Quick history lesson…Psychonauts, a name you have probably not heard of before, but a duo that helped shaped this new disco revival we are seeing, have re-released/re-mastered their album Songs for Creatures. Composed of UK producers Pablo Clement (currently 1/2 of UNKLE) and Paul Mogg, (currently 1/2 of Boy of Girl), they released the album in 2003, but people didn’t quite understand the surreal trip hop/disco feel that they were going for at the time, but now that the music landscape is ripe for the taking, they decided to give it a second try with the hope that maybe this time people will get it.
Songs for Creatures when it was released back in the day maybe didn’t appeal to the masses at hand, but it was very influential to some of the nu-disco producers who revived the genre again. In ’03 they set up some studio sessions in London with Tim Goldsworthy and Kudo from Major Force (who says that the Psychonauts mixtape they sent to them was inspiration for their recording sessions with the Beastie Boys) which produced the track, “Hot Blood”, which James Murphy cites as a sonic reference for the 1st rapture album (which was amazing by the way).
I’m really glad that I got a chance to listen to this album. It is so so smooth from beginning to end– it was a trippy experience listening to it. Rooted in trip hop they mixed in influences of disco, psychedelic rock, experimental, ambient textures, and sonic landscapes to create a 12 track album that will have you coming back for more (it’s my 4th time now). Most of the tracks have guest vocalists who each contribute their own style to the music. Amongst the collaborators on Songs For Creatures you will find James Yorkstone, Siobhan Fahey from Swing Out Sister, Sam Graham known for her work with post punk, pre The Rapture legends, Gramme and Zeben Jameson.
Songs to check out are “Circles” with its laid back funky groove, “Take Control (ft. Sam Lynham)” and the pure trip-hop feel they achieve, “Magnetic (ft. Ghost) with its dreamy guitars”, “Dream Chasers”, and “Empty Love”, but in all honesty, all of them are equally good and unique in their own way.
Look out for the remastered Songs for Creatures to be released in the immediate future.