All the recent Wah Wah LPs by Nicolas “Nik Pascal” Raicevic and originally on his Narco Records and Tapes label - rumored to be one of the first truly independent labels, with Raicevic simply walking into an L.A. pressing plant & placing orders for stock - between 1969 and 1975. The music is nothing short of genius; a fine beaded mist of exceedingly lo-fi - tape drop-outs are prevalent, entire frequency ranges completely excised from certain tracks ... not to mention the piss-poor quality of the original pressings - “Hands-Off” psychedelic synthesizer fumblings, paralleling only Douglas Leedy’s “Entropical Paradise” in its seemingly arbitrary rhythms & note-choices & rudimentary drum-machine / bongo diversions.
Starting with 1969’s “Numbers” - #101, attributed originally to the moniker “107-34-8933,” presented here as the “Precursor” first disc in both its OG Narco iteration & the 1970 Buddah issue / re-branding - where the artist-name & LP-title were both “Head” - the latter appearing first, audio-wise, due to it’s superior pressing-spec, the former latter for completion’s sake. The specifically & overtly drug-referencing titles place this cleanly in the late-60s milieu, replete with mind-warping backwards projections & swirling analogia. 1971’s “Beyond the End... Eternity” (#102) consists solely of loose, exploratory Moog modular dirges. Raicevic is clearly still in the early learning-curve stages, yet by the following year’s “The Sixth Ear,” (#666) more complex gated passages & rhythmic activity begins to surface, including a few bits that rival Pierre Henry’s “Mise en Musique Corticalart” in their sheer monolithic joy, along with overdubbed bongo jams and a few actual chord progressions. By 1973’s “Magnetic Web,” (#123) Raicevic has added an Arp 2600 and a few rhythm-boxes - often running a few BPM apart, yielding some rather zonked phase-effects - and hand-percussion & tibetan finger-cymbals to his arsenal, increasing the levels of raw synth-blat tenfold - more than a few tracks stream sample-and-hold layers throughout. In my mind this is his masterpiece in all of its acid-laced glory. Finally, after a year off, Nik drops his last album, “Zero Gravity,” (#123) the side-long title-track working a harmonic-series patch with drizzles of space-dusted echo & miniature alien-tongued white-noise licks, the B-side offering a set of shorter songs.
As far as late-60s / early-70s American “Bedroom” Electronic Music goes, these LPS have to be among the first transmissions from this sector, made all the more attractive when coupled with Raicevic’s alien topographIes - the covers are high-color portrayals of Venusian lanes, knotted growths, & future-past architecture in a style you might equate with “Vintage” sci-fi pulp-novel covers - & copious “Downer” sentiment. This music is imbued with a sort of lonely, anti-social sensibility that’s about as far as you can get from the “Academic” Early Electronic vector. While I’m not going to blanket-recommend this one fo rall followers of the Wah Wah series, I will say that if the Steve Birchall, Cellutron & the Invisible, and/or Pythagoron™ replications seed your garden, this will likely do the same. (Keith Fullerton Whitman)