Breaking down the psychedelic experience in music

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Indigo Lines, May 15, 2019.

  1. Indigo Lines

    Indigo Lines Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I've never tripped, but I can think of albums that follow the so-called pattern of a psychedelic experience - Primal Scream's Screamadelica and Happy Mondays' Pills, Thrills and Bellyaches are classic examples - well, in my opinion. With that in mind, to the more 420-friendly of you out there, what would you say are the stages and the perfect musical attitudes (for lack of a better word) to go along with them, if you wanted to build a 'musically high' playlist? I know doses vary of course, and different outlines for say, MDMA, as compared to magic mushrooms or other substances, is very welcome in this train station of thought.
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  2. zphage

    zphage inappropriately touching the out of touch

    A lot of the music heralded as psychedelic might be a tad too chaotic for an actual trip.
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  3. davmar77

    davmar77 I'd rather be drummin'...

    clifton park,ny
  4. uzn007

    uzn007 Pack Rat

    Baja Virginia
    Ideally, it would be a live Grateful Dead concert, but since that's no longer an option, Davmar's suggestion is pretty good. You could also go with the Live/Dead album. I've never encountered any music that simulates and complements the psychedelic experience as well as the Grateful Dead. Or, er, ah, so I've heard.
    erowid, WahWahHoWah, DTK and 11 others like this.
  5. Hardy Melville

    Hardy Melville Forum Resident

    New York
    Speaking from personal experience... (meaning of course from hearing what others have told me to be perfectly clear)

    Music that evokes the psychedelic experience when you are not tripping, even if very high on something else, will not necessarily be the best to listen to while actually tripping during at least some parts of the trip. In fact it often isn't.

    For example I think an excellent example of the former is Led Zeppelin II. Or Jefferson Airplane's After Bathing at Baxter's (both examples of albums I think the makers intended to be representative of the psychedelic experience). But I really do not recommend them for a listen when you are actually in the middle of a trip.

    The various stages of the trip call for different optimal "settings" with music part of any given setting. As one takes off I think the kind of music you listen to is not so important as when you approach peaking, and then on through the medium, or main, part. In fact for the first part, say for the first two or so hours, listening to loud psychedelic music can both help with setting and pass the time while waiting to really take off. So for example you've just dropped or whatever. Yeah something like Led Zeppelin II would be fine then.

    But at some point the trip gets too intense and you run the risk that overt sound effects and that sort of thing can be either distracting or, much worse, suggestive of a reaction that mimics the psychotic. At that point you want to move on to maybe some classical music, always liked Baroque and early Classical for that, but nothing too heavy like Beethoven's Ninth (Bach is generally better, but some Beethoven piano or violin pieces are great). Mozart also is good. Or...

    Acoustic music, folk, mellow music. Personally I always thought early Joni Mitchell or the Incredible String Band was perfect. Maybe John Fahey. Bert Jansche.

    Or jazz, but not too overwhelming. Wes Montgomery is great, or some of Miles Davis's more somber fifties early sixties recordings.

    As the trip winds down I would go with the mood of the moment. You will get to a period where the intensity of the trip will lessen and be less dominating over your emotions.

    I think that covers it.
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  6. Maltman

    Maltman Somewhat grumpy, but harmless old man.

    Vancouver Canada
    Or so you’ve been told?...:D
  7. davmar77

    davmar77 I'd rather be drummin'...

    clifton park,ny
    of course keeping in mind this release is a combination of live and studio material.
    footlooseman likes this.
  8. LilacTeardrop

    LilacTeardrop "Roll It Over, My Soul...and Leave Me Here"

  9. asdf35

    asdf35 Forum Resident

    Austin TX
    "Psychedelia" seems to be in my DNA, I've always felt it and related to it. Matter of fact, I can't seem to escape from it. No ingredients required.

    Pleasantness, originality, human-kindness, uniqueness, real musicianship and repetition of ambiance seem to be some recurring traits. As someone above said, a lot of things branded as "psych" are a little too intense and chaotic. Things that give you any tingle or induce any feelings at all in daily life would be suitable.

    Recalling my old experiences with "stuff" - the hum of a floor heater was the most beautifully intense "music" I ever heard. My buddy trying to put on "Pink Floyd" only succeeded in annoying me.
  10. Hall Cat

    Hall Cat Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL USA
    I've a compiled a 6 hr 12 min playlist to use at my acid gatherings. It's been used twice. I've been trying to bring my friends to "get back to the garden" like they did back in the day. At the second one, everyone was naked. There's a good bit of Beach Boys, Moody Blues, Mike Sammes Singers, Ruthann Friedman, and soundtrack bits from the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon, among a whole bunch of other things. I tried to include only positive songs and universal love songs. It's pretty much on the mellow side. I put on it random shuffle, certainly. Everyone's been satisfied with the parties in general and the music in particular.
  11. LilacTeardrop

    LilacTeardrop "Roll It Over, My Soul...and Leave Me Here"

    No experience. Image this would fit, both from band name, album title & the music itself...
    I just like the music when I feel a need to :chill: I like Screamadelica, too (live version..well, I always prefer live, when attainable:)). Other suggestions: Brian Jonestown Massacre. Though, I purch. Their Satanic Majesties Second Request & returned it...freaked me out. :yikes:
    This is 21st Century. VG+ - Hope some folks may discover a new-to-them artist they enjoy! :cheers:
    KeninDC, bzfgt and asdf35 like this.
  12. Zapruder

    Zapruder Just zis guy, you know?

    Ames, IA
    The last time I tripped, I listened to "Free Your Mind..." by Funkadelic at stun volume. That was fun.
  13. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    As high as I've ever been, I don't compare these experiences with any of the best of my experiences being, "musically high". For me, and I was actually touching on it last night in the "smooth jazz" thread (of all places!), where the music can take you someplace "theoretically implausable", removing you from the confines where your typical, go-to moods and stresses lie. No, I was not likening a good side of Tangerine Dream to a good playlist of Kenny G, George Benson and Basia. I was actually contrasting the effect of getting "fake satisfaction" from "learning" the hooks of highly-familiar soft music, as opposed to the accessibility of the music being a help to get the mind to focus on where the music might unexpectedly be going.

    The hallucenogenic qualities of music you can "stand to concentrate on", will help the mind train itself to achieve a state of real relaxation, much more efficiently than what you consider to be "blissed out" by a set of lyrics or musical figures you are comfortable with. Yes, listening to Michael Murphy's "Wildfire" does make me think of that horse, and the story, and I enjoy the groove...but, that's different than the first time I hear a totally different recording of Zappa's "Watermelon In Easter Hay" (because I know the chord structure and the context, but...he's taking me into another place, because it's not the same solo).

    At least for me, it's all about being comfortble enough with what you are hearing, to allow yourself to follow unfamiliar music, without being too impatient because you're not getting your "cookie" (your "hook").
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  14. YardByrd

    YardByrd Forum Resident

    Expat in Helsinki
    Absolutely. I love psychedelia but listening to it whilst on acid is usually too intense. Worst trip I ever had was kicked off by Butterfield's East-West, which I love sober... under the influence of hallucinogens though it's just too on the nose so to speak... I switched over to some classical music and that smoothed everything out for the duration...

    OTOH, one of the best trips I ever had was soundtracked by Piper at the Gates of Dawn...
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  15. O Don Piano

    O Don Piano Forum Resident

    I found that Jazz- particularly a mix of Miles, Coltrane and Bill Evans helped me trip effectively, although it was not planned to play this music. It just happened.
    I "got" the Grateful Dead before I ingested anything, but the "experience' did enhance the show environment:
    Things morphing into other things; the chaos with order; communal bonding; welcome disorientation; and the pieces eventually come back together.
    It's difficult to map that out musically, but it's close.
    Most 0f the 60s psych music spotlighted only the very intense and paranoid aspects one sometimes experiences.

    But it's been 32 years since my experimentation days! 7 or 8 "good" trips- then 1 "bad". One "bad" was it for me! I was done!
    I do not regret it though. I'm not a "drug" person at all.
    asdf35 likes this.
  16. Hardy Melville

    Hardy Melville Forum Resident

    New York
    Yep, and even at that it was a long time ago. Heh.

    Certain things one does remember, however.
  17. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Agreed. I mean, can you actually imagine tripping to Think Pink by Twink? I practically have a bad trip listening to it sober. :laugh:

    DISCLAIMER: It's been many years since I've ingested anything even remotely psychedelic, and I will very likely never do so again, so my observations are likely to be old-fashioned and less than entirely comprehensive.

    One of the very best experiences I ever had involved, believe it or not, Even In The Quietest Moments by Supertramp. It was when I was very young and did not know that Supertramp were a corporate rock/easy listening behemoth from heck. Actually, they really weren't then, they were just another sub-Pink Floyd progressive project. Anyway, "Fool's Overture" was the highlight of that afternoon. The dynamics, the sparkling musicality, the subtle voice-overs, and the fairy-tale voice of Roger Hodgson all made for an extraordinary, transporting experience. Every time I hear it it takes me back.

    Another surprisingly trip-friendly album is Impeckable by Budgie. "Don't Go Away" has an extraordinary contact-high production.

    Any, I wouldn't build a playlist, but I can think of some benchmarks for good, trip-worthy music. REALISTICALLY trip-worthy:

    1. A variety of musical textures is always good. Think the studio side of Ummagumma. All hard rock isn't the best, neither is soft-rock. Art rock of the Yes variety is a little too intellectual. There ought to be a variety of tones and textures.

    2. Controlled chaos is good. The voice-overs and sound effects on Dark Side Of The Moon are a good primer. "Revolution No. 9"? Not so good. Too much screaming and startling noises or gloom and foreboding is bad.

    3. Pleasant voices are good. One of my favorite artists for this sort of thing was Steve Hillage because the music is trippy and his voice is very friendly. His lyrics are also very positive.

    4. The weird and unexpected is good. 666 by Aphrodite's Child is one of those almost-too-edgy recordings, but I always enjoyed it.

    5. 60's pop is good. I always enjoyed Pink Floyd's Piper during those sessions. Shades Of Deep Purple is another one. There's a sort of "Top 40 pop with a veneer of psychedelia" about that album that is very pleasant. Those are good sunny-day albums. Jefferson Airplane and The Doors are for dark rooms.
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  18. kanakaris

    kanakaris Forum Resident

    Electric Ladyland and Tangerine Dream ( The Virgin Years)...
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  19. Hardy Melville

    Hardy Melville Forum Resident

    New York
    Traffic is actually a worthy mention. As much as the San Francisco groups come to mind, Traffic fits in that sweet spot for at least some of the duration of the trip. Something like this:

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  20. Hardy Melville

    Hardy Melville Forum Resident

    New York
    For peaking, perhaps no music is best. But for me, this is perfect:

    It has variety, happy, even funny, and mellow. Try it.

    may the long time Sun shine upon you all love surround you and the pure light within you guide you all the way home (on/om)

    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  21. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    That's my favorite Traffic album. Every track is outstanding.
  22. ShockControl

    ShockControl Forum Resident

    Some of the best examples would include Morricone soundtracks from the early 1970s, especially the ones with tracks that alternate between orchestral dissonance, light bossas, and fake-rock tunes with trumpet freak-outs.
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  23. Vinny123

    Vinny123 Forum Resident

    You never know what might appeal to you while tripping.
  24. uzn007

    uzn007 Pack Rat

    Baja Virginia
    You're not wrong.

    Speaking of bands that aren't overtly psychedelic but complement the experience perfectly, I heard about some guys in college who used to listen to a lot of Yes when they were tripping, especially Close to the Edge.

    Also a lot of classic 70s Pink Floyd. Obviously Floyd started out as an (extremely) overtly psychedelic band, and fit that label up through Meddle, but it seems to me like their later albums -- the "classic rock" Floyd -- are still "trippy" but in a different musical style that I wouldn't really call "psychedelic".
  25. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    When I was a teenager me and my friends considered any Pink Floyd album to be top-shelf head music, which was basically a 70's term for psychedelia.
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