cjlr's Psychedelic Odyssey
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10-06-2013, 09:46 AM
RE: cjlr's Psychedelic Odyssey
We now return to our regularly scheduled odyssey.

From Malaysia, the curious traveller heads north; by land one passes up the Krai peninsula (I may get to Thailand later; not enough material right now), but by sea one may head directly to our next stop: Cambodia.

Cambodia was so 60s it hurts - if the grinding undercurrent of gloom and fatalism in the West was bad (from "Eve of Destruction" to "Gimme Shelter" by way of "Effigy") then son, you ain't seen nothing yet. When you replace shitty oppressive colonialism with a choice between bloody communists and corrrupt stooges, you're gonna have a bad time.

People being people, they kept making music. And people being people, there was the same energy in Cambodia as anywhere else. The new music imported from the US - and other neighbouring countries, if this thread has taught you anything! - was exciting, it was modern, it was international (and yet had a local touch everywhere it went). So some kids in the early 60s got their hands on their first electric instruments... It's mostly lighter stuff, ballads (a LOT of cheesy ballads), dance pop, that sort, but it's great pop. The really jaded stuff came from South Vietnam next door (but we'll get to that in due time). The military coup in 1970 barely slowed things; things continued right through 1974.

In the 90s this stuff started to be rediscovered; karaoke's huge in Cambodia and all the old songs are there. Often with hilarious and bizarre video accompaniment (there's nothing else quite like like low budget karaoke backing videos), which is interesting in its own way, though I tried to find uploads of just the music.

Fair warning here: the vocals are particularly "non-western"; often high register and often pitched sharper than the backing; some people really can't stand it.

Sinn Sossamouth might be considered the father figure of the era; he was one of the first to electrify, and was really a major influence on all music for the decade before the fall. He made it first on his voice, but he was a great lyricist and pop composer as well.

A favourite collaborator of his was singer Pan Ron (whose sister Pan Rom was also a star). She was about the only one I know of who made it out alive, come '75...

Sometimes the rhythms were straight up lifted from foreign songs (CCR, in this case); but you sure can't say they didn't make it their own.

Maybe the most famous from that era is Ros Sereysothea. Her story starts out in a way anyone can get behind; pretty young girl with a beautiful voice makes it big.

It all came crashing down, of course. 1975 saw the Khmer Rouge takeover. Artists and the 'western influenced' were high priority targets. Anyone involved in the above almost certainly earned their way to an anonymous grave in the killing fields. Folklore has it that her guards asked Ros Sereysothea to sing one last time before leaving her facedown in a ditch.

The music survives.
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10-06-2013, 08:26 PM
RE: cjlr's Psychedelic Odyssey
Oh man. I just realized I can rate my own thread with five stars.

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20-06-2013, 12:31 PM
RE: cjlr's Psychedelic Odyssey
Just a quick taste for now. Here is a group out of Greece. 2002 GR were formed just after the 1973 coup, so they had a pretty dodgy time of it at times. Bit late to be the prime psychedelic era, but what the hey.

First, a cut off their debut album, a track called o politismos (culture):

Here's my pick of their discography, o trellos (madness):

But here they are performing (m'esena o kosmos gelai - the world laughs with you) on a shitty ass 70s TV show. Any song with just one lyric pretty much has to be psychedelic, right? Someone asks you to define priceless, you point 'em to this clip:

I am working ("working") on a nice long couple posts for our next full scheduled stop to every lonely geek's favourite country - that's right, ladies and gentlemen: next stop, Japan.
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26-06-2013, 12:43 PM (This post was last modified: 27-06-2013 08:13 PM by cjlr.)
RE: cjlr's Psychedelic Odyssey
So unlike the other stops on our tour, you all probably know that Japan was a part of the happening world by the 1960s. But it was a more happening place than a lot of people realize; cultural imports from Japan only took the world by storm come the 1980s, but right back to the 1950s there were a lot of cultural imports to Japan. And certainly the quintessentially 60s undercurrent of discord and change was present (fun fact: during the late 50s and early 60s there were more strike days for workers in Japan than in either France or the UK - so much for the quietly loyal salaryman!).

Mainstream music of the era was, as might be expected, a mix of traditional styles and that hot new stuff from the foreign records. Tokyo was well underway to becoming the all-consuming world city it is today. Some trends were already beginning - a tendency to disposable cutesy idols, and a perhaps unsettling fascination with part-foreigners.

But no. We are after music. And there was a lot of sweet, sweet music. So let's begin! Music was pretty poppy for a long time (kayokyoku - the original J-pop). Western (well, more western) stuff blew up in the later 60s, termed, more or less, "Group Sounds".

Rock comes mostly from the blues. So, you want the Japanese version? Mix a little enka into your pop?
We have that.

Pure sex, by the way.

You want covers of western songs?
We have that.

You want slurred phonetic covers of western songs?
We have that.

Mix in some jazz?
We have that.

Jun Mayuzumi being a pretty famous (mostly jazz) singer with the odd great pop and psych tinged outing.

So yes, we totally have that.

Mop tops and Sgt Pepper uniforms?
We have that. (meet the Lions!).

Really, really goofy album covers?
We so have that. Here are the Gullivers.

A trend towards ever heavier fuzz?
Do we ever have that. (note, if it matters, that the next song - from the Flowers - is from rather later than the photo of 'em in question)

Can't go wrong with a little Yuya Uchida and the Flowers. Speaking of whom, stay tuned...

But no, you say. That's not psych enough.

Deranged screaming? Distortion?
We have that.

Remember that Yuya Uchida guy? Yeah, this is his next band (the two tracks I posted above do show the direction they were moving in). Flower Travellin Band are great. Their debut album was mostly covers, but the actual album cover art was all of them nude, standing around in a field. The follow-up had them on motorcycles (in the nude). Classy. Spent some time in Toronto, actually, hanging out with my favourite local boys Lighthouse. Never made the big time and disbanded in 1973. They've got a track about the bombing in Hiroshima.

Speaking of deranged...
We have more of that. Topical segue from our last mention there, this is an album about death and dying. This is literally the only part of it I could find on youtube, but that's okay, it's two of the better tracks. A better translation would be "a perverted man kills and eats a young girl" and "a slow and subtle poisoning".

The keyboard player for those guys is Hiro Yanagida, who had a great solo album or two. Except he's probably better known for the his work with a supergroup called Foodbrain.

Foodbrain lasted for one album, 1970's Social Gathering. Very psych. Very tight. And the select cut is 3:45 of perfection known as Waltz for M.P.B.

In turn, the guitar player for Foodbrain was a man named Shinki Chen, who had as many styles as girlfriends. He formed a group Speed, Glue and Shinki (Speed and Glue being the nicknames of the drummer and bassist respectively, for their drugs of choice; Shinki is just Shinki); reminiscent of Cream. Drummer Masayoshi Kabe had his own earlier Group Sounds foray (with the Golden Cups). After the trio dissolved, Shinki recorded an epic solo album, 1971's Shinki Chen and his Friends.
Which, aside from the epic cover, contains such classics as

Because I rather suspect there's a size limit to single posts, I shall leave you to drift out on the Pink Floyd-esque strains of the 1973 gem, Far Out's Nihonjin (meaning nothing less than Japanese-ness):

Far Out later became the Far East Family Band, and... well, no, I think that's enough for today Wink.
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26-06-2013, 01:07 PM (This post was last modified: 26-06-2013 01:12 PM by ridethespiral.)
RE: cjlr's Psychedelic Odyssey
Just started listening to this thread....freaking sweet. I listen to a lot of psychedelia but most of it comes/came out of the US.

Getting lit up with my bass a bottle of wine and a drummer (real or mechanized) and just jamming is the closest thing to a religious experience I've ever had.

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26-06-2013, 01:26 PM
RE: cjlr's Psychedelic Odyssey
(26-06-2013 01:07 PM)ridethespiral Wrote:  Just started listening to this thread....freaking sweet.

Aaaaw yeeeeeah.

(26-06-2013 01:07 PM)ridethespiral Wrote:  Getting lit up with my bass a bottle of wine and a drummer (real or mechanized) and just jamming is the closest thing to a religious experience I've ever had.
I'm a saxophone player, myself, and my drug of choice varies - but the principle's the same.
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26-06-2013, 02:31 PM
RE: cjlr's Psychedelic Odyssey
What the hell am I listening to... Tongue

[Image: 0013382F-E507-48AE-906B-53008666631C-757...cc3639.jpg]
Credit goes to UndercoverAtheist.
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26-06-2013, 06:58 PM
RE: cjlr's Psychedelic Odyssey

This isn't even psych but I can't help myself. Funk's like that.


Is that perfect or what?

Oh and PS: scrawny little Japanese girls got PLENTY of soul, thank you very much.

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27-06-2013, 11:59 AM
RE: cjlr's Psychedelic Odyssey
So, now that I know I have actual readers here, I must ask:

Fellow travellers - where to next?

I could, very easily, put together a travelogue for Turkey, home to much greatness in the era.

Stopovers along the way might include any of Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as India (Dharmatma, you guys! Dharmatma!).

We could return to Africa, where there were three big centres. Nigeria, which I touched on but could easily be expanded. Ethiopia, with a lot of tight stuff going on. South Africa, with some true classics; less removed from the UK/US origins - though, my very favourite tracks are not on Youtube.

Eastern Europe had a number of great bands; recordings are very limited, given the tight controls over the process.

Brazil would be another good stop. That's easily a good sized post. Then there's the rest of Latin America. We'd probably have to go all the way from Tierra del Fuego to the Rio Grande in one wallop, though - there simply wasn't much of a psychedelic wave in most of the region - let alone what's found its way onto youtube for me to show you!

And of course there's the REST of continental Europe. Less obscure than the others, I would have though, but of course there's fun to be had digging into the back catalogue.

Would returning to a prior stop be of interest? There's more from each of our previous layovers, though I did generally open with the highlights.


Should I just throw a dart at a world map?
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28-06-2013, 02:47 PM
RE: cjlr's Psychedelic Odyssey

The more non-Western-sounding, the better. Smile

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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