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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ANDY PICKFORD: Psymanteum (2019)

“Pick any part in Psymanteum and you'll find something that will rivet your ears to its music”

1 Psymanteum (Section 1) 41:18

2 Psymanteum (Section 2) 37:10

(DDL 78:28) (V.F.)

(England School, E-Rock, Synth-Pop)

The psychomanteum is the art of communicating with spirits through a mirror. To do this, it is necessary to install the subject in the darkness profaned by a weak lighting, like candle. Something that most of us did in our youth. Andy Pickford decided to put his music experience into recording sessions in a context of isolation and with minimal lighting. PSYMANTEUM, AP shortened the word, is the last madness of Derby's sounds magician. This album that borders on the 80 minutes (casually, the English musician has presented more than 155 minutes of good EM in 2019) is composed of elements and structures known of his repertoire. Except that there is something different about PSYMANTEUM which is more concentrated in a melodious approach and ambiences that stick very well to these approaches. Offered in download with 3 possible versions; the long version in 16 Bits and a version in 14 spare parts, always in 16 Bits, and finally in two sections of 24 Bits, this last album of the magician Pickford could well be at the top of list for the best album of 2019!

The adventure begins with a mood of neighborhood life slightly messy. It's when a bang falls that the music and its ambiances embrace a cosmic phase. The sequencer unleashes a line of rhythm that meanders an intergalactic setting like a huge stroboscopic worm fleeing the beak of an already satiated bird. In doing so, the rhythm remains ambient with an attraction for the ears already full, but which continue to gorge on this fauna of percussive elements which adorn the long introduction of Psymanteum (Section 1). The second of the fourteen parts takes its time by distancing itself little by little from the opening part with wings of violins floating in a setting filled of twinkling and of nebulous fog. These arrangements infuse a very Schulze/Namlook influence to the first 10 minutes of PSYMANTEUM which takes off harmonic a little after the start of its 3rd part. On a bed of muffled pulsations, this melody exchanged its attraction for a jerkier filament, leaving our senses in suspense as a lover playing with the object of his passion. It's a long prelude that AP works on. A prelude with a latent evolution always embellished by a musical palette that flirts between psybient and ethereal. In any case, I have not heard the time dragging its seconds when we reach the heart of Psymanteum (Section 1), or if you like better Psymanteum Part 4, and its static rhythm that crawls on a murky water where procrastinates 1001 sequences static and harmonic. Andy Pickford lays an elusive melody structured by his electronic guitar. Shivers are slowly raising out, so much the melody works its way in. There is a crescendo in this part that feeds my emotions up until the final of this section 1 where one waits for a rhythm adjusted well to rubbered pulsations and to nervous riffs from a keyboard and a sequencer. A melody is whistled by a synth that also releases cosmic pads, completing a rhythmic formula that sounds like a Ska blown of a vaporous gas.

Flavors of the Middle East are floating around the hoovering violins that open Psymanteum (Section 2). The coming rhythm is slightly catchy with clashing effects between sequencer balls and rather harmonic keyboard riffs. Percussive bubbles burst with the regularity of a metronome, giving a rhythmic as well as harmonic approach to the first 6 minutes that pick up all its seconds in a much more dynamic approach. Then comes an ambient passage before a very good electronic rock seizes my ears around the 17 minutes, which is equivalent to Part 8. It's very good and the signature AP shines in this section that feeds my nervous system in thrills. After a short bridge of ambient dusts, a new form of ambient rhythm rippling like nervous wavelets lays its domination, preparing us to an intense finale with a beautiful slow dance dressed in clothes of synth-pop from the 80's.

Pick any part in PSYMANTEUM and you'll find something that will rivet your ears to its music! And even in moments of ambiences, you will find particles that will sparkle with delight, while a latent crescendo will continuously suck you into the charms of its torments.

Sylvain Lupari (December 4th, 2019) ****½*

Available at Andy Pickford Bandcamp

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