Friday, July 3, 2009
The Greatest Albums of All Time in No Particular Order (entry #5)
Terminal Cheesecake- King of All Spaceheads (Jackass Records)
The trip begins with a sample of the famous line from Timothy Leary, “The aim of the game is to feel real good” on the opening title track. After that the drug references JUST KEEP COMING ad nauseam. Yet this is not just some hippy-dippy psychedelic album. In fact, it reinvents everything to do with the genre that got its start in the mid 60s and based on everything since, it closes the door with this release about 30 years later in the mid 90s. But let’s digress as they surely would…
Terminal Cheesecake is a brightly dark, sorely obscure British outfit that was noisy and arty and thrashy and all that circa the late 80s. They released a few spectacular though highly uneven works until they hit their stride with their 1990 Pathological Records release, “Angels in Pigtails” which featured an ultra-menacing cover of the Residents classic “Hello Skinny” that was an all out war on the original in a very good way. After that, they ratcheted up the all out drug war to the point of being blatantly obvious-just in case. They followed that up with the exquisite “Pearlesque Kings of the Jewmost” in 1992 that is on par with this release though a bit uneven and repetitious at time (the mythology surrounding the session for this album is that they laid down one basic track and then manipulated it into all the other tracks minus the cover of the Neu! classic, “Seeland” retitled as “Neu Sealand”).
This album marked the ultimate and necessary end of their existence as their various member moved on to other projects and adventures with VERY middling success. To me, this represents the culmination of their vision, their apex, one of the greatest head trips ever recorded in the annals of musical insanity. Simply put, though they have a very, very dedicated following here and there, they never, ever got their due in England or anywhere else for that matter. Quite distressing. Anyway, on to the tuneage…
But first we interrupt this important message with a message about the art work. See the above pics. That is the exterior and interior covers. ‘Nuff said.
Now back to the our regularly scheduled musical musings.
So I mentioned that the title track starts with a little Timothy Leary. Then the very languid and very thick drums “kick” in. With a little acid surf guitar, elongated and all. And your “announcer” is back and has another special announcement-“What you are listening to musicians performing psychedelic music under the influence of a mind altering chemical”. The tone is set. And the track ambles and rambles beautifully from there.
“Budmeister” is next with just about the thickest booty shaking beat with tons of acid guitar and other insect like noises that should create a dance floor sensation with nasty chanted and echoed vocals. Only, for some strange reason, I was the only one dancing to this track-though I imagine there were cool DJs in England spinning it.
Next up is “God’s Turban and Tutu” rolling along for about 9 minutes or so with the sweetest dub style bassline while our vocalist is running down a list of the preferred substances, “LSD, Mescaline, Psilocybin, etc” in a very hushed tone whilst claiming that you should “walk before jesus”.
“Ginge le Geezer” clocks in as probably the most straight forward track-all dense acid guitar with a 4/4 disco/rock beat that gets the hips shaking with a regular verse/chorus structure. Yet it is still nefarious.
Lo and behold it is “Lo Lo” and “Tibetan Lift Off” where they get all Himalayan on you. Sampling the echoed long ass horns of the Tibetan monks (they have toured the US many a time), the Cheesecake dub out some of their earlier track beats and let it all flail about.
Shortly thereafter, “Herbal Space Flight” plays off of the aforementioned “Ginge le Geezer”, only more acid metal, if such a genre exists. And you can still dance to it.
After a couple of fits and starts with “Black Microdot I and II” (featuring some AWESOME Mariachi samples), the opus magnus concludes with “The Last Temptation of St. Leary” which brings everything full circle with Gregorian chant samples as well as Mr. Leary mentioning that “the LSD trip is a pilgrimage for thousands of years for mystics and visionary philosophers” .
In the end, this album is best experienced with a pair of “kick ass” headphones, just like many albums back in the day. Illicit substances may or may not assist you though, depending on your internal chemical composition.