Psi-Fi 1996 / Mental Experience 2017
Faux artifact crawls from under the mist of time and falls into a mystery of sorts.
Purportedly recorded in the early ’70s by Toby Robinson for his Pyramid label, this album defies its own mythology by sounding suspiciously modern, and that doesn’t look like the case of retrofuturism. Still, there’s logic in “Cozmic Corridors” never seeing the light of day, even in terms of legend, because such a thing should belong to the night. File it under “Horror” to make sense of what’s going on there.
And something is going on there. Creepily riveting, “Dark Path” meanders between wobbly synthesizer effects and funereal percussion – so sparse as to open the sonic space for spectral apparitions. These become palpable before coming together, via delicate keyboard-delivered drops, on “The Summit” where gothic organ would be rather lighthearted if not for the splashes of solar disturbance which ruffle its jazzy intent. More frightening, Pauline Fund’s processed vocals stage an alien opera in “Mountainside” to roll the shadows of folk away, into a tense, slightly vibrating gloom, and then bring it all back for the solemn swell of “Niemand Versteht” – meaning “No One Understands” – whose whispers interweave with guitar filigree and drown in drone.
From there, “Daruber” is emerging like a slow stream of clear water – only to be muddled with a mantra-like one-note chant and bleak buzz. Gothic yet otherworldly, these passageways provide quite a trip, and although adventure hardly awaits you in the end, the thrill is worth taking it.