Thursday, 31 May 2018

Maze "Armageddon" 1969 US Psych Rock


Maze  "Armageddon" 1969 US very rare  Psych Rock 
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An obscure San Francisco area group that cut one extremely rare album in 1968, Armageddon (recorded at Leo Kulka’s Golden State Recorders, and issued on MTA), which is highly valued in some collector circles. Actually, they don’t rank as a very impressive find, in fact epitomizing some of the period’s least enduring excesses. They originally recorded under the name Stonehenge, with a female vocalist, before assuming their more familiar name, and left behind a good deal more than an album’s worth of tracks, some of which turned up on the 1995 Sundazed CD reissue of Armageddon. Their all-original material emphasized heavy organ, long, drawn-out fuzzy guitar solos, despondent stoned vocals, and minor-key melodies, somewhat in the mold of Iron Butterfly. 
by Richie Unterberger ……~


The advent of ear splitting, cortex-skewering bands like the Maze really did signal the end of the sixties. But just like that ultimate orgasmic blast during the finale of a great fireworks show, what a perfect way to go. 
A true rarity among 60’s psych collectors, tracks 1 through 7 appeared on the original Maze release, recorded at various studio sessions from September 1967 to March 1968 at Leo Kulka’s Golden State Recorders in San Francisco. In addition to this original album, we’ve added six unissued bonus cuts! The earliest of these tracks, “Right Time” and “Rumours” were recorded on April 21, 1967 under the groups’ previous moniker, “Stonehenge”. 
The cool, folk-rock sound of “Stonehenge” is period Bay Area, complete with requisite female vocalist and chiming Rick 12-strings. Other previously unissued tracks here include instrumental backings of “Dejected Soul” and “Kissy Face”. They are, essentially, extended, fuzz-guitar filled rehearsals for what would, several takes later, become the master backing tracks upon which vocals would then be overdubbed. …Sundazed….~


For some inexplicable reason, I haven’t listened to this album in decades. I bought the CD reissue for the bonus material, but never got around to listening to that either. But I was burning a copy for one of my coolest friends in the whole world, and rediscovered just how aMAZEing this record truly is. The similarities to the sound of Iron Butterfly are obvious, but these guys are much heavier. Whereas I.B. may have a wickedly psychedelic sound, most of their mat'l is relatively light, uptempo pop, excepting, of course, “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida” and “Iron Butterfly Theme”. Most of the material on The Maze’s “Armageddon” sounds very similar to the latter, with a very gloomy-doomy vibe. But it’s that piercing fuzz guitar, literally omnipresent thruout the LP, that totally seals the deal on this. And though all of the bonus tracks are great (some extremely so), the fact that 4 of the six are either alternate or inst. versions of LP tracks makes them a necessity only for completists. The other two: “Right Time” and “Rumors”, both of which sound very similar to each other, are jangly folk/garage tunes, totally unlike anything else on this release. Most likely, these were recorded much earlier. The booklet included is also well worth the price of admission, so if you do own the LP, this CD is a great addition. This is probably one of the top three heavy psych albums of the late 60’s, and comes with every recommendation I can give it….by…tymeshifter …~


Amazing psychedelic record from 1968. The sound is based on heavy organ work , fuzz guitar and deep vocals. Melodic consciousness which is a crucial element for recognizing a record as a masterpiece , is all around. Released on the mta label that gave the also rare but far inferior afterglow lp. I always filed this group next to c.a quintet , I think they have a similar “far out” approach towards psychedelic music though c.a quintet lp is a bit more experimental. Anyway this record is a dive into pure usa underground psych and a definite must for those who dig this kind of stuff. Highlights are “im so sad” with that ecstatic organ solo , “dejected soul” which shows deranged-stoned vocals and distorted to the max guitar and my favourite “as for now” a psychedelic ballad with slow deep vocals which manages to transmit a pure nostalgic aura. 
By the way the sundazed cd reissue sounds pretty cool because I have the original vinyl and have made the comparison…by….ocean_boogie …~


The only problem this album has is the fact that it’s a bit too short. These seven tracks offer some pretty damn effective psychedelic rock. But I would have wanted to hear more of it. “Happiness” is probably the weakest song on the album but the rest of the material is more or less fantastic. The two longer songs on the A-side and the shorter numbers on the B-side form together a really balanced LP. 
If you’re a psych rock fan I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t listen to this record through. It’s a one trippy journey with some killer material for the fans of this genre. Definitely worth giving a try. One of the best US psych rock albums of all time…..by…CooperBolan …~


Holy crap this is an amazing LP!! All 7 tracks are winners. I usually am turned off by long tracks, but they are all mind blowers! Highly recommend this!…by….PsychedelicGuy …~


An early and revolutionary enough psychedelic outfit from the end of the 60s, which started its life in San Francisco area under the moniker of Stonehenge - as just another one of numerous slightly stoned folkie outfits with hippie chick as singer. As such, in 1967 they’ve recorded few songs (two of these recordings - “Right Time” and “Rumors” - are presented on this CD as bonus tracks), then promptly abandoned the name Stonehenge (together with the chick), and the same year re-surfaced as The Maze: “Kit” Carson Boyd on drums, Ric Eittreim (keyboards & vocals), William Gardner (guitar & vocals), Jeff Jensen (bass & vocals). The music changed too, and drifted from West Coast sound towards heavy acid of Iron Butterfly, dark and menacing, lying on roaring fuzzy guitars and trippy organ. Although some elements of The Maze reminds meditative psychedelia of the Fab Four, its roots are purely American, and I would suggest that spiritually it was related to the pioneer projects of Jerry Cole, predating The Beatles - The Inner Sounds of the Id. Not unlike the famous Id of Cole, the music marks the transition from pop to acid, from singles to a concept album, and ventures sometimes into progressive. The harmonies are complicated and innovative, covering pretty wide range of styles and elements. 
The sole album was recorded for MTA label between 1967 and 1968 in legendary Golden State Recorders - the state of the art studio founded and run by Leo De Gar Kulke (a.k.a. The Baron), who co-produced it with Larry Goldberg (famous for his work with The Crusaders). The contribution of Leo Kulke (who is a visionary, rivaling Joe Meek, Phil Spector and Mike Levon) shouldn’t be downplayed, since he was obsessed with the magnitude of the sound and usually concentrated on the concept as a whole, instead of the details. No wonder that he was often called “the sound of San Francisco”, and the list of his clients reads like the history of American rock: Beau Brummels, Sons of Champlin, Big Brother & The Holding Company and… The Warlocks (later known as The Grateful Dead) - among others. 
The original album sporting unpretentious artwork and featuring 7 self-penned compositions (mostly by Bill Gardner) was released in 1968; one year later (in 1969) similar music ideas were picked up and elaborated even further by superb act from Miami - The Fantasy (search for “Stoned Cowboy” on YouTube). Sometimes The Maze is also compared to Freeborne from Boston Peak Impressions, but that’s a bit too far-fetched, since the Bostonians sound more light-weighted and less desperate musically. 
In spite of its importance, the album went almost unnoticed, Carson Boyd was drafted to Vietnam to be replaced by Joel McKinney, but it didn’t work. The Maze went to obscurity, to be painstakingly resuscitated by Bob Irwin of Sundazed (apart from originals, another 6 previously unreleased compositions are generously added as bonus tracks). 
Following the theory of the noosphere, or the sphere of human thought of Acad. Vernadsky and Teilhard de Chardin, the spirit and sound of the title song fought the time and space to resurrect in “The Decades” of Joy Division. 
Worth every penny and a must…by….Golovanov Alexey….~


Originally released in 1968, as this was the obscure psych band’s sole record. I’ve seen this CD in stores a lot. Cannot believe the super-low price I managed to snag this Sundazed title up at. Glad I acted as quickly as I did. Tunes that certainly did it for me were the seven-minute “I’m So Sad”, the tripping “Whispering Shadows”, the inspiring (could-have-been a hit) previously unreleased “Right Time” and “Rumors” (reminds me of the Byrds). Also liked both versions of “Kissy Face”. Was unable to find an acurate line-up. Recommended for fans of Jefferson Airplane, Bow Street Runners, Afterglow, H. P. Lovecraft and possibly the Doors….by/..Mike Reed…~


The Maze 
*William Gardner - Organ, Vocals 
*Jeff Jensen - Guitar, Vocals 
*Kit Boyd - Bass 
*Rick Eittreim - Drums




Tracklist 
A1 Armageddon 7:12 
A2 I’m So Sad 6:58 
B1 Happiness 2:05 
B2 Whispering Shadows 4:35 
B3 Kissy Face 2:58 
B4 Dejected Soul 2:37 
B5 As For Now 2:36 

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