Posts Tagged ‘Dutch Psych’

Jacco Gardner

Over the last five years or so, Jacco Gardner has created a world dedicated to spreading the seeds of swirling psychedelia. His debut for Trouble in Mind leaped out of almost nowhere, preceded by a few singles that hinted at what was to come, though nothing could prepare for how dense and complete the vision of his debut album would be. With his follow-up and jump to Polyvinyl, he’d only deepen the hues and expand his Papier-mâché psychedelic wonderland. Both albums were anchored by Gardner’s grey-streaked vocals that carried with them a sense of melancholic weight, so its most surprising that his third LP takes the bold leap to strip them away entirely.

Inspired by a couple of key pieces of equipment, a Dynachord Echochord mini – a cheap echo unit – and an MS20 mini synthesizer, the album began to take shape in the wake of the release of Hypnophobia. Both of the pieces have a distinct quality and a dreamy voice, but more importantly they can both be overdriven to create a distortion that adds a lot of the prominent character to Somnium. Rooted in the burbling Kosmiche psychedelia of Cluster and Tangerine Dream and the often whimsical works of Bo Hansson, the record picks up a cue or two from the kind of episodic, story-heavy progressives of the ‘70s. At its heart, Gardner seems to be cutting this album from the same cloth that Alain Goraguer wrought La Planète Sauvage. While Somnium doesn’t play as an outright concept record, its definitely building its own sci-fi landscape that leaves the story up to the listener. Its an endlessly absorbing soundtrack that twists itself in slow knots for the listeners’ amusement.

Much like the recent work of Frank Maston, the album also owes a debt to the ‘70s library collections that dotted the television and film landscape, though Gardner is creating a far more cohesive statement here. He trips quite a few of the same triggers as Matson, but dives a bit further down the luminescent rabbit hole. The record is whimsical, without becoming too precious, poking at the telltale hallmarks of ‘60s psychedelia, without becoming a cartoon litany of blacklight mushroom posters in the process. While the album might lop off a good chunk of fans who’d come in the past for the psych-pop but would ruffle at the lack of vocals, it should also open up Gardner to the avid army of synth worshipers out there. As much as any lost Waxworks or Death Waltz soundtrack, Somnium is a heady trip carved out of dedication to the authenticity of synth as a terraforming tool to create psychedelic landscapes. In that regard, its well worth going back time an again to find new corners of Somnium to inhabit.

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Altin Gün

Amsterdam collective Altin Gün wrap the past in a blur of funk bounce and psychedelic touches that pull from ’70s luminaries Baris Manço, Selda Bağcan and Erkin Koray. The album rockets through time, culling inspiration from Turkish folk songs passed down generations and welding their aesthetics to blistering saz riffs, woozy organs, fuzz-crusted bass and fluid guitars that push the album into a league on par with those ’70s inspirations they applaud. More than just a concept, though, the record boasts an infectious rhythm that drives the album past mere psychedelic freeform or nostalgia trip and marks it as a celebratory well of dance and euphoria.

Though the collective all contain some Turkish heritage, they also rope in their individual backgrounds, including ’60s Indonesian and Dutch psych scenes that were each vibrant in their own ways. Adding an additional pedigree, the album was mixed by vaunted Dutch psych star Jacco Garder, long himself a melting pot of influences from the wide spectrum of psychedelia. Together the group and Gardner have crafted an album that sparkles with life, fuzz, bodily rhythm and kaleidoscopic colors. Even for for fans not familiar with the lineage of Turkish psych, this works on several levels as a potent headtrip rife for volume and repeated plays.




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Altin Gün – “Tatli Dile Guler Yuze”

With unlimited access to a decent swath of the world’s recorded music and YouTube rabbit holes runnin’ rampant, it’s constantly possible to set your sights on a sound and make the most obscure vision your muse. With Khruangbin picking up the yoke of Thai funk and giving it a home in Texas, it seems just as likely that the ’70s Turkish psych of Baris Manço, Selda Bağcan and Erkin Koray, long held up by labels like Pharaway Sounds and Finders Keepers, should take root with a young group in Amsterdam. The first single from On is a dead ringer for the work of Selda, maybe with a touch of Hungarian psych goddess Sarolta Zalatnay thrown in as well and it scratches an itch for those driving ’70s Turkish psych and folk records that have been making the reissues rounds over the years. Following pretty quick on the heels of their great Spanish post-punk comp from earlier in the year, Les Disques Bongo Joe are proving that they’re a label making a name for themselves and worth keeping an eye on.




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Maston

Usually talks of psychedelia around here involve some amount of fuzz, bombast or a drench in effects. Frank Maston has always taken a decidedly lighter step into psychedelia. His records are draped in the soft cues and clever subtitles that populated the mix I explored a while back. It’s little wonder he once shared label space with Jacco Gardner, as he also shares with him a propensity for lush psych dreamscapes that bubble slightly and burn away at the edges like filmstrips caught on the bulb.

He’s setup Tulips like a Library record from sleeve to song, emulating the kind of records that enamor collectors – releases from Pasquale Castiglione & Paolo Casa, Remigio Ducros, or Alessandro Alessandroni. The record conjures visions of Italian beaches, winding roads along the California coast and decadent interiors fit with Dutch Modern furnishings and ankle deep shag. Maston has clearly spent some time with his influences and absorbed every shred of DNA from their work he could. He’s not only created a loving homage, he’s also crafted another fine entry to the lineage of psych Library issues.

Much like the Belbury Circle record from earlier this week, this is a great example of an artist continuing the traditions of instrumental music. It’s actually a wonder, given the tone and scope of the record, how Maston hasn’t ended up working with Ghost Box at this point. Needless to say this is a key pickup for those interested in soft psych, Italian Library issues or setting the right tone to your newly constructed ’60s grotto.




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Maston – “Swans”

After a solid LP a few years back on Trouble In Mind and an EP/Rarities collection Frank Maston is back under his surname as a psych-pop provocateur on his own imprint Phonoscope. In the interim he’s been busy as a touring member of Jacco Gardner’s band and working with several members of The Allah-Las on side projects.

The first cut from his upcoming LP Tulips sees the songwriter again working in a vein of whimsical soft psych that pulls from Brian Wilson to The Focus Group in its approach to childlike wonder. The accompanying video and graphics play up the ’60s connection nicely with a faded filmstrip feel and some BBC echoing design. This track feels entirely like its part of a larger whole, and while nice on its own, it will be intriguing to know how this fits into Maston’s larger picture.



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