Authentic hippie jams, like those whipped up by the Massachusetts collective Sunburned Hand of the Man, operate like ritual magick. Their practitioners must exercise discipline and self-induced gullibility. If you attempt to invoke the Egyptian deity Horus, then you better believe he's real and perform the incantation with detailed precision. These are the essential qualities that remove SHOTM's polyrhythmic epics from the permanently stoned drum circles on hippie hill. Only serious students of psychedelia carefully craft freely flowing pointillist fretwork recalling Garcia's bluegrass picking and Creem-of-Clapton garage fuzz. Only true citizens of the universe then weave these strings through rhythms distilled from field recordings of ancient African and Middle Eastern cultures, as well as the Allman Brothers' Live at the Fillmore East. And like James Brown, vocalist John Maloney's litany of echo-drenched sobs and moans is both free spirit (Horus?) and the sergeant's bark coordinating his unit's every move, which delivers us back to the start: belief and discipline.
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