Wednesday, March 17, 2010

David Axelrod - Song of Innocence [1968]

What started out as a jazz/rock experiment throw-away, decades later reveals itself as a lost classic. Along with Miles' work at the time, this was a very early example of the sound that would later become Jazz Fusion. Producer, arranger, and engineer David Axelrod made his mark with Cannonball Adderley, Lou Rawls, and the Electric Prunes. Song of Innocence made critics turn their heads in its day, regarding it as a visionary curiosity piece; today it's simply a great, timeless work of pop art that continues to inspire over four decades after its initial release.

After forming a band with a couple of yer typical garage-rockers of the time, Axelrod signed with Capitol and this masterpiece was his very first release. An instrumental concerto based on the works of William Blake, 'Song of Innocence' is entirely unique: neither Rock, Jazz, Classical, nor Easy Listening, the album blends elements of all four into a richly layered whole. While this may sound like a potentially pretentious train-wreck waiting to happen, nothing could be further from the truth. This is simply one of the most unique musical efforts of the last several decades. Distorted guitars, funky bass lines and drums that were shockingly loud for 1968, blend with churchy organ and symphony-size orchestras on songs like 'Holy Thursday' and the epic closer 'The Mental Traveler.'

"Imagine if Brian Wilson had suddenly decided to turn SMILE into a prototype for Isaac Hayes's soundtrack to SHAFT, and you're halfway there."


blxl said...

You might also find this interesting.

We refer to it as "Analog Music from a Lost World" -- previously unreleased post-punk experimental rock from 1981, unlike anything else recorded before or after.

"It’s out there but a really good listen...some awesome experimental work." — Richmond Playlist

"It’s challenging music made by a collection of people who know what the f_ck they’re talking about when it comes to records...fantastic record...holds its own unique feel and straight weirdness. What more could you want?" --

"...enjoyed it immensely! Odd, odd sounds, but funky in a twisted way." —

"...a comment i had from an anonymous friend made me to move my old fat ass and write about this unique lost treasure, post-punk mixed with avant-rock, filled with spastic rhythms and synths in a very New York-ish manner, something like a No Wave Beefheart, if he was a female..." —

"It's amazing!" -- Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock

"...pretty weird: mixtures of grrl band vocals, psych rock and spaced-out guitar, and 60s style poetic verse.
Pretty weird, in the good way." —

"Once again, those lovely folks over at WFMU beat us all to the punch with another chunk of previously unknown avant/post-punk brilliance circa 1981, proving that no matter how much you root around, there's always another truffle waiting to be dug up..." --

“...lovely and odd...” -- No Rock and Roll

"It reminds me at times of early Sonic youth. To be honest I love anything which contains deranged female warblings. You can listen to or download the whole thing from the Free Music Archive website. Well worth an hour of your time." --

"...some hefty grooves, and plenty of 'holy shit" moments'. It's a spacious but highly rewarding listen, and I wouldn't be surprised if some label makes an effort to press this on vinyl in the near future." --

Jason Sigal, Managing Director at WFMU said:
"This is amazing stuff and we would be honored to feature it in wfmu's curated portal on the free music archive. I'm very sorry for our slow response, we have a lot of stuff to wade through to find gems like these."

mister shabbadoo said...

This is great stuff but I'm not sure how far I'd place this in the "out there" category. A lot of it reminds me of a pop/rock mutation of Ennio Morricone's sound. Very cool soundtrack-esque music.

Anonymous said...

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Heres the link:
The file contains info, pictures and flyers of the band to.

I hope you like it and enjoy it as well. Best!

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Elliot Knapp said...

Love this album and the follow-up! Just posted about this on my music blog too.

Anonymous said...

Grande David. Muchas gracias por la posibilidad de poder escucharlo

Alex B said...

Great album, great music, kinematic, climatic, it´s music of old times, and this is a compliment. thanks for posting!