Released in a limited batch of 99 in 1970, A to Austr's one-off masterwork Musics from Holyground takes the psych-pop aesthetic to an entirely new level. A behemoth (and fun) journey through psychedelia, Musics from Holyground touches on everything from psych-pop and eastern influenced folk to pub ready saxophone jams and vaudevillian break downs, with a ton of other sounds I have no business describing thrown in the mix. The Penguin Guide to Rare Records calls A to Austr's only record "the most sacred UK LP there is," which sort of makes sense considering only 99 folks in the world have an original copy, and it wasn't given the reissue treatment until 1989. Apparently the initial goal was "to write about King Arthur who lies sleeping with his knights of the Round Table until England needs him." This was news to me, as the record in no way, shape or form feels like a treaty on Renaissance knights, rather an exploration of an entire genre, gleaming back and forth from the nuanced psych pop of "Birds" to "Hawaiian War Chant" (which sounds exactly like its title suggests) to "It's Alright", which is basically the Incredible String Band-Love-Zombies collaboration I've been dreaming about for years. I could go on and on about this record, but it wouldn't do any good, mostly because its impossible to describe. Even after listening to it about twenty five times over the past six months, I still have trouble wrapping my head around it, as if its not supposed to be chewed on, merely experienced, over and over again, sort of like life (and psychedelic experiences in general). If this spiked your interest, even just a little bit, I highly recommend heading over to Holy Ground's website and peeping their extremely thorough and insightful history of the recording session, the album itself, and its little known legacy.
A to Austr- Bird
A to Austr- It's Alright