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Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced CD (album) cover

ARE YOU EXPERIENCED

Jimi Hendrix

 

Proto-Prog

4.23 | 305 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ken_scrbrgh
5 stars There is a paradox at the core of ProgArchives.com. Our desire and need to classify and organize reality and experience into predictable and recognizable forms may be an essential aspect of human consciousness. However, human history amply displays that our ways of seeing are always evolving. The recent addition of the work of Jimi Hendrix to this site exemplifies this evolutionary character. And, it exposes the core paradox: much of the music we lionize exists because progressive rock artists have been willing to suspend and mold the classifications and ways of seeing / hearing from which they have emerged. I submit that, while the sub-genre classifications are initially useful, they can foster rumination that sometimes ignores the music itself.

Are You Experienced joins Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Days of Future Passed, and the Monterey Pop Festival in producing a year, 1967, as memorable as 1972. Jimi's compositions and arrangements only hint at the grand complexities to come from those he influenced. Yet, complexity and cuteness alone do not make great art. As a guitarist, Hendrix stands as a prophet of the direct manifestation of the potential realization of the many gifts each of us possesses. Sure, Hendrix had little in the way of formal discipline or technique in his approach to the guitar. Nevertheless, who really knows what is going on in his improvisations? Although I have pursued the guitar off and on since high school days, I am no musician. But, in listening to Are You Experienced, I must join the protagonist of Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, Tyrone Slothrup, and ask, What the f__k is going on?

One sign of rock that is progressive is this: do we feel compelled to ask Tyrone's question upon our first encounter with the music? Whether the subject is Yes' Tales from Topographic Oceans, Jethro Tull's A Passion Play, Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, or Porcupine Tree's The Sky Moves Sideways, I know my initial responses have focused around this curiosity and dismay. Many in those days of 1966 and 1967 watched and listened simultaneously repulsed and engaged by Hendrix's music. As an instrumentalist, composer, and performer, Jimi Hendrix remains the iconoclast of rock. Perhaps the constellation of performers and their music celebrated through the vehicle of ProgArchives.com may share this iconoclasm to one degree or another?

What are we afraid of? This is Jimi talkin' to ya--I won't do you no harm . . . .

ken_scrbrgh | 5/5 |

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