Current listening: Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve Live at GMEX

God I love this. Downloadable from a link via their My Space site this is a DJ set from Manchester’s GMEX dating from July 2007.  I gather that Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve are actually Superstar DJ Erol Alkan who first made his name on the electroclash scene and Richard Norris (Co-producer of Psychic TV and many others, half of The Grid with Soft Cell’s Dave Ball and writer of a recently published autobiography of Paul Oakenfold).

I have never investigated late ’60s psychedelic rock to the degree that I would like to, having stuck in the main to the folkier end of things and the obvious culprits such as The Beatles, The Zombies, Love, The Doors and Pink Floyd. I have never bought the legendary Nuggets compilation or any Kaleidocope or Tomorrow or Nirvana (1960s version).  That is not to say I wouldn’t like to – it’s mainly down to the fact that there are simply not enough hours in the day and the fact that I don’t like buying stuff and not giving it a good listening to.

I first came across Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve through their beautiful remix of Midlake’s “Roscoe”, followed by their mixes of Peter Bjorn & John’s “Young Folks” and Tracey Thorn’s “Raise the roof” all of which are great, although I am not familiar with the music they have made under their own name.

Anyhow – this is a great juggernaut of a mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar, bonkers Beatles edits rubbing up against the mighty “My White Bicycle”, with The First Edition (Kenny Rogers(!!) first band)’s  “Just dropped in (To see what condition my condition was in)” and Pink Floyd’s proto-psych “See Emily Play” sitting next to a pretty good edit of Love’s “A house is not a motel”. It must have taken a lot of nerve to remix of some of these tracks, given their classic status, but for the most part it works, the effect of the main changes being to make them more danceable, but without losing their essence.  They still sound as if they could not have possibly been made at any other time.  A favourite track is Shocking Blue’s “Love Buzz”., which I believe Nirvana (1990s version) covered on an early single. The only odd track out for me is “Young Folks” which seems somewhat out of kilter with the rest of the prototype mindwarp big beat mayhem.

I can see parallels with The Chemical Brothers combination of dance beats and psychedelic rock in their approach (see “The Private Psychedelic Reel” and “Setting Sun” and  “The Sunshine Underground”), and they do in fact use a Chemicals track here, but this feels less serious, less reverential, more carefree, no holds barred , completely mad and wonderful for it. It’s not quite “Too Many DJs” and ploughs a very different technicolour acid fried furrow but it’s pretty close in terms of sheer unadulterated fun.

The tracklist is as follows:

Beyond Space – Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve
Battlescars (Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve Demo Re-Animation) – The Chemical Brothers
Words – Unknown (Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve Edit)
Hey Bulldog- The Beatles (Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve Edit)
My White Bicycle – Tomorrow
Open My Eyes – The Nazz
Bubble Burst – The Small Faces (Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve Edit)
Uptight – Reggie Cravens Quartet
The Horror Scope – Unknown (Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve Edit)
Just Dropped In – The First Edition
Love Buzz – Shocking Blue
Young Folk  (Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve Re Animation)  – Peter Bjorn & John
A House Is Not A Motel – Love (Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve Edit)
The Witch – The Rattles
Save My Soul – Wimple Winch
See Emily Play – Pink Floyd
Once You Understand – Encounter
Banana Splits Theme – Richie Adams and Mark Barkan

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