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Robert Hakalski | Knott's Berry Farm Molly and Other Excursions

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New Age: Meditation Avant Garde: Free Improvisation Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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Knott's Berry Farm Molly and Other Excursions

by Robert Hakalski

Spare, melodic contemporary piano with subtle electronic textures.
Genre: New Age: Meditation
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Alone in the Moonlight
4:37 album only
2. Molly
9:54 album only
3. Two Lost Souls
4:39 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"The Great San Bernardino Birthday Party & Other Excursions" is an album by American fingerstyle guitarist and composer John Fahey, released in 1966. The cover simply labels the album "Guitar Vol. 4" (it was his fourth release on his own Takoma label, but his fifth album) while the liner notes label it "The Great San Bernardino Birthday Party & Other Excursions." The title never appeared on the record labels themselves. It marked the beginning of Fahey’s interest in his recording of experimental soundscapes and sound effects. Despite Fahey’s distaste for the 1960’s counterculture, it is this release most often referred to as psychedelic.

"Knott’s Berry Farm Molly," the second and concluding track of Guitar Vol. 4’s first side, is profound in its simplicity, simple in its magnificence. From the woozy bending of the opening notes to the middle section, reversed-played thanks to Fahey’s precision tape editing, the tune seems perennially stuck in the worn grooves of vintage vinyl from which it emanates, yet pushes the sonic boundaries of its time with a nod to the Beatles’ "Rain" B-side and the backwards Lennon vocals at the end. The result is something familiar yet entirely new. And it is a testament to the brilliance of John Fahey that his work is still studied and played and (in this recording) re-interpreted for the piano.

The subtitle of this release, "being an ontological or hodological meditation and improvisation for and upon the piano," is a play on Fahey's own liner-note parodies of the folk/academic music treatises that folk scholars at the time were wont to write. This EP of mine which I’m releasing for the Holiday Season gives me an excuse to extemporize on a Fahey favorite tune of mine and to base a kind of musical odyssey on a sentence in the liner notes for "The Great San Bernardino Birthday Party" LP: “And soon Fahey and Knott’s Berry Farm Molly were alone in the moonlight, like two lost souls.”

I take some liberties with the tune, but I think Faheyphiles will find some familiar elements in the re-working of the piece. If I didn’t expand the boundaries of his music, I bet Fahey himself wouldn’t be happy either!



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