Monday, May 24, 2010


You had me at the album cover, Mr. Haack.
But if a psychedelic, befeathered Satan/Jesus just isn't enough to get your rocks off, The Electric Lucifer has plenty more to offer as well. Proto-Kraftwerk analog synth manipulation, hints of acid and folk rock, lyrics about computers, God vs. The Devil (and by extension the duality of man), the "Death Machine", supernovas, and all manner of indecipherable hippie myticism, funky basslines, cascading, atmospheric noise, feedback, and monotone chanting are all present as well, wrapped up in layers of reverb, delay, and good, old-fashioned trippiness. There's really something here for everyone.
The opening track, "Electric To Me Turn", sets the tone for the entire album, sounding like a Moog-ed-out Cantina band fronted by an Autotuned (Vocoder? what's that?) Haight Street nutcase ranting about space and electricity and free love. It only gets weirder from there, as Electric Lucifer slowly reveals itself to be an LSD-drenched concept album about good, evil, and electronics, hatched from the mind of one of strangest and most influential artists in the very early experimental-synth scene.
Speaking of which, let's take a minute to talk about Bruce Haack. The guy started off making children's records in the early 60's, getting bitten by the psych-rock bug sometime around the release of 1968's The Way-Out Record for Children. He created many of his own instruments, including the Dermatron (right), a touch- and heat-sensitive synthesizer that he demonstrated on TV's I've Got A Secret by strapping it to the foreheads of 12 "chromatically tuned" young ladies. He explained his creations on Mister Rogers (below) and scored commercials for Kraft Foods and Parker Brothers. He was a pretty mainstream guy, despite his experimental electronic leanings, and the release of Electric Lucifer (his major-label debut) surprised many. This wasn't music for kids. This was high-concept sound collage, concerning Earth's struggle for survival in an epic battle between Heaven and Hell. You couldn't dance to it. You could, however, trip balls to it.

Haack went on to release several more albums -- children's and otherwise -- in the 1970's, before veering off into unexplored territory once again in 1978 with the creation of Haackula. This was another "left-field" album, featuring Haack himself muttering weird asides about blowjobs and paranoia over throbbing, robotic synth music. His record company flat-out refused to release it, so he re-imagined the entire thing, adding vocals by a 13-year-old boy and putting it out under the title Bite in 1981. Look for the far-superior Haackula version on IC very soon.
Haack's final release was a semi-successful hip-hop collaboration with Russell Simmons in 1982 entitled "Party Machine", but his health was deteriorating fast and he eventually succumbed to heart failure in '88. The Electric Lucifer stands as his first (and most daring) excursion into realms previously unexplored by popular music, and if you are in need of a good mind-blowing this record is essential. EXPAND YOUR MIND.

Spoiler alert: The only way to reconciliate God and Lucifer and save the Earth (according to Mr. Haack) is a mysterious, ethereal substance known as "POWERLOVE". I'm pretty sure that listening to this record repeatedly is the only way to properly obtain it.

Download HERE
Purchase HERE

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SEANFORD said...

way rad shelbro. just what i was looking for. that cover looks like a MAD fold in.

Manslaughter said...

Dude. I can't wait for Haackula. Muttering weird asides about blowjobs and paranoia over throbbing, robotic synth music is one of my favorite pastimes. Do you think Mr. Haack could be my biological dad?

Anonymous said...

IIIIIIIIIImmmmm soooooooo hiiiiiiiigh!!

Oh yeah, that Thor20 post waaaayyy back was bloody brilliant!

Pontius Pilate said...

Great post. Let the POWERLOVE reign.

Brecher said...

I was about 5 sec into the video when I knew this was going to be amazing.