Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Ed Matzenik - Psychedelic Guitarsdotdotdotdotdot
artworkWhen Ed Matzenik emailed to say he was wrapping up this project, and described it to me, I thought it sounded like a really cool thing to do. When it arrived in the mail, I was completely surprised! It's not just a good idea, it should be the law! Very inventive, sometimes demented, always surprising, and never dull. Even songs I didn't like then, I find myself liking here. There's a lot of Dylan here. Most of these tracks sneak up on you. They deceive and lure.

This is a not a surf CD, it's an instrumental adventure!
Picks: Purple Haze, A Day In The Life / Day Tripper, Mr. Tambourine Man, Like A Rolling Stone, Subterranean Homesick Blues, Samba Pa Ti, Sunshine Superman, Sunshine Of Your Love, Psych Ward, San Francisco (Flowers In Your Hair), Third Stone From The Sun, Strawberry Fields / A Day In The Life

Track by Track Review


Purple Haze dotdotdot
Psychedelic Folkrock (Instrumental)

Backward guitar, psychedelic thickness, and some pretty angular tonality, along with clear Jimi Hendrix sound nods, create an engaging regeneration. It's not at all a mimic, but you can hear the root source in Ed Matzenik's mind as he arranged it. This works a lot better instrumentally than I expected. Pretty darn nice.

A Day In The Life / Day Tripper dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Folkrock (Instrumental)

Two Beatles top forty standards, they are combined in a unique way. "A Day In The Life" begins acoustically, becomes a beautifully sad bull fiddle ballad, and then "Day Tripper" rises from a psychedelic wash into what is a very unusual arrangement with rockabilly slap-back echo of the guitar. This is both psychedelic and rootsy, but once it gets really psycho, there's no doubt about the intent. This is easily as different from the original as Randy California's version.

Mr. Tambourine Man dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Folkrock (Instrumental)

This is a very gentle folkrock inspired rendering of The Byrds' hit, with harmonica influenced by Bob Dylan. This is a really nice track. It was merely interesting at the start, but about half way through I found I was emotionally connected.

Like A Rolling Stone dotdotdot
Psychedelic Folkrock (Instrumental)

Bob Dylan's plaintiff "Like A Rolling Stone" is both easy and folksy and fluid. It's funny, but like a couple of others here, it underwhelmed me at first, but pretty soon, I was hooked.

Subterranean Homesick Blues dotdot
Psychedelic Folkrock (Instrumental)

"Subterranean Homesick Blues" just isn't melodic enough to stand as an instrumental for my taste. Nicely rendered, acoustic, etc., just too unchanging a melody.

Samba Pa Ti dotdotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Folkrock (Instrumental)

Carlos Santana's "Samba Pa Ti" is a lovely piece, with haunting guitar and a gentle pace and sound. There's a clear vision of a gentle rain in the intro, and the bull fiddle melody sounds superb. If you took Bo Diddley's "The Clock Strikes Twelve," deburred it, romanticized it, took the dirge out of it, gave it a face lift, and recorded it in Nashville, it might have sounded a bit like this. very pretty, very emotional, and very cool!

Sunshine Superman dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Folkrock (Instrumental)

This is a pretty soulful tremolo charmed cover of Donovan's "Sunshine Superman." I don't really know how to describe this, but it sure is cool! The piano and the tremolo guitar are sparse and nifty, and the lead acoustic-ish. The piano in the break is New Orleans tinkling. Very fine!

Sunshine Of Your Love dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Folkrock (Instrumental)

This power trio classic is played on acoustic guitar and heavy electric. With the acoustic in domination, the contrast becomes sublime. There's something demented about a rainy afternoon rendering of "Sunshine Of Your Love." It's very clear that Cream's intent was not this! So, imagine the surprise brought on by the wonder of this arrangement. The electric reminds me of Henry Kaiser's more psychedelic tone. The use of gentle blues harmonica is a brilliant touch.

Psych Ward dotdotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Folkrock (Instrumental)

"Psych Ward" crosses many lines and delivers some superb musical ideas. The fiddle is superb, and the steel whine sublime. Imagine Blues Project and Sugarcane Harris in a psychedelic haze - oh wait, those people were in a psychedelic haze! Anyway, the many sounds are magically combined. It fades out all too soon! Wonderful!

San Francisco (Flowers In Your Hair) dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Folkrock (Instrumental)

Scott McKenzie's pop-syke hit is so silky in laps steel and an easy beat that you almost forget the original's sappiness. If the summer of love was in Nashville, this would have been its anthem. Amazing!

Third Stone From The Sun dotdotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Folkrock (Instrumental)

With a completely redesigned soundscape and textural wash, Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone From The Sun" gets a more delicate treatment that is very fitting. Much more ringing at times, and dark at others, and event demented when the keys come in and the muted surf reverb chops, this is disturbing and compelling. Wow!

Strawberry Fields / A Day In The Life dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Folkrock (Instrumental)

These two John Lennon and Paul McCartney songs are weirded out, with whirling violins that cry for dementia. If this doesn't scare you, you're not listening. The things that are not right with "Strawberry Fields / A Day In The Life" are the very things that make it difficult to ignore. Yikes!