Look, you might know me or at least get a sense of my sensibilities from this blog. But if you don’t: I’m not one of those creepy dudes that tries to pass off Charles Manson albums as genuinely good music outside of the dark Americana folklore/tragedy thing. I think he’s a piece of shit. This work is different, though. It’s actually worth considering beyond its tragic or violent associations. I have music by Phil Spector and Joe Meek on this blog, they both murdered people too! Hooray! -Ian!
Everyone reviewing this record seems to get hung up on the fact that Bobby BeauSoleil is an inmate, serving a life sentence for murder, who had ties with the Charles Manson cult and who recorded and produced this psychedelic prog rock soundtrack, in prison, for a film extolling the virtues of Lucifer. If these are the only things that lend credence to this album, someone forgot to actually listen to it. Lucifer Rising is a beautifully realized work, no matter what the circumstances were surrounding its coming to be. BeauSoleil is a talented arranger and a fine guitarist, with a knack for guerilla recording that most D.I.Y. engineers, on the outside, would be envious of. Layers of guitar, processed through handmade effects units, and hot-rodded junkshop synthesizers issuing indescribable tones arc and dive throughout BeauSoleil’s spacious soundscapes. The soundstage is wide and horizon-less with dark-toned movements rising up from stygian depths and then ascending heavenward with gorgeous chordal fusillades. For a compact introduction to BeauSoleil’s epode-like songsmithing, “Part III” offers a strata-revealing overview. Moving from Piper at the Gates of Dawn-era Floyd motifs, the song evolves into an intricate and vacillating progression reminiscent of Air’s “Don’t Be Light” with all of the dazzling chordal movement, but none of the pomp. Floyd and Air comparisons aside, the most accurate description of BeauSoleil’s trajectory would be psych-prog by way of Claude Debussy, and hard rock as it may have been envisioned by Ennio Morricone. Lucifer Rising is far too beautiful to be labeled as hard rock, far too focused to be written off as meandering prog, and too full of merit to be judged solely on the heteroclite life of its composer.
-J. Scott McClintock, allmusic.com
Bobby Beausoleil-LUCIFER RISING OST (1976 / 2005 reissue)