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“FUTURE GAMES” (A MAGICAL-KAHAUNA DREAM)
1977 (MERCURY SRM-1-1133)
Studio Album, released in 1977
Songs / Tracks Listing:
1. CB Talk (0:42)
2. Stars Are Love (2:29)
3. Kahauna Dream (2:44)
4. Buried in My Brain (2:55)
5. Bionic Unit (2:52)
6. So Happy Now (0:19)
7. All Along the Watchtower (4:27)
8. Would You Believe (3:13)
9. Jack Bond Speaks (1:17)
10. Star Trek Dreaming (2:16)
11. Interlude XM (0:26)
12. China Doll (2:00)
13. Hawaiian Times (0:10)
14. Gorn Attack (2:10)
15. Interlude 2001 (0:25)
16. Detroit City (3:55)
17. Freakout Frog (1:57)
18. The Romulan Experience (0:57)
19. Monkey See Monkey Do (1:39)
20. Mt. Olympus (0:25)
21. The Journey of Nomad (2:30)
22. Ending (3:50)
Line-up / Musicians:
– Randy California / vocals, guitar, bass, other instruments
– Terry Anderson / vocals
– Ed Cassidy / percussion, drums
– Joe Kotleba / synthesizer
1977 LP Mercury 1133
2005 CD BGO – Beat Goes On (Released together with Spirit of 84′ in a double CD package)
REVIEWS AND COMMENTS:
by Ben Upham
December 12, 2011
I can remember when the new Spirit album, “Future Games” (A Magical-Kahauna Dream) showed up at Eucalyptus Records (the record store I worked at when I was 19 years old) in Spokane, Wa. in early 1977. I was excited to see it (being a huge fan of Spirit) and was hoping that it was more of a return to their older sound. The last Spirit release, 1976’s “Farther Along” was a good record, but it was very “Slick” and had lots of orchestration and not much Rock on it.
The cover of “Future Games” suggested that it might have more “Rock” to it just by the way Randy California was posing with his guitar strapped on looking dead serious right at you. I purchased the record and planned to listen to it at home after work.
That’s when things got very strange…..
I got really sick for the first time since moving 1,000 miles away from home, and the caring nursing that my Mother would’ve provided. I had a 102 temperature and wasn’t able to keep any food down. In my bedroom I had the turntable set up right next to the bed and I decided to put the record on. As awful as I felt, I was also practically in a hallucinogenic state (which may explain a lot), the music was soothing and it pulled my attention away from my pain and discomfort. I think I almost smiled a few times…..
I remember playing that record over and over for about two days in that condition. To the point where I was becoming saturated by all of the songs and all of the little interludes in between them. Somehow that Music became really deeply embedded in my Soul, and it felt like a healing of sorts. That odd experience thus holds a very special place in my musical world.
I’m not saying that I feel it’s the best Spirit album ever made….The songs are mostly too short, and they sweep you from one section to the next, but there is a certain overall feeling that can be obtained by listening to this recording in it’s entirety that is very special and unique.
Some of the drama and humor in it just seem to blend perfectly with the spacy rock segments. The lyrics go from totally silly to very serious and just about everywhere in between.
For me personally, Spirit- “Future Games” (A Magical-Kahauna Dream) is a rare and beautiful slice of Rock Music History every bit as powerful and thought provoking as Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”. Highly recommended!!!
by Jackhammer (Copa’s Burger Boy)-
January 5, 2010
Spirit were a Psychedelic Rock band from the late 60’s that produced a cult classic in ‘The Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus’ but by the late 70’s they were a spent force and main man Randy California put out what is basically a solo album under the spirit umbrella which still divides fans to this day but to the uninitiated is a wonderful slice of drug induced Rock music that was as original as it was unfocused.
To say that this album was made under the influence of drugs is an understatement. SF TV samples, cross fading and cutting and pasting tracks are inherent even in this pre-digital age.
Tracks ranging from deep Psychedelia, Californian sunshine rock and Avant- Garde ramblings all mesh together surprisingly well into an album that is as odd as it is easy on the ear. Completely unpredictable yet perfect smoking music (it was a perennial smoking favorite back in the day), Future Games is still an album that defies conventional description yet it can sit happily in your collection without having a ‘difficult’ tag tacked onto the cover.
A great little gem that deserves at least a listen and if ‘Freakout Frog’ doesn’t make you chuckle then you need a humor transplant!
by Joe Viglione
Also the title of a Fleetwood Mac album from 1971, Mercury certainly let Randy California’s ideas flow across a number of releases in the mid- to late-’70s, this particular release dated 1977. As with the best of California’s work, there are flashes of inspiration and brilliance, the title track a perfect example of the upside. A collaboration with Kim Fowley entitled “Buried in My Brain” is California at his most self-indulgent. The effects and foundation for the song are good, but his vocals wander hither and yon. They don’t get better on “Bionic Unit,” also written with Fowley and co-engineer Blair Mooney. Connected by sound effects, the artist moves into his Jimi Hendrix mode, tracking Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.” Spirit, with California at the helm, continued to work this Hendrix connection, which certainly wasn’t a bad thing. The expressive and creative guitar lines would have made an instrumental version of “All Along the Watchtower” a real treat. What happens instead is California having fun but not thinking in terms of Top 40 airplay as Dave Mason did to some limited success with this Dylan title. “Would You Believe” goes back to the great stuff Randy California is capable of. Not commercial, but original and inviting. “Star Trek Dreaming” is exquisite, but a bit short, and side two is rife with excerpts from the Star Trek episode where Captain Kirk turns into his ex-girlfriend Dr. Lester. There are so many bits and pieces of Star Trek interspersed on side two it is a wonder that Paramount didn’t sue. There are many thank yous on the back, to Dr. Demento (Randy California’s ex-roommate), to backing vocalist Terry Anderson, but no credit to Gene Rodenberry. On one level, a major lawsuit would have been helpful, they could have yanked the Star Trek bits off, creating a collector’s item and bringing some attention to this good, but not great, record. Randy California appears half-naked on the back cover, a blatant and egotistical move, almost claiming that he is Spirit. Keep in mind this came a year after the reunion known as Farther Along, which brought John Locke and Mark Andes back into the fold, along with his brother, Sprit contributor and Jo Jo Gunne member Matt Andes, but no Jay Ferguson. These 1970s Mercury albums, from 1975’s sublime Spirit of ’76 double LP and its same-year follow-up, Son of Spirit, to the aforementioned Farther Along, make good companion pieces to the work on Epic records that brought the group their initial fame. Randy California references his big FM hit “Nature’s Way” on the beginning of the album as he does elsewhere in his career, while side two drifts off into some Star Trek dementia. “Freakout Frog” and “The Romulan Experience” are interesting, with bits of “All Along the Watchtower” thrown in for good measure. “Monkey See Monkey Do” could have been a great novelty hit…that is…on the planet Romulus. It’s a fusion of nuttiness and pop that sounds inspired by drugs and a Dr. Demento program. Randy California’s work with stepfather Ed Cassidy is unique and important, but they would have been better off calling some of the product Randy California solo, and that’s what this is. There are some great moments here, “The Journey of Nomad” as the album closes, along with “Stars Are Love” and “Kahauna Dream,” which open the album. Mr. California’s obsessions with science fiction and the place of his untimely passing, Hawaii, are here on these grooves, two decades before his passing.
by Johnny Deluxe
June 18, 2005
Randy California takes us on a feverish journey through space like stone walls of transient tunes interspersed with samples from TV shows and so much more. Future Games:A Magical-Kahauna Dream is a cosmic ride and a unique visionary effort from California, almost a twin to the Spirit Of ’76 album but with a completely different mindset, though there are traits which tie the albums together. Jack Bond pops up on a couple of occasions to speak on Future Games and a trucker (played by California) on his CB radio mentions the Time Coast along the way. There is a childlike quality to the music. The band can start on a piece but soon get sidetracked and drift away on another plane, though this album does go on like this for almost 45 minutes yet it does sound together and rolls together smoothly in an odd way. Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” is given the Spirit treatment and Randy plays some nice smooth guitar before a brief moment of clarity arrives in the shape of candid acoustic track “Would You Believe” before continuing on the snippet like trip. Not for everyone, Future Games is an intriguing affair. The successful, and at times comical, use of samples (polarizing The Muppet Show with Star Trek, especially Kirk’s dictator like monologues) predates what many would believe were their first usage, and they work to a great effect to allow the entire concept to roll cohesively, in a loose manner of course. Future Games is never going to come across as a conservative collection, but it allowed the late Randy California to explore his eclectic experimental side and it serves well to preserve that very nature.
March 29, 2005
I first heard this album on a late night radio show in the late 70’s and bought it soon after. At one level, just a set of goofy offbeat inter-cuts of Star Trek and other 70’s TV and radio dialogue with part constructed or never-fleshed-out musical themes and lightweight ditties. Easily dismissed, but nonetheless there is something in this, a completeness and wholeness that has kept me coming back to it over and over these last 28 years. Sometimes music becomes so internalized that it seems every note, every nuance has some deeper resonance. Those few people I’ve shared this album with over the years have rated it highly too. Listening on a sunny day out in the car, it seems to me the best album in my collection!
“The Dawn of Sampling”
by John Harrison (London)
December 16, 2010
This haunting album by US West Coast band Spirit was the first in rock history to make extensive use of sampling. Most of the band had left after 1970’s now classic Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus failed at first to sell. It was left to singer/guitarist Randy California (so named by his jamming buddy Jimi Hendrix) and Randy’s stepfather-drummer Ed Cassidy (who had played with Theolonius Monk and other jazz luminaries), to keep the Spirit flag flying – and fly it did, for another quarter of a century. Along the way the two gave us 1976’s ‘Future games’: the fifteen tracks are partly gentle and tuneful, partly raunchy rock and merge, via catchy connecting fragments, into a kind of time capsule from the mid-70s. Voices/samples sound now sinister, now tongue-in-cheek, or at times just plain stoned – and include Kermit the Frog, DJ Shadow Stevens, and of course Star Trek. Cass’s drumming is, as ever, beautifully crisp and subtle and Randy’s sustain guitar weeps and winds it’s way through various sound scapes in the most enthralling way: The Stars are Love is dreamy and beautiful, there’s a storming and take on Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower, Detroit City glides along the funkiest of bass lines, and the whole mirage-like sequence is launched by samples of native Hawaiian music. The Journey of Nomad is a slightly jarring warning about human/national catastrophes (the holocaust – Randy was himself a Jew, Pearl Harbor etc.): wake-up calls that emerge eerily from the generally lighthearted swirl…
The companion disk Spirit of 84 is a reworking of earlier material which was recorded when the original band – still good friends – re-united for that purpose. Future Games is more experimental – perhaps too much for some – but it does touch the stars (like at times the posthumous album ‘Son Of America).’ Randy died tragically in 1997 while swimming with his son off Hawaii. The two were caught by a rip tide, but he managed to throw Quinn free, so saving the young boy’s life.
by Ric Sheepy
September 14, 2011
I had a vinyl copy of this album and listened to it a lot. (Remastered on CD so I could keep the vinyl like I bought it.) I considered one of Randy’s finest. But then, I like run together, sound collage. (Think Negativeland.) It suffered from the sound quality. To say “sound sheet” quality would be about right. It was like muffled music and where you got the faded picture rather than the hi-def portrait. This CD is that portrait. It’s a totally different album. Songs are live and flow together here in Randy’s world. Some of the songs here are a bit better than others, but all are too short, exception being “All Along The Watchtower”. This album as a whole rather than in chunks or MP3’s demands to be listened to and enjoyed. I could name individual tracks but again, I take this as “side one and side two” and the flow between cuts.
In the grand scheme of things, I really like this and it got me into Spirit big time. Too bad it was released in the “Stayin’ Alive” disco of the late 70’s.
1969 The Family that Plays Together
1970 12 Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus
1973 Best of Spirit
1975 Spirit of ’76
1975 Son of Spirit
1976 Farther Along
1977 Future Games (A Magical-Kahauna Dream)
1977 Live Spirit
1981 Potatoland II
1984 Spirit of ’84
1989 Rapture in the Chambers
1990 Tent of Miracles
1991 Time Circle (compilation of unreleased tracks)
1992 Chronicles ’67-’92 (compilation of unreleased tracks)
1995 Live at La Paloma
1996 California Blues
1997 Made in Germany (Live 1978)
1997 The Mercury Years
2000 Live at the Rainbow (Live 1978)
2000 Cosmic Smile
2002 Sea Dream
2003 Blues from the Soul
2004 Live from the Time Coast Live ’89-’96)
2005 Son of America
2006 the Original Potatoland
2007 Salvation, the Spirit of ’74
2008 Rock ‘N’ Roll Planet (Live ’77-’79)
2009 California Blues Redux (different than California Blues)
2010 The Last Euro Tour
2011 Tales From the Westside
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