He blew a lot of money on disco records, some he knew, some he knew of, and some that were utterly new to him. Many of them proved quite delightful. And so here's "Hills Of Katmandu" by Tantra. All sixteen minutes and twenty seconds of it.
Here's some background on it. But what you really need to know is that it's got it all. Everything is in this track. Like the 12" cover suggests, it's got skyscrapers and weird mechanical lionfish and the Universe in it. It takes you all the way there and leaves you.
It's a perfect example of how the prog aesthetic infiltrated a lot more in the '70s than anybody is willing to admit. This record derives a lot of its power from being organized like a prog-rock mini-epic, a suite. The hard-charging guitar-driven part that serves as overture and reprise is the only reason the middle part, the dreamy section, works. On its own that dreamy section would have been fairly forgettable. It would have just been a nice poster of the Universe on your bedroom wall. Framed like this, with the rampage of the mechanical lionfish, it transcends: it whispers in your ear that someday we really will build a skyscraper to the Universe. And this will be the elevator music. It will take sixteen minutes and twenty seconds to reach the top floor, and when the doors open