Acid Mothers Temple

Live in Occident

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With a predilection for improvisation, Acid Mothers Temple might be seen as an extreme version of the acid jam band, hence ideal for the live album treatment. Taken from several gigs in the U.S. and Europe in the spring of 1999, Live in Occident finds Acid Mothers Temple as over the top as they usually are, with long jams, extremely high energy, and the psychedelic freak-outs they are known for. There are some fine moments here, from the spaced-out guitar mantra of "Pink Lady Lemonade" to some crazy improvisational moments. The instrumentation in "Blue Velvet Blues" abruptly drops out and listeners just hear the band chanting to a clapping rhythm for a few minutes. Makoto Kawabata's versatile guitar playing -- from thundering riffs to slow, sustained cosmic burnouts -- is in fine evidence. Unfortunately, the record suffers much of the time from mediocre fidelity, turning the rhythm section into a clunky, leaden mess. Whereas on each new release Acid Mothers Temple has stretched out into new territory, this one doesn't advance much, especially when they revert to energetic overdrive where some tracks sound too much like each other. Not the best place to start with this generally excellent group, but still not a complete downer, as their formidable live act still shines through.

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