Various Artists

Incredibly Strange Music, Vol. 1

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RE/SEARCH's two Incredibly Strange Music books are fascinating interviews with collectors and musicians, exploring the limits of weird and unclassifiable records, mostly from the '50s and '60s. If this compilation of excerpts from 13 of the LPs discussed in those books is an indication, though, this stuff is a lot more fun to read about than listen to. Most of these, essentially, are novelty records; bad psychedelic sitar, normal enough sounding songs with weirdly awful lyrics, mood music enlivened by off-the-wall sound effects, the "William Tell Overture" performed by a whistler, an interminable "Cosmic Telephone Call, " and the like. In other words, the kind of things that are fun to hear once, and maybe later to pull out and play for friends -- once -- but not music to stand up to repeated listening.

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