Along with the Australian fires, the potential of WW3, and the Coronavirus, January of 2020 brought me a broken tooth which has resulted in a great deal of pain. Luckily, January also brought me 2 new incredible releases from the always groovy Hypnotic Bridge records- the first, from Dutch quintet The Small Breed, and the second, from the Boston psych rockers Magic Shoppe. Both of these singles are truly phenomenal, even when enjoyed through my doped up dental state. Music is truly the best medicine.
The Small Breed: “An Elderflower Parliament” b/w “Figures Made Of Sound”
Reflecting not the brash waxen beauty of the obsequious tulips of Keukenhof, but the mythical qualities of a very different sort of blossom, “An Elderflower Parliament” invites us into the secret life of trees, replete with ancient arboreal tales whispered with honeybee sweetness, all serenaded by a parliament of owls. The song is intended to be listened to with eyes closed, with an auditory feast of sounds conjuring a complex world within the imagination.
“Figures Made Of Sound” is a guided tour through your own mind, illuminating magical corners, reminding you to expect the unexpected while focusing on the here and now. Sitar, 12-string acoustic and a bit of humming by Erik lend an organic touch. Like the A-side, it was recorded at the magical PAF! Studio in Rotterdam using analog tape machines along with Hammond organ, Mellotron and piano in addition to acoustic and electric guitars, bass and drums, with a Binson Echorec for vocal delays and the studio’s own plate reverb to create an especially dreamy sound.
Magic Shoppe: “Doppelgänger” b/w “S.F.O”
Coincidentally yet appropriately labeling their reverb-heavy sound as “hypnotic,” Magic Shoppe’s single for Hypnotic Bridge leads off with A-side “Doppelgänger,” a song originally titled “Salventius” after the Dutch artist known for his “single-line” drawings of faces. Shelved from an earlier project, the name “Doppelgänger” was actually suggested by Salventius, given it’s a sort of “double” for the original concept for the song. Songwriter and lead guitarist Josiah Webb used three fuzz pedals (with a “fully cocked wah” at the end) with tones turned to pure treble for the fuzz. The ending riff is a nod to Roger McGuinn: highly compressed, clean and with maximum treble, creating a tone that evokes The Byrds’ “Eight Miles High.”
Not a reference to San Francisco’s airport but, rather, an acronym for “Skintight Futuristic Outfit,” “S.F.O.” was conceived and tracked in a single session. The band originally intended to play the song quickly, then reverse it completely, possibly adding forward overdubs, but after hearing the results decided to give it more of a “split-brain” dynamic. The first part of the song is played normally, but after some intentional audio degradation (and Vox Cheetah/Fender Twin amp feedback), descends into a total reverse copy of the beginning, with the exception of a forwards vocal overdub.
You can pick up both of these amazing slabs of wax here: https://www.hypnoticbridge.com/shop
Thanks to Stu at Hypnotic Bridge for continuing to put out the very best pysch sounds! We’re looking forward to all the new releases 2020 brings.