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Psychedelic music began with the tiniest possible bang: a minuscule pressing of a self-produced LP by Zen Buddhist scholar Alan Watts. In one cosmic flash of inspiration and group improvisation, the next two decades of musical innovation was pre-supposed: psychedelic rock, spiritual jazz, and even new age. As this micro pressing barely made it out of the ashram, it was Watts’ writings that actually spread his ideas, usually through osmosis: he was profoundly influential on the beat poets and the subsequent counter-culture. He became the forebear of the 1960s counterculture's spirituality, much as William Burroughs was the forebear of its hedonism.
Released in 1962, This Is It is an imaginative cacophony of percussion, non-verbal chanting, and free-flowing expression, punctuated occasionally by leisurely passes at a terrestrial piano, marimba, or french horn. It is at once experimental, intellectual, and experiential. Three years before Ken Kesey's inaugural Acid Test, This Is It constitutes the first transmission for a tuned-in counterculture of hippies, beats, and psychedelic revolutionaries of all stripes.