The National Gallery

Performing musical interpretations of the paintings of Paul Klee.

Paul Klee is a abstract artist who practiced in the early 20th century. When I first glanced at this album, I thought it was going to be music to watch Paul Klee by -- i.e., lame instrumental fluff you could play in your art gallery while you enjoyed Paul's paintings. Much to my delight, I was wrong. This record is exactly what it says: musical interpretations of Paul Klee's works, done up in extreme beatnick style by a 60's band called The National Gallery.

The National Gallery Imagine you're in junior high school and the teacher asks you to look at some paintings and then write a song or a poem about them. That's exactly what Musical Interpretations is -- a series of incredibly unlikely tracks, each named for a Paul Klee painting, each with its own set of psychedelic lyrics that never cease to amaze you with their "interpretation" of the painting at hand. For convenience, a handy insert is included with full-color photographs of each painting along with the printed lyrics so you can follow along (maybe even sing along?).

On "Boy With Toys", based on a simple block painting of a child with a few wooden toys, the National Gallery gives us lyrics like "Boy with toys, alone in the Attic/ Choking his hobby horse, thinking of his mother". For "A Child's Game", the Gallery goes all out, giving us lyrics like "Grown ups in a city somewhere/Surrounded by uncertainty/Just objects of society/They play the children's game". There's even a musical interpretation of Klee's "Self Portrait"!

Whether you love Paul Klee, you love beatnick lyrics, or you just love the lengths to which musicians will go to be "different", Musical Interpretations is one of your best buys on vinyl today. Look for it at a garage sale near you.

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A Child's Game (MP3) When you grow up, what will you be?
Barbaric, Classical, Solemn (MP3) Laughter, hatred, half-dead, naked, where is the solution?
Self Portrait (MP3) Can you truly paint yourself, when so affected by unrelated matters?

See Also: Poe through the Glass Prism

Your Comments:

calvin ( says:
we have been the only site online to review this lp AT ALL for the last 3 yrs, aside from borderline books, recently we moved to angelfire , our new url is different than the one below.....the NATIONAL GALLERY is a very rare release from '68...... the best song in 'long hair soulful', and the whole lp is great, including these songs here....they also released a single in '67 of

'long hair soulful'/'long hair soulful' (instrumental)

however the band changed names and issued it as THE BHAGAVAD GITA,

which is the name of the HARE KRSNA bible, another religion under God, just at a different altar than Christianity,u can find lots of spritual references on our site ...and we review the lp on page 2 of our site, and the single on page 13 of our site,

- 70's invasion -
on here u will find some of the most obscure music of the 60's-70's-today, and music of the past as well....cheers - (11-09-2002)

james ( says:
i used to own a copy of this record unfortunatly it disappeared in a purple haze if any one has a copy to sell please reply (10-24-2002)

Discursive Mind says:
I actually bought this thing when it first came out. Got some airplay on the local "underground" radio station. What were these guys thinking? Well...that moment in time seemed wide open to any new musical direction. Hey! How about songs about paintings! And the record companies were showering contracts on almost anybody with a guitar and long hair. (Sigh.) Truth is, this album is one I can never get out of my head, with lyrics like, "Each eye, ear, and nose relation affect this oil interpretation." Or, how about, "Torpedos of guilt subtly loaded onto a submarine bound for the mind." Now, everybody sing along! (09-03-2002)

Canadian Vinylist says:
How dare you branless, pseudo-intellectual, hippies besmearch one of my favorite artists! (08-28-2002)

Joseph Gallant ( says:
Could the "Charles Mangione" on the album notes have decided to start calling himself "Chuck" and be the same Chuck Mangione who was a successful jazz artist during the 1980's?? (08-21-2002)

Daredevil6 ( says:
Actually pretty good! I enjoyed "A Child's Game" very much. It captures the optimizm of childhood and juxtaposes it with adult realism. It is one of the....OH F**K IT!! I AM ON DRUGS!! (08-08-2002)

DeeeEsss ( says:
I ain't mad at 'em. Decent's really not that bad.

Brings Joe Byrd's "United States of America" album to mind. (07-14-2002)

shingo ( says:
i want the lyrics from the song pretty in pink by the grown ups (06-20-2002)

emma mouse says:
stop it with your carpet sweeper..can't ye see
i'm tryin' to paint mesself! (05-18-2002)

Chris says:
I am a music student and I love Jefferson Airplane. However, I find these songs truly terrible in every way. The lyrics are too simple to be intelligent yet too complex to be minimalistic and the guitar riffs have no direction. These songs appear to have been put together in about five minutes then recorded. Very week. The musical ideas are cliche amd progress with little or no relation to one another without any sense of devellopment or compositional unity. Why get a bunch of talentless potheads to depict, in music, the work of a great artist? The idea is completely bewildering to me. (05-07-2002)

calvin ( says:
Finally ! Finally someone else besides us and borderline books has reviewed this lp from the National Gallery online. I could write a whole book about this lp, one of the best lps of the late 60's i say...all the songs are superb, unknown to most people they released a single from the lp 'long hair soulful' with the b side an instrumental version of the song,

however the band changed names and issued it as THE BHAGAVAD GITA, which is the name of the HARE KRSNA bible, another religion under God, just at a different altar than Christianity, ...anyways we review the lp on page 2 of our site, and the single on page 13 of our site, which is ccessible thru our guestbook of the - 70's invasion -
on here u will find some of the most obscure music of the 60's-70's-today....cheers - (04-28-2002)

ron ( says:
don't understand why it has to joked about... it's harmonic late 60s pop... I happen to like the "sound". (03-10-2002)

CP says:
This album actually enjoyed a few moments of airtime on some more pressive stations in the 60's. There are some remarkable moments here - really - but the earnestness can getcha aftar a bit. Whoever made the comment about this being Jefferson Airplane pre-acid hit it on the head. A for effort and innovation, B for execution. (10-16-2001)

The Lone Beatnik ( says:
Not that bad of a record: however, it would have been a lot better had it just been poetry set to music (not a sung song). I got a huge kick out of this group making "Barbaric Classical Solemn" the chorus of the song. "Self Portrait" sounds like some HAIR reject song. "Child Song" hsa the same dillema, whilest being probably the better of the 3 (there is no best, they're all kind of mediocre). These people didn't have the gift of a tune. Good poetry, but no gift to sync it up. Trust me, this album is best listened to w/ the assistance of chemicals. (06-17-2001)

Sammy Reed says:
"Self Portrait" sound just like AltRock of today. If a "hot music" station played this, people really would think this was the latest hit song, I just know it! (05-08-2000)

robert says:
this is exactly what jefferson airplane would have sounded like, if they had never met owsley. (04-28-2000)

that's classified says:
it's a bit boring! (03-14-2000)

shady dealings ( says:
It's not often that you can actually smell the pot smoke just by listening to the music... But seriously- the stoned stream-of-consciousness lyrics are key here..."The noise of a car-pet swee-per, the bar-king of a do-og..." We've all had nights like that, where it sounds really cool at the time... (01-20-2000)

Eric ( says:
Are you nuts? Roxy Music was never this suave! (11-15-1999)

Vynyl Junkie ( says:
"Child's Game" reminds me a little of "Ruby Tuesday" while I'm hearing shades of "Eight Miles High" in "Self Portrait". Still, a unique concept in a realm where Mussorgsky gets all the airplay at your locat art gallery. But then again, if we didn't have this music, could we bare to look at what we really are? (10-04-1999)

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