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The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion is the second album by the Scottish psychedelic folk group, The Incredible String Band (ISB), and was released in July 1967 on Elektra Records (see 1967 in music). The album was recorded following the reformation of the band as a duo consisting of Robin Williamson and Mike Heron. Notably, the album was a change in musical direction for the two as they transitioned from their more conventional folk music structures into complex psychedelic compositions influenced by British folk and Indian music.
Upon release, the album peaked at number 25 on the UK Albums Charts, and failed to chart on the Billboard 200. It was preceded by the single, "Painting Box", in June 1967 which evidently failed to chart. An additional promo single, "Way Back in the Sixties" was also released in support of the album. The album established the band within the British folk scene, while also gaining them an underground presence in the United States. At the time of its release, the album was recognized as being ambitious, and for creating a contrasting sound to other musical acts who were also utilizing similar instruments at the time