This is seen as the best effort by the little known group named The Incredible String Band. Having made a great impression with their second album released in 1967 with an incredible long title (The 5000 Spirits Or The Layers Of The Onion), that album was for those who wanted a more stripped back version of Psychedelia that was just as artistic and interesting as anything that The Beatles and Pink Floyd were doing at the time. This follows, and was the group’s third album and musical historians value it dearly. Let’s dive in and hear what it sounds like, and hopefully it will be a great listen.
We begin with Koeeoaddi There which begins with beautiful singing, nicely strummed acoustic guitar and an exciting sense that this album is very, very good straight away. Some sitar is in the background here, before some keyboard sounds enter, along with rest of the piece sounding brilliant. A really interesting and brilliant piece, this piece has a bunch of sounds that really cannot be found elsewhere. Some very lyrical poetry is here as well, and it reflects a simpler and more peaceful era that has long gone from our world today. The mixture of poetic lyrics and Psychedelic sounds make this an essential and captivating listen. Towards the end, it changes tempo and orientation that is really clever sounding. Really decent tune, see if you can answer the riddle within this piece. Very good.
Following is The Minotaur’s Song which begins with brilliant piano and a simple vocal part that sounds great. Some extra vocal backup is here, verging on Gospel style delivery. This is another strange and surreal piece that is ridiculously good. The acoustic guitar and piano sections here are nothing but magnificent. Some minotaur based sounds are here, and this is very Syd Barrett like in the delivery of the song here. This is really amazing and very underrated to this day, and is a weird and wacky listen. The ending has some odd vocals and concludes with some clapping and nonsense chatter. Brilliantly wonderful.
Witches Hat is next, beginning with some eerie acoustic guitar parts and a calm, soft vocal. The lyrics are different, and the harpsichord here is really excellent. Some wind instrumentation is here, and flutters over the top of the mix. A really cool and extraordinary sounding piece of music, this is pure and amazing Pop/Rock that deserves to be rediscovered. Some la-la-las are here at the end, before this grand mesh of instrumentation gets frenetic and then concludes well. Brilliant.
A Very Cellular Song is 13 minutes long. It begins with keyboard, fiddle and some more clear and calm singing. It is an excellent tale of epic proportions that sounds really good. It is a village tale that sounds really awesome, with a gorgeous and wonderful musical backdrop to hear. The phrase goodnight and a story around simple and forgotten themes in Pop music are here, and this piece is a joyful and interesting listening experience. It has references to Christian ideals, and eventually enters into a quick fade out. The next section is led by harpsichord and bass guitar, and sounds like a really cool waltz of sorts. Very catchy, this sounds very much like late 1960s work, and a brilliant era of lost music. Cool tune with flute and kazoo, out of all instruments to listen to. The music here is of very high quality. The next section has singing about space travel, with keyboard and more fiddle, just sound really different and brilliant, too. A cool and awesome piece of real Psychedelic mastery. It launches into a wacky village styled section of music that is a gorgeous listen with an array of different and original sounds. References to animals in the woods and sounding very much like a Psychedelic journey in artistic terms. This is beautiful and never boring or dull throughout the length of this song. Some vocals and singing here about being single and free are here, with some soft keyboard sounds then follow. Some stories of slithering animals enter, before it returns to the section with fiddle to listen to. This continues on for some time, before a more percussion bongo oriented piece then gets going, and this piece sounds really great. With gorgeous and lyrics about having sunshine being on one’s soul repeats towards the end, building up to a wonderful climax. This is a really excellent piece of music that is the best 13 minutes of music you will ever hear. The chanting and instrumental playing continues into the fade out, excellent music.
Next along is Mercy I Cry City is a much shorter piece with a huge array of random instrumentation that is well structured and a gorgeous song to listen to. A wonderful and engaging listening experience that sounds really gorgeous and old school. It has a wonderful harmonica part that sounds interesting and drives this track along nicely. With references to urban life, this is a strange sort of upbeat tune about the bustling life of a city. Really excellent music, this is a wonderful listening experience. Totally great.
Following is Waltz Of The New Moon which begins with a village call cry sort of song which sings about the Emperor of China, although it is difficult to know which one as they are not named here. Regardless, this is another totally enjoyable and fresh sounding piece which is musically beautiful and enjoyable, with harp and harpsichord multitracked here into the piece. This still sounds revolutionary musically compared to some Punk releases a decade later, to be fair. Towards the middle, vocals rise and this piece sounds glorious and interesting. A really cool song about how seasonal changes can affect things, this is monumental. This album is a real late 1960s masterpiece, and this piece progresses nicely. Towards the end, some very warped lyrics and gorgeous instrumentation conclude, before we hear the sound of trickling water. Amazing music, it segues into the next piece.
The Water Song continues the watery sounds and has some really excellent 1960s wind instrumentation, and is a really gorgeous and amazingly simple piece that is once again really essential listening. Simple Psychedelic Folk is here, with some brilliant and imaginative lyrics. In the second half, some random percussion and plucked string instruments make this sound rather different. This continues, before more Christian style lyrics conclude this watery sounding piece. Excellent tune.
Three Is A Green Crown begins with some excellent wordless harmonies and some nicely plucked instrumentation. It launches into another very epic piece that goes well over seven minutes long. This one has multitracked sitars and is a timeless piece that would be great to meditate to. All the same, this sounds electrifying and decent, eventually launching into a very Indian sounding piece with more sitar and drums, sounding like an excellent Psychedelic jam that you can listen to. Very interesting and artistic, this is a really great and suspenseful listening experience. The playing here sounds perfectly executed and professionally done, and has some really trippy lyrics throughout. It goes into a short breakdown, before launching into a wonderful second half of glorious sounding music. This is no doubt constructed with Hippies in mind, but sounds far more broad than that. This piece of music is really great, singing about more mythical figures, such as Archangel Gabriel. A really cool and interesting listening experience, towards the end is a really decent section of instrumentation of sitar, percussion and odd keyboard sounds, concluding nicely. Good job.
Next along is Swift As The Wind which begins with some uptempo acoustic guitar parts, before wordless harmonies enter. Eventually lyrics are thrown into the mix here, singing about more Christian and historical based values here. Even if you are not a Christian, this is a really amazing listening experience. There is a brief pause as this piece stops, before going straight back into the Psychedelic Pop Folk. This piece is a little more textural than previous efforts, nonetheless it still sounds amazing. Some unusual percussion is on this one and this piece is a little repetitive. This is still a really great listening experience, mind you. A really different listen, it ends with some slowed down percussion effects. Very good listening.
Last song here is Nightfall which begins with some sitar and beautiful singing. A very excellent conclusion to a classic album, this sounds super captivating and interesting listening. Singing about love and romanticism, this is a wonderful and effective piece of music that serves the listener very well. An interesting, pure and fresh listening experience, this is a gorgeous conclusion with a nice mixture of plucked instrumentation. It ends with some plucked string sounds, nice effort.
This is a real treasure of an album, and is one of the greatest albums of its era. The Incredible String Band deliver a fine listening experience that delivers in a grand, gorgeous and musically accomplished feat. If you like Psychedelia and Folk music, or like anything from the late 1960s, then this is for you. Take a listen to this album today.
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