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Bodhi Heeren (Copenhagen)
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Fire and Rain
Fire and Rain
by David Browne
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting rock history, 4 Aug 2011
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This review is from: Fire and Rain (Hardcover)
This very well written and entertaining book chronicles in novelist fashion four groundbreaking albums: "Deja Vu" (CSNY), "Sweet Baby James" (James Taylor), "Bridge Over Troubled Water"(Simon & Garfunkel) and "Let It Be".

Actually the focus is not so much on the albums themselves - Brownes interpretations of the various songs are surely one of the weaker aspects of the book - but more the tumultous lifes of the involved artists. All 3 bands at the verge of break up and breakdown, leaving James Taylor in many ways as the 'hero' of the story.

No doubt David Browne has put lots of effort and research into this work, though apparently CSN are the only ones who have actually wanted to participate in the books making. He also succesfully manages to put the music in to a larger perspective: Nixon, Vietnam war, bombings running rampant in the US (a rather forgotten aspect of the times), the killings at US university campuses by the national guard, the Mason family.

In the end though he doesn't really make it evident why such brilliant and long lasting Art could grow out of all this trivial in-fighting and dope misuse. The idea that perhaps Art is a sphere of it's own with its owm laws seem foreign to him. Which might be connected with his disdain for the more spiritual aspects of these artists as when he says that '..he[Phil Spector] even made the chant "Hare Krishna" in "My Sweet Lord" palatable'.

A fine read for anyone into rock history and ofc for anyone interested in these four formidable acts.

The Other Side of Haight
The Other Side of Haight
by James Fadiman
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful and entertaining, 3 Aug 2011
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James Fadiman, one of the leading experts in the field of repsonsible use of psychedelics, apparently always dreamed of being an author. And, hey, the man can really write. This is a enthralling and captivating novel, at no time would you think the author isn't a 'professional'.

Fadiman himself lived quite a double life in this period, respectable Stanford student and at the same time enroled in the circle around Ken Kesey and his merry pranksters. So this brilliant story set in the high days of Haight Ashbury is based on personal experiences and that shows.

A reasonably intriguing plot, some interesting characters that you really get to 'know and love'. Sexual encounters described with tenderness and tantric knowing and - not surprising - some VERY convincing trip scenes obviously based on a broad scope of self exploration. And as a high light the human be-in with Grateful Dead, Leary, Allen Ginsberg, in many ways reminding of Milos Forman's "Hair".

Beautiful book not only for old heads but for everyone (old and young)into a well written flash back to the glory days of hippie-dome

Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys
Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys
by James Fadiman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.18

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The power of psychedelics, 1 Aug 2011
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A brilliant and thoughtful book by one of the leading proponents of safe and responsible use of psychedelics, primarily LSD.

Although he acknowledges the spiritual power of entheogenic substances the main focus of the book is how to use these substances to enhance creativity. Based on his own research - together with Willis Harman - in the 60s. As well as eye witness accounts from recent times. Also touching on the (controversial) subject of regular use of low dose LSD in every day (work) life.

The book has many scopes. accounts of the mind and career changing events for the early pioneers like Albert Hofmann, Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, Huston Smith and Stan Grof. Interviews with James Fadiman himself taken from Higher Wisdom (SUNY Series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology)and Time it Was: American Stories from the Sixties.

Although Fadiman clearly defines himself as a law abiding citizen this book DO contain some well thought out and reasonable criteria for a succesful session. Especially focusing on the need of an experienced guide (who does NOT- unlike in the Leary experiments - take the substance her self). Personally I think there can be arguments for self experimentation with out outside helpers - as described in Acid Diaries: A Psychonauts Guide to the History and Use of LSD. As even the most emphatetic guide might influence and subtly shape the experience.

Unlike the embarrasing Psychedelic Healing: The Promise of Entheogens for Psychotherapy and Spiritual Development this book is clearly written by an experienced psychonaut with a broad and spiritual vision. Personally I think of these substances as sacraments and that using them for any mundane purpose is like the executives meditating before a business meeeting - if they really knew what they were doing, if they really went into it they may (to quote Jerry Garcia) rather feel like going outside chasing butterflies than attending the planned meeting. But no doubt Fadiman's case stories are weighty arguments for the (obvious)fact of the creativity enhancing potential of LSD.

Essential read for everyone into qualified discussion of the benefits of these substances for the growth of humanity in all aspects of Life.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 5, 2012 5:34 PM BST

Price: £5.53

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic psychedelic power trio, 14 July 2011
This review is from: Road (MP3 Download)
Had this been the new release from Colour Haze or some other neo-psychedelic band I'm sure it would have been met with the highest praise. Cause this is power trio at it's best.

Wonderful wah-wah driven lead courtesy of Rod Richards (Rare Earth), the thunderous bass of the legendary Noel Redding, it might be fair to call this album his finest moment as a bass player. And over-the-top drums from Les Sampson. All in all a rather un-commercial and very trippy affair. Titles like "Mushroom Man" and "Spaceship Earth" really tells it all.

The compositons may lack a little in the originality department, and Noel isn't as good a singer as he is on the bass, but all in all a must for lovers of psyched out trio rock at it's heaviest and grooviest.

Price: £11.75

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a fusion classic!!, 12 July 2011
This review is from: Knirsch (Audio CD)
I have to admit that this album went somewhat over my head when I first listened to it in my youth. But re-listening to it now I'm completely blown away. This is a fantastic mix of jazz-rock and kraut and some weird electronic experiments. Larry Coryell once again shows what an inventive and prolific player he was (is). Contributing two compositions: "The Real Great Escape" a thunderous opening with a clear nod to Jimi Hendrix. And what must be the first recorded version of "Yin", a composition that would be kind of a signature tune in his years as fusion star.

Wolfgang Dauner is a marvelous keyboardplayer almost on par with Zawinul, Hancock and at the same time an adventurous avantgardist as shown on "Yang" 11 min.s of total electronic weirdness. Günter Lenz discreet and solid - as one would expect from this jazz and session veteran. Jon Hiseman at his thunderous best in perfect interplay with Fred Braceful on percussion.

Add to this a stellar audiophile remastering, the sound is a lot clearer - actually crystal clear - than on my old vinyl version. This is a forgotten fusion gem that should appeal to all lovers of the strange, the transcendental and the beautiful.

The only thing that hasn't improved with age is the horrible cover art, really hiding this shining diamond in the ugliest mud.

Price: £6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive version, 11 July 2011
This review is from: Hair (Audio CD)
Having loved Hair since I first saw it on stage - in 1968 - hand in hand with my teen love and being completely blown out by Milos Forman's intelligent movie this is one my favorite albums.

The arrangements are perfect and so is the playing not least the gutwrenching bass by legendary Chuck Rainey. Powerful horns and a great funk feeling abounds although the music also can get trippy and psychedelic when that's called for (as in 'Electric Blues' or 'Walking In Space'). And deeply emotional as in the heart gripping and tear provoking 'Easy To Be Hard'.

As a bonus we get a couple of tunes, 'Air' and 'Frank Mills', that didn't feature in the movie.

It's great that this intriguing 'hippie'-musical still lives on, but as good as the 2009 version might be this is certainly still the definite versions of these classic songs.

Price: £16.43

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quiet Scandinavian beauty, 7 July 2011
This review is from: Pictures (Audio CD)
Bass maestro Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen had apparently a love for the duo - recording with the likes of Joe Pass, Paul Bley, Kenny Drew - giving his beautiful, lyrical and melodic bassplaying amble room to really shine.

On this forgotten gem he teams up with fellow Dane Kenneth Knudsen, probably best known from fusion/prog legends Secret Oyster. All contemporary music with 4 compositions by Knudsen and 2 from NHOP. And very relaxed, introspective and beautiful. Recorded 2 days in december 1976 and definitely reflecting the melancholy beauty of Danish winter.

Although best known for his syntheziser wizardry Knudsen is here primarily heard on piano and rhodes. Mostly providing intricate soundscapes and harmonies with NHOP being the lead soloist.

Meditative and relaxing and a record you can hear again and again - always finding something new to appreciate.

Resource - In Copenhagen 1973 - 74
Resource - In Copenhagen 1973 - 74
Price: £16.53

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine moments of adventurous fusion-jazz, 7 July 2011
Two rather diverse recordings from Ed Thigpen's early years in Copenhagen. I belonged to the fortunate few that saw the formidable Asmussen/Thigpen Quartet in the small but very famous jazzclub Montmartre from where these recordings are taken. Unfortunately they give only a vague impression of the magic of the evenings (they played there a week or so). But what we get is great fusion inspired jazz. The always adventurous Svend Asmusssen playing his violin electrified and with echoplex and wah-wah. Some fine electric bass from Mads Vinding (Secret Oyster, Burning Red Ivanhoe)and ofc Ed Thigpen driving everything while Kjell Ohman's hammond keeps the harmonies together and also delivers some fine soloes.

The second album Ed Thigpen's Action-Reaction is a far more adventurous jazzrock outing, very much in the vain of Airto Moreira, Weather Report and ofc Miles Davis. With the legendary Palle Mikkelborg all over the place both as trumpetist, arranger and composer. Both Ohman and Vinding are also part of this band, Vinding showing what a great electric player he was before he exclusively turned to the double bass and more conventional jazz. Sabu Martinez (congas) and Carlinhos Pandeiro DeOuro (percussion)gives the latin impression.

Visionary music from a fruitful time in Danish jazz. And take note: this album(s) have nothing to do with Stephane Grapelli.

Price: £28.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars smooth blessing, 3 July 2011
This review is from: Reconnection (Audio CD)
I guess the name George Wadenius may not be so familiar to a large audience, although this brilliant guitarist is the most succesful Scandinavian (rock)musician ever. Having recorded and/or toured with the likes of Blood, Sweat & Tears, Steely Dan, Grace Slick, Paul Simon a.m.o.. Been a member of the legendary Saturday Night Live band. And ofc starting his career with the visionary prog, jazz, psychedelic trio Made In Sweden.

Here he celebrates turning 65 with his first soloalbum in some years. Offering up a tasty mix of covers (Dire Straits, Cat Stevens, Police, Peter Gabriel)mixed with some smooth jazz like instrumental vignetes. All proving that he still has the chops and a beautiful and subtle command of the guitar.

A highlight is a very rare cameo from the legendary Frida (ABBA), who sure sounds a bit rusty but nonetheless delivers a moving and beautiful interpretation of "Morning Has Broken". Nina Persson from The Cardigans shines on "Brothers In Arms". But the high light might be Wadenius's own "Sometimes" (originally on Where Do We Begin), the beautiful melody and Cynthia Weil's deep lyrics making it one of the best love songs ever.

Perhaps the album lacks a bit of urgency and necesity but surely makes up for it with class and style.

John McLaughlin: The Emerald Beyond
John McLaughlin: The Emerald Beyond
by Kenneth R. Trethewey
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too little insight, too many opinions, 2 July 2011
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This book is no doubt a labor of love, an overview of all solo albums by John Mclaughlin from 1969 to 2008 and also covering a wide selection of his works as sideman or bandleader. Though with some strange omitings like Carla Bley's historic "Escalator Over The Hill", Jack Bruce's "Things We Like" or Larry Coryell's "Spaces". The latter gets some comments though that unfortunately shows the author is completely unfamiliar with the career of Coryell.

What we get is - for the most part - a track for track analysis of the albums, although without the in-depth knowledge and deeper insight that makes it worthwile to read another persons opinion about music you know so well yourself.

And needless to say I dont agree in many of his assesments, loving the early psychedelic work of John in Lifetime or on "Devotion", which Trethewey considers 1 star material. And the book is definitely not without factual errors.

A well-meant attempt at throwing light on this often criminally underrated Artist, but not very well written and unfortunately with out any understanding of the spiritual side of John's life and music. Which makes the title rather misleading. His interest/love is Mclaughlin the jazz musician not the visionary.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 12, 2011 11:23 AM GMT

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