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Father Yod And The Spirit Of '76 - Contraction CD (album) cover

CONTRACTION

Father Yod And The Spirit Of '76

 

Krautrock

1.91 | 3 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
2 stars 1974 was a busy year for FATHER YOD and his little sunshine Aquarian cult commune. Not only did they perform their all their proper Utopian hippie duties but they had their own recording studio and churned out seven albums. Four under name Ya Ho Wa 13 and three under the first rendition of the band FATHER YOD AND THE SPIRIT OF 76. This album CONTRACTION is the second release of the year and the third overall after their 73 debut.

This is very much a product of its time when communes and religious cults were sprouting up like daisies in a horse pasture. FATHER YOD was the charismatic leader who kept his following up in the Hollywood Hills but while most cult activities are fairly obscure and well, occult, this group was happy to record this music and release it to the public albeit in small numbers at the time. CONTRACTION is really nothing more than a 26 minute religious sermon with FATHER YOD ranting, raving and pontificating about his message of visualizing about "Pulling In The Energy" that the girl singers in the background belt out in unison.

The music itself reminds me of the freak folk of early Comus especially in the flute department with the tribal drums, however the guitars provide kind of a funkiness to the sound at least for the first three quarters of the sermon before the final freakout. Despite the Comus similarities this is nowhere even close to the inventiveness and utter brilliance that that band delivered on "First Utterance." Musically this is pretty weak for the most part with only the freakout at the end being of interest. During that part the guitars and bass get spastic and create a pure psychedelic sound that proves the band can play and if it weren't for FATHER YOD's horrible vocals marring the band's progress perhaps this could truly be the Utopia they envisioned.

While this is mostly weak musically, i find this fascinating from a sociologist's point of view. Cults are strange little microcosms of consciousness that create some bizarre dynamics and while it could be argued that all religions are cults, these small communes of the 70s are just plain weird, but weird in a cute fuzzy way (beard joke intended!) FATHER YOD is utterly hilarious in an unintentional way when he shouts out phrases like "keep it shakin," "groove on" and "reach out and git it, man!" After the freakout at the end he also draws parallels with St. Nick with all the goodies on his back referring to the energy that is supposed to liberate you from this planet by delivering the ultimate consciousness to escape the limitations of this world. After all this fun stuff we end with a gospel service with more ranting about Jesus with the accompanying female backers following suit by shouting a litany of "oooo oooo's and Jesus."

The music of FATHER YOD is generally listed under Krautrock or psychedelic rock and this is to a certain degree but the later albums by Ya Ho Wa 13 are much trippier and closer to what you would expect from these labels. This, like i have already stated, is pretty much a mildly trippy religious sermon designed to inspire the tribe. I also find it hilarious that every member has adopted the last name Aquarian with the funniest names being Aquariana Aquarian and Sunflower Aquarian. It doesn't get any hippier or dippier than this and although everyone here is dead serious it just seems to me more like a spoof from National Lampoon or Monty Python! Unintentionally hilarious and woefully unessential but surprisingly entertaining upon first listen :) 2.5 rounded down

siLLy puPPy | 2/5 |

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