Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O.

Does the Cosmic Shepard Dream of Electric Tapirs?

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Released in 2004 -- also the year of Mantra of Love, Minstrel in the Galaxy, and the four-CD set The Penultimate Galactic Bordello Also the World You Made -- this studio album was actually recorded in the second half of 2002, around the same time as 2003's Univers Zen ou de Zéro à Zéro, and it shares more similarities with that earlier effort than the aforementioned 2004 releases. It is also one of Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O.'s finest albums, with excellent sound quality, diversity, and a very strong balance between hard-rocking psychedelia and trippy sonic explorations. "Daddy's Bare Meat" is a typical AMT group jam with a strong Zappa flavor (the first guitar solo in particular), followed by a sequence of three quieter tracks ranging from psychedelic folk songs to spacy pastorals, all penned by bassist Atsushi Tsuyama or Tsuyama and keyboardist Casino Cotton -- "Hello Good Child" is very flower-power, while "The Assassins' Beautiful Daughter" is a longer and eventful composition. "Dark Star Blues" is the extended rocking number of the album, a heavy psych medium-tempo riff that goes through various transformations, with lots of spacy vocals from Cotton and frantic guitar soloing (of course, it's also a song/theme the band would perform a lot through the years). Guitarist Makoto Kawabata's sole compositional contribution to the album is its 17-minute closer, "The Transmigration of Hop Heads," a quiet, meditative multi-layered drone in the style of his Inui series of solo albums. Due to the fact that it steers mostly clear of any and all excesses, Does the Cosmic Shepherd Dream of Electric Tapirs? may be the best entry-level Acid Mothers Temple album you can find. And it's definitely the one that could make you fall in love with this band.

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