While most sections/categories hopefully explain themselves, I guess I have to say a few words on this one. Since more & more Oriental music sneaked into the Psychedelic-section in recent years it’s time now to give it a section of its own. While other collectors explored even the most far out places in the world to find more of the sounds they like (but often ended up with repetitive 3rd-rate copies of well-known anglo-american bands whose records cost small fortunes for scratched originals) I found it way more interesting to dig for the basic sounds of a lot of Psychedelic music which for a good portion definetely comes from the Middle East & India (where they don’t even think about copying Western Rock-Music or to results you better forget). Only Turkey with its strong Western influences produced an independant Rock-scene though its most interesting elements strongly rely on traditional music.
It all started some 25 years ago when I first heard Ravi Shankar, Kaleidoscope(US) with their leanings on Turkish music or Orient Express that I still rate as some of the best albums ever, not only in this section. In the meantime some more of you might have heard of the likes of John Berberian or Erkin Koray but these are actually just the tip of the dune. There are virtually thousands of totally unknown (indigenous) groups & musicians that are able to blow your mind if you have an open ear for sounds & instruments that may sound a bit strange in the first place. That’s why the fundamentalists of these countries try to stop music at all ‘cause thinkin’ people having fun don’t need those suckers!!
I’m not talking the typical Turkish Pop-music you could hear in coffeehouses or “World-Music”-crap that only flavores lame Western-Pop-music with some Eastern touches or these horrible Sitar-Rock albums where they strummed (Western) hits of the day on sitar. What I mean is serious native Folk- or even classical music with a background of cultures with thousands of years experience in real ecstasy(-music)!! These guys are psychedelic without even knowing it or intending to be! They simply play the music that’s natural to them for centuries and a lot of these guys are stoned by nature! Look at the pictures on the covers and you know what I mean!! Of course the level of intensity not only depends on the virtuosity of the musicians but also on the context the music was made for. But even your ordinary belly-dance-group often reaches an intensity most Western Pop-bands could only dream of and when they let loose they gonna lift your brain!! It wasn’t by accident that some famous Jazz-musicians like John Coltrane or Herbie Mann on their search for new scales ended up in the Middle East.
The reason you’d find disproportionately many American records in this section is basically that a lot of immigrants from Middle Eastern countries live & work there and that studios & recordings often have a higher standard than in the Middle East or India (besides the fact that records were never very popular in these hot countries where most people doesn’t even own a stereo!). Plus a lot of Middle Eastern original-pressings are absolutely substandard compared to European or American-pressings, not to mention Japanese state-of-the-art-vinyl!! But that aside, if you’re really interested in true Trance-Psych, give some of these albums a try.
I’m sure, you won’t be disappointed!!
Check out our category: Oriental Psych/ Middle Eastern Music