Published Jan 20, 2009Psychic Ill's second LP is murky, obscure and very engaging. The band's 2006 debut, Dins, offered more to the casual listener; it featured strong rhythms and songs with odd, but distinguishable, structures amidst freer interludes. But Mirror Eye is more difficult to grasp. Partly improvised, the record moves slowly through mood and texture, leaving much to the listener's imagination. The music works insidiously, evoking images through nuance and repetition. One track could be the incidental music to an unmade film and another sounds like the vague music one sometimes hears before falling asleep. Sprawling and impressionistic, Mirror Eye is difficult to describe in concrete terms. You're better off taking it in without preconceptions - the music is better defined by its effect rather than its resemblance to other acts. You could call it "psych" but there's a range of sounds here that blurs the label's traditional lines - ominous electronic effects and eerie synthesizers, for instance. Band members' backgrounds in sound art and interdisciplinary work most likely contribute to the record's genre-defying qualities and experimental nature. Loose structures unwind to free falls, catchy phrases dissolve into heady drones and when it's over, you feel odd in a good way.
What were you working on between Dins and this record?
Guitarist/vocalist Tres Warren: We did some recordings [that are] coming out later this year, out of order, I guess. And just working on other individual projects. Brian [Tamborello, drums and percussion] played drums on Mike Wexler's record, Liz [Hart, bass, synthesizer] is putting on a performance dance thing called Skint, and I had this band called Messages with a friend named Taketo Shimada, and a band called Brainscan with Nathan Corbin from Excepter.
Mirror Eye and Dins are studio albums but you've also done your own recordings. Do you find that the recording process has an impact on the music itself?
Yeah, definitely, in some ways. Sometimes the medium is like an instrument. But sometimes we just go in and do something, and that's how it is. And then we manipulate it. I think it would be cool to have a better recording set-up in our practise space, and be able to make something sound a little better. But at the same time, it's cool to just jam stuff to a cassette tape and see what happens. But it's nice to not be working on the clock, if that's what you mean. I feel like that can kill things sometimes. (The Social Registry)