Saturday, January 17, 2009
Psychedelic rock is a style of rock music that attempts to replicate the mind-altering experiences of hallucinogenic drugs. It emerged during the mid 1960s among garage and folk rock bands in Britain and the United States. Psychedelic rock is a bridge from early blues-based rock to progressive rock and heavy metal, but it also drew on non-Western sources such as Indian music's rāgas and sitars.
The musical style typically features electric guitars, 12 strings being preferred for their 'jangle'; elaborate studio effects - backwards taping, panning (sound placement in the stereo field), phasing, long delay loops and extreme reverb; exotic instrumentation, with a particular fondness for the sitar and tabla; A strong keyboard presence, especially Hammond, Farfisa and Vox Organs, the Rhodes electric piano, Harpsichords and the Mellotron (an early tape-driven 'sampler'); a strong emphasis on extended instrumental solos; modal melodies and surreal, esoterically inspired or whimsical lyrics.
While the first contemporary musicians to be influenced by psychedelic drugs were in the jazz and folk scenes, the first use of the term "psychedelic" in popular music was by the "acid-folk" group The Holy Modal Rounders in 1964, with the song "Hesitation Blues."The first use of the term "psychedelic rock" was on the 13th Floor Elevators' business card , designed by John Cleveland, and circulated in December 1965. The term was first used in print in the Austin Statesman in an article about the band titled "Unique Elevators shine with Psychedelic Rock" , dated 10th February 1966.
In 1962, British rock embarked on a frenetic race of ideas that spread back to the U.S. with the British Invasion. The folk music scene also experimented with outside influences. In the tradition of Jazz and blues many musicians began to take drugs and included drug references in their songs. Beat Generation writers like William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and especially the new exponents of consciousness expansion such as Timothy Leary, Alan Watts and Aldous Huxley profoundly influenced the thinking of the new generation. In late 1965, The Beatles unveiled their brand of psychedelia on the Rubber Soul album, which featured John Lennon's first paean to universal love ("The Word") and a sitar-laden tale of attempted hippy hedonism ("Norwegian Wood", written by John Lennon). The British rock act The Yardbirds recorded the single "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" in 1966, another track frequently cited as the first psychedelic song, this one due to its frantic evocation of drug-induced paranoia.