Record Dork

Delving deeper than you ever wanted to go. This week: "A Cid" or "A cid Symphony" or something.

While recently scouring Amoeba's oldies vinyl for obscure, Frisco-bred acid rock -- preferably Tripsichord's double LP from '71 -- I stumbled across an Italian reissue of a lavishly packaged triple-LP box set (with poster) originally released in the late '60s by, according to the liner notes, a "family, a tribe, a band of nomads" known as "A Cid," or, if you were to go by the confusing cover alone, "A cid Symphony," or even "Ernie Fischbach and Charles Ewing." Heads, you see, were not too terribly concerned with creating clearly defined labels for themselves. (It was a form of protest.)

Now, most of the individuals comprising the A Cid "tribe" (who apparently crashed the Monterey Pop Festival back in '68) were not, technically speaking, hippies. They were, for the most part, radicals active in the mid-'60s free speech movement over in Berkeley, as well as on other UC campuses. In fact, one of A Cid's major players, Dustin Mark Miller, explicitly states in the liner notes, "We weren't hippies; we were flower children" who started a "folk-and-ethnic band" and "frequently performed in a beautiful Arab tent." Groovy.

Of course, some of you are now muttering to yourselves, "What the hell's the difference between a hippie and a flower child?" Well, the answer can be heard on these three colored records (yellow, purple, and green), which contain a massive dose of unstructured, improvised folk sounds experimentally infused with elements of Middle Eastern and Indian music. If hippies had created these jams, then they would have laid back in the groove attempting to get their spaced-out drone on. But these are uptight student protesters (who were also consuming psychedelics). So these acoustic workouts, which are sprinkled with exotic percussion and some cool, Beat-poetic jive, are peppy and energetic because A Cid is constantly ahead of (not behind) the beat. Furthermore, all these recordings possess an intimate, no-frills, friends-hanging-in-your-living-room feeling. Again, if these dudes had been hippies, then these six sides would be drenched in reverb and myriad studio effects, as if the group were jamming inside a Day-Glo, amanita muscaria-shaped temple.

But whether we're talking hippies, Beats, flower children, or student protesters, all you need to know is this: A cid Symphony is a total stonerfest.

 
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