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Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O., "Crystal Rainbow Pyramid Under the Stars"

Hot on the heels of The Myth of the Love Electronique comes another album from the ever-prolific Acid Mothers Temple. As consistently rewarding as most of their albums are, this one manages to surpass all but a select few of them. An unusually clear recording by their standards and the introduction of a couple of new elements make it a top-tier addition to this band's fascinating discography.


Tsuyama Atsushi's firebrand bass leads the band into the fast and furious "Pussy Head Man From Outer Space," erupting with Kawabata Makoto's guitar as a grand slab of high-octane heavy machinery amid electronic gasps of gasoline fumes. One of the benefits of the clearer recording is the opportunity to better witness Atsushi's unbelievably dexterous playing. Makoto's on fire too, sparking some of his most mind-binding passages yet. Kitagawa Hao's vocals are a comfortable presence here that adds a welcome touch of humanity to this frenzied juggernaut.

They scale back the psychosis on "Crystal Pyramid," taking their loping rhythm in a mellower direction. It is a welcome change of pace. The guitar may not be so frantic here, but it is no less intricate. Some vocals with a pitch-changing effect come along for the ride but get left behind when the shimmering interstellar guitars and clouds of electronics go into a hypnotically repetitive state. They blast off in one last fiery crescendo only to leave the earthly plane with an unexpected sudden gasp.

Acid Mothers front-load many of their previous albums with the longest song and leave a couple of come-down tracks in its wake. This time they save their epic for last, the soaring 40-minute "Electric Psilocybin Flashback." Urgent riffs on non-Western scales incite the band into torturing electricity with their screaming guitars. A mystical drone eventually overcomes them, sending them into a meditative passage. Joining them here is an alto saxophone, the first time in my immediate memory that such an instrument has entered an Acid Mothers mix. The horn works great, adding an emotional undercurrent to the passage that wasn't there before. Its appearance is all too brief, and I hope it shows up on subsequent recordings. The song takes a quiet atmospheric turn with an acoustic guitar and gentle singing from Hao before making a playfully Beefheartian return to the main theme. The band cools down for the last ten minutes with some contemplative acoustic playing, drones, and electronic sweeps, ending the album in peaceful fashion.

This is another densely packed album from Acid Mother Temple that nonetheless manages to touch a lot of bases while making the time pass quickly. As both this album and their recent tour proves, they are still every bit at the peak of their powers.



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