Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Goodies from GFreedom's Music Collection # 13

           KALEIDOSCOPE: A Beacon From Mars (1968)
Kaleidoscope was a Psychedelic-Rock band formed in Los Angeles in the mid '60's, by 5 musicians with different music backgrounds, hence the unique sound and style of the band. The band's sound
was based mostly on string instruments like Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Violin, Bouzouki, Viola, Saz etc...
 Their style can be characterized as Psychedelic Rock, which includes many influences from Folk, Country, and Middle-Eastern music. The Middle East influences are due to Solomon Feldthouse, who had been raised in Turkey and knew many Anatolian instruments and rhythms. And that in my opinion is what makes Kaleidoscope so unique. If I can use that term, I would dare say that Kaleidoscope was one of the first 'Ethnic' bands in history.
Another interesting fact is that Kaleidoscope first tried the -later famous- guitar playing style, by using a violin's bow. (It became famous from Led Zeppelin's guitarist Jimmy Page, whom in 1967 stated that Kaleidoscope was his all-time most favorite band!)
  The band released 4 albums between 1967 - 1970, and then split up. (They released a couple of more albums later on though, when they tried some unsuccessful reunions).
   'A Beacon From Mars' was the band's second album, and it was released in February of 1968 by Epic Records. At the time of its release, it received some positive reviews, but commercially was
unsuccessful. (As were all 4 albums of Kaleidoscope). In the '90's AllMusic online music guide wrote a retrospective review about this album characterizing it as a 'flawless brilliance'. In my opinion 'A Beacon From Mars' has got such a unique style and sound, that you either hate it or love it. (I'm among the ones who love it).
The album includes 8 tracks and has a running time of almost 43 minutes. As for the songs, there are two traditional ones, (like the wonderful 'Greenwood Sidee'), and 6 more with total different styles between each other. I believe that for some reason the first side (in the vinyl version) is excellent, but the second side not so much (At least in comparison with the first one). All 4 songs of A-Side are wonderful, with the last one being the breathtaking 12-minute-long 'Taxim', which as you probably understand from the title is a total Middle-Eastern rhythm.
 Concluding this, I have to say that 'A Beacon From Mars' is a 'must have' for all those who are interested finding a band with a unique and personal sound, different from the rest of the bands of the same era. (And to the fans of Psychedelia of course).
Speaking for myself, I bought the vinyl record over two decades ago, and never regretted it!
I will add a couple of videos here for you to listen and get a small idea. First song is 'I Found out', and then comes 'Taxim'.
I hope you enjoyed the post and the music as well.
Thank you for reading :)

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