Realizing that trip-hop was a dead end, at least as far as hipness goes, Morcheeba expanded their sonic palette on their second album, Big Calm. Trip-hop and dance rhythms remain, but the trio has spent more time writing songs, crafting an album where pop, lounge, film soundtracks, reggae, jazz, and electronica all peacefully coexist. Consequently, Big Calm is a stylistic tour de force, evidence that Morcheeba have turned into a mature, sophisticated group with impeccable taste. Occasionally, the album can sound a little distant, as if the fusions and productions were more important than the actual songs, but the trio is so musically adept, and Skye Edwards' voice is so enchanting, that Big Calm become irresistible in its own way.
When it comes to following the beat of their own drum, New York’s Psychic Ills have exemplified the phrase since their beginnings in 2003. Initially spawned from electronic-centered home recording experiments, they progressed into all-night full-band exploration in a neighborhood where noise wasn’t a problem. They soon after evolved into a live band seemingly at home within the extended jam, exploring a variety of musical terrain. The early years saw several releases for Social Registry, tons of time on the road, and collaborations with artists as diverse as Gibby Haynes (Butthole Surfers) and Sonic Boom (Spacemen Three/Spectrum). In 2011, their first effort for Sacred Bones, Hazed Dream traded in the synthesizer space-outs and raga rumbles, and delivered a record of sunburned psych pop, awash in warm tones and blues damaged songwriting.
TOR LUNDVALLS NOTES: In September 2012, I received an e-mail from someone named John B. who said he had assembled a lengthy remix of my music, which also incorporated some of his own material. John asked if Id mind if he posted this recording on YouTube, to which I agreed. He also mentioned that there was a second part to his mix that was roughed out, but never completed. I was curious to hear both parts, so shortly afterwards, John mailed me two CDrs which I enjoyed very much. The recordings were hypnotic and haunting, evoking images of vast fields at twilight. I was especially fond of the second disc which had a darker atmosphere and featured more of Johns original material, beginning with ghostly clock chimes and ending with a mysterious piece using dried seed pods and other cryptic sounds that slowly built-up into an intense, almost claustrophobic environment.