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The State of Altered States

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pink Floyd announced last month it plans to reissue its entire catalog. But there are plenty of new psychedelic sounds coming out of the worlds of folk, drone, black metal and more. Writer Peter Bebergal, author of “Too Much To Dream: A Psychedelic American Boyhood” joins us to explore the ever-evolving relationship between music, mysticism and meaning.

Peter Bebergal will appear at the NYU Bookstore on Wednesday, October 12th at 5pm, as part of the Revealer Reading Series. More information here.

Guests:

Peter Bebergal

Comments [43]

Guy Misterioso from Bed-Stuy

No one has mentioned La Monte Young or his Dream House in Tribeca? If he wasn't the original psychedelic musician I don't know who is. Forget about the Flaming Lips six hour song, he had his Dream House in the 1980s run for SIX YEARS. His music might be hard to find but it's well worth tracking down (especially his six hour version of the Well-Tuned Piano).

Oct. 13 2011 11:30 AM
Dreadnowt from NYC

I didn't hear much about Jimi H. or electronica, both of which are a big part of psychedelia. I would also like to mention the name David Shea, an electronic musician who has released some fantastic music that is both well-crafted and trippy.

Oct. 12 2011 10:48 PM
Dreadnowt from NYC

I agree with the guest that drugs are not necessary to have a psychedelic musical experience. The two certainly are connected, however. It is hard to imagine the psych movement occurring without the big increase in the use of certain substances in the 1960s. But it is more about a state of mind than the use of frequently harmful substances.

Oct. 12 2011 10:45 PM
Dreadnowt

As a longtime fan of psychedelic music, I say thanks for this show. Here is something I havent heard you guys discuss yet - the value of electronica as a form of psychedelic music. Some of it gets pretty darn trippy. I would submit David Shea as an artist who creates electronic music that is both mind-expanding and very well crafted. There are plenty more as well.

Oct. 12 2011 10:38 PM
Peter Bebergal from Cambridge, MA

Thanks everyone for listening and chiming in.
My favorites these days include Woods, Blithe Sons, White Rainbow, Sore Eros, and Sun Araw, as well as more electronic stuff such as Emeralds and garage stuff like Ty Segall.

And yes I agree 100% that the music does not need any "additives" to blow your mind. In fact, I believe they can keep us further from a truer experience.

Oct. 12 2011 04:03 PM
Jim from Ferndale, MI

of Montreal is one of the greatest psychedelic bands ever, and should not be missed. Listen to "Skeletal Lamping" until you get it, and there will be no turning back. Kevin Barnes is extremely gifted and has consistently evolved since he began over a decade ago. Alongside that, anything from the Elephant 6 collective is worth mentioning.

Oct. 12 2011 03:12 PM
Ian from Brooklyn

Boards of Canada is an obvious one if we're talking about recent electronic music. In my opinion, I think the best psychedelic music comes from electronic instruments. There's just so much you can do - so many possibilities with some good analog instruments. But, I think in general, that psychedelic feeling comes from strange melodies. You don't need drugs to vibe on a melody.

PS - John, do yourself a favor and drop the term "folktronica" from your vocabulary. I'm always a little embarrassed when you use this term.

Oct. 12 2011 02:51 PM
Barry Whomble from Edison

There was a psych band in the '80's that I liked. The Watch Children. Real obscure.
Some of their music is here:
http://psychedelicpsauna.blogspot.com/2008/11/watch-children-how-does-it-feel-to-be.html

Oct. 12 2011 02:41 PM
Kevin

There are a lot of small run tape labels nowadays that put out what I consider temporary psych music in various forms (noise, drone, ambient and what have you). Artists like Robedoor, Xiphiidae, Tuluum Shimmering, etc. are furthering psychedelic sounds into more abstract/mind expanding territory. The recently closed Stunned Records was perhaps the most revered of these labels.

Oct. 12 2011 02:40 PM
Will from Greater NYC Area

I've taken a few different classes,

and you can do a Hell of a lot with:
a repeated physical trigger, like prayer- hands, Yoga hand-position,

closing your eyes & bowing your head, so your eyes are ~10 degrees above the horizontal,

having a very conducive environment, (quiet, dark, etc.)

and Really controlling your breathing -like deep breaths, holding your breath for long periods, etc.

Oct. 12 2011 02:37 PM
Lucky

The pinnacle of psychedelia today has got to be Acid Mother's Temple and the Melting Paraiso UFO. As for whether you have to take drugs to understand psychedelia, I would have to say no based on two people: Grant Morrison (who at the time of writing The Invisibles had never taken any sort of illegal drugs) and William Blake (who I think we can assume never took acid). Not musicians, but still kings of psychedelia.

Oct. 12 2011 02:37 PM
James from Brooklyn

What about skinny puppy or Front 242

Oct. 12 2011 02:35 PM
Robots Need to Party from NYC

Psychedelic music and mind altering music aren't the same thing. I feel this discussion is conflating the two. Almost all music seems to fit your guests definition of psychedelic. I would say psychedelic music is music that attempts to create or enhance the effects of pyschedelics. Any music can open your mind if it reaches you in that way.

Oct. 12 2011 02:35 PM
Nick from UWS

As usual, the pioneers of the form died creating it, while the new generation of artists doing this are traveling the safe well built highway the pioneers created.

Oct. 12 2011 02:35 PM
Brian from Brooklyn

Dufus. Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Void. Woods.

Oct. 12 2011 02:34 PM
Brian from Brooklyn

Bon Iver is just Neo-Cetera,

Oct. 12 2011 02:33 PM
dan k from chelsea

Animal Collective, Flaming Lips, Radioheads later stuff

Oct. 12 2011 02:32 PM
SPLIFFINGTON from BROOKLYN ALL DAY

Zappa was sober as a judge and his music is 10,000 times crazier than Pink Floyd.

Also MF Doom and Prince Paul might be a better example of psychedlia in rap music. GZA's LP was indeed crazy sounding, but that was thanks to RZA production. Redman's second LP (self-produced no less) was also VERY psychedelic

Oct. 12 2011 02:29 PM
Sandra from Astoria

Contemporarily, I really love Brightblack Morning Light.

But to me the kings of droney psychedelia were Spacemen 3. They had a record called "Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs To"--nuff said!

Oct. 12 2011 02:28 PM
Stephen from Brooklyn

Teardrop explodes & Radiohead

Oct. 12 2011 02:28 PM
Kristin from Greenpoint

Poet Anne Waldman and her son Ambrose Bye - heard them at the Rubin a couple weeks ago and was totally tranced out.

Oct. 12 2011 02:27 PM
JD

Gandalf Murphey and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams. "Flapjacks from the Sky" combines Pink Floyd and Frank Sinatra!

Oct. 12 2011 02:26 PM
Dustin from Brooklyn

El Jesus de Magico is a great current band that mixes some punk asthetic with psychedelic and comes out better than it sounds.

Oct. 12 2011 02:26 PM
Jevin from Nolita

The groups Broken Bells and Zero 7 are contemporary references to Psychedelic music with a more mainstream twist.

Oct. 12 2011 02:25 PM
Andy from Brooklyn

Fursaxa. From PA

Oct. 12 2011 02:24 PM
patrick

psychedelic sounds today can be heard in electronic music and electronic dance music out of Berlin i.e apparat, paul Kalkbrenner etc

Oct. 12 2011 02:23 PM
Johann from NY, NY

Eternal Tapestry from Portland, Ore.

Oct. 12 2011 02:23 PM
Sam from Bronx

Psychedelia is anything that sounds/looks good or makes sense when you're high. If so is trance and rave (of the ecstacy days) psychedelic too?

Oct. 12 2011 02:22 PM
Joe cristando from Brooklyn

I'd like to suggest Grouper (Liz Harris) for a new kind if psychedelic form of music. Part shoegaze, part folk and part drone but I dare you to listen to any of her output and tell me you don't find yourself transcending to a new consciousness.

Oct. 12 2011 02:22 PM
Kevin from Westchester

The mainstream music critics and fans will dismiss them outright, but the improvisation of Phish is an example of a current band making amazing psychedelic music.

Oct. 12 2011 02:22 PM
Maggie from morristown nj


Bon Iver --has to be the most mood altering, if not mind altering, work out there. Just listen to Calgary. Mesmerizing.

Oct. 12 2011 02:22 PM
Gi to NicholasWest from nyc

..so "psychedelic" is defined only by drug induction by the musician and/or the listener? No-- consciousness can be altered expanded and spirituality awakened etc. without.

Oct. 12 2011 02:22 PM
SPLIFFINGTON from Brooklyn

I think King Tubby and Lee Perry are unsung heros of psychedelia. Perry used to bury his masters in the ground, blow herb smoke on them, had small rituals around their recordings etc and Tubby was simply a genius making authentic space music on a 4 track.

Oct. 12 2011 02:21 PM
JR from NYC

any music can be psychedelic - as long as you take the "right stuff"
lol

Oct. 12 2011 02:20 PM
Frank from NYC

Psychedelic is to me the backwards hi-hat sound from the Beatles Sgt Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour albums. ((wink))

Oct. 12 2011 02:20 PM
Mike from Rockaway

The Gza Liquid Swords...

Oct. 12 2011 02:19 PM
Jessica Kessler from Brooklyn, NY

Brian Jonestown Massacre

Oct. 12 2011 02:19 PM

It might be said that George Harrison was the first psychedelic pop musician...experimenting with Indian sounds and psychedelic soundscapes as early as 1965.

Oct. 12 2011 02:16 PM
Frank Grimaldi from East Village

No mention of Rotary Connection yet - that's odd.

I saw a band recently called The Stepkids, they played psychedelic neo soul and came out wearing all white and had patterned images projected on to them.

Oct. 12 2011 02:16 PM

I mean....LSD!!!

Oct. 12 2011 02:12 PM

The question is: are these bands actually taking LDS, peyote etc, or are they leading squeaky clean lives and ironically attempting to imitate psychedelic music?

Because if you ain't taking the chemicals, you really don't know what you're talking about.

Oct. 12 2011 02:10 PM
Hal from Brooklyn

I wonder if the timing of this program has anything to do with this weekend's upcoming Horizons Conference on psychedelics. The conference focuses on recent research into psychoactive substances in relation to mental health, interventions in addiction, creativity, and spirituality.

Oct. 12 2011 02:05 PM
Siouxie from Bronx

The King of this heap is Syd Barrett - Swinging London's own Pied Piper of Acid. Piper (at the Gates of Dawn) fans have been eagerly waiting for the unreleased recordings for years.

Do we really have to wait until next year?

Oct. 12 2011 12:36 PM

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