There are few recordings from the songbook of American rock artists as psychedelic as the Grateful Dead‘s 1968 masterpiece, “Dark Star”. The Counterculture-era anthem was a staple in the band’s setlists during the “Primal Dead” years of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Other artists have attempted to reach the same level or orbital space rock with recent covers of the song from The Flaming Lips as well as Joe Russo/Cass McCombs, who each recorded their respective versions of the heady single for the 2016 tribute compilation, Day of the Dead.
There was one band, however, which seemed to perfectly capture the pure and unabridged flow of cosmic psychedelia set forth by Jerry Garcia and company. That would be Fit & Limo, a “psychedelic folk” duo from Germany who recorded their very impressive version of “Dark Star” on their 1998 album, The Serpent Unrolled.
Fit & Limo’s worldly version of “Dark Star” utilizes a rich mix of instrumentation used more by musicians from international cultures, including sitar, tabla, shakers, and some kind of mandolin. The two musicians take their time stepping into the musical realm where the song exists, with their instruments easing the listener into the 8:27-minute recording before the opening lyrics come in at the 3:13 mark. Minds should already be melted into a swirling ooze of melodic bliss by the time the female duo comes in with the first verse of the song. The two vocalists even provide their own spin on the song’s lyrical melody during the outro lyrics, “Shall we go, you and I while we can, through the transitive nightfall of diamonds?”
Following the initial lyrics, the song continues into the mystic abyss with the instruments solely taking the listener further into the transitive nightfall of notation, courtesy of an added flute and jaw harp. The two singers return with their own brief lyrical stanzas starting again at the 6:49-minute mark. Fans can step into the void by listening to the entire recording in the audio-only video below.
Fit & Limo – “Dark Star”
[Video: Dave Bin]
According to the video’s page on YouTube, the band’s videos are not available online here in America, so enjoy this psychedelic gift from the universe… while we can. Fans can also purchase the CD version of the album on Amazon for a manageable $21.