A dangerous combination of mental illness, drug-fueled paranoia, and religious fervor precipitated the decline of Arizona's fabled Black Sun Ensemble and its leader, guitarist Jesus Acedo. BSE, so raw and powerful in its prime, was the stuff of psychedelic legend. Quixotic frontman Acedo could spit blasts of dragon-fire or conjure the exotic, iridescent mystique of peacock feathers with a single stroke. Alongside his Ensemble accomplices, the mercurial Acedo raged at the heavens or reveled in dream-like visions.
In a fit of holy delusion mania, Acedo destroyed his instruments and most copies of BSE's final recording, 1994's PSYCHO MASTER EL. These tapes, remastered and stripped of the original session's pained vocals, resurfaced in 1999 as SKY PILOT. Acedo thunders from his mount, a deranged preacher delivering a sweeping psychedelic sermon--declamatory metallic chords, gusts of feedback, seething quicksilver pick-work, and liquid modal ornamentation. The Ensemble churns behind him, a doomed chorus of guitarists, percussionists, and bassists wailing and flailing in their self-destructive throes. Apoplectic and apocalyptic fever-dream music of the highest order. SKY PILOT also rescues the sweet "Staying Power," Acedo's rare Sky Saxon-esque "pop" single, and previews the recently reincarnated BSE with a scintillating, 22-minute Southwestern reverie, "Sky Pilot Suite."