Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Aorta - Strange
Aorta: A relatively obscure Chicago-based group, whose membership can be linked to various other Chicago-area groups who have wider name recognition, including The Rotary Connection, Lovecraft (formerly H.P. Lovecraft), and New Colony Six. After first recording a single for Atlantic Records in 1968, the group -- previously a lounge act called the Exceptions: signed with Columbia Records, the label who issued their eponymous debut, in 1969, during the same month that debut albums by three other Chicago-area acts were issued by Columbia: Illinois Speed Press, the Flock, and Chicago Transit Authority (featuring Peter Cetera). Columbia marketed each of these albums together as a part of a so-called "Chicago Sound," and all four entered the Billboard Top 200.
Some people seem love this group and their only album and some seem to hate it or at least give it some grief, saying it was too “gimmicky” but what does that mean for a psychedelic album? I thought the whole idea was to use studio trickery to make it more psychedelic? Yeah, there are some lighter sounds here & there and some jazzier moments and a bit of art rock but this is pure psychedelia with Strange repeating linking tracks, four separate tracks called "Main Vein" generally repeat the phrase "Have you ever wondered what it is? It's your main vein." Tracks that all run together, strange sound collages, buzzy psychedelic guitar, and bizarre drug-induced lyrics. Maybe the lounge act was trying to “cash in” on the psych craze but I think they succeed in making a damn cool album.
The only single taken from the LP was "Strange" (an edited version of the track issued earlier by Atlantic) so check it out and if you dig it go find the album, it’s been reissued on CD.
Aorta - Strange