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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - The Zodiac : Cosmic Sounds CD (album) cover

THE ZODIAC : COSMIC SOUNDS

Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

 

Various Genres

3.85 | 18 ratings

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Progfan97402
5 stars This album deserves to be in Progarchives. It's a 1967 release, but it sounds actually quite progressive for 1967. Certainly the psychedelic elements are there, but that's to be expected. This is one of those one-off projects consisting of a bunch of L.A. session musicians who played on some major hits from the likes of the Byrds, Beach Boys, Mamas and the Papas, and so on. Also involved is Paul Beaver, responsible for including synths on albums from the Monkees, Simon and Garfunkel ("Save the Life of My Child"), The Turtles ("You Showed Me") and so on. Music written by Jacques Wilson and Canadian expatriate Mort Garson (who released his share of electronic Moog albums up to the mid 1970s). Plus you get Jim Morrison-like narration from Cyrus Faryar.

Unsurprisingly you get twelve cuts on the album, each representing the different sign. Lots of nice keyboards like organ, electric harpsichord, and most of all, the Moog synthesizer. Actually the Moog is more low-key than you usually expect from recordings of this era, Beaver seemed to be using it more for ambient settings. Each of the songs features narration, describing the sign in question. I really love the flute Bud Shank uses on some of the cuts, really magical and trippy, especially on "Virgo".

It seemed British prog rockers loved this album. Elektra did release this album in the UK so at least some of the British public caught on. When I first heard both "Aries" and "Taurus", I was thinking those cuts were familiar. Scottish heavy rock band Writing on the Wall covered "Aries" for their 1969 album The Power of the Picts, and East of Eden borrowed "Taurus" for their "In the Stable of the Sphinx" off Mercator Projected (1969). That's where I heard them, also I was familiar with those albums before I bought Cosmic Sounds.

There are those that consider this album a dated relic, but I think the music is fantastic, so I don't let the dated material bother me any.

Also Mort Garson, inspired by this album, decided to do a 12 LP set called Signs of the Zodiac, each LP assigned to a different sign. Those LPs might be compared to Cosmic Sounds for the subject matter, but it's all electronic, and features narrations from three different people, going in to much further detail on the particular sign, than any given three minute cut on the sign on Cosmic Sounds.

I really don't believe in astrology, some do. What I am concerned was the musical quality of Cosmic Sounds, and the album certainly does not disappoint!

Progfan97402 | 5/5 |

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