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  • Thom Holmes

Electronic Music for Astral Tripping

Better Music Through Pharmacology


My Book/eBook: Electronic and Experimental Music, sixth edition, Routledge 2020.

My Podcast: The Holmes Archive of Electronic Music



Many months ago, when I began this podcast, one of my first, and most popular episodes was called “Do Not Listen if You are Stoned.” That line was a reference to an actual sticker that was affixed to an album of spacey electronic music by one Nik Raceivik, whose album Head was inspired by drug-induced experiences. This episode is a return to that theme of better music through pharmacology, although not every track is drug-inspired. I’ve included several that allude to the experience of musically-influenced trance.


If you read the titles of many of these works, you’ll get the idea behind this collection of electronic music tracks:

Flashes

Astral Projection

Methedrine

Trance-Formation

Astral Trip

Lull Your Skull

Opium

Trip Psychiatrique

Spaced Out

Stone Stoner


I’ve also included a track by French electronic music pioneer Pierre Henry who created an improvisation using his amplified brain waves as source material. Plus a public service announcement around LSD produced by Raymond Scott for the film The Trip in 1967 and some instantly dated tracks from 1971 that capitalized on explaining marijuana to squares, brought to you by Ron Jacobs.


Overall, the intent is to mesmerize your mind.


Playlist

1. Hal Blaine, “Flashes” from Psychedelic Percussion (1967 Dunhill). Drums, Hal Blaine; Electronics (Moog), Paul Beaver; Keyboards, Organ, Electric Piano, Mike Lang; Percussion, Emil Richards, Gary Coleman. 2:22


2. Raymond Scott, “LSD”public service announcement for the film, The Trip (1967), plus some electronic music snippets from Electronium (2007 Electronium). I’m not sure who the voice of the announcer is but the recording was produced by Raymond Scott and and I sandwiched the PSA between two snippets of Scott’s electronic music. Let this be a warning to you. 1:58


3. Mort Garson, “Astral Projection” from Ataraxia–The Unexplained (Electronic Musical Impressions Of The Occult) (1975 RCA). Composed with an electronic music score (Moog Modular) by Mort Garson. 5:12


4. Pierre Henry, “Electro-Genèse” from Mise En Musique Du Corticalart De Roger Lafosse (1971 Philips). Live improvisations recorded Feb. 15-21, 1971 by Pierre Henry using Roger Lafosse's Corticalart device, allowing one to transform brainwaves into electronic signals for further raw manipulations. Technical realization by Groupe Artec (Bordeaux) with electroacoustic equipment from Apsome and J. Heuze. I thought that we needed at least one piece that tapped directly into brain waves. 7:39


5. Ron Jacobs, “Eating Food” and “Listening to Music” from A Child's Garden Of Grass (A Pre-Legalization Comedy) (1971 Elektra). Timely yet instantly dated, this relic capitalized on explaining marijuana to squares. The Electronic Music was by Alex Hassilev, which probably means that Paul Beaver did the synthesizer patchwork (both were involved in 1967 on the Zodiac Cosmic Sounds by Garson). 3:31


6. Nik Raicevik, “Methedrine” from Numbers (1970 Narco). Although Raicevik went by the name 107-34-8933 for the initial release of this record on his Narco label, it was re-released by Buddha Records under the title Head by Nik Raicevik. Buddha dropped him and Raicevik went on to create several more crazy electronic albums for his Narco label. This was primarily a Moog Modular album. 5:59


7. Steve Hillage, “Hurdy Gurdy Glissando” from L (1976 Atlantic). This album was produced by Todd Rundgren and featured some of his Utopia bandmates, Kasim Sulton (bass) and the mind-blowing Roger Powell on synthesizers (R.M.I. Keyboard Computer, Minimoog). But the star is guitarist Steve Hillage (Guitar, Guitar-synthesizer, ARP, EMS, Voice) and a 15th Century Hurdy Gurdy by Sonja Malkine. This is an extrapolation of the Donovan Leitch song, “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” also featured on the album. 8:54


8. Eberhard Schoener and the Secret Society, “Trance-Formation” from Trance-Formation (1977 Harvest). Bass Guitar, Hansi Ströer; Choir, Members Of The Tölzer Knabenchor; Guitar, Andy Summers; Keyboards, Raimund Elleder; Orchestra, Orchestra of the Munich Chamber-Opera; Percussion, Nippi; Moog Synthesizer, Organ, Piano, Mellotron, Conductor Orchestra Conducted By, Composed By, Arranged By, Produced By, Sleeve Notes, Eberhard Schoener; Vocals, Mary Gregoriy, Monks Of The Monastery of Sama. 11:42


9. Kitaro, “Astral Trip” from 天界 = Ten Kai / Astral Trip (1978 Wergo). Shakuhachi, Biwa, Ryusuke Seto; Sitar, Lavi; Moog, Korg, ARP, and Roland synthesizers, Koto, Mandolin, Acoustic Guitar, Drums, Percussion, Bass, Kitaro. Written and Arranged by Kitaro. 7:40


10.Ozric Tentacles, “Lull Your Skull” from There Is Nothing (1986 Self-Released). Bass, Adam Mace; Drums, Nick Van Gelder; Guitar, Keyboards, Ed Wynne; Keyboards, Joie Hinton. 3:00


11.Bill Nelson, “Opium” from Sounding The Ritual Echo (Atmospheres For Dreaming) (1985 Cocteau Records). "Sounding the Ritual Echo was recorded in the privacy of my own home on broken or faulty tape machines & speakers, each track possessing its own technological deformity. For this I offer no apology as the music owes its existence to a very personal & selfish obsession. As a direct result, some pieces will require a little patience.” Bill Nelson. 1:44


12.Michael Magne, “Trip Psychiatrique” from Elements Nº 1 "La Terre" (1978 Egg). Bongos, Percussion, Grégori Czerkinsky; R.M.I. Keyboard Computer, ARP Odyssey, ARP Omni Polyphonique, ARP 2600, and Minimoog synthesizers, Clavinet D6, Electric Piano (Fender and Yamaha, composed, adapted, arranged by Michel Magne; Drums, Syn-drums, Jean-Paul Batailley. 4:35


13.Pure Energy, “Spaced Out” from Spaced Out (12” vinyl) (1983 Say What!? Records). From the Netherlands. Need I say more? I’m not sure if this was about space or being spaced-out but it is definitely psychologically disorienting. This is the long version. 7:35


14.Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O., “Stone Stoner” from Absolutely Freak Out (Zap Your Mind!!). Bass Monster Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Other Cosmic Joker, Tsuyama Atsushi; Drums, Ichiraku Yoshimitsu; Drums, Percussion, Other Sleeping Monk, Koizumi Hajime; Electric Guitar, Synthesizer, Other Dancin' King, Hiroshi Higashi; Electric Guitar, Violin, Tambura, Effects Cosmic Ringmodulator, Rds900, Synthesizer, Organ, Electric Harpsichord, Vocals, Other Speed Guru, Producer, Engineer, Kawabata Makoto; Jew's Harp, Electric Guitar, Other Erotic Underground, Magic Aum Gigi; Narrator Cosmic Narration, Other Freak Power, Wellens Johan; Saxophone, Mano Kazuhiko; Vocals, Suzuki Chisen; Vocals, Synthesizer, Acoustic Guitar, Other Beer and Cigarettes, Cotton CasinoVoice, Other Cosmos, Ginestet Audrey; Recorded at Acid Mothers Temple and FTF Studio, May to July, 2000. Yes, this is what psychedelic music should sound like. I promise to do an entire podcast around Japanese psychedelic music soon. 16:19


Opening background music: Steve Hillage, “Hurdy Gurdy Man” (edit) from L (1976 Atlantic). Steve Hillage (Guitar, Guitar-synthesizer, ARP, EMS, Voice) and a 15th Century Hurdy Gurdy by Sonja Malkine. This is a cover version of the Donovan Leitch song, “Hurdy Gurdy Man.”


Opening and closing sequences voiced by Anne Benkovitz.

Additional opening, closing, and other incidental music by Thom Holmes.

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NOISE AND NOTATIONS

Electronic and Experimental Music

Notes on the development and continuing history of electronic music, its creators, and the technology.