The Red Crayola / The Red Krayola

Coconut Hotel [Not Released]

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As strange as the Red Krayola's debut album was, their proposed follow-up, Coconut Hotel, was far stranger. This all-instrumental recording was more appropriately classified as twentieth-century avant-garde music than rock, and was rejected by International Artists for release in 1967, finally seeing the light of day on Drag City in 1995. All power to the Krayola for doing things their own way, but it's not hard to understand International Artists' reasoning. This has so little commercial potential that it makes Zappa's Lumpy Gravy sound like AM radio fodder. Dissonant exotic plucked strings, spooky organ clusters, 36 (yes, 36) "One-Second Pieces"--these are not tunes that you can hum, by any stretch of the imagination. Some acoustic guitar pieces bear the influence of John Fahey (with whom the Krayola recorded some unreleased material around this time). It's totally uncompromising, and rather wearisome, to be honest. It's like nothing else that nominally "rock" groups were doing in 1967, but it's not nearly as interesting as their official releases from the late '60s, which had at least a few loose ties to conventional song structures.

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