ITCHY-O - Mystic Spy I Psykho Dojo (LP)
By means of a transcendent function we gain access to other worlds. This transcendent function is often accessed on this physical plane in the form of music, a mysterious craft that runs on an archetypal fuel barely understood by most human kind. In this new work by avant-ritualists, Itchy-O, they have created a magnificent vehicle with their new concept record, Mystic Spy | Psykho Dojo, that launches, full throttle, into two different deeply abstract worlds.
Following their first two releases (Burn the Navigator and From the Overflowing) on the legendary punk rock label Alternative Tentacles, itchy-O decided to release this highly ambitious album on their own new label they are calling Mettle Studios. With 26 musicians and well over 100 tracks on many of the songs the self described “savagely sophisticated” experimental orchestra has completely outdone themselves. On top of seven tracks on this record it also includes seven 32 second short vignettes that all end in lock-grooves on either side / center of the vinyl. And as if this is all not enough, itchy-O has recreated these vinyl lock-groove pieces into a digital format that they give access to through a zine publication that also comes with downloads to the record. Once you have figured out the puzzle inside of the zine you can login to a site that allows you to not only listen to the digital lock grooves but also layer, record, and download your own versions.
As the title implies, Mystic Spy | Psykho Dojo explores two themes; the first (Side A) a realm of esoteric trickery and espionage, and the second (Side B) an alternate universe of deep martialed psychic discipline.
The record itself is a complete sonic journey and begins with a harp seemingly nestled in heavenly ether but the song quickly rockets, with the speed of sound, into a dark abyss. Indian bangra beats propel the song further and further into a fury where by the last leg of the song you feel like you have been swept up by an army on horseback. You never stood a chance as there was never a moment to turn back. You are now in their world.
Black Mist ends… and just as you catch your breath Ghosts of Treason hits you from behind with a sonic boom. Shrapnel, glass, and the guts of a thousand unwanted stuffed thrift store animals rain down gently like nuclear fallout as the band lays ground for what is easy to imagine as some sort intergalactic game of cat-and-mouse, until the bottom falls out into a sleepy terrain of extremely precarious and murky footing where the only logical thing to do is stop and rest… But, of course there is no resting for long as another explosive blast carries you into a fractal maze of what seems like the point you started from. The song twists and turns, stops, sends some sort of urgent morse code message, and then drops you off, lost, on some desolate and empty corner of the universe.
Saptalokah, the third track, is a megalithic spy-rock anthem that easily conjures images of opposing mystic forces using every possible means to get to the philosopher’s stone before the other while tripping alarms and dancing as graceful as Brahma bulls to a seven-four time signature down the back fire escape of King Solomon’s temple with the holy grail slung over a shoulder in a pillow case.
Then the last track on Side A is Idra & Scepter. It seems to start with the beckoning of polar energies, like rubbing two magic stones together under the direction of the great hierophant Hermes Trismegistus. It explodes into the march of thousand foot soldiers and drives like out of control lightening with an ending that is being barely contained by the feedback of a single screeching guitar.
Now - the first set of seven lock grooves. These bizarre little enigmatic noise pieces are like strange little keys to sonic dimensions. All of them are listed on the back of the record sleeve with strange looking runes / icons and each lock into a sonic-hypnotic groove that will either send you to the funny farm or lull you into another dimension.
NOW- the next side begins in deep space. Quite literally… d e e p s p a c e .
Itchy-O used NASA recordings from the space probe Voyager throughout the Psykho Dojo, Side B, which gives it an incredibly eerie “you are nothing” feel deep down in your guts. Taiko beats then begin to fall on the first track, Pole Star, like linear dotted lines that come down like rain in parallels all round you, some big some narrow, some close, some far. This track is incredibly trance-like with amazing audio perspectives but, don’t get too comfortable… itchy-O tucks you in like grandma only to have you caught between what seems like the King Kong and T-Rex fight off the edge of the cliff.
After Pole Star itchy-O then leads us to the The Silver River where they paint another not so distant otherworldly landscape. This one too is expansive and has an atmospheric surrounding feel. We hear the calls of what sound like alien birds mixed with the murmuring and howls of samurai ghosts as horns from distant mountains call to each other while you float gently on the current of some meditative melody played on a mystical flute. But, of course, this enchanted world does not stay serene for long. Chaos again ensues. This time from every angle and frequency, only to drop you off on the backs of Asian yaks storming across a Mongolian terrain where they eventually stop to meet a lost calvary of spirits from the American Civil war… yeah, there’s some crazy astrological East meets West in this song as itchy-O stays true to their “all is fair game” archetypal pallet of inspiration.
Then Diakkas breaks through in what feels like a deeply tortured paradox of fury and exhaustion. Satellites chirp like hungry pigs in a galactic petri dish while warring factions of rhythms scream for a spotlight. There is no peace here. Not in a universe that demands so much discipline to harness such an ecstasy. After the conclusion of this last of the songs proper there are seven more lock-grooves oddly appropriate for each side. Each time I lift the needle out of the lock-groove and place it into the next it feels like the conjuring of some strange incantation either perfect for deep contemplation or an ambient track to clean the cat box to.
- Download Included.