"One of the most alarming and overpowering titles in the ESP-Disk
catalog, Cromagnon's sole release towers above all but the best of that
amazing label's releases (those by Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, Patty Waters and
few others) for audacious genius and intensity. The tale of its creation
was told in one of its prior CD issues (not the present one) and is
only half-remembered here, but the gist is that two hack bubblegum
songwriters in Connecticut for one of the budget labels, Brian Eliot and
Austin Grasmere, heard that ESP was making really weird records. They wrote
to ESP, saying they wanted to make a REALLY weird record and were given
a recording date. A gaggle of freaks descended on the studio on that
day ca 1969, banged out the record and ESP released it. Only a handful
of copies survive and all subsequent issues have been mastered from
scarce originals, the tapes having long since disappeared.
Regardless of whether the Cromagnon and their Connecticut Tribe were at
all aware that Red Crayola had made the pinnacle for drug-fueled
freak-out on wax up that point, Parable of Arable Land, Orgasm topped it.
While Parable alternates sequences of mind-gurgle with actual songs
(however raw), Orgasm synthesizes gibberish with meaning in a way that had
never been done before and scarcely, if ever, since. In any case if
insane yammering has ever been so thoroughly presented in one place, I
can't think of where.
The whole thing starts with with sound effects recordings of three horn
fanfares, each making the last more meaningless, over a bed of radio
static before descending into a swelling THUMP THUMP THUMP which is
joined by a chasmic bagpipe melody and threateningly intense incanation of
the record's only lyrics. Tribally repetative, this first track,
"Caledonia," is unlike anything that had ever come before it and sounds as
fresh today as it did when yours truly first heard it fifteen years ago.
The next track, amounting to intermitable minutes of hysterical
laughter, sounds better than ever in these dark days. Later in the record,
"Caladonia" is reprised in monsterous form, slowed down on tape at 1/3
speed to create in incredibly dark and uncomfortable environment.
The young men and women I know with a professed interest in Black Metal
or Wolf Eyes or Throbbing Gristle are gonna have a ball with this
thing. Cause, despite paralells in sound to those guys, Cromagnon cared
nothing for their image or place in things. All they ever cared about was
dragging their knuckles and busting their nuts."
(ian nagoski, true vine)