One of the unexpected side benefits from my books being published is that I am being contacted from even more bands than before, and such is the case with PsychoYogi. I heard from Chris Ramsing, who wrote all the songs on this album (and also provides vocals and guitar), who asked if I would be interested in hearing their latest album, which was released in 2018. I of course said yes and was aware that the name of the band had alerted something in the deepest recesses of my musical brain. It didn’t take long to realise that some six years Paradise 9 announced that the replacement for Carl Sampson (who for me I will always associate with Casual Affair) was Justin Casey, who also played in PsychoYogi. I don’t think Justin is still with Paradise 9, but he certainly is still there in PsychoYogi, and along with Chris, Izzy Stylish (bass) and John Macnaughton (alto and tenor Sax) has produced an eccentric, eclectic album which is right up my proverbial street.
Chris told me they are influenced by Zappa, Beefheart, King Crimson, Gong, etc., but that “etc.” includes a myriad of other areas such as the Canterbury Scene (especially anything involving Robert Wyatt) and a huge chunk of Cardiacs. This is not music which will ever find much airplay on a “normal” radio station, as they weave musical threads together in unlikely patterns, underpinned by a very melodic bass line. It is this which often keeps the music contained and allows the guitar and sax to move and find new directions when the time is right. The drumming is rarely rock oriented even in the progressive sense, and has far more in common with jazz forms, and this all combined with music which I found to be incredibly inviting and enjoyable on first hearing has made for a fascinating album indeed.Complex and complicated, this is music which needs to be sat and listened to, concentrated on, as while it isn’t heavyweight in the normal sense of the word, it isn’t something which can be left in the background. Listeners will be richly rewarded and given this is their fourth album I look forward to investigating more of the music of PsychoYogi.
8/10 Kev Rowland