Various Artists

In Search of Space: The Sixties to Seventies

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In Search of Space: The Sixties to Seventies is a rather strange three-disc, 50-track collection. It attempts to give an overview of early experiments in psychedelia and the later innovations and modifications of the sound and acid-tinged aesthetic, which helped give rise to '80s and '90s space-rock. That means that garage bands (13th Floor Elevators) sit next to blues-rock (John Mayall, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac), heavy British boogie bands (Spooky Tooth, Uriah Heep, Juicy Lucy), folk-rockers (John's Children, early Tyrannosaurus Rex), art-rockers (The Nice, Gong), and early electronic experimenters (Hawkwind, Tangerine Dream). Many of the artists here are fairly well-known, but aside from the Yardbirds' "Shapes of Things," most of them are not represented by their better-known (or better) material. There is more of an emphasis on soundscapes than songs, so some of the bluesier artists are featured in jam sessions. While the roots of space-rock may be apparent from a number of tracks here, the jumble of styles makes for a somewhat schizophrenic listen, and as might be expected, some of the songs lack focus or direction. Collectors of any of the above-mentioned artists may want to look into the set, however.

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