0203: “Burning Wheel” by Primal Scream

“The music in the film is hippy music, so we thought, ‘Why not record some music that really reflects the mood of the film?’ It’s always been a favorite of the band, we love the air of paranoia and speed-freak righteousness. It’s impossible to get hold of now, which is great! It’s a pure underground film, rammed with claustrophobia.” — Bobby Gillespie, 1997 interview, New Music Express

For all of the attributes of mind exploration, spiritual journey, airiness, and overall soundscape qualities that psychedelic music can contain, there is, like hallucinogenics, an element of paranoia always hiding somewhere in waiting. Vanishing Point, Primal Scream’s fifth album is based off of the 1971 film of the same name. The bulk of the album tries to mirror the paranoia and the heaviness of the film and it does so with admirable skill in that it works as both a nice tribute to the movie, and as a standalone composition if you are unaware of the origin of its influence. “Burning Wheel” is the opening track on the album and its introduction is of a more dictionary definition of psychedelic: higher energy, lots of little whirs and textures added, airy-sounding vocals; the good LSD without the paranoia. This is a track made by people who seemed to have had a young ear for The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Their Satanic Majesties Request but were equipped more bells and whistles and a “Madchester” aesthetic to boot. At a hair over 7 minutes long “Burning Wheel” traverses the final act of the first psychedelic era in a snakelike way to build the bridge to the album’s ultimate darkness and heaviness. Primal Scream’s catalog is pretty wild and varied (befitting of a band who paid homage to an obscure film) and this is one of the best songs from it.

[Editor’s note: below is the full playlist of hour two.]

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