Friday, January 5, 2018

Head - 1970 - Head


01. Cannabis Sativa 17:30
02. Methedrine 6:00
03. Lysergic Acid Diethylamide 8:50

Nik Raicevic - Synthesiser, Moog

Recorded at: Gold Star Studios in Hollywood.
Electronic Music from ART IN SPACE.The sound of numbers for soaking in soft dreams. Sweet moments and private notes making a rhyme into a habit. An album that creates the ultimate environment for the smoke generation.
Taste it.
Original released in 1968 as Numbers on Narco Records / Cat.# nr 101.
Comes with an 8 page coloring booklet.

There have been bands, solo artists, record producers, record labels, and at least one famous movie with this name -- but none approach the mind-boggling song list featured on a 1970 album on the Buddah label sometimes credited to a group called Head. responsibility was necessary for a work consisting of the following three songs: "Cannabis Sativa,""Methedrine," and "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide."Exploitation of the drug culture was of course totally rampant during this period, yet the Head album is actually a somewhat different sort of stash than other pseudo-psychedelic ventures released with similar far-out packaging. While these sorts of albums  often feature anonymous studio musicians fiddling around, the Buddah album was the work of an early electronic music experimenter, Nik Raicevic, also known as both Nik Pascal and the full-blown Nik Pascal Raicevic. The record label turfed this performer out well before the end of the year, an attempt to clean out blatant drug references from the catalog. Head originally came right before Captain Beefheart's Safe As Milk in the Buddah catalog. While Raicevic's efforts were sometimes promoted as "electronic music from art in space" and perhaps not related to drug abuse at all, he did decide to call his own record company Narco. He put out at least three albums on this imprint. Some original pressings of Head came with a coloring book. Raicevic is credited with playing percussion on the Goats Head Soup album by the Rolling Stones. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, All Music Guide

"We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold."

Imagine sitting in a dark damp cave somewhere in the deep south of America. Strange flocks of insects buzz frenetically around in these elliptic circles - zooming back and forth back and forth - complimenting the tiny chicken chirps from way in the back of the darkness. Out of the blue and quite hegemonic, like whisking up a couple of eggs, everything suddenly forms hazy fragmented whispers of music, like had 40 age old wizards suddenly commenced with a series of electronic magic tricks. That's Head for you right there - a contourless excursion into sorcery.........and drugs. There's a reason why the tracks are called Cannabis Sativa, Methedrin and Lysergic Acid Diethylamide. Was good ol Nik delightfully delirious while or at least prior to recording this record then? Well it's hard to know for certain, but I'd bet a couple of beets on it. Hell, just take a look at the small print on the front cover:



Original 1968, 107-34-8933 ‎– Numbers cover

For 1968 this record is quite ahead of it's time, beating a guy like Conrad Schnitzler to the punch of freeform, almost industrial electronic music. There are certainly shimmers of the metallic reverberations that were still to come with groups like Faust, Throbbing Gristle and Zoviet France. Hah and then to think that the tracks featured on Head actually date back to 1968, and suddenly we're looking at one of the most innovative and experimental artists inside the first wave of electronic music..........and to top it all off - this cat is American! A looooong ways from the electronic explosion waiting to happen in Germany - making this proto kosmiche record seem all the more astonishing and innovative.

First long cut Cannabis Sativa takes you straight out of the comfort of your chair and throws you in the frying pan. There you lie for a good 17 minutes - slowly dissolving like a sexy nob of butter. At first it's a sizzling sensation, but then it picks up with some R2D2 like noises bleeping away like rushed robot rhythms. Midway and suddenly we're entering the aforementioned cave, where most of the cosmic battles of this enigmatic album take place. A circular notion comes back into the music and it starts swirling in these long stretched strings of synthesised sound. Oozing like an open wound the track has finally reached the right consistency - grown thick enough to overflow from it's ridges.

To me these somewhat illogical descriptions sound an awfully lot like I'm talking about German act Kluster - especially with those solemn elliptic drones that edge their way into your eartunnel like a tjuh tjuhing caterpillar, and while there certainly is a few parallels to be made between the two, Raicevic still sounds more fidgety and "nervous" in his delivery. The synth squawks always come jumping - clumsily, out of their place and most of the time sounding particularly crude and naive. Maybe that's what you get when you put a young kid behind this brand new gizmo that can produce sounds that seem to be harvested in outer space. That's basically what the Moog did, it brought the solar system into hundreds upon hundreds of tiny rooms. On Head it is still in an embryonic state. You sense you've tapped into the early days of experimenting with this thing - before it got to be the keyboard equivalent to the guitar solo. It's rough, raw, buzzing, humming and at times quite beautiful in it's own little universe, because trust me, once this baby starts going it feels like a large portal to the stratosphere opens up, and you can almost feel the vibrations of the earth pirouetting on it's own axis.

 I can see many people would be quick to dismiss Nik Raicevic, but I love his ventures in to weird cosmic sci fi sound effects. There really isn't much in the way of solid melodies. Mort Garson has his weird moments, but he also had a melodic approach which Nik Raicevic didn't. I also wondered if he had Mort Garson as a mentor for concept Moog albums. If Mort Garson did Astrological (Sings of the Zodiac series), Occult (Black Mass, The Supernatural) and even Sex (Music for Sensuous Lovers) Moog albums, so Nik Raicevic did a Drug Moog album. This album was released in 1970 on Buddah, but he was quickly kicked off the label, so he started his own label, released four more albums, although the Numbers album is often thought to have dated from 1968, which is actually the Head album, probably actually the reissue. The Buddah LP is said to come with an 8-page coloring book, but most copies no longer come with them, probably due to children using them as coloring books. This is basically three lengthy cuts, "Cannabis Sativa" starts off with pulsing droning Moog, with lots of strange sound effects. "Methedrine" is full of strange sound effects that I find hard to describe, while the last one, "Lysergic Acid Diethelamyde" is basically "Cannabis Sativa" played at twice the speed. It's a bit strange for a guy who apparently stayed away from drugs to do such an album, but he did. It's too bad that Buddah didn't like the content of the album. Truly off the wall stuff that I find actually enjoyable.

Recommended to people who are looking for space journeys while they're swooping round in caves. Or people (like me) who used to listen to KAAY's  Beaker Street.
This is truly music for the head just like the title says. Smoke if you got em folks - this is the best part of the trip, the part I really like. I really like it yeah.



  2. Brilliant progarchives review even though it's a little bit off... In Kluster Schnitzler, Moebius & Rodelius never used synthesizers. Instead they employed treatments of conventional instruments, tape machines and homemade electronic devices. There was also Morton Subotnick's "Silver Apples of the Moon" which came out in 1967 and drew wide attention as the first electronic music album commissioned by a major record label..."Head" obviously copied some of its elements as well as Louis & Bebe Barron's outer space sounds from the 1956 movie "Forbidden Planet". But you can hear the music rapidly evolve through these 5 albums as Raicevic adds an electric organ to the mix, and then by the third LP the element of echo(coming closer to the Krautrock sound ). Maybe in part because they're so short, there's really never a boring moment on any of these dusty gems. Many thanks.