Year: 2020
Original format: MP3

When I started this I thought it would be ready in time for the beginning of summer, hopefully in a world that had gotten more or less back to normal. Obviously things did not work out that way. But it did eventually get done, and at least we still have music. That’s something.

Playlist:

Guided Smile Meditation (excerpt) Mushy Krongold & Vulfpeck
This is just a taste of a much longer piece. In case you feel like you need the whole thing:

Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow (excerpt) Funkadelic
Likewise:

Kingdom of Heaven (Is Within You) 13th Floor Elevators

Open King Missile
Q: Isn’t this lovely, thought-provoking slice of neo-psychedelia by the same band that did “Detachable Penis”? A: Yes, it is; stop looking so surprised.

Kundalini Express Love and Rockets
“Watching a room full of people trying to dance to this is a curious experience. But it clangs and it crashes and it ‘Neoooowwwss’ with its guitar lines like a big goth rock anthem is supposed to. Lyrically it reads like a service announcement during a delay due to everyone just being a bit bummed out. The fact this band was made up of Ex-Members of Gothic sacred text Bauhaus and that they went on to make more than half a dozen albums just goes to show something or another. All I can tell you is the Kundalini Express Bus Replacement Service would take you the opposite direction of wherever you want to go and get you there about a year before you left.” —Steve for the Deaf

Awaiting on You All George Harrison
“One day, while I was commuting to work and listening to an audio Bible of Romans, my mind was suddenly taken over by a song I hadn’t heard in years.  The song was ‘Awaiting on You All’ by George Harrison.  Right away I tried to push it aside because George was a follower of eastern mysticism, and much of his work was influenced by that.  However, I couldn’t shake the song, and instead the Holy Spirit started overlaying the lyrics with what I was listening to in Romans and…it lined up…surprisingly well.  If you don’t want your mind poisoned by rock and roll lyrics, I understand; so turn back now and read another article or something.  But if you’re curious to see what the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart through something already ingrained in my mind, then read on.” —The Layman’s Bible

Open Your Eyes The Lords of the New Church
Once upon a time — not that long ago, really, in the grand scheme of things — you could see this on MTV and have your young mind warped like mine was:

Open Up Your Mind (Wide) The Gap Band
Q: Should I really take spiritual advice from the same guys who wrote “Party Train” and “You Dropped a Bomb on Me?” A: Yes, you should; stop looking so surprised.

Seeds of Life Harlem River Drive
“Eddie Palmieri’s supergroup Harlem River Drive was the first group to really merge black and Latin styles and musicians, resulting in a free-form brew of salsa, funk, soul, jazz, and fusion…. Named as an ironic reference to the New York City street which allowed predominantly suburban drivers to bypass East Harlem entirely on their way to lower Manhattan, Harlem River Drive released their groundbreaking debut album in 1970.” —John Bush, Allmusic.com

First Growth Roots Manuva
“It was as a kid. Before I even knew what a sound system was. I was walking past Stockwell skateboard park and there was this sound being set up. They were probably just trying out their speakers. I was with my mum, holding my mum’s hand. And I remember my mum being quite intimidated by the whole affair. Such a barrage of bass coming from it! And these dodgy-looking blokes standing beside it just admiring the sound of their bass. It’s just a bass thing. A volume thing. I don’t know if I rose-tint the memories, but I remember it sounded so good, so rich. It’s not like today when we go to clubs and it hurts. It was more of a life-giving bass.” —Rodney Hylton Smith, a/k/a Roots Manuva

Mountain Energy The Fall
“I always thought the song is about repressed or inexpressed potential, on how society’s rules and mundane tasks can cripple or obstacle the free flowing of ideas.” —Rema999, The Annotated Fall

Get Thy Bearings Donovan
This song has a long and weird history. After it appeared on Donovan’s 1968 album The Hurdy Gurdy Man, it was covered by King Crimson — who turned it into a lengthy, rather painful prog-wank. In 1991, Biz Markie sampled it on his I Need a Haircut album. Then in 2003 a group called the Sand Dollars released this vintage-sounding version; I rather like.

Aoi Natsu Takuro Yoshida
I found this lovely little tune on a compilation called Even a Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969–1973. But though the liner notes tell us that “‘Aoi Natsu’ originally appeared on the 1973 album Otogi Zoushi, and was released as a single 26 years later as it gained popularity as the theme song for the popular spooky film series Gakkou No Kaidan,” they’re not much help in figuring out what the song’s about. Google translates “Aoi Natsu” as… “Aoi Natsu” — which is, how you say, unhelpful; and as for finding the full lyrics, fuhgeddaboutit. This might be a good time to mention that American Magic and Dread would welcome applications for the post of Japanese Editor.

Open Book Jose Gonzalez
“I really wanted it to be hopeful; moving on from loss without ignoring the past, looking forward to being in the warmth of other suns. I like to make myself smaller though. If you only look at it as a poem, it can sound pretty Disney. But I’m really happy with the song. I think the message comes through.” —Jose Gonzalez

The Garden Is Open The Fugs
Q: Wait, this widescreen hallucinogenic pastorale is by the same band who did “Boobs a Lot”? A: Stop asking stupid questions.

Interstellar Overdrive (excerpt) Pink Floyd
“‘Interstellar Overdrive’ originated when early Pink Floyd manager Peter Jenner was trying to hum a song he could not remember the name of (most commonly identified as Love’s cover of ‘My Little Red Book’). Guitarist and vocalist Syd Barrett followed Jenner’s humming with his guitar and used it as the basis for the principal melody.” —Wikipedia

All Gates Open Can
“The gates, they couldn’t say where the beats came from.”

The Garden Einsturzende Neubaten
“While at a Goya exhibition at The Prado Museum in Madrid in 1994, Blixa [Bargeld] overheard a conversation in which one ‘elderly’ lady said to another: ‘You will find me if you want me in the garden, unless it’s pouring down with rain.’” —James Taintor, Genius.com


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