Psi-Fi 1997 / Mental Experience 2018
Non-existent ensemble enroll in existential experiment of extolling sonic edifices.
Laid down in an on-the-spot fashion in the mid-’70s by a loose posse of kindred spirits, all bent on forbidden pleasures of improv, this short album was allegedly masterminded by Toby Robinson for his Pyramid Records, but its provenance doesn’t really matter, as the grooves contained within have magnetic pull to them. True to Krautrock tropes, four wigouts and an interlude on display feel heavy enough to induce a bout of headbanging and spaced out enough to produce vertigo, the perky, motorik “Ship On Fire” reflecting the players’ restless stance and desire to tune into cosmic wisdom, and there’s enough rocking to have fun alongside more cerebral action.
There also seems to be a solid compositional framework for the musicians to adhere to before flying off on a tangent, so opener “Heathen” rages and raves around the raga-splashed riff, as guitars glide above organ oscillations emanating from BIRTH CONTROL’s Zeus B. Held – the only prominent name on the sleeve – and mantra-like vocals nail the rhythm down to the bass line until a flamenco gallop is unleashed. Still, Poseidon’s voice feeding into the drone of “Leaves Are Falling” rather takes away from the number’s six-string filigree, and it’s only synthesizer’s blitz and the glimmer of the song’s “Black Light” extension that save it from utter monotony. Same can’t be said about the 11-minute-long pairing of “Crazy Hat” and “Kingdom Of Gabriel” whose pastoral ripple is shattered with FX-laden rawk ‘n’ roll which has all the rights to be beamed across the universe. If only this cathedral party lasted, the project could be an altar to pray at; while it played, it was worship-worthy.