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Album Review

Beausoleil, Bobby – “Lucifer Rising Suite, The” – [Ajna Records]

ophelia necro   6/1/2010   12-inch, Soundtrack

“The Lucifer Rising Suite” is Bobby Beausoleil’s saga of the making of the soundtrack to the Kenneth Anger film of the same name. The journey began for Bobby in the spring of 1967 in San Francisco when he was approached by Kenneth to play the part of Lucifer in his movie. Bobby agreed with the proposal in exchange for being able to compose the soundtrack. The deal was struck.
Bobby formed “The Magick Powerhouse of Oz” and recording sessions began in a former Haight-Ashbury movie theatre. The sole surviving recording of their initial work on the soundtrack is Side A, titled appropriately “Lucifer Rising I, 1967”. Around this time Bobby and Kenneth had a falling out. Kenneth went to New York. Bobby went to L.A. and in July of 1969 ended up involved in the notorious brutal slaying of Gary Hinman. Bobby’s association with the Manson Family contributed to him still being incarcerated over 40 years later.
In the late 70s Bobby and Kenneth resolved some of their issues and Bobby again went to work on the soundtrack. Behind bars, Bobby formed “The Freedom Orchestra” out of an ever changing cast of jailbird blues and rock musicians. The recording sessions at the California State Prison in Tracy happened from 1976-1979. The original soundtrack was to be 45 minutes long but the actual film which debuted in 1980 was about half of that length. This box set contains all the music which was composed for the project.
Side A- Recorded in the Haight-Ashbury movie theatre showcases Bobby’s pre-prison band The Magick Powerhouse of Oz running through a 24m:20s jam that is very cosmic and proggy, with atmosphere and foreboding. This track is the only surviving recording of the original sessions from the 1960s. Sides B-H contain the sessions with “The Freedom Orchestra” recorded behind bars 1976-79 with drums, electric guitars/bass, slide guitar, trumpet, sax and Fender- Rhodes piano and “prison-made” keyboards and guitar synthesizers. Zeppelin-esque riffs, blusier moments, and bizarre lounge interludes with jazzier fusion-inflected numbers. Of note, Side F, “Beacon” contains another epic 21m:40s track. Sides G&H contain the official “Motion Picture Soundtrack” presented in 6 parts. To top it off there is amazing artwork by Dennis Dread and Bobby as well as extensive liner notes chronicling the entire process. This set is a beautiful mind-blowing musical experience, check it out, man.

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