Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1967)
- Paul Beaver - instruments, synthesizers
- Cyrus Faryar - spoken word
- Beaver and Kraus (Paul Beaver)
- Mort Garson (solo efforts)
- Modern Folk Quartet (Cyrus Faryar)
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title: The Cosmic Sounds of the Zodiac
Catalog: EKS 74009
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: SOLD 1311
Price: SOLD $20.00
Geez, this is a weird one. It's not exactly psych, or even progressive, but is odd enough that it might well appeal to fans of either genre, especially those who are into exploito efforts such as The Animated Egg.
Produced by Alex Hassilev, 1967's "The Cosmic Sounds of the Zodiac" was a concept piece built on the twelve signs of the zodiac. The idea was apparently the brainchild of Elektra President Jac Holzman, with Mort Garson and Jacques Wilson responsible for penning all twelve tracks (Garson wrote the music and Wilson furnished the spoken word lyrics). Modern Folk Quartet vocalist Cyrus Faryar was brought in to handle the hysterically overblown spoken word segments, while Paul Beaver (of Beaver and Kraus fame) was responsible for most of the instrumentation.. You've probably already figured out the concept - twelve selection with each correlating to an astrological sign. In an overly serious manner Faryar breathlessly intoned some of the traits associated with the sign - "Venus contemplates a serene flower the color of an hour of love". I'm a Taurus and had to laugh at 'Taurus - The Voluptuary'. While the album deserved a negative five rating for sporting some of dumbest lyrics you'll ever hear, some of the music was actually quite good. 'Cancer - The Moon Child' sported a nifty fuzz guitar segment, 'Leo - The Lord of the Lights' featured a neat mix of sitar and beach guitar, while keyboardist Beaver kicked in some early Moog synthesizer moves. Today the whole thing sounds kind of goofy and pompous (geez, it probably did back then too), but there was a quaint and somewhat naive charm to much of the album.
All told, I have to admit this album somehow managed to make Astrology surprisingly dull.
1.) Aries -
The Fire Fighter - (Mort Garson - Jacques Wilson) - 3:17
2.) Taurus - The Voluptuary (Mort Garson - Jacques Wilson) - 3:38 rating: *** stars
Flute, harpsichord, and synthesizers made 'Taurus - The Voluptuary' mildly interesting, though I have to admit to taking great delight in Faryar's deadpan delivery of the pompous "insights" associated with Taurus. If a kid turned in a paper this awful, you'd fail him in a heartbeat.
3.) Gemini - The Cool Eye (Mort Garson - Jacques Wilson) - 2:20 rating: *** stars
Hum, Garson and Wilson rock out ... well, relatively speaking. Always wondered about the weird percussion sounds which recalled someone rattling pencils in a tin cup.
4.) Cancer - The Moon Child (Mort Garson - Jacques Wilson)- 3:27 rating: *** stars
'Cancer - The Moon Child' started out as one of the trippiest tunes, but also had some of the best fuzz guitar. Had it not been for the hideous spoken word segment, this would have been a pretty good psychplioitation tune.
5.) Leo - The Lord of the Lights (Mort Garson - Jacques Wilson) - 2:30 rating: *** stars
'Leo - The Lord of the Lights' sported one of the most mainstream melodies with some tasty jangle rock moves.
6.) Virgo - The Perpetual Perfectionist( Mort Garson - Jacques Wilson) - 3:02
Harpsichord and what sounded like Coral electric sitar ... nice. Shame the spoken word segment interrupted this one . rating: *** stars
1.) Libra - The Flower Child (Mort Garson - Jacques Wilson) - 3:28 rating: *** stars
Side two started with unexpected 'Libra - The Flower Child' adapting an unexpected and surprisingly soothing oriental flavor.
2.) Scorpio - The Passionate Hero (Mort Garson - Jacques Wilson) - 2:31 rating: ** stars
Time for some outright experimentation with lots of kettle drum and gurgling synthesizers, along with some heavy duty lyrics.
3.) Sagittarius - The versatile Daredevil (Mort Garson - Jacques Wilson) - 2:06 rating: ** stars
Hum, a circus theme ... not a particularly good way to go though the electric guitar solo was kind of rockin'. Sadly the bells overshadowed the guitar solo.
4.) Capricorn - The Uncapricious Climber (Mort Garson - Jacques Wilson ) - 3:30 rating: *** stars
With the most rock like arrangement, 'Capricorn - The Uncapricious Climber' unfortunately also suffered from some of the most pompous spoken word segments.
5.) Aquarius - The Lover of Life (Mort Garson - Jacques Wilson) - 3:48 rating: *** stars
Nice harpsichord groove and one of the album's prettiest melodies, but The old Fifth Dimension hit was a better timepiece.
6.) Pisces - The Peace Piper (Mort Garson - Jacques Wilson) - 3:19 rating: ** stars
Well, I liked the percussion on this one and now I know that if you were born a Pisces,moonstone is your mineral.
Garson and Wilson went on to record a series of twelve follow-on LPs for A&M; one for each astrological sign (catalog numbers SP-4211 through SP-4222). Anyone ever heard them?
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