Review Summary: An erratic display of psychedelia that, if given the chance, possesses and enchants. 'Electric Lucifer' is one of the most influential albums in electronica, and a genuine classic.
Psychedelic music has always been recognized for its essence of abnormality. Since its original inception in the late 1960's, it has always been a stylistic genre that aspired to deviate from the conventions of traditional music. Often incorporating trancing soundscapes and heavily distorted instrumental elements to induce a sense of perceptual surrealism. During the latter part of the decade, psychedelic rock had become inescapable. Every musical act was trying to be a part of it, and thus embraced this new and anomalous sound. Bruce Haack's Electric Lucifer
, is one of the most intriguing efforts from early psychedelia because it is one of the very few that isn't a rock album.
As "Electric To Me Turn"
begins to play, it surrounds us in an electronic scenery that is composed almost entirely from a moog synthesizer. The vocal narratives are also distorted by an early vocoder prototype that modofies Bruce Haack's voice into a robotic accent. The music is embodied by vivacious basslines and ornamenting noises drenched in Wah-wah effects. Aesthetically, this album is like nothing anyone had ever heard at the time. Of course, various artists at the time had already introduced elaborate electrical techniques and innovative recording effects in their music, but they only scratched the surface. Electric Lucifer explores the possibilities of electronic effects much more profoundly than any other album of its time. Most musical acts of the time often used electronic soundscapes as decorative components meant to ornament the central instruments, Bruce Haack, on the other hand, uses these soundscapes as the primary focus.
Electric Lucifer is a metaphysical journey into understanding the nature of good and evil. The central concept of the album is the existence of "Powerlove," a divine force that unites mankind and forgives Lucifer of all of his defiance. It's an allegory that is meant to impel the listener with a new sense of morality, teaching to forgive what is considered evil and let love flourish through the hearts of everything that lives. These themes are obviously a reflection of the existential and pacifist ideologies that augmented in late 1960's. But outside of the righteous decorum virtues that are expressed in the lyrical content lies a deranged and experimental sonic texture that coats the music with waves of cosmic sounds.
is one of the highlights of the album and certainly one of the most accessible songs. Like most of the tracks, it features a prominent synthesizer adapted sound that flows along in the background as Bruce Haack continues to narrate the album's concept. The musical structure is not as exploratory as some of the other compositions, instead favoring a more conventional and melodic tone in both it's singing and instrumentation. The instrumental piece, "War"
, exemplifies the more abstract side of album. It has a more diverse musical landscape, and is really more of a montage composed of different sounds that aspire to be as trippy as possible. Displaying eruptive synthesizer loops while also constantly transforming and taking us to stranger realms of ambiences. "Word Game"
is yet another highlight, but of a completely different nature. It has a central beat that kind of ambles along while psychedelic decorations add a sense of distortion to the listening experience. It's a very mellow piece for the most part and the music provides a very hypnotic atmosphere for Bruce Haack spoken verse. As its name implies, the vocal deliveries consist of him referencing certain words like "life", "knowledge", "reason", and "mankind", and then spelling them. It's almost like a secret message that is meant for us to ponder upon and interpret in our own perspective. But his choice of words initially tend to reflect the moral of the album's concept. A reminder to humanity to use our intelligence and resources to better the world around us.
As the album continues to explore the trancing dimensions of psychedelia, we arrive to "Super Nova"
. Despite its melodic framework being composed almost entirely by electronic sounds, it exudes a raga aesthetic that gives it a sense of spiritual mysticism. It is certainly one of the most beautiful experiences of the album, offering a cosmic voyage that is as mind-altering as any psychoactive drug. In the end, Electric Lucifer can prove to be a very entertaining and rewarding listening experience if given sincere attention and enthusiasm. The music is very experimental and its eccentric nature may seem a bit overwhelming to anyone who isn't familiar with more abstract psychedelic music. Electric Lucifer heralds the dawn of a new musical sound. At the time, it was the witnessing of electronica beginning to blossom and establish its existence in the eyes of the modern music scene. Unfortunately, it has become an album that is now all but forgotten over time. But to anyone who is willing to embark on its array experiences of the bizarre, may find themselves becoming utterly possessed by its erratic sounds.