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Monday, April 28, 2014

Hammerhead, USA

Hammerhead - Ingenius Crimes. 1974 private

Here's another find from the incomparable AC. I have no idea how he continues to find stuff no one else is aware of apparently. He introduces the album as thus: "First of all, yes, that is the actual spelling of the album title. Who knows why. Anyway, this oddity was apparently the work of a California based commune band, which is really all that seems to be known about it. The style here is very hard to describe, but my best attempt would be: jamming hippy rock and garage psych meets UK jazzy proto prog. Sounds weird? It is. There's lots of nice melodic sax and trippy flute, while the guitar hovers somewhere between jazz-tone and garage rock, with just a couple of fuzz outbursts to liven things up. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the vocals are wasted sounding and amateurish, and the recording quality is pretty weak. But the distant, echoey sound and overall strangeness sort of produce a haunting vibe at times, particularly on the side-long "Love, I Need You", which is definitely the highlight of the album. Unique, but very rough around the edges."

Not sure I can add much here, other than I found this title highly appealing. I think the low-budget nature of the recording, along with the flute and sax, give it an otherworldly cosmic edge. The fluttering flute, in particular, adds quite a bit of exoticism here when cross-pollinated with the low budget recording technique - almost like a Zambian or Nigerian fuzz rock band mixed with early 70's Ohr/Cosmic Couriers era Mythos. The strummed electric guitar reminded me of Rush's "Caress of Steel" - so there's an out of the blue reference. Perhaps too much sax for an underground recording such as this - sort of defies the mood. Definitely have to agree with the AC's unique reference.

I should also note that the album was never issued with a cover. The one above was added by a dealer who bought out the stack in the 1980s or 90s.

Priority: 3

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