Saturday, April 08, 2006

Sweet Smoke - Darkness To Light (1971)

Although everybody agrees that SWEET SMOKE is of an international nature, they were formed in NYC, but were most popular in Germany and Benelux. Their music is one of the most loosely arranged happy-hippy-rock, very "jammy" as well as being very jazz-tinged also. Their average tune was 20 min long with the notable exception of their second studio album where shorter tracks (some were still 12 or 13 min long) are more common and they recorded all of them in Conny Plank's studio Germany. Their short career will end with a live album (recently re-released with extra tracks) but very worthy of them since it was new non-studio material.Highly recommended to people who love good time happy music, very danceable but very suited for more intimate moments with your partner too, especially if you are to light up a doobie. Hugues Chantraine ProgArchives
Great '70s psychy / jazzy / folky / West Coast styled Europe based US commune band who interweave Eastern flavoured spiritual lyrics into some wonderful tunes. Electric guitars, sitars, percussion and great harmonies... A wonderful, happy, uplifting album... Freak Emporium
The underrated "Darkness To Light" is SWEET SMOKE's last studio album. This one has some shorter tracks but I think it's closer to progressive rock genre than their first. The music is more diverse, complex and thoughtfully composed. However, in some parts it still ratains the jazz-rock elemnts from their first album. Their typical sudden changes in mood and rhythm are also presented. I welcome the addition of piano and string instruments. I also like the singing and occasional beatlesque choir parts. The hippie imagery in the music and on the coverart is even more prominent than before. This is also notable in the epic track "Kundalini" which begins in Indo-fusion style: a crowd singing a mantra (a few people are out of tune but I think it was intentional), ethnic percussion, instrumental improvisations, scat singing... It's slowly proceeding in more "conventional" jazz-rock. The ending is a crazy jazz counterpoint between guitar, piano, sax, bas and drums. Trully stunning! "Show Me the War" is thoughtfully arranged and spiced with some dissonance. The title track has some awesome trippy and jazzy things going on. In the end they freak out... Other tracks are nice and simple songs with folky flute and a few intelligent twists. I'm not a "flower power" follower but there is something magical about this album that makes it one of my favorites. An underrated prog gem! by terramystic (Matej Luketic) ProgArchives

Photos were take from Brian Currin's Sweet Smoke page

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Anonymous said...

thank you for this album!!
i've only just a poke on vinyl, now i can listen this others record
1000 thanks

romek said...

Great music and covers.Thanks

Carlos said...

I'm just looking for JUST A POKE !

Would be great.

Thanks great blog


Anonymous said...

Thanks Lisa! I like this band a lot.