordings?
the entire everly brothers catalogue
9. Top Ten Psychedelic Songs?
group 1850 - paradise now
united states of america - coming down
soft machine - hope for happiness
pink floyd - paint box
velvet underground - venus in furs
lewis and clark expedition - house of sorrows
comus - drip, drip
the poets- in your tower
kaleidoscope - faintly blowing
food - forever is a dream
10. Turn the tables, if you'd like, and ask me a question.
Rachel: i find genres to be ever so helpful when browsing records and whatever and is this why genres exist? to help us categorize and group? what would music be like without them? would it be as accessible to the masses when they do not know what kind of music they are listening to? would 'kind-of-music' even be a thing? would we all be floating around with individuals, creating new sounds and mixing all?
-valis: Interesting question Rachel. I believe the need to categorize is hardwired into our DNA. What may be more interesting is the notion that by the very nature of this categorizing as "safe - not safe" -in terms of self preservation, we almost shut off exploration based on those judgements. This no matter how far "out there" someone thinks their pushing the envelope. Goes for genres, too. Often times things get labeled, rightly or erroneously, and it stops further exploring because "I'm not into that" kicks in. Whereas if we took the old freshmen year biology class learning of "Kingdom>Phylum>Class>Order>Family>Genus>Species" and applied it to music we know there are a LOT of subdivided routes to the Kingdom...
Best wishes on your journey Rachel..!