Pale Saints/His Name Is Alive offshoot ESP Summer made us a psych playlist
ESP Summer, the duo of Ian Masters (Pale Saints) and Warren Defever (His Name is Alive) recently released Kingdom of Heaven, an album inspired by The 13th Floor Elevators song of the same name. They cover that song but then the record spins out into wild, psychedelic and drony directions. It's gothy and ethereal and if you're a fan of Masters and Defever's other work you will like what they've created here. They've made a lyric video for the title track, using footage from cult sci-fi films like Warning from Space and it also features the lyrics translated into Japanese. That premieres in this post and you can watch below.
Ian and Warren also made us a companion psych playlist for Kingdom of Heaven, which includes tracks by The Red Krayola, The Electric Prunes, AC Marias, Caetano Veloso and more. They both picked five tracks and wrote commentary for each.
They also use this to tease a new project called 3 Eyed Monkey which features Ian Masters and Nick Davidson of obscure '80s band Magic Roundabout who just had all their known recordings released for the first time ever via Third Man (Masters and Defever played a part in it). So that's something to look forward to.
Check out their playlist and commentary below.
ESP SUMMER - PSYCH PLAYLIST
Five from Ian Masters:
1. "Hurricane Fighter Plane" by The Red Crayola (1978 Zigzag flexi disc version)
This version of a track from the first 60s LP was on a Flexi disc given away with an issue of Zigzag music magazine. The other track on the record on the Flexi was "Reverberation" by the 13th Floor Elevators, and it was the first time I'd ever heard either of those bands. The recording starts on the 2nd beat of the bar, which I loved. This version was recorded in 1978. Truly unhinged.
2. "Gloria" from "Mass in F minor" by The Electric Prunes 1968
For a person who hated guitar solos, to hear this album and realise that I loved it was quite a shock. This is the album where the original members of the band were basically sacked and replaced by David Axelrod.
3. "Kyo" from "Film Music 8" by Toru Takemitsu
A 7-minute section of music from the 1968 movie directed by Kon Ichikawa tells you all you need to know about the extra sensory perceptive world of Toru Takemitsu. Discordant and surprising, scary and intriguing, beautiful and ugly at the same time, like watching a female praying mantis bite the head off the male, after mating.
4. "Space I Part 0" from "Space And Maryjuane Trip Is Same" by Matsuo Ono 1977
Surprisingly relaxing LP of space noises, whooshing and all kinds of studio effects. Not a single melody anywhere to spoil the fun. There's a fantastic re-issue on the Em Records label from Osaka, with excellent sleeve notes by Koki Emura himself.
5. "Never Another" by 3 Eyed Monkey 2021
13th Floor Elevators song covered by Nick Davidson from Magic Roundabout and Ian Masters, out soon somewhere, and maybe a toy lathe cut limited edition. Originally from the Bull of the Woods album, on which Roky Erickson demonstrates his complete disregard of space and time, and expects the band to genuflect to his distortions of all 5 dimensions. Nick and Ian channel Matsuo Ono and Touru Takemitsu and throw in the kitchen psynch for good measure.
Five from Warren Defever:
AC Marias - "Just Talk"
All the information about everything is now readily available but in the late '80s, as a teenager in Michigan, I heard AC Marias and had no idea if it was a band or one person or three electric people named Maria, they didn't have all the buttons to click on back then like they do now. I knew I loved what they were doing and it was around the same time I heard Ian's band the Pale Saints and I think they sing kinda the same. No offense, Ian, but you sing like a girl. There I said it.
Toudie Heath - "Kamil"
The album Kawaida was originally released under Toudie Heath's name but it was repressed a couple times under the side players' names depending on who was doing well that year: Herbie Hancock, Don Cherry, Mtume etc. I originally heard it as a CD-R labelled "Don Cherry And Herbie Hancock Kawaida 1969" (Herbie Hancock probably doesn't actually appear on it though). You can call it spiritual jazz, that's fine, but to my ears it's really just a beautiful, tonal, free flowing track created by an all-star cast of magical beings perfectly in tune with nature, time and the world around them.
Kudsi Erguner and Süleyman Erguner - "Balade"
I don't know too much about this, I'm not an expert on 13th Century Sufi mysticism, the Quran, Rumi, or the whirling dervishes of ancient Persia but I'm pretty sure "Balade" is Turkish for ballad and this album often has double flutes so its way better than a lot of albums that only have one flute. I'm not the world's greatest flute player but I did manage to sneak some onto the ESP Summer - Kingdom of Heaven album and Ian didn't veto it or overtly criticize it during the sessions. I like to imagine Kudsi and his brother Suleyman have a criticism-free working relationship similar to me and Ian's.
Caetano Veloso - Araçá Azul
You don't need a whole band all the time, sometimes it's nice to just let the singer sing the song or, like the Geza X demos of the Screamers clearly demonstrate, you don't always need guitar, bass and drums. Don't jazz it up too much and then it can just be a natural beautiful thing. My old roommate Davin hung out with Ian in Japan and they did karaoke and Davin filmed it. What a great voice omg so beautiful. Ian should make an album where he just sings and maybe there's a guitar in the background like Caetano here but really it's about that voice.
Kannibal Komix - "Cosy Rosy"
In the US we often romanticize British stuff like mopeds, mod haircuts, and chelsea boots, but also other 1960s European cultural artifacts like gothic horror movies and rare German and Austrian microphones. Meanwhile everyone in the UK is dreaming about American stuff like riding a horse while wearing a cowboy hat and shooting a pistol in the desert on peyote. I don't think too much info on Kannibal Komix really made it past the Atlantic Ocean but they sound great, have a great name, great album cover and really could've never happened in Texas.