Featured Artist Friday: Psycho Acoustic Goat ‘Eastern Flavoured Shamanic Space Goat’ Album Review w/ Illustrations by Jason’s Haggard Faces

Summoning a surreal soundscape with sonorous singing strings and boisterous bouncy bass, this viola and acoustic bass duo are a far-out psychedelic trip taken on the comforting carpet of a disco dancehall of eclectic electronica.

It begins with the juddering shudder of ‘San Clemente‘ which as a statement of intent perfectly encapsulates the sound and story that this band is uniquely positioned to let loose. Both musicians are at the peak of the mountain when it comes to technique, feel, and experimentation. Every slap, strum, pick, pluck, and tickle is as tender as it is tantalisising tease. The build blossoms into a knee-buckling climax.

Illustrations by Jasons Haggard Faces

Balloons‘ is the softer side to the sonic silliness. It should be stated that Psycho Acoustic Goat are seriously silly. The playful and poetic way they dive into a story about a man that drifts off into the milky way bound to two balloons filled with his thoughts, is abstraction through a rainbow prism. It is beautifully barmy to behold, especially when done with a cheeky smile and soundtracked with manic magic musicianship.

Next up is ‘Pride‘ and we are treated to a third layer to the already complex tapestry of sound in the form of Johnny Bruce‘s haunting horn. The brass provides a delicious and delightful opening and then perfectly balances off the stabbing staccato of the viola and the bubble, bump, and bop of the bass. Adding to the trip (collective noun for goats) for this track brings into sharp focus once again just how full and furious the sound is as a two-piece.

The emotive element is never more apparent than with “Sorry, Wilmer‘. The story telling through sound is surreal, somber, and sumptuous. The explosive force of fingers on frets is fire and finesse. This track also perfectly exposes the percussive aspect of the duos sound which turns the acoustic bass to drum and bass as thumb, palm, and fingernail ricochet all over the instrument.

Get Yourself A Goats Mask‘ leads with a breathtaking vignette on the viola. There is cosmic horror and classically trained creativity and flair that springs forth from the strings to summon a shivering shaking sirens song that bounces from one side of the instrument to the other with breakneck speed. This is soon joined by the scuttle and skittle of an equally fast-paced bass and in the middle is a silly but serious seriously silly poetic ode to routine and habit soundtracked by the bleating of a trip of annoyed goats read with gusto and panache and a very seriously silly accent. The track is a standout and a definite favourite.

Illustrations by Jasons Haggard Faces

La da da da duh da“, is the happy skipping refrain of ‘50 Degrees‘. It is a singalong feel-good song that puts the prey in the position of the Road Runner always coming out on top of their Wile E. Coyote predator. There is a furious build to the track that is constantly evolving to stay ahead and out of reach of the ever gnashing teeth chasing it. The viola and bass wind, weave, and whip themselves in a merry but manic dance that leaves a lasting impression and the addition of the vocal chorus to underscore the track elevates it into an almost absurdist angelic realm.

The ‘Goat Of Bandiagara‘ is a haunting viola solo that leans into the Eastern flavour hinted at in the title of the album. If there was any doubt that Psycho Acoustic Goat are musician’s musicians, moments like this perfectly embody the masterful skill behind their playful philosophy and sound. There is a saying often applied to jazz that you have to know your instrument and the theory behind it back to front before you can start really breaking it down and having fun with it. The viola on this short 1 minute and a half track is tear jerkingly beautiful, the raw emotive power of it is worth an instant repeat and it highlights the musicianship underneath the goat mask.

The titular ‘Eastern Flavoured Shamanic Space Goat‘ continues on in this realm of holy reverence and spectacular trip setting soundtrack. The central hook that rocks back and forth like an intrepid traveler on tidal waves over the viola is familiar and fantastic, it feels like home, but a home you haven’t visited yet. The bass tickles out an equally inviting finger that beckons you deeper into the dark, delightful depths. It is murky and musky, hazy heads befuddled with the lingering smoke and soot of unknown fires and the incense aromas of an exotic experience. If you want music that truly takes you on a trip, this is it.

The album finishes with ‘A Goat Called Cliff‘ which continues on with the expertise and exciting energy deployed on every track previous, but introduces a new element at its midway mark. Goat rap! Charming, alarming, and a little bit disarming, the tale told hinges around the line “a seagull on a head is a man called cliff, the bird stood backward is a man shit faced” which perfectly encapsulates the absurd, silly, but strangely poetic and prophetic nature of Psycho Acoustic Goat as a project.

Illustrations by Jasons Haggard Faces

We have had the immense pleasure to see this act live numerous times and it is a force of nature taken to the stage. With goat masks, masterful musicianship, and a fair few circus performer friends planted in the crowd, we can honestly say that a Psycho Acoustic Goat gig is one you will never forget. Taking this raw power and translating it to a recording is no easy feat, but this monumental task has been achieved admirably on Eastern Flavoured Shamanic Space Goat allowing both instruments and the flow of feeling poured into them to rise majestically through your speakers.

Psycho Acoustic Goat don’t just take you on a quick trip, they take your hand and lead you on the start of a journey. This isn’t just silliness for the sake of being silly, there is a message to the playful and childlike mischief granted by the goat mask magic. This is ego death, this is powerful philosophy, this is poetry in music and form, this is grown adults bleating manically and dancing around in goat masks to the groovy sounds of an acoustic bass and a viola. An acoustic bass and a viola… A combination that shouldn’t work. But it does, perfectly, with a richness of sound and depth of emotion that you might never have heard before. Utterly unique and completely captivating. On paper it seems ridiculous, at first glance it still is, but if you stop being so serious and allow yourself to get seriously silly, you might just find that this is musical medicine for those that have forgotten how to have fun.

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