On the strength of this single album, recorded in 1970, Linda Perhacs remains a towering figure in the world of psychedelia, folk, female singer-songwriters, and acid-visionaries alike. Lauded by artists as diverse as Daft Punk, Devendra Banhart, Animal Collective, and Swedish metal band Opeth, in the 21st century, her album remains a testament to her singularity of vision.
Born Linda Arnold in northern California, Perhacs spent her childhood amid the region’s giant redwoods. By the time she entered college at USC in the late 60s, she was oblivious to Flower Power and instead focused on a degree in dental hygiene. After graduating, Perhacs took up residence in the infamous Laurel Canyon area and began writing the songs that would make up Parallelograms at her kitchen table. Inspired by the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, the dolphins at play in the Sea of Cortez became “Dolphins,” while a storm on the Olympic Peninsula led to “Chimacum Rain.” It was a dental patient of hers, Academy Awards-winning film composer Leonard Rosenman, who asked to hear her demos and soon landed her a record deal. While driving home late one night, she had a vision of light that became the album’s centerpiece, “Parallelograms.”
Ignored upon its initial release, Parallelograms seemingly sank without a trace, and Perhacs gave up making music for the next forty years. Psych fans the world over unearthed and began to obsess over this album in the meantime: a spine-tingling blend of crystalline vocal melodies from Perhacs, mind-expanding sound effects, and on the title track, one of the finest aural hallucinations ever captured, equal parts “sound sculpture” and “visual music.” Open up Parallelograms and enter Linda Perhacs’ magical world.
The Soul Of All Natural Things, for all its apparent serenity, is a subtly polemical album, full of exhortations to take a step out of our frantic everyday lives. “We get too far out of balance and we must find a way to get back to our polestar,” Linda Perhacs says. “I have a deeper purpose. My soul is giving itself to the people; I want them to be helped, I want them to be lifted.” On The Soul of All Natural Things, producers Fernando Perdomo and Chris Price have captured the spirit of that first album’s dreamy Canyon ambience, without favoring easy nostalgia over a direct and modern approach to the material.