Psychic Ills – Frkwys Vol 4 review
Anyone with a vested interest in the FRKWYS series will know what a labour of love each edition is for RVNG INTL, and the fourth volume might just be the greatest example to date. Cult avant gardists Psychic Ills are the focal point here; a band entrenched in the NYC art rock scene, having worked with the likes of Ariel Pink and Telepathe in various projects since they caused ripples of excitement with Mental Violence II for Social Registry. For this project the band approached artists who reflect important chapters in the formation of what we now call electronic music. Some twelve months later we have the finished product, gloriously presented as ever, with a sleeve design that imitates a vintage photo album.
Detroit legend Juan Atkins was seemingly contacted on a whim and jumped at the chance to transform the sprawling psychedelic drone of “Mantis” into an equally hypnotic near ten minute box jam which brilliantly utilises the sliding guitar and menacing bass. Atkins’ treatment is the only concession to encouraging hip movement on this twelve inch but the FRKWYS series has always been less about throwaway 4/4 throbbers and more suited to plugging your cerebral cortex in and fully enjoying the sonic ride. Gibby Haynes from Butthole Surfers was entrusted with the K hole darkness of “I Take You As My Wife Again” and delivers a reimagination that grips your attention thanks to the muddle of strings and oscillating synth arrangements. Finally the criminally short ambience of “Witchcraft Breaker” is stretched out and drowned in a wall of industrial strength sound by Hans-Joachim Irmler, founding member of German kraut-fathers Faust.