The 13th Floor Elevators

Interpreter [Magnum]

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This two CD set, reconfigured from two separate CDs issued by the same label in the mid-1990s, is an extremely confusing compilation. Drawn from a mix of live tapes -- some of which date from relatively recent Roky Erickson performances as well as concerts from the '60s -- and studio tapes of indeterminate origin, it's almost more of a tribute record to the 13th Floor Elevators than a release of their music. The audio quality varies widely, from near-perfect fidelity on "Levitation" to barely audible on "You're Gonna Miss Me," with live renditions of "Catch the Wind" that sound like they were made on hand-held microphones with lots of overload. There's also a largely incoherent interview with Erickson to fill the remaining time. The one part of this release that does come up to snuff are the succinct jacket notes by Bo Svensson, and even he doesn't discuss any of the actual cuts or sources on this set. To add to the confusion, the inlay card gives the wrong song line-ups on each disc, with the errata acknowledged on a paper slip inserted into the double jewel case. Completists will tolerate the set and even enjoy it, but others should beware.