Saturday, April 08, 2023

Amos Key - First Key (Good German Krautrock 1973)

Size: 93,7 MB
Bitrate: 320
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included

A classically influenced, and keyboard driven band from Germany. The lineup consisted of Thomas Molin (keyboards, vocals), Andreas Gross (bass, guitar, vocals), Lutz Ludwig (drums).

Their only release remains 1973’s ‘First Key.” To show their reverence for the masters, the album was dedicated to Bach, Beethoven, and Schumann. They are mostly compared to Exception and The Nice.

Unlike many of their contemporaries, they favored shorter songs over longer epics. Around 1975 Amos Key again entered the studio to record another album. Unfortunately it was not to be. The album was never finished, but a few demos have come to light. Since that time, little is known about the band members.

“First Key” is another one of those obscure, one-album gems. It is keyboard, bass, and drum, with emphasis on keyboards. There is some sparsely used guitar, but you’ll have to listen closely to find it.

The obvious influences are Deep Purple (they even do a little homage in the middle of “Got the Feeling”), and especially E.L.P. Where E.L.P. would lighten the mood with an occasional novelty song, this band is able to maintain a bit of lightheartedness throughout. This is not to say it isn’t serious music. There are times that even get a bit dark. The overall sense is that these guys refuse to take themselves too seriously. What all this means is that “First Key” is a lot of fun to listen to.

The music is complex, but very accessible. These are three talented musicians. The keyboards are immediately obvious, but the drums and bass almost take you by surprise. The music flows along, and then suddenly I notice how tight the drum part is. In the next moment, a machine gun bass line grabs my attention. 

The vocals could be stronger. Sometimes the accent is a bit heavy, and the mix is too low. However, it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment. But enough of that, it’s not wise to dissect it too much. As I said, this is fun stuff. Best to let the whole experience flow over you.

The basic sound may be derivative, but the attitude is genuine. It’s too bad they only recorded one album. An entire career by Amos Key could have been something special. Try to find it if you can. It may not be essential, but it would definitely enhance any prog collection.

Thomas Molin - keyboards, vocals 
 Andreas Gross - guitar, bass, vocals
 Lutz Ludwig - drums 

01. Shoebread  04:05
02. Ensterknick Stimmstamm  03:28
03. Knecht Ruprecht  04:50
04. Sometimes...  01:55
05. Got The Feelin  03:10
06. Escape  04:00
07. Important Matter  05:55
08. Dragon's Walk  05:25
09. First Key  02:56


The Electronic Hole - Selftitled (Outstanding Psychedelia US 1970)

Size:89,2 MB
Bitrate: 320
Ripped By: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included

Last time we discussed Phil Pearlman, I stated he must've been some kind of musical genius, though I knew very little about him apart from the evidence of two highly obscure privately pressed albums. 

This time around I only know a touch more about his back-story, but this record of his from 1970 under the moniker the Electronic Hole proves he was indeed, a musical genius. Recorded in between the Beat of the Earth and the rural rock masterpiece Relatively Clean Rivers, the Electronic Hole bridges the gap between the drone raga rock of the former and the tunefulness of the latter. And it just may be the best of the three. 

Two long suites comprising seven songs of very forward-looking psychedelic rock quite unlike any I've ever heard before, effortlessly prefiguring the likes of Galaxie 500 and Spacemen 3. The Electronic Hole is somewhat more menacing than either of Pearlman's other incarnations, more heroin-y sounding perhaps, but from what I understand he was a teetotaler only prone to getting high on life and the fragrance of incense. 

Heroin seems an appropriate touchstone though as the only other group even coming close to the primal-ness of these songs were the Velvet Underground, and by 1970 even they'd primarily traded those baser emotions in for a sort of melancholic roots rock. On the final track, an early incarnation of one of the Relatively Clean Rivers songs appears, devoid of any ruralness with pure white noise in its stead. And I mean like Les Rallizes Denudes molten white noise. Superb.

Reissue of the extremely obscure 2nd Radish label album, originally issued in 1970. "Raw, noisy, droning and completely mesmerizing album recorded by Phil Pearlman between the first Beat of the Earth album and Relatively Clean Rivers. Pearlman assembled The Electronic Hole in 1969 strictly for personal use -- to audition musicians for his new band. 

To do this, and to add to his own collection of demos, he used local studios in off-hours thanks to his friendship with album engineer Joe Sidore. The result is entirely different from Beat of the Earth, as it abandons a freeform improvisational approach in favor of 'compositions', including a wild cover of Frank Zappa's 'Trouble Every Day'. Pearlman plays sitar to great effect on the album, and another track has the thickest wall of fuzz guitars imaginable -- an effect he achieved by running his Fender amplifier out of a child's chord organ ('sounded great for about two weeks, then it blew up!'). Few albums have such an eclectic yet appealing sound." 

A raw, noisy, droning and completely mesmerizing album recorded by PHIL PEARLMAN between the first Beat of the Earth album and Relatively Clean Rivers. Pearlman assembled the ELECTRONIC HOLE in 1969 strictly for personal use to audition musicians for his new band." Recorded in local studios during off-hours, the album is entirely different from Beat of the Earth, as it abandons a freeform improvisational approach in favor of "compositions," including a wild cover of Frank Zappa's "Trouble Every Day." Pearlman plays sitar to great effect on the album, and another track has the thickest wall of fuzz guitars imaginable. 

01. The Golden Hour Part I
02. The Golden Hour Part II
03. The Golden Hour Part III
04. The Golden Hour Part IV
05. Love Will Find A Way Part I
06. Love Will Find A Way Part II
07. Love Will Find A Way Part III



Request, Not o be missed: The Orange Alabaster Mushroom - Space & Time (Canadian 90´s Psychedelic Rock) ★★★★★

Size: 99.2 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included

Ontario's answer to the Bevis Frond, the Orange Alabaster Mushroom is bedroom D.I.Y. auteur Greg Watson, whose one-man band reproductions of classic circa-1967 psych-pop are so dead-on perfect in every detail that one could play this collection of 1991-1998 recordings for any fan of Nuggets-era obscurities and they'd think it was authentic circa 1967 psych-pop.

Elusive Canadian psych-garage-pop-cult mastermynd Gregory Watson falls into the category of those who have definitely had "too much to dream last night". He has allowed his especially analogue recordings as The Orange Alabaster Mushroom to be re-combined in the digital realm. 
A collection of eccentric 60s pop-alchemy and exquisite psychedelic lunacy, mystical melodic songs and assorted hallucinations culled from nearly a decade of recording. The mind-expanding sounds of dirigible guitars, overdriven organs, helium-pitch vocals and a Ringo drum fill falling down the stairs… The OAM is influenced by Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd, Donovan, The Rain Parade, Electric Prunes, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Dukes Of Stratosphere, The Soft Boys, 13th Floor Elevators, and Love, and what we imagine are loads of oddball 60s and 70s psychedelic obscurities. Fans of the psych-pop-mod-freakbeat sounds of the incredible 'Nuggets' Box sets will find plenty to drool over, The Orange Alabaster Mushroom is indeed cut from the same paislie, technicolor cloth.

There are thousands of them out there. The people who toil away the hours by setting up mics in the hallway, bouncing track after track of sound on their four-tracks, ensuring that independent music can never die. On one hand, it's very easy to romanticize this kind of thing: musicians who do their work with no guarantee of ever being heard are sort of like monks, practicing their arts far away from civilization, completely at odds with what the material world would have them accomplish. How noble, to stick so closely to their ideals, that they would work so hard for no apparent reward other than hearing the sounds in their heads played back.

On the other hand, theoretically, anyone can do this. Go pick up a recorder, and sing and play and bounce to your heart's content. As Milhouse said, "Fun is fun," but some of us have to listen to the stuff, too. It would be nice if everyone who was taping themselves made good music, but often (and I can personally attest to this), the music is like an inside joke only understood by the teller, and perhaps a few of his best friends.

Of course, sometimes people are forced into this method due to circumstances. In other words, if you don't have the cash or label support to record in a big, fancy studio, how else to make music but by recording at your house or garage? In a perfect world, the Music God would automatically give the most visionary musicians record contracts, but as it is, the kids will have to make do with what they have. I imagine Canada's Greg Watson is one of these types, masterfully producing his own stuff because nobody else will.

Watson's virtual one-man show, the Orange Alabaster Mushroom, plays amazingly well-crafted psychedelic pop, generally from the British angle. He started recording in 1991 under this moniker after working with a band called the 14th Wray. His first music was actually issued under their name, despite being almost entirely written and recorded by Watson. He did eventually end up recording in a proper studio in the late 90s, though the results retained his DIY aesthetic and only emphasized how spot-on his psych arrangements were.

As for the music, I'd say the Dukes of Stratosphear have nothing on this guy. I don't generally go out of my way to listen to anything that resembles a genre exercise, but the Orange Alabaster Mushroom is so amazingly precise in its depiction of '66-'67 era British psychedelia I'm drawn into the stuff by its sheer persistence. And to top it off, these are very good tunes-- what's the value in copying anything verbatim? Watson's music would sit well on a shelf next to Nuggets, and that's the best compliment I can give this release.

Space & Time: A Compendium of the Orange Alabaster Mushroom
is a compilation of material released from 1991 through 1998. Watson recorded most of it on four-track, but a few tracks, as mentioned earlier were done on eight-track in a studio. "Your Face Is in My Mind" is actually one of the few American-flavored tracks, recalling bands like the Seeds or ? and the Mysterians with raging Farfisa organ and raucous garage-grunge guitar. The opening organ exposition, which actually reminds me of Iron Butterfly more than anyone else, is alone worth the price of admission. And check this: "Your face has left impressions/ Deep inside my cranium/ And when those thoughts are realized/ It's here I find/ That your face is in my mind." That's a lyric, my friend, which Watson delivers with whiny, crass sincerity.

No great psychedelic band could exist without its own title song. Watson's "We Are the Orange Alabaster Mushroom" fits the bill here, and is prime Small Faces, circa Ogden's Nut Gone Flake, with its anthemic chorus and aggressive drumming. 

"Sunny Day" is a tart slice of music-hall, while "Tree Pie" gets by on sheer aggression and hyped up soul power, courtesy of harmony vocals in overdrive and a guitar solo so of a different era that I wonder if the Seeds' Jan Savage wasn't beamed in for the occasion. (By the way, Jan, where are you?)

Other tunes take the softer approach: "Another Place" features a rather beautiful guitar line, and telling lines like, "I don't belong here, though there is another place I can go." Watson's vocals are still in trebly, whiny mode, yet he manages to bring out some inherent sweetness in this music. Another charmer is "Valerie Vanillaroma," featuring nice Byrds-y twelve-string guitar and relatively smooth harmony vocals. 

The bridge's guitar and organ hits are classic, and if there's a fourth "Austin Powers" movie (as if I had a doubt), they need to get Watson to write the love theme.

If psychedelic isn't your thing, then obviously this album isn't for you. Furthermore, if hearing vinyl ticks on a CD (this collection is a re-release of a vinyl set from 1999, and they apparently just took the old records and transferred them to compact disc), then you might get annoyed with this. 

However, you can only dog on addictively catchy, well made psych-pop for so long before giving in to the groovy sounds. No, this record isn't a major statement, but it is almost flawlessly executed. Chalk one up to the bedroom musician for keeping this music alive.

01. Your Face Is In My Mind 
02. (We Are) The Orange Alabaster Mushroom  
03. Tree Pie 
04. Crazy Murray 
05. Another Place 
06. Rainbow Man  
07. Ethel Tripped A Mean Gloss 
08. Valerie Vanillaroma 
09. Space & Time 
10. The Slug 
11. Sunny Day 
12. Aim the Vimana Toward the Dorian Sector 

Bonus Tracks:
13. Mister Day 
14. Gone 
15. Sydney's Electric Headcheese Sundial