Friday, 15 November 2013


(CD from
(CD from
Originally released on Voxx Records in 1990, “Pure Electric Honey” was the first offering from Billy James, the music within a strange mix of sonic abstraction, drifting Psychedelia and bursts of Kraut inspired freakouts. Using a host of guest musicians, the collection is an inspired musical trip, the journey taking unexpected turns, through strange landscapes and familiar countryside, a love of early Floyd always a help in these situations.
    As someone who has owned and loved this album since its initial release it is somewhat hard to be objective about it, however there is a naïve charm to the recordings with “Eating Chocolate Cake (In The Bath)” being a warm and simple slice of mellowness,  “My Cat” invoking the stranger areas of UK Psych before becoming a fine spacey excursion, whilst “Black and White Cat, Black and White Cake” moves into more abstract areas, a quiet cloud of noises and voices. To round of side one, at least on the original vinyl, “The Wrong At Once (Has Gone)” is a beautiful track, the kind you find at the end of your favourite psych album, letting light and love into your soul, just relax and float downstream.

     After the brief “Say AHHH!!” which is just that, lots of voices saying ahhh, and the ambient Eastern floatation of “The Green Gin”, the rest of the original album is taken up with “Evolution # 7”  parts I-IV, a piece that manages to mix the Beatles with early electronic experimentation, creating a joyous track that you can return to again and again, heavy guitar solos adding to the fun to be had as your mind gets blown along the way.

   As an added bonus, the CD also includes some of the original demos that were sent to Voxx including tracks that didn't make the final album. Possibly not essential, these are stilll worthwhile additions as they remain in the same style and fit in well ensuring the strangeness lasts to the very end.

     So, move on twenty odd years and we come to “Electronic Church Muzik”, the fourth release from Ant Bee, an album that follows a similar musical path although this time we find Mr James working with people such as Bunk Gardner, Peter Banks, Daevid Allen, Don Preston and Gilli Smythe.  Opening with “Birth” the listener could be forgiven for thinking they have just put on an early going album as flute and space-whisper fill the room this feeling dismissed by “Living” and Alice Cooper cover with a nice loose seventies rock feel. This being Ant Bee of course, Daevid Allen appears on “The Language of the Body” half singing the usual bizzare word play over some stoned jazz musings, all good clean fun and the best thing to do is just go with it and keep smiling, especially as the whole thing falls to pieces as it goes along.

    Breaking into some Zappa style prog, “Eye of Agamoto” features Jimmy Carl Black, Bunk Gardner and Don Preston all proving what fine players they are, bringing life to a happy summery tune.

   After more gong style musings, a bluesy acoustic guitar riff heralds the arrival of “Mallard Flies Towards Heaven” a track which finds Zoot Horn Rollo teaming up with Rockette Morton to let it all hang out for a while adding another layer of surprise to the proceedings. This, of course is the albums strength and possible downfall, the sudden changes of style certainly means that nothing becomes stale or predictable, it is just that it is also hard to really get into the thing, however if your collection includes Gong Beefheart, Zappa and plenty of late sixties, early seventies underground sounds then this could well be the album for you. In fact, this collection could sound like you entire collection in sixty minutes, whether that is ultimately a good thing is for you to decide, but when you are in the mood for some confusion about what you are actually listening to then this hits the spot completely, Herbal cigarettes are optional and some good strong ale may well be as effective. (Simon Lewis)

Pure Electric Honey
SCD - £9.99

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