Though I loved the Zap comics of the late 60’s, it seemed to me that it was the psychedelic music was the art from that was the most profound. (Albeit, I never did see a Joshua light show since they were more or less obsolete by the early seventies when I began going to concerts.) The tremendous influence of psychedelic music never really left due to the highly popular (and profitable) heritage of the 60’s groups Pink Floyd, the Doors, the psychedelic era Beatles, the Jefferson Airplane (who had 2  number 1 hits in 1967 when they came out with the brilliant and inscrutable “After Bathing at Baxter’s”) …and of course the Grateful Dead (one of the highest grossing performing acts of all times - until the mid nineties when Jerry Garcia died).  Now the Incredible String Band pastiche “new weird folk” music of Joanna Newsom, Bandhart and others seems to be gaining real popularity.  

 

Although the art punk era of 76 – 80’s was a reaction to the excesses of hippydom, I believe punk-post-punk had a lot more in common with psychedelic music than is normally let on through what Steven Pinker calls the status seeking “conspicuous outrage’ of hair styles and dress, dada-like musical styles (as with Captain Beefheart’s highly influential dada-psychedelic approach), and their libertarian socialist/anarchist tendencies. The beautiful Dead C recordings in the 80s were quite psychedelic in my view as were the proto “new weird folk” of the Tall Dwarfs and Alistair Galbraith. Even the Fall admit they owe quite a bit to this psychedelic era… as do the songs of the post-post-post-pop punk of Green Day.

 

And there have been many cross-overs with “serious” music. When my friends and I first heard Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians” in the late 70’s we were astounded by the similarity of passages with Pink Floyd’s “Meddle” from 1971. The transcendental eastern influences of Steve Reich’s 70’s work attracted both aging hippies and young art punks. As those who went to see the Kronos Quartet at Womad, heard one of Steve Reich’s main interpreters easily segue from the minimalism of Reich to an amazing interpretation of Jimi Hendrix’s feedback drenched “Star Spangle Banner”.  A number 1 song by the Who in the late seventies had (instead of the normal Spinal Tap guitar solo) a psychedelic interlude that owed more to Philip Glass than the Magic Bus era Who.

 

What does this all have to do with Image and Space? Well I’m not sure, but as Sun Ra said, “space is the place” – that irrational and creative bit of our minds that psychedelic music seems to encourage (or at least it does with me).

 

 

Cheers,

 

 

Brit

 

 

 

 

 

 


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