The psychedelic movement began in the mid 60’s, and had an effect on many aspects of popular culture, such as art, music, style of dress, language, and philosophy.
The ear evolved out of the social consciousness movement with emphasis on civil rights, anti-war protest, recreational drugs, and other issues that were part of the youth subculture.
The characteristics of pycheldelic art are art nouveau inspired curved lines and shapes, illegible type, and optical colour vibration inspired by the pop art movement.
Wes Wilson was one of the best known designers of psychedelic posters, inventing a font that is now associated with the peace movement, the psychedelic ear and the 60’s.
Victor Moscoso used the concept of vibrating colours to create the psychedelic effect in most of his graphic pieces. He achieved the vibration by using colours of opposite spectrums of the colour wheel, and gave each colour equal value of light and dark, and brightness.
Psychedelic music raised issues of the era frequently in their lyrics, as well as incorporating special effects to empathise the message to turn the rock songs into songs of protest. The use of spacey sound effects, introduction of synthesisers, and experimental guitar riffs were techniques used to mimic the psychedelic drug experience. Guitarist Les Paul was considered the ‘spiritual godfather’ of studio augmentation as a result of the unique tones he was able to play. His skills were not matched until Jimi Hendrix appeared on the scene, borrowing some of Paul’s sonic experiments.
The Beatles also played a pioneering role in the evolution of psychedelic music effects, including recordings of tapes run backwards, filtered voices, and exotic instruments.
Psychedelia was often referred to as acid rock, providing its own form of mind expansion by means of guitar pyrotechnics.