Opening the Doors of Perception


This past June for my birthday, I received a fantastic book from my girlfriend entitled Turn On your Mind by Jim De Rogatis. Within the confines of the book, the author ambitiously strives to effectively present an  overview of the last four decades of psychedelic rock according to his tastes and sensibilities, and he is largely successful at doing so. At roughly over 600 pages, it is a thoroughly researched, painstakingly detailed and thoughtfully constructed opus consisting of lists, further listening recommendations and numerous quotes taken from musicians, producers, writers and other scholars who either experienced psychedelic music firsthand or have taken a specific interest in it over the years. When DeRogatis is firing on all cylinders, it shows in his writing. There is an incredibly insightful introductory chapter that outlines the history of LSD, an in-depth analysis of Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd and a highly inspired overview of psychedelia in hip-hop.

While the book is generally successful at summarizing a genre of music as vast as psychedelia, it also offers little information here that will be new to the average psychedelic rock enthusiast. DeRogatis has obviously done his homework, but I feel that he falls short in a couple key areas. In my opinion, the first area where this book failed to meet my expectations was in it's lack of representation of psychedelic music from other countries such as Sweden, Japan, Finland, Brazil and Turkey.   In fact, the only instances where the psychedelic music from other countries factors in is the requisite chapter on U.K. Rock featuring obvious inclusions such as The Zombies, The Soft Machine and The Pretty Things, as well as the chapter dedicated to the German "Krautrock" scene featuring key players such as Can, Neu, Kraftwerk and Faust. While these are fine introductions to Krautrock and Brit-rock for the novice, there is little here for the music freak who is constantly surfing the web or digging in the crates every day for new musical discoveries.

The other problem that I can find with the book is that the author devotes entirely too much space covering artists that most of the general public is already familiar with, such as The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones and David Bowie.  I can only gather that focusing on these artists was his way of capturing the attention of a more mainstream audience, which is puzzling since most of these folks wouldn't be seeking out a book about psychedelic music in the first place. Instead, he could have explored the depths of underground psychedelia from bands like Bardo Pond, MV&EE, Charlambides, Sun City Girls, Chrissy Zebby Tembo, Flower Travellin Band, Les Rallizes Denudes, SRC and July to name but a few.

One can certainly not fault DeRogatis for failing to cover the "New Garage Revival" since the second edition of this book was pressed in 2003, several years before the burgeoning psychedelic rock scene in San Francisco had taken full flight. The main progenitors of this scene include Thee Oh Sees, Jay Reatard, The Fresh and Onlys, Ty Segall, and Sic Alps, but this list barely scratches the surface of the bands who deserve to be mentioned as being instrumental in spearheading the new psychedelic movement.

Perhaps DeRogatis will issue a third edition of his psychedelic overview to revisit the current music that is taking the psychedelic world by storm. In the meantime, I plan on featuring a series of posts and podcasts discussing the bands featured in Turn On Your Mind that were new discoveries to me, as well as artists that I feel deserved inclusion that were not featured in the book.

Today's inclusion will be a mix of artists that represent the sound of psychedelic hip-hop. I hope that you have enjoyed reading my assessment of Turn On Your Mind, and that you enjoy this mix!

Psychedelic Hip-Hop from the Streets

1) Edan- Polite Meeting Intro- 2:16
2) Mr Lif- Collapse the Walls- 3:06
3) Mos Def- Revelations- 2:03
4) Quasimoto- Closer- 3:02
5) Shabazz Palaces- An Echo From the Hosts that Process Infinitum-3:17
6) Anti Pop Consortium- Timpani- 4:11
7) Count Bass D & Insight- Risk Taker- 2:37
8) Illogic- Hollow Shell (Cash Clutch)- 5:27
9) The Roots- Something in the Way of Things (In Town)- 7:16
10) Digable Planets- La Femme Fetal- 4:35
11) Common- Cold Blooded- 4:58
12) Black Milk- Distortion- 6:21
13) Edan- Time Out (Segue)- 1:07
14) Edan w/ Mr. Lif- Making Planets- 2:54
15) Divine Styler- Livery- 5:03

If any of you know of any other psychedelic hip-hop songs, please let me know in the comments.

Until next time...

Comments

icastico said…
Don't forget Korea.

As for psych hip hop...If you use the term to mean something designed to create altered states of awareness, then I think Dalek has to be included as does much of the work of anticon and subtle.
Kevin said…
Thanks Icastico. I completely spaced it on Anticon and I'm not that familiar with Dalek. What is your favorite record by them? A couple more that I thought of are Deep Puddle Dynamics and DJ Signify. What I'm really looking for are songs that sound like the Edan, Mr. Lif and Black Milk tracks on this mix cause these are seriously dope.

Best, Kevin
icastico said…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_Filthy_Tongue_of_Gods_and_Griots

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gutter_Tactics

And their collaboration with Faust
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derbe_Respect,_Alder

But I haven't heard a bad cut.

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