On a handful of solo discs guitarist and current Philadelphia resident Chris Forsyth has been establishing his presence on the scene for roughly the last half decade. With Intensity Ghost, he steps forward as the leader of a working unit, the Solar Motel Band. Their LP contains five outstanding tracks of instrumental psych-rock executed sans nonsense, and it’s freshly available from the No Quarter label.
Individuals and groups were most assuredly making abstract, mind-altering music long prior to the 1960s intersection of heightened (self-)consciousness, rapidly expanding rock styles and prime chemicals; for one example please tilt an ear toward the strange tangle of sound that is “Fiorassio,” a 1930 78 of Efisio Melis on the launeddas, a Sardinian woodwind instrument also known as the triple clarinet or the triple pipe (said piece can be heard on the first volume of Yazoo Records’ The Secret Museum of Mankind).
But it’s hard to deny that when the subject of psychedelia is broached, most folks including this writer immediately think of the 1960s psych-rock explosion. And this isn’t off-target, since so much of it hit racks during the period, and not just in the USA and Great Britain; like punk rock, it really was a global phenomenon.
But roll back the clock thirty years and psychedelia was pretty out of vogue, at least on a mainstream level. On the margins as part of the Paisley Underground an ample amount of psych-aligned stuff was touched by Neil Young and The Byrds (we’ll leave Farfisa-driven retro-garage out of this); yes, there was Brit neo psychedelia and the twisted drug-punk of the Butthole Surfers, but a more appropriate specimen pertaining to this review would be The Meat Puppets.