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    Main » 2015 » December » 3 » the Astral Projection ~ 1968 ~ The Astral Scene
    the Astral Projection ~ 1968 ~ The Astral Scene
    the Astral Projection ~ 1968 ~ The Astral Scenegenre: psych
    state: us
    quality: lossless (flac, cue, log, covers, size: 157 mb)
    time: 30'30"

    A straight reissue of a 1968 album originally issued on Metromedia, The Astral Scene is one of those weirdly compelling pop albums that could have only emanated from the Age of Aquarius. A conceptual undertaking meant to reveal the wondrous cycle of the telepathic phenomenon of astral projection. The album somehow manages to communicate the complex precepts of astral experience in lay terms and remain deliciously frothy pop at the softest, most easy-listening end of the spectrum. It works the same sonic conceit as the Fifth Dimension (only in lily-white, soul-lite mode) or the stable of bands (the Association, Ballroom, Sagittarius, and Millennium) produced or helmed by Curt Boettcher, only without the countercultural credibility and legitimately trippy factor. That's because the album, as with dozens of similar efforts from the era, is really a quasi-exploitive cash-in project. Essentially a studio creation conceived and written by Bernice Ross and Lor Crane, who did not take part in the actual recording (although the latter co-produced). The playing was done by ace sessionmen (Al Gorgoni, Hugh McCracken, Frank Owens, Buddy Saltzman, etc.), and then the music overlaid with delicate strings, and a brass and woodwind section.

    In a sense, it entirely missed the thrust of the decade's more original and exploratory music that it meant to exploit. But in another cosmically ironic sense, it captures the heady era far more vibrantly than those more important artists, partly because the music of the Astral Projection is nowhere near as timeless as the music of those artists. And partly because the explosive creativity of the era filtered in weird and wonderful ways even down to the eternally unhip music business types responsible for this album, giving them carte blanche to experiment with the money formula, but not too much, thereby resulting in this odd hybrid of commercially minded but ultimately uncommercial music. Like most such efforts, it is wildly uneven and only intermittently successful, containing too much lightweight material and unbearably twee sentiment to take serious, but then that partial failure to execute its pretensions is perhaps the most intriguing aspect of such masterworks, and especially this one. Still, The Astral Scene is largely soft-pop ambience. Songs are scarely present (and as a result it's difficult to single out particular successes), which stands to reason since it is more studio exercise than artistic inspiration. Nevertheless, it has moments of pure delight that bring the '60s experience back in full technicolor. ~ Stanton Swihart

    Fuzz Acis & Flowers:
    A NYC studio project. In addition to the personnel above there's string, horn and woodwind sections - in the former is Harry Lookofsky, father of the Left Banke's Michael Brown (Lookofsky). Al Gorgoni was previously one half of Just Us, with Chip Taylor. Hugh McCracken had fronted his own outfit the Funatics, and became an in-demand session player.
    If orchestrated concept hippie-flower-pop is your bag (man), this should appeal. Garageniks, on the other hand, should steer clear. ~ (Max Waller/Stephane Rebeschini)

    01. (Astral Projection...leaving the body)Overture The Sunshine Seekers 3:00
    02. Plant Your Seed 2:50
    03. (Mind Flight)...Overture-The Airways of Imagination 3:26
    04. The Happening People 3:17
    05. Accordian Pleated Mind 2:35
    06. (Astral Expioration)...Overture Dreams, Shadows and Illusions 3:10
    07. Whatta We Gotta Lose 2:58
    08. Something To Believe In 2:48
    09. Today I Saw The Sunrise 2:14
    10. (Spiral Interiorization)...Overture -The Astral Scene 4:11

    Classical Guitar – Jay Berliner
    Arranged By, Conductor, Percussion – Lor Crane
    Guitar [Acc. Rhythm] – Al Gorgoni
    Bass [Fender] – Joseph Macho Jr.
    Electric Guitar – Hugh McCracken
    Piano – Frank Owens
    Cello – Seymour Barab
    Drums – Buddy Saltzman
    Concept By [Conceived By], Written-By – Bernice Ross, Lor Crane

    Clarinet – Boris Midney
    Flute, Oboe, English Horn, Bassoon, Alto Saxophone – Harold Keinz
    Harp – Eugene Bianco
    Trombone – Dominick J. Monardo
    Trombone [Bass] – Alan Raph
    Trumpet – James P. Sedlar, Joseph D. Newman
    Viola – David Sackson, Seymour Berman
    Violin – Harry Lookofsky, Irving Spice, Louis Haber, Louis Stone

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