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Psychedelia

By Moyukh Mahtab
Have you seen the roses?
There's a whole lot of colors.
Syd Barrett

The best thing about the 60's has to be the birth of psychedelic music. Letting go of inhibitions and getting into a different paradigm of perception is what Psychedelic music is all about. It's about epiphany and hallucinations and enlightenment. The genre was born with the psychedelic culture to replicate and reproduce the experience of the psychedelic drugs such as L.S.D. Artists took experimentation to the limit and there were casualties, such as Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. During the mid 60's - the trance like states induced by this drugs, along with the influence of the mystical lyrics, exotic instrumentation, experimentation with rhythm and time signature - psychedelic music came into being. Bright colors and fractal like shapes are an important part of the psychedelic experience and are almost always incorporated into the album art work or music videos. And while Pink Floyd popularized the sub-genre of Psychedelic Rock now their music almost exclusively defines the genre.

With Bands such as Kaleidoscope and The Grateful Dead together with the influence of the flower power generation sixties were the perfect time for Psychedelic music to be born. But The Beatles was the first band to bring psychedelic mainstream. Though more popularly known for their more sappy-romantic ones; songs such as 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' are examples of their part in the genre.

The Woodstock generation saw the greatest names in music to date. Bands such as The Yardbirds, The Doors, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream and of course Pink Floyd were doing their best works during the time. Use of feedbacks from guitars, elaborate and surreal solos, delays and reverbs and Hendrix's signature 'wah wah', defined music back then. Albums such as Floyd's Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Hendrix's 'Axis Bold as Love', Doors' 'Strange Days' are just some of the masterpieces that were created back then.

You know how you listen to bands today and go all wild - well listen to the names above and you will never go back. Yes, they were that good.

As psychedelic became mainstream, it was incorporated into pop and Bee Gees is the biggest name of the genre. The influence of Psychedelic music was eclectic. Pink Floyd moved on to a more progressive rock sound, which basically created the genre. Bands such as Dream Theater and Queensryche came into being due to this. The guitar solos with heavy distortions greatly influenced bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. The influence of psychedelic on pop resulted in the creation of Disco and funk music.

With the death of Jim Morrison and Hendrix, psychedelic too began to die. The Beatles moved on to more mainstream rock music and with the departure of Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd made their transition to prog rock. And while neo-psychedelic entered the scene after the grunge movement, it never produced any band to match the classics. Bands such as Porcupine Tree, though were identified with psychedelic, moved onto a more progressive sound. But the legacy of the colours and the lyrics of the 60s are something which will never die. Viva la Colours!

Must hear Psychedelic

1- The piper at the gates of dawn (the whole album) - Pink Floyd
2- In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - Iron Butterfly
3- People are Strange - The Doors
4- Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds - The Beatles
5- Set the controls for the heart of the sun - Pink Floyd
6- Purple Haze - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
7- Echoes - Pink Floyd
8- Tales of Brave - Ulysses Cream
9- Strange Days - The Doors
10- Tomorrow Never Knows - The Beatles

 

 

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