Monday, March 06, 2006

Niezidentyfikowany Obeikt Latajacy

"Polish prog rock." It's not a phrase that inspires immediate confidence or unrestrained enthusiasm. High-concept suites of concentrated consonants and impossible time signatures? Not so much. But consider Cold War curiosities Breakout. Slavic funk and Eastern Bloc-rockin' beats. Consonants, and lots of'em. I think they demonstrate how sheer ambition can give even a weird, Leggo-like song like "Taki Wiatr" a certain something. It's as if a haywire translation of Fleetwood Mac yielded a Sega video game soundtrack from 1998. But in a good way!

I found this record at a stoop sale in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, in 1995. A Polish immigrant was expelling youthful indescretions from a faraway time and place. I like imagining the potato-derived-liquor parties this song got started back in Warsaw. The name of the 1976 record is "Niezidentyfikowany Obeikt Latajacy," which the online Polish-to-English translator translates as "Unidentified Flying Object." Of course! The song "Taki Wiatr" seems to mean "Strong Wind." There's definitely something unidentified and windy about the keyboard solo.

Continuing on the theme of lost oddities from my record collection: In the winter of 1992, I happened into Enterprise Records in Portland, Maine, and heard what, to my ears at the time, was the best LSD music I'd ever heard. It was The Bevis Frond. The album was "Inner Marshland," which has the best psychedelic cover art ever. After hearing a lot of psychedelic rock over the years, I've decided while many pay lip-service to drug use, few truly, deeply, madly love acid quite like Nick Saloman. And I've always loved him for that. It's hard to isolate a single sample of the Frond's music and really get it.
I've melded a couple of tracks together: A bit of trippy guitar-impersonating-a-creaky-floorboard special effect, which segues into "Minsmere Spagnum," a short piano element, which launches the unrestrained lysergic windfall of "Midievel Sienese Acid Blues."

And then the wind comes in from the Western sea
And brings with it ... acid rain.
Yeah, let it rain on me.

I'm a big fan of the double-tracked guitar solos that follow. The Lime-juicer element is about as thick and sour as it gets, but there's hardly a single hint that this music was made in the 1980s. Chalk another one up for British eccentrics puttering in the garden ... with the mushrooms.


Django West said...

loving the bevis frond in me 'eadphones right now. i'd never heard them until earlier this year, when i heard "lights are changing" which was very pre-GBV to my ears. but this, THIS is something else. thank you.

Lefty said...

Glad you like. The whole record is worth digging into.

Dock Ellis said...

How very odd...

Here I am reading my wife's blog, and for the first time I notice the "search" bar at the top of the page. Just for grins, I type in the name of my favorite obscure band, and here I am. The odd bit is that I discovered Bevis Frond THE EXACT SAME WAY- at Enterprise Records on Congress Street in Portland ME in 1992! Only I think he was playing "Triptych" at the time, and it was his own personal copy- the store didn't have any Frond records to sell me. Later that week I went to a friend's radio show at WMPG and copied the "Ear Song" EP.

Small world!