LINDA PERHACS: Parallelograms

BEN RATLIFF: In the late ’60s, the singer-songwriter Linda Perhacs had a clear, Karen Carpenter-ish voice, an interest not just in composition but also in sound, and a deep mystical streak. She made one album, “Parallelograms,” released in 1970, and has made none since. I first heard of her by reading an interview a few years ago with Mikael Akerfeldt, the leader of the Swedish metal band Opeth; he described “Parallelograms” as “absolutely amazing,” “psychedelic,” “almost evil-sounding,” “beautiful” and “kind of ghostlike.” Other musicians were talking about her, too, including Devendra Banhart and Kim Gordon, and in 2006 the band Daft Punk put one of her songs, “If You Were My Man,” in its film “Electroma.” In 2003 “Parallelograms” was re-released on CD; now it has been re-released by Sunbeam, with new mastering and fascinating new liner notes by Ms. Perhacs that read like a case study of synesthesia, the neurological condition in which one’s senses cross over, so that sounds have colors or shapes have taste. In them, without using the S-word, she talks about “visual music sculpting,” creating a “see-through form of light and dance” and so forth. And the album has the trappings of its time: 12-string guitars, light hand percussion, double-tracked falsetto vocals like flutes, whole-oat lyrics like “I’m spacing out/I’m seeing silences between leaves.” But some of the tracks, especially the ambitious “Paralellograms,” with its abstract, dreamlike middle section, full of echo and crossfades, merit a lot of the hype. [via NEW YORK TIMES]

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