Since its founding during the mid-1990s, the Spanish imprint, Guerssen, has remained a defining force in the reissue market, excavating remarkable forgotten gems - many of which were originally issued by the artists themselves in tiny editions - from the histories of psychedelia, folk, experimental music, and beyond. With a catalog currently extending well into the multiple hundreds - not to mention the many other labels working in the field - one might easily imagine that would have already run dry. How much undiscovered gold could be still lying in wait? Remarkably, their latest - a beautiful vinyl reissue of Pete Fine’s beloved cult album “On a Day of Crystalline Thought” - proves that there’s plenty left to explore. Originally issued in a tiny edition of 100 copies in 1974, it's a tower ing creative gesture at the borders of acid-folk, prog, and sprawling psychedelia that edges toward the symphonic scale of David Axelrod, Scott Walker, and Joe Boyd’s productions of Nick Drake. Singular and mind-bending nearly half a century on, this is unquestionably one of the most ambitious products of America’s underground 1970s folk scene to have ever come to light, this brand new, fully remastered vinyl edition from Guerssen faithfully reproduces the original 1974 edition, and comes compete with an insert with liner notes and photos. Insanely good and not to be missed!
Born in New York City in 1950, Pete Fine began playing the guitar at the outset of his teens. A member of the psychedelic hard-rock trio Flow during the early '70s, as well as performing with numerous jazz and rock ensembles, and working as an orchestra and session musician in New York, in 1974 Fine ventured west - having developed a reputation as a virtuosic acoustic and electric guitarist - and settled in Tucson, Arizona, where he embarked upon a solo career. The first result of these efforts was “On a Day of Crystalline Thought”, a startlingly unique album that he self-released later that year in a tiny, now impossible to find, home-made edition of 100 copies.
Falling roughly within similar territory to the output of bands like The Incredible Sting Band and Pearls Before Swine, and thus resting at the borders of acid-folk, prog, and psychedelia, Fine’s “On a Day of Crystalline Thought” is remarkably unique for its moment. The album draws upon the guitarist’s life lone passion for symphonic music. Rather than arranging and recording at the humble expected within the idioms of folk and rock, its eight compositions take on a monumental scale through their instrumentation and use of 12-string and electric guitars, timpani, string sections, French horns, flute, piano, organ, drums with early digital delays, and female vocal harmonies, incorporating both classical and rock musicians, as well as a chamber Orchestra from Harlem.
Stunningly beautiful, dreamy while remarkably dynamic, and thrillingly complex in its arrangements, “On a Day of Crystalline Thought” is a sprawling journey into the grandest potential scope of the American folk idiom, each song feeling free-standing and independent, while equally a sympathetic movement within the album’s whole. Moving from the intimacy of passages defined by Fine’s voice and driving guitar work, to soaring moments of shimmering, orchestral density, this is hippie music of the grandest and most ambitious scale.