Cosmic Beam Experience
01. Heal Yourself - 04:29
02. Cosmic Beam Experience (Part One) - 11:51
03. Love Sweet Love - 04:26
04. Cosmic Beam Experience (Part Two) - 04:15
05. Hey Mister Sun - 08:57
I'll readily admit this was another album I picked up for the interesting sci-fi cover and the fact it looked like a pretty bizarre outing (hippy guru singing/preaching to his congregation of zonked out apostles - Father Yod and Bobby Brown both readily came to mind).
Another true one-man job, 1976's "Cosmic Beam Experience" is the work of L.A. musician Francisco Lupica. Lupica wrote all of the material, arranged, produced, handled the vocals and played most of the instruments including an electrified I-beam (don't even ask) and other items that he apparently built himself. Without knowing a great deal about his background, like Bobby Brown, Lupica seems to have performed at a lot of free events throughout Southern California (echoes of Bobby Brown). (I also found out that he's credited with creating some of the sound effects for 1979's "Stark Trek: The Motion Picture"). Anyhow, based on the title and cover art (courtesy of Stephen Moffitt who also co-produced and engineered some of the material), I was expecting to hear a collection of instantly forgettable new age dribble. Well, I was only partially correct. The album starts out with a killer piece of pop - with it's catchy chorus and uplifting lyrics 'Heal Yourself' would have made a dandy top-40 single. The flip side opener 'Love Sweet Love' is almost as good. Spread across two extended sections (at least part of it recorded in L.A.'s St. Paul's cathedral), the title track is much more in keeping with my original expectations. Musically the mix of sound effects (waves, rain, thunder), electronics, acoustic sounds and choral segments is mildly entertaining. Imagine a mix between 1990s industrial noise and a band of stoned hippies deciding to take a tape recorder along as they enjoy a day at the beach and you'll get a feel for how weird it is. I'll at least admit that I like it more than say Atlantis Philharmonic. By the same token you're not going to get up an dance your ass off to any of this.
Judging by an online interview conducted with Lupica (see below), no more than 1,00 copies were pressed; most of them apparently sold at his concerts. I have no idea if it's a legitimate release, but the Radioactive label reissued the album in CD format (Radioactive catalog RR 112CD). The album also attracted some attention when composer Hans Zimmer sampled some of it for his work on the soundtrack to Terrence Mallick's film "The Thin Red Line". The film wasn't very good which probably explains why the soundtrack generated attention ...