“Electric Ladyland – 50th Anniversary Edition” – Jimi Hendrix (2018) [english]

54 years have passed since the release of this masterpiece and now 52 since the death of its author, a period that usually fades the memory, which makes music obsolete to modern ears and instead here we are, still amazed and excited, like it was put for the first time in the window of our trusted store half an hour before. This is the true greatness of an artist who has transcended his art, who was one with his instrument and who spoke of the sky and the stars touching six strings, an artist so innovative that even today the professionals struggle to understand its greatness. One that in 4 short years of solo activity, has changed the world of music forever. Just his use of the recordings as sheets on which to draw the sketches of his ideas, the number of the various pieces, clips and demos that have arrived and continue to come out, makes him seem like an active musician for 40 years. And with each new discovery we remain stunned, as we looked at Leonardo da Vinci’s Notebooks. The lineage is the same, the modus operandi different, but the mind is of the same origin : genius and sky. The importance that Electric Ladyland had, and still has, is infinite. The last record released when he was still alive. A long, very long self-portrait: 16 tracks for 76 minutes of music that ranges from the most direct blues rock to the most visceral psychedelia, jazz, the desire for jam sessions. Innovative and futuristic ideas that have marked history. For the 50th anniversary the Experience Hendrix, together with the legendary sound engineer who was with him in those years and who preserves his legacy, Eddie Kramer, paid an extraordinary tribute to its author. They reissued his work in an exceptional way, accompanying the album with two other crazy CDs and a documentary, all accompanied by a fantastic photographic book. Monumental and fundamental. The box is presented as a book and already from the cover it was decided to finally do justice to Jimi, reproducing it as he had thought and wanted : the band and some children photographed by Linda McCartney over the statue of Alice In Wonderland in Central Park (Inside the book we find the autograph note of Hendrix with precise instructions for Reprise Records but were unexpectedly ignored). Inside we find an interesting note by David Fricke, well-known music journalist, who among other things explains the title of the album (which will also give name to the New York studios strongly wanted by Hendrix) saying that the artist wanted to dedicate the album to his women and to the groupies, the Electric Ladies, who according to him knew the music more than the musicians themselves, who gave inspiration and love, that love that had always guided him like his mother’s gypsy eyes, to whom he dedicated Gypsy Eyes. There are also photographs of the time, of the live activity, but also in the studio and private. There are tour programs and other curiosities such as autograph texts, with still his corrections. A really good choice that does justice to the immense work that was this record. Maybe you will find yourself, like yours truly, imagining yourself in his hotel room while at his desk he wrote his often underestimated lyrics, but of remarkable poetic value. Talking about the disc CD seems useless, it would be like talking about the Mona Lisa, the only note is the extraordinary remastering in surround 5.1 that, as Kramer says, is close to the idea of three-dimensional sound that was going on in Jimi’s head, which in fact, on a released disc, stated that unfortunately the stamping had ruined everything that was the essence of the work. He regretted that the audience could not appreciate the enveloping 3D sound that began as a space journey never even thought of by a musician before with … And The Gods Made Love and ended perhaps with his best-known piece Voodoo Child (Slight Return). A crazy powerful rock song, with solos of incredible emotional intensity that was recorded during the filming of an ABC documentary, where the band had only to pretend to play, but that Hendrix instead used for a new song. The regret for the loss of those recordings for the documentary, never released, was great and is one of the many Holy Grails that surround the posthumous history of the artist. There is the version of Dylan’s song, All Along The Watchtower, so incredible that Dylan himself, from then on, always performed live the version of Hendrix, one who saw the sound where normal people did not think there was sound, “between empty spaces”. There are so many curiosities and legends around such a long and laborious recording, divided between the Record Plant studios in New York and the Olympic Studios in London. Such a maniacal desire for perfection (Hendrix recorded the same piece 10-15-20 times) that manager Chas Chandler decided to leave the ship, accustomed as he was to the recordings in a take of songs of 3 minutes. The most incredible of these curiosities concerns Voodoo Chile: everyone knew of the artist’s predilection for night jam in clubs in the city and New York was full of it. He loved small clubs where his music flowed directly with the audience and one of these nights in his favorite club, the Scene, on May 2, 1968 he met Steve Winwood (of Traffic) and Jack Casady (bassist of Jefferson Airplane) and had the crazy idea to transfer the night jam session to the studios with Mitch Mitchell on drums. A live atmosphere was created, the recording went on all night and the next morning the piece was ready after 3 long takes. To Kramer all that remained was to add the sound of the audience and here was how the umpteenth masterpiece was born, that myriads of artists tried to copy. In the other two CDs that complete the box we find some absolute goodies and that is in one unpublished and remastered recordings that Hendrix made in his hotel room at the Drake Hotel in Manhattan in March 1968, only guitar voice, seminal versions of pieces that would then be developed. Improvisations so great that if you stretch your ear in Gypsy Eyes you can hear the phone ringing in the room, while Jimi continues to play. In the other part of the cd there are demo versions and early studio takes of the pieces, a sort of project in the making, which helps in part to understand the various directions that, as the songs took over, in Hendrix’s mind. The third CD instead is an unreleased live, an official bootleg recorded by Jimi Hendrix Experience a few weeks before the release of Electric Ladyland, on September 14, 1968 at the famous Hollywood Bowl. An electric live, involving, with the audience that literally goes crazy listening to a new song, as well as for those already famous: a flow of energy that transcends the classic experience of a concert. You can partly grasp the mystical essence of a live Hendrix, where the notes create a connection between the artist and the audience, which the lucky to have been part of, even today, narrate with enthusiasm and emphasis. Do not expect a perfect recording, it is still a bootleg recorded 50 years ago and already having it in your hands is a kind of miracle. The beautiful box also has a dvd/blu ray of the documentary At Last… The Beginning – The Making of Electric Ladyland, previously released and praised by fans and critics that contains the stages of creation of this masterpiece and fundamental interviews with the band members, technicians and numerous artists. An almost perfect way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the most influential records (beauty is subjective) in the history of music, of one of the most influential artists in the history of art (not only music). An important expense, but I recommend to do without thinking too much. A record that has reached the goal set by its creator : transcend his era in a three-dimensional way to get to ours as if it had just come out of the press. Even today we can certainly thank him for having kissed the sky and made us participate in the event. Thank you Jimi.

Good listening,

Trex Willer by http://www.ticinonotizie.it

(you can find original italian article at this link : https://www.ticinonotizie.it/jimi-hendrix-experience-electric-ladyland-50th-anniversary-deluxe-edition-2018-by-trex-roads/ )

Pubblicato da Trex

Sono un blogger e scrittore appassionato di musica indipendente americana. Scrivo gialli polizieschi e ho inventato il personaggio del detective texano Cody Myers.

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