Various Artists - "Tryptaphonic Mind Explosion: Sounds From The Psychedelic Noise Underground" (Mandragora Records 2002)

From Aural Innovations #21 (October 2002)

I've been listening to a lot of Acid Mothers Temple lately, not to mention enjoying the latest outing by Escapade. So I relished the opportunity to review this sampler from Mandragora Records, which not only features tracks from both of these bands, but also a host of other artists from "The Psychedelic Noise Underground".

If, perhaps, not quite living up to its name, this is nonetheless a fairly solid collection of acid freakouts, noisy psychedelic jams, and trippy, droning sonic excursions. Robot vs. Rabbit throws out a wall of fuzzy noise to get things going with Not Shiny. Japan's MANDOG goes the opposite direction for the trebly minimalism of #0215. The Interferents serve up the creepily dynamic Rosewood Frog With Serbian Eye, featuring some truly "out there" guitar-work and strange distorted vocals. Channel Security (4evamo) is a short bit of glitchy noise from Pine Tree State Mind Control. The Escapade number, It Gets Banished Forever is pretty low key, however, and was actually kind of disappointing, but is made up for by the typically over the top (if short, compared to their usual output) contribution from Acid Mothers Temple, Spaced Out. Paradise Camp 23 checks in with the ambient noise wash of Something's Happening. Argentina's Reynols offers Un Tierno Exsino Condinado Chubo De Lo Panso Y Ronil Fermo Acarriones Nindio Lor Minecxio Alcalpulco Moros, which not only has the longest title on the collection, but is also the longest track, clocking in at about 10 minutes. It's a strange ambient noodler, with odd wailing vocals, which seems to go on for a little bit too long, to me anyway. Primordial Undermind's Evestrum is another somewhat long-winded ambient piece, which scrapes its way to a conclusion after 9 minutes and 50 seconds, and is followed by the relatively melodic and mellow Cornered, by At the Eat, with soft moans, echoed voices (sounding a little bit like Jimi Hendrix!), spacey guitar and psychedelic organ. Delayed Sleep gets things going again with the Neu!-like metronomic beat of Building My Own Nova Dreamer, but it quickly dissolves into some deep fried sludge in a noisy mixer. After a lot of pretty quiet times, we finally explode in the end with Circle's 10-minute jam, harmaat, with chaotic percussion, droning waves of feedback and acid guitar.

I guess my main complaint here would be that there seems to be a lot of really toned down stuff in the latter half of the album. But perhaps that's the kind of trip producer Erik Amlee was designing, so it's hard to say. I think I would have preferred a little more balanced listening experience, but that's just me. All in all, I enjoyed most of the stuff on here, and if nothing else, it's a good way to explore a lot bands in this particular genre.

For more information you can visit the Mandragora Records web site at:
Contact via snail mail c/o Mandragora Records; PO Box 936; Northampton, MA 01061.

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

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