On April the 19 thousands of souls look set to bask in a consciousness raising weekend of music and art at the inaugural Berlin Psyche Fest and, of course, yours truly will be there soak up, harness and then sound out every last morsal of energy emitted; no vibration will be left unfelt, no synchronicity ignored, no lyric lost, no love left behind. Hosted in Postbanhof, a venue doused in Bavarian history the festival fire, though ignited by music, will be fueled with a series of cutting edge theatrical performances, galleries and installations of universal quality spanning over, what’s bound to be a cosmic, three days.
At this point, It’d take a series of writers across a multitude of parallel universes to give all the chakra meddling bands/artists the in-depth previews they all deserve, so below are a few we’ve picked for you to wrap your minds around initially. In no specific order:
It’s a fact that most people, whilst sensory deprived, see hallucinations and even in some cases, hear things. A couple of hours in an isolation tank should do the job, however, with the likes of Electric Moon, there doesn’t need to be an isolation tank of any descript. Instead, senses are heightened, specifically the hearing of course. Electric Moon sound like the cosmos unfolding, spasmodically exploding, a chaotic structure of sounds that will elevate you into a sphere of, well, psychedelic insanity. So, this is no shock that these guys will be headlining this year’s most prestigious trip, that being the Berlin Psyche Festival.
Imagine the likes of Explosions in The Sky on hallucinogens or Godspeed You! Black Emperor on a trip of a lifetime, now imagine 2001: A Space Odyssey backwards…okay, that’s a fairly close description of this Psychedelic-Krautrock trio. There’s almost a freestyle essence about Electric Moon, it’s what amplifies their aesthetic as the tones, echoes and immense reverbs almost transcend you to a state of wtf? Their latest LP, Mind Explosion is indeed a mind-ahem, you get my drift; it’s raw and intense like the rest of their records.
Their progression in songs is loose and natural as if there is a true heart and soul of the journey within. The songs are never short; they are always of epic proportions. Their flow is always unpredictable like a space shuttle in orbit with the odd tremble of intergalactic turbulence until its inevitable decline. Riffs and speeds distort and morph throughout, tearing a (black) hole in your cerebral musical cortex. At this particular festival, I’m sure that bassist Komet Lulu, guitarist Sula Bassana and Marcus on drums will deliver you to the edge of the universe with their nebula of sounds. This, I’m sure, is what the folks of the Berlin Psyche Festival will be looking for…and maybe, just maybe, you’ll come away understanding all of what is beyond man.
What can we say about Jesus On Heroine? Well, the truth is, tracing down information on these guys is pretty damn difficult, they like to keep way under the radar. They are a mysterious psychedelic shoegaze band from Copenhagen, influenced by the likes of The Doors, The Jesus and Mary Chain and strangely Kasabian and they clearly want their music to speak for itself. They’ve been around since 2011 and released their most recent album in 2013, Tremelo Eastern Salvation. The video for their song ‘No Hard Feelings’ presents you with a naked woman swaying from side to side with a backdrop of psychedelic rainbow jellyfish – it’s pretty trippy. This is music to get lost too, with more ambience and dream-like cloudiness than you can shake a stick at. They are venturing out from wherever they hide to play Berlin’s Psych Fest in April 2014 joined by a hearty line-up of international psychedelic bands. Here’s hoping for a live interpretation of the naked woman with jellyfish as part of their performance. If they can’t manage that, I reckon it would be a pretty decent show anyway.
A highlight of Germany’s first international psychedelic music festival, Berlin Psych Fest, is sure to be The Underground Youth. Working away since 2009, the Manchester band gained popularity when Craig Dyer, the relentless driving force of this project, created some online videos with his tracks over scenes from (unsurprisingly) art house films. Dyer has self-released 5 albums under the name The Underground Youth and is now signed with Fuzz Club Records, bringing us the 6th album, The Perfect Enemy For God. He set up his current working live band to play as many gigs as he can, and show off this repertoire of psychedelic albums as well as re-releasing much of his back catalogue of work. The Perfect Enemy For God also roped in part Russian singer Daria Xenofontova, who has a delightfully dreamy voice. The album itself combines a dark psychedelic hypnotism with garage rock, cloudy ambience and a whole lot of reverb. ‘In The Dark I See’ is a highlight track with a percussion led, sinister edge. It seems that Dyer has moved to an increasingly wicked place with his sound compared to some previously lighter songs in earlier albums. They are definitely a band to watch out for, and Craig Dyer is at the top of his game.
Originally hailing from Burton-On-Trent, The Telescopes departed on their own personal journey of cosmic discovery a little over fifteen years ago; their grizzly blend of garage rock psychedelia, snarling post-punk vocals and a healthy penchant for expansive soundscapes have been enticing, and at times perplexing, audiences throughout their career. From the dolphin recordings on ‘Pure Sweetest Ocean’ to last year’s sci-fi freak-out Harm, in which two tracks over the course over 40 minutes transcends psychedelia, truly ‘breaking through’ in to the realms of space rock, a perfect accompaniment to the cloying dystopia of novels such as Brave New World or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.
With a sound as eclectic as theirs, it’s pretty clear that The Telescopes overall sound might not be to everyone’s tastes, but tracks such as 1991’s ‘Celeste’ over up a far more accessible facet of the band, having more in common with The Happy Mondays than Aldous Huxley. With only front-man Stephen Lawrie remaining from the band’s original line-up, they’re not the same Telescopes you would have seen circa 1993, however, with the dream like spaced-out vocals, moments of shoegaze brilliance and wailing drones that the band progressed to later in their career, they promise to bring something truly special to this year’s Berlin Psych Fest.
With a sound steeped in musical history, Dusseldorf’s Vibravoid, are band without a particular defining aspect. Drawing from a wealth of influences, the band incorporate a rich and varied army of sounds; eastern flavours of the counter-cultural 1960s, otherworldliness in tracks such as ‘Mother Sky’ right through to 60s pop group influences in the more tangible ‘Anxious Colour’, there really is a multitude of influences on offer within their vast back catalogue.
While it goes without saying that Vibravoid are certainly somewhat of an aquired taste, those with an interest in psychedelia and that which goes hand in hand with it, will certainly find something to get excited about here. Crisp solos are merged infinitesimally with atmospheric soundscapes and rich textures, a chunky bass ever prevalent. As a result of the plethora of aesthetics at the band’s disposal, their set at this year’s Berlin Psych Fest is sure to raise the heart rates of those in attendance. With a feeling of almost perpetual momentum in their, each track evolving seamlessly in to the next with barely a thought for the mental well-being of listeners, it’s impossible to pinpoint just what it is about them that makes the music of Vibravoid so infectious. But when you’re having this much fun, that’s certainly not important.
It’s all good and well looking at the bands to gauge the true nature of what lays in store over the forthcoming April weekend but, like with anything you really want to dissect and discover, we must first seek out the source and that happens to be here. So mystics, musicians, artists and human beings alike, this is a call to action, let’s see you there, if not physically then certainly in spirit.