PSICKLOPS Reviews/ Screening Testimonials
This album takes the form of an aural move, a film without visuals.
This combines structured dialogue, recordings, some music all structured into
It must have taken an incredible amount of time. Where bands like Negativland
and Tape Beatles who pioneered this form had a more absurdist, chaotic quality
this release although often humorous is more serious. Indeed it talks about
the ruling of the USA by a totalitarian regime that dictates by fear instilled
the population, facilitating the aims of corporate interests. This ‘dark
cinema’ explores the acquiescence of the public in accepting this control
and oppression as it is for ‘their own good’. It’s a starkly
disturbing exposition of a sinister evolution in society. With many of the potential
causal factors for such a development appearing in our new perpetual war on terror,
bombings and fear of ‘the other’ it feels disturbing and prescient.
Although the label talks of this as the follow up to Kafka’s ‘The
Trial’ it feels as much like 1984 justified on the basis of preserving
our shopping culture or a sequel to the film Brazil.
The piece brings together many musicians who provide ‘soundtrack’ to the movie which requires and rewards your concentration. It’s new regime is one of petty controls, of living within the tiny rules and restrictions which are hidden behind a veil of service oriented language. Listening to the piece will take you through a movie, on a journey and will confront your concept of liberty and how easily this can slip away. It is a powerful and in many ways quite moving piece which every thinking person should hear.
Mark Coyle- The Unbroken Circle
Psicklops is an ambitious, multi-artist collage loosely organized in a sort of narrative form. Produced in part by the Rhode Island label Free Matter for the Blind, Psicklops claims to be a “sequel” to Franz Kafka’s dystopian manuscript “The Trial”, a goal which becomes increasingly irrelavent as one listens.
Superficially, Psicklops deals with marketing, surveillance, censorship, and a totalitarian lifestyle somewhat reminiscent of that found in George Lucas’ film THX-1138. Sometimes, the dystopian elements seem forced– a little too put together– it is the helplessness, chaos, and absurdity that makes “The Trial” so horrific; even a “helpful” voice such as the one giving occasional instructions throughout Psicklops would have been a point of light for the main character.
Nevertheless, Psicklops still manages to get the listener thinking. Are these horror elements no longer as potent due to their increasing appearance in daily life? Can we consider the nature of labels, artists, and listeners to be a totalitarian one? How about performers and composers?
Even the presentation of Psicklops is charged with meaning. Originally having made its debut in a week-long series of mostly simultaneous broadcasts and “screenings,” Psicklops listeners were encouraged to gather in silence, and listen intently. Suggestions were even made to encourage listeners to “imagine yourself somewhere bright and warm.” This is a far cry from the vaguely rebellious “PLAY LOUD!” advice one sometimes finds on the back of a record jacket.
So where does that leave you? Like the poor fellow, K, subject of the titual “trial,” maybe more than a little confused. One thing Psicklops steadfastly refuses to do is spoon-feed a listener the answers. But in an age where so many forms of art and media are unwilling (or unable!) to even ask the questions, it would be a poor choice to sentence Psicklops for the crime of not handing us our next thoughts.
dave x:- blog :http://startlingmoniker.wordpress.com/2006/11/19/psicklops/
I had a screening last night and it was awesome! There were probably 20 or so people there. We hung out and ate food and then we turned off the lights and everyone lay down and listened to psicklops. At one point this cop car pulled up outside my house and the flashing lights on the white wall of my living room were really eerie and appropriate. I thought I was hallucinating for a moment. We had a really interesting discussion afterwards too--most people seemed to find the whole thing kind of disturbing and uncomfortable, although one guy said he found the buzzing noises soothing. I was a little worried beforehand that some people would have a hard time listening to something for an hour but that wasnt a problem. everyone seemed to be ingaged and thoughtful and provoked. Everyoone was really into the marketing guys and their word play ("all eyes, all ears, alarm"). The marketing guys made people feel safe. The lady who talked about pushing buttons and getting comfortable made people uncomfortable. One person said the modern day cyclops is America. There was mostly a discussion about feeling safe/not safe, it seems like thats what people thought of. I had a thought that you were like the marketing guys but proselytizing with sounds. like, how can we get the people to come? how can we make people believe its fun even if its not fun? if that makes sense.
anyway, it was really cool, a couple people even asked me where they could buy it so maybe someone will. people were excited, I think this is the inauguration of a regular listening gathering thing I'm gonna do.
Thank you!! the listening party went
really well, i think there was eighteen people in my bedroom and they all
enjoyed it, it was really effective and funny and i think listeners felt
lots of different things and got different ideas from it. im thinking of
holding another one, maybe with that zyreeka flaming lips album