Arguably the apex of Los Angeles studio pop psychedelia, The Millenium’s 1968 debut, Begin, was the brainchild of Curt Boettcher, a genuinely gifted producer and arranger who was equally comfortable crafting ambitious psychedelia as he was helming beguiling soft rock hits for the likes of The Association and Tommy Roe. Boettcher’s talent was said to have aroused envy in the most iconic of all of Los Angeles’ studio auteurs, The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson. Indeed, it’s easy to imagine Wilson listening to Begin, with its dazzling multilayered arrangements and effortlessly executed stylistic shifts, and realizing that the ante had just been upped. The record opens with “Prelude,” a truly stunning instrumental that juxtaposes delicate harpsichord work against a thunderous drumbeat, and segues seamlessly into “To Claudia on Thursday," a gorgeous chamber-pop ode with a swaying bossa backbeat and soaring vocal harmonies. Throughout, Boettcher’s arrangements are never less than meticulous; yet, remarkably, Begin never feels overworked or laborious.