The History of The Albums – n°362 (late episode, I missed episode 362)
In the middle of the sixties, the psychedelic scene gave birth to three music groups called Kaleidoscope, and when you look at them without paying attention, there is a lot of confusion. In reality there is a world of difference between them. If a similar situation would happen nowadays, we would find it a bit crazy, as if three bands with the same name released an album within a few months of each other in the same musical genre. Fortunately for the time, these bands were so far apart geographically that nobody had heard of each other. The first Kaleidoscope was an American band from Southern California, formed in 1966 and led mainly by multi-instrumentalist David Lindley and Chris Dar-row. Although they released some interesting singles and albums, the Californians were mostly known on the local folk circuit and left a memorable mark, since the band was able to offer such an eclectic music that crossed many borders. Let's just say that the passion that animated them was a rich, uninhibited, creative folklore. On the other hand, the American band was very attached to the authentic and to their roots, accomplished and talented musicians who became studio references later on. The second Kaleidoscope is a relatively short-lived band from Santo Domingo in terms of record releases. Particularly energetic, their music was very distorted and surrealistic, which can be found on their only eponymous album. However, the band and the album we're looking at today will be British, heading to London because it's probably the most sensible choice. The London quartet is a treasure of the psychedelic era, known only by specialists and the underground, yet it is highly recommended not to make the mistake of missing it. In a few words, if you are building a psychedelic record collection, Tangerine Dream is clearly a must have
Formed in 1967 by Peter Daltrey, Eddie Pumer, Steve Clark and Danny Bridgman, the band has never known success, even under their other pseudonyms: Fairfield Parlour and I Luv Wight. In fact, none of them (even leader Daltrey) really pursued a solo career or another band afterwards. Yet these guys were really good. Their particularity was based on the combination of their musical signatures and their whimsical lyrics as if you were immersed in contemporary musical tales influenced by great writers like Charles Perrault, Straparole, Grimm or Andersen. Let's say that if surrealism and fantasy already existed in small doses in psychedelic music, Kaleidoscope were the best to embody this particularity. It was in 1967 that the group became Kaleidoscope, through their first signing to Fontana. Despite the support of the public, the radios and the critics, the group always remained in the shadow of the spotlights. They are thus part of the bands cursed by the music industry, but while entering the category of mythical and talented bands that have known how to survive and shine retrospectively, as another example that you should always follow your own desires rather than fully trust those chosen by the system.
Recorded throughout 1967, you can find Tangerine Dream on Youtube in acceptable quality. This album immerses you in a universe where few albums from the 60's really do, as it works very well as an entity and an experience that seems to be reflected in that way. The first thing that stands out is that musically Tangerine Dream is quite breathtaking in its timelessness, even though of course you immediately understand that you are listening to a 60's album especially in the vocal harmonies. However it is amazing to see the quality of the sound generally sounding like something fresh. Let's not forget that this is a band with a very low budget. Throughout Tan-gerine Dream, Peter Daltrey offers a seductive fairy tale-like writing that creates situations that describe reality and morality through the introduction of fictional or surreal characters. Musically, the guitarist Eddy Pumer acts as a conductor, a versatile and creative composer, not hesitating to combine folk ballads with psychedelic turbulence. Kaleidoscope can be summed up by the folk harmonies of Simon & Garfunkel, the primal energy of the Beatles' Merseybeat, the intonation and rootiness of the Kinks and the experimental madness of Pink Floyd under Syd Barrett.
Let's say that the only negative point is that musically they are content to be excellent and in-ventive, without being extraordinary like those I mentioned before. The eponymous song shows directly that your happiness will be assured when listening to this album. Moreover the pi-ano/percussion introduction of this one reminds me gently of Whole Life of Perfume Genius. There is no time to get bored when traveling through this album, soft folk melodies combine with majestic Baroque Pop, or it takes an uncontrollable turn with a bewitching psychedelia. Many details embellish the whole. When it's not musical, it's a vocal melody, a close harmony or the lyrics that bring the icing on the cake or vice versa. Among the most delicious moments, we find first of all Flight From Ashiya, a first single very aerial to refer obviously to the subject treated of a plane crash. The pulverizing Further Reflections In The Room Of Percussion makes you feel like you've ingested something too acidic without really doing it. I love this ability to keep the instrumentation on the edge of your seat with a hypnotic rhythm, while offering often off-beat melodies. Holidaymaker features Latin horns that make you feel like you're taking a ride like a cowboy in the middle of the desert. This ability to handle the tumult of rhythmic changes is quite disconcerting for the time, where everyone wants to remain conventional. The masterpiece concludes the album and is called The Sky Children. In this acid ballad of almost 8 minutes, Kaleidoscope optimizes on a large format all the essence of the band, a real wonder ultra contagious. If Tangerine Dream is sensational, it's because the leading duo were very talented songwriters who knew how to draw soundscapes and endearing characters to animate little stories that captivate you no matter your age, like the one we read to you when you were a child before sleeping.