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The Incredible String Band

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Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (1966 – 1974, 1999 – 2006)

The Incredible String Band (sometimes abbreviated as ISB) was a psychedelic folk band formed in Scotland in 1966. The band built a considerable following, especially within the British counterculture, before splitting up in 1974. The group’s members are musical pioneers in psychedelic folk and, by integrating a wide variety of traditional music forms and instruments, in the development of world music. The group reformed in 1999 and continued to perform until 2006.

The Incredible String Band was formed in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK by folk musicians Robin Williamson, Mike Heron, and Clive Palmer (1943 - 2014). They recorded their eponymous debut album in 1966, a lighthearted affair which revealed only the merest hint of the psychedelic adventures to come. After that, the band broke up. Palmer decamped for the Trail to Afghanistan and Williamson visited Morocco from where he returned laden with exotic instruments like the famous gimbri, which was, much later, eaten by rats. In 1967 Heron and Williamson recorded ‘The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion’, an audaciously eclectic mix of bookish folk music, hippy love songs and Eastern modalities. They soon became the-name-to-drop-in-interviews for luminaries such as Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan, and in their annum mirabilis of 1968 they practically defined the hippy counterculture in the extraordinary albums ‘The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter’ and ‘Wee Tam and the Big Huge’.

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  • mpedrohenrique

    this is so fucking incredible

    29 Dec 2014 Reply
  • AC2BR3L

    блин...ведь...это же....какофония...просто какофония...ну это невозможно слушать...я считал себя довольно закалённым слушателем после The Velvet Underground и Jefferson Airplane..но эта музыка выносит мне мозг.

    22 Dec 2014 Reply
  • jjjjjjjjjjjjonj

    been listening to earthspan lately i always ignored it because people act like it's not good but its good RIP clive

    5 Dec 2014 Reply
  • BJBooth

    Thanks for the beautiful music, Clive. Rest in Peace.

    26 Nov 2014 Reply
  • KeithJones

    RIP founding member Clive Palmer

    25 Nov 2014 Reply
  • obscvre

    Best when dying at sundown!

    5 Oct 2014 Reply
  • m_matthew

    best band ever

    9 May 2014 Reply
  • sunheadbowed

    Best sticking with the Beach Boys, MyHeartofHearts.

    8 Mar 2014 Reply
  • Schwemmi

    I know you.

    4 Mar 2014 Reply
  • MyHeartofHearts

    bloody awful

    21 Feb 2014 Reply
  • Grosseteste

    Etymology isn't the same as meaning (often far from it). "Psychedelic" means "1. relating to or denoting new or altered perceptions or sensory experiences, as through the use of hallucinogenic drugs; 2. denoting any of th drugs that produce these effects; 3. *Informal* (of painting, fabric design, etc.) having the vivid colours and complex patterns popularly associated with the visual effects of psychedelic states" (Collins English Dictionary) Its use as applied to music is metaphorical and somewhat vague.

    11 Oct 2013 Reply
  • JohnnyMath

    Best. Band. Ever.

    27 Aug 2013 Reply
  • Ninetyeightytwo

    It literally translates, from Greek, as "mind manifest". Broadly speaking, any band that attempts to set a certain state of mind to music can be defined as "psychedelic".

    9 Jul 2013 Reply
  • JaredMackie

    It's more of a mental state it definitely implys a sense of weirdness and unconventionality from freedom of barriers but it usually incorporates spirituality and mysticism and metaphysics also. It's rather difficult to describe with words you'll just have to get psyched up to dig the wavelength.

    7 Jan 2013 Reply
  • frisbeer

    Does the word 'psychedelic' mean just weird, or is the weirdness specific in some way?

    24 Dec 2012 Reply
  • applepoison

    We are a Turkish folk-duo called The Hogweed And The Aderyn and a Boutique Press called Wounded Wolf. You can listen the preview from here: http://www.woundedwolfpress.co.uk/-the-hogweed-and-the-aderyn

    22 Dec 2012 Reply
  • JaredMackie

    three is a green crown is as psychedelic as it gets

    7 Dec 2012 Reply
  • boehj

    highly psychedelic imho. doesn't matter tho' because psychedelic or not, it's awesome raw music.

    13 Sep 2012 Reply
  • ashleyrobb

    oh hush up you twat.

    30 Aug 2012 Reply
  • boehj

    lovin' this shit.

    27 Jul 2012 Reply
  • All 232 shouts

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