Stazi - Soulacybin - Review

Soulacybin has had a busy 12 months. After the release of the wondrous "Funkerpump" album in December 2014, he has put out a number of compilation releases and completed a US tour schedule. Somehow in there he managed to find time to get a tremendous new album together too. Stazi, his fourth album to date, is now available thanks to Gravitas Records. 

I remember first hearing Soulacybin's music through his Soundcloud. He uploaded a couple of tracks a few years back and sure made an impression in a quick way. The track I especially remember from those days is Halls Of Amenti a massive slice of psydub/psystep cluster bass. 

Then came along his debut album "Self Existing Earth" on Ektoplazm. A stunning debut that drew comparisons to Ott, Shpongle and just about any other top level psydub producer you care to mention - and it was available for free ! For free ! It was about this time that I declared him and fellow Ektoplazmer, Globular, to be the new young princes of psydub. How pleasing it is to see them still going strong, evolving sounds with each new release. 

For his follow up album John mixed in a heavier psyglitch atmosphere that was flooding the scene at the time. Lots of stuttering percussion and squelchy, squishy synths. The album, Gratitude, is also a donation purchase on Bandcamp these days and stands as one of the defining moments of the psyglitch genre. 

It was with his third album that Soulacybin really expanding his audience. "Funkerpump" turned everything up to 11. Everything sounded bigger, smoother, slicker. It also highlighted his ability to experiment a little more and push boundaries. It brought in shades of a progressive trance and dub techno too - something which is much more evident on this new album.

The new album, Stazi, begins with a sound that is smoother and sexier than anything John has put down before. From the first few tracks it is apparent that he has managed to massage the sounds to such a degree that every space is full of intricate details. Bass lovingly caresses your back while long tendrils of tapering dub echoes work their magic, massaging your shoulders. Time to kick back and enjoy the ride .  

All sounds are well balanced - this time around there are no squelchy,screaming synths taking focus or bogarting the joint. Everything works together like a well oiled sonic dubliscous machine. The amount of reverb on some tracks like "Measurements Of Improbability"  is amazing - it almost feels like exhaling a looooooong toke as layers of percussive reverb blow off over the horizon.  Other tracks such as Zeu highlight a wonderful command of melodic structure and production. 

As progressive in the genre as this sounds there is still enough on offer for fans of previous work. Track five, "Four_Five" for instance could easily sit amongst the best tracks off earlier albums. 

Track 6 , "See Through Darkness" mixes in some progressive trance sounds. Its kind of a nice touch actually. Not only does it provide a pleasant intermission for an album that contains a hefty 11 tracks, but it also gives pause for thought - what would an entire prog trance Soulacybin album sound like ? Its a interesting thought to entertain I think. Certainly on evidence of this track and "Sporeal Allies" from Funkerpump he has the chops to pull it off. Or maybe a remix/collaboration effort with other prog/psytrance producers ? I'm pretty sure he has the funk to fill a floor. 

The final track, Autonom, is another of note. It wonderfully mixes up glitchyness with jazzy-lounge structures to create a pleasant sign off and leaves you smiling on your way. 

Gravitas Recordings have built up an amazing roster of talent on their books. With his latest album, Soulacybin continues to show the world just how strong the label is. Stazi, for me, is Soulacybin's most accomplished album to date. It shows a willingness to explore, push boundaries and craft a more mature sound.  It sounds fresh and modern yet at the same time has hints of classic dub on offer too. 

I've no doubt this album will feature heavily on various best album lists for 2015 within the downtempo psychedelic scene. Congratulation to Soulacybin for another astonishing album.

Stazi is available now via Gravitas Recordings  

Posted on 15.12.15 by PsyAmb TAG : | 0 Comments ( ADD NEW COMMENT )


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