Forgotten series: The Astral Projection – The Astral Scene (1968)

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Composed of studio musicians, most notably the late great guitarist Hugh McCracken, who played with everybody from the Monkees to Simon to Garfunkel to Van Morrison to Steely Dan to John Lennon, the Astral Projection existed for just this one album.

As their name implied, the band championed leaving the body. Sages from the beginning of time have claimed we are simply spirits having human experiences, and The Astral Scene (Metromedia Records) profiles the beauty, joy and warmth attained when discarding our physical being. No chemical substances are promoted, as the lyrics impress such journeys can be attained from within and life itself is a natural high.

Heavily orchestrated and glistening with birdsong harmonies and melodies, The Astral Scene rests firmly on the soft-rock wing occupied by the Cowsills, the Association and the Blades of Grass. The production values are clean and sparkly, the structures are adventurous enough to prompt repeated spins, and the performances are disciplined and proportioned.

Tracks like “(Mind Flight) Overture – The Airways Of The Imagination,” “The Happening People,” “Accordion Pleated Mind” and “(Astral Exploration)…Overtures, Dreams, Shadows And Illusions” illustrate the group’s positive affirmations to solid effects. Rhythms drift, float and soar, and the textures of the tunes are flush with color and motion. Pumping big brass sounds, string arrangements and flower pop motifs into a single blender, The Astral Scene rolls in as an early indication of new age music. Brain food for the ears, the disc is certainly a curious period piece.

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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