“psyche/ˈsʌɪki/via Latin from Greek psukhē ‘breath, life, soul”…
As the fundamental factors for any psychedelic experience are defined by set, setting and dosage – the anticipation enveloping this sophomore, 2015mg Effenaar event, was tangibly palpable.
“The nature of the experience depends almost entirely on set and setting. Set denotes the preparation of the individual, including his personality structure and his mood at the time. Setting is physical — the weather, the room’s atmosphere; social — feelings of persons present towards one another; and cultural — prevailing views as to what is real”. – Timothy Leary.
Everybody was in and the ceremony was about to begin, as the event programme attested – “Frontiers must be explored, crossed and questioned. In order to do so, we need researchers, exploration and arenas to perform such interrogations: audio laboratories. Eindhoven has a long and proud history in challenging industrial, scientific and musical boundaries. In this historical creative context, Eindhoven Psych Lab offers you a throbbing laboratory of bands, DJ’s, visual happenings and audio tests. It will explore psychedelia in its most trance inducing and progressive form, via the mediums of visual art, design, science and of course: music. Get ready to re-enter the scientific arena and cross audiovisual boundaries”.
Photo – Patrick Spruytenburg
Whilst the music undoubtedly provides the catalyst and nucleus of Eindhoven Psych Lab, the “acid test” to this happening was defined by it’s elevation beyond the merely aural plane. Immersion here invokes the camaraderie of friends, old and new, amidst this communal gathering in all six senses…
Warm Graves have the unenviable task of launching into the proceedings, their suitably out there “Sci-Fi-delic” set, beautifully lifts the curtain on the next sumptuous 35 hours of rambunctious revelry. Diest four piece Tubelight tick all the right boxes with their self-confessed blend of, “The Jesus and Mary Chain meets Spacemen 3”, flavoured psychedelic shoegaze. Oostende surf-poppers Alpha Whale hang ten, whilst riding that psych-soaked wave to oblivion. Psychedelic folk-rocker Doug Tuttle, kicked off the evening segment showcasing the Chicago based Trouble In Mind Records‘ impressively mind melting roster. Farfisa zeitgeist pioneers, Klaus Johann Grobe turn things up a notch with their jazz-pop and reverb laden vocals. Brighton’s The Soft Walls acquit themselves well with their dreamy, ethereal sound, which the band describe as, “A wandering mind, settling into it’s own cranium”.
For a number of weeks now, one singular announcement in advance of this weekend, has had myself and many, many others salivating in contemplation of the very words – “RMFTM meets The Cosmic Dead: hit, quit, rave, repeat (Audio Test 001.epl15)”…
For those listening carefully, the decaying echo of either one these bands’ spellbinding performances from last year, could still be heard reverberating around those hallowed Effenaar walls.
That the organisers had even envisaged, let alone succeeded in splicing these sonic behemoths together, on the same stage almost defied expectation.
Of course, the reality delivered the aural equivalent of a Vulcan mind meld. The deconstructed, structural psychosis, delivered sheet after sheet of sense shattering, sensual sound. The frantic metronomic synchronicity of drummers, Tony Lathouwers and Julian Dicken, in particular deserve a special mention – their tour de force performance, outstripping any electronic interloper, had the mesmeric impact of witnessing demented, speed-freak siamese twinned duracell bunnies!
The gathered congregation had witnessed something very special indeed, an apoplectic assault of epic proportions, indelibly seared upon the cerebral cortex of all present.
As if ritually summoned by the cacophony within, Ragnarök was unleashed without, Thor’s anvil ripped the heavens asunder, the ensuing deluge in stark contrast to the clammy stickiness of the preceding afternoon. Cleansed in every sense of the word by Radar Men From The Moon and The Cosmic Dead, that this performance marked only the mid-point in proceedings augured well.
California based Morgan Delt take the tempo down a much needed notch or two with their simmering take on west-coast psychedelic pop. Electric Eye have the unenviable task of following RMFTM and The Cosmic Dead onto the Observatory stage, that they do so with such vim and vigour to deliver their, “Groove-psych-space-rock from Norway” is a testament to their unswerving ability. Unexpected revelation of the day for me, come in the shape of The Limiñanas hailing from Cabestany, “deep south of France”. Earlier in the week, François Sky had posted a couple of their videos which I had very much enjoyed, the chanteuse fronted pop sensibility of their set had me rushing to the merch table afterwards, to further sate my need.
Photo – Patrick Spruytenburg
Continuing the vibe, POW! had been a similar revelation at last year’s Liverpool Psych Fest, tonight the San Francisco synth-psych-pop quartet deliver yet another memorably seamless set. Hoorn’s Jacco Gardner followed with his wistful, lilting, “Neo-Psych, Baroque Pop, Chamber Pop”.
How in the fuck I had managed not to find the time to listen to my gold vinyl copy of Hey Colossus‘ ‘In Black And Gold’ is a mystery to me! On the plus side, my shambling, ignorant innocence was delivered a wake up call of shamanic proportions. Every aspect of Hey Colossus’ performance, despite or perhaps in spite of the various technical issues, held me totally captive in their spirit-soaring embrace. The unadulterated joy of discovering a band I thought I already knew…
Moon Duo, for me at any rate, brought the day to a gloriously motorik, cascading conclusion. I’d had the pleasure of seeing them earlier on this tour in support of their latest LP, ‘Shadow of the Sun’ at the Distorted Perspectives Festival in Ireland. I must confess that the smaller venue on that occasion made for an all together more intimate gig. The Effenaar faithful were rewarded with a powerhouse display of favourites, old and new.
Flagging now, on the cumulative effects of an 05:45 start for the pilgrimage from Belfast to Eindhoven, and four nights of interrupted sleep, courtesy of my 3 year-old, maybe the odd beer or two – and something has to give. Sadly on this occasion it is Teeth Of The Sea I mss out on, who I had really been looking forward to seeing, since their eleventh hour cancellation last year due to transport problems. Thankfully I had made partial amends by seeing their face melting performance last year at Liverpool Psych Fest, the early parting however was no sweet sorrow. Apologies guys until next time!
Photo – Patrick Spruytenburg
Day 2, to be continued…