The National Gallery Performing Musical Interpretations of the Paintings of Paul Klee

This extremely interesting exploration of pop, folk, psych and jazz was inspired by the paintings of Paul Klee, a Swiss German painter who worked in the expressionist, cubist and surrealist styles. Though that might make the record sound like an esoteric bore, it is far from that. Recorded in 1968 as a studio project overseen by jazz composer Chuck Mangione and producer Roger Karshner, the record features both male and female psychedelic vocals and plenty of garage-influenced art rock. Perhaps best described as avant-garde psych pop, it is at times offbeat, witty and dry. "Self Portrait” is both reminiscent of the Bonzo Dog Band and an instructional manual for ’90s twee indie rock vocals. Other times, like on "Diana in the Autumn Wind,” the National Gallery deliver an art pop hit that’s both strange and catchy. Conceived as "electronic paintings,” this project was mainly overseen by the two producers, whose beautiful and unusual record was condemned to obscurity as a result of poor sales. This reissue features interesting liner notes and two bonus tracks culled from a non-LP 45 credited to Bhagavad-Gita — "song of the most holy,” from the Vedic Bible. Truly strange, totally groovy. (Fallout)