Cosmic Mind Warp, Lysergic Space/Lysergic Dreams

cmw_lyssCelebrate the heyday of IDM and the joys of dropping acid on Cosmic Mind Warp’s double hit of weird electronica,  Lyser9ic Space and Lysergic Dreams. On the IDM side, we get the very liberal use of lengthy spoken snippets to go along with thick, trippy beats and swirling electronic atmospheres. For me, there’s too much of the spoken stuff. It’s a personal preference, and I know they’re there to tell part of the story, but they rarely seem to be used in a way more creative than being a straight-line narrative in any given piece. The exception is “Lysergic Muttering Blues,” where two odd voices, which may not be saying anything at all, hold a lengthy, if indecipherable, conversation over a warbling, spaced-out melody. At other times it can be distracting. The woman chortling and speaking during “The Tunnel” makes me want to–actually need to–jump to the next track. I wish the device had been used more sparingly, because some of it is walking over good, interesting music. The opener, “They Can Tell Us We’re Crazy” is an energetic, bouncing thing with a whiff of electro-pop. “Auto-Dimensional” uses reverse echo and long drones to create its hallucinogenic atmosphere, and feels like it could take of to other lines of thought. That’s also an issue here–CMW cram 12 tracks into 40 minutes, leaving each exploration just a few minutes to have its say.

Lysergic Dreams is a companion album that uses the tunes from it predecessor as a stepping off point. Per the Bandcamp page, “Each track is the result of its counterpart on the earlier album being fed back into Ableton 9 and converted into a series of MIDI notes … before undergoing many manipulations & mutations.” It’s meant to be the more ambient side of the project, but outside of a couple pieces that feel like they’ve been mildly Paulstretched, the work here is pretty active. “Dream Number 2” manages to stand out with light bell tones over sparkling pads, and “Dream Number 3” has a tap-along rhythm and a subtle melody. The 15-minute “Dream Number 10” works itself into a weird and wicked tangle of tones with a bit of a suspense-movie vibe to it. Not my definition of ambient. “Dream Number 8” is apparently one of those dreams that just screams loudly in your ears. It’s an instant blast of sounds that hits like a fist and doesn’t let up. The only way this is “ambient” is if you set the volume to “1” and sit yourself down two rooms away.

Neither of these releases sat particularly well with me. I wish that Lysergic Space had placed more emphasis on the music and less on the narrative, and Lysergic Dreams sort of misses the mark for me in general. I like the thought behind Dreams and the way it works with the first album, but these aren’t albums I’d hurry back to. Give a listen and see if you can get into these Lysergic doses.

Available at Bandcamp.

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