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The Psychic Paramount - Live 2002: The Franco-Italian Tour CD (album) cover


The Psychic Paramount

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Chris H
3 stars Wild screeching, tapes running backwards, maniacal drumming, random explosions of feedback mixed together with off-key bass eruptions and bits of silence?

No, that is not an excerpt from the recipe to making an Alfred Hitchcock movie score, it is a description of a few of the many different experiences one may encounter on this incredibly strange, yet unorthodoxly delightful musical extravaganza. From the cover until the end of the last track, this is one big giant freak out party.

The opening track, "Lyon" is a shocking mix of feedback and screeching guitars that almost sound like nails sliding down a chalkboard, but somehow I get the strange feeling that it was meant to be that way. This screeching atmosphere continues into "Paris Pt. One" and halfway into "Paris Pt. Two" before our madman behind the kit, Tatsuya Nakatani starts bringing some major skill into the picture. The band actually starts to jam with a fixed beat and only limited guitar wanderings and Nakatani drives the whole show home before erupting into a drum solo of monstrous proportions with about 1:30 left in the track. "Napoli/Perpignan Pt. One" starts out with an almost haunting mixture of rhythmic backgrounds and spinning sound effects that sound vaguely like screams in the darkness. Silence comes around 4:00 in, and then a fixed rhythmic jam starts, and this is actually quite relaxing compared to the unstructured romping of the previous tracks. "Perpignan Pt. One" is one of my favorite live snippets of all time, mainly due to the fact that the band finally tames a little bit and kicks the structure up a notch. The bass and drums match beats for the first time on the album and the guitar actually has a sense of direction that it lacked for the first few tracks. "Ex-Visitations" brings that show to a close, and this is not a good way to end it. Repetitive chords with random percussion smashing? Doesn't work for me, sorry.

All in all, I guess this is one of those shows that you need to experience live, right before your eyes. I'm sure all of the guitar wandering and drum pounding is much more appealing when you can actually take a visual glimpse of the skill of the musicians, but on CD, it just doesn't transfer to something that is listener friendly.

A great attempt to fuse psychedelia and avant-garde, but let's keep adventures like these for a live crowd only.

3 stars, go see these guys live instead.

Report this review (#125295)
Posted Saturday, June 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Live 2002: The Franco-Italian Tour is the debut album by New York City-based psychedelic/noise-rock trio the Psychic Paramount, recorded, as its title might suggest, during a 2002 tour of Europe. Much of the material on this release was later reworked for the band's debut album Gamelan into the Mink Supernatural, but if possible it's even more energetic live, making this far from a pointless cash-in. Like their debut, it's harsh and distorted throughout, though it's actually slightly less noisy than the studio album. The melodic elements and complexity present on the studio releases are still present here, but it's still noisier than nearly everything else not classified as "noise-rock", and not for the faint of heart in the slightest. And don't turn your volume up too high; you'll blow out your speakers/headphones and end up with tinnitus. If you like their full-lengths, you'll probably like this, and if you don't like this, you probably won't like their full-lengths.
Report this review (#1577867)
Posted Sunday, June 12, 2016 | Review Permalink

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