What is the sound of thick air? This question is the koan at the chewy center of Anthem of the Sun, a sprawling psychedelic clusterfuck originally released in July of 1968. According to legend, a young Bob Weir asked producer David Hassinger for this mysterious sound, which led to him quitting the project. Four studios and a mountain of spliced live reels later, and the Grateful Dead had their album. Well, a version of it, anyway. The band would go back and remix the record in 1972, in an attempt to make it more relatable to newer fans turned on to the then-recent Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty. But once you’ve “mixed it for the hallucinations,” it’s hard to get them out. Regardless of the edition, Anthem remains one of the Dead’s trippiest studio efforts—an awkward, insistent, and often thrilling record that sees the band at the peak of their lysergic powers. Or perhaps peak confusion. In this episode, we’ll consider the merits of Anthem of the Sun with a nod to the band’s rapid evolution. So climb on board as Captain Trips sets the controls for the heart of the Sun.
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A ChunkyGlasses Production