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Psi Corps - Tekeli-li CD (album) cover

TEKELI-LI

Psi Corps

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.00 | 1 ratings

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avestin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Watching a movie with your ears

Psi-Corps is the duo of Alisa Coral (synthesizers, bass, percussion, drums and theremin) and Michael Blackman (all guitars). Coral started out playing in metal bands in the late 90s' in Moscow, but later went solo creating electronic and ambient music. In 2002 she joined forces with Australian guitarist Michael Blackman and they recorded together three albums under the name of Space Mirrors with guest musicians. They then formed a side project, Psi-Corps, in 2008 and this is their first offering.

The sounds that flow as this album begins, equivalent to the light dimming in a movie theater, give a sensation of a long journey the listener initiates. Indeed, this soundtrack for a story by Edgar Allan Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, is a demanding listen in a way. One could skim through it without attention and miss the intensity and wide range of emotions laid down throughout the way. Or due attention could (and should) be paid to absorb all that is presented and played during this almost hour-long adventure to the south pole. Each track presents a mood, a theme and repeats it with mostly little variation in structure, but with rich sounds and effects.

Starting with an ominous electronic theme and poly-rhythmic pattern, the intro track, Party At Barnard's, is a mesmerizing repetition and mood setter. There is a feeling of an imminent danger that is to befall as we will proceed on further into the depths of this album.

The second track, On Board The Ariel, presents us a courageous spirit, portrayed by the guitar and later the drums that join in; the atmosphere of danger on board, fearing the dangers of the sea, brought to life by the synthesizers and bass. The track develops slowly at first, without rhythm section, and then is accelerated a bit. The guitar plays softly yet determined around the synthesizers, creating this spacey and magical vibe. There is no development in the sense of trying to play around with the theme presented, but more of a sort of jam, and emphasizing the moods aboard the Ariel as it goes out to sea towards its destination. My personal taste would have liked to hear perhaps more developing of the idea presented and a adding more layers of sounds onto the existing basis, which is already rich, but it could get more interesting when after 6-7 minutes it becomes too repetitive. Given that this is a soundtrack, this track could work well while reading the novel or seeing a visual interpretation of it. However, for me, 10 minutes of the same basic repetition, while good as it is, doesn't reach what potential it has and that which it presented in its initiation.

The next chaper, On Board The Grampus, is in a similar fashion to the start of the previous track, with its unsettling uncertainty and sense of approaching calamity. Blackman's guitar sounds are very well done, well achieving this mood and creates very well visual images in my mind. Coral's sounds and percussive work is as efficient and evocative. These two musicians create together a troubling essence (in a good way), a disturbing scene of hazards and perils. This over 7 minute ghost ride ends with a loud synthesizer "scream" and percussion thrusting, and then abruptly ending, giving the sensation that we've reached the end of the ride. However, we haven't since Tsalal starts with a weird loud effect of vocals over repetitive synthesizers effects, quickly joined by a structured rhythm part, again with the guitar part playing elusive yet decisive accompanying support. This chapter presents more variation in structure than previously. The intro morphs into a rhythmic part and then at about 4 minutes in the tempo slows down, yet the theme remains little changed. A minute later the pace picks up again with cool sounding tribal percussive pattern and also effects that join later. This is the direction I'd like to hear them take; not as repetitive and bringing in something new every once in a while when the previous section has fulfilled its purpose.

Further South begins with a strong synthesizers chord accompanied by effects and the guitar throwing glimmering patches of sounds around it. Some percussion start to investigate the grounds cautiously, followed by the guitar increasing its presence and playing a more pronounced role. A turning point at around 3 minutes in is the sign for the start of the strong electronic lead to take control, followed later by more dominant sounding percussion creating a spacey atmosphere, quite eerie at times but quite optimistic sounds at the same time, as if in the hopes of finding something exciting Further South. This is quite a great track, a good example of how to successfully create a haunting atmosphere and intriguing music which makes me want to listen to it until its over and then again.

The title track, Tekeli-li, a 13 minute piece, starts with electronics and guitar alongside, together. At minute 3 it speeds up and an engaging rock pattern emerges, with the guitar leading the way with a dominant riff and backing rhythm, sounding as if we have reached our goal which we have been after throughout this journey. This is further developed as the music goes and is a great ending to this soundtrack.

The beauty of this soundtrack is that it allows to listener to imagine to himself whatever scenario in his head and to perceive the sounds and interpret them according to his own taste and personality. This soundtrack presents groovy and cool psychedelic/space-rock/electronics and daydream inducing musical imageries.

avestin | 3/5 |

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