What comes in between those two tracks, the four-part Requiem for Molly is the source of Fahey’s reference to splices at the start of this review, and given the state of recording technology at the time you’d reckon getting these things right when you’re using a razor blade (or whatever) to do the splicing isn’t going to be easy.

Molly, Fahey’s attempt at musique concrète, comes across as an odd jumble of solo guitar interspersed with samples and tape loops put together by Fahey, Sam Charters and Barry (Dr Demento) Hansen (to be fair, there’s something similar in Catfish, but there it’s a case of weaving the effects around the guitar. The whole, to quote Fahey’s liner notes Molly's psychological destruction and the reaction of another person in observing this process, for which he was perhaps, to some extent responsible. Elsewhere he described it as a good learning experience though.

In cases like this, where you’ve got a mixture of sources as diverse as scratchy 78s (Sun Gonna Shine In My Back Door Some Day BluesCircle Round the Moon by Charley Patton), screams, choral music, Charles Ives’ 4th Symphony, marching bands, speeches by Hitler, a bit of choral music and, believe it or not California Dreaming in Part 4 it’s something that may or may not work.

Obviously, as far as Fahey was concerned, it didn’t, presumably because what came out didn’t match what he’d heard in his mind (which would, of course, explain the gripes about the splices) but to anyone else it’s probably about the reaction to the source material. I suspect the twenty-first century listener will probably be slightly less turned off by the Hitler material than I was, but the twenty-first century listener probably managed to miss the regular resurfacing of these elements through late sixties sound collages (the Vanilla Fudge’s The Beat Goes On being a prime example).

But there’s a fair bit more than speechifying dictators there, and having progressed Requia to the point where the shuffle button in going to come into play it’ll be interesting to see where the four chunks of Molly end up vis a vis Hughesy’s Top 1500 Most Played. One wouldn’t be holding one’s breath in that department, but as things permeate their way up the play count there’s a fair chance the tracks from the first side will end up somewhere in that neighbourhood.

© Ian Hughes 2012