ALBUM REVIEW – DIGITAL VAGRANCY by PSYCHOYOGI

by Aaron Gidney

I think it’s fairly safe to say that PsychoYogi are uncategorisable in terms of genres – although avant-garde is probably the most appropriate in the absence of any clear boundaries. The band’s website describes them as ‘Leftfield Punk Jazz’ – sounds close enough, and indicates that there’s ‘social/political critique amongst personal moments and moods’.

The band are made up of Chris Ramsing on Vocals/Guitars, Justin Casey on Drums/Percussion, Izzy Stylish on Bass and Toby Nowell on Woodwind/Brass. I suspect there’s a few humorous nom de plumes amongst the band (apologies if not!), which belies the band’s sense of humour and approach to their unique brand of music.

It’s an album that’s delivered with incredible panache and tightness, but with an overall sense of musical ‘looseness’ that only the top level of musicians can fulfil. The band are compact in their delivery but are able to flex their muscles similarly to a Jazz outfit that can telepathize their next move to each other.

There’s plenty of Zappa-esque elements throughout the album – not least of all in the vocal stylings. Much of the vocal lines are delivered in a monotone style, often in unison with the guitar lines.

Despite being hard to follow, you can appreciate the ‘live’ feel of the music as it ebbs and flows from one section to another, with avant-garde warts and all.

At 12 tracks long, it’s fairly difficult to digest but the songs are short enough to offer some respite between and there is enough stylistic variety to offer something different to the listened, depending on individual tastes.

There is most definitely tongue-in-cheek throughout the entirety of the album, but the quality is simply sublime and it’s hard to convey the difficulty of executing such a style of songwriting and musicianship – unless you play Modern or Free Jazz. Worth exploring.

Chris Ramsing – Guitar and Vocal.
Justin Casey – Drums and Percussion.
Izzy Stylish – Bass
Toby Nowell – Alto Sax, Soprano Sax and Trumpet.

Written and arranged by Chris Ramsing Produced and mixed by Paul Gilbert Mastered by Dave Blackman.

Tracks

  1. Guiding Light
  2. A Dangerous Path
  3. The River
  4. Wonderful Place
  5. Distant Bell
  6. Salvation
  7. Love And Sanity
  8. Much To Dream About
  9. Poison Candy
  10. Innocence For Fear
  11. Long Goodbye
  12. Frank

Online: https://psychoyogi.com

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