25 May 2012

Desert Island Discs Selected By Sky Picnic's Chris Sherman

Chris Sherman from the excellent Brooklyn based psychedelic band Sky Picnic has weighed in this week with his Desert Island Discs selections. Chris supplied us with photos of his own copies of the albums for a personal touch.
You can read an in depth interview with Chris here very soon so stay tuned for that, and in the meantime you can read the Active Listener's review of the last Sky Picnic album "Farther in this Fairytale" here.
And why not listen to their epic "Universal Mind Decoder" while you read, hmmm?
Sky Picnic on the web : http://www.skypicnicmusic.com/
Chris's Collection

Chris : "Let me preface my choices with the following: As such an avid music lover and collector, this is a tough assignment. There are way too many albums I hold in the highest esteem to whittle this down to just ten. Some legends must get left off as much as it kills me. I also tried my absolute hardest to only list one release per artist for more variety, again, as hard as it is to make those cuts. (This is also subject to change at any time at my discretion! Of course, only I will know, so drop me a line in a few months if you want an update!) Also, no compilation records were considered, as those are not a "real" release."

The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour 
The Beatles at their most psychedelic. While "Sgt. Pepper" is the obvious choice, I think any record that has "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" is more vital, along with "The Fool On The Hill", which is a personal favorite song (my god, those flutes!). From the opening notes of the title track, through the fade out of "All You Need Is Love", this is just the perfect Beatles album, and thus would be my top choice. (and yes, I realize that this is technically a compilation, as the UK version was only an EP originally, but it has since been embraced using the original USA Capitol track list, so it squeaks by on that technicality).

Pink Floyd - Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
No single record puts me in the creative mood more-so than this one. Sky Picnic is essentially built upon this classic, so it is a no-brainer. There is nothing better than hearing Syd at his absolute peak. This really is a treasure and a glimpse into his rather bizarre mind. There is so much experimentation ("Interstellar Overdrive", "Flaming") and such a cacophony of sounds ("Bike"), that it takes multiple listens to take it all in. After all these years, with each listen I am still discovering little things I had never heard before! ("A Saucerful Of Secrets" comes in a close second for Floyd picks)

Dungen - Ta Det Lugnt
As soon as you hear those opening drums in "Panda", you know you're in for a treat. A record that honestly sounds like it was made in 1969. I get chills upon every listen of "Festival" during the the bridge with the guitar, flute and piano riff leading into the outro. And I have beyond sensational memories of seeing them play "Bortglomd" live. A modern psychedelic masterpiece.

King Crimson - In The Court of the Crimson King (An Observation)
Firstly, one of the greatest album covers of all-time. It beautifully represents the music inside. The sheer majesty of this LP is beyond comprehension. I love the dichotomy of raw power ("21st Century Schizoid Man") next to some of the most beautiful moments you'll hear ("I Talk To The Wind") and then the epic melltoron strings that permiate through "Epitaph" and the title track.

The Zombies - Odessey and Oracle
A lost gem that perhaps isn't so lost these days? Either way, this is possibly the most beautiful album ever, with some extremely soulful vocals. "Brief Candles" and "Hung Up On A Dream" are possibly my favorite back-to-back on any album, and the use of mellotron gives it that extra touch. "This Will Be Our Year" is, in my mind, THE sweetest love song. I think side one might be the most perfect side of recorded music ever, and it all concludes with one of the most perfect singles ever.

The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
The genius of Brian Wilson on full display. Some of the best harmony vocals you will ever hear (I highly recommend checking out the Pet Sounds Sessions box set to hear isolated vocal tracks!). Amazing song arrangements and instrument choices make this one of the crowning achievements of music. "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" is one of my favorite sets of lyrics ever.

The Byrds - The Notorious Byrd Brothers
While others may disagree, I think this is by far their high point. They were merely a two-piece for most of this album, but you'd never know. Shifting between folk and country and psychedelia and then back, there are too many highlights to name..."Draft Morning"..."Get To You"..."Change Is Now"....


George Harrison - All Things Must Pass
The sprawling triple LP that shows George had just as much, and if not more, writing talent than rest of the ex-Beatles. "Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp" is the highlight for me, along with "Art of Dying."

Graham Nash - Songs For Beginners
My favorite singer ever. I love the vibe this record gives off- it has a very comforting and inviting feeling. "I Used To Be King" and "Better Days" alone make this a desert island choice.

Primus - Tales From the Punchbowl
I had to pick at least one album that I grew up with, so let's go with the psychedelic polka that is Primus (as described by Les Claypool himself). This LP is the band at it's trippiest and most cartoon-y. Songs that lyrically deal with beavers, pachyderm, Christmas trees, and hallucinogenic car rides sit on top of music that is driven by masterful bass playing. A rather epic listen.

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