Back in the 1960s a veteran’s hospital located in Menlo Park California paid volunteers $75 a day to act as human laboratory animals. The military wanted to run tests on those Homo sapiens sapiens volunteers after they had ingested psycho mimetic compounds and then study the effects. After ingestion the subjects of the experiment were dealt with quantitatively and objectively by doctors in white lab coats. The substances being tested ranged from IT-290 (an alpha-Methyltryptamine super-amphetamine), mescaline, morning glory seeds, psilocybin, Ditran, peyote, and of course, LSD. As part of the body of techniques employed during any investigation of phenomena, scientific method demands that a control group be given, without that group’s knowledge, a placebo instead of administered the drugs.
When you listen to Bass Face by AV Super Sunshine no one would blame you if you wondered if any of them could have participated in these trials. But of course they couldn’t have – because no one in the band was even alive in the 60s. Bass Face is nothing less than a psychedelic good vibrations audio experience. Beginning with the tune Two Hearts you’d swear it was the “coming on” stage of an acid trip. It opens and unfurls then lifts off like a Technicolor rocket as it fills your ears with sweet siren songs. There’s even some cowbell, then more cowbell. Next comes the moment when you put down the kaleidoscope, gaze into the darken heavens and play pinball with the stars just like some sensory challenged wizard. Now AV’s in the sky with diamonds…
Tune up, turn on and drop beats. Love NYD continues the process of altering your consciousness, acting like a key to open the locked doors of your perception. Aldous Huxley, the British writer and philosopher, would be amused by the spiritual mysticism of some of AV Super Sunshine’s songs and the way they express the isolation felt when we’re cut off from the wonders of our own world, especially if he had heard their I Am Alien track. By the time you reach Baby Goodbye you can almost smell the incense sticks burning as you wait for the stroboscopic hallucinations to commence. Once they do you’re in the hippie-dippy flower power realm of mind blowing black lights and Day-Glo paints.
Spider Wedding is where it gets a bit scary. AV Super Sunshine changes the time signature to haunting little three-four waltz rhythms that makes you somewhat queasy and uneasy. Not being a huge fan of arachnids and other creepy crawlers this one left me feeling the kind of paranoid goose bumps I’d rather not feel too often. Probably that one and Steel Bridge are the darkest of this band’s material on their Bass Face album. Just as when light is dispersed through a prism and you’re able to see the complete spectrum of reflected rays normally only reserved for those possessing tetra-chromatic abilities you may not always feel comfortable with what you have seen, or in this case, what you have heard. They’re not major bummers – just somewhat sonically scary.
There’s a magical ebb and flow to each cut on Bass Face. Just when you believe you’ve ridden to the end of the wave another one wells and you’re raised atop a new butterflies-in-the-stomach inducing crest. Better living through neuropharmacological chemistry never felt as good. Even the name AV Super Sunshine is reminiscent of those popular orange colored, barreled shaped tabs of lysergic acid diethylamide. Take a hit, put on your tie-dyes then enjoy that magic carpet ride. Peace, love and understanding played in four-four time. If you’re in the in-crowd then you’ll know what I’m talking about, because you either get “it”, or you don’t.