Lucifer - Black Mass (1971)

Posted by Amelia Swhizzagers On 4:02 AM

The concept of this album showed the Moog delivering sounds sinister and exciting to a degree the lurid horror films of the day never matched. All the titles related to occult phenomenons and themes, and seemed to focus mainly on the darker side of occultism. With it's breakbeats galore, intense synthesizer, hip original themes, this was really a unifying concept. An occult Moog-album! The man behind this recording was a somewhat obscure solo artist; Mort Garson.

Mort Grason was born in Canada in 1924, as a graduate from the Juilliard School, he began writing musical scores in the 1940s, and worked as an arranger / composer / engineer in the late 1940s / early 1950s. He got highly acclaimed as the orchestral arranger for Glen Campbell's 1968 "By The Time I Get To Phoenix". Garson also had production credits on records by vocalists and other artists, including Mel Torme, Doris Day, Ed Ames, and Leslie Uggams. He wrote, arranged, and directed for many years on many labels in many styles. He also made music for TV and movies. But he recorded some albums too, each more strange than the other.
This bizarre collection of Moog compositions is credited to a band/artist named Lucifer (or is it "Black Mass?"), but the man behind the machine is better known by his more ordinary given name of Mort Garson. Along with scoring films, producing easy listening records, and co-writing the hit tune "Our Day Will Come," Garson released several electronic music LPs with themes like the Zodiac, the Wizard of Oz, and plant growth stimulation. Black Mass/Lucifer (the cover art is ambiguous as to title) is Garson's exploration of the dark arts, an all-instrumental soundtrack for a horror film that never existed. Garson conjures up a sinister, minor-key atmosphere on tracks with titles like "Incubus," "Witch Trial," and "The Evil Eye" often achieving a tone similar to the scores that Italian horror-rock band Goblin would record for Dario Argento films later in the decade. The technology available to Garson in 1971 was still being developed, and the record occasionally sounds dated, particularly when some very corny synthetic drums ruin the mood. There's some evocative music on Black Mass/Lucifer, to be sure, but ultimately it's just not as wild of a recording as legend has painted, perfectly rendered for a psychedelic Halloween party but hardly strong enough to raise evil spirits on its own. Garson's Wozard of Iz album is a freakier Moog ride, a kaleidoscopic retelling of the L. Frank Baum tale
Tracks
1. Solomon's Ring (3.20)
2. The Ride of Aida (Voodoo) (3.07)
3. Incubus (3.29)
4. Black Mass (3.39)
5. The Evil Eye (2.10)
6. Exorcism (3.45)
7. The Philosopher's Stone (3.27)
8. Voices of the Dead (The Medium) (2.05)
9. Witch Trial (3.00)
10. ESP (1.01)
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