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Psychon. Apocalypse has been Dubbed the Weekend Pill. CD

Apocalypse has been dubbed the weekend pill is the first cd by the Dutch group formerly known as Psychon Troopers, an incarnation that previously delivered six cd's. The musicians in Psychon are Lars Meijer, Jantijn Prins and Coen Polack. Lars Meijer and Coen Polack are also in charge of the Narrominded recordlabel and the two of them make music as Living Ornaments.

Prince's brand of funk, rock according to Guided by Voices, German and British electronica and the free spirit of John Coltrane are but a small taste of influences that make up the new Psychon cd. 'Apocalypse has been dubbed the weekend pill' has been recorded on and off over the last two years. As a result two years of collective musical influences and ideas have been given a place in this music. Freejazz, krautrock, ambient, electronica and arenarock are concurring to remain in focus and while doing so they form interesting hybrids. To give an example: this cd without a doubt contains the most exciting guitarsolo in electronica today. The titles of the tracks on this record originate in spam-mailmessages. With some bewilderment the members of Psychon have collected the most amazing mail-subjects and advertisements from the world of gloomy pharmacy, penile enlargement and corporate selfhelp-courses.
click here to visit official Psychon page

1. king backwards
2. zoom at the professors
3. chairman of the bored (no office necessary)
4. three men,a big truck and a piece of art
5. alpenkreuzer emptiness
6. you get paid helping churches

|: cover by Coen Polack

released in association with;

+ Narrominded - www.narrominded.com (Europe)

Reviews

It has been said a lot, that nowadays every track produced, even the most mainstream one, contains its share of noise. On “Apocalypse has …” they come in through the backdoor, multiply, form and organize, and finally take over control. A malicious plan to bring even the most innocent listener into the realms of white noise. What starts as laid back electronica and some heavily distorted funk grooves turns into a mêlée of cut up frequencies soon enough. So you’d better expect some noise-like infiltration and espionage tactics working underneath the covers of intricate and encompassing compositions that range the whole area from post-rock (there, I said it…) to electronic free jazz and back. You might even spend a whole weekend with this record alone without getting fed up. This record makes you check your speakers and headphones, until you realize, you have been fooled again.
“Apocalypse has been dubbed the weekend pill” is the first record I know slowly and deliberately praising its own destruction over the course of its running length. (Maybe it is just the copy I received that has flaws – but if so, I thank my own gods for this.) Because what starts as a strikingly beautiful post-whatever electronic composition, filled with rich textures and lots of sparkling ideas, with time and from track to track turns more and more towards noise, annihilation of beauty and the discovery of a different aesthetic of beauty in the chaos and whitewash of destructive frequencies. So much so that by the last track, “you get paid to help churches”, all that is left is a stunningly harmonic and intriguing puzzle of noises, weaving a soft and lush texture. Like first recording some laid back, straight forward keyboard atmospheres, putting them together and then hacking them apart with overdrive, distortion and some bad ass filters, until all is left is some cackling and cracking sounds, some harsh and some less harsh, but all put together carefully. That build and build and build and then start to fade until the completely fade away by themselves. Something you’d never dream of when first gliding into the laid back grooves of hybrid-genres mixed into electronic tracks that as much defy as they welcome any categorisation.
With the beginning of “King Backwards” (track 1) you feel comfortably in the realm of mix-wizards and electronic music originals such as Cornelius or Vitamins For You, but already in “zoom at the professors” (track 2) there are some gentle glitches and waves of soft noise breaking in like the tide on a silent evening. The distorted funk-bass and drums-groove pounding away suddenly in the middle of “zoom at the professors” gives it away, as do the rhythmic structures made of yet more noise in track 3, “chairman of the bored (no office necessary)”. As soon as we have reached “three men, a big truck and a piece of art” we have entered the land of glitches combined with minimal bass-lines. That is the way noise in various forms and shapes starts to infiltrate the as of yet undisturbed harmony of krautrock / psychedelia / electronica / jazzy arena-rock / come what may. Before feeling betrayed, please remember that Psychon are of the good side, they mean well and they’d never want to harm you. A little opening of your mind and listening (for listening is more important than speaking) is never any harm, is it?
If you have remarked upon the rather outlandish track-titles with a certain hint of memory and familiarity – they were all culled from the subject headers of spam. That might also explain the humour of these people a little. So here are some facts on them as well: Psychon are Lars Meijer and Coen Polack (who run the Narrominded-label and also play together as Living Ornaments) and Jantijn Prins. All three up to now formed the Psychon Troopers, who recorded half a dozen CDs which I admit, I never heard of. After changing the guidelines in their music-making from free improvisation to composition and from playing live to playing in the studio, they decided to also change their name in consequence.
Cracked Zine

Psychon, previously releasing material as Psychon Troopers, consists of Lars Meijer, Coen Polack and Jantijn Prins. "Apocalypse has been dubbed the weekend pill" is their newest release, and is a journey through a dense forest of experiments and influences, in which they produce something quite unique in the process. After opening with the lush-sounding "King backwards", you might be surprised at what you'll hear later on. There's pianos, bass guitars, guitars, live drums and an underlying flickering mechanical rhythm. "King backwards" feels innocent and playful and is one of the most memorable tracks on the release.
Psychon's influences come from many sources, and this is especially evident in "Zoom at the professors". There's a lo-fi feel, from distorted live drums and bass to over-saturated synths. This kind of territory clearly stems from Psychon's heritage and as the track begins to feel like rock or funk, Psychon pull back a curtain leading us into a mellow, ambient ending. "Chairman of the bored (no office necessary)" uses layered and repeated loops of static, with rhythms built up from marimbas, bells and vibes. These themes descend into various explorations of timbre, ultimately reaching a drone and unidentifiable field recordings. The field recordings, along with the percussive melodies, give a sense of being outside in an exotic location. "Three men, a big truck and a piece of art" develops the exploration into noise, with several themes rising and decaying until the drunken conclusion.
The decay progresses still with "Alpenkreuzer emptiness", then just as you don't expect it, funk arises from the ashes of the noise. After the moments of rock, funk, subtleness and rhythmic fits of static crunching, Psychon allow us to relax somewhat with "You get paid helping churches." Gentle pianos and guitars release us from Psychon's world, departing with analogue synths drenched in reverb fading into the distance.
There's complexity to "Apocalypse has been dubbed the weekend pill", however, there's also subtlety and a sense of humour that make it stand out. Despite Psychon's varied influences, they stay focussed and lead you down diverse and yet familiar territory without being dull.
Review by Alex Young, Furthernoise

Well, it couldn't really be called the 'morning after' pill, now could it? Dutch label Narrominded has teamed up with US counterpart Scarcelight to put out the first album proper by Psychon, the power trio formerly known as Psychon Troopers but still boasting the same personnel of Lars Meijer, Jantijn Prins and Coen Polack. This sequence really kicks into life on its opening and closing tracks, where sampled beats hold precariously arranged snippets of melody in delicate balance. Titles like 'King Backwards' and 'You Get Paid Helping Churches' make for intriguing fun too, having been derived from spam emails sent to the group.
ken hollings, the wire january 2005

Maybe the name Psychon is new to you, maybe, in case you have been following the Narrominded label, you [know] them. On this new CD, a co-production with Scarcelight, they play certainly some of the strangest music I heard in some time. New these days (actually since quite some time) doesn't mean really new, but new are the connections made between all sorts of seperate music styles, and Psychon are an incredible source for combining all of these strange musics together. I think I heard symphonic rock, techno, IDM, ambient, dashes of krautrock but alsojazz and noise. The six pieces hop between all of these styles like it's a regular thing. Rhythm, keyboards and guitars play an uttermost important role in this music, whereby the guitars play the most psychedelic part, through an extensive use of e-bows and sounds effects. Certainly this is quite complex music that is best enjoyed at home. Carefully constructed from many sources and probably hours and hours of manipulating went into this. If ever symphonica was apparent in techno related music, then it must be here. It's one step away from a full concept album, but if it happens I wouldn't be surprised and most curious to hear it.
(FdW) Vital Weekly 449

Here's a nice CD on Narrowminded by Psychon. It has some lovely pictures of a wheat field, a tree in autumn and a tree in spring. Musically its a mixed bag. There's some nice acoustic electronic type stuff with off kilter rhythms and the type of cut up acoustic guitars that Four Tet uses. There's lots of voice samples coming in and out of the mix - some of the tracks are nice and heartwarming - others are nastier and more experimental so you never get lulled into an Ulrich Schnauss like snooze fest as there's always a wierd noise coming along to knock you from your slumbers. So, it's safe to say I enjoyed this. It has light, it has shade and it has bits in between.
Norman Records

Apocalypse Has Been Dubbed the Weekend Pill is the first Psychon disc by the Dutch collective of Lars Meijer, Jantijn Prins, and Coen Polack, though the group previously issued six discs under the name Psychon Troopers (apparently, the name change paralleled a move away from improvisatory emphasis to a tighter compositional focus). Recorded over a two year span, Psychon's joint Narrominded-Scarcelight release is a svelte electronic-based six-tracker that checks in at just less than forty minutes. The fact that the unusual track titles originated from spam-mail subject headers is telling, as the group brings the same open-minded receptivity to its mercurial and episodic material. In fact, while moments of post-rock, glitch, pop, folktronica, ambient, and blues appear throughout the album, the group's experimental sensibility and stylistic resourcefulness suggests a kinship with early Matmos if anything. There are some good moments here. The group proves itself capable collagists on the opener “King Backwards,” something of a hip-hop-post-rock patchwork as it flits restlessly from one mood to another: a gloomy opening theme, brighter uplift brought on by piano, acoustic guitar, and angelic choirs, hints of scratchy hip-hop, blurping synth noodling, even some subtle gospel-soul in the outro. “Zoom at the Professors” is most memorable for its aggressive post-rock section of slamming drums and fuzz guitar, while “Three Men, a Big Truck and a Piece of Art” is notable for its mystery soundtrack ambiance and owly glitch episodes. Given its nine-minute length, it's not surprising that “Chairman of the Bored (No Office Necessary)” takes its shapeshifting jones to such an extreme: when was the last time you heard field recordings, gamelan percussion, razor-edged guitar phasing, glockenspiels, and skuzzy crackle inhabit the same song? Still, like the album in general, the piece maintains interest throughout but, as is often the case with such ADD-afflicted material, it rarely stays in any one place long enough for it to lodge itself deeply in one's memory.
Ron Schepper - textura

Not bad. This is far more musical and structured than anything else I've heard from the Scarcelight camp to date, blending stuttered percussive beats and glitchy electronics with tactful melodies, faint samples, and an overall chilled out atmosphere that flows quite nicely. The group hails from The Netherlands and uses guitar, synths, piano, percussion, and all sorts of additional instrumentation/sounds to create a vast landscape of shifts and changes with everything from loops and improvisational musical passages to subdued experimental ambience. It's a definite blend of the traditional and the atypical, but it comes across rather creatively, having an odd sense of both atmospheric randomness and soundtrack-ish qualities. "King Backwards" is my favorite track, opening the disc with lots of intricate layering and panning effects and a lot of very beautiful melodic instrumentation that creates a great laidback vibe. Meanwhile "Zoom at the Professors" has some of the most straightforward musicianship, with lots of tangible guitar parts that actually lock up against concrete basslines and drum patterns. "Chairman of the Bored (No Office Necessary)" is the longest piece at nearly 10 minutes, opening with more of a staggered rhythm and an electronic presence, floating over to some reversed guitars over reverberating piano and shuffling textures. "Three Men, a Big Truck and a Piece of Art" is one of the shorter and more abstract pieces, but oddly enough I find the longer and more musical excursions to be more interesting. Something about those pieces flows nicely with a billowy sort of texture that balances the quick back and forth movements and changes surprisingly well. "Alpenkreuzer Emptiness" is among the quieter and more consistent pieces, maintaining a fairly straightforward and lush set of layers that sort of repeat throughout its five minutes of time, bringing in distant basslines to add some flare to the latter half. The 9+ minute "You Get Paid Helping Churches" has some very nice piano melodies and distant sustained notes that have a loose progressive rock tangent on occasion, sort of droning and humming along with a good sense of movement. The layout's pretty minimal but looks great, using scarce text and lots of full-page color photographs that are pretty awesome looking. I really like this material. I can't quite wrap my head around it, and I'd be curious to hear more to get an idea for what their overall approach is like, but this is a very professional sounding piece of work. I'm into it.
Aversionline

Anciennement connu sous le nom Psychon Troopers, le groupe hollandais s'amuse à diversifier ses influences au maximum. Il nous propose des mélanges instrumentaux où le post-rock, l'ambient, l'electronica prennent naturellement leur place. On pense à une sorte de Tortoise qui aurait assimilé les influences européennes des musiques actuelles (l'electronica du label Warp, les dérives electroniques allemandes) mêlées à des formes plus conventionnelles dans l'utilisation des instruments. Psychon délivre un disque hybride qui n'arrive pas à convaincre sur sa totalité mais qui montre un réel engouement dans l'éclectisme et la recherche.
eric henaff - les choses, january 12 2005

Psychon is de nieuwe naam van wat tot nu toe de Psychon Troopers waren, en tevens de drijvende krachten achter het o zo leuke Narrominded label. De cd wordt zowel via Narrominded als het Amerikaanse Scarcelight uitgebracht en ik begrijp wel waarom de Amerikanen gaan voor deze muziek. Apocalypse.. is een in stukjes en beetjes opgenomen elektronica-trip, waarin zo ongeveer alle vage bandjes van de afgelopen 30 jaar te horen zijn. De heren noemen zelf John Coltrane, Prince, Guided by Voices en Duitse Elektronica als invloeden en dan heb je inderdaad een aardig idee waar deze cd heengaat. Net als andere Narrominded releases een heel goeie mix tussen elektronica en akoestische instrumenten (en daar rekenen we de elektrische gitaar ook maar even onder). De cd is meer een echt studioalbum dan vorige Psychon Troopers cd's en is daardoor afwisselender. Let tenslotte op de titels die geheel verzameld werden uit spam e-mail.
fret, january 2005

When the dust of experimental music has cleared and settled to it’s rightful place, pop music will clearly reign even that territory. I went through my period where there was nothing wrong with a little Wolf Eyes now or again, but then I realized I’d rather listen to and enjoy music than abhor it for the sake of art.
Psychon is a collective of Dutch musicians who formerly made up the improvisational Psychon Troopers, but have moved onto compositional works made up of genre music, but mostly electronica. You see, whenever a band decides to attempt a new genre out of piecing together bits of other ones, they usually end up with an electronica album, and if you’re lucky, two electronica albums. Recently, groups like Manitoba and Wavering Saints succeeded without delving into electronic flourishes. Psychon are definitely on the right track, but they still need some polishing.
Reliance on electronica is certainly not a bad thing, especially when used for atmospheric purposes, by way of Bowie’s Low or post-accident Eno, and Psychon are no strangers to the effect. The slow burn beneath a looping drum track on closer “You Get Paid Helping Churches” is a great example of how to work it into the mix without sounding too reliant. What not to do is defined by most of the mediocre “Alpenkreuzer Emptiness” and the unlistenable “Three Men, A Big Truck and A Piece of Art”.
No doubt, the best song on here is “Zoom at the Professors”, which starts out as a slow, creepy dirge, and at the risk of sounding like a complete nerd here, sounding a bit like the Secret of Evermore soundtrack. Halfway through, the funeral piece is repeated as a guitar pop song, and ending as a beautiful underwater epic.
The biggest problem that plagues the whole of Apocalypse Has Been Dubbed The Weekend Pill are the drum loops that play throughout the better songs like “King Backwards” and “Chairman of the Bored (No Office Necessary)”. It’s not completely detrimental, but it would have been nice to hear the songs without them.
Still, there’s a lot of potential here that will most certainly grow as Psychon continues to record. They never go overboard on the amount of instruments playing, and they always meld into each other making one whole song. Isn’t that what it’s all about, after all - the songs?
kyle dilla - music underwater, december 2004

Après 6 albums sous le nom de Psychon Troopers, le groupe hollandais a opté pour une nouvelle orientation musicale en changeant complètement son mode de composition et écourtant au passage son pseudonyme. S’adonnant jusque-là pleinement à l’improvisation, le collectif a au contraire composé entièrement Apocalypse Has Been Dubbed The Weekend Pill et décidé de ne plus faire de scène, à l’inverse de leur précédent projet. Il résulte de ce nouveau mode de travail un savant mélange de funk, rock, électronica, de krautrock et de freejazz, brassé et rebrassé sur les 6 morceaux de cet album qui sort conjointement sur le label américain Scarcelight et le label hollandais Narrominded. Chaque pièce de ce disque compose un puzzle sonore, que les le groupe désormais resserré au format trio tente d’assembler à tâtons. Ce qui fait qu’un solo de guitare peut débouler en plein milieu d’une composition électronica ou qu’une batterie sonne la charge comme un rouleau compresseur au milieu d’un pré en fleurs. La complexité de chaque morceau est tel qu’on ne sait quel en sera la progression : comment deviner que Chairman Of The Bored (No Office Necessary) qui commence comme un morceau de David Clark se finira par une sorte de cornemuse qui pleure ? Plus loin, on pense à Four Tet, Mole Harness, à des groupes de chez Warp, à plein d’artistes qu’on n’arrive pas vraiment à identifier mais les hollandais distillent leur passif rock et les compositions sont vraiment trop protéiformes pour être cataloguées. Impossible à fredonner ni même à deviner, la musique de Psychon est un joyeux foutoir dans lequel on se promène en suivant avec confiance et incrédulité le guide.
autres directions, december 31 2004

Psychon's promo blurb proudly lays claim to the redoubtable influences of Prince and Guided By Voices and, after listening to this CD for the last couple of weeks and occasionally being arrested by whispers of something that might be funk beneath the layers of beats and plinky plonky electronic stuff, I've got to conclude that there is a whiff of disingenuousness to this. You know: if you're ripping off Aphex Twin then you make sure you throw everyone off by chucking in a couple of curveballs first. What we've got here, however, is instrumental electronic music with all manner of interesting stuff going on and a smash-and-grab attitude towards different sounds and musical textures. Some of it ("Chairman Of The Bored") sounds a bit like the soundtrack to a piece of tedious performance art but some of it ("Zoom At The Professors") has fuzzy beats and big monster stadium-rock guitars, and some of it ("You Get Paid Helping Churches") sounds a tiny bit like, okay, I admit it: Prince. For a couple of musicians who usually work in the realm of improvisation, the more structured, composed approach of this new studio project reaps dividends in terms of tightness and focus and the result is a CD that manages the difficult task of being, on the one hand: experimental and eclectic, and on the other: listenable.
by ian martin - clear and refreshing, december 23 2004

Estava quieto no meu canto quando Natan atentou para esse disco. O pequeno selo holandês Narrominded é especialista em novos caminhos para a musica eletrônica, com projetos experimentais partindo de fontes mais conhecidas e bastante exploradas. Essa espécie de conceito avant-garde não se prende no próprio casulo e às vezes dão margem a um produto mais palpável, digamos assim. Agora em novembro, em parceria com o selo americano Scarcelight, lançaram esse primeiro disco de uma nova encarnação do holandês Psychon Troopers que são Lars Meijer, Coen Polack e Jantijn Prins - os dois primeiros donos do selo - responsáveis por um produto muito agradável que mescla com perfeição a musica eletrônica pensada com certa postura indie rock, cabecismos funk e de free jazz. Isso é possível sim! Descarto logo a cara feia de Natan. O trio domina muito bem o conceito ambient, minimalismo noise e influências kraut. O disco, com apenas seis faixas, trouxe uma carga positiva de forte teor emocional (uêpa!) caindo com uma luva para trilha sonora modernosa de festas natalinas. Embora nada tenham com o tema, tomei a liberdade de nomea-lo assim. Entenderam? Não?! Então Feliz Natan para todos!
jesuino andre - meusons, december 21 2004

Een album dat zich wel onder water lijkt af te spelen. Of in ieder geval met de bandleden tot aan hun heupen in een ietwat troebele stadsvijver en de speakers verstopt tussen plastic rotsen, half verveelde vissen en gouden en zilveren munten. Verschillende discrete elementen worden hier namelijk als het ware door een 'vertragingsmachine' door elkaar gehusseld en opnieuw in elkaar gezet. Een beetje zoals in het water zwemmen met je ogen open en in een nieuwe verbazing naar de wereld om je heen kijken. Probeer deze korte beschrijving van het derde nummer – 'Chairman of the Board (No Office Necessary)' - maar eens te volgen. Beginnend met goedkope xylofoongeluiden, hoor je een piano met op de achtergrond strijkers en enkele blieps. De ruisbeat die al een tijdje aanwezig was wordt weer overgenomen door een psychedelische gitaar en een onbestemde ambient. Xylofoon komt terug, de beat overstemt deze en dan plotseling een vervormd koor bestaande uit vrouwenstemmen. En zo nog even door (zonder enige garantie dat de voorafgaande toekenning van instrumenten aan geluiden juist was). Spannend is het bijna allemaal en dit album krijgt het voor elkaar om krautrock, psychedelica, jazz, minimale techno en lo-fi binnen de structuur van, jawel, liedjes te persen. En voor de verandering heeft het persbericht nog eens gelijk ook nog. De CD bevat inderdaad misschien wel "de meest opzwepende gitaarsolo uit de electronica."
bas van heur - cut-up, december 14 2004