Six months after Ted Selke's psychedelic rock band the Seventh Ring of Saturn released its self-titled debut CD, an LP edition of the recording has arrived -- one that Selke calls "far superior." This isn't just the ranting of a vinyl junkie, though he admits to having an affinity for vinyl over CDs. Just step into his undersized Candler Park record shop, Full Moon, and the record-to-CD ratio says it all.
TSROS's LP features refined numbers that mislead the tone of the CD. And the warm, vinyl hum draws out a much thicker sound. Selke's smooth bass and organ lines and soft-focus singing in "Colonel Green" build around themes of escape. Guitarists Jonathan Beckner and David Bryant lay down waves and riffs that mingle with elegant harmonies in a cover of George Harrison's "Sour Mile Sea." Jeremy Knauff's bubbling synthesizer and Jaime Reilly's drumming build a frame where subtle world-music inflections simmer with a '60s-centric rock edge.
But as the song aesthetic becomes clear, the record turns weird. On the flip side, "The Cassini Division" takes on a new lysergic glow. Structure fades into echoing feedback and drumroll as sawing clusters of cello and flute float to the surface.
"Pillsbury Palace" reaches the summit of the group's journey into psychedelia. Droning and open-ended sounds are mellower here, creating a more inviting atmosphere. "'Pillsbury Palace' is supposed to be a magical, fantastic place where you can go to get away from all the BS, and I wanted the music to symbolize that," Selke explains. "On the CD, the music symbolizes why you want to get away."
TSROS's LP improves the group's vision by stripping things down to the basics in both sound and format.
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