Filed under: Solaris
A few sporadic blips on the world wide web detailed last month’s discovery of a previously uncharted mass of dense Chicago space rock. Despite this lack of awareness, a galaxy of mail-order customers managed to blast through our modest pressing at the speed of light. A few remain, but who could have imagined this wasted masterpiece would find its fan base immediately?
If we could, we would put records like The Waves Of Evernow out every month. But how do you create such energy? In the case of the long-haired organ trio pictured, the answer involves a payload of tape delay units, modified amplifiers, and a nebulous songbook, all lowered into a concrete bunker beneath 5428 South Blackstone in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. The results, to say the least, are worth sharing.
As a bonus, each purchase includes a download code, unlocking not only digital incarnations of The Waves Of Evernow, but a soundboard recording of the band’s final performance at the Metaphysical Festival, held at the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society of Wheaton, Illinois on July 22nd, 1973. This performance features Dennis Gray on drums and the addition of a fourth member—Xohm (Mike Kelly) on oscillators and other sound effects.
Filed under: Solaris
Influenced by Amon Düül, Richie Blackmoore, and The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Solaris’s experimental mash of jazz, noise, and rock rendered a product darker and more ominous than that of the Chicago group’s aggregate idols. Comprised only of Jawxillion Loeb on guitar, Karellen XOR on Farfisa Organ, and Ed Kramer on drums, the Hyde Park trio’s arsenal of amplifiers and effects had to be hauled to performances via rented U-Haul. Despite their tonnage, Solaris rarely rarely performed outside of Alice’s Revisted, a North Side juice bar that booked an inordinate number of blues legends, rising rock icons, and doubled as headquarters for pot zine, The Seed.
In 1973, the band holed up in a 15’x20’ basement rehearsal space at the corner of 54th and Blackstone to record. Two colored light bulbs hung from the ceiling, one representing the red universe, the other the blue universe. One side of the room was filled with instruments while the other, a reel-to-reel tape recorder. The vocals and organ were run through the same Twin Reverb amplifier, while three echoplex tape-delay units wowed and fluttered at varying rates, giving the in-the-red recordings a wash of rich distortion. Despite interest from Styx producer John Ryan and Saul Smaizys of WXRT’s “Triad Radio,” the band’s recordings were never formally released.
Preorder is available now for Solaris’s blasted masterpiece, The Waves of Evernow, which will be arriving in homes later this summer. Available only through the Numero Group website, all orders will include a download of the band’s live performance at The Metaphysical Festival, held at the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society of Wheaton, Illinois.