As the subtitle suggests, Space Hymn: The Complete Capitol Recordings (2003) contains all the material that Lothar & the Hand People cut during their three-year association with the label. The long-players Presenting. . .Lothar and the Hand People (1969) as well as Space Hymn (1969) are featured on this two-disc compendium, as well as the singles issued prior to their debut LP. Although Paul Conley (synthesizer/keyboards/Moog synthesizer), John Emelin(vocals/voices), Tom Flye (drums/percussion), Rusty Ford (bass), and Kim King (guitar/Moog synthesizer/amplifiers) were products of the fertile New York City rock & roll scene of the mid-'60s, the combo made their way via Denver, Colorado circa 1965. They blend experimental psychedelia with a myriad of sounds from the burgeoning Moog synthesizer keyboard technology. The results were decidedly mixed, as selections such as "It Comes on Anyhow" -- which is less of a song than a musique concrete composition -- "Today Is Only Yesterday's Tomorrow," and the introduction to the superb baroque-flavored "That's Another Story." In the case of the latter, the seeming randomness of the bleats and electro-drones lessens the musicality, especially since the melody is actually one of their more engaging outings. By contrast, "Sister Lonely" stands out, thanks to the variation of Muddy Waters' "Rollin' & Tumblin'" along with some considerable contributions from Ford's undulating underpinning. "You Won't Be Lonely" may be the best example of Lothar & the Hand People as a straight-ahead and slightly garage-influenced aggregate, with some particularly worthwhile vocal harmonies that recall the Who's mid-'60s output. "Wedding Night for Those Who Love" is a remarkable instrumental with Conley providing an affective duet between the theremin and piano, producing arguably the best fusion of traditional and modern instrumentation. To lesser effect is the cover of Manfred Mann's second-tier hit "Machines" -- with some overbearing mechanical, yet rhythmic clunking -- and "Sex and Violence," with an otherwise consistent improvisational jam. As referred to above, Space Hymn: The Complete Capitol Recordings also includes "L-O-V-E (Ask for It by Name)," "Rose Coloured Glasses," "Comic Strip," "Every Single Word," "Have Mercy (Mercy, Mercy, Mercy)," and "Let the Boy Pretend," the respective A- and B-sides to a trio of 45s, none of which are otherwise available on CD. Parties looking for a somewhat less comprehensive collection should check out This Is It Machines from See For Miles.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2