lördag 18 juni 2016

Chillum - S/T (Superb Progressive Rock UK 1971) (SHM-CD)

200:- (SHM-CD Limited Remaster Edition. Utgåva på endast 500 exemplar. Original albumet släpptes på "Mushroom Records" 1971) Komplett med ett foto + "Flipback konvolut".)

Chillum was born from the ashes of the progressive-psychedelic band Second Hand. They released only one lp, on Mushroom Records, in 1971. The band was led by vocalist/keyboardist Ken Elliott and drummer Kieran O'Connor, who had recorded 2 albums "Reality" and "Death May Be Your Santa Claus" as Secondhand in the late 1960s.

Guitarist Toy McGill joined Chillum for its lone album, and his playing shines throughout, blending nicely with the band's extended-jam style. In fact, "Brain Strain" was recorded during McGill's audition with the band, as producer Vic Keary had the tape machines running. Bassist George Hart rounded out the band's lineup and along with O'Connor formed a solid rock rhythm section.

This band has a slightly convoluted history. Keyboardist and vocalist Ken Elliott and drummer Kieran O'Connor were originally in the insanely creative Second Hand, a group that definitely remained psychedelic while also predicting prog rock. After two superb albums (REALITY and DEATH MAY BE YOUR SANTA CLAUS), Second Hand had lost their guitarist. Bassist George Hart, who joined on DEATH MAY BE YOUR SANTA CLAUS, still was in the group, so they auditioned new guitarists. 

Tony McGill clicked perfectly with the band, so perfectly that his audition evolved into an incredible twenty-plus minute piece of improvised rock, and apparently forced a renaming from Second Hand to Chillum. Coming close to some of the most out-there krautrock jams (Guru Guru and Amon Duul II come to mind), Elliott's pummelling organ and Hart's fluid bass combine with O'COnnor's fierce percussives and McGill's incredibly detailed improvisations. Given the name "Brain Strain" this originally occupied side one of the original CHILLUM LP. 

The first track is a miniature bit of laughing contributed by two doctors who frequented the pub next door to the studio; only those present know if the laughter was their genuine response or a skit. Chillum continue on their weird path, at times using O'Connor's snoring as a percussion line (on "Land Of A Thousand Dreams") or giving him four minutes to show off his drumming chops ("Too Many Bananas"). "Yes! We Have No Pajamas" is another extended improv, firing off with no mercy until its ten and a half minutes have come to a stop. 

Suddenly, "Promenade Des Anglais" pops up, and you wonder if someone's recorded the wrong track. This little number sounds disturbingly somehwere between smooth jazz and muzak, but it is followed by a goofy voice saying "'ere, I thought that was RATHER GOOD! Oh super! What's next?". This nicely gives away the joke, and makes for an impressive end to the original album.

 Bass, Violin, Vocals – George Hart
♦ Drums, Vibraphone [Vibes], Percussion [Assorted], Noises, Vocals – Kieran O'Connor
♦ Engineer – Mike Craig
♦ Guitar – Tony Mcgill 
♦ Organ, Mellotron, Piano, Vocals – Ken Elliott
♦ Producer – Vic Keary

01. Introduction By Brain Surgeons From The Royal Free Hospital   00:16
02. Brain Strain  22:02
03. Land of A Thousand Dreams  01:19
04. Too Many Bananas  04:15
05. Promenade Des Anglaises  01:57

Bonus Tracks: 
06. The Lone Commuter  01:33
07. Three Blind Mice  01:45
08. Celebration  6:05
09. This Is Not Romance  05:12