Times have changed since the days when arcane aural wisdom was passed down from disciple to disciple by word of mouth, in dusty record stores littered with inexpensive stacks of second-hand wax and via late-night post-pub sessions in which eager obscurists would brandish their latest esoteric discoveries through a booze and smoke-addled haze. The 'Nurse With Wound list' may have been replaced in popular consciousness by a binary blizzard of Spotify playlists and MP3 files. Yet the idealistic vision of the true psychedelic obsessive still stands proud, a monolith impervious to all adversity and compromise.
The Deep Freeze Mice////Dharma Quintet///Dies Irae///Dome///Doo-Dooettes
Moreover, in an era where the word 'psych' itself is fast being overused to the point of meaninglessness, there are certain seers who can always be relied upon to brandish an artistic insight into third-eye salvation that departs from its obsessive origins to offer trashed transcendence above and beyond the physical form. One such is Paul 'Prof' Allen, the mastermind of Anthroprophh, whose second album 'Outside The Circle' is a dizzying psychic voyage that exists in, around and at all points of the eternal amplified axe-worship continuum.
Heratius///Hero///Juan Hidalgo///Hugh Hopper///Horde Catalytique Pour La Fin///Horrific Child
Anthroprophh began in earnest after 'Prof's departure from Bristolian cult The Heads, in whose auspices he had made a number of head-spinning records that surfed a haphazard psychic spiral from an overflowing ashtray to the stars. Yet 'Outside The Circle', the second album from the trio he formed with the Big Naturals duo of Gareth Turner and Jesse Webb, sees him steadfastly affirming his own wayward path through a vivid aural terrain of garage-birthed gnarl, FX pedal euphoria and inhospitable drone-vortexes. At times startling, at others darkly comic, and at all times assaulting the unsuspecting freak unawares, it's a treasure trove of titanic wig-outs and blissful trance states.
Maschine Nr. 9///Mate and Vallancien///Costin Miereanu///Min Bul///Mnemonists
Whilst 'Outside The Circle' bears a plentiful amount of stylistic hallmarks gleaned from 'Prof's years inhabiting the record-racks and small-hours listening sessions of yore himself, its inherent beauty centres on the fact that this is no slavish retrogressive pastiche, and no tribute to glories past, rather the sound of an irreverent master bearing down on enlightenment anew. From the sci-fi doom-out of the appropriately-titled 'Space Box Zonk Machine' to the unnerving primitive electronica of 'Gottmelt', and from the kraut-fried whirl-y-gig of the title track via the deadpan Deviants-style 'Dead Man On The Scene' to the early-Monster Magnet-damaged finale 'See', no sacred stone is left unturned here. Yet at all times 'Prof''s guitar rages through the ether, all banshee howls and fiery tumult; a kaleidoscopic union between Helios Creed and the Velvet Underground of 'I Heard Her Call My Name'.
Secret Oyster///Seeselberg///Selten Gehörte Musik///Semool///Sonny Sharrock
'Outside The Circle' resides at a moment whereby fifty years of psychedelic culture and esoteric art messily collide and morph into an ornery and intimidating new elixir. Moreover, with 'Prof's credentials bolstered by the force of his band, and the sheer wealth of imagination he deploys in unassuming fashion readily apparent, this latest missive is manna for freaks of every stripe. From Terry-Nutkins-alikes to fresh-faced ingenues, few can remain impervious to this peerless display of frontier-destroying, mind-melting malevolence.
Ladies and gentlemen, witness a new monolith.
Ya Ho Wha 13///La Monte Young///Frank Zappa///ZNR///Zweistein