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Wooden Shjips - Vol. 1 CD (album) cover

VOL. 1

Wooden Shjips


Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.00 | 2 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars The first of two housecleaning compilations from the darlings of the California neo-psychedelic underground collects an uneven half-dozen of the band's earliest, self-released 45's into one daunting package. Be warned: this is primitive stuff, a lo-fi distillation of their heavy, hardcore minimalism, not recommended to the uninitiated.

Wooden Shjips is all about the groove, but in truth the music here is more like an open gash. "Shrinking Moon For You" sets the mood with nine-minutes of trance-inducing noise: an ulcerating canker of feedback and distortion offering an almost Zen-like aid to self-annihilation, not unlike a crazy West Coast remake of CAN's epic "Mother Sky" mantra. Elsewhere "Dance, California" is listed as a radio edit, but from what twisted playlist? How insane must the full, unedited version be, and where can I hear it, please?

The songs typically end when someone stops playing, or when the tape runs out, whichever happens first. And the set itself concludes with the combined A and B sides of "SOL '07", originally a limited edition single pressed on red (later blue) vinyl. The title is an acronym, but not for Shjit out of Luck: the song was recorded to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love, despite representing a darker side of the Haight-Ashbury experience, far removed from the flowers and mandalas of our rose-tinted memories.

This has to be one of the roughest sets of music since Alan Vega and Martin Rev began terrorizing New York City nightclubs, three decades earlier. The entire 34+ minute album is a long way from the more professional main sequence of recordings from the band, and even further from anything resembling Progressive Rock: a point in its favor, to many fans. This one is strictly for diehard Shjipsters and other masochists, but they'll dig it to death...maybe literally, considering the adverse effects of prolonged exposure.

Neu!mann | 2/5 |


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