Friday, January 5, 2018

Nik Pascal - 1975 - Zero Gravity

Nik Pascal 
Zero Gravity

01. Zero Gravity (22:50)
02. Robot Rock (4:30)
03. Sounds From The Blue Planet (4:01)
04. I Q + U = ? (4:03)
05.  Alpha Wave Diffusion (4:09)

- Nik Raicevic / electronics & effects

A purely electronic affair that will remind many listeners of early "Cluster' circa '72. Best known for naming his tunes after illegal substances, Raicevic produces yet another splodge and splatter ridden synth bloop album. Every sound appears to be squashed through massive reverb and filters creating an eerie and celestial feel from beginning to end. Released on the self explaining 'Narco Recordings' - it will give you an idea of what to expect.
This is free of vocal and conventional instruments throughout, just like his previous recordings. You end up with an uncompromising mid 70's melange of sound that had no chance at all of breaking the top 100 in any country. I'm quite sure that's how he'd have wanted it...

Supposedly Raicevic played percussion on the Stone's 'Goat's Head Soup'. Listening to this you'd find that very hard to believe. Two more dissimilar albums you will never hear.

Apparently Raicevic gave up after this and sold his keyboards to up-and-coming ambient meister 'Steve Roach' who would go on to the present day producing beautiful waves of ambience.

It's such a pity he stopped here. Perhaps his brain just imploded? After all - each of his albums had a sticker attached to it reading 'Do not listen to if stoned'

Nik Pascal - 1973 - Magnetic Web

Nik Pascal 
Magnetic Web

01. Magnetic Web (9:46)
02. Light Stimulus (3:24)
03. Edge Of The Unknown (4:40)
04. Dance Of The Supernatural (8:03)
05. Interplanetary Beings (5:47)
06. Cosmic Aura (3:00)

- Nik Raicevic / all instruments

Back when I was a small kid (1979-1980) my father would occasionally buy odd and unusual, or just obscure albums. He wasn't exactly a music expert, so I was often wondering if he bought it because he liked the artwork or the title, or maybe the instruments used? The Internet obviously didn't exist, couldn't find info on this stuff, you pretty much had to go by word of mouth, or perhaps the owner of the record store. My father's more normal record buying habit at the time was Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young), Neil Young, Manfred Mann's Earth Band, and It's a Beautiful Day, and for electronic music, it was Jean Michel Jarre. Magnetic Web was one of these odd obscurities he bought at that time, really strange electronic music, with a warning sticker on the shrink wrap that stated: "Do not listen to this album if you are stoned" (I don't recall his copy having that warning, or the shrink wrap). He got rid of it (I wished he didn't because I liked it, though I didn't know why then, looks like even at age 7 I wanted to hear the unusual), and all these years I was starting to wonder if my mind was playing tricks that there was an album called Magnetic Web. In 1984, my father bought a copy of Jarre's Magnetic Fields, which I knew wasn't the album I was thinking of (but then he was into Jarre, so it was expected he'd buy that one), besides that one was released in 1981, and Magnetic Web was released in 1973. Years later, comes the Internet, surprised to find the Magnetic Web album in an entry of the Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock and to find out the artist was named Nik Raicevic. Well, in 2006 I was able to acquire me a copy and it came with the shrink wrap and warning sticker, which made me an ever happier owner.
Perhaps this album was too strange for my father's taste. This was his fourth album, and by this point he acquired an ARP 2600. The title track starts off with some cheap sounding drum machine before the synths kick in. It's basically a bunch of pulsing. He really got some reedy sounds off the ARP. "Light Stimulus" features a bunch of computer-like sound (of the trippy '70s variety), while "Edge of the Unknown" features strange droning sounds and trippy organ at the end. "Dance of the Supernatural" has this mechanical pulsing sound, while "Interplanetary Beings" features strange laser sounds. This one could have been easily used on the movie Fantastic Planet. "Cosmic Aura" really trips me out with those bizarre Moog leads, but the song ends abruptly leading me to think he simply ran out of tape before he finished recording it.

He only recorded one more album, Zero Gravity in 1975 before retiring (it's been said he sold his synths to Steve Roach, then a San Diego race care driver).

I love this stuff. Very unconventional stuff that reminds me a bit of Mort Garson at his weirdest (like Lucifer - Black Mass). It's pretty safe to say if you like Mort Garson's more off-the-wall stuff, you'll like this!

Nik Pascal - 1972 - The Sixth Ear

Nik Pascal 
The Sixth Ear

01. The Sixth Ear (9:30)
02. Journey Into The Light (3:00)
03. Subconscious Nebula (3:40)
04. Anandamayi (3:00)
05. Identity (4:05)
06. Demons Of Rage (2:50)
07. Karma (1:50)
08. Visions Of Kali (2:00)
09. Life (2:30)

- Nik Raicevic / electronics & effects

Fantastic dark trippy psych electronic LP.Sometimes reminds me of Ruth White's records.Excellent by all means.Little is known of this guy (finding info on him online is next to impossible), but one thing for sure was when he quit the music business around 1976, he sold his big modular Moog to none other than Steve Roach, then a former racecar driver, but later a big name in the New Age/electronic genre (yes, the same guy who teamed up with Australian didgeridoo player David Hudson in the 1990s, although of course he had no albums out in '76). Around the time he gave up on music, he did provide some sci-fi artwork to an Iowa-based pomp rock band called Locust (who released the album Playgue in 1976). Also I found out he provided some percussion on the Rolling Stones' Goats Head Soup album, which I find extremely surprising, because the Stones were so much more mainstream than anything Raicevic was recording.

Nik Raicevic - 1971 - Beyond the End .... Eternity

Nik Raicevic 
Beyond the End .... Eternity

01. Beyond the End (6:00)
02. To Go To Do Is To Be (2:50)
03. Tide (2:00)
04. The Mist That Drifts Away (2:50)
05. Deathless (4:16)
06. The Wanderer (3:20)
07. Life's Timelessness (2:50)
08. Eternity (3:30)

- Gypsy Flemming / organ
- Pascal (Nik Raicevic) / synthesizer

Man, Raicevic looks too cool to have released this oddball 1971 electronic monstrosity. He looks like he should have been James Bond before Roger Moore. However, what went on inside that head at the time of these recordings is another matter altogether...

At the ripe old age of 38 in 1971 Raicevic released this warped electronic mish-mash of an album on an unsuspecting public. This is early proto electronica from which I'm sure 'Aphex Twin' got many ideas and inspiration from. 'Kluster' also spring to mind. This, however, is far more synthetic. 'Beyond the End... Eternity' is entirely electronic with no vocals which will give you an idea of the kind of difficulty your brain will have trying to come to terms with this recording.

The whole thing ends up sounding like some weird evil alien dentist from Sirius B drilling away at E.T's. jawbone as he struggles to stay awake under anaesthetic , whilst floating creatures swarm around his big malformed head.

An extremely unusual album and one I'm glad I bought. A very difficult album to describe as there's nothing conventional about it at all

No wonder my dad thought I was mental 40 years ago...

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.