Friday, December 7, 2007

The Zodiac - Cosmic Sounds (1967)


The dozen signs of the Zodiac are ruminated upon during the pseudo-psychedelic Cosmic Sounds. This embarrassingly dated "concept" album was issued in late 1967 on Elektra Records. The recording -- replete with equally absurd cover art -- helped usher in the Age of Aquarius. Judging by the astrological psycho-babble in these grooves, it may well have been the age of excess as well. But what should one expect from an album whose caveat reads "Must Be Played in the Dark"? Cosmic Sounds narrator Cyrus Faryar's decidedly more musical credits include proficiencies as a bouzouki player, bassist, guitarist, and sometimes vocalist for a plethora of diverse artists, including Dave Guard & the Whiskeyhill Singers, the Modern Folk Quartet, as well as guest spots on albums by Cass Elliot, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Buffalo Springfield, Fred Neil, and even the Firesign Theater. Faryar animates Jacques Wilson's suitably antiquated '60s hippie prose, depicting the various characteristics unique to the respective 12 zodiac insignias. Backing Faryar's narration is a loosely corralled and completely uncredited aggregate of L.A. session all-stars and Wrecking Crew regulars: Carol Kaye (bass), Hal Blaine (drums), Bud Shank (bass flute), and Emil Richards (percussion), who often performs several different instruments during the same song. Along with some heavy-handed contributions from Moog synth guru Paul Beaver, the band churns out a series of non-descript ersatz rock melodies -- the likes of which might have been scored as incidental music for an episode of Dragnet or from any of the late-'60s hippie/biker flicks, such as Psych-Out or Hells Angels on Wheels. The cinematic nature of the musical scores come from Juilliard-trained pop composer/arranger/conductor Mort Garson, whose other credits include collaborations with Doris Day, Glen Campbell, Rod McKuen, and Mel Tormé. Pretensions aside, Cosmic Sounds is a definitive timepiece and nostalgic relic reflecting the heavy marketability in the so-called "counterculture" youth movement of the late '60s. Taken at face value it righteously succeeds. - AMG

Now, I of course didn't read a single word of that AMG blarble posted above so who really knows what the pro's are saying about this lovely album. What I can tell you is that you should most definitely own a copy. A great psychedelic album best summed up by this little fortune cookie of a lyric " the friendly open light of Uranus, all men can blend." Too true.


Quark said...

I have owned this album from the early 70`s.
When I foolishly threw out my vinyl collection when cd`s came along, this was one of the few albums that I kept.
Yes It`s a load of old Psycho-Babble but I defy anyone to actually `Play in the Dark` and not be hiding behind the sofa.
Get it!

Adam said...

"Embarrasingly dated"?! No, no sir.. This is the Future That Never Was personified.

SpongeMan said...

One of my desert island disks, I never tire of it, also worth a mention is Scottish prog rockers "The Writing on The Wall" include a rather Arthur Brownesq version of Aries on their only studio LP "Power Of The Picts" it's very heavy and makes Jim Morrison sound rather tame, check it out here

Anonymous said...

I was looking for some information about Generic Cialis, but your post caught my attention in the way that this album its one of my favorites of all time, it is so unique and relaxing that it is just mind blowing.

swed said...

Geees, been looking for this album many years now... really liked it way back in 1967... a smoke and then up and away...