The Kaleidoscopic Sound of Southeast Asian Psych-Funk

This is cheating, I know. But why not ….? 😀

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cambodiaspaceproject-600 Cambodia Space Project

From the 1960s to the 1980s, Southeast Asia was home to a wealth of progressive, offbeat funk that was as festive as it was meaningful. Artists like Indonesia’s The Rollies, the Philippines’ Blackbuster, Vietnamese “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll” Mai Le Huyen, and Thailand’s molam (country-psych) empress Chaweewan Dumnern paired psychedelia’s traditional hallmarks of surreal lyrics, modal melodies, and extended wah-wah guitar solos with groovy pop, jazz, and disco. Some were more influenced by the Santanas and Funkadelics of the Western world, while others bore the influence of the region’s folk music, such as Thailand’s luk thung, incorporating indigenous instruments native to rural heartlands into their songs.

These gems, many of which exist on comprehensive compilations like Soundway’s Sound of Siam and the Cambodian Soul Sounds series, continue to inspire a wave of contemporary musicians from around the region and beyond. “We’ve surfed an…

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CORIDOR: ‘Song For Simeonidis EP’

CORIDOR logoSince quietly announcing a partial restart of LOUD HORIZON at the weekend, I’ve been keen to hear what I’ve been missing these past few years. I was excited at the prospect of listening to some new, inventive, upbeat and boisterous music.

I eagerly opened my first e-mail this morning. Oh dear!

Maybe I should have stuck to my guideline that digital submissions wouldn’t necessarily garner a review, as I hate my first ‘new’ post being a tad negative.

But seeing how LOUD HORIZON prides itself on the honesty of its reviews, I’m just going to go for it ……. this is not for me. If there is one style of music that I detest even more than folk (actually, as I get older, some of that genre has become strangely appealing) it’s the whiny, morose, downbeat ‘woe is me’ type.

Radiohead. There you go. Them. I just don’t see the point.

Now, I know that particular band has masses and masses of dedicated fans, and that other bands of that ilk do very well for themselves. So, look guys, it’s not you, it’s me.

I wish CORIDOR all the best, and I’m sure there are readers of this blog post who will indeed love the sounds. But it’s just not for me.


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Discovering the World of Italian Psych Rock

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Italian artists have produced innumerable contributions to culture over the past few millennia—opera comes to mind, Michelangelo and da Vinci too—but the country’s vibrant psychedelic rock scene doesn’t receive quite as much appreciation. Granted, none of it quite lives up to the Sistine Chapel, but even the country’s prog bands have bubbled above the radar, largely thanks to Goblin’s synthesizer-laden horror soundtracks. But there’s just as much goodness to be found in prog’s sister genre.

Of course, Italy has a rich musical tradition that dates back centuries, providing fertile ground for inspiration. Puccini’s operas, Vivaldi’s baroque symphonies, and Verdi’s bombastic classical compositions all feed into Italian rock as much as The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. Nowhere is that clearer than in the bands that popped up in response to the burgeoning psych rock scene in the ‘60s and their antecedents.

As with the rest of the world, the late…

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SOUND OF GUNS: ‘Sometimes.’

SOUND OF GUNS - 200I just heard this track playing quietly as the ‘bed’ to an item on the BBC’s ‘One Show.’ Looking back through LOUD HORIZON, I noticed I rated it one of my three favourite releases of the year …… 2012!!

(The band’s show at King Tuts in Glasgow was also one of my favourites that year.)

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ARTBREAK: New track available 9th December

artbreakNew darlings of the South London circuit, ARTRBREAK, are to release a new track, ‘Polaroid in Paris,’ on December 9th. I make it this will be the band’s sixth free-to-download track, and every one a gem.

Mind, I guess it’s not surprising I think this way – the band feature several members of the now defunct Savage Nomads, a band that Loud Horizon went ‘big’ on from as far back as 2011.

Artbreak write and record their music, create their videos and draw up their artwork from their South London base in Brixton. All their music is available on Spotify and free to download on Soundcloud.

The band, who don’t believe in LPs or EPs, release a single every few weeks with five available so far via Soundcloud. Artbreak formed the day after Brexit was announced and view 2016 is a game of two halves “when the chips are down socially then the stakes have to be raised artistically” says vocalist Cole Salewicz. In line with his vision, the band’s music is varied, concrete and always original.

‘Polaroids in Paris‘ captures a lost weekend en Francais, a love story and an ode to jangly indie anthems that have shaped so many relationships and memories. What better city to capture the novelty of a new romance?

November sees them headlining their biggest show to date at Birthdays in Dalston for Scruff of The Neck Records. They will also be playing a gig for #fightback at Brixton Windmill.

You can catch the band ‘live’ at the following venues in the upcoming weeks:

Saturday 26th November @ Birthdays, London.

Friday 16th December @ Nambucca, London (with October rift & others.)

Meantime, here’s the video for the last release, ‘Izzy Bee.’

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Imp of Perverse / Psychic Wave

Imp of Perverse
I just love how the music business spawns relationships that develop into little communities, that in turn often end up rather incestuous, with further relationships farming out from the original.

Take Sean Lochridge for instance. He’s currently based in Austin, Texas, and is primarily a drummer for psych / rock band, The Halfways. For fun, he also works on his side project, Imp of Perverse on which he  plays all instruments and produced the following video.

“The Disney images were unintentional, I just wanted to make a music video and wanted a warped VHS loop as a backdrop, it just happened to be of a Disney movie so I’m hoping it’ll be OK,” states Sean, pleading his case.

Psychic WaveThen there’s his pal, Andrew Sanyshyn, who is based in California and produces similar feeling, psych drenched music under the name Psychic Wave.
“He had sent me a track and I liked his songs,” says Sean,  “but I noticed they all used drum loops so I asked if he’d be interested in collaborating and having me add drums to some songs.”

Long distance relationship established, the two worked together for some months and eventually decided to release a six track, split EP, on which both  ‘Sparklehorse Gordon’ and ‘Melt Me (Like a Sunbeam)’ are included.

Some Weird Sin RecordsEnter Travis Phillips, another of Sean’s friends, this time based in Harris County, Texas. Travis runs the excellent Some Weird Sin Records and agreed to release Sean and Andrew’s joint effort. This should be available in the next month or so, I believe.

And so the circle is complete.

(If you have  minute or two, I’d  thoroughly recommend checking out some of the Limited Releases (most on cassette) from Some Weird Sin Records.)

(And, can I suggest a front-runner for the Band/Artist title of the Year? ‘Annie the Clumsy.’ Beat that.)

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THE OCULAR AUDIO EXPERIMENT - Laughing DreamsAlmost four years ago, I picked up on a band from the Boston area (Somerville, MA, to be precise) who were producing a hypnotic and doom-laden brand of psych music. I say ‘band’ but at that time THE OCULAR AUDIO EXPERIMENT was really just Alex Pollock experimenting with the sound. In his bedroom.

That year, 2012 was a prolific year for Alex, with the release of ‘The Witch’s Whispering Tomes,‘ (parts 1 & 2 of the ‘double album,’ were released about a month apart) followed at the year end by another album, ‘Ghoul. ‘

By now, Alex had a performing band around him and live shows followed, which resulted in some excellent feedback. (That’s verbal feedback. Not the guitar.)

And then, just when it looked like some momentum had been built – nothing. All went quiet.

Alex takes up the story:

“I’ve kept myself busy since the band’s multi-release year of 2012. It’s been a bit long coming, but the results are starting to bubble up; “Alive” is the band’s first single off the new LP, Laughing Dreams, which was self-released in late February, 2016.In keeping with the DIY approach, it was produced, performed, recorded, mixed and mastered by myself, in three bedrooms and a closet.”

” I’d describe Laughing Dreams as a nine song love-letter experiment to conventional psychedelic rock, folk, doom and pop. It draws upon and aspires towards the blending of influences such as The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Velvet Underground, High On Fire, Black Angels, Spacemen 3, Mercury Rev, BRMC, Cave In, The Warlocks, Echo & The Bunnymen and a long roster of others. Those are all groups and individuals who have, for whatever reason, inspired me to try and give the best of myself toward what I like about music. I just wanted to pay tribute to that spirit and try to do something great without being anybody special or extraordinary.”

Alex seems keen to play it all down, which is a rather refreshing trait in the music business. Sure, this type of music is ‘niche,’ and won’t appeal to everyone. But ‘Laughing Dreams,’ is in my opinion, the band’s most accessible release to date. I hear a bit more ‘folk’ influences drifting in and out these tracks, and less of the ‘doom.’ It’s definitely lighter overall than previous recordings.

If you’re into psych or drone music, or just like ‘underground’ or ‘outsider’ music in general …. then spread the word.

Good to have you back, Alex!

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