Numero Group: By The Numbers


This is IT: We Revisit Psychedelia’s First Moments.
November 25, 2014, 12:24 pm
Filed under: Alan Watts | Tags:

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Psychedelic music all began with the tiniest possible bang: a minuscule pressing of a self-produced LP by Zen Buddhist scholar Alan Watts. In one cosmic flash of inspiration and group improvisation, the next two decades of musical innovation was pre-supposed: psychedelic rock, spiritual jazz, and even new age. As this micro pressing barely made it out of the ashram, it was his writings that actually spread his ideas, usually through osmosis: he was profoundly influential on the beat poets and the subsequent counter-culture. He became the forebear of ’60s counter-culture’s spirituality, much as William Burroughs was the forebear of its hedonism. For a more reasoned, better researched account of this LPs importance, check the late, great Patrick the Lama’s monograph on the subject here.

Released in 1962, This Is It is a imaginative cacophony of percussion, non-verbal chanting, and free-flowing expression, punctuated occasionally by leisurely passes at a terrestrial piano, marimba, or french horn. It is at once, experimental, intellectual, and experiential. Three years before Ken Kesey’s inaugural Acid Test, This Is IT constitutes the first transmission for a tuned-in counterculture of hippies, beats, and psychedelic revolutionaries of all stripes. 

Tune in, turn on, drop out, and preorder here.


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Very interesting choice–I’m looking forward to hearing it. Alan Watts’ monograph ‘Beat Zen, Square Zen and Zen’ (along with the anthology ‘Zen Flesh, Zen Bones’) were early, important influences on my thought and I’ve already enjoyed Watts’ album ‘The Sound of Hinduism’ which was re-released on American Recordings sub-label Infinite Zero back in the 90s.

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