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BLACK MASS LUCIFER

Mort Garson

Progressive Electronic


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Mort Garson Black Mass Lucifer album cover
3.71 | 16 ratings | 3 reviews | 44% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Solomon's Ring (3:20)
2. The Ride Of Aida (Voodoo) (3:07)
3. Incubus (3:29)
4. Black Mass (3:39)
5. The Evil Eye (2:10)
6. Exorcism (3:45)
7. The Philosopher's Stone (3:27)
8. Voices Of The Dead (The Medium) (2:05)
9. Witch Trial (3:00)
10. ESP (1:01)

Total time 29:03

Line-up / Musicians

- Mort Garson / performer, composer

Releases information

Artwork: Virginia Clark

LP UNI Records ‎- 73111 (1971, US)
LP Black Mass Rising ‎- BMR 06 (2016, France)

CD Rubellan Remasters ‎- RUBY04CD (2018, US) Remastered by Scott Davies

Thanks to ? for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MORT GARSON Black Mass Lucifer ratings distribution


3.71
(16 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(44%)
44%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
25%
Good, but non-essential (12%)
12%
Collectors/fans only (12%)
12%
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)
6%

MORT GARSON Black Mass Lucifer reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dobermensch
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Yeehaa! good old Mort - hey wait a minute , Mort means 'dead' doesn't it?

Garson produced this super Moog album which sounds no-where near as bleak and black as the title and cover may suggest. You've got to love him... Did he seriously think this was Satanic in any way? It's almost like the soundtrack to a kid's 7th birthday party. Jelly, ice cream and a glass of milk anyone?

An accessible purely electronic album from '71 that sounds quite a lot like many other artists who were going bananas with this new fangled Moog instrument. Mine's an old crackly record and I don't even think it's ever been released on cd.

The great thing is - these are all his own recordings, unlike most Moog players from the era who stole and plagiarised other peoples tunes at that time.

Slightly boring in parts, but things always quickly pick up. One of the better Moog albums which always remains on the correct side of cheesiness . I should know, I've heard plenty of them and most are embarrassing beyond belief.

Review by Progfan97402
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It's unbelievable the amount of electronic albums Mort Garson had done since 1967 as of 1971 when Black Mass came out on the Uni label. He helped compose the Zodiac Cosmic Sounds album in 1967 for Elektra, did The Wozard of Iz, Electronic Hair Pieces (doing Moog renditions of music from Hair), the Signs of the Zodiac series, an obscure film soundtrack called Didn't You Hear, and a sex Moog album called Music for Sensuous Lovers. Those last two albums seem to be most obscure as Didn't You Hear was only available at Seattle movie theater lobbies when the film came out, and Music for Sensuous Lovers was obviously released privately (actually Sensuous Records, but I'm sure it was a private release) due to the content. For Black Mass, he records as Lucifer and creates an occult Moog album. After all, he did a sex Moog album, and a bunch of astrology Moog albums, a Broadway musical Moog, and a Moog album inspired by The Wizard of Oz updated to 1968 counterculture themes. Black Mass is full of creepy sounding synth and percussion sounds. Where The Signs of the Zodiac series tend to be pleasant, this stuff sounded pretty creepy. Much of it is on the experimental side, although classical style shows up on "Voices of the Dead (The Medium)". I also notice a part of one of the songs used on Signs of the Zodiac was used on the beginning of "Black Mass". I have often seen negative reviews of this album, but actually it's one of my favorites. For one thing, there's no narration or vocals, often I felt the narration and vocals on many of his other albums a bit hard to take seriously (especially the Signs of the Zodiac series), this one is all instrumental and so works in listener's benefit. If you do like this, don't forget to check out his The Unexplained (as Ataraxia) from 1975 on RCA (despite the four year gap, it's surprisingly similar). I love this kind of Moog music, sure beats a lot of those cheese renditions of pop and classical (for my tastes, some people like that cheesy stuff for kitsch value, for me most of that stuff doesn't hold up). Black Mass comes recommended by me.
Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars MORT GARSON has to have had one of the most bizarre careers of any artist in recorded music. Having been a staple of the music industry in the 60s, Garson co-wrote hits for Brenda Lee, Cliff Richard and worked with Doris Day and Mel Torm'. In the 60s he launched a whole new career as one of the first arrangers and composers to work with the then totally new Moog synthesizer and he immediately pumped out a huge collection of exotica including a complete 12 part record series to cover ever sign of the zodiac. Some of these albums have still never seen a re-issue and command a hefty price for those who are extreme collectors. The year 1969 was a particular busy one where he not only produced all the zodiac albums but a kitschy Moog album called 'Electronic Hair Pieces' which covered songs from the musical 'Hair.' He also did jingles for commercials and even got his music in the background for the moon landing.

After the ventures into all the hippie influenced Moog albums, in 1971 Garson took on new persona under the moniker LUCIFER and released this sole relic titled BLACK MASS, however with the BLACK MASS appearing directly over the LUCIFER it was hardly apparent at the time which was the title and which was the artist. Out of print for over four decades, the album has at long last seen a proper remastering and CD appearance in the year of 2018 on the Rubellan Remasters label. The album was supposedly designed to simulate the spookiness of the occult in a completely Moog electronic setting however in reality what resulted was more a creepy space pop that surely must've been a major influence for the Italian band Goblin who would take a similar approach and perfect it for their lengthy career as horror soundtrack artists.

BLACK MASS is certainly a product of its time and for some probably hasn't exactly held up well over the time that has passed. Despite a rather Black Sabbath visual appeal, this album is more an exploratory adventure into defining the limitations of the Moog synthesizer regardless of where the music went. While the title connotes a rather sinister 'Rosemary's Baby' or even an 'Exorcist' sort of psychological horror, the truth is that the music is less Satanic and more psychedelic. This is a soundscape of twinkling keyboard stabs, omniscient atmospheric backdrops, keyboards that evoke vocal timbres and a series of pulsating percussive drives that also emanate from the inner world of the Moog just as much as the creepy synthesized tones.

The creepy introductory 'Solomon's Ring' oscillates into existence and quickly becomes a bizarre series of Moog dominated counterpoints with strange melodies swirling about and dynamic percussive beats simulating tribal beats. The album in many ways points to the direction that bands like Tangerine Dream would also follow. The tracks vary substantially with with 'The Ride Of Aida (Voodoo)' taking on a more exotic air that reminds more Yma Sumac than Satan. Tracks like 'Incubus' are the more sinister of the lot with slinking Moog riffs pulsating up and down exotic scales and dark contemplative journeys into the unknown as Moog riffs have conversations with one another.

The macabre title track probably comes closest to emulating the dark arts of any track with its synthetic bells and creepy chirping that coalesces into a demented church organ sound that picks up steam and becomes a jittery piece that juggles percussive beats and swanky synthesized sounds. 'The Evil Eye' sounds more like something off the 'Twilight Zone' with its almost theremin qualities but it also has the closest sounds to an electric guitar as popcorn percussion gurgles about. 'Exorcism' doesn't even remotely evoke a demonic cleansing but rather sounds like a whale song joining into an altered theme of the 60s 'Batman' series. The remaining tracks tread similar ground which showcase the extreme diversity of the Moog but not necessarily evoking the meaning of their respective titles.

If you're looking for Satan, look elsewhere. Obviously a cleverly crafted marketing gimmick to attract those who were hungry for anything occult. If you're looking for stellar period piece of Moog synthesizer music, then you've come to the right place here. Yes, this is woefully dated but in a good way really. Much as Walter (Wendy) Carlos found a unique niche with the 'Switched On Bach' series, so too did Garson find a nice little comfort zone in the world of period electronica. While there is no mistaking as to when this album was released, it is a charming example of Moog synthesizer playing in all its myriad forms. Yes, it's kitschy, it's campy and it certainly doesn't even remotely come off as spooky by today's standards but the playing is really interesting as Garson was a master of layering melodies and beats upon each other in almost a primeval DJ mindset. This album doesn't even hit the 30 minute mark so it's a fairly quick listen and it's one that i find to evoke the true nature of psychedelia in electronic form. For me, this is excellent.

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