Written Maria Arroyo
Eclectic group, Spires That in the Sunset Rise, share their twelfth album, Psychic Oscillations, via FPE Records. They describe their newest album as an one that “probes how time works and reworks itself through cyclical structures, loose improvisation, and wordless vocal play, plaints and praises. While at times celebratory, there is also a palpable urgency underlying the entire record. In the worldless vocalizations of sound and breath, it is unabashedly body and at the same time entirely transcendent.”
Their opening track, “Hypnagogic,” creates an eerie atmosphere for the rest of the album. There are many different vocal affiliations that they play around with, which then leads to a more spacey instrumental. The title track, “Psychic Oscillations,” also uses those similar vocal sounds throughout the song. It’s not so much words as it’s blips of sound effects that travel back and forth within the recording. The sound of the music does bounce back and forth in the track, so production wise, it worked really well for this song.
Their next track, “Nobody,” is an interesting piece. There’s a feeling of uneasiness that washes over me while listening, but I guess if that’s their goal with the song, then I guess they succeeded with it. It also has a creepy or haunting feel to it, which kind of works for the spooky seasons. Another song that similarly created these same feelings is “Geomantra.” I really appreciate this song and was pleasantly surprised with it. There was so much more of a musical structure that the other songs lacked, which made this a favorite of mine. The previous tracks lacked any sense of musical movement or direction, but this track told a more cohesive story.
Another interesting track is “Terrestrials.” Personally, this track blended the sounds of music and sound effects more clearly than any other song on the album. It was the perfect balance between the two songs prior to this, and the first two songs. There is more structure in terms of musicality, but the interesting and unique factor of their vocal recordings are still present in this track. Their final song, “Sax Solfa,” lives in a more electronic sound space, but adds even more color to the album.
While the originality factor is there, the musical structure is not. Personally, I think the song that resonates the most is “Terrestrials” and that should have taken over as the title track of the album. There was so much anticipation with Psychic Oscillations, and it didn’t match my expectations. The song missed some major points from the lack of deeply moving instrumentals, even with its incredible length. There was so much opportunity for dramatic moments with the use of contrast, tension and resolution, and so many other things, that were unfortunately and severely missed. While these are just my personal feeling of their record, overall, their sound is different and most definitely one of a kind.
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