Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Plenum: The Blithe Sons-- The Great Orthochromatic Wheel

I normally wouldn't highlight a recording that is difficult to find, or limited, but I just love this stuff so much, I had to at least post a few words. The Blithe Sons is made up of two highly regarded psychedelic/folk musicians--Loren Chasse and Glenn Donaldson. Chasse is best know for his work in the band Thuja, and Donaldson has garnered some decent attention with Skygreen Leopards. Together they are the driving force behind the Jewelled Antler Collective, a loose conglomeration of musicians, recording mainly on hard to find small run CDRs. (A wonderful boxed set of some of the better JAC offerings is out now, although the price point is a bit steep for 4cds.)

But this Blithe Sons recording demonstrates the most human elements of the underground folk movement, and it offers the least contrived and most authentic strains of psychedelic tropes. Psychedelic folk is often guilty of too much Woden-on-the-brain, or in an attempt to subvert the expectations, their is often too much reliance on noise and drone. Sometimes this is done to beautiful effect, but psychedelic music is easily reduced to a kind of tonal solopsism. But when psych-folk is successful it reaches out beyond its own inner world and tells a story. It might still be extremely subjective, but if it is honest, then the details don't matter, only the feeling needs to catch you off guard and remind you of something, even if the actual event or feeling eludes you.

--Try to Find a Memory in a Dark Room (excerpt)

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