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Jimi Hendrix - The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Are You Experienced CD (album) cover


Jimi Hendrix



4.26 | 469 ratings

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5 stars This was indeed the Shot Heard 'Round the World... The debut album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced, may very well be THE watershed moment for rock guitar as an art form. While Jimi borrowed generously from blues artists who preceded him, such as T-Bone Walker, Ray Sharpe, Johnny Jenkins, and Buddy Guy to name a few, Jimi took the traditional blues form and combined it with the burgeoning psychedelic aesthetic from Swinging 60's London, and he created a revolutionary new voice in contemporary music. Rock music would never be the same, and this album is a testament to the new guitar revolution that was spawned as a result.

From the first bars of "Purple Haze", it was evident to the listener that this was some freaky music indeed, electric blues gone haywire but in a very good way. This unique sound was attained through Jimi employing new weaponry to the arsenal of the electric guitarist: the Marshall stack, the Fuzz Face, the Octavia, the Univibe, the Clyde wah-wah, and of course the Fender Stratocaster played upside down and with much use of the tremelo arm. While other guitarists managed to get unique and heavy guitar sounds before Jimi, no one had managed to get the otherworldly guitar sounds Jimi got.

Animals bassist Chas Chandler had the unique vision of teaming Jimi up with English musicians whom Jimi might not have ever played with otherwise. They were rock guitarist Noel Redding, who would switch to bass guitar, and jazz drummer Mitch Mitchell. Their contributions to the sound of the Jimi Hendrix Experience were integral. Noel and Mitch formed a tight-knit rhythm section which complimented Jimi's blues guitar heroics perfectly, from the heavy-handed 3/4 beat on "Manic Depression" to the neo be bop of "Third Stone From the Sun" to the psychedelic funk of "Foxey Lady". Even on a straight rocker like the hit single "Hey Joe", Noel and Mitch made the music downright swing.

Other highlights include the straight ahead traditional blues of "Red House", the slow mellow blues of "The Wind Cries Mary", the spacey ballad "May This Be Love", and the tape reverse-laden "Are You Experienced". "May This Be Love", "Love or Confusion", and the FM radio hit "Fire round out the revolutionary disc.

The significance of Are You Experienced to the annals of rock music cannot be overstated. The sounds from this album influenced very nearly everything that followed, from hard rock to heavy metal to funk. It is absolutely essential to the contemporary music collection, progressive or otherwise, and I proudly give it the highest rating, 5 stars.

jimidom | 5/5 |


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