Madrigal - S/T
1971 USA private press
An early example of an underground improv/chant/psych piece in the eerie "Stoned Freakout." The rest are two-man psych folk pieces, with an early drum machine running the background.
If anything here in the Archives fits the term “underground,” it’s this. Supposedly only about 50 copies were made and when one of the band members was found he was rude and refused to talk about his album or disclose the whereabouts of his bandmate. The record itself is a basement-sounding recording by two guys with no help from anyone else, and only a tiny bit of overdubbing. One guy plays guitar, one plays theremin, both sing, one of them runs a drum machine. The vocals are heavily reverbed. About half of the songs are random improvisations (including a 12-minute mess called “Stoned Freakout”) with unhinged screaming, feedback-laden guitar and other various noises. The other half are pop songs, basically done with just voice, guitar and drum machine. Some of these songs are pretty good, and as much as I hate fake drums, something about this primitive machine only adds to the lonely DIY feeling here, making these guys sort of a cross between Suicide, Moolah and Index. The vocals are very good. “Ballad,” which is so quiet that you can barely hear the singing, is especially eerie. The droney song that starts side two is kind of a middle ground between their two styles, and would work pretty well if it didn’t drag on for ten minutes. The closing instrumental is really lame, like the instrumentals on the North County Rock Association album. Obviously, much of this album is boring and/or annoying, but some of it is pretty memorable too. More importantly, it’s one of those albums that sounds absolutely like nothing else, which always means that someone out there will fall in love with it. Considering the rarity and $1000 price tag, hopefully it will be reissued so that one person won’t go broke trying to find it.