Various Artists — Psychedelic Underground 17
(Garden of Delights CD 170, 1979/2013, CD)
Various Artists — Psychedelic Underground 18
(Garden of Delights CD 180, 1978/2017, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-02-23
Since the Garden of Delights label began in the early 1990s (they were originally called Penner Records), they have produced this Psychedelic Underground promotional series, each one highlighting one track from each of the previous nine regular releases on the label, which mixes tracks by very obscure German bands with some better known names, and in the process provides a vehicle that allows a listener to preview a piece from all of the label’s regular releases. The two releases at hand cover garden of Delights releases from CD 161 (Sunbirds self-titled album featuring one guitarist Philip Catherine, already a respected jazz sideman) to CD 169 (Virus’ Revelation), released in 2013, and CD 171 (Virus’ Thoughts) to CD 179 (Gila’s self-titled aka Free Electric Sound), released in 2017. Highlights of Psychedelic Underground 17 include the twelve minute “Endless Game” by the aforementioned Virus, starting out with a beautiful classical organ riff, then quickly morphing into an aggressive instrumental rocker with gothic overtones. Cosmic Circus Music’s free-flowing psychedelic improvisation “Sternenmaskerade 1” at nearly 38 minutes has to be one of the longest pieces ever committed to one of these samplers. Missus Beastly’s “Patscha Menga Underground” is a succinctly stated jazz-rock piece with powerful sax and flute presence. The title cut from Embryo’s Bad Heads and Bad Cats from 1976 is a powerful jazz vocal piece and features great singing from Maria Archer. Some relative unknowns are introduced here, like folk-rock trio Langsyne’s “Morning” from 1976, sounding a bit reminiscent of Lambert & Nuttycombe’s style, and the powerful symphonic progressive rock of Guilderstern’s “Murder of Gonzago – part 1”.
The more recent Psychedelic Underground 18 leads off with a great vocal track “Mankind, where Do You Go To?” from Virus’ second album Thoughts. Other highlights include the eleven minute title cut from Missus Beastly’s fourth album Space Guerilla, a powerful and funky instrumental jazz-rock epic with a strong keyboard and flute prsence. “My Dear Groovin’,” a cut from Sunbirds’ second album Zagara from 1973, now without Philip Catherine, shows a confident fusion outfit going forward. “Weld Im Dunkel” is an intense and dark cut from Gäa’s 1973 debut, sung in German. One cut from Embryo’s 1977 Live album is presented, an album which marks the end of Charlie Mariano’s regular tenure with the band. Lesser known artists include Panko, Reaktor 4, and Exponent, all who existed in the early 70s without leaving much more than cassette recordings or demo tapes, all deserving of more recognition. The near seven minute “Kollektivitat” from Gila’s debut closes the disc with a powerful and aggressive rock groove. As always, both of these discs contain complete documentation of each of the tracks in both English and German, and a complete listing of all Garden of Delights releases to date.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more