Monday, 20 July 2015

Literature Reviews (New Section!) - Introduction

“The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet.” ― Ralph Waldo EmersonSelf-Reliance and Other Essays

In the modern world, we can be awfully quick to consign ourselves to following the opinions of, as Heraclitus termed them, the 'popular singers'. Rather than engaging our own brains to deduce and analyse situations, we will defer our thinking to whatever or whoever offers the narrative of least resistance. Although this is an observation made by countless thinkers over the centuries, from the Ancient Greeks all the way up to the modern day, it is worth reminding ourselves that we should all strive to assert our intellectual independence. 

This realisation was most recently, and poignantly, brought to my attention after reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau. After I finished the transcendentalist classic, I was inspired to become more proactive in my own critical thinking when considering widely held beliefs and ideas. Whether it be economy, spirituality, philosophy, etc. or even music, it is always worth challenging the conceptions we currently hold on a position (no matter how personal or undeniably true they may seem to ourselves). 

It is in this vein that I endeavour to start a new section on Do You Even Psychedelic? pertaining to literature. I think it is reasonable, in a blog born from interest in psychedelia, to have articles which concern the conscious-expanding ideas of books (a powerful novel can prove more efficacious than a plethora of drugs). Hopefully, the ideas presented and reviewed will be everything from challenging to revelatory, and help us all journey further down the road of internal philosophical discovery. 

I intend to start this new section by reviewing the book which prompted it, Walden, and I will most probably break the analysis of the novel into six or seven thematic 'chapters'. These chapters will concern different strains of thought which I found within Walden to be particularly compelling and provocative, such as 'self-reliance' and Thoreau's 'theory of consumption'. When I finish that series of articles, I may move onto another thematic analysis of a text or several one-off reviews (similar to my album and single reviews). 

I hope I have successfully conveyed to you the excitement I feel for this new series, which intends to bring us all closer to new ideas, encouraging progression towards a lifestyle of a more greatly expanded conscious, or in other words, a psychedelic one.


Written by Daniel Sharman.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Single Review: Ulrich Rois - Sunrise In The Valley

I first came into contact with Ulrich Rois when I stumbled across his small independent music label, Feathered Coyote Records, a few weeks ago. As soon as I heard the label's name, I knew he was a man I wanted to get to know more about. As a result, Rois subsequently introduced me to his prolific experimental folk band, Bird People, whom are a truly fantastic act which I hope to both interview and review in detail in the coming months. So it is indeed safe to say that when Ulrich posted this taster single for his upcoming minimalist banjo solo album, 'Along the Belt, Around the Bend', I couldn't wait to delve in and see what sonic revelations were on offer. 

I was not disappointed. 

Sunrise In The Valley is a sum of several wisely-chosen components, and, if telling of what is to come, my anticipation for the upcoming album is surely increasing. Firstly, the track opts (and I imagine the whole album will follow likewise) for a vocal-less, bass-less, drum-less composition, even though one would of been very easy to add. This leads to a John Fahey-esque feel, evocative especially of his more minimalist work, the recurrent theme of the song being played on with small nuances and flourishes to give a more fluid, free-form structure. Indeed, this adherence to acoustic minimalism helps create the aura of earthy naturalism which is typical of much of Rois' work (especially with Bird People), painting a picture of bucolic landscapes and lush wildernesses, transporting the listeners to a more simple and honest environment. Moreover, the deliberately restrained arrangement also causes me to think of the minimalist compositions of Terry Riley, an apposite comparison as the single draws on many of the drone influences characteristic of Riley's work. The consistent repetition of several almost raga-like melodic ideas helps the listener slow down and step in beat with aforementioned simple but wholesome atmosphere.

Rois informs me the album is to be released sometime in the coming months, possibly late this year (2015). 

From the Soundcloud page:

A track from the forthcoming album "Along the Belt, Around the Bend" by Ulrich Rois (Bird People, Metal Mangs Orchestra, Feathered Coyote Records)  
Recorded May 2015 in Waidhofen/Ybbs, no overdubs or edits   
Copyright 2015 Burrow Sounds

Review written by Daniel Sharman