Saturday, November 30, 2013

Manthra Dei - S/T

Mind-altering substances.  They don't have to be drugs.  It doesn't take acid, peyote, 'shrooms or pot to alter one's perception of reality.  Books, the spoken word and music also let humans view things differently.  However, they usually take longer for the consumer to fully appreciate and for people to become aware of the alterations. As mind-altering substances go, they are not nearly as immediate or as reliable in altering reality as ingested changes to body and brain chemistry.  Media, by itself, may be slow at changing perception. Yet, it is the Swiss army knife of mind-altering substances.  When coupled with chemically induced mind alteration, media can direct, enhance or, as in a "bad trip," even destroy the experience. 

Early on writers, musicians, painters and dancers experimented with art created under the influence of a variety of substances - opium, heroin, alcohol, absinthe, peyote, psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, cocaine, amphetamine, marijuana, hashish, glue - just to name a few.  However, it really wasn't until the mid-1960's that artists starting writing, arranging and performing to enhance the experience of an audience that was high on mind-altering substances (other than alcohol - many works pre-date the 1960's that were intended to enhance the effects of alcohol consumption - most of which used alcohol's effect of loosening inhibitions to separate the consumer from his or her cash.)  Along came the Beatles' Revolver album, the Rolling Stones' Her Majesty's Satanic Request, Hendrix's Are You Experienced?, Blue Cheer's Vincebus Eruptum, Pink Floyd's Ummagumma, King Crimson's In The Court Of The Crimson King.  All of them were focused on stoner, psychedelic music as a tour guide for the audiences' chemically induced high.  It was such an effective trail companion enhancement that now, some fifty years later, it is an established musical genre in and of itself.  Humans continue to chemically alter their reality and this jammy, spacey, jazzy, rockin', riff-laden, time-skipping music continues to enhance the experience.

Enter Manthra Dei, an Italian psychedelic/stoner rock band consisting of two Paolos (Paolo T. - keyboards; Paolo V. - guitars), a Brano (bass) and Michele (drums and vocals).  Their October 2013 released self-titled album is a classic head trip perfect to accompany artificially induced attitude and perception adjustment. Fittingly, Manthra Dei is offered through fledgling Acid Cosmonaut Records, an apt description of one of the album's most likely audiences.  Just think of Manthra Dei as Mission (out of) Control for your flight.

There are six tracks on Manthra Dei:

1. Stone Face 10:50
2. Xolotl  07:35
3. Legendary Lamb 05:40
4. Urjammer 05:00
5. Blue Phantom 17:39
6. Stone Face (Acoustic reprise) 04:32

My impression -  Robert Fripp is smiling, Geezer Butler is making devil horns, Ian Anderson is prancing with delight; Chris Cockrell is riding the bottom and Nick Mason is rolling another one.  Then, again, listen for yourself - I may have been high at the time.

- Old School


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