By far, one of the best compilations of 2012 was Leng Records’ Psychemagik Presents Magic Circles. Released in October 2012, it’s best described as a compelling and captivating collection of music. Not only that, but it brought new meaning to the word eclectic. Fusing cosmic disco, Balearica, psychedelic funk, ambient, soul, electronica and Middle Eastern beats, it was a breathtaking and mind-blowing musical journey. Subtleties and nuances unfolded during the twelve tracks. Complex and multilayered, musical influences and genres merged on Psychemagik Presents Magic Circles. The men behind this critically acclaimed compilation were the prolific production team Psychemagik. Now seven months, and numerous crate-digging expeditions later, Psychemagik return with Psychemagik Presents Magik Sunrise. It was released on Leng Records on 27th May 2013. For anyone who fell for the whimsical charms of Psychemagik Presents Magic Circles, then Psychemagik Presents Magik Sunrise is essential listening. However, will Psychemagik Presents Magik Sunrise match the critical acclaim and eclecticism of Psychemagik Presents Magik Circles?

Just like Psychemagik Presents Magik Circles, Psychemagik Presents Magik Sunrise is a double album. Disc One is unmixed, while Disc Two is smoothlu seamlessly mixed by Psychemagik. Although I’m not a huge fan of DJ mixes, this is one of the best I’ve heard recently. On Disc One of Psychemagik Presents Magik Sunrise, there are fifteen tracks. They range from cosmic disco, Balearica, psychedelic, funk, ambient and reggae. Featuring contributions from artists like Iaso, Daniel Mathieu, Cherubin, Yves Simon, Rob Mehl, Rioland and Goldfeder, David Astri and Max Adioa. Among them, there’s numerous hidden gems awaiting discovery on Psychemagik Presents Magik Sunrise. This is testament to Psychemagik’s crate-digging skills. Whether it’s dusty warehouses, thrift stores, backstreet record shops or junk shops, no pile of vinyl is left undisturbed. Not when Psychemagik are about. They’re always on the look out for that elusive hidden gem. Their persistence and determination often pays off. Proof of this can be found on Disc One of Psychemagik Presents Magik Sunrise, which I’ll tell you about.

Opening Psychemagik Presents Magik Circles, Psychemagik Presents Magik Sunrise is Iasos’ Formentera Sunset Clouds. Named after a Greek island, this was a track from Iasos’ 1975 album Wave Number 1: Inter-Dimensional Music. It’s a laid-back slice of ambient music that gradually unfolds. As waves crash on a sandy beach, banks of meandering keyboards provide a spacey, ambient backdrop. Gothic, dreamy and trippy, it’s music to lose yourself in, as the music washes over you. 

Similarly eclectic is Daniel Mathieu’s C’etait Un Beau Dimanche. Here, folk, ambient and electronica combine. The tempo remains slow, with an understated arrangement accompanying Daniel’s wistful vocal. Just an acoustic guitar and subtle drums accompany Daniel’s vocal, as folk and ambient music combine. Later,  washes of keyboards add a dramatic, almost psychedelic sound. The result melancholy fusion of musical genres. 

Although Fox released The Juggler as a single in 1975, it has a timeless sound. It was from Fox’s sophomore album Fox. Again, it has a real dreamy, Balearic and slightly psychedelic sound. Quite simply, it’s impossible not to be mesmerized by The Juggler’s musical magic.

Walter Hawkins’ Metropolis is another genre-sprawling track. There’s everything from blues, folk, seventies singer-songwriter and ambient music. Featuring a heartfelt vocal, Walter delivers some thoughtful, articulate lyrics. Meanwhile, the arrangement meanders behind the vocal allowing Walter’s impassioned, sincere vocal to take centre-stage, where it rightly belongs. 

Continuing the downtempo vibe is Steve and Teresa’s Catching A Wave. This was the title-track from their 1983 album Catching A Wave. It benefits from an understated, jazz-tinged, acoustic arrangement. This is the perfect accompaniment Steve and Teresa’s tender vocal and results in a slice of musical sunshine, that brings to mind long summer days.

Demonstrating the sheer versatility of music on Psychemagik Presents Magik Sunrise is the psychedelic sound of Cherubin’s Sunrise. This was the B-side to their 1974 single The Letter, which was released on United Artists. Why it was only a B-side is baffling? It’s a compelling and captivating combination of elements of folk, psychedelia and prog rock.

Yves Simon’s Raconte-Toi was the title-track to his 1975 album. It’s another track that’s emotive, moody and dramatic. The emotion comes courtesy of Yves needy, heartfelt vocal. It’s accompanied by an understated, minimalist acoustic arrangement.  Later, the brief addition of an accordion, clarinet and stabs of electric guitar grab your attention and add a sense of drama.

Susana Estrada’s Gozame Ya sees an increase in tempo. This was a track from her 1981 album Amor Y Libertad. It has a mid-tempo, electronic arrangement. After synths reverberate into the distance, they give way to Susana’s vocal. Soulful and heartfelt, it delivered against an arrangement that’s a fusion of post-disco, funk, electronica and Euro Pop.

Joey Newman’s The One You Love is a track from his 1980 album Into His Favor. Released on Azure Records, Joey’s vocal is earnest, soulful and dramatic, while the arrangement is funky and sensual. The longer the track progresses, the better and more dramatic it gets. By the end of the track, you realize that this is something of a hidden gem. 

The soulfulness continues with Rob Mehl’s House On The Rock. It’s from another album released in 1980. Taste and See was released on Ministry Resource Center. This is another mid-tempo track. Hook-laden yet understated, jazz, funk and soul become one, playing their part in a song you’ll never tire of hearing.

As George Oban’s Basshoven gradually decides to reveal its secrets, you wonder what lies ahead? A pounding, pulsating drum is joined by a reverberating synths and a plucked bass. Along with a myriad of percussion, floaty flute, chiming guitars and Fender Rhodes, a slice of the deepest jazz-funk unfolds. Spacey, slightly psychedelic, trippy and totally leftfield, this is one of the highlights of Psychemagik Presents Magik Sunrise.

Rioland and Goldfeder’s only collaboration was their 1984 album Gold. It featured Tension, a laid-back jazz-funk track. As it meanders along, it veers between floaty and spacious, melodic and occasionally, moody. 

Jeff Liberman’s Transformation, a track from his 1978 album Synergy, sees another change of style. It’s the type of music the word eclectic was designed for. Encompassing everything from prog rock, rock, jazz and free jazz, it’s compelling and full of subtleties, surprises and secrets.

David Astri’s Safe And Sound was the B-side to his 1983 single Dancing Digits. Taken from his album Do It Right, Safe and Sound features Karen Goldberg’s tender, ethereal vocal. Combining jazz, electronica and downtempo music, it’s a quite beautiful song, that’s stood the test of time.

Closing Psychemagik Presents Magik Sunrise is Max Adioa’s instrumental version of Toubab Bile. It was released as a single in 1987.This bookends this eclectic compilation perfectly. Max takes you on a journey where musical genres collide. Elements of reggae, dub and downtempo are seamlessly combined, ensuring the eclecticism and quality of Psychemagik Presents Magik Sunrise continues.

While Psychemagik Presents Magik Circles was a truly eclectic compilation of hidden gems, rarities and forgotten music nuggets, the same can be said of Psychemagik Presents Magik Sunrise. The Psychemagik guys surpassed their previous efforts, combining numerous musical genres and influences. Everything from ambient, Balearic, blues, folk, funk, jazz, jazz-funk, prog-rock, psychedelia and rock is thrown into Psychemagik’s musical melting pot. What comes out is a mesmeric fusion that captivates and compels. You’re taken on a musical journey, one that veers between dramatic, dreamy, surreal and trippy, to beautiful, understated and melancholy. Other times the music is dramatic, moody and broody. One thing the music never is, is boring. Not at all. Certainly not when Psychemagik are in charge of the music. Subtleties and surprises are sprung, while Psychemagik  aren’t afraid of changing direction. Using the musical equivalent of a handbrake turn, they perform a volte face. That’s what makes Psychemagik Presents Magik Sunrise such a captivating and refreshing compilation. 

The reason I refer to Psychemagik Presents Magik Sunrise as a refreshing compilation, is that Psychemagik and Leng Records eschew the safe and sterile music that pollutes other compilations. Psychemagik take a different direction. They’re brave and bold, and seem determined to give the compilation world a shakeup. To do this, they put their crate-digging skills to good use. They know to lay their hands on tracks others can only dream of. That’s why they’re the go-to-guys for anyone looking for that elusive hidden gem. Thankfully, they’ve kept a plentiful supply of hidden gems to themselves. Several of these feature on Psychemagik Presents Magik Sunrise, which is not just crammed full of quality music, but surpasses the quality of their previous compilation Psychemagik Presents Magik Circles. Laid-back, chilled-out, soulful, funky and jazz-tinged, the music on Psychemagik Presents Magik Sunrise is perfect late night listening and is a must-have for everyone who enjoyed the eclectic delights of Psychemagik Presents Magik Circles. Standout Tracks: Iasos Formentera Sunset Clouds, Fox The Juggler, Cherubin Sunrise and George Oban’s Basshoven.


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