Friday Full-Length: Psychedelic Source Records, This is Psychedelic Source Records

If at any point in the last seven or so years since Psychedelic Source Records started putting releases up on their Bandcamp page, there’s probably not much more to say about the seven-jam collection This is Psychedelic Source Records that came out earlier this month than, “Yeah, pretty much.”

Based in Páty, Hungary — about 40 minutes west of Budapest by train — and featuring a rotating cast of artists, bands and one-offs like this may or may not be, Psychedelic Source Records is more a collective than a record label, bringing together groups like Pilot Voyager, River Flows ReverseSatorinaut and a slew of others under one banner with the apparent central ethic of creative freedom. Sometimes there are songs, sometimes it’s an improv session, a couple times it’s just been founding spearhead Bence Ambrus noodling around in his garden. The framework is about as open as you can get, and the sounds range from expansive acid-folk to heavy psych exploration, and it’s all captured with a feel that only adds to the organic vibes. Releases don’t come with months of hype — though every now and then I’ll get to do a premiere for something they’re putting out, and that’s fun; I’ve got one booked for April 12 — and aren’t always pressed physically, but if you find value in the musical stream of consciousness, it is an open world waiting for you to immerse.

This Is… runs 92 minutes and was posted March 11 accompanied by the simple explanation, “Long time no see jam session, set up accidently two days ago.” So it was recorded March 9. I suppose what you’re hearing is technically a reissue, since at some point in the 18 days since it went live, Ambrus went back and reworked the mix, saying, “update: previous mix was little shitty so i redid it sorry.” Fair enough.

As you might’ve already guessed, the abiding spirit here is casual. Ambrus plays bass and guitar and is joined by Krisztina Benus on keyboard, Ákos Karancz on guitar, Barna Bartos on bass and Máté Varga on drums. I don’t know how much editing or actual mixing was done to what was recorded at the ‘accidental’ session — I love that idea; like, “oops, we just made a record”; the very heart of spontaneity — but the resultant flow within and between the pieces is hypnotic, and a cut like “Bum Bumm” (19:04) comes across as almost surprising itself as it evolves from its drone-backed psych ambience into a more active dub progression, as though the swirling mist solidified and decided to mellow-dance for a while. The guitar gets louder, Psychedelic Source Records This Is Psychedelic Source Recordsbut volume isn’t really the driving consideration anywhere on This Is…, which is more about the space being created and the conversation between the players presented with as-it-happened sincerity.

One can hear the glittering shimmer of guitar in “Sow Your Seeds and Be Patient” (14:09) or the wisps at the outset of “River Styx” (15:23) just prior and float along with the gentle-but-not-inactive rhythm in a semi-hypnotic state — from the subtle build-up of opener “Jamship” (8:15) onward, there’s room to dwell in the sounds being made, and not just because it’s feature-length in runtime — but there are nuances of character to be found too if you’re paying attention, shifts in tone as “Jamship” ends its course with resonant melodic drift and the drums start “Gentle Human Transform” (14:36) which comes to feel more surf-leaning in the reaches of guitar, or the centerpiece “River Styx” redirects from its quick fade-in to free/acid jazz-style searching in its midsection, the group finding their way into a slower, evocative wistfulness before they’re finished in a way that may or may not have been anticipated going in. That is to say, the sense in hearing it is that this check-in jam assemblage are also surprised to find out where they end up. That’s not an easy thing to convey on any kind of recording, even in the outer territories of improv psych, and it feels natural here. It’s part of what ties This Is… together, though I’ll admit that for something so broad and malleable in structure, that idea of ‘tied together’ is more about not interrupting the aforementioned flow.

And in preserving that easy-feeling course throughout while allowing each of its processions to embark and develop on its own terms, This Is… could hardly do more to encapsulate what is readable as the central ethic behind Psychedelic Source Records, which is to foster creativity without restraint. To that I might also add that the just-a-thing-we-did-on-Saturday-here-it-is presentation also speaks to this ethic. It’s a thing, to be sure. It exists. But it’s not a thing in the sense of being any kind of drag, or anybody’s job, or feeling like it’s a hassle somewhere along the line — perhaps notwithstanding Ambrus‘ noted remix after the fact. It’s low-key, agreeable, inviting psychedelia, no less expansive for being so inviting as “Sow Your Seeds and Be Patient” meanders around its guitar as it approaches the six-minute mark or capper “A Mermaid Found a Swimming Lad” echoes the surfy strum of “Gentle Human Transform” before resolving in twistier notes that wouldn’t feel out of place played on a sitar. These aspects also represent Psychedelic Source Records, giving a loose definition or vague shape to an intention, but not losing its freeform character to that.

If you think of art as a declaration of self, This is Psychedelic Source Records makes a fitting summary of what this group was all about on this day during these jams. It is not trying to be a part of any scene other than itself, or to end up on somebody’s chart, or be ‘content’ for some jerk-ass blogger like me to share on social media. It is honest rather than perfect, and while one acknowledges that authenticity is a myth in all cases and nothing can ever be objectively enacted or received because simply by that it becomes a part of human subjectivity — oh I could go on about this; I won’t — there’s no mistaking the ring of truth in these captured moments. And even if both moments and truth are fleeting, well, so is everything. Live in it while you can, if you can.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thank you for reading.

Yesterday was a wreck of lost time. I overslept by 45 minutes — woke up with my phone on my chest having apparently shut off the alarm and left it there at 5AM — and never got back on track. A Costco trip that was going to be today and a chasedown of Siggi’s Vanilla Yogurt (4% milkfat, not the 0%) — which is one of like two and a half things The Pecan will eat at this point — later, it was after noon and I was back on the couch trying to pound out that Early Moods review and today’s other posts. I apparently didn’t get enough of that done before needing to go pick up The Pecan at school, which is effectively the end of my writing time most days, and that’s a thing I know because I was up all night thinking about finishing the shit I’d left incomplete.

As Orange Goblin (who should be announcing a new album any day now, I hope) once said, “Some you win, some you lose.”

This weekend is Easter, which we don’t really celebrate as anything more than candy and egg-coloring — yay, pagan fertility rites! — but still have to show up for. Tomorrow we drive north to color the aforementioned eggs. Sunday is a brunch that, honestly, I’m just kind of relieved to not be hosting. From there, next week is The Pecan’s Spring Break, so she’ll be home Monday to Friday. I don’t really know how that’ll play out yet. The Patient Mrs. has work, and a lot depends on the weather. If we can go outside, we will, in other words. She’s got a half-day camp-ish-thing Monday to Wednesday (the kid), and so that’ll be my work time on those days, and the rest I’ll just have to sort as I live through it. The biggest surprise of the entire thing is that I’m not doing something completely life-eating like a Quarterly Review or some such. It seems almost out of character.

I have a couple video premieres — Borer, The Vulcan Itch — and I want to review the Craneium record that I’m super-late with and the Viaje a 800 reissue that I’m not super-late with, but we’ll see how it goes. I was also supposed to send questions for a Viaje a 800 email interview that I haven’t done yet. I always find that nerve-racking, asking artists to talk about their work without the benefit of vocal inflection. You never know how somebody is going to read what you say when you’re asking them about something so personal. “So, your art does this. How’s that make you feel?” seems like not the best conversation option, but there’s a language barrier in this case too, so I get it. And I’ll get there.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend, whatever you’re up to. Have fun, watch your head, all that. If you’re celebrating, remember to enjoy it because that’s what a celebration is. I’m talking to myself there, to be sure, but don’t doubt that you’re also included. In any case, thanks again for reading.


The Obelisk Collective on Facebook

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk merch

Tags: , , , ,

One Response to “Friday Full-Length: Psychedelic Source Records, This is Psychedelic Source Records

  1. SJMatt says:

    Insert image of ‘For He is Raised” by Dr Kevorkian/the cover of Acid Bath’s Paegan Terrorism Tactics here.
    (If that’s actually doable, I’m too tech-inept.)
    Cheers, Easter!

Leave a Reply