Originally released in 1968, the enterprising Anthem of the Sun is the second album from the Grateful Dead following their eponymous 1967 effort and it finds the pioneering band refining the dynamics of their live set in the confines of the studio environment while simultaneously challenging the conventions of the long-player medium. The addition of lyricist Robert Hunter and percussionist Mickey Hart to the fold here also helps take the Dead's brand of improvisational psychedelia to new heights and displays once and for all that they could indeed be as equally transcendent in the studio as on stage.
The band created layered versions of the album's five main compositions by combining studio tracks with a number of live performances of the tunes recorded on the road during the fall of '67 and the winter of '68. "We weren't making a record in the normal sense," explained Jerry Garcia, who mixed the album with Phil Lesh and the Dead's new soundman, Dan Healy. "We were making a collage. We were trying to do something completely different, which didn't even have to do with a concept. It had to do with an approach that's more like electronic music or concrete music, where you are actually assembling bits and pieces toward an enhanced non-realistic representation."