Orgasm Review

artist: Cromagnon date: 07/25/2014 category: compact discs
Cromagnon: Orgasm
Released: 1969
Genre: Avant-garde, Sound Collage, Obscuro, Psychedelic Rock, Noise
Label: ESP-Disk
Number Of Tracks: 8
This isn't a conventional album, and therefore it cannot be enjoyed in any form of a conventional way so this requires absolute involvement from the listener.
 Sound: 8
 Lyrics: 8
 Overall Impression: 8
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overall: 8
Orgasm Reviewed by: Oliver_White3, on july 25, 2014
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: This album is just another avant-garde experimental work that would prove to be years ahead of its time along with a small handful of other albums like "In the Court of the Crimson King," while not touching in such enigmatic grace as works like the debut of King Crimson it still has moments of influential music light years ahead that would come to influence genres like black metal. The album "Orgasm" would be released under that title in 1969 and still runs under this same title but for some reason has come under a different title called "Cave Rock" but they're the same album, this is a suitable title for the kind of primordial primitive far out psych that is utterly baffling as an album completely weird but in a ridiculously good way like Captain Beefheart and His Magical Band's album "Trout Mask Replica" also released the same year, although not as good it's still just as experimentally innovative. The alternate CD release title as "Cave Rock" is alright I do agree but it may cause a bit of a misnomer, I don't think they should have tampered with the original title for the group's sake and for listeners as they are both essentially the same album and it should be left the way it is especially for such an out of place album that most certainly did not fall into place anywhere in the 1960's except with the avant-garde acts like Zappa and the Mothers. The whole combination of electronics sound recording techniques with noise and spoken words with strange primitive ape-like noises and screeching along with a bit of black metal before there was even such a thing and in 1968 with the devices the group was left to it's just stunning. There isn't much restraint of the bizarre but these facets just varnish the quality and originality. // 8

Lyrics: The band Cromagnon would be listed as Austin Grasmere on lead vocals and Brian Elliot both said to just contribute to the music. There is then the main portion of the actual band wittingly referred to as "Connecticut Tribe" with Peter Bennett (bass), Jimmy Bennett (guitar, bagpipes), Vinnie Howley (guitar), Sal Salgado (percussion) and a couple of other members along with quite a few more people also joining in as the band would request random people in the streets to join, Gary Leslie would be more notable as the one who was also on vocals like many of the members but brought the multi sound effects heard here. "Caledonia" begins with some eerie radio frequencies sounds and then silence with nighttime crickets and buzzing insect drone followed by the heavy guitar drone and strong pounding beat that sounds like something is being pulverized with a god like singer with a deep throaty rasp that sounds insatiably superb along with those bagpipes that seem to complement the whole song even though they seem out of place, the whispering lyrics accompanying the astonishing ancient god like vocals in sync; this song is definitely the the album has to offer and is just so ahead with those strange screeching guitar effects.

"Ritual Feast of the Libido" is a highly suitable song title as it sounds like their is a man screaming and moaning in some kind of distress or pleasure, or possibly both. The unsettling gasping and signs of struggle that only makes you wonder even more what kind of barbaric ritual of sexual restrain, torture, or whatever is going on there. "Organic Sundown" is the real freakout and kind of psychedelic primitive happening with some more odd whispering ghostlike voices summoned in a hypnotic repetitive effect that makes one want to obey and just fall asleep. "Fantasy" displays excellent experimental edge with some great doo wop vocalization in perfect harmony with more of the experimental sound that appears throughout as most of this seems to be highly conceptual with actual music chiming in during certain intervals to convey the art music. "Crow of the Black Tree" has more prowess with a pleasant guitar intro then strums the same chords repetitively with more discordant shouts and powerful back drumming in a similar style to neo folk which would take many more years to emerge. "Genitalia" features an acid-addled crooner surrounded by a bunch of croaking primitive ape humans in their early stages dumbfounded in their high tree dwelling in such confusion and disarray as the crooner is reciting poetry of a language the would be human prototypes would have years yet to learn.

"Toth Scribe I" is just so spooky and doom like with the ominous drone sound that sounds extremely close to bands like Velvet Robe and others that would make drone metal and it has some Space Odyssey like epic inner deep space sensations. "First World of Bronze" does not disappoint, it would be my second favorite track here next to "Caledonia" because of that exquisite guitar soloing that is actually more than impressive, I mean god whilst those Gregorian like poetry chanting is going on, this is just beyond complex to get but as I was saying that soloing isn't the best but it's definitely good and it gives a sense of something new like it sounds like it would fit in more in the no wave genre or anywhere in the '80s. // 8

Overall Impression: This isn't a conventional album, and therefore it cannot be enjoyed in any form of a conventional way so this requires absolute involvement from the listener. So dim the lights, shut your eyes, soak in every single second and "Orgasm" becomes a transcendental, otherworldly atmospheric experience like nothing ever in the history of recorded sound. You have to use your imagination to enjoy this art album. Most of the album forces out prehistoric Neanderthal cave rock sound as though millions of years of human advancement in music, technology and behavior being wiped out in an instant from the very beginning after slithering out of our primordial ooze.

Perhaps it's the mystery that surrounds the group Cromagnon itself that makes this album enticing to someone, this having been the only album they ever released. It's an out there edgy risk-taking album that just pushed it as far as it could go and despite having replication of the past, "Orgasm" also has futuristic elements: many compare the album's sound to industrial or neofolk and "Caledonia" is the closest that the '60s came to black metal. The album art has some profound symbolism that is a bit perplexing to grasp and a bit too controversial for 1969 that appears to have two skeletons engaging what may very likely be anal copulation with a man watching in the back which is actually a bit frightening maybe more than the album comes off to be and the music itself would anticipate the rise of noise rock, industrial, and no wave. The band's total disregard for melody, structure, narrative or time signature is shockingly modern not just for 1969, but even now. // 8

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