Wild Mercury Sound

Finnish psychedelia, Robert Wyatt. And the Smashing Pumpkins, again.

John Mulvey

One last contribution to the Smashing Pumpkins war, which I promise I won't write about indefinitely. In response to some comments about my review here. "Funny lot the Pumpkins fans, aren;t they?" writes Chads. "Could never understand why people take it so personally when you don't like a band they do."

Seeing as he also shows a keenness for the exuberant freak-outs of Raccoo-oo-oon, he might also be interested in the "Psychedelic Phinland" comp with which I'm testing the fantastic new Uncut stereo and the patience of my workmates.

"Psychedelic Phinland" is a handy 2CD history of the Finnish psych scene of the late '60s and early '70s - though when I say handy, I'm not sure many of us realised that such a thing would be remotely useful to us. Anyway, the first CD contains interesting if straightforward attempts by a country's bands to appropriate psychedelia, garage rock and prog.

CD2 is awesome, though, because it locates a bunch of electronic avant-garde types like Pekka Airaksinen and, better still, some very free and lovely nature jams involving recorders, children and, frequently, a terrific band called Those Lovely Hula Hands. Finnish bands, amazingly, are still carrying on this very far-out tradition - check out Avarus at their Myspace for stuff in a very similar tradition.

Finally, the new Robert Wyatt album, "Comicopera", turned up today and sounded great on first listen. No radical change of style, though maybe a bit more trumpet, some Cuban-influenced stuff, a voice that's become fractionally deeper with age. I'll write a lot more about this one after a few more listens. Bear with me.


Editor's Letter

Robert Wyatt interviewed: "I'm not a born rebel..."

Today (January 28, 2015), social media reliably informs me that Robert Wyatt is 70, which seems a reasonable justification for reposting this long and, I hope, interesting transcript of an interview I did with him at home in Louth back in 2007, a little before the marvellous “Comicopera” was...