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Freak Out!

Folkie meets freaky-deke



Here's where folkie meets freaky-deke:

Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. really trip out on "Asimo's Naked Breakfast: Rice & Shrine" from the Japanese psych-rockers new Have You Seen the Other Side Of the Sky? (Ace Fu). The curiously titled song certainly reaches for the cosmos, with howling lyrics, chants fading in and out, synth blips and orgasmic cries all mashed up and underpinned by a flute-driven folk melody lifted straight from late 1960s Traffic. Kawabata Makoto and his flipped out crew may be seen as too other and prolific, but they also seem more legitimately weird than the average freak folker.

Tommy Guerrero's From the Soil to the Soul (Quannum) definitely rivals the Acid Mothers in pure space-age trippiness. Exhibits A and B: the timely "War No More," which seems to owe melodic and mood debts to Galt MacDermot's jazz-funk masterpiece "Ripped Open By Metal Explosions;" and the extraordinary "1966," simultaneously downbeat, wistful and joyous in its improvisatory exploration.

Joe Walsh actually dropped a few songs in the 1970s (his era of highest productivity) that almost make one forget his eventual sellout to the Eagles. The trippiest song on recent collection, The Definitive Collection aka Joe Walsh's Greatest Hits: Little Did He Know (Geffen), that reminds one of Walsh's guitar hero prowess is "Mother Says." Funky and replete with percussive, buzzy organ, the cut sees Walsh's whine rising in gospelized harmonies toward some acid-drenched cathedral of the mind. (It also sounds like he'd taken a few pages from the Good Book of Randy California.) Prog at its best. Of course, such staples as "Funk #49," "Rocky Mountain Way," "Life's Been Good" and "Walk Away" also made the grade.

Stereolab's Serene Velocity (Elektra/Rhino) is a primer on the U.K. group's past decade-and-a-half's worth of recordings. Starting with the 7-inch version of "Jenny Ondioline," Stereolab's signature digital swirl of psych, krautrock (they foreshadowed Neu! fetishism by a few moments), Esquivel and high 1960s pop. "Metronomic Underground" distills the group's space age futurism best, with its incantatory lyric and laidback funky swing drenched in organ fuzz.

Africa is the font of the kozmic blues -- especially the Western Sudan: see Mauritanian Amar Sundy's "Ouallache" from Blues Around the World (Putumayo). But the collection also includes a lot of bluenote poetics from Spain and, best of all, the Afro-Brazilian-sounding "Playing Mahjong" by Taiwan's Long-ge.

Bonus track: Oye (Nacional) by Columbian rockers Aterciopelados ("velvety ones") continues their collision of rock fused with Latin musical traditions -- mariachi, bolero, tropical and flamenco -- and, more recently, hip-hop. On this follow-up to their breakthrough disc Gozo Poderoso, the duo's spacey grooves are highlighted on "Que Te Besen." The track's awash with sunshiny synths and acoustic guitars, blissful percussive crescendoes and good vibes -- plus rose-colored lyrics about kisses, trees, butterflies and little birds. This fine electro-rock will be on display during Aterciopelados' upcoming U.S. tour kicking off in October. Do wing in.

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