Monday, January 5, 2015

Release of the Day: Zenith Effluveum - Almost Made It In The USA

Here's another private press gem I picked up from Permanent. This one is a lo-fi psychedelic gem from a band out of Rochester, NY in the late 70s. The band was a trio: Carl Mack, Michael Ferrera, and Kim Fabis. Before this record saw the light of day, the band had performed at CBGB in '77. Almost Made It In The USA eventually came out in 1978. Composed of three long songs, and one reeeeeally long side-length song, which is the real killer on the record, AMIITUSA is an example of the mental diaspora of German psych sounds into the collective unconsciousness in the US.

By the late 70s there were a couple movements that were resonating: prog and punk and CBGB was a massive hub for the punk, no-wave, and art rock movements with bands like the Talking Heads, Mars, The Ramones, and Suicide being mainstays. Those are some my all-time favorite bands, but Zenith Effluveum was on another wavelength. I'm no expert, but I often think that psychedelia and punk are kind of doing the same thing - breaking free from something - but they expect different end results. The samsara from Psych rock is an expanded consciousness. The nirvana of punk rock is a collapsed system. And because the respective idea "liberation" is defined as such opposites by genre tycoons, it makes a juxtaposition where there really isn't one. Let me put it this way. Krautrock was a punk movement in ethos - those cats were sick of the schlager music going around Germany, stilted renderings of the Beatles by way of Oktoberfest and lederhosen. Just think of Klaus Schulze's expression from seeing that? Dude was not about to put on lederhosen and do a bullshit karaoke version of a pop song.

Anyway, it seems to me that Zenith Effluveum was kind of doing the same thing - liberation from the expected type of music coming out of New York at the time. Krautrock worship simply didn't sell and it's a damn shame because this record is really great and if it had been a marketable music style, we may have had more come out of this band. Yes, there's a 7" that the band put out that is less "out there" than the LP (and there are rumors of recordings from a reunited band that have never made their way out of the netherrealm where hidden LPs, EPs, and singles sustain themselves), but there really could have been more. Who can say if it would be good, though? Well, a boy can dream. And as I lay me down to sleep, I pray the lord more records will seep [out of hiding].

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