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Review: Itchy-O – ‘Mystic Spy | Psykho Dojo’

by admin August 26, 2020

Review: Itchy-O – ‘Mystic Spy | Psykho Dojo’

A musical collective who work through a dark haze of beguiling mystery and controlled chaos, Itchy-O are a unique kind of force. A twenty-six member avant-experimental orchestra who often perform with over fifty artists, Itchy-O aren’t just musicians, but a complete and motivated movement. Blending their unique percussive style and penchant for electronic music with wild, immersive live performances, the collective frequently blur the lines between performer and audience.

Adding to their mystique, the collective keep their individual identities a secret, donning masks and inventive guises to create a unified force that is free from this era of ego-driven individualism. After releasing their first two albums on ex-Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra’s famed label, Alternative Tentacles, the band are now set to release ‘Mystic Spy | Psykho Dojo’, their third full-length release and the first on their own label, Mettle Studios.

It’s a bold move, and the release is an equally bold statement, exploring two central themes of a realm of esoteric trickery and espionage, and a parallel universe of deep martial psychic discipline. Led by two stunning singles, the sonic-driven epic of ‘Black Mist’ and the megalithic spy-rock anthem of ‘Saptaloka’, the tone of the new album is arguably set. A controlled, and yet wonderfully savage style, the two tracks are a perfect glimpse into the orchestrated madness that Itchy-O seem to have perfected.

Built by an unquantifiable creative outlook and forged by an assorted arsenal of instruments, ‘Mystic Spy | Psykho Dojo’ is an untethered exploration of the ways that Taiko drums, synthesizers, Theremins, vocoders, and other digital devices. It’s a free-flowing, electric experience that has been captured without losing any of the live energy or raw emotion. There is a noted and stylistic disconnect between the two concepts on the album, with the A-Side giving way to a more celestial, trance-liker B-Side.

Engrained with recordings from NASA’s 1977 space probe Voyager I throughout, the ‘Psykho Dojo’ portion of the record is a series of alien soundscapes that have a rick backstory to them. Although the meaning and narrative is infrequently clear, the emotion and atmospherics of each piece are unequivocally present, It’s a subtle flaw that the collective have seen to overcome with their zine publication, ‘Idra & Scepter’, an inventive way to add to the engulfing experience that is ‘Mystic Spy | Psykho Dojo’.

‘Mystic Spy | Psykho Dojo’ is set for release on September 17th this year, and is currently available for pre-order from the band’s official website here. The record will be available on 12” vinyl, including seven full-length tracks and fourteen 32-second vignettes that end in lock-grooves. Alongside the release, there is also the new publication, ‘Idra & Scepter’, created in collaboration with Suspect Press. Once you have figured out the puzzle inside the zine, you can log in to an interactive site that allows you to not only listen to the digital versions of the lock-grooves but also layer, record, and download your creations.

Score: 7.5/10

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