It was only earlier this year that I was reviewing PsychoYogi's last album, 2018's 'Accident Prone', and now I have had the opportunity to listen to their latest, 'Dangerous Devices'. There has been an expansion in the recording line-up since the last album, with Chris Ramsing (guitar, vocals), Justin Casey (drums), Izzy Stylish (bass) and John Macnaughton (alto and tenor sax) being joined by Toby Nowell (trumpet, alto & soprano sax). But as Toby and John only play together on one track I wonder if there has actually been an overlapping line-up change. This is progressive rock which also owes a great deal to jazz, with brass instrumentation being incredibly important to the overall sound. At times it is almost as if Hatfield and the North and Cardiacs have got together, but with more horns. The guitar is often staccato, the bass incredibly melodic, while the drums are more often to be found playing jazz structures than rock.
This combination of left field weirdness is incredibly commercial and so very easy to listen to ' at least to my poor abused ears: those who tend to sit firmly in the mainstream may find this just a little too out there for their taste. It is music which refuses to be pigeonholed, so while one may say this is Canterbury inspired pronk, that really does miss the point. This is truly experimental music that contains pop elements, jazz which refuses to conform to the norms of that genre, and when they go off on a complete tangent on 'Sooner Than Now' it sounds both ridiculous and in total keeping with the music all at the same time. Here is a band who are deliberately refuse to conform to anyone's expectations: they describe themselves as Leftfield Punk Jazz which is probably as good a description as any. It tells you all you need to know, in that if you want to hear something different which is incredibly easy to enjoy on first playing and just gets better, then this is it.
Reviewed by Kev Rowland - Progarchives
“The music is challenging, though accessible. Containing an abundance of unusual time signatures and rich chord structures for your musical imagination, with lyrics that question western social values.”
That’s how PsychoYogi describe their music and it is an astute description but, for the layman I choose to say that it is the most madcap, leftfield music I’ve heard in a long while. It is music that doesn’t belong in any category and that ploughs its own resolute furrow.
Imagine if Hatfield and the North arrived in a time machine, met up with Billy Bottle and the Multiple, The Cardiacs and Gong and decided to jam (I know, just humour me here please!) and thenHenry Cow stole the time machine and gatecrashed the party.
That’s ‘Dangerous Devices’ in a nutshell. Sounds like utter mayhem and chaos doesn’t it? But, what you get is something that, by rights, I shouldn’t like but I do! It’s madcap, infused with lashings of gentle humour and fills you with not a little joy before exiting stage left after a mere thirty-seven minutes running time.
There’s a feel of mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun to this album and I think that comes from Chris Ramsing and his very precise elocution on the vocals that give it a not insubstantial air of bon viveur and slight aloofness. The music is an utter joy to listen to with Chris’s stylish guitar and the jazz infused bass of Izzy Stylish (yep, he is!) giving a classy touch to songs like the irrepressible title track Dangerous Devices, Masterplan and my personal favourite, Sooner Than Now.
That particular song also sees the wonderful brass of Toby Nowell (Trumpet, Soprano and Alto Sax) and John Macnaughton (Tenor and Alto Sax) given free rein to add a touch of mysticism to the album. Their undoubted skills are on show throughout this unique recording and really enforce the English eccentricity that is at its core.
Holding everything together is Justin Casey (Drums and Percussion) who adds the glue that holds everything together with his excellence behind the kit but these musicians are all masters of their particular dark arts.
So lend your ears to brilliant compositions like Master Plan, Common As Muck, Shadows and the peculiar charms of Words Unspoken and enjoy a journey through the unparalleled bewitchery that PsychoYogi create, you will not experience anything else quite like it.
Reviewed by Martin Hutchinson - Progradar
Good things are worth waiting for!
Let me take the opportunity to congratulate you: I think this is the first time when I’ve bought four albums of any band during the same evening when I actually heard the band for the first time.
As a prog rock fan always looking for new horizons and having been lured in with the dreamy cover picture of Accident Prone while (virtually) window shopping in Bandcamp, I found it irresistibly refreshing how your music has the somewhat familiar vibe of jazzy progressive rock but also IS progressive in the sense of being still completely different and quite impossible to categorise — in the truly progressive spirit.
While first listening to the said album, I tried to draw parallels between what I heard and the classic prog bands in my collection, but instead of any direct comparison the closest I got was a vision of Gentle Giant recording a soundtrack to Tim Burton's stop-motion animation about a haunted circus with Frank Zappa occasionally wandering into the room (and that’s definitely a positive description!).
To me it sounds like you’re doing exactly what you want, which is the only thing an artist should ever have to care about.
New Ways of Losing sees free-from jazz meet stubborn 70's Prog complete with cape and flared trousers, title track Accident Prone sees The Dave Brubeck Quartet meet 70's era King Crimson and Party For One is like Iggy Pop on weed and acid at the same time. There is never a dull moment throughout this innovative and captivating release, main man Chris Ramsing has a unique vocal style that blends spoken word with what is considered traditional as his lilting voice beguiles you.
'Accident Prone' is a forty minute musical journey through a warped but incredibly intelligent mind and you will be a changed person when you come out the other side after taking in the delights of songs such as Reasons To Pretend and Corporate Shoes with their knowing smiles and dry wit. Remember when you first started watching Lost? You may wonder what the hell is going on but you'll be really enjoying yourself finding out.... read more
Last year I got to know Psychoyogi's music due to the facebook contact with their axe-man Chris Ramsing, and I have to say, I am lucky to be introduced to these low-profile prog bands because they always have something interesting to share. This is a trio of talented musicians whose music cannot be catalogued as classic progressive rock, instead, you will find here the jazzy side of prog with evident Zappa-esque textures. The band has released four albums, Shrine being their latest, released in 2016. It is a short 34-minute album of 9 tracks that will make you have a good time... read more
Psychoyogi's fourth album, Shrine, is mandatory listening for anyone who likes their prog to be musically challenging and intellectually stimulating - like a sharper-edged, 21st-century version of Gentle Giant. Combining jazzy grooves, Canterbury-inspired melodic sensibilities and a generous pinch of punk attitude, the nine short, yet subtly-complex songs will keep the listener on their toes.
Weekendprog - Something For The Weekend?
Imagine King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Tom Waits, Zappa, Captain Beefheart and the BBC Youth Jazz Orchestra all playing together. There is some phenomenal playing on here - probably one of the best bunch of musicians that have graced this page.
Rhythm Magazine, UK
A curious racket which borrows from the likes of Frank Zappa and King Crimson... but which stands convincingly on its own two feet.
Psychoyogi are more then a little different. When others are content to cash in on trendy musical resurgences, they attempt what is perhaps, the impossible a new direction in music. Inconstant time signatures and a rejection of docile adherence to a single musical style are the characteristics of a group that actively seek to challenge their audience. They maintain the stylistic vertigo of They Might Be Giants but are even more disjointed, rendering their work somehow equally transparent and oblique, understandable yet initially inaccessible.
Beat Magazine (Australia)
Psychoyogi has combined an eclectic medley of musical styles to produce a sound that is truly unique. Incorporating a wide range of instruments, Psychoyogi fuse together the sounds of jazz and cabaret, classical and rock to create music, which is stimulating through its very diversity.
They weave Eastern musical strains throughout the songs, with strings moving in haunting, mystical patterns. Chris Ramsing's vocals are distinctive and strong as he entertains listeners with lyrics, which are colourful and often eccentric. Spirited and unconventional, Psychoyogi produce music which belong in a black comic opera! At the same time the jazz arrangements are definitive and strong, keeping the song beats swinging, and the instrumental collusion tongue-in-cheek. In all, Psychoyogi have produced an album whose sound defies practical classification. It is necessary to check this one out for yourself.
Tharunka magazine (Australia)
As with Psychoyogi. Who despite being a mouthful had a gig in June to promote Opulent Trip. Psychoyogi sound like they like to listen to lots of quirky English 60's band like Giles, Giles and Fripp whose angular jazz like leanings and oh so English tales of funny people they delivery with great accuracy. I also detect Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and Soft Machine. The ghost of Kevin Ayers looms large. Singer/guitarist Chris Ramsing holds the thing together with a guitar thats a bright thing with many quick changing chords on it that runs to tinkly solos as the bass plucks out back notes. His voice resembles that of a 1920's crooner meets Viv Stanshall singing into a lozenged shape microphone.
Short instrumentals of the kind heard during afternoon spa recitals are sprinkled throughout but the actual songs are the stand outs. These guys can really play too as evinced in 'Shadows' with its breathy delivery and Zappa like sharp turns in the chord department. I found myself curiously drawn to their work but only because I do like the likes of Giles, Giles and Fripp and Soft Machine and some of Zappa's more quirky output. If those names don't mean anything to you then you may find their output totally alien but I do recommend you at least give them a go, but not before putting on your smoking jacket on first of course.
Amazed by their incredible complex Canterbury / progy / punky / jazzy sound. Complex and relaxed rhythms trigger the mind at the same time.
Carlo Van De Valk