The Oracle - The Awakening
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Uploaded on Jan 2, 2011
The Oracle - 1989 - Nataraja Da Nada
(Paradise Lost US 1989 )
Holy KaKa, this is orsummmm,
scuzzball bikers always have the best music :)
Please walk with me through the tangled web that surrounds this LP, as the rewards that await on the other side are generous. For instance, how many LPs do you own that are made by a 300 pound redneck biker that calls himself "Rameshwar"?
But let's begin at the beginning. Around 1990, a Texan record dealer and occasional impressario named Darryl Menkin distributed this LP among the psych-head underworld. Information on it was limited, but Menkin himself was listed as "executive producer" on the sleeve, and the recording was stated as having been made in West Virginia. It appeared to be a modern release of a contemporary psych group. Except that this band didn't look like the Blacklight Chameleons - they looked like they had wandered out of the time-space continuum at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert in 1975 and hadn't found their way back to earth until 1989. And the record didn't really sound like a modern psych band either - to begin with, it was insane.
The potential cloud of confusion was made flesh when Darryl Menkin, and others with him, unexpectedly started referring to the LP as a "reissue" of an LP from "1976" - the original of which noone had ever seen. This information made its way into various record lists and eventually into Ron Moore's admirable "Underground Sounds" book, which is where I first spotted it.
Fast forward to Spring 2002. I've just received a tape of Oracle's "Nataraja da nada" and am listening to it in headphones. I hear it based on the assumption that it is a rare private press from 1976, because I don't yet know what is described above. The tape has the album sides reversed, beginning with "The awakening" which is side B. This turns out to be another fortunate mishap, as "The awakening" is the stronger trip of the two.
About 1 minute into the track I'm upright in my chair, having sunk into a couch potato pose after listening to half-ass psych all day. I mean, this sounds like the real thing; the basement fidelity, the acid guitar, the murky drumming. Then when the vocalist opens his mouth I'm practically on my feet. What the hell IS THIS? It sounds like the missing link between Sky Saxon & James Brown, with a thick redneck accent to boot. The lyrics are obscure, but what I pick up spells "L"-"S"-"D". About halfway through the track the trio takes off for the Andromeda Galaxy, a 10-minute space guitar jam with echoes of Manuel Gottsching and Terry Brooks, before Rameshwar the vocalist reappears to send a final transmission back to the Solar system. Whew! No coincidence they called their recording shack "The Sponge" - there must have been liquid acid running down the walls in there
Over on the reverse side is "The oracle speaks", another 24-minute trip which I'm pretty certain was recorded in a lysergic state - there's no other way to explain the strange wave-like in/out-of synch drumming. Beginning with ghostly whispers of Sanskrit the piercing Voice appears again to intone the LP title, before setting off on a bizarre imitation of rootsy garage rock interspersed with crude acid guitar leads. Less musically appealing than "The awakening", we are nevertheless treated to some great anti-social lyrics wherein Rameshwar explains, in the way a Hell's Angel might, that noone should even think about changing his way of living, not the Government or even Mr President - Don't hold your breath!
That's about it. A conceptual tribal basement acid space guitar trip that is as good as anything I've heard from a modern - as I believe them to be - psych band. It's not for everyone, but heads who enjoy Ya Ho Wha 13 LPs can find comfort in the fact that there were freaks as flipped out as Yod's guys 15 years later, right in the middle of the Reagan-Bush American heartland.
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