Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO
Minstrel in the Galaxy
was up on Acid Mothers Temple at one point, even excited at following their records as they came out, but it got too wearying. When, including ‘side-projects’ that are essentially the same line-up, they’re probably releasing more records in a year than career bands like Status Quo have since the sixties there’s something wrong. Are they really recording that much good stuff? Can they be caring about each one? And if I suspect that they don’t, can I? Are the releasing labels that into it, or are they just wanting to look ‘down’ amongst a small circle of psych creeps? Here comes the glut—bootlegs that aren’t but look as if they are (because Acid Mothers’d like to be the type of band that gets bootlegged), tables at shows full of ‘ultra-limited’ CD-Rs that still seem to be available next time they play, even broken guitar necks boxed up and sold for a hundred quid.
And whilst there has been a lot of high-octane psych-outs in their catalogue there are also too many ambient tracks that are really just digi-delay cosmic-slop that would have attracted no attention if Mid-Western basement stoners had released it. There have been too many tracks and track titles and covers that reference previous psych touchstones like Frank Zappa or Guru Guru or Terry Riley. There’s a point where you think that there must be more to creating an aesthetic than endless Jap tit pix and photographic solarisation. The breaking point came for me in 2003 when Important Records released three one-track CD EPs and then, in the same year with the originals still easily findable, collected them on a single CD with an extra track, a vulgar move as cash-grabbing and fan-fucking as any major label repackage.
And so here’s another record, their first studio recording since the departure of chain-smoker and synth-player Cotton Casino, their live focal point, earlier in the year. There are three tracks on Minstrel in the Galaxy, but the first and third are bookends, sounding like Mason Williams’ “Classical Gas” strung out into drowsy interstellar-sput. The real action is in the centrepiece, the 41-minute title track, which begins as a hazy whisper of gossamer feedback caught on an intermittent spatter of jazz drums and ends as the expected echoed-to-infinity solar flare. But the best part is the journey between, featuring the guest vocals of Afrirampo, here providing caressing space-whisper ululations instead of the blitz-out no-wave chants of their main group. Their vocals glide over some slow-mo folk-rock, like a screwed and chopped early Fairport Convention. I could have done with a whole CD of this stuff properly arranged into songs instead of the parts where Acid Mothers revert to their default freak-out mode. A mode that we know, from the hours and hours released, that they can do and do well, but after so much of it, really, so what?
Reviewed by: Patrick McNally
Reviewed on: 2005-11-22