We’ve rounded up the best psychedelic rock albums that are purely instrumental, so you can get your groove on without any vocals getting in the way.
The Doors – The Soft Parade
The Doors – The Soft Parade
This album is the fourth studio album by The Doors, released in 1969. It was a commercial success, reaching number 6 on the Billboard 200 album chart and spawning the hit singles “Touch Me” and “Tell All the People”. Despite its success, the album was not well received by critics and is often considered one of the band’s weakest albums.
Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland
Recorded over the course of a year and featuring contributions from some of the greatest musicians of his generation including Mitch Mitchell, Billy Cox and Steve Winwood, Electric Ladyland is arguably Hendrix’s finest hour. A masterclass in psychedelic rock, the double album features some of Hendrix’s most iconic tracks including “ Crosstown Traffic”, “ Voodoo Chile” and “ All Along The Watchtower”.
Pink Floyd – Meddle
Meddle is the sixth studio album by English rock band Pink Floyd, released on 31 October 1971 by Harvest Records. It was produced between June and September 1971 at a studio in London’s Piccadilly Circus, and featured wide-ranging explorations of psychedelic, progressive rock, and acoustic themes. The central track is the progressive rock epic “Echoes”, which occupies almost the entire second side of the LP.
The album was recorded during a period of experimentation for Pink Floyd: guitarist David Gilmour joined keyboardist Richard Wright as a full-time member during its making, while longtime leader Syd Barrett had left the group two years prior. Meddle displayed more extensive use of instrumental improvisation than any of their previous releases, while “Echoes” would have a significant influence on subsequent Pink Floyd material. Upon its release, the album was received with critical acclaim; Meddle peaked at number 3 in both the UK Albums Chart and US Billboard 200 charts.
King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King
In the Court of the Crimson King is the debut studio album by the English rock band King Crimson, released on 10 October 1969 by Island Records in Europe and Atlantic Records in North America. It was recorded at Wessex Sound Studios in London between February and August 1969 and produced by Peter Sinfield. It is regarded as one of the first and most influential progressive rock albums. Upon its release, it reached number 5 on the UK Albums Chart and number 28 on Billboard’s Top LPs chart.
The album’s sound is marked by Fripp’s guitar work, Brian Eno’s keyboards, Gordon Haskell’s bass playing, Michael Giles’ drumming, and Robert Fripp’s Production. Sinfield used an Ale 27 echo plate to record Haskell’s bass part for “21st Century Schizoid Man”. The opening track is one of King Crimson’s best-known songs and includes a range of influences including jazz, Psychedelia, Classical music, and Hard rock. “I Talk to the Wind” is a ballad with lyrics by Sinfield that have been described asidiosyncratic; its music features flute playing from Ian McDonald. The remaining two tracks are instrumentals: “Moonchild” is based onannheterotic themes while “The Court of the Crimson King” is a Psychedelic hard rock song that became a concert staple for the band.
In 2003, In the Court of the Crimson King was ranked number 86 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list ofThe 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; it was also included in Virgin Books’ 100 Greatest Albums Ever list in 1998. In 2004, it was ranked number 55 in Classic Rock magazine’s The 100 Greatest British Rock Albums Ever! poll. In 2012, it was voted number 479 in Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums poll
The Grateful Dead – Workingman’s Dead
The Grateful Dead’s American Beauty is often cited as the best album of their career, and for good reason – it contains some of their most timeless songs, like “Ripple” and “Brokedown Palace.” But for our money, their 1970 album Workingman’s Dead is even better. In many ways, it’s the perfect Grateful Dead album – it has the perfect mix of country-tinged acoustic songs (“Uncle John’s Band,” “Casey Jones”) and rockers (“New Speedway Boogie”). Plus, it features some of Jerry Garcia’s best ever lead guitar work.
Can – Tago Mago
One of the most influential krautrock albums of all time, Tago Mago was also the first album by German rockers Can to feature singer Damo Suzuki, whose wordless vocal style added an otherworldly element to the group’s already hypnotic sound. The result is a purely psychedelic experience, from the 20-minute opener “Halleluwah” to the eerie closer “Aumgn.” In between, Can explore a variety of styles and moods, veering from the pure rock attack of “Peking O” to the ethereal beauty of “Mushroom.” Throughout it all, the band — featuring future keyboard legend Irmin Schmidt, bassist Holger Czukay and drummer Jaki Liebezeit — create a mesmerizing soundscape that is both totallyof its time and completely timeless.
Neu! – Neu!
This is the self-titled debut album by the influential German motorik bandNeu!. It was released in 1972 on Brain Records and was a critical and commercial success, reaching number 35 on the German Albums Chart. The album was reissued several times, including a deluxe edition in 2001.
The album features the band’s signature krautrock sound, characterised by energetic, often repetitive rhythms and a lack of conventional melody or chords. The tracks “Hallogallo” and “Sonderangebot” are particularly well-known examples of this style.
Neu! were inspired by a wide range of genres, including avant-garde music, electronic music, rock music and jazz. This eclectic range of influences is evident onNeu!, which features elements of all of these genres.
The album has been highly acclaimed by critics and is considered to be one of the most important Krautrock albums. AllMusic’s John Bush described it as “a timeless record that still sounds like the future”.
Kraftwerk – Autobahn
Kraftwerk’s groundbreaking album Autobahn was released in 1974 and was one of the first albums to truly explore the possibilities of electronic music. The title track is a tour de force of electronic sound, and the album as a whole is a perfect example of how electronic music can be used to create powerful, atmospheric tracks that are both stimulating and relaxing at the same time.
Ash Ra Tempel – Ash Ra Tempel
This album is the perfect example of what krautrock is all about.Motorik rhythms, searing lead guitars and spacey effects create a sound that is both hypnotic and driving. The tracks on this album flow together perfectly, making it essential listening for anyone interested in this exciting genre.
Amon Düül II – Phallus Dei
Amon Düül II’s second album is a perfect example of the krautrock genre. sequencing, and an overall feeling of cohesiveness that is unmatched in other krautrock albums. The tracks segue perfectly into each other, giving the listener a sense of an album that is much greater than the sum of its parts.
Keyword: The Best Instrumental Psychedelic Rock Albums