PSY­CHE­DELIC PROG

Take a trip with ROB HUGHES as he seeks out the lat­est mind-ex­pand­ing mu­sic.

Prog - - Limelight -

These isles have few bet­ters when it comes to pump­ing out mu­si­cal ec­centrics. And those ec­centrics don’t get much finer than Nick Salo­man, more com­monly known by the name The Be­vis Frond. Af­ter a trio of reis­sues in Au­gust – The Aun­tie Win­nie Al­bum, Be­vis Through The Look­ing Glass and Trip­tych – he’s now given Son Of Wal­ter (Fire Records) a de­cent spruce-up.

First re­leased in 1996, the al­bum marked a re­turn to his ear­li­est MO, dis­pens­ing with the band al­to­gether and al­low­ing Salo­man to in­dulge his vi­sion and cre­ate a one-man opus from his Waltham­stow bed­room. A true thing of won­der it is too, Salo­man’s guile­less voice and wiggy gui­tar out front, backed by mul­ti­tracked har­monies and every­thing from or­gan to theremin. Bark­ing Or False Point Blues is heavy psychedelia, off­set by aching med­i­ta­tions like For­given and Re­quiem. Best of all is the epic 12-minute drone Gar­den Aero­plane Trap.

The sim­i­larly off­beat Nick Nicely re­turns with Sleep Safari (Tapete), which is billed as “a homage to un­con­scious­ness, lyri­cally ex­plor­ing sleep’s mys­ter­ies through a sur­re­al­ist eye”. True to that de­scrip­tion, the al­bum im­merses the veteran song­writer in a trippy nether­world dom­i­nated by elec­tron­ica.

It’s an in­fin­itely rich, dense af­fair, with Nicely play­ing with ex­per­i­men­tal sounds and phased ef­fects, with­out ever los­ing sight of his nat­u­ral gift for melody. Glid­ing is skanky dub with a prog twist, Dance Away sways into fo­cus through mounds of syn­thetic fuzz and Rain­maker is all strob­ing am­bi­ence. So­lar Wind, mean­while, sounds like 4AD’s idea of an acid rave.

Equally likely to bend your head is Blessed Poi­sons (Peo­ple In The Sky), the third out­ing from Ital­ian duo Andrea Bel­len­tani and Simon Mac­cari. Trad­ing as The Di­aphanoids, they bring hard-edged in­dus­trial noise to the psy­che­delic realm, cre­at­ing am­bi­ent pieces that throb with an ag­gres­sive pulse. Voices float in the ether, sus­tained rhythms un­der­pin great swirls of noise (par­tic­u­larly on the im­pres­sive Too Many Stars And Not Enough Night) and there’s even a dash of Wire to be found in the propul­sive swirl of My Friends Can Fly.

On a more con­ven­tional trip are

L.A. Witch, whose self-ti­tled de­but al­bum on the Sui­cide Squeeze la­bel mar­ries throbby re­verb gui­tars to garage riffs and drowsy vo­cals. The whole thing feels like a vivid fever dream, from the louche psych of Brian to the muggy Baby In Blue Jeans. Led by vo­cal­ist Sade Sanchez, the all-girl trio tap into the seedy tra­di­tions of Cal­i­for­nian noir while also re­call­ing such 80s mis­cre­ants as The Dream Syn­di­cate and Green On Red.

For those who like their psychedelia to be just a lit­tle brighter, An­tibalas are an ideal pick-me-up. Their first re­lease in five years, Where The Gods Are In Peace (Dap­tone) finds Brook­lyn’s favourite Afrobeat combo in ma­jes­tic form. Singer Duke Amayo leads the charge as they rush through a eu­phoric mix of high­life, cos­mic funk and free-roam­ing jazz, com­plete with the fat­test trum­pets this side of Don­ald Byrd.

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