Monday 16 September 2019


Regular perusers of Desert Psychlist's pages will already know we have a soft spot for instrumental heavy psych and those same readers will also know that Puerto Rico's Iglesia Atomica are one of our favourite exponents of that particular sub-genre. Given that information you can understand why we were super stoked to receive a message recently from Iglesia Atomica's bassist/keyboardist Agustin Criollo informing us of the release of an album of unreleased outtakes recorded live in the studio and released under the auspicious banner  "The Jim Jones Kool-Aid Acid Test, Vol.1"

When approaching any music labelled as "outtakes" one cannot help but be suspicious, we have probably all shelled out for a deluxe version of a classic album purporting to contain essential outtakes and unreleased tracks only to find out that the reason they never made the album in the first place was because they were essentially crap! No need to worry on that score with "...Vol 1" as although songs like "Ritual", "Nube de Oort" and "Astral Variations" are labelled as "outtakes" the albums five tracks are more like improvised jams, songs that may have had some semblance of formal structure at one time in their lives but are here stretched, twisted, deconstructed and then reconstructed into entities in their own right. There is also a rawness here you don't usually associate with Iglesia Atomica, gone is the gloss and sheen that is usually associated with their releases and it is replaced by a more organic, a more feral in the moment feel, Agustin Criollo's bass sounding grittier and growlier, Martin Latimer's guitar work harsher slightly deeper toned and Herb PĂ©rez's percussion unrestrained and wild. Being mostly a live in the studio recording you would expect mistakes to be made and to Iglesia Atomica's credit they don't try to hide these mistakes, misplaced notes, exuberant shouts, accidental rimshots the occasional electronic buzz and unintentional feedback all make an appearance here and there but somehow that adds to the albums overall appeal rather than detracts from it.

Whether intended to document their improvisational skills as musicians or just a way of getting out there some tunes they believed in but could not find a place for on an "official" album "The Jim Jones Kool-Aid Test, Vol.1" is a stunning, if somewhat raw, collection of heavily improvised psych and experimental space rock that is easily one of the best "outtake" releases you are likely to hear this year, or for that matter any year.
Check it out …..

© 2019 Frazer Jones

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