Cosmosis – Psychedelica Melodica (Phantasm)

Posted in Reviews 2007 by - June 22, 2007

Right. I’m sure we all know the manifesto behind this one: Cosmosis decided to make an album that was more melody-driven, borne from his observations as to what’s lacking in current psychedelic trance music. (Read Cosmosis’ own words on his website.) 


The result is disappointing in the extreme and above all, very boring. The melodies are to the fore, as we were told to expect. And for the most part they work reasonably well, Israeli-friendly high-end stabs and stadium-ravey runs notwithstanding. The problem is that it sounds nothing like Cosmosis – it’s devoid of the depth, the intricacy, the kaleidoscopism, even – dare I say it – the psychedelia.


What made Cosmosis special is nowhere to be found here. Instead of finding yourself losing track of time in the midst of one of his trademark, rabbit-hole sonic runs, you’re subjected to an all-too-familiar barrage of stabs, drops, peaks, snare rushes, stopstarts and clichéd samples. Yes he does this better than most, but as the ex-technical director of Real Madrid said of the recent Chelsea v Liverpool Champions League semi, “You can hang a turd from a piece of string in the middle of a magnificent stadium with a great atmosphere, and call it art. But it’s not, it’s still a piece of shit hanging from a string”.

I really can’t fathom what the hell is going on. The way that the great midsection on The Other Side is ruined by a huge peak may be a pisstake – the vox saying “aww come on… you’ve gotta admit, this is cool!” does seem to be speaking to jaded psytrance hacks who’ve forgotten how to have fun with dance music (cough). Likewise the turgid guitar on Martian Blues, itself a retread of the psytrance/blues “fusion” that Billy completed full-circle on Synergy, might be a huge joke that’s flying over my head, but it’s also so shockingly awkward it’s unlistenable.


When Psychedelica Melodica isn’t unlistenable, it’s bland. Pleasant, but bland. There are samples about consciousness and space. Samples from Alan Watts and that “evolution leaps forward” bloke from X-Men. The tracks seem to sound quite a lot like the theme to Knight Rider. Noises are recycled. The production sees too many frequencies redlined, with this huge block of sound coming at you – a far cry from the dubby vortex that Cosmosis used to call home.


It might be a pisstake, it might be a comment on jaded-ism, or it might be a dig at the current crop of “Male, 22, Haifa, Israel” myspace trance producers. Who knows. I have to say that I really don’t care what the hell it is. This is something I feel a bit of a mug for buying, and probably won’t listen to again in a long time. It’s not dreadful, it’s not offensive, it’s just… it’s just dull. The “reintroduction” of melody is done much, much better by Astroschnautzer.


To recap. Billy Cosmosis decided that psytrance doesn’t have the right amount of melody in it. He noticed that what he likes, and what he responds to, is melody that by his own admission is too often pushed to the back. The point that seems to be being missed is that good melody, in good psychedelic trance, is organic. So it has to come from the periphery, developing itself, making changes to the music as a whole. Sticking it at the forefront and using it as the mortar between your trance bricks (bear with me) is like pissing into the wind.


One final thought. If Cosmosis sought to move his music in a certain way – moving melody to the front – then that equates to having a concrete idea of what the finished product should be, before you’ve even left the conceptual stage. The process of working nothing into something can be called art; the process of making an end product fit into a predefined, means-to-an-end structure is called, I believe, Programming.

This post was written by psyreviews