As the name suggests, STRNGLV’s Psychotropia is a highly trippy concoction of psychedelic electronic sounds set in a tropical jungle. The tape, released on a young Brooklyn label Fabrica Records, begins with a series of pulsing, sunlit drones descending from the canopy. The cassette insert lists an impressive list of both synthesizers and computer software. And for a good reason – the tape is amazingly multilayered and rich, almost pregnant with sound, existing more or less in the same dreamy equatorial headspace as High Wolf or Dolphins Into the Future. “Waking Up in Amsterdam” is a looping abstract piece, featuring some nice work delay work and “Sonic Teleportation” is a 30-something second harsh draft, rising and falling in a series of noisy convulsions.
The following tracks, “Standby” and “Thirst” are class on their own, the first gradually mangling the calm guitar loop into tribal drone with ghostly vocals humming in the background just to end up being a full-blown rainforest discotheque (ultra-psychedelic processed bird samples included). The second piece is an almost lo-fi, introspective aquatic zone which sounds like floating down the river and finding a cool shadow to shield oneself from the scorching sun.
But the icing on the cake and the tape’s tour de force comes with the title track, “Psychotropical”, which takes up the entirety of side B. With the thumping tribal drums and organic drones, the first part of this epic suite sounds like an electronic rendition of No Neck Blues Band’s trippiest moments or Golden Jooklo Age’s Tropical Trip. Because hell yeah, ain’t “Psychotropical” one big tropical trip. Around the middle of the track the drums fade out to give way to haunting, mossy drone in the vein of Loren Chasse’s Of side-project or what Barn Owl would make if they used synths instead of guitars. The very end of the track gives a murky, almost suffocating atmosphere with distant moans and drums buried deep in the mix, sounding an awful lot like The Skaters’ best moments.
Psychotropia is scorching hot, well produced and incredibly trippy. Can’t wait to hear more from this guy. Grab the tape from Fabrica Records while it still lasts!!