The Zodiac - Cosmic Sounds (1967)

Posted by Amelia Swhizzagers On 4:00 AM

The idea began in 1967 with Jac Holzman, the head of Elektra Records, which had just gained major success with The Doors' debut album. Holzman had the initial concept for the album, and hired Alex Hassilev, a member of The Limeliters, to produce it. Hassilev in turn brought in Mort Garson, with whom he had just formed a production company, to write the music. Hassilev and Garson had planned to do a series of concepts following Cosmic Sounds. Garson wrote music for one of the other intended albums, The Sea, but Rod McKuen, who was supposed to have been on the project, left and did his own version with Anita Kerr. Hassilev temporarily left the project to produce The Dusk 'Till Dawn Orchestra's Sea Drift album, which incorporated part of The Sea's intended theme.

Garson brought together a mixture of musicians, most of whom were not credited on the album sleeve. Musician and electronic instrument collector Paul Beaver, who had done music effects for films, was chosen to perform the electronic instruments. He and Hassilev went to an Audio Engineering Society convention to hire a Moog synthesizer from its inventor, Robert Moog. Emil Richards, who had worked with such musicians as Frank Zappa, Marvin Gaye and Henry Mancini, was chosen to provide an assortment of percussive instrumental surprises throughout the album. Bassist Carol Kaye and drummer Hal Blaine, both top on-demand session musicians, were The Zodiac's rhythm section. Bud Shank, a top flute performer, and keyboardist Mike Melvoin were also used. Jacques Wilson wrote the album's narration, and folk singer Cyrus Faryar was chosen (suggested by Hassilev) to narrate over the album's exotic instrumentation

The album was released in late 1967. The sleeve, by artist Abe Gurvin and art director William S. Harvey, featured a florid psychedelic design. On the back, in large purple letters, were written the instructions: "Must be played in the dark".
Track listing
01. Aries - The Fire-Fighter (3:17)
02. Taurus - The Voluptuary (3:38)
03. Gemini - The Cool Eye (2:50)
04. Cancer - The Moon Child (3:27)
05. Leo - The Lord Of Lights (2:30)
06. Virgo - The Perpetual Perfectionist (3:05)
07. Libra - The Flower Child (3:28)
08. Scorpio - The Passionate Hero (2:51)
09. Sagittarius - The Versatile Daredevil (2:06)
10. Capricorn - The Uncapricious Climber (3:30)
11. Aquarius - The Lover Of Life (3:45)
12. Pisces - The Peace Piper (3:19)

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