Long Space Jams: a Mixtape by Grant from the Myrrors
Arizona band The Myrrors are riding a wave of enthusiasm for psychedelic music by putting their own spin on a half-century of experimental music tradition. We asked guitarist Grant to pick some of his favorite “space out” music, and it’s an excellent launching pad into a world of music you’re gonna love tracking down for yourself. Here’s Grant:
A while ago BNU asked me to recommend some “spacey tracks” they could make into a mixtape, but I was feeling troubled by the length of the songs I wanted to choose.
A regular album is about 45 to 60 minutes long, but that might only be four or five extended tracks. But seeing as we’re not limited by a physical format, I went ahead and chose some longer far-out numbers for you to enjoy.
I think there’s a kind of knack to listening to longer songs like these. You’ve really got to let them build—even if you don’t finish it—but you can’t skip ahead.
It’s all about the frame of reference, moving from one thing to the next. What comes before and what comes after is so important. You absolutely cannot get the full effect, or any good effect really, if you rush things.
Throw it on while you do the dishes or whatever it is you need to do. Let it sink in.
Long Space Jams, Volume I
CAN — Yoo Doo Right [20:22] (1969)
Nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said. Absolute greats! This track is from their debut Monster Movie with Malcolm Mooney on vocals.
Fela Kuti — Why Black Man Dey Suffer [15:16] (1971)
You probably already know, but Fela is one of the greatest (certainly most proficient) African psych/funk artists in history. He’s been the subject of much controversy, had his palace burned down, and even ran for president of Nigeria.
My uncle saw him in the late ’70s and said he took a break to smoke out of a “comically over-sized joint, like the ones you see in a movie.” He’s on this track with his early band The Africa ’70 as well as with Ginger Baker (better known as the drummer for British heavyweights CREAM).
Ya Ho Wa 13 — Four [16:12] (1974)
The Source Family was a spiritual commune/cult started by Jim Baker a.k.a. Father Yod/YaHoWa (bank robber/guru/health nut). It was centered around the Source Restaurant in Hollywood, California.
The band’s got quite the history (Sky Saxon from The Seeds was a member for a while, among others) that I won’t get into, but they recorded a few really rare far-out psychedelic records. This one is from their great I’m Gonna Take You Home LP.
Comets On Fire — The Unicorn/Ice Age (Wfmu) [9:38] (2003)
My favorite band for many years (later ousted by Pärson Sound, Harvester, etc.) Heavy-as-fuck free rock with riffs for miles. Can’t recommend these guys enough! They’re so damn good!
This comes from an “official” Sub-Pop release, that’s not listed in Sub-Pop’s own catalogue, titled simply Jams.
Pärson Sound — Sov Gott Rose-Marie [13:18] (1967)
Pärson Sound was the first incarnation of Swedish juggernaut Pärson Sound/International Harvester/Harvester/Träd Gräs och Stenar. Those are all a kind of continuation of a main group founded by Bo Anders Persson, Torbjorn Abelli, and Thomas Mera Gartz. All of it is worth checking out.
This comes from the Pärson Sound box set released in ’09 by Subliminal Sounds.
Embryo — Spain Yes, Franco Finished [11:03] (1971)
This is from this jazzy kraut-rock legend’s second album, Embryo’s Rache [Embryo’s Rage]. If you aren’t familiar with European history, this track is a protest against Spanish fascist shitlord Francisco Franco. Fuck that guy.
Tommy James and The Shondells — Cellophane Symphony [9:40] (1969)
Not at all what you’d normally expect from this pop-psych genius. He’s better known for his hits such as Crimson and Clover, Mony Mony, etc. Not sure what prompted him to put this out, let alone use it as the title track, and it’s the first track on the record. But I’m sure glad he did.
This is space rock of the highest order. High praise to the interstellar overlords. This is off his LP of the same name from ’69.
White Hills — Walking Uphill Against the Wind [19:09] (2009)
Far-out space-kraut from this NY group. This is from their ’09 release A Little Bliss Forever. These guys are picking up where Hawkwind left off and making space rock for the ages.
Agitation Free — Laila [10:02] (1974)
More krauty goodness! This is from their live album At The Cliffs Of River Rhine released on compact disc in ’98, and re-issued a few times. Recorded in ’74.
Howlin’ Rain — Wild Life [15:09] (2008)
Some really nice “classic rock” vibes (as much as I hate that term) from these cats. You might recognize this, as it’s a re-imagining of Paul McCartney’s song of the same name. Released in 2008 on the Wild Life EP.
Sunburned Hand of the Man — Jaybird [16:56] (2001)
Far-out weirdos Sunburned Hand of the Man is an ever-changing group from Massachusetts formed in 1997 and, as far as I know, is still running strong today. They make really crazy free improvisational psych stuff that spans loads of genres.
I very much recommend listening to their album No Magic Man in full. This track is the title track from their self-released 2001 LP.
Children of Jubal — Song of Jubal/Blue Horizon [11:06] (1970)
Pretty much nothing is known of these Dutch folks. Released on a private press LP in 1970, with only 500 copies made. It seemed to be a compilation of some sort, featuring tracks by Pugh’s Place and Rick & Dave.
The music is great though, cool classic psych vibe with some really killer keyboard playing.
High Tide — Death Warmed Up [9:12] (1969)
Seriously, the heaviest of heavy. Blow yer brains out! From ’69! Stellar debut record from this UK band called Sea Shanties. Dig that violin!
Long Space Jams Volume II
Darker My Love — Hair Decisions [8:12] (2007)
An often-overlooked piece from this LA band, Hair Decisions seems to be a mix of a few different tracks and styles. If the parts were extended and cut up into individual tracks, it would make a magnificent LP.
This song is the A-side to a split LP with Moccasin, who also laid down some nice tracks. Definitely worth picking up (it goes for around six bucks on Discogs).
Arbete Och Fritid & Archimedes Badkar — Live Tonkraft [18:21] (197?)
A serious rarity (to my knowledge, this was never officially released) from Sweden. Ever wondered what Swedish folk sounded like through the eyes of some free-jazz obsessed acid freaks? Me neither, but here it is.
Both these groups put out a legendary (and mostly out-of-print) series of records in the 1970s and later merged into the Bitter Funeral Beer Band with Don Cherry, one of the all-time greatest free-jazz musicians. Lots of really interesting history with this group.
Aton II — The Ceyleib People [11:13] (1968)
Nice US sitar psychsploitation featuring none other than the great Ry Cooder (credited here as “Ry Cooter”). He’s played on loads and loads of great albums. Beefheart’s Safe as Milk, The Stones’ Let it Bleed, etc.
This record is called Tanyet and it’s pretty short (clocks in at under 30 minutes).
I recommend that y don’t listen with headphones. The original album had each “track” going back and forth between channels, someone tried to fix it on this version, and it still sounds a little strange/disorienting.
Six Organs of Admittance — School of the Flower [13:32] (2005)
Six Organs is Ben Chasny’s main musical project. Almost all of his albums sound different. I recommend grabbing one of his most recent, Ascent, as it is basically Comets on Fire backing him up/playing his songs. This track is from the album of the same name.
Pandelindio — El Vacio No Es La Nada [16:56] (2013)
Transcendental free space folk from Argentina. I see a bright future for the South American scene (Montibus Communitas, O+yn, Pandelindio, etc.) This is from their newest cassette release titled Fuego y Soma.
Älgarnas Trädgård — Två Timmar Över Två Blå Berg Med En Gök På Vardera Sidan, Om Timmarna … Alltså [13:14] (1972)
This Swedish record (Framtiden Ar Ett Svavande Skep aka The Future is a Hovering Ship Anchored in Antiquity) is by far the most psychedelic album I’ve ever heard. Definitely one of my all-time favorites. The song title roughly translates to “Two Hours Over Two Blue Mountains with a Cuckoo On Each Side, if the Hours … Thus”
Maybe one of our Swedish readers can clear that up…
Montibus Communitas — Hanan Pacha [7:38] (2013)
Montibus Communitas (roughly translates to “Mountain Community”) are a newer band from Peru. I don’t know much about them, but they’ve put out three full-length albums, which can be found on their bandcamp. This is off of their album Hacia Aquellos Bosques de Inmensidad (Towards the Immense Forests).
Hop-Frog Kollectiv — Somba [21:27] (2009)
This is from a split with Magic Lantern released in ’09. Some really good haunted vibes on this track. Don’t know too much about the band…
Terry Riley & Don Cherry — Descending Moonshine Dervishes [19:45] (1975)
Both these cats are legends. Terry Riley is one of thee greatest minimalist composers and Don Cherry basically founded two genres (world music and free jazz). This is live from a concert in Köln (Cologne) in Germany. It’s been recently bootlegged on vinyl, but I wouldn’t recommend grabbing that. Somebody just pressed up the MP3s that have been floating around for a while. A download shouldn’t be too hard to find.
Om — At Giza [15:57] (2006)
Not much needs to be said about these guys. Just nice, heavy, minimalist stoner metal. This is from Conference of the Birds.
Träd, Gräs Och Stenar — Sommerlaten [26:42] (1972)
I saved the best for last. This is probably my favorite track of all time, from anyone. I love this band. I can’t get enough. I could write an essay about them, but for your sake, I won’t. This is a bonus track on the CD release of Mors Mors.