Friday, 18 May 2018

PYRAMID - PYRAMID (Mental Experience LP, CD, D/L).

Toby “The Mad Twiddler” Robinson’s Pyramid label is no doubt one of the most enigmatic from the 1970’s Krautrock scene, shrouded in mystery and for a long time with no real physical evidence that records were not some kind of kosmische hoax with Krautrock “experts” either dismissing them as ersatz “fakes” or insisting that they were the real deal when released by the Psi-Fi label in the mid 90s. Recorded by The Mad Twiddler between 1972 and 1976 using studios in and around Cologne during down time in the early hours with an assortment of musicians/friends, the albums produced for the Pyramid label were released in tiny quantities, hand made and mostly sold in art galleries and a few Cologne record shops with the rest being shared among friends (this is probably why they remained so obscure, even among experts). On the one hand writers such as Alan Freeman, co-author of The Crack In The Cosmic Egg, will vouch for their authenticity following long conversations with both Robinson and the late Trevor Manwaring (the co-ordinator of the Virgin Records Unknown Deutschland compilations which cherry picked the best of the Pyramid catalogue and was a prime mover in the Psi-Fi releases)………….however, there is the more cynical view that the Psi-Fi releases are a 90s knock off with everybody from Julian Cope to Sun Dial involved if you believe the rumors. Regardless of the actual truth (down in our psychedelic basement we are of the opinion that they are genuine) the Pyramid albums are fantastic Krautrock obscurities and for the last year Spanish crate diggers Guerssen Records have been reissuing the entire catalogue via their Mental Experience imprint. The latest release is the self titled album from Pyramid which is a mind blowing 33 minute languid trip to the far side of the universe.

With one spacey Krautrock track, ‘Dawn Defender’, spread over two sides of vinyl that channels the cosmic “outthereness” of Pink Floyd, Cosmic Jokers, Agitation Free and Ash Ra Tempel, Pyramid is a slowly unfolding album of abstract and experimental Psychedelic Space Rock with glacial electronic soundscapes punctuated by heavily treated guitar improvisations. It has not dated and sounds very fresh and modern, possibly more because not many current Psych/Kraut bands are the most forward thinking muthafuckers, still mining the 70s for their sound as opposed to the record being a recently recorded cosmic hoax. You can hear why some folk think this record is a wind up as the synth washes and guitar tones all sound very contemporary. Split into three very distinctive sections, ‘Dawn Defender’ opens with an abstract, spacey improvisation with ricocheting guitars pinballing around minimal percussion before a colossal bass lines drops pushing the track further into a narcotic netherworld in a swirl of synths and dark drones. It’s a strange dreamy-like musical journey throwing up ultra vivid psychedelic textures as it morphs into a full tilt, scorching Acid Rock wig out not unlike Agitation Free at their best before easing into a long celestial Mellotron passage drifting effortlessly to a close. It’s a record that has been compared to the first Cosmic Jokers LP and A.R & the Machines and perhaps the jewel of the Pyramid back catalogue.

Out NOW, the self titled, remastered Pyramid album is available on LP and CD with liner notes by Alan Freeman from all the best record shops. Also available direct from Guerssen Records where you can check out/stream/buy the D/L here……..

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