Infected Mushroom – IM the Supervisor (2004 Album)

Album Links:

 

Bandcamp: n/a

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/infectedmushroom/sets/im-the-supervisor

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/3KK4WXqbiP7MKuAfQhbhjf?si=ZivYQJOWTA281WyNYGG3zQ

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL36054862CF29783C

 

Introduction: First off, I want to comment on the album art. To my knowledge, there are two different album arts for IM The Supervisor. I honestly just chose the version that I could find the best quality image for, but if you’d rather look at some shroomed out version of Medusa (Hey, maybe that’s where Meduzz gets its name) holding an orb of some unknown origin or purpose, then go ahead and google it. I’m using this one.

 

Regardless of what album art I choose, I had taken a bit of an extended break from Infected Mushroom after Converting Vegetarians. After dominating two straight weeks with Infected Mushroom, it only felt fair to let other artists, whether or not I’ve reviewed them before, a chance to breathe new life into the Red Hat Reviews blog. This is also why it will likely be a while before you see the next Celldweller review. Three weeks dedicated to an artist that I like the least out of the ones I’ve reviewed so far is two weeks too many. I’ll get back to him and all of his other projects at a later date.

 

But this is not about Celldweller. This is about Infected Mushroom, my favorite psytrance duo of all time, despite the fact that they often deviate to other genres while keeping their style (variety is part of why I enjoy them). However, this time around they are sticking to the psytrance genre, though they have developed their sound design to match closer to Converting Vegetarians rather than the first three albums with a lot of focus and distorted vocal lines blending with the rest of the music.

 

And so, as we reintroduce Infected Mushroom to the world of Red Hat Reviews, we also enter a new era of Infected Mushroom themselves. Things are about to get interesting…

 

Infected Mushroom – IM the Supervisor (7): Starting off with the titular track of the album, I feel like now would be as good of a time as any to discuss the title: IM the Supervisor. Now you may be wondering if I’m suffering from a massive typo every time I type that title. Well, the thing is there’s a bit of a conflict on what the title actually is. Is this song short for “I am the supervisor,” a popularly held theory, or is it short for “instant message the supervisor,” which is my preferred theory. Why do I prefer said theory? Well you see, I distinctly remember seeing a story somewhere clarifying the confusion and telling the story behind the song in which Duvdev confirmed that it was instant message. Now I can’t find the story anywhere and half the sources are titled “IM” and the other half are titled “I’m.” Spotify is one of the ones to use the contraction, but they aren’t always perfect at getting titles right anyway (See Koan – Costline EP and the next song on this album, Ration Shamtio).

 

But that’s enough on the track’s title and lyrical content. In the end, such lyrics have very little influence on my opinion, as either way, they’re generally pretty meaningless, serving as just a few words for Duvdev to grumble as the song’s chorus. I personally prefer the portion where he’s screaming out “Dance with me,” as it’s a bit more energetic and there’s some great toms played in that section periodically. That’s a bit closer to the end of the song though… Perhaps I’ll review this song backwards… That’d be something different.

 

So, the middle portion of the song is what most closely matches the distorted feeling that I know Infected Mushroom best for. Not only is this where the main distorted lines with divided interpretation begin. It’s also home to many stretched lengthy notes that slide up and down in pitch. I hope you’ve enjoyed their brief occurrence her, because that’s not the last we’ll see of them in the album.

 

And lastly, I want to talk about the first minute of this song, before a single word is uttered. The odd two note bass rising and falling paired with sparing drumbeats interspersed set the tone immediately for the entire album. Much of it will be of this darker, deeply disturbing tone. The pianos to follow immediately reinforce that theme, serving as the most melodic instrument this song has to offer. Not my favorite part, as I’d originally gotten distracted by the toms that had played while the song begged us to dance (I obliged), but still important to setting up the mood for the rest of the album.

 

Infected Mushroom – Ratio Shmatio (7): And interestingly, the unconventional reviewing of methodology I started out with worked quite well into transitioning into the rest of the album. I’m not going to keep doing that though. There are some songs in this album, mainly Frog Machine, that must be reviewed front to back. This isn’t one of them, but I’m starting with that near silent arp in the intro anyway. Or at least silent in comparison to how loud it could be as quickly demonstrated by how it builds up over the next minute.

 

Building up instruments is a lot of what this song is about. The arp reaches its full potential quite soon, leaving room for other instruments to have the spotlight. I’m talking about the melodies, both the distorted glitchy synths that are a bit more infected than the other more natural instrument: the piano. And while not unique to Infected Mushroom, I think I prefer the piano. It compliments the rest of the song well and builds up gradually from its introduction a bit after 2 minutes in the song. Here, it blends in tune with the other distorted synth playing the same melody. However, not long after that, we have a build-up that involves shorter more repetitive notes from the piano, giving a dramatic flavor to everything around it.

 

Also, I lied, the arp does build up once more about three quarters into the song, resulting a great chord progression switch-up that serves as my favorite non-piano moment in the song. Would appreciate it more if it worked as a true finale, but there’s a few other squelchy instruments taking the spotlight from there on out. I haven’t much to say about them…

 

Oh, and before I forget, the song is called Ratio Shmatio, regardless of what Spotify says. I’m pretty sure that the intention is to make this rhyme as one does when mocking a particular word. Whether or not the song has some sort of ratio hidden within its progression and sound design is unclear to me, but I’m going to bet at no. It’s not like the title of the song is very respectful to that mathematical concept of ratios anyway.

 

Infected Mushroom & J. Viewz – Muse Breaks RMX (8): I shan’t spend long talking about the music in this one. There’s lots of odd things to remark about the vocals for this one. However, it’s also important to highlight the introduction and conclusion of this song. They’re roughly similar, bookending this song with mystery. These quiet moments are made up of soft simple melodies and some longer stretched notes that create the most chilling atmosphere this album has to offer. The conclusion also adds in some strings to create a sense beautiful finality. There isn’t nearly as much to say about the middle portion, but it does have a good drive and compares well to the “original” version of this song.

 

Oh yes, I put original in quotes? Why? Well, the trick is that the remix (or RMX) was released nearly a year before the original was. Makes sense? Of course it doesn’t, but somehow J.Views and Infected Mushroom got together and decided that Infected Mushroom should make an alternate version of J.Views’ unreleased song to promote the upcoming debut album for J.Views (fittingly titled Muse Breaks). Between this and the instant message fiasco, it’s clear that there are some ridiculous backstories to some of these songs. I’m not sure which version of Muse Breaks I prefer, as I discovered Infected Mushroom about five years ago and only got around to listening to J.views’ version… today… but both are definitely solid enough tracks. Perhaps I’ll review J.Views sometime so I can go more in depth to that version. Someday.

 

Well, J.views does definitely have an influence on this track through one third of the vocals. He sings the first verse of this song, though his vocals have been slightly, let’s say, shroomed (I like that term and I’m using it from now on). There’s another iteration of this verse sung by Duvdev midway through the song. He gives the song a feel that dances the line between classic Infected Mushroom and modern Infected Mushroom (this whole album seems to dance that line actually).

 

There’s also a female vocalist in there singing her own verse a couple of points in the song. And her part is definitely the most beautiful. I don’t usually prefer female vocals for singing along, but I think I may have to make an exception in this case. Unfortunately, I’m not able to figure out who she is. I know she likely isn’t Michelle Adamson from Blink and Illuminaughty off of Converting Vegetarians, as this voice is far more beautiful with very little edge to it. So I guess I’m a bit at a dead end trying to figure out who is responsible for the most beautiful part of the song. I’d love to credit her in the heading of this section of the review.

 

The lyrics of Muse Breaks are a bit strange and I’m unable to get a hundred percent deciphered analysis from what I have. I honestly am still not quite sure what a Muse Break is. But my guess it’s got to do with some sort of interruption to one’s artistic endeavors if I’m going to take it literally. There is a sense of inevitable sorrow in there as well. Rain is mentioned repeatedly and there’s a desperation to hold onto the sunny days, but it doesn’t sound like there’s much success in that endeavor. Instead, it feels like there’s an unsettling depression looming over this song. There is a struggle here though. It’s not over yet.

 

Infected Mushroom – Meduzz (7.75): Of course, if this was Mind.in.a.box, the album would begin to take a turn to tackle the existential dread and fight it with determination. But this is Infected Mushroom. Not saying we’re going to wallow it. I’m not reviewing Ashbury Heights right now either. Instead we’re going to take a more neutral vibe and check out a return to the funky groovy side of Infected Mushroom, with a funky bassline introduced almost immediately after some good shroomed up synths. There’s also notably a healthy variation on the drums as the song does change consistently letting all the kicks, snares, claps, and hats move in and out of the track as they please, even when it means all are absent.

 

But when, pray tell, would they all be absent? Well, I’ve got an answer for you, because that’s when the main theme of this song is introduced in the form of a stringed melody for this calmer portion. But as soon as the beat comes back in, you’d better be ready for a transformation. It’s the same melody but now it’s played on a guitar to give it a slightly harsher vibe rather than the dramatic strings. Both instruments represent the melody well and it’s a pleasure to listen to as the most memorable part of the song.

 

And that memorable main theme is definitely what makes this song stand out to me among most of the other instrumental songs on this album, not the most memorable mind you, but it’s close. And we can consider the fact that it’s more memorable than IM the Supervisor to make up for a certain other instrumental track beating the odds. But we’ve got a bit of time between now and then.

 

Infected Mushroom – Cities of the Future (8): After the instrumental break we had that is Meduzz, we’re onto the second most vocal oriented track (right behind Muse Breaks RMX), Cities of the Future. I want to say that this song has somewhat of a belchy groove, but I’m only making myself question how strangely disgusting my adjectives have become. It’s not like the instruments in this song are all that disgusting, just odd. But when you listen to Infected Mushroom, odd is what to expect. The distorted basslines serve as the most outstanding instrumental part of the song, though that could be because they are just about the only instruments. There’s thankfully some variety from moment to moment as well as some vocals to round out the track.

 

Speaking of vocals, let me attempt to do a tiny bit of lyrical analysis. For the most part, this song seems relatively straightforward, depicting the actions anyone would take upon the discovery of time travel (unless they’d rather try and change the past, but don’t even get me started on that mess). Make your way to the fantastical future and figure out how to bring the technological wonders back into your current life (and I’m not entirely sure if that strategy is scientifically sound either, but this is time travel we’re talking about).

 

And then there’s the bridge. Surprisingly after the shroomed vocals singing of Cities of the Future for so long, there is soon an introduction of some slightly cleaner vocals with a bit more meaning. Instead of just running to the cities of the future, the song now focuses on running away from the present to find one’s self, leaving all thoughts behind and fully creating a new self. And if you compare this theme to the titular section of the song, running to the city of the future seems to be about reaching for goals beyond our present state.

 

Or, alternatively, there could be a darker meaning to these lyrics. What if, instead, running to the future is no more than an escape. Look to the future and ignore the present. There’s nothing in the present worth concentrating on. All that matters is this imaginary uncertain future. And I’m not certain if that’s a swell way to live one’s life. I honestly don’t think ignoring the present sounds that fulfilling.

 

Honestly, I never quite realized this dichotomy until I took it upon myself to truly take an analytical look at these lyrics. This song is a bit more thought provoking than I thought it’d be.

 

Infected Mushroom – Horus the Chorus (6): Oh, we’re really pushing the shroomed vocals in here, are we? It’s not lyrical or anything. Far from it. It’s just the sound design. Not even the main standout element of this track. That credit goes to the bells that first appear at the two-minute mark. They’re an essential element that make this song as unique as it’s allowed to be.

 

And… uh… You know what? I really don’t have all that much to say about this one. It’s got a decent vibe but there’s just so little variety to talk about. It fades so easily into the back of my mind that it might as well not exist.

 

Infected Mushroom – Frog Machine (8.25): Frog Machine is a very odd one for me. Because of the interesting title and splendid variety that this song has it progresses, I ended up making narrative in my head for this song. If there was a music video, I know exactly what I’d want it to look like. I mean, what is a Frog Machine anyway? A machine that makes frogs? That’s what I’ve decided.

 

Though it’s less like a machine and more like a factory. Or maybe a very large complex machine, not too far off from one that makes chicken pies. Either way, it’s quite common knowledge that all frogs start as an egg. Well, that’s quite similar to what happens here, though instead of a frog laying the eggs. A machine pumps them out onto a conveyor belt, letting out round globs of an artificial blob of frog DNA known as frog fluid. Does it make scientific sense? Of course not! My vivid imagination (which isn’t drugged by the way, I’m just odd) wouldn’t necessarily match up with reality. I’m not a geneticist after all.

 

Anyway, these globs of frog fluid are where our journey begins. They are gathered by the bucketful (of a quite large bucket by the way) and transported across the frog machine factory. And due to the process of these frogs being genetically altered to expedite the aging process, it takes a mere minute for the eggs to be ready to hatch. But just in case, there’s a machine to manually hatch those eggs anyway, carefully holding the young enclosed tadpole in its grasp and piercing its thin outer shell, dropping the young not quite a frog yet far below…

 

Directly into the pipes, which is a lovely place for a tadpole to be, since it’s nice and wet and all. Not sure how the eggs survived this far without that water, but hey my imagination cuts corners. Let’s just assume that they’ve been sufficiently moistened up to this point. However, it’s important to note that it’s not exactly pure water running through these pipes. It’s got some Croak Juice in it. What is Croak Juice you ask? I just made it up, but basically it expedites the maturity of these tadpoles shooting them through twisting tubes. And by the time they reach the other end, these tadpoles have sprouted legs and are ready to traverse land.

 

But there’s one more step left, each of these frogs need one last shot of croak juice to truly reach their maturity as strong healthy frogs with an above average physique (for a frog). They hop down a conveyor set over a heating system to make sure these cold-blooded animals get the warmth they need to survive. They haven’t quite seen the sun yet, and I’m not sure if they ever will.

 

Because something goes wrong.

 

The final Croak Juice injector starts to clog, letting a few frogs go past without reaching peak maturity. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem as no machine is perfect, but this isn’t the end of the problems. For when the clog is cleared, the pressure of several too many doses of Croak Juice are injected into one frog which causes it to grow to a significant mutates size, towering over the rest of its amphibious friends.

 

Unfortunately for his amphibious friends, this guy has an appetite.

 

The Big One begins to eat its smaller equivalents as they are merely like bugs to its size. As it cannibalistically consuming the flesh of its brethren, the rest of the frogs understandably flee. Hopping at a tempo much faster than the Big One could handle. Unfortunately for them, the Big One can leap quite far. Far enough, to not only keep up with the stampede, but to trample those that lag behind as well.

 

The conveyors were not meant to support a frog of this magnitude. Its support begins to fracture, and the conveyor swings off course from where the frogs would finally be able to feel the sunshine on their wet slimy skin. Instead the conveyor hangs over the furnace, dropping all of its contents into the deadly fires below. The frogs scream as gravity leads them down towards their demise. Instantly melting as they reach the bottom.

 

But the Big One survives. Barely. While it had fallen into the flames, its body could withstand the heat long enough to climb its way out of hell. But it’s too late. This frog collapses, dying and decomposing as it gazes over mass graveyard of hundreds of batches of frogs gone wrong.

 

This has happened before.

 

So… I’m not sure where I was going with this? I made this up about five years ago so I’m not certain how it all goes. Probably something about the futility of society. I was just beginning to stretch my edgy wings around then, like I was ready to come out of Crow Factory or something. Wonder what that would sound like.

 

Infected Mushroom – Noon (5.75): Ok, we’re on the final stretch of songs for this album. Unfortunately, after Frog Machine, there aren’t really any more fantastic songs to point out. The problem is that, in this album, Infected Mushroom’s style began to stagnate for a brief bit. The vocals songs definitely had a lyrical advantage to gain their own identity. And Frog Machine was able to inspire some strange visualized music video in my head, despite the fact that there’s no music video to exist (this happens quite often, though I think this is the first time I’ve reviewed any outside of Mind.in.a.box’s entire discography).

 

But now we’re reviewing Noon. And I’m not incredibly impressed. It does take on a good funky vibe in some sections of the song, a decent bassline in the beginning and a few odd overly shroomed vocals introduced not long after. And there’s another half-decent melody to follow.

 

But other than that, I’ve got nothing to say to you about the rest of this song. One of the weakest on the album.

 

Infected Mushroom – Bombat (6.5): Bombat has a bit more to offer than Noon. It’s still one of the lesser songs on the album, but it creates a bit more of a creepy playful atmosphere than the previous song, making it stand out a bit more. Would it be better if it stuck to one mood and expanded upon a singular feeling rather than this dichotomy? Maybe, but the contrast works well enough with an odd minimalistic intro providing the creepy highlights and the incredibly shroomed vocals introduced about halfway through providing something a bit more playful. And then there’s the melody played throughout the rest of the second half, simple and dancing on the line between something enjoyably fun and something chillingly foreboding.

 

Personally, I think the best part of the song occurs midway through right before the shroomed vocals are introduced. This switch-up is what makes this song stand out among the rest of the songs that don’t stand out (don’t overthink it). There’s a new arp introduced about three minutes in and this arp serves as the heart of the song for me. As it dances up and down along the song’s scale, letting the bassline follow, the entire song feels like it’s a living breathing thing that continuously changes, at least for just minute. It makes a reappearance at the end of the track, ebding the song on a good note before we move on to the next.

 

Infected Mushroom – Stretched (7.75): Well, the last two songs were a bit underwhelming, but thankfully, there’s something a bit better to conclude this album. Not as good as Muse Breaks or Frog Machine mind you, but I’d put it just under Meduzz. They’re of quite similar quality and I am sensing some nostalgia from it, but it’s just not quite as memorable.

 

That being said, there is a decent amount of of variety stretched across this 7-minute conclusion. Throughout most of the track, this song maintains a good funky rhythm as the song is well supported by a consistently groovy drumbeat and bassline. However, everything else about this track changes. The short plucked melody establishes the song quite well with the way it matches the groovy backbone I’ve already described to what I’d consider to be the main melody played on what sounds like an electric guitar, backed by a distant choir that gives the whole scene a bit of tension. Following that there’s some vocals that continually cry out for beauty. The wish is granted with some beautiful piano and some returns of some of the previous instruments already introduced.

 

All in all, the song serves as a somehow relaxing conclusion to this album.

 

Conclusion: I know I’ve rated this album fairly similarly to the other Infected Mushroom albums so far, but it still feels like it’s a bit underwhelming. Converting Vegetarians is supposed to be introduce a new era of Infected Mushroom to the world and the following album just doesn’t feel all that new. Instead it feels as if Infected Mushroom’s style has slightly stagnated, still in need of an upheaval to make some unique songs worthy of their stature today. Maybe I’m just feeling a bit biased because the next couple of Infected Mushroom albums are my absolute favorites, defining the new post-Converting Vegetarians/pre-Converting Vegetarians II era. This album just can’t help but live in the shadows of where my love for Infected Mushroom originated.

 

But that’s a story for another review. Perhaps I’ll tell you more in a few weeks… or months… I haven’t decided yet when I’ll get back to this duo.

 

Final Score: (7.25/10)

Daily Hat Tracks: June and July 2019

Here’s a double Daily Hat Track wrap up for both June and July. Due to motivational issues, I had done a poor job of keeping up on these until last week. And because of that, I’ve decided to just slide the Hat Tracks from July over to June. So today you’re getting one large post reviewing about 5 dozen smaller posts I’ve Tweeted over the past 2 months. Let’s all agree (and by all, I mean just me. I’m the only one in control here) to never let things get out of hand again.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 1 (Yahel – Fear of The Dark (DNA Remix))

 

A psytrance remix of a breaks cover of an Iron Maiden song. Neat. Now all we need to do is mash it up with jazz or something like that.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 2 (Veorra – Run)

 

Veorra’s most popular track is about the never-ending run as we struggle to keep with society’s expectations. Surprisingly not my favorite but still well deserved.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 3 (Celldweller – End of an Empire)

 

I promised I wouldn’t overwhelm the blog with Celldweller again for a while but I can squeeze the occasional awesome societal existential track from the far future of my reviews. This is among the best Celldweller songs.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 4 (The Crüxshadows – Deception)

 

Honestly, I just love how this particular song from my extra edgy phase is held up by the violin. Lyrics aren’t too shabby, but it’s clear what the best part of the song is for me nowadays (hint: it’s the violin)

 

Daily Hat Track: June 5 (Forest Knot – Hendrix)

 

Is this Hat Track late because I am severely disorganized or is it early because this lovely chill sax song wasn’t released until the 7th?

 

Daily Hat Track: June 6 (Bassfactor – The Power Inside)

 

This recent breaks/psytrance combo got me out of breath when running to my recent dentist’s appointment. Bassfactor seems to be brand new to the scene but I’m definitely looking forward to future works.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 7 (Test Shot Starfish – In the Shadow of Giants)

 

Music from Space indeed. I’ve only just begun looking at Test Shot Starfish’s discography and I’m already enjoying this chill mood that sounds as if it’s descended to Earth from the cosmos.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 8 (Carface – Hitchin’ a Ride)

 

Definitely take a listen to the self-destructive 13 minute experience. That’s all I’m willing to say here, other than a warning that this may get a little strange.

 

C H E C K T H E T A P E

 

Daily Hat Track: June 9 (redo) (Globus – Europa)

 

That’s no typo. This two month old Hat Track was accidentally a repeat, so now I’m going to share the vocal version of Electric Romeo which depicts war over history

 

Daily Hat Track: June 10 (Rezonate – Canvas)

 

I’m not sure how, but outside of the “still 18” line, this song of existential pondering gets more and more relatable every summer.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 11 (Pegboard Nerds – Emergency)

 

Hard to believe that this came out over four years ago. Every once and a while I come back to these nostalgic Monstercat songs and find myself amazed at how well they hold up. This one was, is, and always will be a banger to me

 

Daily Hat Track: June 12 (Rogue – Night After Night)

 

Knights on Horseback ride in and are allowed in the distance by a chariot, basically a parade float of a giant Monstercat logo. They get off their horses and flank a crystal throne. The chariot makes its way in and a young man dre

 

Daily Hat Track: June 13 (Aphex Twin – Vordhosbn)

 

Release Radar screwed with me saying this was new, but it’s really a 2 decade old song placed on a compilation that was released recently. But that’s fine. Aphex Twin is always a treat.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 14 (Camo & Krooked – Black or White & Tasha Baxter (Kimyan Law remix)

 

Favorite remix of my favorite Camo & Krooked track. Why? It’s complex, it’s mysterious, it has an edge of unsettlement. And it still uses the lyrics of anti-division and the grey area in between opposing ideals.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 15 (Gunship, Tim Capello & Indiana – Dark All Day

 

Saxophone.

 

Also there’s that music video with vampire zombies and lots of hot people and it’s the best animated music video ever

 

But saxophone.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 16 (The Flashbulb – Undiscovered Colors)

 

A gorgeous trippy song, both fast and slow once the drums start. Piano, strings and a drumbeat full of mysterious energy. Each moment is both unique and fantastically similar at the same time. This song is the best kind of paradox

 

Daily Hat Track: June 17 (Gunship – When You Grow Up Your Heart Dies)

 

I know I posted Gunship not too long ago, but the song immediately following Dark All Day (while not as great cuz less sax) does have a message of trying to hold on to your identity as you grow up. I need this these days.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 18 (Haywyre – Sculpted)

 

Heading back in time today to an early Haywyre song exploring the existential questions of self identity, whether nature or nurture applies and exactly how much control we have over who we are. Also it’s hella funky.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 19 (Pegboard Nerds & lug00ber – Bring Me Joy

 

Probably my favorite modern Pegboard Nerds track. The second half is especially energetic with the best piano melodies and arps. Honestly, there’s nothing deep about this song. It’s just fun.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 20 (Bicep – Rain)

 

I’m reviewing my favorite arpeggiated artist right now, but I’ll honestly enjoy any song that had even the mildest arpeggiated feel. Recently I’ve discovered Bicep and the simple drive of a song called Rain.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 21 (Alex – Demons):

 

Hey, that’s my name right there. Some nice slow synthwave. Good relaxing vibe despite the ominous demonic title.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 22 (Rival Consoles – Amiga)

 

Arpeggiated madness in the second quarter, flawless tempo change in the third quarter. I mean, I love the beginning and end of the song as well, but that middle half is absolutely spectacular.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 23 (Rival Consoles – Guitari)

 

Can I share two Rival Consoles songs in a row? Because I also really like the funky vibe that Guitari gives me and I really want to share this one too. It’s got nothing on Amiga but it’s still great.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 24 (Joachim Pastor – Joda (Worakls remix)

 

Oh the strings and piano on this one are absolutely gorgeous. Yeah all of hungry music is great, but when the upper two thirds (sorry N’to) join forces I expect nothing less than a masterpiece. And they definitely delivered.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 25 (Koan – Coastline)

 

Someone rinsed me of Koan today so here I am sharing one of my favorite beautiful, relaxing, and immersive journeys from Loan. Enjoy.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 26 (Lange – Violins Revenge (Light Mix))

 

Violins revenge is quite simply a track that utilizing the violin masterfully. That’s all I’ve got to say for this one.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 27 (N’to – The Morning After)

 

I’ve always liked all of Hungry Music but I’ve considered N’to to often be one of the weaker links of the trio. However his most recent release is making me appreciate him a bit more.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 28 (Lange – Crossroads (Percussive Mix))

 

Not as good as the Mindinabox song titled Crossroads of course but still a great track about making choices that can change one’s life forever. Beautiful from Lange as always.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 29 (Infected Mushroom – Kebabies)

 

This New Infected Mushroom track released recently really has a BP Empire vibe to it.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 30 (Assemblage 23 – Drive)

 

The demons I’m driving from is procrastination fueled depression and depression fueled procrastination. I must change that.

 

Good song from Assemblage 23 though. A futurepop artist I have yet to introduce you all to, until now.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 1 (Dance With The Dead – Diabolic)

 

It’s 2 in the morning so I should be in the bed but here’s some late night synthwave for anyone who’s still up for some reason. Unless you’re British or something, then your wakefulness makes sense.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 2 (Koan – Uncloak (Ghost Rider remix))

 

I’ve shared a couple of Koan track’s but this right here was the moment of Koan discovery. Yes, it’s a Ghost Rider remix but that’s just what happens when you’re a psytrance maniac like myself. Beautiful track though.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 3 (Lauren Bousfield – Slow Slicing (Klonopin))

 

Really running behind on everything. Here’s a small step towards catching up with some trippy Lauren Bousfield combined with some wonderful strings.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 4 (Makeup & Vanity Set – Implant)

 

Makeup and Vanity Set had a good variety of synthwave, some upbeat and some slower. So here’s one for starters that I’ve listen to a few times recently due to its arps, simplistic melodies and occasional relaxing vibes.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 5 (Durs – Avalance)

 

I’m always up for loving some Spin Twist psytrance so seeing a whole new Durs album. Is quite enjoyable. Good use of that psychedelic pluck in both the calmer and driving portions of the song. Plus a few fun little vocal parts.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 6 (BT – Tokyo)

 

BT isn’t as consistent as Flashbulb but there’s still some good trippy chill in the BT discography

 

Daily Hat Track: July 7 (BT – Artifacture VI. Niente di Tutto Qualcosa)

 

Sometimes I wonder…

 

Daily Hat Track: July 8 (Chicane – Come Tommorrow)

 

Spiritually introspective or existential observations of society… Perhaps it’s both, perhaps it’s neither and I’m projecting. But the song captivates regardless.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 9 (In Uchronia – Growling Earth)

 

Guess I’m in some sort of orchestral cinematic mood as of late. I mean this has nothing in common with that Varien in album other than it being a bit cinematic with a slight bit of dubstep but both are still amazing

 

Daily Hat Track: July 10 (Haken – The Endless Knot)

 

Trying to expand slightly beyond my electronically dominated comfort zone, so here’s a bit of prog metal that I’d recently found. Of course the fact this song has a lot of focus on finding life’s meaning, I’m automatically into it

 

Daily Hat Track: July 11 (Zimmz – Sinematic)

 

For the most part this is just a track with a solid drive, but you know I love me some Hungry music. Not his is Hungry music. It just resembles hungry music. Also this one has an accelerating build-up, so you know, awesome.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 12 (Sokrates & Supersonic – Stardust)

 

I know that this is like every trance song but the message of our relationship to the universe in this one really gets to me, yaknow? Also there’s a fantastic syncopated breaks section in there so that’s always cool.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 13 (Noma – Brain Power)

 

I know this song is a meme of old, but it still bangs hard. Love the extra slow chaotic dubstep section that eventually transforms into DnB spoon after.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 14 (Bliss – La Resistance)

 

Lyrics are a bit more violent than the last psytrance song I Daily Hat Tracked, but I love Bliss’ psytrance style so much, I don’t even mind. Dude is one of my favorite psytrance artists behind Infected Mushroom and perhaps Neelix

 

Daily Hat Track: July 15 (Wolfgang Gartner – Illmerica)

 

Second attempt at sharing this song due to unreliable technology. I’m lazy and pissed so here’s a bullet point list of what I wanted to say

 

A: Good funky vibe

B: Nostalgia because dead community

C: Should listed to Wolfgang more

 

Daily Hat Track: July 16 (Arctic Moon – Cyberpunk)

 

Good trance song with a lovely title as I associate cyberpunks with fantastic because I love Mindinabox. It sounds nothing like Mindinabox but the distorted vocals and heartbeat are still cool.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 17 (Bionix – Genesis)

 

Lots of psytrance I know, but it is one of my favorite genres after all. you’re going to half to deal with it. Besides this one has inspirational speed he’s up to par with Bliss – Warriors and I love that one and this by extension

 

Daily Hat Track: July 18 (Rezz & The Rigs – Lonely)

 

I haven’t really delved into the rest of Rezz’s new EP yet as I’m usually more attracted to the more existential vocal tracks than the instrumentals, but this is the best Rezz since Melancholy so that’s pretty fantastic.

 

Daily Hat Tracks: July 19 (Aesthetic Perfection – The Ones)

 

Surprisingly, this isn’t the only song I know that discusses how difficult it is to fall asleep when you’re too bust fearing that someone is gonna come and steal your teeth. And the other one isn’t even by the same band.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 20 (Stephen Walking – Porkchop Express)

 

Here’s a fun doubly nostalgiac tune from Mr Walking. Not only does it.bring me back to 2015, but the song itself also vaguely reminds me of a video game from my childhood. That bouncy piano is just a pleasure to listen to.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 21 (Night Club – Survive)

 

Beautiful suspenseful paranoid existential music is how I survive.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 22 (Grabbitz – Way Too Deep)

 

The chorus of this song has been all too relatable lately. Definitely Grabbitz’s best along with Better With Time.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 23 (Malecka – Rhéa)

 

Another gorgeous progressive house song that reminds me of Hungry Music without actually being Hungry Music. I find myself enjoying these beauties often due to how calming they are.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 24 (In Uchronia – Asconoid Hyperdelicacy of Heroicalness)

 

The main reason I want to share this one is because the title implies that the album’s titular iron squid is eating heroes alive. The fact that the song itself, is a great fusion of rock, orchestral and dubstep is just a bonus.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 25 (Phaxe & Morten Granau – Lost)

 

Can’t keep me away from the existneital psytrance forever. This one is about feeling lost in the world, though I guess that one was pretty obvious from the title.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 26 (Notaker – The Storm)

 

One of the better Notaker songs. In fact, I say this is the only one that can measure up to his Monstercat debut, Infinite.

 

Daily Hat Track: June 27 (Crazy Astronaut – Sate)

 

I’ve already shared my favorite Crazy Astronaut track on here a while back but here’s number 2, the main synth holds a lot of energy even in the slower dubstep portion. Actually, especially in the slower dubstep portion.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 28 (Mystical Complex – Future Nation)

 

Here’s a psytrance song pondering the future. Original idea? Not exactly. But the music is quite impressive anyways and I can’t help but always be impressed by psytrance like this. It’s in my bones.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 29 (Francys – Arcenial)

 

Evenly driven, mysterious, slightly trippy, beautiful, soothingly calming. All things I hungrily enjoy.

 

This isn’t just a pun on Hungry Music . I legitimately need to eat. But I’m almost caught up.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 30 (Roman Messer & Cari – Serenity)

 

I’m not the biggest fan of breakup songs but Roman Messer had a good vibe anyways and this is recent so I’m sharing it and that’s that. Enjoy if you may.

 

Daily Hat Track: July 31 (Haken – The Architect)

 

And to finally finish up July, we have an incredibly long progressive rock journey through sound from Haken. 15 minutes may be long but the song itself easily makes it worthwhile with it’s variety.

 

As always you can check out all Daily Hat Tracks in the playlist below

 

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4CIZYAQAzctqYqFG89HIv2?si=vNZPS0uETkyobpBBDEAP_g

 

Infected Mushroom – Converting Vegetarians (2003 album) pt 2/2

Part 2 – Other Side

 

Album links

Bandcamp: n/a

Soundcloud (Other Side only): https://soundcloud.com/infectedmushroom/sets/converting-vegetarians-the

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/3LbcBylGvC80f5OTeQaVuM?si=DRj2Ry1zQ1qfIxNXrcvF9A

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL718C82948CE653CE

 

Introduction: Alright! Time for the Converting Vegetarians review part 2! Not to be confused with the Converted Vegetarians part 2 review. That comes much later.

 

Anyways, we’re in for something a little different today. Last week was all psytrance so it felt a lot like one of the other Infected Mushroom albums I reviewed. The other half of the album however… the other side… It’s absolutely completely different. I guess I’ll let the music do the talking. I’d written the first half of this reviews if I’d release it all at once along with the Trance Side but that didn’t happen. So let’s just dive right in and let my words on the song, Converting Vegetarians tell you about the album, Converting Vegetarians.

 

Infected Mushroom – Converting Vegetarians (7.5): When the titular song of this album introduces itself, it ends up slightly jarring. The first ten songs all shared a common theme and together formed the “Trance Side” of the album. The “Other Side” has no theme to it. Unless you count the perpetual state of being odd in general to be a theme. Because a healthy portion of these songs are simply odd. Even if this was how the album began without over an hour of trance setting a precedent, the song is such a strange mixture of textural instruments and distorted vocals, that the majority of listeners might be initially put off by the vibes that Infected Mushroom is introducing in this album

 

I, however, love it.

 

I’m all for variety and this song definitely delivers on that front. There is such an interesting variety of carefully placed chaotic patterns to keep the song fresh and engaging throughout. Instead of catering to the psytrance side that Infected Mushroom has been known for up to this point, this song explores every corner of Infected Mushroom’s sound design, deconstructs it and reconstructs it into something new. The song takes on a slower pace with plentiful basslines, some a little too screechy (only true negative of the song in my opinion) and others that have a very deep unique groove. My favorite instruments in the song have to be the fully vocal ones though. The broken scatsinging in the background as well as the various voices used to display these lyrics (ranging from calm and slightly distorted to a cleaner voice belting out the lyrics without concern of losing his voice).

 

Those lyrics though… Oh boy do I have some lyrics to decipher. I mean, the likely goal of this song was to make a statement that the two of them aren’t limiting themselves to just the one genre any more. They shan’t sell out and give the people exactly what they want and expect, but instead explore other areas of their soundscape. It’s a song about transformation. And those that had been solely consuming their psytrance shallf be converted from their vegetarian diet (apparently psytrance contains no meat), to larger variety of genres (some of which is likely steak, I would like some steak right now, thanks).

 

However, I do find the mention that they’ve been converting these vegetarians since 1996 to be rather odd. If you remember back in my first review on this site, their first album dropped in 1999. Previous to that, they did release a song on a compilation 1998, but that’s still not back in 1996? What could have happened in 1996? I was born in 1996… Perhaps my meat looks so succulent that any vegetarian that looks at me suddenly wants to eat meat… Cook me up and take bite after bite of my flesh…

 

Oh wait. Erez and Duvdev started making music in 1996… They just weren’t Infected Mushroom at the time. Thank Wikipedia for easing my fears of sudden cannibals gazing hungrily at me (please don’t eat me).

 

Infected Mushroom – Elation Station (6.75): As we move deeper into the Other Side of the album, we’re met with many of the most relaxing tracks in the entire Infected Mushroom discography. Up until this point, most of the discography has been hard-hitting psytrance (and whatever that last song was).

 

For much of the song, Elation Station’s main focus is a simple piano melody. It’s the sole instrument at the beginning of the song and it isn’t until a good thirty seconds that any other significant instruments enter into the song. Some relaxing guitar, a calming arp, a slight bassline that’s more on the smooth side rather than funky or bouncy with a drumbeat to match. All relaxing elements.

 

And then that other synth comes in at one and quarter minutes in. I’m not as elated about this synth as the rest of the song. It feels a bit unfitting to the relaxing vibe that’s displayed in the beginning of this track as well as the end. The song would be a bit higher in rating if this synth felt a bit more polished, but it doesn’t distract too much from the relaxation, so I’ll give it a pass.

 

The middle, however, isn’t relaxing. It’s something else entirely. You may remember that the bassline this song introduces at the beginning is merely smooth. No funk. No bounce. The bassline introduced for the middle third of this song is the complete opposite of that. It’s all funk. This song is a funk sandwich with nearly relaxing bread. A funk sandwich that I would gladly assume is meat (not sure what kind of meat, funk is, but I’m going to eat it regardless). It starts out funky enough 2;20, but it only grows funkier as it goes on. Take a break to focus on some horns? It only gets funkier. Distort them a second to make them an octave lower? It only gets funkier. Get rid of the bassline entirely and return to the near relaxation the song started with? Well, the bassline doesn’t return after that, but I’m sure if it did, it would be incredibly funky.

 

Infected Mushroom – Drop Out (7): I’d say Drop Out is a strange song, but that could be said about nearly every song on the second half of this album, so I’ll try to restrain myself from saying such obvious things in the future.

 

It is quite strange though.

 

Let’s start with the overall feeling that this song has with the music. A lot of the song, especially in the beginning and the end has a lot of focus on a calmer glitched out vibe, not as calm as Elation Station, mind you, but still overall more relaxing than intense. And while the glitches with the drumbeats and strange arps and vocals do somewhat conflict with the relaxing mood, I feel that this song strays from the relaxing vibe in so many ways, that the glitched out behavior of several of the instruments (and those vocals) becomes the new overall feeling the song has. It’s not relaxing in a soothing way. It’s relaxing in a trippy mind-bending way. Regardless, this song’s relaxation works.

 

One part of the song that stands out, fitting perhaps the pure relaxation parts of this song, would be the guitar section in the middle. I don’t have much in particular to say about this, but I will make sure to mention that the guitar does a great job of providing a break between the strange vocals and other glitches, allowing one to get lost in the beauty of the simpler elements of the song. The more rock-oriented guitar near the end of the track serves a similar purpose, though I find it slightly less enjoyable and relaxing (It’s rock. rock is less relaxing than acoustic. That’s just how it works).

 

Speaking of the beauty of simple things, let’s take a quick look at the little lyrical content this song has to offer. When it comes to the lyrics, my original guess for the meaning of this song would be about dropping out of school as I have an innocent mind that views that quote of breaking free of the restrictions of thinking that the modern education system seems to enforce on the progressing generations as time goes on.

 

However, seeing as I’ve discovered this sample comes from an LSD documentary, it’s probably about dropping out of reality…

 

Via drugs.

 

Sometimes, you can’t escape the psychedelic messages songs of this genre display

 

Infected Mushroom – Avratz (7.75): Avratz passes by Dancing with Kadafi, becoming the longest song in the discography (up to this point). Beat it out by an entire second. Fantastic lead, I must say. When it comes to lengthy songs like this one, I must always ask whether or not the song uses enough variety to justify its length. In other words, does it count as a journey through sound? I’ll say yes in this case. It takes a long while for the song to pick up momentum on its journey, but the second half of the song has enough elements that make up for the slow beginning.

 

And I mean slow in two different ways. Not only does the song take a lengthy amount of time to get started, the music at this portion of the song is incredibly calm, focusing almost entirely on one simple melody that repeatedly climbs up and down. For the first two minutes, that’s all there is. Maybe a drumbeat here and there, but that variety isn’t looking quite good so far.

 

Thankfully, the conclusion of those two minute brings in a new piano melody. It’s a small change, but it’s entirely necessary to prevent me from losing my mind to the numb unchanging status quo. That being said, it does allow for some beautiful elements to be added to that melody the plays throughout much of the song, even beyond the halfway mark. It starts out quite beautiful though it does get distorted halfway through, but distortion is somewhat of a main them in this album so that’s to be expected.

 

The second half of the song is a bit more upbeat than what’s been shown so far. This upbeat switchup is where the song really kicks it up a notch. I don’t have time to go into every single element that this song throws into the mix so here’s a quick rapidfire rundown. We’ve got the more upbeat drumbeat with the introduction of a bassline that’s been missing for far too long. We’ve got some distorted vocals added in early on in this second half as well as bringing the song towards its conclusion (the latter being my preferred vocal bit). We’ve got a good progression of the bassline and the drums becoming more intense as the song goes on. We’ve got a sudden half time portion with a combination of a slightly more guttural bassline and a new relaxing guitar melody. We’ve got strings. We’ve got oddly unique arps that contrast with the rest of the song (in a good way unlike Elation Station). We’ve got a bassline that feels pleasantly broken as it builds up towards the conclusion of the song along with those vocals I mentioned earlier. And then there’s the bookend throwing back to the melody that started it all. Playing the song on loop makes it tricky to determine where exactly the song ends and starts anew.

 

All in all, this song is incredibly relaxing to the point where I almost fell asleep several times trying to review this song. Or maybe I’m just tired…

 

Infected Mushroom & Michelle Adamson – Blink (6.25): Blink is a strange song. I know I said I’d stop mentioning that, but when Michelle Adamson (spent a bit of time searching for that vocalist’s name, but I think I got it right) joins in to provide her vocals, it’s hard to say it just blends in with the usual oddity that makes up this album.

 

And I do believe that Michelle adds the most to this strange feeling this song gives my gut. After all, much of the music matches the vibe I’ve been getting used to as I listen through the Other Side. The bassline is slightly groovier, but it isn’t really groundbreaking in the same way that Elation Station’s is. The song has a solid halftime drumbeat that isn’t quite as glitchy as in Drop Out. There’s several mysterious synths that have somewhat of a relaxing feel to them, but Avratz has more. Converting Vegetarian’s vocals are much more heavily distorted.

 

But that doesn’t matter because Michelle’s vocals are more unsettling and discomforting with minimal distortion. I don’t dislike them. I just find them a bit… odd. The bridge especially sends chills up my spine. Her whispers as she talks of conquering demons and ignoring lizards feel as if they might be distorted, but it sounds so natural that I’m nearly convinced she might be some sort of otherworldly being herself.

 

As for the lyrics, it’s incredibly cryptic, but I’m not fully certain there was truly “no smoking or drinking” as they were being written. I’ve already mentioned the demon conquering and lizard whisper ignoring as I talked of the vocals. But there’s so much more in here that raises strange questions. There seems to be a song in her head leading her towards death. Then again, does that even matter because she also said she’s already dead (maybe inside?). And then there’s speak of bonding one’s mind in an intimate transcendent experience

 

Yeah, this one’s probably about drugs too. The Infected Mushrooms are not exactly subtle this time around.

 

Infected Mushrooom – Shakawkaw (7.75): Shakakaw is a short fun song with an entirely different feeling than Blink (especially in the vocals). Much of the song keeps a chill atmosphere to it, somewhat similar to the first half of Avratz with a simple melody dominating much of the song. That’s where the similarities end. Thankfully, this song develops much more quickly, adding more variety in the first minute that the calmer portion of Avratz did in its entirety (this song is over before Avratz really got going).

 

The simple melody is quite nice, but the instruments introduced to compliment are quite enjoyable. The bassline has a slight funk to it, most staying in the background, but definitely driving the song forward. There’s a couple of synths that contribute to the odd environment that’s integral to any song off of the second half of this album. Oh and the guitar.

 

The guitar definitely steals the show in its brief tenure. That seems to be typical on this album. Whenever, a guitar comes in, it’s the best part of the song for that moment adding in some beauty to the otherwise gritty oddity that is this album.

 

But the guitar isn’t the focus of the song. As awesome as it is, it’s not the most memorable part. The most memorable part would have to go to the vocals and their fantastic “lyrical content.” Ok, actually it’s just some guy yelling out the amusing title of the song, but that’s really the heart of what makes listening to this song so fun. Even when the “lyrics” stop, you can hear the singer who sun his heart out laughing as the song fades away. And rightfully so. This song is ridiculously amusing.

 

Infected Mushroom – Pletzurra (8.25): Pletzurra develops quite interestingly, especially near the end. But in order to truly appreciate the development of a song like this, I must first tell you of the trippy ambience at the beginning. There’s a pad whispering in my ear as the drumbeat begins and the piano joins in. Eventually, the oddly ominous gets covered up with all of the other instruments that make up this song in an attempt to send it back to the eternal abyss it came from. But just as the abyss is an eternal construct that we stare into throughout our life, the ominous pad is also eternal and never truly leaves the song. It’s always there.

 

Always waiting.

 

For something. Not sure what. It’s kind of just there.

 

Not exactly as ominous if nothing happens.

 

Unless something is happening and I’m just not noticing it.

 

Now, that’s ominous.

 

Maybe.

 

Ominous distractions aside, I’m glad that many instruments come in to cover up the ominous bits. Not because I hate that pad. I find it quite interesting. No, it’s because everything that this song adds to the mix from this point onwards is quite a pleasure. Or should I say Pleasuretzura? (I’ve decided I shouldn’t have said that. Forgive me for not leaving this pun alone). The piano in this song is one of the first things to start covering up that pad, providing the most beautiful melody on the entire album. With the help of a slight bassline, they cover up the ominousness almost completely. At least enough so that it’s no longer infecting my brain.

 

From there, the song takes a step back in quality, briefly being played through a lower filter, almost as if we were listening to a recording of the song being played on the radio. You can even here the tape spinning as the vocals begin to introduce themselves. The vocals sound pained at first but slowly develop over time to a more confident melody. None of it has lyrics of course, it’s merely a manifestation of overcoming pain with a choir to back it up. Probably reading too deep into it with that last sentence, but that’s the roll I’m on right now. Eventually the deep singing grows to be quite beautiful, the drums and the bassline do return to an ominous vibe. Thankfully though there’s a second melody and strings to cover it up as the song brings itself to close, proving itself to be an overall relaxing piece of music…

 

PSYCH! This song has a BANJO! And it’s AWESOME!

 

Infected Mushroom – I Wish (9.25): Undeniably my favorite song on the album. I’ve been listening through this album a lot as of late, trying to learn these songs inside and out and out and every single time this one comes on, I can’t help but sing along with that chorus over and over and over again. I guess I sing along to Shakawkaw too when it comes up, but that one’s more amusing than anything else. This one actually has meaning behind its lyrics. And unlike the trippy songs featuring Michelle Adamson (yeah there’s another one I’ll get to in a bit), I find these lyrics to be both decipherable and inspiring.

 

But music first. The music is great too. This time it’s all about the bassline. Well I guess there’s some other cool things too, a good chord progression, some syncopated drums with a few variations here and there. There are some slight whispering vocals in the background for a bit. And uh… the rest is bassline. And the bassline is great. The bassline has two elements to it. There’s the swinging more heavily distorted bass spotlighted best at the beginning of the song as well as after each chorus. And then there’s the more constant arpeggiated bassline that underlies the song’s drive. Together, these two parts of the bassline keep this song moving for the three minutes it exists. Not too much variety, but that doesn’t bother me too much. It’s the vocals that stand out.

 

First off, while I’d love to get into the lyrics, I did lie a little bit when I said this song is all about bassline. Sometimes, under certain circumstances, I’d consider vocals to be an instrument of their own. And this song is definitely one of those circumstances. These vocals are the most heavily distorted on the album. The immediate stuttering as soon as the first verse starts. The way each note seems to dance up and down, constantly wavering in tone. The end of each line being held perhaps a fraction of a second longer than you’d expect half the time and completely glitching out the other half of the time. It all comes to a head with the extremely catch chorus. Not only is the music best here because of the prominent chords, but the vocals are almost clean here except for a couple of perfectly placed accents at the end of some of the lines. The way the pitch slides upwards on “game” and “rain” is absolutely fantastic. I have a fondness for when male vocals suddenly soar in pitch without any pretense.

 

As for the lyrics, this song is about fresh beginnings (funny how often that message comes up in reviews of my favorite artists, wonder if that’s why I like them or if that just means I’m extrapolating my own meaning in order to match my innermost values). I Wish compares life itself to a game, a game that we won’t stop playing until the end of our time. Now, exactly how this game has gone in the past is a bit unclear, but there is something to look at through the singer’s desires to play the game without fears and regrets as well as his desire to rewind and kick it from the start. It’s clear that his past experience with this game has been… less than stellar. But like I said, he wishes to abandon those fears and regrets and start again with a fresh game. A game in which he takes control of his life and gives it his best possible. Sure, rewinding time would be nice (I’ve desired to do so more than once), but sometimes the main focus should be to be to push through the game, letting the rain ash away the flaws that hold you back.

 

Again though, I am likely extrapolating. Much of what I’m getting out of this song is somewhat vague. I enjoy it regardless.

 

Infected Mushroom – Ballerium (6.75): It’s always difficult to review a decent song after a spectacular song. Comparatively speaking, Ballerium certainly has nothing on I wish, but I still feel it’s an alright track. Has a good groove to it at points and it does stand out as one of the more minimalistic songs on the album, especially near the beginning. It has an ok variety to it, but much like Scorpion Frog from The Trance Side, most of it just kind of happens.

 

I think my main problem with this song is just how minimalistic it is. There are several points in the song where it feels empty, no ambience, just a couple basslines and a drumbeat. And while the basslines are relatively decent and the kick and snare definitely are stronger compared to many for the songs on this album, they don’t really hold up the song on their own.

 

Thankfully, the song does get better in the second half as there’s more melodies introduced here as well as a couple guitar riffs that add some nice flavor. The best addition to the song comes towards the end for we have a build-up from nothing featuring some gorgeous vocals spotlighted as all the other instruments have faded away. The way the bassline progresses (which serves as the build-up from the build-up from nothing) is also quite interesting during its brief stay before being taken over a bouncier outro. The last bit of the song’s vocals serves as a nice journey even if the song is a little lesser overall.

 

And that’s all there is to say.

 

Infected Mushroom – Selecta (8.25): It seems that on this album, even the most upbeat songs usually start out with a calmer section to build up to the upbeat. This song, despite being upbeat, isn’t one of those songs. No, Selecta wastes no time in getting that 140 BPM tempo out there in the open. Almost sounds like it should be on the Trance Side. It shouldn’t be though. I’ll show you why at the end.

 

The beginning of the song does differ slightly from psytrance. The psytrance bassline isn’t quite as prominent as usual, though the bassline it’s replaced with is still quite fast-paced. Plus a lot of the instrumentation does have a good balance between Trance Side vibes and Other Side vibes as it incorporates a lot of the new sound design without going overboard.

 

However, while I wouldn’t describe the introduction of this song as chill, there are some moments in this song that are a bit more relaxing than most. In particular there’s the middle section of the song winding down a bit after the two-minute mark. The drumbeat doesn’t change at all and the bassline is still there, but somehow the beauty of the new pad, overwhelms all of the energy and provides a soothing relaxation without eliminating the drumbeat entirely. Yes, after about thirty seconds there is a short bit where the drum is replaced by a simple melody instead, but that “nothing” part of the build-up from nothing only lasts a short bit before the “build-up” of the build-up nothing quickly returns.

 

The conclusion of this song is where things get a little bit iffy. This song does not belong on the Trance Side. Because out of nowhere, we have a funky little tune that feels more out of place than the banjo in Pletzurra. There is a piano appearing seconds earlier that might hint towards this little tune, but it sure ain’t an amusing little ditty like this one right here. Also, no horns. No funky little melody. This ending is just different…

 

Yeah, this doesn’t belong on the Trance Side and all.

 

Sure was fun though.

 

Infected Mushroom & Michelle Adamson – Illuminaughty (7): Michelle is back for round 2. Of course, that means we’re going to get into some whispery vocals with cryptic mysterious lyrics, but that can be an interesting divergence sometimes.

 

Now, I’m really tempted to compare the music of this song to Blink, but that’s technically not fair, because despite having the same singer, Blink and Illuminaughty sound like completely different songs. Blink was much slower paced and concentrated more on a funky bassline. Illuminaughty has a much more mysterious instrumental and I must say, I enjoy this one more. A lot of it has to do with it meshing better with Michelle’s mysterious vocals, but there’s also a lot more subtlety to this song in comparison to Blink. The ambient pads and the arps mesh together well when they’re alone and the bassline and drums enter smoothly onto the scene whenever it’s their turn to shine. Blink was by no means bad, but Illuminaughty brings it up a notch.

 

As for the vocals and lyrics, there aren’t quite as many whispers as in Blink, but the song is still the same level of unsettling, again raising the odd question of whether or not she’s truly human. An odd fantastical conspiracy theory that’s likely ridiculously untrue, but she does do some good convincing that she’s fallen from some other realm into ours. However, I’ve been looking over these lyrics and I find them to be so incredibly cryptic that I have so little to analyze. There’s mention of tasting the fruit which likely refers to the Garden of Eden (though in a completely different tone than in Andy Hunter – To Life to Love). And she also continues to walk the line between life and death, committing to neither side. Other than that, I have absolutely no idea what to say.

 

Infected Mushroom – Jeenge (6.75): This song immediately starts with the guitar that often steals the show in the other songs that present the stringed instrument. This time, it doesn’t really steal the show so much. That’s because whenever it’s present, there is no show to steal. The song instead opts for minimalism again. Though this time there’s absolutely nothing interesting in much of the front half of the song except for the guitar. The bassline is ok, but it doesn’t really stand out until the midpoint of the song.

 

That’s when things get a bit funky. The bassline has a more dynamic bounce to it and allows for a bit more variation it develops over the next four minutes as it bounces against other melodies and basslines. My favorite part of the song has to be the bass pattern introduced about five and a half minutes in. Not only does it have a nice swing to it, but every four bars it has a quick unexpected variation with shorter notes. It’s a fun moment, but unfortunately the front half of the song isn’t quite as fun.

 

 

Infected – Mushroom – Elevation (7.75): Final song on this all too lengthy album. Having 23 songs to review is a bit much for me, so I’m glad that there’s a divide in the middle of the album between Trance Side and Other Side. It made this whole review so much easier to handle. This album ends with its most relaxing track, it’s all ambience, piano and strings and all of it is soothing in comparison to the trippy textured instruments that clustered the rest of Other Side. Unfortunately, such a relaxing track doesn’t leave me with much to say. Maybe I’m having review fatigue…

 

The most important thing I can think of to say is that all of the elements in this song really have a beautiful feel to them and some of them mesh so nicely with the rest of the song, that I didn’t even notice them a first, though they do have an important supporting role in the song. The bassline especially fits this description as it’s always covered up by the higher ambience and strings whenever it’s present. The drums have a bit of a complex vibe too, made up of many of the same distorted synths we’ve seen on other songs, but they’ve been chilled down several notches, so they feel not that unlike a simple drumbeat. Though once I did notice them, I did enjoy the meaty flavor that they added to the song. The ambience also transforms into a stronger synth at some points, but it all feels so natural and relaxing that it fits along the more physical instruments without feeling out of place in the slightest.

 

A beautiful conclusion as we finally bring this alum to a close. Speaking of conclusions…

 

Conclusion: And so, concludes the two-week journey that has been Converting Vegetarians, a fascinatingly interesting album that serves as a transition into the expanding variety in Infected Mushroom’s discography. There’s plenty to offer in this album, but I think the Other Side suits me best. Then again, I might just be saying that because I Wish is on there. I love I Wish.

 

Well, regardless, the variety here shall lead into many fantastical developments in the journey through sound that is Infected Mushroom’s entire discography. We may be exiting the first phase of said discography, but there’s still plenty to catch up on…

 

 

 

Final Score of Trance Side: (7.25)

Final Score of Other Side: (7.5)

Final Score of Full Album: (7.25)

 

Infected Mushroom – Converting Vegetarians (2003 album) pt 1/2

Part 1 – Trance Side

 

Album links

Bandcamp: n/a

Soundcloud (Trance Side only): https://soundcloud.com/infectedmushroom/sets/converting-vegetarians-trance

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/3LbcBylGvC80f5OTeQaVuM?si=DRj2Ry1zQ1qfIxNXrcvF9A

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL718C82948CE653CE

 

Introduction: Ah yes, if I were a vegetarian, then the first thing that would entice me to join the meat-eating side would surely be a human brain skewered on a fish hook. All that knowledge ripe for consuming. Absolutely delicious. Sign me up!

 

Please ignore my odd tastes in… taste as I delve into my much more relevant slightly odd taste in music. Specifically, my taste in Infected Mushroom. The last three albums I’ve reviewed from them have been purely psytrance. This album changes that. Oh yes, the first half, referred to as Trance Side is definitely psytrance and alone would seem much alike the previous three albums (except ten songs instead of nine. How adventurous!)

 

The second half, however, is referred to as Other Side. I’d talk about it here, but I actually haven’t finished reviewing the Other Side yet and so I’m going to be posting this review as a two-parter. I’ll introduce the Other Side next week. This review is going to be long enough as it is.

 

Infected Mushroom – Albibeno (6.5): Alright, let’s dive right in to the first song of the trance side. We’re starting out with a quintessential psytrance song. It has the perfect 145 BPM tempo. It’s got that quick paced bassline that almost feels like a slow arp. All of the synths involve have an unusual trippy vibe to them. What more is there to ask for?

 

Well, when it comes to Infected Mushroom, there’s always a little extra icing on the cake. This track’s layer of icing is a bit thin, but it still has some unique elements that cause it to be held above any ordinary psytrance song. The most substantial of these is definitely the synth at the beginning that almost sounds like a technological arp. Usually when I say technological I end up saying “Oh gee this could be in a Mind.in.a.box song! That’s my favorite artist!” but eh this one is a bit different. And yet, I enjoy it on a near equal level. It has a good haunting vibe to it as it introduces the mysteries this album has to offer. The second appearance of this synth is my favorite moment of the song, specifically because of its incorporation of the bass rumbling in the background, which allows for some suspense to take over for a short while.

 

Other than that, I don’t really have much to say, there’s some other melodies in here that are decent, but they don’t really diverge increasingly much from Infected Mushroom’s established style (though there is the occasional melody that seems a little bit closer to the newer style). This song could definitely have used a bit more variety and I’d have given it a bit of a higher rating if it did, but I find that it still stands out well enough above your typical psytrance song.

 

Infected Mushroom – Hush Mail (6.25): I have no idea what that animal at the beginning of this song is doing but I’m afraid to ask. Whatever kind of diseased creature is making that noise, I’d like it to hush. It’s disturbing me deeply.

 

This animal does remain present throughout the song, but thankfully, the creature spends a significant amount of time buried in all of the other much more enjoyable elements of the song (plus it wasn’t all that bad to begin with, just a little odd). Such coverup elements include some quite industrial drums, your psytrance bassline (plus variations) and another more animalistic distorted instrument that doesn’t disturb quite me as deeply. Altogether, these instruments provide an enjoyable experience along with a few melodies that aren’t special enough to note. In fact, the non-noteworthiness of every thing in this song means that I shall be spending as little time reviewing this part as possible.

 

The animal gives one final growl at the end. Whatever, its issue or activity was, it seems to be over. As is this song.

 

Infected Mushrom – Apogiffa Night (6.75): Apogiffa Night sees itself as such a special song that it starts with its own cinematic introduction to announce its arrival. This just means it puts its best moment at the start of the song. Well, I guess that best moment does return a bit later and it’s nearly equally as good there (nearly because I feel it just works better as an introduction rather than simply being inserted in the middle of the song).

 

Is it special though? Well, compared to that cinematic intro, not excessively much. The intro does definitely improve my overall opinion on the song, but the rest of my experience is admittedly underwhelming. This is the problem when a song puts its best foot forward, but then lets a bunch of slightly above average feet walk on the rest of the song. There are some good moments here and there like the fantastic textural bassline that dominates the song for about half a minute around 5 minutes into the song. But that’s about all that strays from the general path. Most of the song simply trudges forward with decent unrisky psytrance. That’s fine. The duo will make plenty of risks later, and they shall surely pay off.

 

Infected Mushroom – Song Pong (7.75): Song Pong is the song that should be proud enough to warrant some hyped up in an intro, as this is the one that really starts this song on a trend of 7s and greater (with only one song interrupting this pattern near the end). But instead of pumping the song full of energy with a cinematic intro, Song Pong opts for a calmer more soothing vibe in its introduction. There are slight signs of the energy that’s to come, but the main focus of this introduction is the automated pad that fluctuates in pitch as the song progresses. But the most important part is the arp that appears midway through this introduction. This arp is a core element in the essence of Song Pong.

 

There’s a reason this song starts off so soft and smooth. And it’s because, as in actual pong, this song has a tendency to bounce back and forth. Specifically, it bounces back and forth between two moods. The first is calm and soothing providing a chance for the heart rate to relax a little, but this contrasts with the other mood of the song, which is a bit more energetic and upbeat. This beautiful arp serves as the first transition between the two vibes. From there on out, the song does focus mostly on the upbeat vibes of the song, but it does take several short breaks for its 8 minutes of existence, often focusing on introducing new instruments and melodies to the table. Most of them are admittedly not as calm as the introduction, but they still allow for much more variety than the previous songs.

 

Seeing as the upbeat sections take up the brunt of the song and are more or less self-explanatory, I’m going to take a specific look at the calmer portions and how they develop the song. What better way to go over the most significant instruments? The first return to calmness happens at 2:15 and gives a slight nod to where the song started while giving a chance for a new melody to see the spotlight. It had technically already been introduced not long before this calm, but it’s barely noticeable and only becomes significant after the calm that highlights it.

 

Our second break comes in at about 3:45 which introduces a brand-new melody. Yeah, it still has the same texture as the melody that was introduced last time, but the variation is significant enough to highlight. I think I do prefer the first one as the one feels as if it has too much space in between the short notes and it doesn’t quite flow as well with the rest of the track.

 

Heralded in by my favorite arp is the break that at about 5:50 that cuts out many of the melodies briefly, leaving just the kicks and bassline. Of course, the true focus here is the melody that’s introduced shortly after. While the second melody was a downgrade from the first, this one easily is the best in the song. It’s a nice happy medium between the first two melodies (Goldilocks would have said the first was too fast and the second was too slow).

 

And as many of the songs of the first half of this album, this one does a quick bookend with exclusive focus on the pad with the fluctuating pitch, bringing this song to a close.

 

Infected – Mushroom – Chaplin (7.25): Chaplin’s main strength is shown right at the forefront. And this time around, that’s okay. Unlike Apogiffa Night from earlier in the album and Sailing on The Sea of Mushrooms from way back off the Classical Mushroom album, this strong creepy melody is here to stay. Well, it’s not eternally present, but it does return at a couple of instances in the song and that’s plenty more than the other two songs I mentioned. There’s something about this melody that makes the blood in my veins chill ever so slightly each time it reintroduces itself. And yet, I also feel as if the melody is somewhat soothing. It’s as if the melody is putting me into restful mood but I don’t trust it because it’s planning on killing me in my subdued state. I know that’s not actually going to happen, but there’s an instinctual part of me that still fears this melody for no apparent reason.

 

Other than that, this is a good psytrance song that plays a little bit into Infected Mushroom’s more modern distorted vocal style of sound design, while still keeping to the old school psytrance roots that had dominated their discography in the five years preceding this album. Because of that, this song has a fresh groove that is very welcome to the Infected Mushroom discography. However, because my first impressions of Infected Mushroom happened in 2014 with Friends on Mushrooms Vol 3, I have this urge to compare these distorted vocals to the ones of Rise Up and Kipod, the songs that drew me into this discography in the first place. It’s an unfair comparison and I’ll do my best to say that these are pretty solid for their time considering what I’ve looked at so far in these reviews. It’s just that the sound design gets much better over the next decade and beyond. Actually, to be perfectly honest, their sound design undergoes a huge transformation 40 minutes from now, so maybe we should use that as a benchmark.

 

Infected – Mushroom – Echonomix (8.25): Echonomix is a great mix of sounds that have an echo to them. It’s also the study of money and how we use it and all sorts of things (I never studied economics so don’t blame me if I screwed that up).

 

While the latter of those descriptions of the song is a bit irrelevant and not actually very true, the part about this song being a mix of echoing sounds is incredibly true. Every single instrument and melody here has an odd tone to it, much of it due to echoes and phasers. Now, that isn’t entirely unusual for Infected Mushroom, but I feel like it sticks out more distinctly here than many of the other songs in their discography. Let’s do a quick look at each of the echoey instruments that overwhelm this song (which is most of them).

 

The very first moments of this song contain a harmony that has undergone multiple phasers as the echoes of subtle melody scatter in the background. As the song progresses this harmony undergoes multiple transformations, but the echoes are always there. It would be wrong if they weren’t. There’s also a melody introduced in a short break in the song at 1:45. It ends up becoming the highlighted melody for the rest of the song. A plethora of other echoing melodies are introduced at the midpoint of the song, though most of them are just subtle little accents for the song. Really, a lot of them are just notes that happen to have an echo attached to them (they only seem like a melody).

 

There are a few other melodies and arps and drumbeats that don’t echo, but they don’t echo so I’m going to ignore them. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a subtle echo on them that I’m just not noticing. If so, nice job. I wish it was a bit more noticeable.

 

Infected Mushroom – Scorpion Frog (7.25): I’m not entirely sure what a Scorpion Frog is, but it sounds quite deadly. A slimy creature with a scorpion’s tail that can quickly hop towards me? No thanks.

 

Anyways, I painstakingly scoured through the last three albums to see what song these introductory strings are referencing. I could’ve sworn that one of the songs in the last few albums had a nearly identical melody and I thought it would be neat to show off such a little Easter egg. Instead I merely showed myself I was absolutely crazy and delusional. Bust a Move and Dracul have string melodies that sound mildly similar but it’s a strenuous connection at best. Ah well, regardless of where the melody does or doesn’t come from, it sure does have a very similar feeling to the strings that have been displayed throughout Infected Mushroom’s discography so far. Hopefully that was the intention.

 

The rest of this song is one of those journeys through sound. The mood changes from moment to moment and the variety keeps the mind interested and engaged. This is admittedly one of the lesser journeys through sound as the variety, while present, isn’t quite as dynamic as others. Plus, I hate to say this, but very few of these ideas are very interesting on their own. I never feel surprised whenever the song transitions to a new stage. I just think to myself “Oh that’s different than what we’ve been doing, ok.”

 

I’ll divide this song into 5 stages so I can quickly go over each change the song has.

  • Stage 1 is the strings. I already talked about the strings, they end at 1:25. They are strings and they’re great and remind me of older Infected Mushroom. Good vibes here.
  • After that we have stage 2, the glitched out bassline. This one’s ok. It goes through a couple of iterations and does have a decent bouncy groove to it, but it never really grabs my attention.
  • At about 3:20, we enter stage 3: the best stage. This one focuses on a calm, yet slightly off-putting vibe as the bassline rebuilds itself from the ground up. This melody is probably the second-best part of the song after the strings. It’s somewhat similar to the main melody in Chaplin, though it doesn’t quite reach the same heights of unsettling.
  • Stage 4 is the oddest of the bunch starting at 4:30. The psytrance bassline that has been building is traded for a phasing bass similar to the one at the beginning of Echnomix, but it’s not quite as good. There’s also a subtle melody that seems to be using some retro (or should I say R.E.T.R.O.) sound effects which rounds up this section nicely
  • Stage 5 takes up the last 2 minutes of the song, taking the phased bass from stage 4 and overlaying it with a bouncy bassline to provide a final build-up for the song (which works quite well might I add). Eventually, the strings from the beginning take over, wrapping up this song nicely.

 

Overall, this song is good, but it pales in comparison to what it could be.

 

Infected Mushroom – Deeply Disturbed (8.25): Deeply Disturbed is the only lyrical song on the trance side of this album. It is likely because of the lyrics that I remember it most clearly over the other nine (though I might have Scorpion Frog embedded in the depths of my memories somewhere what with that throwback mixup). The lyrics of Deeply Disturbed are… disturbing. If you’re looking for an uplifting feel-good song, then this isn’t really the place to look. In fact, you should probably tread all of my reviews with caution if positivity is what you want. I have a tendency to enjoy songs with darker themes (up to a point). Themes that might deeply disturb some. Themes that might make some deeply unhappy.

 

Actually, as dark and bleak as these lyrics are, they’re so out of context and so vague that I find it rather amusing more than anything. That’s probably not the right reaction to have and it probably reflects negatively on my sense of humor and internal psyche. But that’s it. That’s the entire song. He’d deeply disturbed and he’s deeply unhappy. What’s disturbing him? What’s sapping away his happiness? Is this man simply insane? We shall never know. But hey at least we get a good song in the meantime.

 

My memory of this song is also likely heightened by the overall music quality of this song. It’s certainly not the most complex song on the front half of the album, but sometimes it’s the simple things that prove to be the most enjoyable. My enjoyment of this song comes almost entirely from the guitar. Every single moment it’s there (which is basically any time the singer isn’t expressing his deep disturbance and unhappiness), it steals the show completely. Whether it be the ascending plucks played in the introduction of the song or the more melodic sections played shortly before each chorus, the guitar is truly the most enjoyable part of the song.

 

Of course, that doesn’t mean the guitar is the only good part of the song. The song simply wouldn’t be the same if the ambience didn’t give off that peaceful sense of dread at the beginning of the song. It wouldn’t be the same if the bassline didn’t have such a rolling groove to it. It wouldn’t be the same if said bassline didn’t become harsher in the chorus, while smoother elsewhere. There might not be a huge variety of instruments to work with in this song, but what’s there blends perfectly.

 

Infected Mushroom – Semi Nice (6.5): Semi Nice is the most playful song on the Trance Side of the album. It starts with an accordion of all things, which I find to be quite odd. It’s just not something I hear very often as my tastes usually don’t include the type of music an accordion would be involved in. But there is at least one exception. It’s this. This is the exception.

 

The song does stick nicely to that introductory playful mood to it. The sound design focuses mostly on the textured basslines. The typical psytrance bassline is there of course, but that’s not the one I care to talk about today. It’s there, being a consistent good as always. The bassline that stands out is the other bassline. For the first half of the song, it just gives a few notes here and there. Not too much in particular. But that playful vibe is definitely present when we reach the midpoint and the bass (now played at a bit of a higher pitch) starts to swing between notes. This funky middle section is probably the closest the song gets to matching the fun accordion intro. Shame that accordion wasn’t reintroduced

 

Instead, the last third song concentrates more on the less interesting elements of the song. There’s a new bassline playing exclusively lower notes with no experimentation whatsoever. And there’s a new simple melody with a few minor distortions, but that’s really just minimal experimentation if anything. Nothing wrong with this last third. Just nothing right with it either

 

Overall, this is a decent song. I’m still kind of in the middle when it comes to my opinion on it. The accordion definitely makes it stand out and I do think it would have been better off continuing to explorre the playful tone that the accordion introduced. Maybe reincorporating the accordion for later. It’s still a nice song, just not quite up to par for Infected Mushroom.

 

It’s Semi-nice.

 

Infected Mushroom – Yanko Pitch (7.75): Concluding the Trance Side, we have Yanko Pitch. With the exception of maybe Deeply Disturbed (which cheated by using the mantra of a madman for vocals), this is likely the creepiest trance song of the bunch. That also makes it one of the best trance songs of the bunch. When it comes to Infected Mushroom’s more psytrance side of their discography (I haven’t gone over anything non-psytrance yet, but I’ll definitely be doing so next week), the creepier songs are often the better ones. Probably because of all the emotions to be expressed through psytrance, fear is the easiest to convey. And a song that gives off a greater emotional reaction is a song that’s well-enjoyed (unless the reaction is utter disgust, then maybe don’t enjoy that one).

 

This song starts off right with the oddest creepiest ambience on the entire album. Deeply Disturbed had a great intro with the guitar that serves as one of the song’s core aspects, but this intro is incredibly trippy. The first twenty seconds are made completely of distorted synths that sound like the remaining echoes from a previous non-existent synth located in the negative area of this song’s duration. But now it sounds like something ominous is coming.

 

The rest of the song doesn’t quite match up with the creepy vibes the song starts with, but that’s mostly because the bar was set a little too high at that beginning. The rest of the song isn’t bad or disappointing. It’s just hard to live up to the expectations that intro sets. Not going to hold it against the song though because the song still maintains a relatively dark atmosphere and it does have some good unsettling melodies here and there. There’s a melody three quarters in that really stands out in the song, giving it some fresh upbeat variety as the general creepiness begins to go stale on its own.

 

That being said, it is admittedly a more simplistic song than the nine other trance songs on this album. The next thirteen songs, however, are a bit different…

 

Conclusion: We’re only halfway through this album due to its length, but it’s clear that the trend of Infected Mushroom’s quality continues to improve. Not all of the songs are winners, but they’re all consistently above 6, which is more than I can say for the past few albums. Plus, you get an extra song instead of the usual nine, so that’s a neat bonus. Of course, if I’d reviewed the full album, there’d be 13 more songs added into the mix and absolutely none of them would be trance, which I think would be an even better bonus. I’ll finish that up next week…

 

Final Score of Trance Side: (7.25)

Final Score of Other Side: (TBD)

Final Score of Full Album: (TBD)

Daily Hat Track Roundup: March 2019

April has started so let’s reflect over the Daily Hat Tracks of March.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 1 (Ginger Runner – Deception of Light and Shadow): When I saw that there was a new Ginger Runner track I was prepared for some good chill jams but the DnB drop took my by surprise. Loving this.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 2 (Au5 & Danyka Nadeau – Eden): Best Au5 since Snowblind (so second best Au5)

 

Daily Hat Track: March 3 (Way Out West & Hendrik Burkhard – We Move in The Dark): Funky tune from Way out West. There may be some odd existential pondering in there but a lot of it is cryptic so it’s hard to say. The groove is clear though and for now that’s all that matters.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 4 (I am Waiting for You Last Summer – Lights Go Out): Perhaps I’m remembering incorrectly but I’m pretty sure I am Waiting for you Last Summer usually gives off rather chill vibes. Ah well, this DnB rock fusion works too.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 5 (Mr Fijiwiji, Laura Brehm & Agno3 – Pure Sunlight): Throwback to perhaps the best collaboration in Monstercat history. Definitely the golden age of the label in my opinion.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 6 (Azedia – Requiem for a New World): This incredible journey through sound gives a unique contemplation of existence over ten minutes. A religion could be based on this song. Actually this song is most likely based on a religion so never mind that. Still great.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 7 (Rotersand – Not Alone): Daily Hat Track: March 7 Capitalism Tm is my favorite Rotersand album but that’s mostly because of Hey You and Not Alone. Both have fantastic development with great inspiring vocals. This one is my preferred of the two at the moment.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 8 (Ghost Rider – Make Us Stronger): I can’t be the only one who hears Carol of the Bells at the beginning of this one. Anyways, this is your usual decent psytrance song with clips of an inspiring speech pondering life. The second half is pretty cool musically.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 9 (Worakls – Entrudo): The fact that there’s an entire Worakls album now is incredible to me as he’s only released singles previously. Haven’t listened to the album in full yet but hey you should definitely check it out.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 10 (Invocation Array – Hypogeum (Live in Studio): Invocation Array is an interesting duo of two women creating a great crossover between rock and EDM (my favorite kind of crossover) and some great vocals. Final chorus in this song is my favorite part of their discography.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 11 (Covenant – Call the Ships to Port): This another one of those songs where I visualize a music video, this one being about the destruction of a supernatural oceanic prison via a ritualistic funeral for those who are thought to be dead long ago but are only dying now.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 12 (Mind.in.a.box – Timelessness): This song from the fifth chapter of the Mindinabox story (which is a long ways off) is among the catchiest of the discography. The chorus gets into my head the easiest of many songs. Not the best but great vocals and good groove.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 13 (Joachim Pastor – Eternity): I’ve posted some Worakls before, but this is my second favorite artist from the Hungry Music crew (A trio of the best prog house artists). The marimba in this one is the highlight of this particular track.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 14 (N’to – Trauma (Worakls remix)): I’ve definitely had an appetite for Hungry Music as of late. Here, Worakls transforms one of the lesser Hungry songs (though no bad Hungry songs actually exists) into something incredibly new and infinitely better.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 15 (Worakls – Nocturne): Hungry music never ends! But how does it begin? This Worakls track was my very first Hungry song and the orchestral progression here remains my favorite.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 16 (3force – Resistance): This kicking synthwave journey was what started off my morning today. It’s now 13 hours later but I still love every moment of this. Feels much longer than six minutes, given it’s variety.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 17 (Inofaith – Nocturne): Inofaith’s discography is small, but all of it is incredible immersive and relaxing. This song in particular is my favorite as it really speaks to me as a creative.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 18 (Ben Prunty – Night Zen): Last song to speak of this evening is a song of night zen. Well that’s the title. The song itself isn’t as relaxing as Nocturne though. Much more suspense to this one. Really was my favorite discovery today.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 19 (Feint, Boyinaband & Veela – Time Bomb): Throwing back to early Monstercat days with a DnB song about time travel (my favorite storytelling concept). Also has some great vocals from Veela (Who is among my favorite female vocalists). Feint’s best work in my opinion.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 20 (Miracle of Sound & Sarah Murray – Force of Nature): I’m not a huge fan of Miracle of Sound but the first track I heard from him caught my attention with its majestic orchestras and Sarah’s gorgeous vocals. Sadly, Sarah isn’t a regular, so the other songs are a bit underwhelming.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 21 (Kebu – To Jupiter and Back): To Jupiter and Back huh? Sounds like white a journey. This one has a nice balance between beauty and playfulness.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 22 (Niteppl – Meat Grinder): This song’s got a weird creepy vibe to it. But mostly because of the implications of what exactly goes into that neat grinder…

 

Daily Hat Track: March 23 (VNV Nation – When is the Future): I’m currently reviewing the oldest VNV Nation album so here’s a song from the newest VNV Nation album dissecting the passage of time and questioning it’s flow. Where is the past? What is the present? When is the future?

 

Daily Hat Track: March 24 (Infected Mushroom – Slowly): Slowly is just Franks (the previous song on the album), but played in a slower manner. And I can’t help but enjoy that.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 25 (Ed Harrison – Scrap I/O): Running a little late on Daily Hat Tracks so here’s a song that switches between a beautiful piano and strings combination and some upbeat breaks that also includes some slightly glitched vocals.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 26 (PYLOT – Enigma): I really need to get back into PYLOT’s discography. The narrative seems to be improving and developing quite nicely. It isn’t Mindinabox levels yet, but we’re getting there.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 27 (Botnit – Ex Cathedra): Honestly, I find this song a bit amusing with its overhyped 80s praise. I’m sure the 80s were great or something. I wouldn’t know. I was born in 96. “SORRY BETAMAX” gets me every time.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 28 (Covenant – Happy Man): For a song called Happy man, the lead singer of Covenant sure sounds sad… I seem to relate to this song though… What does that say about my mental state?

 

Daily Hat Track: March 29 (Timmy Trumpet – Oracle): So this appeared in a trance playlist on Spotify today. I sincerely did not know Mr Timmy Trumpet did a psytrance song. Short, but it’s interesting enough.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 30 (Andy Hunter & D’Morgan – Technicolour): Best vocal performance of all Andy Hunter songs. That is all.

 

 

Here’s the full playlist of Daily Hat Tracks so far.

Daily Hat Track Roundup: February 2019

It was here that Tuesday Newsday ended, but we don’t talk about that. This is just the February Daily Hat Track roundup post. Nothing more.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 1 (King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Cyboogie): Cyboogie walks a surprisingly thin line between a fun groovy vibe an oddly ominous vibe slinking along I’m the background.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 2 (Kick Bong – This Charming Violin (TPOT remix): End of a long unfortunately unproductive day. So today I’ll just mention the song having a food vibe and some beautiful violins and female vocals. It truly is quite a lovely track.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 3 (Ashbury Heights – Spiders): Remember the all too edgy Ashbury Heights album from a couple weeks ago? Here’s a song that’s a step in the right direction of edge. Actually the track that introduced me to the duo (with revolving door of female vocalists).

 

Daily Hat Track: February 4 (Myndflame – Club Thrall): I didn’t get far into my Discovery Weekly due to download troubles but this song in particular had a good drive and variety to it. That’s about all I have to say about it at the moment though.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 5 (Electric Universe, Hilmar & Chico – Rockers and Rollers): The moment I see an Electric Universe song I think psytrance. The moment I see the song title referencing rock n roll I think kick-ass guitar sections. This song delivers on both counts and I love it.

 

Daily Hat Track; February 6 (Bliss & Alex Berserker – Warriors Guitar Mix): A couple days ago I shared a psytrance song with some rocking guitars. Well, today I’m sharing THE psytrance song with rocking guitars. This eleven minute experience is well with your time.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 7 (Infected Mushroom i-wish (Acoustic Live Remix)): Each time, I listen to this acoustic version of I Wish, I like it more and more. It used to be my least favorite from IM21 pt 1, but now it’s second favorite right behind Bliss’ remix of Bust a Move (which is unbeatable).

 

Daily Hat Track: February 8 (Mind.in.a.box – Amnesia): Today I’m just going to throw back the song that introduced me to my current favorite artist. Really pulled me into the computerized vocals and the existential themes. Probably one of my best musical discoveries of all time.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 9 (Infected Mushroom – Dancing with Kadafi): I’ve shared a lot of long songs as of late, but I consider this one to be the epitome of journeys through sound. It’s an absolute classic.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 10 (The Anix – TECHUNTER): Only just finished up Friday’s Release Radar and this nearly cinematic technological wonder was one of the last ones in the playlist. It’s also the best one in the playlist.

 

Daily Hat Track February 11 (Eisfabrik – Walking Towards the Sun): Actually got all the way through my Discovery Weekly in one day (which is rare). And this was bothering the grooviest and most inspiring of the bunch. It’s not often that you find such good futurepop with an uplifting vibe.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 12 (Mind.in.a.box – Redefined): I have no words right now or too many words. Either way, I’d forgotten how great this song is (definitely one of my all time favorites). Music and lyrics are dense with power and meaning and you should listen to it right now

 

Daily Hat Track: February 13 (Infected Mushroom – Frog Machine): Does this track make anyone else envision a giant monstrous frog throwing it’s little normal frog coworkers into a fiery furnace before usurping it’s boss that happens to be a corpse of bones lying in the corner? Just me? Ok.

 

Daily Hat Track : February 14 (Infected Mushroom – In Front of Me): Not much to say about this one. It’s just resonating a bit too much with me right now. Every line is filled with relatable existential anguish.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 15 (Worakls – Cloches): Worakls and his Hungry Music fellows are always a treat to listen to. Therefore this is one of my favorites of this week’s Release Radar.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 16 (Infected Mushroom – Return to the Suace): Here’s another song that makes me visualize a music video except this one makes less sense because it’s a sea voyage adventure involving a sea serpent and a time distortion device. My imagination is vividly random.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 17 (Infected Mushroom – Demons of Pain): I usually tend to listen to the remix from the Return to the Sauce album, but my love doe the existential original still holds today. I may have been listening to too much Infected Mushroom lately though.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 18 (Kick Bong (Progress in Happiness Remix)): Here’s a funky groove of happiness from Kick Bong for yesterday’s Daily Hat Track. Sleep schedule adjustment is making me forgetful.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 19 (Scatman John – U-turn): Didn’t really listen to Scatman when he was alive, but I have been enjoying his music for quite a few years nonetheless. This one about healing one’s soul with a new beginning is the most applicable to my life at the moment.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 20 (OVERWERK – Reign): I’ll admit I’m really only into this one for the bassline. It has a good groove overall, but the bassline is what makes it.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 21 (Infected Mushroom – Saeed): I already knew this was my favorite Infected Mushroom song, but after relistening to it today. It’s even better than I remember. Every moment in this track, be it lyrical or musical, is incredibly powerful.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 22 (Electric Universe – Dragonfly): Psytrance songs named after winged insects are good ok? What else is there to say?

 

Daily Hat Track: February 23 (Andy Hunter – Go): Andy Hunter was my first electronic artist. Go was his first song. If you’re guessing I have some nostalgia attached to this song, you couldn’t be more right.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 24 (Liquid Soul – Hypnotic Energy (Pitch Bend Remix): As I was scouring through this week’s Release Radar in search or tracks worthy of mentioning for Newsday Tuesday this fresh psytrance track proved to be the most worthy.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 25 (The Luna Sequence – Veil Walled Garden): Today’s Discover Weekly reminded me how awesome The Luna Sequence is at blending electronic and rock elements. All of her stuff definitely has an energetic vibe to it.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 26 (Andy Hunter – Sandstorm Calling): An Andy Hunter classic. One of the two nonlyrical songs on the Exodus album. Definitely feel some nostalgia listening to this.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 27 (Ayria – Feed Her to the Wolves): Isn’t it great when you discover an oddly catchy song during lunch and have to spend the rest your workday trying not to sing of how you had a woman eaten alive wolves and then displayed her body to intimidate your enemies?

 

Daily Hat Track: February 28 (Carpenter Brut – Paradise Warfare): Carpenter Brut is great but Carpenter Brut with a saxophone? Mmmmmmm

 

Remember to follow Twitter for a new Hat Trac every day and to take a look at the Daily Hat Track Playlist linked below.

 

https://open.spotify.com/user/beretbeats/playlist/4CIZYAQAzctqYqFG89HIv2?si=hzGhZDDaRV6bgotZiPxheA

 

One last thing. I wanted to apologize for missing the review last Friday. As I’d mentioned on twitter I ended up having to take the week off due to health issues but I’ll be putting extra effort into keeping on track for these reviews from now on (Getting rid of Tuesday Newsday should help

Infected Mushroom – B.P. Empire (2001 album)

Bandcamp: n/a

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/infectedmushroom/sets/b-p-empire

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/3QayeW548wxn5HQdlnzz9q?si=sEM_ZYdhQXKbIB1FJ1lsqw

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_lTJgIwQYMylCjNX_3_MpzYHmUnWTr2wjY

 

Introduction: Infected Mushroom. You’ve heard the name on this site before already, so I don’t need to give too much of an introduction. It seems they may be taking a jab of some sort at BP. I’m not sure what they’re expressed goal is. The album art doesn’t really answer any questions.

 

Anyways, regardless of Infected Mushroom’s intentions, this album begins as somewhat of a transition to what’s to come of the duo. It isn’t until the next album that everything truly changes, but there are some notable differences between this album and the last two. Let’s explore them, shall we?

 

Infected Mushroom – Never Ever Land (7.25): Infect me. There always to be some line in the opening song of these first few albums that make for a perfect introduction to an Infected Mushroom album. This one is somewhat of a combination of the last two interesting enough. Taking the “me” from “Release me” and “infect” from “Aliens infected us. It’s about time we infected them.” Am I stretching? Probably. Actually definitely. But I found it fun to talk about regardless. It’s still got Infect in there. You can’t deny that. There’s also the chanting of title of the song in final couple minutes of its existence, but I have less to say about that.

 

Vocal samples aside, this song definitely seems to be aiming for an unsettling vibe as many of the early tracks in the Infected Mushroom discography do. This time around, the song seems to have a smoother pace to it. There’s a lot more emphasis on ambiance than usual for much of the song. I’m particularly referencing the ever-present strings and the lead synth of the song with short melodies that simply provide a subtle unsettling texture to the song. The vibe of this ambiance seems to borrow a little bit from Disco Mushroom, which isn’t a bad thing, but it does feel like it’s not as good.

 

One other notable thing to mention that I’m having troubles fitting into the other paragraphs is how much I enjoy that guitar. I guess it gets a paragraph of its own then. I like the guitar. It’s got a nice groove to it. Ok, I guess that’s all I have to say about that.

 

Infected Mushroom – Unbalanced (7.25): Infected Mushroom shows a lot of growth in this album by not relying solely on the psytrance basslines and instead working on creating their own environment of sound unique to themselves. Yes, they’ve always been creative, but this song only has a few short sections with the psytrance bassline and it’s quite subtle. The rest of the song has Infected Mushroom feeling out the sound design as it breaks away from the mold with its own basslines. It’s here that the duo really begins to establish who they are.

 

Well, they start to find out who they are. As they’re really just exploring out into the unknown at this point, there is a mixture of what I enjoy and would rather go without. Pretty much anything that involves a bassline is good (I don’t think Infected Mushroom has ever been weak in the bassline department though so this is no surprise), be it the funky bassline in the introduction, or the rare use of psytrance bass (though the latter is subtle and has a good chord progression, so it helps the track stand out quite well from the rest their discography thus far).

 

There’s also some neat Foley in there with a creaky door, whining as it closes near the beginning of the song and a spinning coin settling itself on the top of a metal table as it begins to lose its balance. Or fi you want to make some kind of pun or play on words, you could say that the coin becomes unbalanced. The drum design is rather cool too in places. It’s always four on the floor as most trance songs are, but the snares when they appear sound almost rather industrial. There’s also some points where the drum completely disappears

 

And lastly, we have the lead synths. These are the parts I’m a bit more mixed on. There’s plenty of variety offered in this department, which means I have to deal with the fantastic (the bell melody and guitar solo is my favorite part of the song, but there’s a few synths here and there that are a bit too scratchy for my tastes). Some of the subtler instruments like the organs or ghostly ambiance also fit into the song quite well.

 

Infected Mushroom – Spaniard (5.75): I was beginning wonder if this album was going to be consistently 7.25s, but there appears to be a slight dip in quality right here. The Spaniard, does very little to stand out on its own. It still relishes in the slightly unsettling vibe that’s already been established in this album, but it’s not really doing anything new with it. Yes, there’s plenty of haunted synths providing the ambiance for this track and I do appreciate those, but the only noteworthy melody I can find is the one that appears a bit over 5 minutes into the song. Everything else other than the outro (with the creepy ambiance/decent bassline combo and the short vocal section of little substance) isn’t unique to the rest of the first age of Infected Mushroom. And even then, I don’t find the outro to be exceptional.

 

Infected Mushroom – B.P. Empire (6): It’s a good viewpoint to see the world as a dream. When you have something like a nightmare, you will wake up and tell yourself it was only a dream. This quote is apparently from some movie about samurais that I guess Duvdev and Erez enjoy. It claims to have a good viewpoint on looking at the world as a dream. Honestly, I’m not certain if it truly is a good viewpoint. Really just feels like an excuse to cut off your emotional attachment to the world around you. And while that may work well for nightmares, I can’t really get behind this way of living. Too emotionless, too detached, too apathetic to the issues that we face in our lives. If we just see it as a dream, we’ll never face them at all.

 

Anyways, this titular track goes as minimalistic as it can for Infected Mushroom. Start with a creepy quote, add in a drumbeat and then put a nice Infected bassline in there. For the most part, that’s all this song does. The bassline admittedly does transform throughout the song so there’s a bit of variety, but there’s nothing to be said about melody. It’s all about bassline this time around.

 

Unfortunately, the bassline variety does have some issues. While I will say that all of the basslines are good, that does actually prove to be a problem. When none of the basslines are bad, very few of them stand out either and even the variety becomes somewhat monotonous. With no other elements to change along with the bassline to complement its strengths, each iteration seems to overstay it’s welcome. I find myself surprised to say this, but even with variety, most of this song is tedious and monotonous.

 

There’s only one bassline that stuck out to me around 5 and a half minutes into the song. Something about it has a slightly stronger groove than the rest. But there’s seven other minutes of lesser content surrounding it. For some reason, they decided this bassline wouldn’t last nearly as long as some of the others, before being overtaken. If it were any bassline, I wouldn’t complain, but when it’s the best bassline in the song that gets snubbed, I can’t help but feel that the song could’ve been a bit better had it been given the chance to shine.

 

Infected Mushroom – Funchameleon (8): at first, from the title, I thought it was depicting a chameleon that was fun, but after listening to the song, it’s quite clear that this is a chameleon that’s funky. Just listen to those basslines. B.P. Empire had at least tenfold the variety of basslines in it’s 7 minutes and yet not a single one of them measures up to the funky groove of the chameleon. My favorite bassline by far is the one introduced at the 2.5-minute mark of the song. Definitely one of the funkiest sections of what I’d consider to be the first era of Infected Mushroom (The Gathering thru Converting Vegetarians).  I’d have to brush up on the next album to be certain, but we’ll get to that one soon enough anyway.

 

Now, this one funky bassline doesn’t detract from all the other basslines in this song. Nor does it detract from any other elements this song has to offer. It certainly is the standout part, but I don’t find myself missing it when all of the other basslines and melodies are at work as those bits are interesting enough to occupy my interest in the meantime. Even before that perfect funk is introduced, we have a smooth growl (if that makes any sense). And after the funky beats temporarily cease, we have plenty of arps and melodies that have their own strong points, in particular the melody that almost sounds like a slow arp at the 5-minute mark. There’s even a second strong bassline at that point in the song that nearly gives the Funchameleons’s main funk a run for its money. It’s not really a contest, but it’s remarkable that anything can come close.

 

Infected Mushroom – Tasty Mushroom (7.5): Do you want to have a tasty mushroom? That is the beckoning of the deep voice that offers a delicious snack midway through the song. And I’m not sure how to answer the question. If by Tasty Mushroom, the dude means he wants to know if I want to listen to this, then I’ll do it, it’s a good song. If he means he wants to offer me some mushrooms to make a soup or put on a pizza, I’m into that. If he’s asking me if I want to have a power-up from some Mario game, I might question whether or not he means in-game or if he somehow made the shape-shifting fungus a reality. If the former, then I guess I’ll take it. If the latter, I may want to know how much it’s been tested before I actually partake in eating it as long as it’s not purple. If he’s offering drugged shrooms (or infected mushrooms I guess), then I may have to decline. I’m not really into drugs. Music is my high. Then again, I seem to be perfectly fine with consuming scientifically tested Mario power-ups so maybe I’ll need to reconsider some of my hypothetical life choices.

 

Like I said, this is a good song. It perhaps is in the middle ground of this album, but this album’s middle ground is good, so it’s not really an issue. My only problem is that the funky vibe at the slight funky party vibe at the beginning feels a bit out of place as very little of the rest of the album incorporates that vibe. The trumpets return for a short reprise midway through the song, but if the bassline returns with it, it simply fades into the background as the stronger psytrance basslines overwhelm it. Still, it is a nice throwback. It would be neat if the song involved it more.

 

The other part of the song that stands out to me is the ambiance used at a few different points in the song. For the first, half any use of ambiance is subtle, but while the Tasty Mushroom is offered, everything fades away except for a distant choir (actually this reminds me of Disco Mushroom in a lot of ways, funny they have such similar names. Disco did it better though).  There’s also a bit more of that tasty ambiance at the end as the song fades away.

 

Infected Mushroom – Noise Maker (6.75): Go play your music. Play it so loud that nobody can sleep. Noisemaker. Heh, that’s exactly what I’m doing right now. Blasting Infected Mushroom in my room so loud that no one can sleep. Except it’s noon. And no one is home. But no one is sleeping either so it’s totally relevant.

 

Listening to the beginning of this song, I would normally expect a song called Noise Maker to be… well… noisier. It’s rather calm for a song about blasting music, but then again, this is one of Infected Mushroom’s calmer albums. Though if you really think about it, all music makes noise regardless of the volume. It’s just that even when full blasting this tune, the song remains to be somehow soothing and relaxing. The culprit of this relaxation is definitely the pads introduced at the very beginning of the song. They sweep away my soul into a state of soothing. At least that’s how it goes for the intro of the song.

 

As the song progresses past that vocal sample midway through the song, there are some louder basslines introduced to my ears that prevent the relaxation from fully seeping into my body and soul, but they don’t feel extra noisy compared to anything else done on this album (and this album is rather relaxing for Infected Mushroom anyway). Plus, in the middle and end of the song, the soothing calmness returns. Perhaps it’s a bit wavier and distorted than it was at first, but there’s still sleep. Despite, the noise maker, there’s still sleep…

 

Infected Mushroom – P.G.M. (6.25): Seeing as this song, has very few remarkable moments in it, I’ll be brief. There are only three things about this song that stand out. There’s the short cries of a choir interspersed throughout the song, which for some reason is the most memorable part of the song as it’s barely unique. The second thing I can enjoy in this song are the simple descending melody that appears throughout the song, often accompanying the vocals. Not incredibly unique, but it does its job well enough. I think the most enjoyable 20 seconds of the song is the guitar melody that appears midway through. It gives the song a little bit of flavor, but it’s a flavor given to several Infected Mushroom songs of this era and most (if not all) of those songs did a better job of using the guitar melody within the song. P.G.M. only uses this very simplistic melody 5 times (and four of those times are consecutive. It doesn’t really contribute to anything beyond the 3-minute mark of the song). There’s a couple build-ups that are somewhat decent, but if this song disappeared, I wouldn’t miss it.

 

Infected Mushroom – Dancing with Kadafi (8.5): When I reviewed Classical Mushroom about a month ago, we ended with a long song known as The Missed Symphony. It was not worth its length. Here, we have a song of nearly the same length as Missed Symphony, but this one is actually worth the time it takes to listen to it. I have mentioned at least a couple times in the past that I quite enjoy it when a song constantly introduces new variety to it as it develops (often over a long period of time). I call such songs journeys through sound. This song in particular was one of the very first songs I’d heard that fits into this category. And because of this, I consider it to be the epitomal standard for what a journey of sound should be.

 

Summarizing a journey such as this one is a rather tricky task to tackle. It would be so easy to do a play by play recap of every single different change in mood and melody this song goes through, but I fear that would be tedious. I will say this though; the song never goes a full minute without some noticeable change in its mood. Every single moment of this song is good on its own but it’s the way these varying moments flow flawlessly together that makes this song work. From melodies that almost sound as if they’re asking a wordless question to a beautiful duet of piano and strings to a funky jazz vibe to a satisfying victorious melody that answers the question we started with

 

Part of me wants to go even further in depth with this masterpiece but I fear that doing so might contaminate the beauty of the track. Sometimes, it’s best not to overanalyze every single detail, but instead to simply let the experience wash over you.

 

Conclusion: I feel like this album was tricky to review at times. While, The Gathering and Classical Mushrooms had songs that were quite clear of what I’d rate them, I found many songs in this album to be a bit more ambiguous. Perhaps it was because the entire vibe of the album had progressed to a more mysterious tone ripe with uncertainty. It’s definitely one of the softer albums in their discography. Yes, everything still has a trance BPM, but there are several points where the drums are subtler or even non-existent.

 

It’s noteworthy that this album has very few vocal samples in it in comparison to the last two. They begin weening off those vocal samples in this album, which I feel is an important step in their musical development (nothing wrong with samples from movies, but the tradeoff is quite worth their absence).

 

It’s also worth mentioning that the way this album is mixed allows each song to flow seamlessly into the next (It’s like a journey through sound… but 70 minutes long!). I quite enjoy albums that do this, as it encourages listening to the entire album in full, much in the same manner I described in that final sentence of my thoughts on Dancing with Kadafi. Let the music wash over you as you relax your mind and soul…

 

Overall, I say that this album is consistent with the trends of their discography so far. Giving it a good rating similar to Classical Mushroom. It serves as a nice transition between the two albums we’ve heard just far as well as the next album, which I’ll review some time in the future. Though beware, that album is both longer and more drastic in change of tone than this one.

 

Final Score: (7/10)

Daily Hat Track Roundup: January 2019

I’ve been posting these every day on Twitter for the past month so if you’re not following me yet, there’s a direct link in the menu if you simply scroll up. Or you could click on this one right here. Either will do. The wording of these short micro reviews may work better in a daily setting so this whole collection might seem a little disjointed but I’ll work on that tone a bit better as time progresses. Oh and at the bottom of this post I also have linked a playlist of all the 2019 Daily Hat Tracks so you can listen through that if you’d like.

 

https://twitter.com/BeretBeats

 

If you’ve already been following me for the past month, then this isn’t going to be much new content for you, but it’s a nice recap of what I’ve been listening to as of late.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 1 (Donbor – Backward): Discovered Donbor today. Fantastic discovery. I’m a bit mixed on some of his albums, but this album in particular and this song in particular is outstanding. Love the guitar in the beginning and everything else that follows

 

Daily Hat Track: January 2 (DROELOE – Looking Back (Manu Dia remix)): This remix stole the spot for today’s track minutes ago. Loved the original lyrics about the internal struggles of adulthood and this remix with music box vibes and the other melodies that greatly improved upon DROLOE’s style.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 3 (Durs – Redemption): Couldn’t hold myself back from posting psytrance for too long, now could I? This one’s got some exceptional basslines to keep me in the groove. Had a lit of fun with it on loop this evening.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 4 (Moby – Like a Motherless Child (Broken Places Remix)): Spotify’s Release Radar made sure to deliver this captivating remix to me. Broken Places does a better job of matching the emotion of the song’s lyrics than Moby himself. At least, that’s my preference.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 5 (Andy Hunter & Christine Glass – Amazing): Didn’t really discover much new music today, but that’s not gonna stop me from posting something. How about a classic? Andy Hunter was my biggest introduction to EDM and this is my current favorite song of his hailing from 2002.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 6 (The Avener & Ane Brun – To Let Myself Go): Beautiful tracks with a good drive are one of my weaknesses. Here’s a recent discovery of mine from that category. Listen carefully to every single element and instrument as you listen to this one. Because each one is a small part of a masterpiece.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 7 (Comaduster – Far From Any Road): This ominous entrancing track definitely caught my attention today. The tone of the song has nice unsettling feel to it. And the lyrics are even more unsettling so if you’re into that (I am) then make sure to give it a listen!

 

Daily Hat Track: January 8 (Ashbury Heights – November Corrosion): Embrace the break of day with yesterday still in motion

 

This song is actually about pulling an all nighter due to existential crisis. I’m posting it now because I forgotten to post a track last night so yesterday is still now.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 9 (Ecepta & Azaleh – Shadow Truths): It’s way too late for me to still be up so here’s a chill vibes Daily Hat Track that I heard today. Let us all read and rest in the shadows.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 10 (Ehrling – Groove): The main reason I live Ehrling’s stuff is the saxophone. The saxophone is likely one of my favorite instruments in existence. If you’re unaware of my love for the saxophone, then your ignorance of my saxophone loving shall soon fade away.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 11 (Torul – Ausverkauft – Frozen Plasma remix): My favorite track from today’s Release Radar is the great Futurepop synthwave combo that is this Frozen Plasma remix. Haven’t delved into the lyrics quite yet but the vibe is great regardless.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 12 (Infected Mushroom – Bust a Move): Classic Infected Mushroom song and totally not a hint at what album I’m reviewing next.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 13 (Lemon Jelly – 64 aka Go): This song is a journey in two ways. Firstly, the theme is about embarking on a lengthy journey so that’s that. Secondly, the variety within the song (especially the guitar at the end) makes it a journey through sound.

 

BONUS THREAD (worth the read I promise): https://twitter.com/BeretBeats/status/1084941640366804993

 

Daily Hat Track: January 14 (Justice – Planisphere): I’m not certain why Spotify decided to put a nearly eighteen minute song in my Discovery Weekly, but it was still well worth the time to listen to every last bit of it.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 15 (The Other Colors & Marie Mööre – Pretty Day (Remix): Today’s weird enough already so let’s add some more weird to it with this trippy edgy track with the cutest lady singing about how pretty death is as everything around her descends into madness.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 16 (Eddie Bitar & Psycrain – Vertical Poetry): Who wants more psytrance? I’m always wanting more psytrance. Eddie Bitar is a recent discovery of mine. His collabs with Psycrain are his best and this is the best of those so this is the best Eddie Bitar.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 17 (Bjørn Torske – Clean Air): Yeah, I know it’s the 18th but this is the track I meant to post yesterday and I’m sorry for being so late on it. But I ain’t gonna get stressed I’m gonna take a step back and breathe the clean air that is this beautiful track.

 

Daily Hat Track January 18 (Sean Tyas – Chrome): This week’s Release Radar was mostly a flop. This is the only one that really stands out to me. It may just be trance with pseudo-inspiring lyrics at the beginning but it’s good trance with pseudo-inspiring lyrics at the beginning

 

Daily Hat Track: January 19 (Sesto Sento – Louder): It’s getting louder and louder and louder and louder. It’s getting LoUdEr and LoUdEr and LoUdeR and LoUdEr. It’s getting LOUDER and LOUDER and LOUDER and LOUDER

 

Daily Hat Track: January 20 (Ehrling – Tequila): Is it cheating to do to Ehrling tracks in one month? Because this one has an even more energetic upbeat melody (plus more sax, always more sax, the EP is called Sax Art and it is flawless).

 

Daily Hat Track: January 21 (Ghost – He is (HEALTH remix): Today’s track has a slight bit of edge and despair to it. An emotion that might ward off some listeners but I’m definitely into it. Though as you may see this Friday, I have limits to how much edge I can take…

 

Daily Hat Track: January 22 (Henry Saiz & Band – Downfall (Overture): Great song about finding beauty within the inevitable chaos of this world while also focusing on the similarities and differences between what we dream of and what we see in reality. Plus the music is just plain ol’ good

 

Daily Hat Track: January 23 (Ashbury Heights – Penance): Finishing up Friday’s review so I haven’t listened to much else. Here’s a sneak peak of the edgiest review yet! Not the best song on the album because I’m leaving the best for later but there’s some good existentialism in here.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 24 (Etherwood – In Stillness):  What a beautiful album opener. Such a gorgeous track about slowing down in life to finally find peace.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 25 (Neelix – Mosquito (Interactive Noise remix): It got really late this Friday. Here’s a new remix of one of Neelix’s more creative songs with synths made of mosquitoes. It’s not quite as good as the original (this one is less subtle and not as majestic) but both are worth checking out.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 26 (Yanni, Marc Russell, David Scheuer & Tinatin Japordize – What You Get): Today’s track comes from a brand new discovery of mine, Yanni. Dude has a massive discography but I’ve only just brushed the surface with these genius piano melodies and the surrounding almost cosmic environment.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 27 (Royalston – Oscilla): DnB songs are always good. Take this Royalston track for example. The melodies in the middle of the song really have a soothing feel to them, but the variety the rest of the track offers is pretty great too.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 28 (The Anix – Mask): It can be quite easy to hide behind a mask. I sometimes wonder if I’m hiding under a mask even from myself (nonsense I know). Well, The Anix tackles masks in this song. If we wear a mask, what truly hides behind in the shadows?

 

Daily Hat Track: January 29 (Sesto Sento – Musik Make U Feel (Live mix)): So basically I listened to a bunch of music that would be fun to party to. Except I was working at the time so not really a party. But feel that musik. This and Louder are great tracks for getting in that partyin mood

 

Daily Hat Track: January 30 (Mind.in.a.box – The Dream): I go a little bit overboard with this guy’s stuff when reviewing. The story is real dense here so here’s a sneak peak at tomorrow’s review. Fittingly I chose the song, The Dream from the album Dreamweb.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 31 (Pendulum – Propane Nightmares): Sorry if today’s tracks seem a bit lazier. I’m trying to do my best to match the tone of each day (if that makes sense). I listened to a lot of Pendulum today and while this track isn’t a new discovery, it definitely is a classic.

 

https://open.spotify.com/user/beretbeats/playlist/4CIZYAQAzctqYqFG89HIv2?si=0ZHfkQeIQw6QhRE6vUVEmg

 

Infected Mushroom – Classical Mushroom (2000 Album)

Album Links:

Bandcamp: n/a

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/infectedmushroom/sets/classical-mushroom

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/2grGW8nXZXzIcQbVKcDx88?si=NeiBQfHtSSuaqmtld40ZUA

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_kXwEb9OaV83_vAopEGm3bYVNIOOtD3B3Q

 

Foreword: Alright let’s get back into some more Classic Infected Mushroom music. Hey what a neat coincidence. That’s nearly the title of the album. I totally didn’t plan that (yes I did). I don’t think I need to go further in depth of what I think of Infected Mushroom as my review from two weeks ago pretty much covered all of the information I want to talk about. That’s what happens when you do a repeat of an artist (which I will be doing often). Anyways, enough rambling. Let’s talk more of some good ol’ psytrance.

 

Infected Mushroom – Bust A Move (8.25): Starting out with the most iconic of the nine, we have Bust a Move. This is the song I’m most familiar with of the bunch, though I will admit I do prefer a certain remix that I may or may not talk about later this year. But that’s another story for another time.

 

Bust a Move is easily a step up from the average track from The Gathering. And I feel that some of that has to with a greater variety of instruments used, many of them coming from non-electronic means (well, l guess it’s possible that they’re computer generated but if so, they imitate the real thing quite nicely). Now I’m not going to say that physical instruments are inherently better than the synths one can generate with a computer. I think it’s more about how the instrument is used in the song, the melodies and patterns that come together to make a fully fleshed song. Honestly, I think many of my favorite songs use a combination of electronic synths and more recognizable instruments. Bust a Move is a good example of such a song.

 

It’s hard to get into the specifics of this song, because this song is not only consistently amazing, but also quite diverse. I don’t think the song goes a full thirty seconds without introducing a new instrument or a new melody, or in some cases an entirely different mood. I think if I were to highlight one moment (and believe me this was a difficult choice). I’d have to go with the sudden switchup at 5:40. This is perhaps the largest jump in tone in the entire song, with a new instrument, playing a simple 4-note melody. I want to say the new instrument is a particular type of keyboard instrument but I can’t be held accountable for how my actual musical knowledge pales in comparison to my simple emotional passion for the artform and how it pleases my mind. Regardless this switch up along with the fast-paced piano that accompany it in the second half of this section really bring an extra level of flavor to the song that stands out.

 

And it’s obviously intentional but it’s fun how the vocal sample from Species II speaks of getting infected and infecting aliens (maybe that ugly looking thing on the cover playing the mushroom piano is an infected alien. It certainly looks ugly enough) and it’s Infected Mushroom and oh I am just so easily amused sometimes. Funny how both this introductory song and Release Me from the last album seem to have hidden (or not so hidden) puns in the samples used.

 

Infected Mushroom – None of This is Real (7.25): Oh boy. Talk about an existential title. Though really it is only surface level existentialism. Sure, you can feel like all of reality is fake and meaningless sometimes, but, where do you go from there? It’s not like the song provides much to add to the subject as it’s just a vocal sample of some dude from The Crow: City of Angels giving the song its namesake, but hey at least it drew me in.

 

The music for this one does have a decent amount of focus on how Infected Mushroom can distort the guitar to suit the mood of their song. There’s the acoustic guitar at the beginning which is left alone for the most part, just there to add a little flavor to the overall unsettling vibe of nothing being real. And the rest of the distorted synths, both the metal basslines and the howling melody, continue the creepy vibe quite well. I do feel that this song is still a bit weaker overall than some of the others in this album. It’s still good but I don’t really feel it pushes the boundaries that Infected Mushroom is capable of breaking.

 

Infected Mushroom – Sailing in The Sea of Mushroom (6.25): While it’s the same tempo as the rest of the album. Sailing in The Sea of Mushroom, instantly sounds more energetic. This is, of course, thanks to the melody at the beginning which has a driving vibe even with its irregularity and lack of drums backing it up. Unfortunately, while this melody could set the tone for a fantastic song, it instead puts the best ten seconds of the song at the very beginning and everything that follows feels empty and underwhelming. Even when the same melody returns for the midpoint of the song, it just doesn’t have that same punch. I’m not saying that the rest of the music is bad. It just does very little with the huge expanse of time it has. There are some points admittedly that do have an alright groove to them and while it doesn’t have the same energy, the melody at the 2 minute mark is rather decent, but for the most part the song just doesn’t live up to its intro.

 

Infected Mushroom – The Shen (6): The opening of the Shen is strikingly memorable to me for some reason. I haven’t truly come back to listen to some of the really old Infected Mushroom tracks until rather recently, but that melody was incredibly familiar despite the fact that much of the rest of the song is rather less memorable. I can already see I’m getting into the same pattern I did with The Gathering. Infected Mushroom may have upgraded their sound to incorporate more realistic instruments and overall be higher quality, but the album still doesn’t have too much variety for tone. Some of the songs simply feel a bit too similar to the rest. This is one of them. There is a middle bit that’s a bit different with a pitched down vocal sample from who knows what (Either Merlin or Virus according to Wikipedia) that stands out a bit more in tone, but that’s like saying a black marble stands out in a sea of white marbles. It’s still just a black marble.

 

Infected Mushroom – Disco Mushroom (8.5): Disco Mushroom is definitely one of the songs that stand out among the rest. It is easily the most cinematic of the bunch. The introduction alone has an ominous choir bringing in the oncoming storm that is Infected Mushroom psytrance. While I wouldn’t say this song is as diverse as Bust a Move, it still does have a fair amount of material to offer. From the cinematic rise and stab that initially brings the beat into play to the bells and chimes used to play some of those first few melodies to the xylophonic melody played at the end of the song. All of it comes together to create one of the more immersive experiences on the album. In fact, I think that the more immersive experience of Disco Mushroom actually makes it a slight bit better, making it the best on the album

 

I think the most enjoyable moment by far is the switchup (I love switchups apparently) following the utterance of the second “I’m not afraid any longer Mommy” from In Dreams. At least I think it’s from In Dreams. Wikipedia is rather unclear of which samples belong exactly to which films but that’s my fault for using such a simple source and for not being all that knowledgeable of 90s films (which I believe are mostly obscure but I wouldn’t know because I’m no expert. Music is my passion, not movies and I’m kind of all over the place with my music knowledge too.)

 

Shoot I got distracted. The Switchup! It’s a great moment where all fades away but a small solitary melody for a brief moment. The near silence, even if it’s short, gives me chills every time. Of course, the song becomes a bit more instrumentally complex again following another cinematic rise and stab. But still. It’s the little moments that get me sometimes.

 

Infected Mushroom – Dracul (6.75): Fittingly, the sample used in the beginning of this song hails from a 1992 film titled Dracula. Just, it seems Infected Mushroom felt that one a was enough for the iconic vampire lord. So we have the shorter title, Dracul. Why? Well, I can’t really read their minds and seeing as the duo have produced nearly 2 dense decades of psytrance since then, it’s very well possible they’ve forgotten as well.

 

Regardless of the title’s origin, Dracul aspires to be one of the creepier songs on the album (or maybe I just feel it should because the title could fit well with a Halloween theme), which is quite the challenge as early Infected Mushroom is often quite unsettling. I honestly feel that Disco Mushroom did a bit of a better job at the whole creepy unsettling vibe, but this song does get close at times. The main two unsettling elements of this song are the strings introduced at the beginning of the song and the lyricless vocals sung throughout.

 

Now, the strings don’t fully commit to the whole creepy vibe that I’d expect from Dracul, but there is an integral tension to them. They drawn me in with a sense of sorrow and despair (though that could also be because of the vocal sample, but the strings do help. The lyricless vocals are a bit more interesting. I feel that they compliment the strings well and despite the fact that they may just be one of the two growing into the mic to a simple melody. Either way, the vocals do have somewhat of a dramatic introduction not them and they serve as the most unique part of the song. Plus they get tremoloed a bit at particular points which is definitely enjoyable.

 

Other than these two elements though there’s not much in this song that’s particularly noteworthy. Which is fine the song works well enough on its own anyways. And I am perhaps being a bit too harsh insisting it must be creepy, but it does feel odd that the two songs on either side of it are a bit more unsettling overall.

 

Infected Mushroom – Nothing Comes Easy (7.5): So yeah, I just claimed that this song is a bit more unsettling than Dracul. Honestly, I’m probably over-exaggerating, as this one is slightly more enjoyable perhaps, but when you get right down to it, the factors of this song that make it stand out in its unsettling mood are very similar to what makes Dracul good: the vocals and the way they’re distorted. Instead of a groaning melody, this time we have a much smoother choir, which I personally find a slight bit more unnerving somehow. Just something about the tone is a bit more mysterious. And the way the vocals phase in and out definitely adds to the song.

 

As for the music in this song, there are some strings near the end playing a sweeping melody that eases up and down in waves as the song reaches its conclusion, but it’s not excessively better than Dracul’s strings. Not sure if I can truly compare the melodies as they are oh so very different from one another even though they basically have the same effect on how they contribute to the unsettling vibe of the song. So, I guess it’s a draw when it comes to the strings.

 

However, the strings are just one small piece of the song, there’s plenty of other elements that contribute to the unsettling mood that I’d consider to be a staple of the first age of Infected Mushroom at this moment. There’s some other deeper distorted vocal instruments that appear midway through the song, several different layered melodies that take up the second half of the song as well as a short chilling melody that introduces itself before the strings come to take us away from this song and onto the next…

 

Infected Mushroom – Mushi Mushi (6.5): Hey, as long as we’re talking about creepy and unsettling tracks, let’s take a look at this powerful, magical and evil track, Mushi Mushi, a creepy track, that happens to be the next song on the album (or is it that the next song on the album happens to be creepy? The latter probably). Honestly, it’s really just the intro that especially creeps me out. Those first 40 seconds give my blood a slight curdling what with the eerie echoing synth and the Merlin sample from which I pulled the adjectives I used to describe this song earlier (Powerful, magical and evil).

 

Unfortunately, putting the maximum creepiness at the front of the song causes this track to fall into the same pitfall as Sailing in the Sea of Mushroom from earlier on in the album. The rest of the song is just kind of underwhelming. I don’t think it ends up quite as bland as Sea of Mushrooms did, as there are some subtle melodies that are slightly interesting and the creepy melody from the intro continues to influence the track here and there, maintaining its unsettling aura whenever it arrives to take the spotlight (though I will admit that my favorite part is the melody that begins at the 4 minute mark, when our creepy spotlight melody isn’t present).

 

In the end, this song has a lot of potential, but it falls short of the glory it deserves simply because of the way it’s organized. This is why you save your best melodies for the later parts of the song. They’re much more powerful there. A lesson Infected Mushroom will learn and demonstrate several times in later albums, but for now, I’ll take the quality given to me.

 

Infected Mushroom – The Missed Symphony (7): Last song on the album here is The Missed Symphony. Must have been lost or forgotten at some point, but thankfully it’s been found in time for me to review it. And oh boy is it a long one. We’ve got ten minutes of music here, but it is truly ten minutes of content? Does it deserve the length it receives (definitely on the longer end of Infected Mushroom songs)? Well, to be brutally honest, I’m going to have to say no. Now, don’t get me wrong. The song is definitely still enjoyable. I just feel like if they’re going to go for a full ten minutes, Infected Mushroom should instill a little more variety into the work (which they do more often in later songs in their discography).

That being said, there are still plenty of good elements to this song. The main melody with the strings is chilling. Each melody that serves to accompany it in this ten-minute journey serves this chilling vibe well, from eerie notes that sound like they’re echoing from a distant cave (see 1:30) to the piano that shows itself around 7 minutes as well as the intro and outro) to the synth that introduced itself immediately afterwards. All of these melodies are definitely good. But there are too few and too far in between to really justify ten minutes worth of material. Still, it’s a pretty good song, so I guess I can’t complain all that much. I guess the distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success. And this song just isn’t quite the success to be truly as genius as it could be… Ok that quote doesn’t work quite great for this particular situation, but I wanted to incorporate it anyway.

 

Oh, one last odd thing. The way that this song ends with the song beginning to step backwards into reverse as we reach those last 20 seconds is quite an interesting ending to this album.

 

Conclusion: And so, concludes the second Infected Mushroom review. Definitely a visible improvement from the last album. There’s still a bit of a mixture of quality songs in there. But the best is certainly better than the best of The Gathering and the worst is still well above average. Like I mentioned near the beginning for this review, this album uses a few more physical instruments than the last one and the combination of all of the pianos, strings, and psytrance noises definitely makes for an enjoyable experience. The duo still hasn’t hit their peak potential but they’ve definitely made something good here.

 

Final Score: (7/10)

Infected Mushroom – The Gathering (1999 Album)

 

Album Links:

Bandcamp: n/a

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/infectedmushroom/sets/the-gathering

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/5Oqb46QRDn3RpaWToqjuzk?si=jJX7-ah6QSKo4jguVbzpDg

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_lNUOtcibniKkj1nQRqI4rpZOG0tRpTpec

 

Foreword: Oh dear, the cover art for this album is a slight bit more risqué than I remember what with the thorny bosom and the upskirt mushroom with a phallic stem… What a lovely first impression I’ve made on you all… Well, this was the initial impression Infected Mushroom made to the world and they’re currently at the top of my favorite artists of all time, so hopefully this initial impression of myself has a similar effect, though perhaps becoming your favorite music reviewing hobbyist is getting a bit ahead of myself. I am, after all, only getting started. And for my first review, I’d like to start, fittingly at the beginning of one of my favorite artists of all time.

 

Infected Mushroom – Release Me (7.5/10): Release Me is a great opening track to The Gathering for multiple reasons. I feel it does a good job of introducing the dark and somewhat ominous tone that resonates throughout this album. This tone wouldn’t last the entire Infected Mushroom discography, and I will admit that I prefer their last decade or so a bit more, but it is still a well-done introduction. Also, the fact that the front song of their first release is literally titled “Release Me” is rather amusing, regardless of whether it was intentional or coincidental.

 

Now at eight and a half minutes long (normal length for an Infected Mushroom song to be fair), this song has a lot of space to fill, hopefully with a variety of patterns, be they basslines or melodies. We, of course, have the psytrance drumbeat driving the song forward from beginning to end. That’s a given on this album and shan’t be mentioned again. Besides that, we have some good guitar riffs in the first half of the song as well as some strings providing the groundwork of the ominous vibe that the duo was likely going for. My personal favorite moment of the song is the slightly calmer section with the strings at the song’s midpoint. The tone at the beginning of this section as well as the harp in the middle just provide a nice bit of flavor that’s always needed in these longer songs.

 

Lastly, just a quick nod to the namesake of this song, a sample from the alien interrogation scene of Independence Day. Many of the songs on this album feature little clips like that. Independence Day is the only one I’ve seen and while this sample does fit in with the vibe of the song, I don’t really have any further thoughts on it.

 

Infected Mushroom – The Gathering (6/10): The titular track of the album is a slight step down from Release Me. Not saying it’s a bad song. But it is certainly one of the lesser songs of the album. There’s simply less to offer in my opinion. Yes, it’s still a decent psytrance song with the little distorted splashes of style that one would expect from Infected Mushroom, but very little of the song actually interests me. There’s some decent percussion here and there and I do enjoy the section around the 5-minute mark with what I believe is a marimba, but there’s very little to make this song stand out from the rest.

 

Even the vocal sample in this case is rather bland, perhaps even detracting from the quality. I would assume that these vocals (which apparently comes from Grand Theft Auto), were not originally recorded at the pitch you are hearing right now. Infected Mushroom likely distorted it to their liking. And while I absolutely adore the way they play with vocals in modern days, this pitch-up is rather uninteresting at best and slightly annoying at worst.

 

Infected Mushroom – Return to the Shadows (8/10): Return to the Shadows is, in my opinion, the most memorable track from Infected Mushroom’s debut album. Perhaps it’s the ominous ringing synth played at the beginning of the song. Perhaps it’s the percussion that sounds like a clanging of metal accompanied by the yells of men hard at work. Or perhaps it’s how they play with the bassline throughout the song. Every melody that’s played feels like it branches well off of the bassline and it all meshes together quite well. However, the melody that stands out the most is perhaps the one that also differs from the bassline the most. At the six-minute mark, the drums fade out to reveal nice funky pattern of notes that contrast a bit more than usual from the bassline.

 

And then there’s the sample hailing from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: Are you afraid of the future? A common fear, I must say. Or at least, it’s a fear I happen to have. I always find myself wondering exactly what my future has in store for me, but I’m never quite certain if success is awaiting me or if I’m always edging on towards a spiral of failure. And before I ramble on into endless existential mode, perhaps we should move on to the next song…

 

Infected Mushroom – Blue Muppet (6.25/10): This is one of the lower points of the album to be perfectly honest. Once again, not a bad thing, just not quite as enjoyable as the rest. The main reason for this is that for the first 6 minutes of the song, I really am not hearing anything of note to talk about. Nothing that makes this song stick out to me. Well that is until we get to the sample from what I’d assume to be a favorite movie of the Infected Mushroom duo (it appears two other times on the album), The Island of Dr. Moreau. The sample itself isn’t what improves the song. It’s the guitars that follow that bring the song back to the good quality I’d usually expect from Infected Mushroom.

 

Infected Mushroom – Psycho (6/10): I remember this being one of the first classic trance Infected Mushroom songs I heard when I first discovered them. This was likely due to the fact that my edgy teenaged mind was as attracted to the title, “Psycho” as it was to the title, “Becoming Insane” (my first Infected Mushroom song overall, but I’ll cover that much later). Oh, who am I kidding. The person I am in my twenties is still incredibly attracted to edgy stuff, perhaps even more so.

 

Interestingly enough, despite this being the first song I’ve heard in this album, it’s also probably one of the least memorable. Only part of the song that really jogs my memory at all is the screaming of the word, “Psycho.” To count that might be cheating though, as that’s the title of the song. I can see why I don’t remember much of anything else though. While this album is enjoyable to listen to, a lot of the songs sound quite similar except for a few small differences here and there depending on the song. This song doesn’t really have any such differences. There’s some ambiance that sounds like a plethora of sci fi doors opening and closing. Judging from the information I’ve scrounged up from Wikipedia. I’m guessing these sci fi doors samples come from Star Trek: First Contact. The means that the Psycho scream comes from Batman and Robin. As the uncultured swine I am as far as cinema goes, I am unsure what to do with this information.

 

Infected Mushroom – Montoya Rms (7.5/10): I will not be speaking of any of the samples that appear in this song. For this time around, Infected Mushroom forgoes any vocals and simply takes me and any others who might be listening on a splendid journey over the course of about eight minutes. What makes this song work so well for eight minutes is the amount of variety compared to everything else we’ve heard so far. Yes, each of the songs (except perhaps Psycho) have some bit of flavor that helps differentiate it from other songs on the album, but Montoya Rms goes all out and makes every single moment stand out from the rest. I am unable to truly choose a favorite moment to point out nor do I desire to go over each and every one of these elements one by one. Not only would this be a tedious task, but it might just take away from the enjoyment of this song. Half the fun is wondering exactly where the song will go next and letting every intricacy of every melody flow through your soul. Perhaps I am overselling it a bit, but I would highly recommend listening to it for yourself. One of the best songs this album has to offer.

 

Infected Mushroom – Tommy The Bat (7.25/10): Of the nine songs on this album, I feel that Tommy The Bat resembles the vibe of modern Infected Mushroom the most. Oh, it’s still drastically different. But there are elements in this song, that Infected Mushroom has played with in similar ways to this very day. The most notable of these elements is certainly the distorted vocals. Yes, I did mention that the titular song of this album had distorted vocals as well. But that was just high pitched talking. Here, Infected Mushroom chops up the vocals (apparently from a song called Tommy The Cat by Primus), spreads them across the song, and adjusts their pitch to create an entirely new melody. Much of the rest of the song is a few steps closer to modern Infected Mushroom as well. A good example would be the bass at the beginning of the song that’s a bit slower paced, focusing on distorting the sound more than playing the notes rapidfire.

 

The sample which again comes from The Island of Dr. Moreau. states “Please tell them that I am God.” An ominous prideful statement that given the right fire, could spark a theological debate, but I believe that’s too large of a jump in the flow and tone of this review and I’d rather not wander too far into existential territory yet, so perhaps I’ll cut myself short and move on to the next song…

 

Infected Mushroom – Virtual Voyage (5.75/10): Virtual Voyage is a fantastic song name. I like to go on several virtual voyages myself. Or at least that’s what I like to call them. In reality a better description would be lapses into procrastination on the internet, but eh, it’s something I’m working to overcome. Regardless, Virtual Voyage is unfortunately another run of the mill song with very little to specifically note. I did expect to have a few of these while jumping into this review. Unfortunately, I am not prepared to figure out what to say about such songs. I could very well copy most of what I had said about Psycho. The song simply doesn’t have enough unique about it for me to pick it out among the rest of the songs on this album. In fact, this song is even worse off as it has neither any unique ambiance to it, not does it have any memorable vocal samples of someone screaming “Psycho!” There are some parts that diverge from the pattern here and there. A slight melody graces us with its presence about midway through the song but it’s not particularly memorable as it fades away from my memory as soon as it’s over (and it’s honestly, not the most graceful melody to begin with Overall, this is a relatively average song that could have come from any psytrance artists in the 90s

 

Infected Mushroom – Over Mode (5.5/10): Over Mode serves as the closing song to The Gathering. I’m honestly not a huge fan of this one. Not only does it not serve its space well with any unique pleasures to make it stand out from the rest of the songs, but there is also something I find a bit bothersome about this one. And unlike The Gathering, which only bothered me with the occasional pitched vocals. This annoyance is a bit more constant. For a good half of Over Mode, I find myself subjected to the sound of something clinking against glass. Almost as if this song is perpetually calling for a toast that never comes unless perhaps this toast is in dedication to there being “no more scientists, no more laboratories, and no more experiments”. Then again if that were the case, then the clinking would stop after this last Dr Moreau sample was voiced. It does not stop. It keeps going. I will admit that there is still a significant amount of time absent of this clinking, but its presence is still quite irritating to say the least and holds this song back.

 

The rest of the song is relatively decent, not exactly exceptional, but not quite as underwhelming as Psycho or Virtual Voyage either. There’s a fair amount variety to it that allows it to stand out in pleasant ways. The section starting around five and a half minutes into the song with the wavering melodic synth is particularly enjoyable. However, all of this is, again, held back by the clinking, which unfortunately makes it my least favorite song on the album.

 

Conclusion: Over all, The Gathering is a fair debut album for Infected Mushroom though it is admittedly a mixed bag. For every great song on the album, there’s one I’d consider to a bit more average for one reason or another. Still, the album has aged well enough despite being over two decades old. Over those two decades, Infected Mushroom has changed and grown, transforming their music into something new again and again, and while I may prefer later iterations of their style, it is still an enjoyable experience to come back and look at where it started.

 

Final Score: (6.5/10)