This is a view of psychedelia that still needs to be affirmed. It is its function, in this sense, rather than its form, that remains relevant to us today: the way it connotes the manifestation of what is deep within the mind, not simply on its surface. Capitalism is very good at this too, but it cannot be allowed to hold the monopoly on our desires. There are alternatives and they are waiting to be excavated.
I was really, really excited to be asked to contribute something to the Blue Mountain School during the first week of corona quarantine. Working on this kept me sane.
I had read David Keenan’s piece for them just a few weeks ago and quickly explored the rest of the playlists there. To have my own piece in such spectacular company gives me big imposter syndrome vibes.
Many thanks to George Hields for the invitation and I hope, once this is all over, I’ll get the chance to swing by Shoreditch to see the School in the flesh. It’s an incredibly beautiful building.
You can read the full text here.
I was tempted to do a mammoth playlist of deep cuts and weird things. Instead, “Looking for an Exit: Sonic Coordinates for Egress“ is a collection of written fragments, as if excavated from a life-long listening diary. It’s a short hop, skip, jump from 1966 to 2020, sketching a psychedelic line of flight from The Beatles via Led Zeppelin and D’Cruze to Lee Gamble and Nazar.
I’m very aware of the length of the jump made here, clean over the 1980s, and whilst working on this I was very tempted to take detours via Fred Frith and the Supremes and Throbbing Gristle to try and make this a more consistent journey through the songs that have made me look at the world differently but the length of the text ended up dictating to brevity of the mix.
Anyway, I think the fact it isn’t a clean genealogy is probably more fitting to the point being made. Cut through canons and do your own autopsies, particularly of pop culture because there’s so much hidden in plain sight.
As a bonus, here are a few other tracks I wanted to include but which I realised were only additional nodes to what was already a pretty concise (for me at least) argument.