Reissue CDs Weekly: Gil Scott-Heron, K.T. Oslin, Motorpsycho, Feeling High | New music reviews, news & interviews
Reissue CDs Weekly: Gil Scott-Heron, K.T. Oslin, Motorpsycho, Feeling High
The early days of a polymathic pioneer, country from the Nineties, influential Norwegians and the psychedelic sound of Memphis
Motorpsycho’s 1994 album Timothy’s Monster is amongst the most influential of the era, for their native Norway and beyond. It mapped a band drawing from free jazz, indie rock, the blackest of metal and psychedelia. Its follow up, 1996’s Blissard, had a difficult birth, amply revealed by this four-CD, clam-shell box version. Multi-disc reissues of a single album are usually stuffed with extra tracks that are either irrelevant or distract from what was good in the first place. This, though, is illuminating and stimulating. Motorpsycho set out to make a radio-friendly album. But on completing it, they weren't satisfied and re-recorded and reconfigured what they’d gotten down to create the released version – their most linear and melodic album, with nods towards Goo-era Sonic Youth, the poppier end of grunge and sudden swoops into free-form ambience. Before that, they’d already made and shelved a follow up to Timothy’s Monster, When the World Sleeps. The different albums occupy the first three discs. Disc four is demos, rehearsals and stray tracks. The unissued When the World Sleeps includes two 10-minute-plus wig-outs that put Crazy Horse in the shade and are amongst the band’s best. The prototypical Blissard has much the same songs but is totally different experience to what was released and – despite the band’s intentions – more wired and jagged. A fine tribute to a special band.
With its foundations in rock ‘n’ roll and soul Memphis wasn’t an obviously psychedelic city but, as this comp reveals, there were more than a few freaks, heads and mavericks ready to meet the challenges set by San Francisco and Austin. Unlucky then that of the 23 tracks heard here (a 24th is an ad), only three were issued in the Sixties. As archive scours go, Feeling High... really resets the dial. The prime movers here are producers Jim Dickinson and James Parks. Dickinson first surfaced in the mid Sixties and later became known for his eccentric solo releases and work with Big Star, while Parks came on the scene a bit later, in 1968. Dickinson was associated with Ardent Studios, while Parks was inspired by Sam Phillips. All the bands are unknowns, but the 1st Century feature ex Sam The Sham guitarist Ray Stinnett. What’s collected ranges from the weird and subterranean (a mind-melting take on The Yardbirds' “For Your Love” by The Honey Jug), fuzz-filled stompers with raga solos (Changin’ Tymes’ “Blue Music Box”) to sitar-filled swirlers (The Wallabys' “Holy Days”). On “Hark the Child”, Changin’ Tymes gloriously regurgitate The Doors' “The End”. God bless them.
Watch Gil Scott-Heron discuss "The Revolution Will Not be Televised"
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