Rolling Stone's Gavin Edwards posted a list of ten experimental, outré, outside, or otherwise curious albums that the magazine's critics raved about in the 1970s. I know and love most of them, especially John Cale and Terry Riley's "Church of Anthrax" and "The Art Ensemble of Chicago With Fontella Bass," but several of the selections are totally new to me.
"The Meditator," a personal isolation tank fashioned from 12 pentagons decorated with photo collages. "You may find the sensation akin to that mystical communion with nature that you experience when alone in a forest," according to Popular Science writer Ken Isaacs in November 1970. At popsci.com, they've republished a photo gallery with enough detail that serenity-seeking DIYers in 2012 can once again roll their own.
View larger size here. Lovingly scanned and shared in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool by reader v. valenti. Art by Japanese illustrator Shusei Nagaoka, whose sci-fi illustrations were popular during the 1970s and '80s, and graced album covers by ELO, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Deep Purple. There's an awesome little archive of his work here.
I ended up going down one of those internet-rabbit holes where you search and watch a bunch of related stuff online. Among the rabbit-holes I fell down: the story of how the band hooked up with the now-legendary illustrator and caricaturist Gerald Scarfe. He and the band later teamed up on "The Wall," and Scarfe's visual style is now a kind of icon of that era of Big Rock and Roll. I am not a big fan of the later, big budget, grand spectacle school of rock music visuals for which they became known, but I am fascinated by the earlier material.
UK native Scarfe created "A Long, Drawn Out Trip" in 1971 after traveling to the US. As the story goes, Roger Waters and David Gilmour saw the 18-minute short when it was aired on the BBC in 1973 (only once in its entirety! remember, this is before YouTube!), and said, "That's the stuff!" The stream-of-consciousness short pokes fun at symbols of American culture. In one sequence, Mickey Mouse gets high and morphs from the Disney character we all know, to a stoned-out hippie.
I thought I’d perk you all up by digging out the Pages from Ceefax, that Peter Serafinowicz and I made for our Look Around You DVD extras. They’re full of nonsense. Hope you enjoy the guitar I did too. Included here is an improvised modern classical piece. I was trying not to laugh while I played…
I remember these fake Ceefax screens well from the Look Around YouDVDs. I had no idea Popper played the music, too. Brilliant. More below.