1970, Music

Osmium (1970) by Parliament

Recorded by the same people who made Free Your Mind…, this particular version of Parliament is basically just Funkadelic moonlighting. The record actually feels like the outtakes – the stuff that was just too weird – for Free Your Mind… if you listen to both of them at the same time. Parliament would be relaunched a few years later as a different, more commercial project, but on this record it is basically the polar opposite, given how it’s arguably Funkadelic but weirder/more diverse. (Later Parliament would be Funkadelic but poppy.)

I was struggling with Free Your Mind… in part because of confusing some of the tracks with the ones on this record as I am listening to them back to back. (I should point out that my biggest problem with Free Your Mind… might be the endless panning and fading, and the the use of backmasking, though.)

This is a more diverse record than Free Your Mind…, which is one of the reasons it sort of feels like it’s the outtakes half of the recordings. It’s almost as if P-Funk were trying to create the psychedelic soul White Album and then decided against it and instead released the music on two different albums attributed to two different bands. My problem with the diversity is it feels inconsistent. I was complaining about that on the Funkadelic record but I realized as I listened to this that it was actually this Parliament record where it was the real problem. (Clearly I shouldn’t listen to two records made by the same band back to back while I do other things.)

That’s my biggest problem with this album: for all its diversity – country music! – it sort of feels like the weird leftovers of an ambitious project that was shelved in favour of a more straightforward (but still very weird) single LP.


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