Fifty Foot Hose was a San Francisco psychedelic rock / electronics band that originally operated for a hot minute in the late 1960s. A little bit more short-lived and obscure than your average goldfish, they released only one single and an LP on the Limelight label, which was better known for its experimental electronic fare. Titled Cauldron, it proffered a Jefferson Airplane-like sound combined with primitive, chattering and pinging electronics.
"And After" pops open the disc with nothing more than two minutes worth of low, pulsing, distorted electronics. The Airplane influence appears most obviously on "If Not This Time," with its San Francisco-style dry strum and doubled female vocals fortunately sprinkled with odd, flitting electronics and a homely melody. A short, Joe Byrd-like electronic ambience called "Opus 777" appears for all of 22 seconds, followed by more Airplane during "Things That Concern You" but with male vocals. "Opus 11" shows off more short flitting electronics, while "Red the Sign Post" brings some raw garage rock with distorted guitars.
"For Paula" offers up the third and final short electronic interlude, followed by "Rose" with its mellow, jazzy guitar and gargled electronics. Clocking in at 19 minutes, "Fantasy" is the album's extendo track, which proceeds from a repetitive, odd rock section to slightly more poppy with electronics and onto a long road full of noodly psych jamming. "God Bless the Child" follows that up with more of the same--albeit with a bit more bluesy and jazzy feel. The title track ends the original LP with a bunch of randomly layered and heavily effected singing and talking, backward recording, pinging bells and echoing electronics.
The CD appends demos of "If Not This Time" and "Red the Sign Post," plus a single from 1966 called "Bad Trip" which seals up the CD in a wild, freeform manner. Recorded live with the musicians in separate rooms and unable to hear each other, it's composed of maniacal screaming, whistling and keening guitar feedback and bass.
Public Impact: After releasing a single and an album, and touring a little bit in the late '60s, Fifty Foot Hose gained a bit of noteriety around San Francisco--only to break up as the band members pursued other interests, like performing in a popular musical called Hair. After sinking into the tar pit of obscurity, their early and unique brand of psych / electronics slowly earned an audience by word of mouth over the decades. By the '90s, a CD reissue appeared, inspiring a reunion, a new album and a new avant-garde electronic band called Kwisp, whose name was inspired by a popular kids' breakfast cereal of the 1960s. More recently, Hose leader Cork Marcheschi has formed CWRK Musical Environments, who install public sound installations.
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