THROWBACK THURSDAY #1: Spooky Tooth/Pierre Henry - Ceremony


Ceremony is a questionably experimental album by Spooky Tooth from 1967. It attempts to employ found-object sounds to create something more unique and surreal, along with the theme of a Church service. On paper, everything seems like it'd work and sounds extremely interesting. In practice, and due to the limitations at the time, however, it really doesn't come together very well.

Underneath all the breathing sounds, poles being banged on, and strange low-fi attempts at synth - there is a solid, albeit rather plain, album to experience. It isn't bad, somewhat enjoyable at times. But, my god, what could've been relatively good is put through the grinder by sounds that lay almost completely on-top of the music. Worse yet, none of these tones seem to follow any sort of structure, rhyme, or reason. You can very much tell the idea was there but the execution was not.

There are exceptions, however, which do show me why there is somewhat of a cult-following with this album. Songs like Jubilation (titled 'Credo' on some releases) do show promise, though I can tell you right now that even that song falls into a uncomfortable (and somewhat hilarious) awkwardness. While the song shows some real use of the medium at first, and the music behind it becomes very good - the song gets almost stupid half-way through when someone thought it'd be wonderful to have some people going 'bo-bo-bobo' continuously over the mix. Why? Was there some insecurities as to the music being played here?

This is an album of weird that I don't feel many will ever appreciate, only because its attempts at 'experimental' feel more like the workings of a child who thought he could do better. It would've held out without these inclusions, or at least far less of them. I personally felt the theme was extremely unique, and that without the shoddy found-object sounds it would've been a good album. I'm sure it provided the inspiration for quite a bit of noise albums, but as it stands - Ceremony was and is an inferior album.