Acid Mothers Temple

Crystal Rainbow Pyramid Under the Stars

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Important, the Newburyport, MA label that issued this 2007 release by Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O., claims that this is a "very clean sounding" AMT release. They're right; it is. In fact, it may be the best-produced recording by the prolific ensemble in its long history. Fans of the unit have grown used to the speaker-bleeding distortion and bust-out volumes, which have often led to hearing less differentiation on their recordings than is desirable -- even to them. Yet the clean sound on Crystal Rainbow Pyramid Under the Stars is only one of the elements of this slab that sets it apart. It is as innovative as Mantra of Love or La Nòvia, without sounding like either of them. With new vocalist Kitagawa Hao in the spot formerly held by Cotton Casino, AMT are on the verge of moving into yet another realm. Comprised of three cuts, the set is 71 minutes long, and ranges from trademark AMT free-form intensity overload to acoustic dronescape with electronics to nearly ambient folk music and back with new textures and uses of spatial dynamics previously unheard on AMT releases. The opener, "Pussy Head Man from Outer Space," is a little over seven and a half minutes long. It's Hendrixian guitar squall right out of the gate, clawing and screaming its way into the listener's skull, adding layer upon layer of speed guru power until it almost bursts. From here one moves toward the nearly elegant, improvisationally astute, and spacy flowing astral travel of the title track.

Over 21 minutes long, "Crystal Rainbow Pyramid" begins as an electric space jam and moves through a sonic field where synths, bass, drums, and electric guitar all weave and wind around Hao's vocal -- it also features her doing a wonderfully drugged-out Donald Duck impersonation -- and is among the most amazing AMT tracks ever. It's purely engaging all the way through, never loses itself in the guitar solos, and allows all players to lift the intensity level gradually but without ever losing direction. It eventually becomes a brain burner in the last few minutes, but by that time, the listener has been thoroughly prepared. It's the best thing here. The final cut, "Electric Psilocybin Flashback," is over 40 minutes long. Kawabata Makoto employs bouzouki and double-tracked acoustic guitars to add dimension to the unfolding musical lava pouring over the sonic warpage of the synths, sound effects, feedback, and organic percussion. This cut is a virtual suite, and feels as much like something Miles Davis might have listened to back in the 1970s. It blends rock intensity with folk drones and experimental cliffs and ledges; it begins at what seems like an unsustainable pace, constantly repeating one phrase over and over again, gaining speed into red-white heat overdrive and moving through a number of musical and dynamic permutations that include jazz, drone, and shape-shifting ambience before ending as a quiet folk song. It's another very focused, utterly epic AMT cut, and sends this album off as one of the very finest they've ever recorded -- musically as well as sonically. It is also available on high-quality double vinyl.

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