After gaining notoriety for his all-night, free-form shows on Toronto radio station CHUM-FM during the late 60s and early 70s—Frank Zappa once famously describing the program as "an utter freakout"—experimental DJ (and the first Canadian artist ever signed to Island Records) David Pritchard released his debut album, Nocturnal Earthworm Stew, in 1977.
Even by the era's standards, the psychedelic record was the musical equivalent of taking a fistful of shrooms, with tracks ranging from Ornette Coleman-influenced free jazz to prog-rock to spacey synth improvisations. Including it on THUMP's list of essential early early Canadian records that deserve reissues last year, Geoff Snack wrote, "There's several tracks here that wouldn't sound out of place on an Aphex Twin release." To celebrate its 40th anniversary this year, Toronto-based label Artoffact Records is reissuing Nocturnal Earthworm Stew (subtitled in French Bouillabaisse Nocturne Aux Vers De Terre) digitally and on CD March 10, with vinyl to follow in April.
Today, we're streaming the 17-track effort in full, with several never-before-heard bonus tracks. Highlights include the cosmic, synth-heavy "Birth of Merlin," the amazingly-titled "The Evil Ogre Interlude/Satan's Seaside Walk," and musique concrète jam "Cats N' Cabbage," which samples shrieking cats to jarring effect. Elsewhere, "An Admission of Guilt" feels like a giallo soundtrack with electric violin courtesy of infamous Canadian musician Nash the Slash.
Listen to Nocturnal Earthworm Stew below and pre-order here.