Day 3 of the #mayvinylchallenge asks for some instrumental music, and it didn’t feel right just going to jazz, great as it is (I intend to cover jazz with some of the other days, anyway). So how about something that also could have served as one of my newest discoveries? It’s a short but powerful discography for The Psychic Paramount, and listening to so-far final album II I reminded of how meaningless genre can be. It’s loud, it rocks, and it paints these incredible textures of tension and release. Did I just purposely mix some metaphors there? I did, and maybe that’s the best way to describe the sonic racket of the NYC unit.
It’s taken a few listens to really find some points of comparison (it’s also not a record readily available – streaming-wise you can hear it on Spotify and YouTube; otherwise do what I did and find a good used copy on Discogs or your local shop). I heard about them from my gaming group (thanks Baxter!) with adjectives thrown about like psychedelic, motorik post-rock that sounds like it should have screaming even though there are no vocals. That gets you part of the way there, but what the Psychic Paramount excel in are dynamics and sound separation: when you’re a small group you have the opportunity to come together or apart in ways larger bands can’t and on the purposely obscured titles like “Intro/SP”, “RW”, “N5” and “N5.Coda” you get almost cinematic post-rock garage landscapes. Movie soundtracks scored by Can and Sonic Youth, with heavy dashes of bands like Acid Mothers Temple I covered back in the early days of the site, but with more compositional focus. If I had to pick a favorite, or a good starting place, “RW” might be the winner with its great reversed tape effects and shifting moods of menace and tension.
II is a record that, the more I listen to it, the more it opens up – only to reveal more intricacies I need to explore. In that way hearing it for the first time reminds me of the first time I heard an album like Tago Mago by Can: instantly entwined and happily lost, eager to dive deeper into every groove. if that’s not the hallmark of a classic record I don’t know what it.