470

MIJ: Yodeling Astrologer

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
MIJ: Yodeling Astrologer This is an unusual record—one that defies category and in terms of production is quite beyond regular horizons. The musical legend is that MIJ (Jim Holmberg) was a musician who, after a serious accident that fractured his skull, then healed, but began a mind-altering journey. For instance at a time just before making Yodeling Astrologer (ESP-Disk, 1969) Jim Holmberg heard created sounds that he did not remember hearing and found he could do musical things that he could not understand. Among them was a very high-pitched yodeling as he sang and the echo of his own voice. Thus the music on this record features the music Holmberg heard complete with these echoes and also some sonic delays.

Bernard Stollman claimed to have found Holmberg—guitar in hand and strumming angular chords—singing and yodeling by a fountain in Washington Square Park. A contract was offered and the rest is sort of history.

Yodeling Astrologer may never fit any category or genre of music—even that which was popular in the late 1960s. But then it was never meant to. Holmberg could not account for his inspiration either. So what is the value of releasing this record then as now? There can be no doubt that the music has psychedelic predilections. Is this even relevant today? Probably not as the current era of music has moved so far away from the use of hallucinogenic-induced mind-altering music.

However, the truth of the matter is that this is no trippy music. It is simply a plaintive cry for understanding existential angst. Remember this is the "Woodstock-era" pre-funk music. John Sebastian—meets—Country Joe and the Fish—meets—the Easy Rider. And almost all the music has a serious raison d'etre: The cry of unconditional love (not the "free love" of the so-called and often discredited hippy movement), but of love in an almost spiritual equation.

Tracks like "Grok (Martian Love Call)" and ""Romeo and Juliet" are charged with emotion and quite beautifully crafted melodically. "Lookin' Out Today" is more socially aware, but no less rich in melodic intricacy. "Never Be Free" has a crafty mid-section. And all the music, of course, features the high and lonesome sound of this unusual artist. This music is a world apart from the bluegrass of guitarist, banjoist and the late Captain Trips, Jerry Garcia, or mandolin-player and 'Old and in the Way' partner in crime, David Grisman. But it is significant stuff nevertheless. Holmberg may not be a great instrumentalist, or a great vocalist, but his music is heartfelt and quite shockingly memorable and no less relevant and fun today as it was almost 40 years ago.


Track Listing: Two Stars; Grok (Martian Love Call); Romeo and Juliet; Little Boy; Lookin' Out Today; Door Keys; Planet Of A Flower; Never Be Free; Look Into The (K)Night.

Personnel: MIJ: vocals, guitar.

Year Released: 1969 | Record Label: ESP Disk | Style: Ambient


Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Altadena" CD/LP/Track Review Altadena
by Mark F. Turner
Published: December 9, 2016
Read "Concentric Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Concentric Circles
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 30, 2016
Read "In Denmark 1959-1960" CD/LP/Track Review In Denmark 1959-1960
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 18, 2016
Read "Allison Philips Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Allison Philips Trio
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "A Result of the Colors" CD/LP/Track Review A Result of the Colors
by Tyran Grillo
Published: June 8, 2016
Read "Five" CD/LP/Track Review Five
by John Sharpe
Published: August 14, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!