Sometimes, when you buy a compilation, the first time you play it, you’re blown away by its sheer eclecticism and totally smitten by the music. That was me, when I came across Leng Records’ latest compilation, Psychemagik Presents Magik Cyrkles. This is a double-album, compiled by the prolific UK production team of Psychemagik. Disc One is a twelve-track compilation of what’s describes as a mixture of cosmic disco, psychedelic funk, Balearica, Middle Eastern beats and much more.On Disc Two, these twelve tracks are seamlessly mixed by Psychemagik. These twelve tracks showcase Psychemagik’s passion for crate-digging. Of the twelve tracks, four are new edits by Psychemagik. With such an eclectic collection of music, finding the tracks must prove problematic? Not for Psychemagik.

Psychemagik are passionate and persistent crate-diggers, when it comes to unearthing hidden gems. Their quest in unearthing those elusive hidden gems, sees Psychemagik go where other crate diggers fear to tread. Whether it’s dusty basements, thrift stores, warehouses or record shops, nowhere is off limits. As a result, and unlike many other crate diggers, Psychemagik’s choice of music is truly eclectic. Rather than focus on one genre of music, no genre of music, it seems, is overlooked. Given that Psychemagik have such eclectic and discerning taste in music, it’s no surprise that they’re the go-to guys for DJs looking for those elusive hidden gems. 

For DJs looking for those hard-to-find tracks, they head to Psychemagik’s doors. Some of the most eclectic and discerning DJs are supplied by Psychemagik Soulwax, Q-Tip, The Chemical Brothers, Fake Blood, Tom Middleton and Lord Finesse are all supplied by rare vinyl by Psychemagik. No wonder these DJs head to Psychemagik’s doors, if Psychemagik Presents Magik Cyrkles is anything to go to by. Truly, Psychemagik Presents Magik Cyrkles is an eclectic collection of tracks, which I’ll pick the highlights of.

My first choice from Psychemagik Presents Magik Cyrkles is the track that opens the compilation Intrinsic Trance’s Hey Policeman! This is a French track, which was released in 1976, on Phillips. Although just three minutes long, it’s a fusion of funk and disco. A moody lone bass is joined by chiming guitar licks, slow spacious drums and keyboards, while the deliberate vocal is accompanied by sirens. They provide a funky backdrop before later, punchy growling, rasping horns and harmonies join the fray. While there’s a dark, moody side to the track, it’s full of subtle poppy hooks. It worms its way into your psyche. As a result, you find yourself singing the track for the rest of the day.

The first of the four Love Is Psychemagik edits is The Bear Brothers’ Love Is, which was released on the Monopole label. Here a variety of styles are fused. Funk, rock and soul are combined, as a pulsating beat is accompanied by a whispery, sensual vocal. Accompanying the vocal is a driving, funky rhythm section that create the track’s pounding, heartbeat. Keyboards, percussion and wah-wah guitars join the rhythm section in creating a tough, uber funky backdrop for the vocal. It’s a mixture of power and sass, delivered in a style that fuses rock and soul. Truly this is an absolute hidden funky gem. So good is this track, that it’s almost worth buying the compilation for this track alone.

One of the most maligned and most misunderstood genres of music is Krautrock. Epsilon were a group whose music was a mixture of Krautrock, psychedelia, soul and cosmic funk. Ayayaya was released in 1975 on Ariola and is a truly innovative, mind-blowing track. It was way ahead of its time. From the first bars, you realize something special is unfolding. Synths and keyboards help create cosmic, psychedelic and space-age sound. The rhythm section add the funkiest of backdrops. Another ingredient are the harmonies. They range from elegant and sweeping, to deep and punchy. Mixed together in Epsilon’s musical melting pot and Krautrock, psychedelia, soul and cosmic funk unite to create a truly majestic, multi-layered, mind-blowing track.

Proving there’s no length Psychemagik will go to unearth a hidden gem, is Miro’s Safari of Love. Released in 1977 on the Italy’s Vedette Records, this was the B-side to Carly. It’s best described as a soundscape where influences and genres melt into one. There’s everything here, from classical music, electronica, ambient, prog rock, disco, funk and rock. When the track opens, electronica meets rock and funk. Synths beep and squeak while the rhythm section create a rocky backdrop. Riffing guitars duel with synths and keyboards, before glacial strings sweep and swirl. These strings see disco and classical music merge as one. Then there’s a broody, menacing vocal adds a cinematic twist to the track. Surprises, subtleties and curveballs wait to ambush you or catch you off guard in this compelling, complex fusion of genres and influences.

Elias Rahbani and His Orchestra’s From The Moon is another of the four Psychemagik edits on Psychemagik Presents Magik Cyrkles. This is a track from the 1978 E.P. Liza..Liza released on EMI Music Greece. Psychedelia, sixties pop, prog rock and funk are fused for just over three mind-blowing minutes. An eerie sound opens the track ,before a driving rhythm section, keyboards, riffing guitars and a theremin combine with a vocal drenched in layers of delay. The rhythm section supply a driving slice of funk, as keyboards add a prog rock influence while the theremin and vocal sixties psychedelic sound. Add to the this the ever-present riffing guitar and you’ve a track that although the recorded in Greece in 1978, has a “groovy” swing sixties London sound.

The last track I’ve chosen from Psychemagik Presents Magik Cyrkles is Raja Zahr’s Drum Sequence. It’s a track from Zahr’s Lebanon album. Again, this is another of Psychemagik’s edits. As the track bursts into life it’s akin to being caught inside a vintage space invaders game. Lasers are relentlessly fired. They come at you from all angles, as if you’re surrounded. They’re joined by percussion, bongos, Khalid’s crispy drums and a pounding, funky bass played by Tracy “Jungle” Dragoo. Soon, there into the tightest of grooves, fusing elements of jazz, electronica, Latin and funk. They create a hypnotically catchy track that’s one of the real highlights of Psychemagik Presents Magik Cyrkles. 

As you’ll have realised by now, I was hugely impressed by Psychemagik Presents Magik Cyrkles. I’d go as far as to say it’s one of the best compilations I’ve heard this year. There are several reasons for this. Of course one of these is the sheer eclecticism of the compilation. There’s everything from cosmic disco, psychedelic funk, Balearica and Middle Eastern beats right through to rock, Latin, jazz and even prog rock. Describing the compilation as eclectic, is almost an understatement. It seems Psychemagik no crates have been left unexplored by Psychemagik, in their quest for not just quality music, but outstanding music. Most of the tracks on Psychemagik Presents Magik Cyrkles will be new to most people, even the most devoted and persistent crate-digger. Unlike other inferior compilations, neither is there any filler or poor tracks. Indeed, so good are the twelve tracks on Psychemagik Presents Magik Circles, I could’ve easily picked Sirarcusa’s Streap-Tease In The Stars (The Way I Do), Mandy B Jones’ 1-2-3-4 (We Ain’t Got Much Time) or Ramasandiran’s Somusundaram. Really, I could’ve picked any track, that shows you the consistency of the music on Psychemagik Presents Magik Cyrkles to tell you about. That’s a tribute to Psychemagik’s crate-digging skills and their discerning taste in music. As an added bonus, Disc Two features each of the twelve tracks seamlessly mixed  by Psychemagik. So for anyone who likes their music eclectic and thrives on discovering new music then Psychemagik Presents Magik Cyrkles is an essential addition to your collection. It’s not often that a compilation as good as Psychemagik Presents Magik Cyrkles comes along, and I hope that Leng Records will release another instalment very soon. Once you’ve heard Psychemagik Presents Magik Cyrkles, I’m sure you’ll agree. Standout Tracks: The Bear Brothers Love Is, Miro Safari of Love, Elias Rahbani and His Orchestra From The Moon and Raja Zahr Drum Sequence.



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