Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Hypnomen - Watusi 99dotdotdot
artworkThis CD brings the Hypnomen into a place between the Tiki Tones and the go-go bands of the disco circuit of the period between surf and psychedelia, when places like Wayne Manor in Sunnyvale, California used to host Sly Stone (while he was still on the Autumn label and a DJ at KSAN-AM) and the incredible show band the Jaguars. This is pretty slick, very enjoyable, and unpretentious. The sounds here blend middle eastern and disco, space cheese and bachelor pad, biker fuzz and bad hangovers. There's no surf here at all, but the diversion is pleasant, and the concept very well executed. A breath of fresh air.
Picks: Watusi 99, Orson, Helveteen, Aleikum, Astrotica, Lucumba, Fuzz and Fight, Satan at the Wheel, Dubrovnik (City of Love), Shalamar, Intruder, El Exorcista, Mescalina, Bossa Coma

Track by Track Review


Watusi 99 dotdotdot
Latin Bugaboo A Go-Go (Instrumental)

This is a surprisingly rich throwback to the days when Ray Barretto's "El Watusi" was on the top forty, and the Ramsey Lewis Trio owned the instro marketplace. With the faux Latino accents and the suave fluidity, this makes a perfect modern counterpart to days gone by.

Orson dotdotdot
Disco Spy (Instrumental)

This is pretty scary. The seventies disco beat, the loungie MOR melody, and the spy ethic, it seems curiously out of time - in the wrong decade so to speak. Smooth and perfectly constructed.

Helveteen dotdotdot
Open Throttle Fuzz (Instrumental)

A bit of fuzz crunch, some thundering drums, a BIG nod to Davie Allan, and sense of open throttle adventure are the main elements here. Tasty.

Aleikum dotdotdotdot
Egyptian Shaft (Instrumental)

This is quite curious. The middle eastern riff delivered with the gutty shaft guitar makes for an uneasy alliance between street wise and Bedouin nomad. The bass thunder contrasts to the usually mid range dominated Arabic sounds. Even the warble voicings adds to the mix. Quite cool.

Astrotica dotdotdot
Satellite (Instrumental)

Disco hi hat and bass, cheesy organ, and a riff that borrows from the Tornados blend into a thumpy hypnotic orbital trance. Well conceived and executed.

Lucumba dotdotdotdot
Moroccan Vibrato (Instrumental)

"Lucumba" features a low rumbling jazzy percussion and bass, exotic vibrato spy guitar, and a lumbering pace. Think Link Wray turned down at an outpost in Morocco. Quite exotic and mysterious. I really like this.

Fuzz and Fight dotdotdot
Big Thunder Fuzz (Instrumental)

This is a heavy thuddy fuzz instro, less liquid than a Davie Allan composition, but very thick. The grodie rumble and the vibrato throb contrast of the second guitar, combined with the spares grunge drums, gives this an identity crisis that works really well. Big thunder.

Satan at the Wheel dotdotdot
Fuzz Throb (Instrumental)

Opening with motorcycle engines, this quickly drops into a relentless fuzz throb in a thick wall of sludge. The sound is huge, but the riff is just not quite magnetic enough for me - maybe too repetitious.

Dubrovnik (City of Love) dotdotdotdot
Exotic Club Scene (Instrumental)

Very eerie. Distant boomy percussion, remarkably effective pumping organ, and pristine Hank Marvinesq lead guitar. The Antonioni club scene feel is quite stunning. Interesting.

Shalamar dotdotdot
Bazaar (Instrumental)

Oozing an eerie and exotic backtrack, this smooth fuzz lead number straddles the fence between the east and west with a kind of ambivalence that blurs the line. Its bazaar imagery and western intensity are an interesting blend.

Intruder dotdotdot
Batman (Instrumental)

This Batman inspired tune holds no more interest than the Neil Hefty composition. Aside from the trance qualities, it just doesn't quite cut it for me. Even the cheesy bachelor pad wailing doesn't help.

El Exorcista dotdotdot
Blustery (Instrumental)

"El Exorcista" is very thick and blustery, like a menacing thunderhead. It is relentless and very heavy.

Mescalina dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

This melodic and fluid track is the closest thing to surf here. It's a strong track, with relentless vibrato second guitar and a semi liquid lead. Quite enjoyable.

Bossa Coma dotdotdot
Near Dead Dance In A Trance (Instrumental)

Weird scenes inside a space station near Aldebaran, where the near dead dance in a trance of non-recognition. "Bossa Coma" is lilty, semi fluffy, melodic, and strange, with just a hint of Stan Getz after too much Mescal.