Elusive Finnish psychedelic crushers Mr. Peter Hayden return with the 68-minute single-track offering, Born a Trip. The album – because, make no mistake, it is a full album – follows their 2010 debut, Faster than Speed (review here) and sees release on CD through Kauriala Society and 2LP through Mikrofoni. As a unit, the instrumental Kankaanpää five-or-six-piece continue to impress as they did last time around, though the scope of Born a Trip remains the same despite the jump in scale. Basically, Mr. Peter Hayden took what they did on the first album and doubled it, going from two tracks on either side of half an hour long each to one track on the far side of an hour. Whether or not that’s a great step in creativity, I’m not certain, but it’s an impressive jump in structuring the material and one a lot of bands fall flat making where Mr. Peter Hayden do not fall flat, instead excelling at crafting a singular work that rises and falls tidally, offering minute wave-like undulations to coincide with the larger push and pull. The band remains markedly individual in their approach to space rock, focusing more on the darkness and vastness than the rush of light or the jammed out feel present in so much latter day European psychedelia, and while the result of that is perhaps that Born a Trip has more in common with Faster than Speed than it might seem to if it also had a lot in common with other bands, there’s clear development of melodicism to complement the time increase; the record’s many ups and downs arriving heralded by a wash of melody in the double-guitars of V. Vatanen and J.P. Koivisto and the synths of Simo Kuosmanen, also of the richly creative Hexvessel and Dark Buddha Rising. Synths wind up playing a large role in filling out Mr. Peter Hayden’s sound – also enriched by a increase in production value since the last time – allowing Vatanen and Koivisto room to space out or start-stop in intricate rhythmic patterns while drummer T. Santamaa and bassist Lauri Kivelä hold the album’s single titular work together.
They cover a lot of ground in the 68 minutes of “Born a Trip” – I don’t want the previous paragraph to somehow convey that the growth here is mostly temporal – it’s not. Mr. Peter Hayden were hardly lacking for patience before, but here, it doesn’t even seem to be a question. Born a Trip breaks down into a series of intertwining movements, long progressive builds and apexes that crest one into the next as parts set each other up, play out, and then subside. Like a lot of heavy psych, one might argue enjoyment is proportional to volume, but Born a Trip is consuming no matter what level it’s played at, the initial build getting under way on a foundation of feedback, vaguely-melodic synth wash, rhythmic chug and drum thud. That initial tone-setting contorts the brain stem for a little more than the first 10 minutes, gradually solidifying the way one thinks of lava cooling off, and the next eight are given to an oddly-timed progression reminiscent of some of the quirky start-stops they worked into “Delta t=0” from Faster than Speed, inadvertently displaying some allegiance to heavy metal technicality without blatantly paying homage to Meshuggah’s inimitable internal clock — not that others haven’t tried to imitate it, they just suck at it almost entirely across the board. By keeping their own edge, Mr. Peter Hayden avoid the trap and put the djentery to work for them as part of their larger plan, building it up until just before 19 minutes in, they drop to quiet drones, echoed drums and subdued atmospherics, rife with volume-swelling guitar and ringing synth expanse. It’s another five minutes or so before they kick back in, and easy to get lost in the meantime, but when the guitars and the bombast start anew, Mr. Peter Hayden are quick to lock down one of the record’s most lasting grooves and top it with high-pitched guitar squeals that sound like some kind of far-off siren.
That particular payoff carries them through 31:14, around which point they cut the momentum short again to begin a solid nine-minute build that shows the increased focus on melodic complexity. It’s a standout section of the album – though it’s almost more fun to just listen and let Born a Trip wash over you much as Kuosmanen’s synth seems to wash over the rest of the instruments – those siren-esque guitars returning in time with Santamaa’s crashes. The theme of oddly-timed riffing returns almost immediately following that payoff, the song shifting at 42:30 to a reworked-seeming visit of the earlier part while the synth layers in melodiy, setting up the bass-heavy sprawl that follows and takes Mr. Peter Hayden through the beginning of “Born a Trip”’s largest and most patient build yet, encompassing almost a full 20 minutes between its subdued accumulation of tension and extended, marching crescendo. From about 46 minutes in until about 55, they ooze spacey ambience, the synths again playing a large role well-met by ringing guitar and notes that seem to just appear out of nowhere before fading back into the wash. Then, at last, Born a Trip finds its release once and for all, a massive reworking of the opening progression playing out with cosmic thunder and an overwhelming heft. It’s fucking huge, and normally, something like this wouldn’t even be psychedelic, but for the fact that no matter how many times I listen, I can’t wrap my head around it, I don’t have any other word that works as well to describe it. They ride the section out – I mean, really ride it – and only wind down when it sounds like their fingers have fallen off, the last four minutes of the record dedicated to a fitting epilogue of swirl to follow the overwhelming smash. Picks slide slowly down distorted strings like birdsounds reverbed to oblivion and I can’t help but want to follow them. Born a Trip may be a logical extension of the path Mr. Peter Hayden set for themselves on their first album, but the completeness of this record and its sheer breadth are gargantuan enough to cover any lack of surprise those who heard the last record might feel. One looks forward to hearing how they can build on this for the next outing. Recommended.
Tags: Finland, Kankaanpää, Kauriala Society, Mikrofoni Records, Mr. Peter Hayden