Intersystems

Free Psychedelic Poster Inside

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What a strange, wonderful recording. Free Psychedelic Poster Inside was originally issued in a private vinyl pressing in 1968 by this Canadian quartet (reissued in 1994 by Streamline). There are two basic elements to the piece, here divided into nine untitled tracks. The first is the general sound fabric made up of oscillating sine waves and other electronic ethereality, low drones, and warbles ricocheting back and forth across the speakers. At the beginning of the disc, these are relatively calm and contemplative, but they grow increasingly complex and agitated as the work progresses. The other is the "story" spoken by Blake Parker. This narrative about a "plastic" couple (Gordy and Renee) uses everyday stock phrases but combines them in a dreamlike manner to create a somewhat unsettling, surreal feeling. The voice sounds as though recorded in another room, slightly blurred and muted, also fluctuating from speaker to speaker. Although entirely different in tone, Parker's phrasing recalls the deadpan of William S. Burroughs, while the generic "lyrics" occupy a Robert Ashley-type world. There are some aspects that tie this piece to its period but, generally, Intersystems created something that stands impressively outside of its time and even anticipating later work from Pere Ubu to David Lynch. It forms an intriguing bridge between the more forward-looking (yes, psychedelic) rock bands of the period and tangentially related composers like Ashley and pre-Rainbow Terry Riley. An important recording, highly recommended to anyone whose tastes include the aforementioned artists as well as those into contemporary electro-acoustic free improvisation.

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