Internet Radio Station Review: Technicolor Web of Sound
Ralph Graves is one of Crutchfield's blog editors, and part of the company's social media team. He writes about home audio/video gear, specializing in Apple-related and wireless technologies. Ralph holds a master's degree in music composition, and his works have been released on various labels. He's served as product manager for an independent classical and world music label, produced several recordings, and worked extensively in public broadcasting. Since 1984 he's hosted a weekly classical music program on WTJU, and is also active as a blogger and podcaster.
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I'm too young to remember the Summer of Love. But thanks to the Technicolor Web of Sound (TWOS), I can revisit it vicariously through the music and audio artifacts of the period. This Internet-only radio station specializes in the first era of psychedelic rock, ranging from about 1966 through 1969. A golden -- if all too brief -- age of audio exploration.
Artists on both sides of the Atlantic attempted to recreate the mind-altering experience of hallucinogenic drugs in their music. Lyrics were supercharged with colorful, surrealistic imagery (like the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds"), and often dealt with matters of the mind (like Donovan's "Mellow Yellow"), in addition to those of the heart. Sound was also distorted in unusual ways. Phase shifting was a favorite trick, as well as moving the vocals from one channel to the other. Overlapping sounds drift in and out (like Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride"), and so on.
The TWOS brings it all back, both the familiar and the obscure. Yes, you're likely to hear psychedelic classics from mainstays such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Moody Blues. And the U.S. is well-represented with groups like the Grateful Dead, the Association, and the Jefferson Airplane. But TCWOS has a much deeper catalog than that. You're just as likely to the Amboy Dukes (with a very young Ted Nugent), the Nazz (Todd Rundgren's early group), or the Great! Society (Grace Slick's first band).
And there's more. TWOS has turned me on (sorry) to more than one obscure acid-tinged group, like Honeybus, Simon Dupree and the Big Sound, the Neighb'rhood Childr'n, and Fever Tree. But ultimately, it doesn't matter how well you're familiar with the psychedelic '60s. TWOS is carefully programmed to create — and sustain — the free-floating aesthetic of the sound. Period audio clips mixed in to the musical melange help sustain the mood. The Jefferson Airplane do a Levis Jeans radio ad, the Yardbirds trippily sing about Great Shakes instant milkshake mix. You'll hear radio promos for legendary concerts put on by the Family Dog, and movie ads for "I Love You Alice B. Toklas," "The Wild Angels," and more.
I always enjoy listening to the TWOS. When I tune in and turn it on, my blood pressure always seems to drop a few points.
Bottom line: A mind-expanding audio odyssey. Far out!
How To Listen:
Accessible through most wireless music players
Website: www.techwebsound.com The site has links to open the stream in Windows Media, iTunes, and Winamp
iTunes: In the iTunes Radio menu, the station's listed in the Classic Rock streams folder as Technicolor Web of Sound
Windows Media Player: In the Internet Radio menu, the station's listed in the Classic Rock streams folder as Technicolor Web of Sound