The first album I ever bought from the Danish record label El Paraiso was the debut album from skronky psych jammers Psicomagia. They were a collaboration between bands Astra and Radio Moscow, two prolific bands in their own right. With Psicomagia they combined the groovy psych escapism of Radio Moscow’s buzzing sound and Astra’s booming escapism and epic crawls to some existential drift into this mystical whoosh of voodoo psych that felt part desert incantation and part psilocybin fever dream with a hefty dose of South American rhythms and poetry. Imagine John Coltrane freaking the hell out with an Afro Cuban-inspired Blue Cheer in an Aztec temple during a blood moon and you’re on your way to getting Psicomagia.
I’m not quite sure how I found myself asking my local record shop to get me in a copy of Psicomagia, but I did. I believe an acquaintance of an acquaintance might’ve recommended it on the third Tuesday in a rainy October in 2013. Or I was possibly visited by the ancient spirits of Alf and Dana Plato after a night of heavy thinking(or drinking) and they told me of this thing called “Psicomagia”. Either way it went down, I did end up getting my hands on a copy of this debut record and I was immediately blown away. It was a whole new vibe to me. The combination of drums, bass, organ, and saxophone(no guitars, guys), along with the spoken word poetry was like being transported into outer space via Mayan ruins and a psych rock explosion.
When a band names themselves after the term Alejandro Jodorowsky self-branded his style of mystical healing through art and film, you know these cats mean business. The band consists of Tyler Daughn on organs and synthesizers, Brian Ellis on tenor saxophone, Paul Marrone on drums, Trevor Mast on bass, and Bernardo Nuñez reading poetry. Take the best parts of Coltrane’s final five years in this plane, his heady spiritual explorations and far-reaching sound explosions, along with serious Detroit rock grooves and prog keys, and Psicomagia you have.
So are you thinking to yourself, “Hey, would I like this?” Well, that’s a good question. Let me throw a couple questions back at you. Have you ever found yourself longing to get lost in some spiritual black hole, leaving a trail of regrets and dreams in order to find your way back out of it? Has the idea of inter-dimensional time skipping ever crossed your mind? Has there ever been a moment in your existence while contemplating the universe under a star-streaked open sky that you thought to yourself “The answers are up there.”? Have you ever let a shaman walk you through your own past and show you your future all the while sitting motionless in a buffalo hide lean-to somewhere lost in the desert? Has music ever cracked open your skull and allowed the cosmos to sink in let you bask in its infinite beauty?
If you answered yes to any of these, then I’d say you should put Psicomagia into your brain as quickly as possible, as you’re missing an integral element in your DNA make up. If you answered no these questions, then you still may dig this record. If you closed the browser screen after that first question I’d say this one may be a little too “dense” for you.
Listen, throw in some Coltrane, some Mahavishnu Orchestra, some acid-burnt garage rock, some blazing psych rock, and a smattering of forward-thinking fusion and you’ve got yourself Psicomagia. “El Memorioso” is like a glass of abisnthe with a tequila chaser. It’s a groovy exorcism that instead of pulling a spirit out, it puts a thousand years of soul in. “El Congreso part 1” and “El Congreso part 2” are a nearly 28-minute suite of organ and synth-fueled madness. Bernardo Nuñez lays on some thick-tongued voodoo that feels like an out-of-body experience as the rhythm section feels like tectonic plates grinding underneath your feet. The keys fill in for whatever guitar freakout would’ve fit in nicely. It’s an outer space jam that feels at the same time like ancient, Mother Earth tomes.
It’s Friday. Time to put some heady tunes in your skull. Psicomagia has you covered.