RED KRAYOLA – The Parable of Arable Land (1967)

Review by: Roland Bruynesteyn
Album assigned by: Kunal Somaiya

This is one album I heard a lot about, but I actually never listened to it. Now I did, and I can inform you, dear reader, about the results.
A one line review would possibly read like this: “Psychedelic like The 13th Floor Elevators, but without the jug, and linking individual pieces by Free Form Freak-Outs, interludes that sound almost exactly like what they suggest”.
A four word review would read; “Garage rock in 1967”.
It is a challenging listen for several reasons:
·          The Free Form Freak-Outs, are not really composed, and not really music either. They remind me of parts of Lumpy Gravy or early Can
·         The actual songs, such as they are, are all of the droney persuasion and there is not a lot of variation in the 40+ minutes
·         Recording quality is pretty bad, even for 1967 standards, making it difficult to discern any (possible) subtleties.
For me as a dead head, the best way to approach it is like a 40 minute Dark Star: some recurring themes, some collective improvisation in the instrumental passages, sometimes moving into rather abstract territory, leaving the language of music (as if parts of What’s Become Of The Baby are inserted randomly).
“Pink Stainless Tail” is the most normal song, somewhat sounding like The Small Faces, with a more fuzzy bass. By the same token, the title song, “Parable Of Arable Land”, is the weirdest song, sounding somewhat like “Several Species Of Small Furry Animals” (off Ummagumma), working frantically in Brian’s “Smile Workshop”. “Former Reflections Enduring Doubt” is the best song, and a nice one to finish the album with.
Most likely this will not be anybody’s favorite 1967 record (and if it is, that’s quite worrying!), but on the other hand, this is really one of those records that make up the myth of 1967, even after all those years. It only belongs in a VERY comprehensive collection, I’d say.
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Author: tomymostalas

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