From the mid sixties, right through the early seventies was the golden age of psychedelic music. During that period, psychedelic music was King. Originally, folk rock and blues rock bands were influenced by psychedelia. Soon, psychedelia’s influence could be heard throughout music. Everything from folk, funk, jazz, pop, rock and soul was being influenced by psychedelia’s new and innovative sound.

Psychedelia was a fusion of new recording techniques, effects, with non Western music. This often included the ragas and drones that could be heard in Indian music. Other influences included instruments like the Mellotron, harpsichords, Hammond organs and electric guitars drenched in feedback. To do this, guitarists deployed wah wah and fuzzbox effects pedals. Among the other secret weapons used by a psychedelic bands were effects like panning, phasing, delay, reverb, looping and playing tapes backwards. Anything was possible. All it took was imagination. This resulted in innovative music that sounded as if the doors of perception had been opened fully. However, having become a musical phenomenon, psychedelia’s popularity began to decline.

By the late sixties, psychedelia was no longer as popular. Several factors had contributed in psychedelia’s decline. L.S.D. was now illegal on both sides of the Atlantic. The drug that had fuelled the psychedelic revolution had been outlawed. Then there was the trail of destruction left by The Manson Family. 

America was in a state of shock as The Manson Family embarked upon a murderous spree. They were then shocked to discover that songs like Helter Skelter, from The Beatles’ White Album may have influenced The Manson Family. This resulted in a backlash against both psychedelia and the hippie movement. The final nail in psychedelia’s coffin happened at The Altamont Free Concert.

The Rolling Stones decided to put on  free concert at Altamont Speedway, in Northern California. What was meant to be a concert featuring the great and good of psychedelia went badly wrong. Santana, Jefferson Airplane, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, The Rolling Stones and Grateful Dead were all booked to play. It was meant to be a major event in psychedelic music’s history. After the carnage in Los Angeles, everyone hoped this would be a good news story. It wasn’t. 

As the Rolling Stones took to the stage, the concert descended into chaos. The Hell’s Angels fought with the audience, and Meredith Hunter, a black teenager, was allegedly stabbed by a member of the Hells’s Angels who were meant to be providing security at Altamont. After this, the event was cancelled. The Grateful Dead never even took to the stage. Altamont had been a disaster. There were three accidental deaths, many were injured, property was destroyed and cars stolen. As the sixties drew to a close, the events at Altamont played its part in the decline of psychedelia.

While psychedelia continued into the early seventies, its popularity declined. No longer was psychedelia King. The King it seemed, had lost its crown. However, psychedelia’s influence has never been forgotten.

Far from it. For the next forty-five years, psychedelia’s influence can be heard in modern music. From glam rock, funk, fusion, synth pop, electro, Acid House and trance, psychedelia’s influence shines through. That’s still the case today.

Recently, Ubiquity Records released The Electric Peanut Butter Co.’s new album Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1. It’s a collaboration between Shawn Lee and Adrian Quesada. 

They wrote and recorded the twelve tracks on Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1, which they describe as 35% psychedelia, 25% soul, 20% rock and 20%^ funk. By fusing these four musical genres, The Electric Peanut Butter Co. set out to make a psychedelic album for the 21st Century. 

To do this, Shawn Lee and Adrian Quesada got to work. Shawn began work at his London studio, where he laid down the vocals. Meanwhile, Adrian, who lives in Austin, Texas, was on tour. So, he turned his hotel room into a makeshift recording studio. While this wasn’t the ideal way to record an album, it seemed to work. 

Gradually, the twelve tracks on Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1 began to take shape. Instrumental parts were added, and eventually, the two musicians and producers had completed Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1. The only thing left was for Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1 to be mixed.

Mixing of Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1 took place at Trans Yank Studios. That’s where Pierre Duplan and Shawn Lee mixed Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1. It was then ready to be released on Ubiquity Records. At last, this transAtlantic collaboration was ready to hit the shops. What did record buyers find? That’s what I’ll tell you.

Opening Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1, is Flexi Funk. From the moment the song is counted in, fuzzy keyboards, scorching guitars and ratty, lo-fi drums combine. Soon, The Electric Peanut Butter Co. are kicking loose. They embark upon a slow, churning jam. Stabs of keyboards, bursts of urgent guitars and the rhythm section unite. There’s also a trippy, crystalline, cinematic sound. It has a real sixties influence. Mostly, though the music is cinematic, moody, dramatic and urgent, as The Electric Peanut Butter Co. combine elements of blues, psychedelia, rock and space rock. In doing so, they turn the clock back nearly fifty years.

Beer Good is a driving jam, where guitars and the rhythm section. Together, they continue to roll back the years. It sounds as if the Jimi Hendrix Experience have influenced The Electric Peanut Butter Co. Later, keyboards are added, and effects used sparingly. They play their part in another track with a late-sixties, early-seventies sound. All too soon, it’s over, leaving a reminder of music’s golden age.

After The Electric Peanut Butter Co. are counted in, drums pound on Spread The Jam, providing the heartbeat. Futuristic sound effects are unleashed, and Shawn delivers the vocal to this slice of lysergic pop. A his guitar rings out, languid harmonies and sound effects combine. Later, subtle keyboards are added. So, is percussion, as the track takes a Latin twist. With blistering guitars and Shawn’s punchy, sometimes dreamy vocal, the track heads to its surreal, lysergic high.

Stealio has a slow, trippy sound. Distant drums and a hypnotic bass, are joined by washes of guitars and a piano. By then, the arrangement almost quivers and shimmers. Later, keyboards add an element of drama. Guitars chime, reverberate and shiver. Still, the arrangement is quivering, and has taken on a cinematic hue. The sixties psychedelic sound is omnipresent. The sci-fi sound effects that close the track see to this.

Drums are at the heart of the arrangement to Mary’s Chair. That’s before washes of guitar, trip across the arrangement. The bass helps anchor the arrangement. Shawn’s vocal is swathed in effects, and takes on a trippy sound. Stabs of keyboards and harmonies are added. Later, the arrangement briefly takes on a cinematic sound. Soon, a sense of urgency is injected, as rock, funk and psychedelia are combined, as this magical musical mystery tour continues. It’s best described as melodic, dramatic, funky, lysergic and cinematic. 

There’s a surf influence to the chiming guitar that opens Go Go Go. Drums and a buzzing bass are added. Along with Shawn’s vocal, they add a sense of urgency. He hollers and vamps, as he unleashes guitar licks swathed in effects. Urgent and dramatic, this fusion of rock, surf and psychedelia, sounds like a lost psychedelic track from sixties San Francisco.

As Tennis Elbow unfolds, it sounds like the type of track a power trio would unleash in the late sixties. It’s just the rhythm section, complete with buzzing bass, and blistering, searing guitar licks. They’re joined by a grinding Hammond organ. Later, myriad of effects are deployed, and a guitar masterclass unfolds. It plays its part in one of Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1’s highlights.

Drums crack and reverberate on Mister Pink. Soon, a bass, keyboards and woodwind combine. Soon, searing, scorching guitars soar above the arrangement. By now, everything from from rock and reggae, to funk, psychedelia and prog rock can be heard. This jam veers between rocky to laid back, and sometimes, a summery vibe shines through.

Straight away, Damn Skippy takes on a hypnotic, cinematic sound. It sounds like part of the soundtrack to a seventies detective program. The rhythm section, and bristling, chiming guitars combine. They combine drama and urgency, before a lingering drone soars above the cinematic arrangement. As the track ends, I’m reminded me of a track from an old KPM library record.

Drums and keyboards combine on Austin City Limiter, to give the track a late-sixties sound. Drums sit smack bang in the middle of the track. They’re loud, maybe too loud. With the drums taking centre stage, other instruments are spread out. Keyboards are panned right and chirping, chiming, crystalline guitars are panned left. Good as the guitar playing is, it’s somewhat dwarfed by the drums and keyboards. That’s my only criticism of this mesmeric, psychedelic jam.

Just like the previous track, drums set the scene on Jenn Wu. They’re joined by Shawn’s Texan drawl. Meanwhile, guitars chime and a trippy Hammond organ accompanies Shawn’s dramatic vocal. Adding to the drama are bells that chime. Later, blistering guitar licks and effects add yet another layer of drama. They play their part in what could’ve been a the soundtrack to a psychedelic Spaghetti Western.

Fat Budda closes Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1. Just the rhythm section, persistent percussion and washes of trembling guitar combine. Together, they create a melodic, trippy track. The only thing that could be accused of spoiling the trip is the percussion. After a while it grates. Everything else sits nicely in the mix, and is responsible for an early seventies fusion of rock and psychedelia. 

When Shawn Lee and Adrian Quesada began work on Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1, the album could’ve ended up going two ways. They could either have remade a late-sixties or early-seventies psychedelic album, or made a a psychedelic album for the 21st Century. What The Electric Peanut Butter Co. have come up with, is a bit of both. 

To record Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1, The Electric Peanut Butter Co. combined the same instruments that musicians had in late-sixties or early-seventies. This meant guitars, drums, bass, keyboards and a Hammond organ. To that, they added the new technology that’s available to 21st Century musicians. 

A modern musician’s studio is often no more than a laptop, audio interface and Digital Audio Workstation. This means that the modern musician is no longer limited to 8, 16, 24 or 32 tracks. No. Now, in  DAWs like Pro Tools, Logic, Reason and Ableton Live, there’s no limit to the tracks. These DAWs come packed full of plug-ins. This allow tracks to be polished to perfection. Even once the tracks have been recorded in the box, they can be transferred back onto tape. For Adrian, who recorded much of Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1 in hotel rooms whilst on tour, this meant the album was finished much quicker. Meanwhile, Shawn was busy in his London studio.

Shawn Lee recorded his parts of Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1 in his London studio. Helping him, was his engineer and fellow musician Pierre Duplan. Using his analogue equipment and wide array of instruments, Shawn laid down his parts. Then once Adrian had completed his parts, Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1 came together. 

The result of Shawn and Adrian’s transAtlantic collaboration, is best described as an album that’s been inspired by late-sixties and early seventies  psychedelia, but with a much more polished sound. Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1 sees The Electric Peanut Butter Co. pay homage to the golden age of psychedelia. To do this, The Electric Peanut Butter Co. combined musical genres. 

On Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1’s sleeve, The Electric Peanut Butter Co. describe their music as 35% psychedelia, 25% soul, 20% rock and 20% funk. That maybe be slightly tongue-in-cheek. The psychedelic and rocky sides shine through. That’s when The Electric Peanut Butter Co. are at their best. They also make music that’s funky, and sometimes soulful. However, other musical genres make brief appearances on Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1. Blues and even prog rock can be heard briefly on Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1. There’s even brief Eastern influences. Mostly thought, Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Volume 1 is a fusion of  rock, psychedelic, funk and soul, where The Electric Peanut Butter Co. pay homage to the golden age of psychedelia.



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