TPP - London, UK @ Push Bar | photo : Adrian Nettleship

 


The Psychic Paramount  Live 2002 The Franco-Italian Tour
Public Guilt, 2006 - Tiny Mix Tapes review | Rating: 5/5

Why is this a perfect record? Because it's an infinite, sweaty, and filthy mess is why. Ever see or hear a great live performance and then hear the same material given the studio treatment and felt like something's missing? Well, this is the first Psychic Paramount I ever heard (this disc is actually a repressing), and I can safely say: great band, but you HAVE TO buy them live. That's right, this is a gun. So's this album. Blow your own brains out, kid. Fuse them back together with modeling clay and toothpicks and jam it all back in the skull. Dig on the rest of the CD. Let it dig on you. All kindsa dirt-rain goin on here. Unevenly sized dirt-rain. Sideways dirt-rain. Even dirt-rain that seems to come straight up under the neath!

Spiky and chaotic, this is one of the best rock albums ever, because it takes all of the imagination and piqued rock-out savvy of previous band Laddio Bolocko, throws it at a roaring jet turbine, and everybody gets good and hurt. Everybody loses an eye. Some of this material is also on the group's debut album, Gamelan into The Mink Supernatural, which - I was surprised to hear - still retains that spiking-in-the-red sound quality (or maybe I just don't have a powerful enough stereo). So which do you buy? I'd suggest this one. It's decidedly more of a ragin' off-road experience, though both will equally steam-press your face flush to the back of your head -- no bs. Both releases sound as if someone was in a big hurry to hit the record button and to engineer it could only slowfade the shit in and out. Both releases feel like some massive, innate rock energy just barely contained by the wincing nearby mic sensors. The Franco-Italian Tour is a freak force of nature, even at its mathiest. The "Perpignan Pt. Two" half of the fourth track is a punchy good example of this side. Expanded for the title track of the studio album, the song works like a wall-pressed breaking news bulletin on TV. Only the stabbing alert trills just keep drowning out the actual report (I picture those blocky Wonder Showzen anchormen with all the twitching gauges on them). 

Can't pretend to have the key to perfection. Don't really need to. Psychic Paramount's got the powder keg to blow that particular fortress wide open. Maybe the perfection within will be obliterated -- or half-obliterated -- but we'll get the general idea. Perhaps perfect is never making the listener question what it is they're listening to. Perfect is putting out two albums of roughly the same material, because these feel more like super high-pressured combustions than compositions. It's immediate and miraculous rock that doesn't say: wait'll you see what we got next. Instead this is the best parts of the most raucous rock anthems charging into the face of a tornado. But maybe The Paramount will have something better down the line. It makes no difference to me. They've come out of the gates at what I assume to be the very top of their game. Come into close, combustible (i.e.-loud) contact with this stuff and you'll be as ready to jump out of your skin with excitement as I am. (Don't get too cozy in the silence between tracks four and five!)  - willcoma
 

 
 


 : LIVE AT THE TALKING HEAD REVIEW – BALTIMORE CITY PAPER - DEC. 6, 2006

Hard and Soft Machines       

Prog is back. This may not be news to you longtime math-rock fans out there – or to the millions who buy Tool, System of a Down, and Mars Volta records – but we’ll still pretend we’re kinda surprised for rhetorical purposes. As local opener Hymnen pulled serious concentration faces and worked its epic and intricate indie-rock time changes and dramatic vocal turns – “They’re all about… togetherness.” an audience member noted – the Talking Head filled up with a mix of hipsters, metalheads, and, weirdly, more preppy college kids and girls than you’d ever expect could be roused for a night of what a friend neatly summed up as “drug music.” Maybe a whole generation that grew up staring at Dad’s Roger Dean posters is finally coming of age.

The Psychic Paramount is made up three unassuming looking dudes from New York – two of whom used to be in the late, lamented, and little-heard Laddio Bolocko – who set up their basic guitar-bass-drums in traditional garage band formation and then proceeded to make a mockery of just about every heavy rock, neo-psychedelic, and otherwise loud and complicated band currently operating. Their amps weren’t even that big – and they don’t bother with vocals, ‘cause you wouldn’t have been able to hear them anyway.

See, thing is, Psychic Paramount’s music doesn’t feel complex because it’s so brutish. Frizzy-haired guitarist Drew St. Ivany’s hands were a constant blur – not in the neck-choking way a thrash guitarist’s would be during a solo, but a stream of strums that bled into a wall of silver-tinted feedback – and his short, angry solos sounded like My Lai field recordings subjected to academic slice and dice. On record, these are cool noises, possibly explained away by studio fuckery. Live, it’s straight what the hell? territory. Being stuck at the back of the club meant you couldn’t see whatever array of pedals St. Ivany had brought with him, but in a way you didn’t want to know what technological alchemy he was using to make this racket. At times his snarl and spray was loud and overwhelming enough to make you forget basic life-skills, your ATM pin number, and where you parked.

The bearded rhythm section of bassist Ben Armstrong and drummer Jeff Conaway played air traffic controllers, keeping the constantly shifting – and long, and probably at least partly improvised – songs from just swirling overhead. PP is as much of a body unit as a head trip, with Conaway filling the spaces around his stadium-rock stomp with cymbal crashes, and Armstrong’s bass was felt as much as heard. Some of the music’s most exciting moments came when Armstrong would shift from a low, formless rumble to an outright, sawn-off melody cutting through the guitar spuzz. There’s a moment in “Para5” – it sounds like a tape splice on the band’s 2005 Gamelan Into the Mink Supernatural – where the band fucks with you by cutting to dead air just as it’s about to reach crescendo. Live, everything just stopped – literally just a millisecond pause for breath – before St. Ivany’s guitar roared back in on a dime and left you grinning and drenched. Memo to all other rock bands: Quit now.

After that, just about anything was gonna be a step down.
 

 

Live in Allentown, PA 4/28/2005@ Jeff the Pigeon

 


Rad Company
– cuts

The Psychic Paramount - Gamelan Into the Mink Supernatural

The Psychic Paramount make psychedelic music, so we're going to pick a psychedelic drug that most closely resembles their style to make this review more clear. This is not your mom's shrooms. This isn't the music you would hear in your head if you were tripping the day away at your local park, watching the blueprints of the universe being refracted through the public fountain while blowing on a dandelion to watch the seeds of life you've just released into the breeze and on their way to the horizon of the future. Uh-uh. This is that nasty, thick-ass white blotter stuff that is laced with speed you bought off that dirty mechanic that lives on a houseboat. Not only that, you've regrettably taken five tabs too many because you wanted to make sure it would work. And now your in the back seat of your friend's older brother's Camaro on the way to some bonfire party out in the woods, hanging on to the "Oh Shit!" handle above your head, watching the burning witches racing beside you. And for once in your life you just want to send one word to God: "uncle".

O.K. Maybe it's not as intense as that flashback. But The Psychic Paramount are a marathon of mind-melting musical anxiety. An instrumental three piece comprised of rock essentials, they form one hell of maelstrom of free-acid-rock jamming that hardly ever loses it's wind. Like hard acid, they create a storm that takes control of all senses and then pushes the listener into new, unexpected sensations. The downside is that sometimes they hold their grip for too long, draining nerves until they are completely used up and desensitized, like the point in a trip where your brain kicks off and you just stare at the cracks in the wall.

"Megatherion" opens the salvo with a stream of backwards distortion, pushing the recording forever into-the-red. The drum and bass lock up on the next track ("Para5") and box each other around a tight and dirty loop, creating a canvas for the guitar player to sling his fretboard sweat and blood onto. The guitar player (Drew St. Ivany) is fucking W!CK!D. There are about a thousand tiny ideas for new songs packed into each one of his guitargasms. This is the post-rock you've always thought might have been out there, but none of your friends had turned you onto it yet. It doesn't daydream for half the song or meander through an ambiguous intro like it's many cousins. These drugs kick in immediately.

The Psychic Paramount also waste no time explaining themselves and tip their cards of influence right in the title (Gamelan Into the Mink Supernatural). Along with Xiu Xiu, they are hopefully a new crop of indie rock musicians tapping the vein of gamelan music for some much needed fresh influence. The magnum opus on this album, "Echoh Air" fades up through the floor with a sinister revolving bass line, while the drummer counter measures cymbal smashes that create the state of beautiful confusion that is gamelan. Yet the most important aspect of gamelan music has been overlooked by these guys. Dynamics. Yeah, sure, there's a few quick explosions from complete silence, but gamelan is more about tension and sudden unexpected releases. These two groups may be the first to shoot up the gamelan vibe into the mainline of indie rock and we can only hope that future groups take note. While the replay value of this album deteriorates quickly, it is a must hear due to its ambitiousness.

Also, like the Oxes, this is indie dude rock. I'm thinking of inventing a new musical ratings scale, sort of like a Ph meter, that shows a recording's sexual preference. This is at +4. That's pretty acidic for female ears.
 

 

TPP - London, UK - photo by Adrian Nettleship

 


Acid Reign
by Brent Burton

Washington City Paper
May 27, 2005

Were it not for the din of disco-punk, the underground’s other retro fixation du jour might be more noticeable. Granted, new-millennium psychedelic rock is a comparatively low-stakes aesthetic. But for every LCD Soundsystem, Le Tigre, or Out Hud, there are just as many bunches of hipsters who want nothing more than to envelop you in a purple haze or blind you with the sunshine of their love. Among the new breed are critic-feted folk-poppers (Joanna Newsom, Animal Collective, and Dungen), groundling-adored amp abusers (Comets on Fire, Sunn 0))), and D.C.’s own Dead Meadow), and even a Santana-loving commercial success (the Mars Volta, of course).

You might chalk this up to our rather late-’60s-ish political climate. After all, it’s easy enough to imagine that sanguinary Republican administrations make bohemians see paisley. Yet none of the aforementioned acts are particularly protest-minded—that is, if they sing at all. For many, I suspect, it’s a curiosity about indistinctly mapped musical margins, not anger toward Dubya, that’s fueling the fixation. The less generous would call it obscurantism; others would argue that passage of time has lessened the era’s baggage. Either option would go a long way toward explaining the popularity of the druggy Nixon-era reissues currently being pimped by every cool record store from San Francisco’s Aquarius to New York’s Other Music.

It’s probably safe to bet an original copy of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn that at least one of the guys from New York power trio the Psychic Paramount has frequented the latter’s Psychedelia section. More likely than not, it’s frontdude Drew St. Ivany, a long-haired, needles-in-the-red guitarist who is obviously well acquainted with the heftier elements of late-’60s and early-’70s acid rock. On his band’s improv-heavy, all-instrumental debut, Gamelan Into the Mink Supernatural, the fuzzed-up six-stringer leans hard on his whammy bar (“Para5”), jams along with his own echo (the title track), and—duh—conjures that extra-wasted vibe by recording some stuff backward (“Megatherion”).
 

 

TPP - London, UK - photo by Adrian Nettleship

 


But like the most imaginative of their peers, the Paramounters are no mere revivalists. St. Ivany’s frequently herky-jerky riffing also betrays a youth spent scouring the SST Records catalog or some similar claim to punk geekdom. And it would be downright neglectful not to mention some of his tighter, more machinelike lines, most likely left over from the guitarist’s late-’90s tenure with Can- and Neu!-influenced math-rock outfit Laddio Bolocko. On the six-minute “Echoh Air,” for example, he’s sometimes so precisely repetitive that his parts sound like tape loops—especially against the unhinged-seeming rumble and flail his bandmates whip up as accompaniment.

In this, the rest of the group is utterly single-minded. Throughout Gamelan, bassist Ben Armstrong, another Laddio Bolocko alumnus, channels the spirit of Jesus Lizard–Êstyle postpunk, chugging out surly, blues-free riffage apparently ad infinitum. And drummer Jeff Conaway bashes at his kit as if he knows not the meaning of the word “restraint”—or “genre,” for that matter, given his tendency to let rocky passages blur into jazzy ones and vice versa. More than anything, though, the Psychic Paramount’s rhythm section just sounds angry. Definitely not the kind of guys who would dig what Mom and Dad dug. “Incense and Peppermints”? Forget it. Some unknown “proto-metal” reissue on the Aquarius-approved Akarma label? Bingo.

Still, Gamelan comes across less like a collection of rock numbers than a free-jazz-style blowing session—an impression enhanced by the fact that there’s no singer and no singing. Mind you, the record is about as likely to be mistaken for New Thing as it is for real Indonesian gamelan: Sonicswise, it has more in common with ’60s alt-rock than with either of those styles. But the album is nonetheless informed by nonrock notions of tension-building and melody-carrying—an approach that’s been favored by forward-thinking heads for decades. In this sense, St. Ivany & Co. are traditionalists in the very best sense: In applying the recombinant spirit of the past to the sounds of the present, they’ve made a record that couldn’t have been released at any time other than right now.

...A friend who works as a soundman with some of the biggest luminaries of disco-punk recently tried to convince me that everything has been done before—that this is the dawn of a new era of “postoriginality.” He’s wrong, of course: Rock is healthy enough to glance over its shoulder without spewing out simulacra. “House of Sun” ain’t gonna to convince anyone of that. But “Seadrum,” just like the entirety of the Psychic Paramount’s debut, would make for a mighty fine case in point.CP
 

 

TPP - London, UK - photo by Adrian Nettleship

 
 

INTERZONA  
Napoli, Italy 

La cult band americana di scena al Sanakura (9 dicembre) nell’ambito della rassegna ::: CIRCUITI 2002 ::: di supporto ai Dat Politics. Il commento di Enzo Salegna ed Emanuele Olibano. Foto di Lucio Carbonelli.

- The Psychic Paramount e Dat Politics: lo stato sublime dell’arte. (Enzo Salegna:)

Da restare atterriti! Siamo al CBGB, al Knitting Factory, al Sanakura o altrove? A New York o Napoli? Mi sono chiesto in apertura di concerto degli Psychic Paramount. La risposta è stata Napoli ma vi assicuro che il live della band newyorkese ha saputo catapultarmi indietro nel tempo, nella capitale dell’omonimo stato americano, lasciandomi immaginare quello che forse provarono solo coloro che ebbero la fortuna di vedere, ed ascoltare innanzi tutto, per la prima volta, i mitici Suicide, ovviamente fatte le debite proporzioni ed i dovuti distinguo per la strumentazione usata. 

E come forse avrebbero fatto solo Alan Vega e Martin Rev, i due ex Laddio Boloko, Drew St.Ivany (chitarra) e Ben Armstrong (basso e chitarra), band seminale dell’underground a stelle e strisce, complice l’ex batterista giapponese degli Nmperign, Tatsuya Nakatani, hanno incendiato il piccolo locale partenopeo con una performance intensissima e senza fronzoli, folgorante, fatta di white noise, scorie industrial, decostruzionismo no wave ed al solito, blues urbano, destrutturato e maciullato, quello con il quale New York ha sempre avuto un rapporto molto viscerale (chi si ricorda dei Surgery, tanto per fare un esempio?). Si, perché sono convinto che quanto dichiarato nel 1980 da Alan Vega (“non ho mai ascoltato nulla di avanguardia e non ho mai pensato di fare musica d’avanguardia. Per me si è sempre trattato solo del blues di New York City”) potrebbe valere anche per gli Psychic Paramount, anzi sono certo che, potendo, loro confermerebbero. 
 

 

Ben Armstrong NYC | photo: Aran Tharp

 


Laddio Boloko meets Nmperign, dunque, per una proposta delirante ed avantgarde nel suo incedere free form, forte dell’attitudine dei Suicide e dell’impatto degli Swans di Filth, soluzione esplosiva a caricare la miccia della micidiale bomba d’apertura, un devastante attacco noise-core degno dei migliori Naked City di Torture Garden reso ancor più arrembante ed “accecante” dal faro bianco letteralmente sparato in faccia agli astanti, a fare terra bruciata di tutto quanto abbiamo ascoltato negli ultimi anni. Di certo, un ideale ground zero dal quale attendersi buone nuove per il futuro del rock, ennesimo grido sofferto ma liberatorio partorito dalla big apple volto a sublimare l’Arte fuori da schemi precostituiti, affrancandola dalle avvilenti gabbie del music-biz. 

Detto questo, che dire di Drew St.Ivany impegnato nello stuprare la sua chitarra, addirittura gettata con non chalance ai piedi del pubblico prima di allontanarsi momentaneamente dal palco, perso tra cavi, pedali ed elettroniche di ogni sorta ma sempre pronto a dare il via ad impennate soniche di mirabile forza e vigore? O della straordinaria potenza esibita dalla sezione ritmica che ha mostrato un batterista che dire eccezionale è poco o di Ben Armstrong, abbigliato con con lenti scure e copricapo tipo ultimo Alan Vega (una strana coincidenza?), che nel corso dello show ha anche imbracciato la chitarra prima di suonare uno dei pezzi più intensi e dilatati del concerto, risultato essere qualcosa di molto vicino allo struggente lirismo dei Godspeed You Black Emperor, prima di tornare al basso? Beh!, a mio avviso, sublimi e definitivi, non c’è che dire, ed un concerto straordinario, difficile da far rivivere attraverso le parole, costituito da una sola impietosa suite di 45’ che ha meritato il lungo applauso degli astanti, unico e giusto tributo per questi impagabili figli degeneri dell’America del capitalismo e della globalizzazione, parti involuti di quegli alienanti sobborghi metropolitani che ancora bruciano e si ribellano allo stato delle cose.

The Psychic Paramount estetica punk e indomito piglio rivoluzionario. Li attendiamo fiduciosi alla prova dell’album ma gli ingredienti per far gridare al capolavoro ci sono tutti!

In conclusione, mi preme fare un solo appunto: non è possibile che in una città come Napoli siano così poche le persone che partecipano ad appuntamenti Altri che dovrebbero essere invece di grande richiamo per chi ama l’Arte che si fa Cultura attraverso la continua ricerca, la pura immersione in una dimensione diversa che rifiuta il compromesso e che, all’insegna della più Alta libertà d’espressione, si fa fucina di idee e volano di continuo rinnovamento del pensiero. Vanno bene i Tiromancino ma chi non vuole chiudersi prospettive di crescita, che questi saltuari eventi targati Wakeupandream innegabilmente offrono, dovrebbe reagire non solo con le parole. Non è possibile che questi concerti sappiano solo coinvolgere gli ormai sempre meno estimatori di certe sonorità e non essere catalizzatori degli interessi, tanto per dire, dei tanti universitari che pur affollano il capoluogo campano.

Non è possibile che lo sforzo di questi tre giovani partenopei, e mi riferisco ai componenti di Wakeupandream, decisi a far passare per Napoli ciò che ogni altra capitale o città d’Europa sarebbe accolto o meglio accoglie con ben altro interesse e calore, debba essere frustrato da un atteggiamento paranoico e poco aperto al confronto con il nuovo e che, in buona sostanza, può solo determinare appiattimento ed inaridimento culturale. Non è possibile … lasciamo perdere! - succoacido,IT
 

 
 


SUICIDE / THE PSYCHIC PARAMOUNT - Roma, Classico Village, 6/12/02

Considerati a ragione un gruppo di culto grazie a quell’album d’esordio che, a 25 anni di distanza, graffia e annichilisce ancora, i Suicide arrivano nella capitale attesi da una schiera di appassionati, memori di live set estremi che, a quanto si dice, causavano l’estromissione brutale del duo newyorchese dai locali della Big Apple. Ovviamente la serata romana è stata ben diversa, a cominciare dai gruppi di supporto: in primo luogo la grande sorpresa (almeno per me) del ritorno degli A-10, storico combo punk/r’n’r devoto al verbo detroitiano/australiano (vale a dire Radio Birdman!), che ha proposto una serie di brani nuovi, comunque fedeli al loro stile, e una bella cover dei Velvet Underground. La formazione è rimaneggiata, ma la classe si sente eccome, ragazzi miei! Il secondo gruppo è situato su tutt’altro versante, il nome non mi dice nulla: The Psychic Paramount; poi scopro che sono alcuni ex Laddio Bolocko, che ricordo essere una buona band. E infatti il suono non è dissimile: avant rock con echi crimsoniani, ardite sperimentazioni, asperità chitarristiche e qualche momento psichedelico finiscono per dividere gli astanti fra entusiasti e indispettiti. Giunge infine l’ora dei Suicide: un’ovazione continua per loro, che sorridono e scherzano e stringono mani; sono sempre dei grandi, non c’è dubbio, ma non ci si può aspettare qualcosa di stravolgente poiché anche le basi musicali e i suoni di Martin Rev sono meno "agghiaccianti" di una volta, diciamo più moderni. In ogni caso buone le versioni di Rocket USA e Cheree, altalenanti i brani dell’ultimo cd, in definitiva poche rivelazioni e la certezza di aver visto un duo che invecchia con dignità. - Italo Rizzo

 

 
 


宇宙是一团高分贝迷幻

作者: 胡凌云


先说说The Psychic Paramount。 他们在那天晚上十点摸上了台,突然发出了一声巨响,令我们永远记住了这个名字。

此前半小时,我还在家中,只是顺手点开了当地演出网站上的一首试听曲目,然后就决定立刻提前出门去研究这支为Acid Mothers Temple暖场的乐队。虽然及时赶到了现场,但我最终还是没来得及准备好——吉他、贝司和鼓手懒懒散散地从三个方向走上台,很象是要调音,舞台周围也没有人,那天晚上本来就不多的观众都在酒吧台附近聊天。然后,轰的一声,四座皆惊。

也许有很多人和我一样, 顺其自然地把这支闻所未闻的乐队想象成和Acid Mothers Temple一样的大麻型迷幻乐队。但它是一支安非他命型实验乐队。它的出现,完满了一个东西方相会的夜晚——这应该是后话。

纽约三人乐队The Psychic Paramount两年前就在欧洲巡演(根据官方网站,那是乐队组建不到一周后发生的事件),发行现场专辑,摄制短片,如今,他们依然没有唱片公司和经纪人,正式发行的作品都刻在Ritek牌CD-R上,而且,根据乐队网站介绍,已经全部脱销。

还好,我在现场买到了乐队的Origins and Primitives Vol.1。这张专辑给人的第一印象,是温和的、纯粹的实验性。比如,第一首作品的名字叫Solo Electric Guitar with pre-recorded drums。这种命名方式,完全可以令你的脑海中闪过一串二十世纪先锋作曲家的大名。这首作品中预先录制的鼓声如同在空旷的火车车厢里听穿过隧道的回响,而音高连续变化的吉他则绵延着模拟电子乐器的旋律。

乐队显然是依赖于传统电声乐器的——这也是当晚两支乐队关键的共同点。Echoh Air 稳定的节奏,跳动的细密音符, 全是由多轨的电吉他叠加而成的,在高潮的时候听起来宛若老式风琴的即兴华彩。长达十多分钟的Microphone 2,也是依靠单电吉他的混响和环绕效果,营造出玲珑的、疾速的空间感。它们不是噪音,也并非舞曲,仅仅用声音的堆叠,就创造了属于流水线和高速路时代的迷幻。

在现场,这类作品往往在速度和力度上极尽狂暴。吉他/贝司/鼓威风凛凛、颠覆性十足的合奏,让我想起当年在北京见识的Sabot。不过,这支乐队的妙处是,有时你甚至不能确定乐队的演奏和他们的声音有什么关系。比如,专辑中暴戾的The Eyeglass/Sex Operation听起来象一支全力出击的乐队, 但音响洪水中的三件乐器是鼓,风琴和磁带机。在现场, 鼓手使用了装有放大器的接触式麦克风,另外两个阴谋家使用了loop effects 踏板,所以,即便没有磁带机, 但我却似乎听到了它造出的幻象,躲在一阵阵啸叫的声浪后面,是将要复活的机器。当时没来得及录音,但如今听他们2002年的欧洲现场专辑,还是被这种声响窒息。这支乐队在现场的能量是令人敬畏的,而且彻底离经叛道——和他们相比,后面上场的日本人简直就是在复古。
 

 
 


在现场,我还买了Sabers的唯一专辑Specter。这是鼓手Jeff Conway和Charlie Hines的乐队。录音师Martin Bisi也来自纽约,而且合作者名单有诸多名人:Sonic Youth, John Zorn,Keiji Haino,Swans, Bill Laswell, Golden Palominos,Fred Frith和Brian Eno等人。这是一张操作取代了演奏的实验CD。他们显然是在探索乐器、音箱和麦克风的开放式回路——一个天然而莫测的效果器。该乐队显然是在撰写一本声学应用的手册。没有吓人的引子,甚至没有节奏,在缓慢变化中令人迷醉或是颤栗。这就是传说中的Drone?

和这些来历不明的先锋相比,Acid Mothers Temple显然更容易了解。比如,研究一下他们目前签约的Alien8,就算是很好的入门。这家加拿大厂牌拥有安静的Shalabi Effect, Set Fire To Flames, 和Molasses(成员来自Shalabi Effect和在我国已经相当著名的Godspeed You! Black Emperor), 这些西方乐队多少带有迷幻色彩,直接或间接地采用了东方的声音和意识。俨然是一个音乐群落。另一方面,该厂牌签下了Merzbow 和前两年在我国曾经火爆一时的Keiji Haino等日本噪音大拿, 在东方人看来,这些疯子带有西方的颠覆性,在西方人看来,他们体现了噪音的根源性。旗下其它人员,诸如屡次参加Sonar的中年作曲家Francisco Lopez ,和五月份曾经在此为Trans Am暖场的疯癫小子Les Georges Leningrad,把它的经营范围向实验和朋克继续延伸。

Acid Mothers Temple在这样一个厂牌落户是最合适的了。这支乐队的全名是Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.。U.F.O乃是Underground Freak Out的趣味缩写,但如果你已经将其理解为那种天外来客,乐队的灵魂吉他手Kawabata Makoto想必也不会反对——因为他声称自己小时候就听见过UFO发出的声音, “然后在听见塔布拉演奏之后立刻就认出了这种声音。”

AMT的现场便是由一阵环绕来自宇宙的飘忽合成器之声揭开序幕的。这种声音几乎是一个半小时现场中的标志性声音,而且也经常在AMT唱片中浮现。Kawabata从来不认为自己在演奏乐器,他认为我们被宇宙中无所不在永不止歇的音响环绕,他只是一架接收机,收到这些信号,然后转化为大家可以听见的声音。

这一点,在AMT的上一张专辑Electric Heavyland中得到了体现。这个名字自然让人想到了Jimi Hendrix,而内容,从迷幻的意境,到对宇宙的感知,都发展了那位神仙的思路。自然,这宇宙必然充满了吉他,然而却没有大师——吉他虽然用尽了回授,延时,摇把等等十八般武艺,但纯粹是功能性的,只为了叠加出致密的白噪音漩涡。那些水波和抛物线式的电子音响提醒我们:女士和先生们,我们正漂浮在太空中;而这些无法无天的吉他表明:我们正在被吸进一个黑洞。在鬼魅般的人声飘散后,专辑几乎是在一场流星雨式的纷繁景色中收场。这是AMT最暴躁的作品, 但也是Kawabata听到的宇宙——他显然把宇宙深处的混沌理解为它的和谐。他信仰宇宙的基本规律而不是佛教,于是就可以把极乐世界搞得喧闹无比。
 

 
 


Electric Heavyland忘记调性和结构,拒绝旋律和歌词,但请不要把它归入纯噪音范畴——之所以期待AMT的现场,原因在于它的精华是演奏,这种音乐很大程度上是由演奏者的想象力和体能决定的,而不是其他自动化方式,更不是随机的。The Psychic Paramount使用了磁带录音机,便是对体能/乐器的极限和时基概念的突破,是实验性的典型象征。和学生模样的他们相比,AMT的概念老得象The Grateful Dead,而且确实头发胡子一大把。

Electric Heavyland也令我想起自己听见过的AMT最早的作品之一,New Geocentric World Of Acid Mothers Temple。那首“Psycho Buddah”中扫荡一切的飓风长达二十一分钟堪称经典。不落俗套之处在于,它高速旋转中的每一个瞬间,还是浮现着很多微妙的细节。这类作品,完全就是濒死体验的失真版配乐,身体受到抑制,但想象力却八方飞散。

当然,AMT有他们的另一面。现场的第二首作品便充满了苍劲的迷幻吉他和不断反复的主旋律,更有颤抖的声音和古老的吟唱。这算得上是他们的又一种标志性声音了。在现场,这类作品显然占据了主流。毕竟,这次巡演是为乐队的新专辑作宣传。

这张不久前发行的Mantra of Love和Electric Heavyland有天壤之别。如其名,这是一个抒情的世界。从技术上说,它是一个调性的世界,拥有反复演绎的主题,拥有间奏,拥有能够在自由演化中表现峰回路转的速度和强度,拥有狂暴和清澈。专辑照例由两首长达二十多分钟的作品组成,“La Le Lo"是欧洲近地中海区域的民歌(相关的历史照片也成了专辑的封面),洋溢着古老的民谣气质;第二首“L’ambition dans le miroir”中,流星的电子音效,Cotton Casino的女声,都像是在遥远的背景里,穿梭着星际的缠绵讯息。

在现场,乐队演绎了另一首民谣化的旧作La Novia。这首作品的录音室版本长达40分钟,是一首拥有各种变化但几乎没有失真吉他的罕见作品,而且,民谣化的歌唱显然加上了效果尾音。现场他们由清唱和合唱开始,把它压缩到了十分钟以内。显然,和他们日本现场录音的41分钟版比较,即便是这类歌唱式作品,即兴仍然可以令其每次都面目全非。

现场的结尾是一首三十分钟的作品。它虽然长,听起来象是很常规的英式摇滚作品,几个简单的和弦在宇宙声的陪伴下以非常缓慢的加速度演进。在一阵湍流之后几乎是重新演奏了一遍,但加入了人声和不断solo的吉他——其实他们并没有主音的定义。他们信仰阻挡一切的声墙,能逃脱的,只有那些奇幻眩目的合成声音。至于主题,结尾的这一曲显然是一个从有序到无序之间不断循环的概念。

AMT的很多手法其实并不新鲜,他们只是拾起了一些不那么摇滚的东西。Kawabata早期接触音乐时,受到的是古典音乐和印度音乐的影响,他对The Beatles并不感冒, 真正使他震惊的是具象音乐和斯托克豪森。而令他着迷的是电子音乐。

在最初组队的时候,Kawabata的梦想是一支“深紫”式硬摇滚乐队和一支斯托克豪森式电子乐队的组合体。现在看来,他并没有实现这个梦想。你可以说他们是摇滚的,因为他们也甩着拖把式头发, 自我陶醉的快感取代了冒险的紧张和新奇。你可以说他们是实验的,因为他们做出来的东西不是可以翻唱的。他们与摇滚和实验好像都有距离,但显然不在两者之间的某一点。好象是到了天上,因为他们喜欢宇宙;也可能到了地下,因为他们体现着深厚的根源性。

不过,Kawabata倒是成功地活在了六七十年代,因为他的乐队和八十年代以后的事物都没有什么关系。而The Psychic Paramount,则进一步指出了电声和电子的区别。两支属于二十一世纪的乐队,从东方和西方走来,把便宜的合成器和效果器变成了洪水猛兽,横行在这个笔记本电脑缺席的夜晚。
 

 
 


ORIGINS AND PRIMITIVES

Review in SPIN magazine – February 2007

This prog-core power trio makes the Mars Volta sound like Phil Collins-era Genesis, such is the Paramount’s pounding heft, guitar histrionics, and complicated menace. (Check out 2005’s amazing Gamelan Into the Mink Supernatural for the full story.) This double CD is essentially an archive of Paramount guitarist Drew St. Ivany’s ovoid guitar experiments from before the band existed. Save for a few grimy demos with drums, disc one echoes and reverbs like Philip Glass ringtones. Disc two’s electro-acoustic shimmer is chill-out music for basement show geeks. - JOE GROSS


Skyscraper magazine

THE PSYCHIC PARAMOUNT
Origins and Primitives Vol. 1+2 CD – No Quarter

The Psychic Paramount goes after only the biggest fish. With their debut, Gamelan Into the Mink Supernatural, they made a monster, a sprawling, omnivorous, instrumental force that blasted through decades of rust in search of something raw and primeval. Though not a true follow-up, Origins chases the same targets but with different weapons. Composed of material recorded prior to Gamelan, these two discs show a band bent on exploring the barest structure of their maximalist architecture, using only a guitar, various loops, and, on one track, organ. The opening jam, “Solo Electric Guitar with Pre-Recorded Drums,” rides a rolling, serrated drone that expertly evokes the free-form collaborations of Fripp and Eno. Other tracks employ in turn brittle, repetitive riffs, clamorous static and cyclic, hypnotic noodling with the same sure command, calling to mind most of the heavy hitters of minimalist, conceptual or experimental music: Faust, This Heat, Terry Riley, and a few others. But this isn’t mimicry: The Psychic Paramount understand the shamanistic power of sound, the ways forceful music (or musical force) can tap into oceanic energies that register directly with the crocodile mind. Stripping things down has only made the power of the edifice more apparent, like exposed beams on modernist buildings. This band knows it’s onto something massive; more importantly, it knows that everything else is unimportant. (Reed Jackson)