Awesome music from the archives: Linda Perhacs’s Parallelograms

Linda Perhacs was working as a dental hygienist in California in 1969 when one of her patients inquired about what she did in her spare time

 

Linda Perhacs was working as a dental hygienist in California in 1969 when one of her patients inquired about what she did in her spare time. The man asking the question was Grammy- winning composer Leonard Rosenman. On hearing her songs, Rosenman arranged a record deal for her and produced the sessions that resulted in Parallelograms.

The good fortune part of the story ends with the record’s release in 1970, however. When mixing the album, the label, Kapp, removed all the high and low ends to try to to create an AM radio-friendly album.

Perhacs was horrified, excused herself from promotional duties and the album promptly disappeared without a trace.

Twenty five years later, a label called The Wild Places which specialised in obscure psychedelic reissues, contacted Perhacs and she gave them the original source tapes.

The re-released version is a sparkling gem of a record. It has the same delicate beauty as early Joni Mitchell, and Parallelograms has layers of sonic experimentation that sets it apart from all its contemporaries. The multi-tracked vocals, stereo pans and ambient drop-outs bring a hint of darkness to the otherwise pristine landscape. The unusual effects and arrangements accentuate Perhacs’ quiet, elemental evocations.

Chimacum Rain strays into hallucinatory territory with sudden swirls of mildly disquieting electronic washes. The effect is hypnotic and disarming.

The intimacy of the vocals is frequently offset by ripples of sonic disturbance throughout the record, giving it an edge that charms and beguiles in equal measure.

Here is some classic Californian dreaming with a distinctively psychedelic twist.

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