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Mass in F minor
The Electric Prunes

Mass in F minor



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  • I still think this is one of the most far-out lps ever made. "Release of an Oath" is very similar, but not sung in Latin. If you like this stuff, try "Latin Mass" by Os Mundi (Germany) which is much wilder and deranged!
  • Excerpts from the liner notes... by Richie Unterberger... The background to the bizarre twist of events leading to the Electric Prunes' 1968 album Mass in F Minor needs some explanation. The Prunes' previous LP, Underground, had been the most accurate representation of their growing experimental psychedelic vision, particularly as they wrote the majority of the material. However, it had not sold too well or yielded a hit single. The producer that had signed the group to his independent production company, Dave Hassinger, was not interested in experimentation as much as he was in commercial records. With Electric Prunes manager Lenny Poncher and arranger David Axelrod, a new strategy was hatched in which Axelrod would write and arrange an album combining classical music, the sort of Gregorian vocals heard in some religious music, and freakout psychedelia. It would be sung entirely in Latin, no less.
  • Whether the Electric Prunes were a suitable vehicle for the experiment is questionable. "They wanted a sound from us to hang the mass on," says lead singer James Lowe. "We came in and there are these charts. We were slow and only Mark [Tulin, Electric Prunes bassist] read music." Although it is the band you hear on the three songs that comprised side one of the album ("Kyrie Eleison," "Gloria," "Credo"), the group were going too slow for Axelrod's tastes. As a consequence members of a Canadian group, the Collectors (later Chilliwack), were enlisted to help complete the album, although Lowe did all of the lead vocals, and Tulin and drummer Quint from the Prunes do play on every track. (Engineer Richie Podolor assisted on guitar as well.)
  • "I like and respect Dave Axelrod," comments Tulin. "I think he's a brilliant musician and he greatly helped expand my musical knowledge. However, he wasn't us. We were a 'known entity' plugged into an outside concept; a means to someone else's end. Trouble was, we were a band, not an inorganic artificial product that could be manipulated at will." For all its apples-and-oranges conception, the record is a nifty psychedelic curio, with its unusual mixture of searing acid rock guitar and subdued, harmonized Gregorian singing. The quasi-choral effect, incidentally, was achieved by having Lowe double-track most of the vocals.
  • This is a totally difference experience on vinyl. Amazing, spiritual, odd little psychedelic gem.

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