Ya Ho Wha 13 were formed in 1969 in the Los Angeles area by one of the
most eccentric freaks of the time, a middle-aged beatnik called Jim Baker who
believed himself a god and went by the nickname of Father Yod. Their
extreme psychedelic sound, that employed tribal drums and distorted guitars
in a deliberately childish manner
(all unrehearsed live and with no overdubs, editing or design),
was the ultimate product of the hippie era.
The band (tighly related to Father Yod' religious cult, the "Source", and to
a vegetarian restaurant located in Hollywood)
frequently changed name to The Savage Sons of Yahowha, Yodship,
Fire Water Air, Spirit of 76, but the key players were always the same
(Djin Aquarian on guitar, Octavious Aquarian on drums, Sunflower Aquarian on bass,
and occasionally Sky Saxon of the Seeds).
Kohoutek (Higher Key, 1973) was the debut album of the Spirit Of 76,
which also released Contraction (1974 -
All Or Nothing At All (1974) and some singles.
Yahowa 13 are credited for
Penetration - An Aquarian Symphony (1974 - Higher Key, 2004 -
which stands as Father Yod's masterpiece
(or, better, Djin Aquarian's masterpiece)
and one of the milestones in
Djin Aquarian wrote:
"The Penetration sound came out as
it is because of all the band members
inputs at 4 in the morning, which is when we recorded
at this family meditation. Father Yod was the greatest
influence in developing this sound with me.
Father Yod was the leader and teacher of our commune
of 144 people in Hollywood and it was he who felt
called to produce, sing and play tympany and 40"
diameter gong, on much of the 65 albums we made, most
of which have been destroyed (but 9 remain that are
being re-released on Swordfish).
None of the music or lyrics were pre-conceived.
We built our own garage studio, recorded, did the art
work, manufactured and distributed all on our own
resources from working at our health food restaurant
on Sunset Strip."
More typical of their message-driven music were
Savage Sons of Yahowa (1974),
I'm Gonna Take You Home (1974 - Swordfish, 2004),
To The Principles For The Children (1975).
At their best Yahowa 13 performed lengthy instrumental jams that could easily
swing from silence to walls of white noise.
At the end of 1974 the whole commune moved to Hawaii.
The band dissolved, but other Father Yod projects included
Golden Sunrise by Fire Water Air and singles released as
Father Yod died in an accident in 1975 and Sky Saxon became a full-time
member of the band and of the cult.
Ya Ho Wha 13's The Operetta (Swordfish, 2005) documents a previously
unreleased album of 1975, presumably one of their last recordings.
The entire Father Yod opus has been collected on a 13-cd boxset,
God and Hair (Captain Trip, 2001).
Only a handful of people had heard his music before this reissue.
Djin Aquarian has continued making music.
Djinn Aquarian (guitar), Octavius Aquarian (drums), and Sunflower Aquarian (bass) reformed
and released Sonic Portation (Prophase Music, 2008),
their first studio album in over 30 years.
Magnificence in the Memory (Drag City, 2009) compiles unreleased material of
Ya Ho Wha 13.
Djin Aquarian debuted solo on
Destiny Of America (Not On Label, 2002).
Djin Aquarian and
Plastic Crimewave Sound recorded
Live Yod Devotions (recorded in november 2008) and
Save The World (Prophase, 2012).
(Translated by Ornella C. Grannis) |
Gli Ya Ho Wha 13 furono formati a Los Angeles nel 1969, da Jim Baker,
uno dei freaks piu' demenziali dell'epoca, un beatnik di mezza eta' che si
credeva un dio e si faveva chiamare Father Yod. Il loro sound, estremamente
psichedelico, con tanto di tamburi tribali e infantili distorsioni di
chitarra, fu l'ultima trovata dell'era hippie.
Il complesso (strettamente collegato al culto religioso "Source" di Father
Yod e ad un ristorante vegetariano di Hollywood) cambiava nome
frequentemente - The Savage Sons of Yahowha, Yodship, Fire Water Air, Spirit
of 76 - ma le figure chiave erano sempre le stesse: Djin Aquarian alla
chitarra, Octavious Aquarian alla batteria, Sunflower Aquarian al basso, e
qualche volta Sky Saxon dei Seeds.
Kohoutek (Higher Key, 1973) fu l'album del debutto degli Spirit Of 76, i
quali pubblicarono anche Contraction (1974), Expansion (1974), All Or
Nothing At All (1974) e qualche 45 giri.
Una delle pietre miliari del rock psichedelico, Penetration - An Aquarian
Symphony (Higher Key, 1974), pubblicata dagli Ya Ho Wha 13 insieme a Savage
Sons of Yahowa (1974), I'm Gonna Take You Home (1974) e To The Principles
For The Children (1975), figura come il capolavoro di Father Yod.
Nel migliore dei loro periodi gli Yahowa 13 hanno realizzato lunghe jam
strumentali che vanno dal silenzio al muro del suono. In pratica hanno
messo insieme una carriera da Dark Star dei Grateful Dead. Alla fine del
l'intera comune si trasferi' alle Hawai.
Gli Yahowa 13 si sciolsero, ma i progetti di Father Yod continuarono con
Golden Sunrise, pubblicata dai Fire Water Air e qualche single pubblicato
Father Yod perse la vita in un incidente nel 1975.
Sky Saxon entro` a far parte
e della setta religiosa.
L'intera opera di Father Yod e' raccolta in un'antologia di 13 CD: God and
Hair (Captain Trip, 2001). Pochissime persone avevano ascoltato la sua
musica prima di questa nuova edizione.