Monday, September 20, 2010

Acid Mothers Temple - Magical Power From Mars (Important Records 2003)

This album contains four pieces between 15 and 20 minutes each. The first three were previously released by Important Records as three separate limited-edition 3" CD's in the course of 2003. The fourth piece, "Cosmic Funky Dolly," is a bonus track added for this "unlimited" regular CD reissue. If there ever was an Acid Mothers Temple album designed to showcase the various sides of the band, this is it. Each track opens up a different dimension. Written by Cotton Casino, "Ziggy Sitar Dust Raga" is exactly that: a long, repetitive, sinuous raga featuring Makoto Kawabata on tambura, and a healthy dose of space whispers. "Diamond Doggy Peggy" is the key high-energy track -- 15 minutes of high-octane, hard-jamming bliss. Sound quality is excellent, giving the track a purity in action that was missing from some of the group's earlier efforts (the dirty-sounding Electric Heavyland, in particular). The piece is exhausting and ranks as one of AMT's finest rock work-outs to date. In comparison, "Aladdin Kane" is sedate; slow tempo, droning synths, and some delicate volume, pedal guitar statements from Kawabata. As for the 20-minute extra "Cosmic Funky Dolly," it is a luxurious retro-synth extravaganza: analog sweeps and multitracked female whispers occupying most of the sonic field. As separate statements, this series of releases illustrated the group's diversity. As a single release, it is a little bit harder to get into, as the individual pieces don't sit together so well, but in the end Magical Power From Mars makes a good, immersive album. Bob Vida's colorful 3-D cover artwork is icing on the cake. By the way, the album's title points to both Japanese underground legend Magical Power Mako, and the name of the band of David Bowie's early-'70s character Ziggy Stardust. Of course, neither make good reference points for this album.

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