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Monday, January 28, 2013

News: Search Party "Montgomery Chapel" coming soon on Lion!


Here's a reissue we first announced back on December 17, 2011. And now over a year later we have confirmation that this great psych album is coming soon. Here's our feature of the album. This will likely be one of the best reissues of the year (of course Lion is also preparing the amazing Laurence Vanay (2) and Probe 10 albums, so they might even surpass their own accomplishment!) In the last few years, Lion has established themselves as the top reissue label from the USA, at least as far as the CDRWL is concerned. There is an additional CD of material coming from the St. Pius X Seminary Choir, including their 1968 album "Each One Heard About the Marvels of God In His Own Way", which appears to be groundbreaking as an avant garde styled choral project. Sounds like excellent bonus material to me!

Here's the label skinny: "Recorded at the San Francisco Theological Seminary's own Montgomery Chapel, acid-folk-rock psychedelic gem Search Party 'Montgomery Chapel' was the brainchild of (then Reverend) Nicholas Freund. Having left Wisconsin in the late 1960s to join a burgeoning West Coast religious scene, Freund spent considerable time in Sacramento before making their way to San Francisco in 1968 to lay down this one-off with some students of his. The result is a spooky, metaphysical trip that's equal parts God and acid-dripped mind expansion. Laced with haunting vocals and dreamlike passages, Montgomery Chapel is psychedelic music at its most evocative, and most spiritual. Original copies (only 600 were pressed on the custom Century label) carry substantial price tags. The recordings released by the St. Pius X Seminary Choir were made in the year or two which led up to the recording of the Search Party album. Not only did the three St. Pius X Seminary Choir records showcase the first work by Nick Freund, but they also were the first recordings of Search Party guitarist and vocalist Peter Apps. As one of the press clips regarding the Choir stated, "The choral treatment was electrified by a few phrases sung solo by Peter Apps, who is also the lead guitar. If Apps has not already formed a folk-rock group around that voice, he should. It is rich, deep, and ringing." Luckily, Freund and Apps heeded their advice, and the Search Party was the result. But nothing could have prepared listeners for the bizarre avant-garde (in the truest sense) electronic soundscapes backed by rock instruments which open "Each One Heard In His Own Language About the Marvels of God" (1968). The album settles down into a less out-there groove after the opening, but this is still adventurous stuff. During my conversations with Nick Freund, he told me that the electric sounds on the album were the work of composer Dary John Mizelle. Mizelle studied composition and participated in the New Music Ensemble at the University of California, Davis (the first free group improvisation ensemble); there he participated in a course led by Karlheinz Stockhausen. Mizelle is also a founding member of SOURCE Music of the Avant Garde magazine. Our two-disc set includes both albums, plus bonus tracks taken from ultra-rare early albums by the St. Pius X Seminary Choir. The 28-page booklet is packed with information, thanks to Freund, who was gracious enough to delve into his memory, scrapbook, and photo albums to help us flesh out the portrait of one of the most potent-and perhaps one of the most unlikely-psychedelic groups to ever record an album."

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds bizarre. Acid and the Lord must be a very potent combination indeed :-) You've certainly piqued my interest there.

Cheers, Bas

Tom said...

Hi Bas,

Yes - I think if you have an interest in psych music, this one will certainly be to your liking!

- Tom

dripdrip said...

Thanks for the heads-up, Tom. Wow, awesome news all around! To be honest, I'm kinda burnt out on CD collecting, having mostly switched to original LPs these days, but this is one reissue I'll get in a heartbeat. Let's face it, I'll probably never afford a Search Party original, and St Pius X Seminary Choir is even tougher to find (though generally less expensive, in the $100-150 range unlike $1000+ for the Search Party). And they both are brilliant albums! I was lucky to have found someone who could burn me a CDR of St Pius (from his old cassette, no less), and it's been a big fave ever since. Indeed, a very unique psychedelic avant-gospel album, really can't be compared to anything else I know including even the Search Party LP.

P.S. By the way, I'm guilty of having added the St Pius album to Gnosis with an erroneous title - that's what was written on my friend's tape (and on my CDR). Now that we know the proper title of the album, I think we should correct it in the database. Thanks in advance!

Cheers,
Lev

Tom said...

Hi Lev - Yea, I think a lot of folks have gone back to vinyl for both originals and reissues. I'm at the stage where I want both - original LPs and the reissue CDs. Of course some of the really rare private LPs will always be out of reach, or maybe even unnecessary - so probably a CD is best anyway. Like the recent Rictus and Micah reissues or the upcoming Leong Lau "Dragon Man"! Lion also does LP reissues, though I think an album like Search Party is perfect for a CD.

Great note - thanks for writing in!

- Tom