A.L.K. and Brother Clark / Damin Eih (Damin Eih & Brother Clark)

Never Mind

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In 1973, three young men from Minneapolis unleashed a sonic time bomb called Never Mind. The private-press album was probably hard to find even if you were a 1973 Minnesotan, and as its legend grew in subsequent decades, it became a ridiculously rare collectors' item at the top of every serious psychedelia maven's want list. There's little background info available on the trio; the only one who has maintained any kind of public profile is Clark Dyrcz, who went on to the alt-psych outfits Code 7 and DYRC. Outside of perhaps Dyrcz, no one seems to know what became of main singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Damin Eih; legend has it that he went to India after releasing Never Mind and was never heard from again. Finally given its first legit CD reissue in 2010, the album these mysterious Minnesotans left behind truly lives up to its reputation. This is the acid folk record of every psych aficionado's dreams, a mind-altering journey that not only embodies the expansiveness of the era in which it was made, but goes well beyond. Never Mind has it all -- fuzzed-out electric guitar leads; hypnotic acoustic picking; ethereal, heavily processed vocals; space-is-the-place analog synth lines; atmospheric percussion -- with everything pressed into service to deliver an off-kilter song suite as heady and brain-bending as anything ever to emerge from the late-‘60s/early-‘70s golden age of head music. But for all its trippy appeal, part of the reason Never Mind has earned so much acclaim is that, unlike some other private-press artifacts from the same era, this is no amateurish, primitivist piece of "outsider" art -- these guys were skilled musicians who knew exactly what they were doing and how to navigate their way around the impressive number of instruments they played between them. Whether or not they were lysergically inspired at the time of the album's recording, it's clear that Never Mind sounds exactly the way it was intended to sound. The fact that this far-out masterpiece was far from accidental shouldn't detract from its legend; if anything, it should give listeners a greater appreciation for this obscure, unfortunately short-lived ensemble.

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