Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Simon Jones - Instrumentals Vol. 1dotdotdotdot
artworkWell, this is one amazing release! Simon Jones was the surf guitarist in Vibrasonic. They were alone on the horizon, with an unearthly mix of surf and psychedelic. I was disappointed when Vibrasonic split. The tension created between the two guitarists in that band was magical. Simon has brought that tension forward to this release with more reverb and surf dominance, but plenty of psych as well. The music is intense, resilient, engaging, reverbed to the max and psychedelic in a magically attractive way. Some tunes borrow liberally from classics, but the performance and arrangement, coupled with the creative production, render the familiar anew. The sound on this disc is in some ways like the production on the Vibrasonic releases. It's both psychedelicized and surfed to the max. Like Simon's earlier work, there's no other sound like his. It is often mixed with a completely whacked out ear, using the full panoramic spectrum. It's not lo-fi, but definitely not hi-fi in the sense that usually implies. The sound is excellent, in fact the mixing is inspired. It's just way outside the pale of accepted standards. It occupies a place between crisp reality and the murk of distorted perceptions, demonstrating that you can enhance the music with radical violations of the conventional production wisdom without sacrificing the music to the lo-fi god of trash. Outstanding.
Picks: Surfers Guitar, Fuzzy A Go-Go ptII, Tremolo Stomp, Spiderman, Ghost Driver, Flip Your Lid, Double Zero, Phantom Guitar, Fuzzy A Go-Go, Faraway Skies, Vibrations, Spanish Guitar

Track by Track Review

Surfers Guitar dotdotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

With it's damped heavily reverbed rhythm guitar and thick sound under a pure lead guitar alternating with vibrato, this tune has the same charm as Vibrasonic less the psychedelic contrast. It's far from trad in tonality, but the structure is very surf. In some ways it reminds me of Al Casey with guts and energy. Very cool in a murky surfin' spy way. Excellent.

Fuzzy A Go-Go ptII dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Eerie throbbing vibrato in a sea of murky evil. This is a very unusual track. Its melody line is very smooth, and the blend of thick sounds makes "Fuzzy A Go-Go ptII" shine. It has so many layers of sound and sonic activity that it brings different elements forward each time you listen. The rhythm guitar is way cool, with it's ultra reverb super droplet sound. Great!

Tremolo Stomp dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Haunted house monster stompin' under a "Comin' Home Baby" riff. The deep reverb coupled with throbbing vibrato and multiple guitar parts makes this blue jazz surf epic stand out.

Spiderman dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Ultra throb, shimmering thunder, and nicely arranged multiple guitar lines give this a complete and unusual feel. Duane Eddy lives next door to the Ventures in a rehab clinic. The visuals are angular, the feel deluxe. The trashy drums make you wanna shake the engineer, yet if they were cleanly captured, it would loose some of its disturbing charm. The rhythm pattern is like the Ventures' "Bumble Bee," and the melody direct and simple. Very interesting. It all ends with a solo intense distorted guitar line that comes in after the complete fade out.

Ghost Driver dotdotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

More than a complete make over of the VyDels' "Unknown," this is a sensual experience in surf hell, where the power of surf reigns, but you are required to listen through an MSG induced nervous disorder, like watching TV with someone else's glasses on. Amazing!

Flip Your Lid dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Well, yeah... "Flip Your Lid" is an apt title for a number that borrows from Dick Dale's variation on "Lovey Dovey" and "Let's Go Trippin'" with a penchant for organic illogic. It's far from pretty, way off the beaten path, but it wreaks of surf and drips psychedelic overload. Dark and mystical.

Double Zero dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

"Double Zero" is an R&B riff over throbbing fuzz and chunky go-go funk. It's like the Music Machine jammin' with Bo Diddley at Pepperland opening for Osceola on a rainy night in March. There were corners there that sounded just like this when Pink Floyd played "Pow-R Toch." So strange.

Phantom Guitar dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Lumbering ultra reverb vibrato with electronic lab rat weirdness, like what might have happened if the VyDels had recorded Dick Hyman's "The Minotaur" in 1968. Very strange mix of genres and sounds. In other contexts it might be just quirky, but here it's magical in a grinning sorta way.

Fuzzy A Go-Go dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Part I this must be... It has completely different character. The fuzz is just perceptible in the bed, with ultra reverbed and vibratoed torture out front. Thick and disturbing. More a jam than a melody, yet the monstrous production weirdness gives it a magical and magnetic feel.

Faraway Skies dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

A slower number with a Dick Dale rhythm chop feel and a mystical melody line. This is closer to trad than anything here, though the contrast to the rest of the disc certainly makes the comparison more real than it would be up against any period track. Excellent surf phrasing and rhythms, and lagoon imagery. Wow!

Vibrations dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Watery psychosis paranoia, shimmer and throb, garage invention, and unnatural sounds. You think I exaggerate, but the very unusual bass line and noodly guitar work in surf and sludge tones would make Eric Lenchner of the Ultras grin. Simple strange and engaging.

Spanish Guitar dotdotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

So you expected flamenco maybe? Well, sorta. It's based on Ernesto Lacuoña's "Malagueña" filtered through a distant toreador feel. The sound paints a picture of waiting in the tunnel before emerging into the bull ring. Definite Spanish influences, but with a psychedelic sense none have previously affected the black lace and red rose images with. haunting and powerful, delicate and moving.