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Kennelmus — Folkstone Prism
(Sundazed SC 6129, 1971/1999, CD)

by Michael Draine, Published 1999-11-01

Folkstone Prism Cover art

Something of a last gasp for psychedelia, this Phoenix quartet’s self-released 1971 debut proved to be their sole vinyl offering. Though originally conceived as a rock opera, most of the album’s A-side became instrumental owing to the lack of a strong vocalist. Long stretches without lyrics liberated the group from pop verse / refrain structure, propelling the former inland surf-rockers into the nether realms of deep psychedelia. (Grating, nasal vocals toward the end of the album reveal the wisdom of letting the music speak for itself.) While Kennélmus lacks the chops of their San Francisco contemporaries, guitarist / keyboardist Ken Walker displays a certain raw genius at composition and arranging. Folkstone Prism opens with a mind-bending 17-minute aural trip colored with dreamy acoustic strumming, mutated surf guitar, a percussion line lifted from “Tomorrow Never Knows,” trippy segues, and low-tech electronics. The goofy reading of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” that closes the album suggests such acid-era silliness as The Calico Wall’s notorious “Flight Reaction,” from Pebbles Vol. 3. Sundazed has granted this long-unavailable lysergic landmark an unimpeachable sonic presentation.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 18, 1999 releases, 1971 recordings

Related artist(s): Kennelmus

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