Review: Mohalabonga – Psychic Voyages

So after ten minutes of rickety, hand-assembled electro-funk – all jabs of drum machine, ramblings under breath and pocket-sweet synthesisers – something peculiar happens to Psychic Voyages. Two granite blocks of distortion come slamming in from both sides, crumbling around a drum machine that hisses and crashes in its strive to keep up with the sudden intensity surge; it’s enough to jolt one’s sense of balance momentarily, while laughing hysterically at the listener’s redundant expectations as to what Psychic Voyages is, and what Psychic Voyages will come to be.

Much like My Bloody Valentine’s noise wormhole that fractures the two halves of “You Made Me Realise” during live shows, the album returns to its former business once the distortion fades out, coolly re-instating the burps of funk bass and croaky vocal monologue as if nothing actually happened. Of course, one is now aware of Mohalabonga’s ability to explode completely unawares, granting the seemingly harmless sculpture of MIDI pianos and lazy melodic style an uncomfortable “ticking bomb” instability. It doesn’t erupt again and it doesn’t need to.

That’s not to say that the album treads a straight line from here on in. The title track collapses into a beautifully mellow spiral, staring down its self-generated infinite tunnel of repetition. Meanwhile, the closing ten-minutes catch some sort of untapped reservoir between the faltering homemade electronics of Fuck Buttons and earthly baritone drones, carrying the listener out via a plastic ritual of buckets and spades. An unexpected record in numerous respects.