YaHoWha 13 – Magnificence in the Memory

January 01, 1970

(Drag
City)

 

 www.dragcity.com

 

Thanks to a book and a series of album reissues, early ‘70s
cult commune the Source Family has experienced renewed interest of late, so
much so that three core members of the Family’s in-house band, YaHoWha 13,
reunited and have been touring, additionally recording a new studio album. This
despite the fact that Family founder and spiritual leader Father Yod died in
1975 and the commune essentially scattered not long afterwards. In its time,
YHW13 released 13 LPs – most of them collected on the 1998 CD box set God and Hair – although it turns out
enough music for about 11 more was actually recorded. The material on Magnificence in the Memory hails from
1974-75, and by way of caveat, know that the tapes betray their age (a fair
degree of hiss despite a solid remastering job) and occasional damage
(distortion, flutter, etc.).

 

It’s still a fascinating listen, however. There are moments
here both familiar – the “8 Miles High”-inspired modal/mantric riffing of
“Fertility Dance,” for example, or the Grateful Dead/13th Floor Elevators
blues/garage groove of “Treat You So Right” – and foreign, such as the loopy Theremin-like
whistling that provides the main melody for “Sunshine Man” and the aptly-titled
“Father Whistling” and Yod’s spoken-word chant/recitation against a Floydian
backdrop for “Camp of the Gypsies.” In its self-indulgence resides, partly, the
album’s charm, although anyone who’s heard the aforementioned box will tell you
that the navel-gazing elements of YaHoWha sometimes undercut the musicality.
Luckily, this Aquarian epic maintains a high degree of psychedelic profundity,
its extended jams appealing to any lover of classic West Coast psych. Grok the
fullness.

 

Standout Tracks: “Fertility
Dance,” “It Doesn’t Matter What You Do” FRED MILLS

 

Leave a Reply