Saturday, January 30, 2010
Could Sky Picnic possibly be the most deliciously psychedelic band in New York City today? The answer to that question is a HUGE YES. Indeed, Sky Picnic are creating the most gorgeous, heavenly, tripped-out psychedelic songs I have heard in quite some time. I have read the term 'mind expanding music' used to describe Sky Picnic's music. I totally agree. As I write this, I am immersed in the swirls of atmospherics and the dueting, chill-inducing vocals of singers Chris Sherman and Leah Cinnamon. White Plane is playing through my headphones and I'm lost......completely tripped out for a while, letting the mellow vibe and the poetic lyrics wash over me. This is psychedelia at its BEST. Farther In This Fairy Tale, if you can tell from its title, is not only poetic and beautifully atmospheric, it's an album to listen to from beginning to end, to escape from what corners you in this world, and to make you think beyond the bounds of the typical. It is a lovely experience, a necessary one for people of our mind-set. I asked Chris Sherman about the album:
Farther In This Fairy Tale was intended to be more conceptual than an ordinary album, listened to from start to finish in order, without the outside world interruptions? Exactly. It's art. We're not just making music...anyone can make music. We're trying to give you an experience and to take you deeper into an alternate world and give you something to think about. The concept of the LP is the end of innocence and a journey to find yourself, although I hope people can draw their own meanings from there.
Universal Mind Decoder, I will say is one of the best songs I have ever heard: twelve minutes, at times big and lush, at other times hushed and calm.....a trip for the mind and the soul. Chris and Leah actually began their musical project using that song title as their name:
How did you all come together in NY & start making music?
Leah and I started as Universal Mind Decoder in mid 2005. We had a slightly poppy-er mid-60's rock type sound. That dissolved at the end of 2006. From there, we started Sky Picnic in 2007, brought in a drummer and started developing our sound closer to where it is today. It wasn't until Pete joined in Oct 2008 that we really got it together and became a cohesive unit.
When I listen to music such as Sky Picnic's, I always think of what influences these musicians, what drives them to create this art that makes me feel so good to have surrounding me. Dreamy sleep, flickering lights, mellotrons, sitars, and rainbow colors of a symphony (as a true synesthete would say, "I see the colors of the sounds.") are just a few of the things that influence Sky Picnic's music. What Chris says about their creative process:
I love the influences you list on MySpace. Can you tell me a little more about how you create your compositions?The songs usually start with an idea coming out of nowhere. I'll usually get a nice blueprint for it and THINK I know how it should go. I'll make a quick demo, send it off to the band, and we'll develop it in practice. Once it's in their hands, the song always surpasses the original vision. It's a pretty efficient process, although I really want us to get into more group writing.
I know there are alot of definitions of psychedelic music, but it seems that label gets thrown around rather loosely these days. A band who happens to use phased vocals over an acoustic guitar is automatically "the next Syd Barrett" and "very trippy" according to all the hipster blogs and mainstream media out there. And that's fine if that what they want to call it. (That just makes us more left of center.) But we are trying to give the audience a psychedelic experience. Improvisation is abound on stage, and, to an extent, on the record. Themes of astronomy, mythology, dystopian societies and life and death are the basis of our catalog. Clearly, we're not trying to become rock stars, and have no ambition to do so. We're making music we love about subjects we love, in the matter in which we want to. Hopefully that spirit alone draws people to our band.
Sky Picnic has also released a beauty of an EP, titled Synesthesia, five songs equally as gorgeous as any song off Farther In This Fairy Tale. Using sitar swirls and lyrics that make me think of Alice In Wonderland's world, this EP breathtaking. Sequence IV is a musical journey of epic proportions. The band's full discography, all available to you, is:
Synesthesia EP- 2008
Hide & Seek (single)- 2009
Farther In This Fairy Tale- 2010
The CD of EP and LP are available at all shows and via IndepenDisc. MP3's are via Amazon.
A heartfelt thank you to Chris. Photo credits are from the band's MySpace. My best to the band, hope to see you in February!