Mushroom - "Really Don't Mind If You Sit This One Out"
(Four Zero Records 2006, FZ001)
From Aural Innovations #33 (March 2006)
The latest from Mushroom is a nearly 80 minute set of vintage live recordings from the band's first year and a half, including two tracks from their first ever gig. I discovered Mushroom in the early days of their career, and have continued to be amazed as they have explored different areas of Psychedelia, Space Rock, Kraut Rock, Jazz, Funk, Progressive Rock and more. But it was in this earliest period that the band was immersed in the magical Space/Psych/Kraut/Jazz realm that got the ball rolling.
The CD opens with the 18 minute "Klonopin", from a November 1998 performance. The music begins as a beat jazz in space piece, with Eric Pearson's flute and Michael Holt's Rhodes leading us through a cool grooving cosmic jam. The rest of the band slowly join in, picking up the pace and culminating in a smooth and soulful jamming ride. Veteran Mushroom fans will be familiar with "Kyle Love a Funny Bunny" and "The Reeperbahn", those having appeared on the band's very first releases. Both tracks feature Mushroom at their most overtly space-kraut rocking, though in their case that also includes a variety of prog and jazz influences. I've written loads of Mushroom reviews and never feel like I've adequately described them. And that's part of Mushroom's magic… they draw on multiple pioneering 70's influences, but synthesize them in a way that is uniquely their own. Man… these guys do not get any deeper into space than "The Reeperbahn". An absolutely killer stretched out jamming, rocking and grooving space/kraut/acid-psych/jazz combination. "My Brain Hurt Like a Warehouse, It Had No Room to Spare" is a pure psych-funky rhythmic groove tune, though it also drifts off into dreamy space-beat-jazz realms. "Philip Seymour Hoffman" (who just won best actor at the Oscars) is another laid back spacey proggy cool lounge jazz number. And "Why do most German booking agents have brain damage?" is a downright metallic slab of heavy driving freeform space rock.
In summary, dedicated Mushroom fans are pretty much guaranteed to be delighted with this release, as are those who prefer the more space/psych/kraut side of the band over the more overtly jazz oriented albums. Finally, a big tip of the hat to Dave Weller, for whom this CD is the inaugural release on his new Four Zero label. Thanks for making this available Dave!
For more information you can visit the Four Zero Records web site at: http://www.4zerorecords.co.uk.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz