Psychedelic music is a term that refers to a broad set of popular music styles, genres and scenes, that may include psychedelic rock, psychedelic folk, psychedelic pop, psychedelic soul, psychedelic ambient, psychedelic trance, and others. Psychedelic rock is also commonly called acid rock. Psychedelic music can occur in almost every genre of music, including classical Western art music.
Psychedelic music could also be interpreted as simply a "surreal and dreamy feeling" in a particular song, instead of a specific genre with rules to follow. In some cases, this simply requires writing one coherent song, then to experiment recording that song in the studio while under "psychedelic influence", yielding very surreal musical results. A classic example of this method is "Bass Strings", by Country Joe And The Fish. This early track, written and recorded by Country Joe and the rest of his band in 1966, was obviously an upbeat, hasty, and offensive song of protest in a raw jug band influenced style. In 1967, this song changed dramatically, not to meet more contemporary commercial standards, but rather to re-record it as an experimental track while under the influence of LSD. The new psychedelic result was clearly self-evident in Country Joe's first studio album ("Electric Music for the Mind and Body") when "Bass Strings" featured a much slower tempo, delayed vocals, added reverb, studio reversed cymbals, electric organ, desert traveler lyrics, and a continuous blues guitar solo which together make this song a very, in the true sense of the word, "psychedelic" track.
The Jefferson Airplane website states that (the album), "After Bathing at Baxter's" was the group's attempt to capture what the psychedelic experience sounded and felt like to them from the inside." Jimi Hendrix is also renowned for his talent and guitar virtuosity being able to emulate the psychedelic experience.
Modern Jazz groups such as Medeski Martin and Wood are a good example of Neo-psychedelia. Live performances are altered dramatically by large sections of improvisation.
The Third Wave of Psychedelia
In the summer of 2005, the label Northern Star Records was founded by Andy Oliver and Scott Causer with the objective to make the genre prominent in mainstream society. They collated all the bands they could find who they considered were psychedelic and compiled the first of the legendary Psychedelica series which featured Electric Prunes, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Silver Apples, The Telescopes, The High Dials, Floorian, The Hiss, The Lovetones, The Black Angels, The Dolly Rocker Movement and about 30 others. The double compilation CD was praised by Billboard and Uncut as the new leaders in the genre.
Northern Star had become an overnight success and were viewed as the mentors of the "third wave of psychedelia" - a phrase coined by Oliver who saw it as a new movement and a logical 'next wave' in the history of psychedelic music.
The shoegaze genre also bordered on the psychedelic with its drones and ethereal dreamlike qualities and odd feedback. But, Causer felt the genre was repressed and underrated or berrated by the media unfairly and sought to alleviate the stigma by re-labelling it as "stargaze". Bands such as The Electric Mainline , The Voices and The December Sound took on this form and went on to be lauded by the NME and The Times.
Also stigmatized and ignored but nonetheless worth noting - perhaps the most influential psychedelic band of modern times - Ozric Tentacles - discovered a new and potent source of psychedelia in the mid eighties that propelled them into the next century, spawning and influencing a whole slew of other bands such as; most successfully Eat Static and Nodens Ictus, Wooden Baby, Zub Zub, The Ullulators, and The Oroonies.
By the time the second Northern Star compilation "Psychedelica Volume 2" came out, the genre had become prominent in the mainstream press and was finally taken seriously as a major music movement.
Neo-psychedelic bands of the third wave consist of: The Black Angels, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Lovetones, The Warlocks, The Nova Saints, The December Sound, The Hiss, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Electric Soft Parade, Hopewell, Goldrush, The Stevenson Ranch Davidians, The Quarter After, Spindrift, The Deaths, Belles Will Ring, Serena Maneesh, The Lea Shores, Sunsplit, The Morning After Girls, The Sun Blindness, The Gris Gris, The High Dials, The Flower Machine.
Eye Mind:The Saga of The 13th Floor Elevators, Pioneers of the Psychedelic Sound by Paul Drummond Process Media 2007 isbn0-978-0-9760822-6-2 |424 pages