SAM ROSENTHAL & PROJEKT ARTISTS – TIM, WHERE ARE YOU NOW?
Sam Rosenthal is the founder of the Projekt Records label. He started the label in 1983 as a way to release his own music (such as the Black Tapes For A Blue Girl) but it became a home for many experimental/electronic artists: Discogs mentions no less than 664 releases since the start of the label. So the Projekt Artists here refers to Rosenthal‘s large network of artists he built over many years.
Tim, Where Are You Now is a massive project indeed, a ‘trip’ including many familiar artists guiding Sam Rosenthal through this “electronic space music/art-rock celebration” celebrating the 100th birthday of Timothy Leary, the American psychologist, and writer known for his strong advocacy of the use of psychedelic drugs – especially LSD.
The influence of Timothy Leary on the 60s generation (and the generation that came after) cannot be overstated. Who does not remember quotes like “turn on, tune in, drop out”, or “think for yourself, and question authority” (which, by the way, is nót the same as believing every conspiracy theory you read on Facebook).
As expected, his ideas and theories were not unanimously shared; they were quite “far out”. He was arrested so often that he saw the inside of 36 prisons worldwide, and Richard Nixon once called him “the most dangerous man in America”. Often disputable, perhaps, but also an endless source of inspiration for anyone who managed to “think for themselves” and outside boxes.
A musical tribute to an icon like this can be nothing less than a mind-altering psychedelic trip. And, with his friends (and the consent of the official Leary estate) Rosenthal managed to create a fitting tribute. In its 98 minutes, the 21 tracks (13 on CD; plus 8 bonus tracks in the download) seem to explore every corner of the universe – or at least those of Timothy Leary’s universe. They can range from floating ambient soundscapes (of course called Trips), some of them with spoken word fragments with texts from Tim’s first LSD and DMT experiments, to psychedelic rock sequences (as in Reality Tunnel). But it also touches contemporary classical string music (Frail Filaments Of Light).
All of this does not mean the result sounds incoherent – on the contrary. It simply fits the tribute to commemorate Tim Leary’s legacy. It only takes an open listener’s mind to go with the flow.
There are many familiar names contributing to this project, such as Jarguna, Henrik Meierkord, Erik Wøllo, Mark Seelig, Steve Roach, Forrest Fang, Byron Metcalf, Lee Ranaldo, Alex Cox. As many contributors like this could have easily resulted in incomprehensible chaos – but not in the experienced hands of Sam Rosenthal.
As said, there’s a CD-version available, which comes with a download including the bonus tracks. But, in the spirit of the 60s, the digital release is available as a name-your-price download (!). Available for (almost) free, but remember: due to payment fees involved, everything above $3 provides a small royalty to the artist).
There’s hardly any reason nót to take this trip and enjoy it.
Simply “Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream“.
A JOURNEY OF GIRAFFES – SUNSHINE PILGRIM MAP
To extend the audio trip you started with Tim, Where Are You Now, this Sunshine Pilgrim Map can be a great follow-up:
“This is the island you visit in the twilight just before sleep.”
There’s not too much information about who’s behind the weird A Journey Of Giraffes alias. It’s a project of John Lane, from Baltimore, Maryland, who was formerly known as Expo – but that is about all I could find. A Journey Of Giraffes (or AJOG) has previously released three full albums on the Somewherecold label: Kona, Hour Club (both 2019), and Armenia (also 2020).
Sunshine Pilgrim Map breathes a heavy atmosphere of enjoying the half-sleep of an afternoon nap in an oasis-like (imaginative) surrounding. It’s warm, humid, and “with your ear on the blanket, you hear the sounds of all primitives past, present, and future, realizing you are but one, too.”
An oasis where “a tangerine bathysphere casts its loving eye on starfish and infinite sunrises; where a coconut can dream big dreams and become a real boy; where a bottle of rain from another country bobs to the shoreline and provides refreshment.”
If this may be hard to imagine: the music definitely helps.
I guess Timothy Leary would nod his head approvingly…