venerdì, luglio 03, 2009

Aorta-Aorta(usa psych 1969)

Aorta - Aorta

A monster classic of 60s psych! Yes!
This jewel has some of the most creative studio production of the day, creating an album that flows from the beginning to end and has all kinds of glorious details popping in and out.
This album really has the whole package, from the sophisticated production blending killer organ and guitar sounds, horns, strings, etc to distinctive, great vocals and outstanding songwriting. There are no weak tracks here, and each one has some melodies or hooks or stinging, powerful instrumental ideas that suck me in. There are also at least two or three bona fide elite classic songs here, really memorable, catchy slices of genius that belong on any comprehensive "best of 60s psych" comp.
In the flow of the album, there are a number of fascinating departures from conventional pop song format, notably the opening track and its unforgettable "main vein" chorus.
The whole vibe of the album is really unusual, not something that fits in with any of the standard reference styles for the era. One minor reference point, however, is early Chicago and the bright, hard-rocking horn-pop sound. The blues-rock element is masked with Aorta though. Something of this general flavor is in parts of Food's classic Forever is a Dream too, and I'd bet most fans of Food would dig Aorta and vice versa, just on an abstract sensibility, not on any especially strong similarities.
Probably the primary feeling of the music comes from the organ. Stripping away the brilliant compositional and production maneuvers, This is slightly heavy, trippy, psychedelic organ prog-psych-pop with an exaggerated, dramatic vocal style atypical of psych bands. (Not to the extremes of Arcadium or Vanilla Fudge though!)
The prog element deserves special mention. This was 1969. I'd argue this was one of the earliest prog albums in history. It really has a lot of the prototypical features of prog despite the psych context.
A singular gem whose peaks don't approach the highest of the era, but which earns a privileged place in my 60s rock collection for its consistent excellence and evocative, unforgettable creativity.

Michael Anton Parker


Aorta - Aorta 2(1970 psych)

Aorta - Aorta 2

Okay, here I go being rebellious again, but I prefer this LP to Aorta's debut. More country and less psych. More pedestrian but less pretentious. The one common element between the two sets is superb keyboard work, as heard on "Little Bonnie". The album has several selections with Christian overtones, and it's interesting to speculate whether or not this was Jim Donlinger's penance for his substantial work on Coven's satanically-themed debut. The highlight of the set is "Devil, Maggot, and Son", which sounds like Rick Danko. Michael Been would later turn up in the Moby Grape offshoot Fine Wine,and The Call.

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