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"This is one of the best heavy psych albums to come out of South Africa or in fact the world, phased out vocals, heavy as lead thumping rhythms on the bass and drums and guitars that weave in and out of the tracks like a madman on acid. Mind melter!" --Freak Emporium

This is the third album by South Africa's Freedom's Children, originally released on the Parlophone label.The year is 1971, but the song is "1999." The group is 18 Freedom's and the vibes are galactic. And now just over 30 years later, we can look back at "1999.

" This is a many-layered album, almost to the point of being cluttered, but this is what makes it interesting. Each time you listen you can hear something new, be it a tone in Brian Davidson's wailing vocals, a riff from Julian Laxton's screaming guitar, a sequence of notes from Barry Irwin's booming bass, the change from sticks to hands on Colin Pratley's awesome drumming, or merely putting your ear right up against the speaker to feel the presence of Ramsay MacKay on the live version of "The Homecoming."

The centerpiece of Galactic Vibes is "The Homecoming," which appeared in a shorter version on Astra, but this live version has to be one of South Africa's epic tracks.

Recorded live at the Out of Town Club (which, according to a copy of their flyer in the sleeve notes, advertised as a "steak parlor"), the track features a quite stunning and by all accounts legendary drum solo that lasts for the best part of 8 minutes before those dramatic guitar chords.

Aside from this monstrous drumfest, the album features some blistering, fuzz-edged guitars on the thundering "That Did It" as well as the quieter and beautiful "Fields And Me." There is also the experimental keyboard piece, "The Crazy World Of Pod: Electronic Concerto," which is just short enough not to become irritating. The orchestration on "About The Dove And His King" adds a beauty and quality sheen to what is quite a rough rock sound, which is due mainly to the inventive recording methods used. With layers of overdubs and no noise reduction, this method created what the sleeve notes describe as a "musical mystical mist of sound." This is a wonderful way to describe the slightly distorted guitars and vague hissing sounds. These guys were breaking barriers not only in South Africa's rather narrow 1970s rock world, but would have broken through numerous perceived limitations on the world stage, had the world bothered to listen. Galactic Vibes is an album that South Africans can be proud of, even 30 years later. It is a great musical achievement that can be hauled out again and again and simply marvelled at. -




1 Sea Horses  
2 The Homecoming  
3 That Did It  
4 Fields And Me  
5 The Crazy World Of Pod  
6 1999  
7 About The Dove And His Ring