Turn On Your Mindby Jim Derogatis
(Book). Turn On Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock is a history and critical examination of rock's most inventive genre. Whether or not psychedelic drugs played a role (and as many musicians say they've used them as not), psychedelic rock has consistently charted brave new worlds that exist only in the space between the headphones. The history books tell us the music's high point was the Haight-Ashbury scene of 1967, but the genre didn't start in San Francisco, and its evolution didn't end with the Summer of Love. A line can be drawn from the hypnotic drones of the Velvet Underground to the disorienting swirl of My Bloody Valentine; from the artful experiments of the Beatles' Revolver to the flowing, otherworldly samples of rappers P.M. Dawn; from the dementia of the 13th Floor Elevators to the grungy lunacy of the Flaming Lips; and from the sounds and sights at Ken Kesey's '60s Acid Tests to those at present-day raves. Turn On Your Mind is an attempt to connect the dots from the very first groups who turned on, tuned in, and dropped out, to such new-millennial practitioners as Wilco, the Elephant 6 bands, Moby, the Super Furry Animals, and the so-called "stoner-rock" and "ork-pop" scenes.
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For years I liked what has been known as 'psychedelic' rock music - basically music made during the late '60s and based mostly in San Francisco (Jefferson Airplane) and the UK (Revolver/Sgt Pepper's/MMTour-era Beatles, Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd). 'Turn On Your Mind' gives much detail as to the origins of the genre, plus a wide array of artists and albums that helped contribue to the psychedelic rock world. Some of which surprised me as to their inclusion (Beach Boys 'Pet Sounds', Velvet Underground debut album, Brian Eno's four 'rock' albums), but after reading the book, it becomes clearer that psychedelia is not limited to the axis of San Fran/UK and late '60s era only (although that's what comes to mind first). The author has an extensive list of essential albums - I would contend that the Pink Floyd 'Animals' album be replaced by 'Ummagumma' -- for the most part it's a very good listing of suggested music to represent the genre. I would also suggest to the author to reconsider his position on the contribution to psychedelia made by the Grateful Dead (great interview with him and a Dead associate - 'Live/Dead' should've been on that list of essential albums too)