“There’s gold at the end of them there vinyls” *
Hope you’ve enjoyed this rainbow vinyl trip.
I recall being quite excited when I heard the first Tame Impala album back in 2010. Kevin Parker seemed to have reinvented—or at least re-invigorated—psychedelic rock for the 21st century and it was good. The follow-up album added more Seventies touches and was even more accessible. So when Currents came out, I stumped up the substantial pile of folding required to purchase this coloured vinyl treat. And a treat it is, with the design of the cover flowing through the entire package and each of the two LPs picking up one tone. There was even a set of fancy square postcards. What a shame, then, that the music is so unmemorable. Parker has thrown all his influences into a digital blender and produced a sonic smoothie that is pleasant but bland. Apparently this was a very successful album, but not with me I’m afraid.
I would, however, recommend Innerspeaker or Lonerism.
Released in early June 1970, In Rock was, in fact, Deep Purple’s fifth album. So perhaps the hubris of portraying themselves as the Mount Rushmore of rock music did have some validity. Certainly this was the LP where the famed Mark II line-up came together with a resounding CRASH! to create the hard rock blueprint for the rest of the decade. Opening with the adrenaline rush of “Speed King”, the record climaxes with “Child in time” at the end of the first side, but still manages to deliver a very solid second side. The Purps were on a roll: In Rock was followed by Fireball then Machine Head.
Releasing their first slab of uncompromising drone metal in 2000, Sunn O))) churned out albums at an alarming rate. This collaboration with Boris, a Japanese “sludge/doom metal band” (I’m quoting Discogs, here) came out in 2006 and was about their dozenth album. And what an album it is from the “powersonic drone throners” (I’m quoting the Allmusic Guide, here). A three LP slab that came in a plethora of versions (see below) for obsessive collectors everywhere. I have one of the 500 purple copies, which is good because everyone knows that the colour purple is the heaviest shade of all (I’m quoting Whoopi Goldberg, here).
I confess to scepticism when I first approached this massive LP, not believing that there would be enough to retain interest across two sides of vinyl… let alone six. But I am happy to admit I was wrong. This is quite extraordinary music. Played at high volume it will remove whole sections of your brain with a blunt scalpel, while the same track offers a kind of calming subterranean ambience at lower levels. All unfolds, slowly; like lava scorching earth while simultaneously creating the bedrock for new formations. There are seven pieces, two a side long, one two sides long. The other four play ogre doubles across the remaining space. Although this music is entirely unsuited to the limp mp3 format and is most certainly not going to be everyone’s cup of molten lead, I’d encourage a headphone listen to some of Altar; it’s pretty amazing stuff.
* Said no-one, ever.
That’s the seventh of seven rainbow vinyl posts. We have reached the end of the yellow brick road. But do not weep grey tears. Next up will be the executive summary where you will find all the albums in a rainbow cascade. It was the command of the Wizard of Oz that it be so.