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Psicomagia - Psicomagia CD (album) cover



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5 stars This is just great, it sounds like it came out of the seventies. Sitting somewhere in between psych, prog, krautrock and jazz fusion, it is definitely original and engaging. It only features drums, bass, organ and sax, but while this is the case, it certainly rocks and in many places is somewhat loud.

I think is better to analyse the musician's contributions more than the actual songs, as strong compositions though they are, the music substance itself is so unique.

Firstly, the rythm section is just crazy. The drums literally do not let up for one second, showcasing a fluid but technical style that really adds to the experimental vibe. In places, the drums lock with the deep bass lines, such as the poetry section in the second part of il congresso, which creates an amazing grove, and a solid foundation for the music. The drumming in the crazier sections is phenomenal.

Brian Ellis is here present on sax! He lays down some wonderful melodic sax lines which recur, and lend a sense of cohesion to the music bubbling away beneath it. It tends to appear when you want it most. There is also a gorgeous spaced out sax solo in the opening number.

The organ. This is probably the most appealing aspect of the album for me (though I am especially partial to some good organ), as it is just so different and engaging. I'm not sure what is used, but it often sounds like the weirdly melodic extended feedback from a guitar! Throughout Il Congresso it slides in and out, saturating the music, and creating lovely rich sound thick with psychedelia. It serves as a melodic counterpoint to the clean sax, and they often swirl around each other.

The poetry is not really central, but it is definitely an interesting (and welcome) addition to the music! It reinforces that the album is so unique and original.

This album it a definite melting pot of many different genres, though I would say it is heavy psyched out jazz fusion. Though anyone that enjoys experimental music will find plenty to love here, and that description doesn't really do it justice.

My only gripe would be that the album can be a bit too full on, but in the context of the generally masterful flow of the album, this is a small niggle indeed.

I wrote this review, as there aren't any here yet, in the hope that the album would become less obscure, as it is literally to good to miss! Also, the vinyl edition is rather fetching, as it is black marbled with green.


Report this review (#1128750)
Posted Sunday, February 9, 2014 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars PSICOMAGIA's debut album was something I couldn't wait to get my hands on after reading the glowing praise and especially the comparisons to SOFT MACHINE. Brian Ellis also was a factor in me wanting this as the ASTRA guitarist is on here playing tenor sax plus he recorded and mixed the record. Maybe my expectations were too high but man I have some issues with this. There are a couple of things that really affected my enjoyment but by far the greatest is the sound of the organ. Is that what that is? I love the sound of Farfisa or fuzzed out organ, you know that dirty, nasty sound, but this has a high-pitched "shrill" to it that is beyond annoying. And it dominates the sound. Also I found that they rarely let up off of the gas pedal. This is an assault to the ears that rarely lets up with no apparent structure.

Up first is my favourite song "El Memorioso" and I should clarify here that my complaints above refer mainly to the two part track "El Congreso" which takes up about 27 minutes of this 39 minute recording. Back to the opening tune and it starts with intricate pinging sounds that almost echo before this Eastern vibe arrives. It kicks into a full sound before 2 minutes with the sax playing over top. Just a great sound to this one. Next is "El Congreso Pt. 1" and it really comes across as being an improv with no structure to start. It does settle back as spoken words arrive. He stops around 3 1/2 minutes in then that "shrill" sounding organ kicks in and it's relentless. Where's my codeine? We get a break 6 1/2 minutes in as the drums impress then the tempo picks up. This is good until the organ returns before 9 minutes pretty much to the end, although we get some nice sax that comes and goes.

"El Congreso Pt. 2" is chaotic with that organ sound early on. Spoken words after 2 minutes and they stop around the 6 minute mark. The organ dominates the rest of the way. "Simplon" is more like it as we get this uptempo start with drums, bass and sax leading the way. It does settle right down but then the organ shrills join in as it gets intense. Nice bass though before 2 minutes. It does settle down again and I like this so much better when it does.

I'm a little shocked that i'm not giving this 4 stars after all I read about it but this just doesn't do a lot for me for the reasons stated in my intro. I'm sure many high ratings will be forth coming but that's my 2 cents worth.

Report this review (#1317414)
Posted Saturday, November 29, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars I was puzzled with this album for years but I finally discovered my problem with it, thanks to my current audio gear. This album could be excellent but for me it's ruined by a rather poor mixing.

The keyboards have way too much space on the left channel and the rest of the band is crowded on the right channel. I want to get into that relentless groove but the distorted and constantly dominant organ (synth?) keeps me from doing so.

Strangely it was mixed by Brian Ellis and I can barely hear his saxophone most of the time.

The first track is easily the best one though and gives a glimpse of how better this album could have been. It clearly deserves a remix.

3 stars.

Report this review (#2042234)
Posted Tuesday, October 9, 2018 | Review Permalink

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