Psi-Fi 1997 / Mental Experience 2018
Apocryphal artifact from Krautrock halcyon days that challenges its own provenance to blind the face of eternity.
There are creations which aren’t so difficult to define yet so hard to place on conventional timeline, and “Pyramid” is one of those. Said to be laid down by producer Toby Robinson in 1975-76 in Cologne, it contains a single track, the 33-minute “Dawn Defender” – originally split down the middle to fit a vinyl LP, but it’s not the scope that makes the record special. The music does – as does the suspicion that the platter possibly never existed because the album’s aural landscape defies its authenticity – and, by proxy, the authenticity of the eponymous label’s entire output.
Still, thoughts of how the album came to be shouldn’t dwell in the listener’s mind, as cymbals’ splashes spread across the epic infuse it with a life presence which is impossible to ignore. What can seem abstract or formless at the start will turn all the tuneful secrets into proper structure as the track progresses, guitar ripples solidifying into riffs and slider rolling up and down frets. As a result, delight and awe become the order of the day.
The record’s overall picture emerges from distant echoes and eerie soundscapes and builds towards a full-blown synthesizers-kissed rock assault that’s interspersed with serene, if pregnant with expectancy, Morricone-esque passages whose vastness is pinned down to this melodious map by the bulging bass line. Surprises abound, there’s a mesmeric raga in the middle of this ever-shifting extravaganza before new-age-like dynamics quietly kick in to let a tentative storm abate and take the drift back to echoes and a quasi-orchestral grandeur.
So ultimately, it doesn’t matter which era these sounds come from or whether they’re authentic; music-wise and emotionally, “Pyramid” is a real deal.