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18 September 2016

Hair & Skin Trading Company - 'Psychedelische Musique' (Freek)

One of the great joys of this gradual and probably quixotic project to work through my vinyl accumulation in alphabetica order is the discovery of records that I didn't remember I owned, or didn't remember what they sounded like. Psychedelische Musique has been hiding here for years, spun only once or twice since I first purchased it, secondhand, back in 2001. 'An American comes to the UK to buy an American record?' said the shopowner with a sarcastic drawl (and you can guess which infamous shopowner it was, if I tell you said shop was located in Leicester) but I didn't let his intimidating aggressive nerdyness deter me - who gives a fuck where I'm from or where a record is from or where it's purchased? And anyway, this isn't an American record - both the band and the label are British, so I don't have any idea what the fuck he was going on about. It's strange I remember that exchange more than I remember the music. This was £8 well-spent, as I knew the moment I dropped the stylus and heard the ringing, pulsing electronic drones that open it (even if I subsequently forgot about them). This is pastiched together like a 90s version of The Faust Tapes, with a variety of, well, 'psychedelic music' techniques applied throughout. Side one has a long, slow spacious passage in the middle with some ominous clanging and echoing roomsound, like Labradford if they had an interest in backwards sounds. Other parts are thicker, and even with a bit of rock-hypnotism at play ('Tor' has lurching guitars, though not too high in the mix, and lazy-ass vocal intoning making it feel like a sketch, an Elephant 6 interstitial track gone rogue) and a generally dark (or at least uneasy) vibe throughout. Side two opens with a pounding heavy goth guitar jam, abruptly ending with a tape splice, as if they were suddenly channeling White Zombie but then changed their mind and left it on the record anyway as a joke. It feels a bit incongruous with the rest of the record, which assembles studio trickery, a post-This Heat soundworld, with the dark surrealism of Thunder Perfect Mind-era Nurse With Wound. There's not a lot of distinction between the organic and the electronic, and the swirling backwards sounds are well-applied. Maybe it's time to see what else they did or what they've done since.

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