Critically derided on it's release in '98, Psyence Fiction has gained cult status for its chaotic collages and maverick collaboration, becoming an album that gains momentum on repeated listens and has since been referred to as one of the best albums of its era. The creation of the album was helmed by Mo Wax founder (and general savant) James Lavelle and the "Jimi Hendrix of the sampler" DJ Shadow, and features an all-star cast of guests. Before crossing disparate music scenes were the norm (see: Gorillaz, Solange or even Paul's Boutique), this album was a beacon of what was to come in the music world. It's a superstar project that wouldn't play it safe, a "let’s-break-the-rules-and-not-give-a-f**k-all" approach that is mirrored in the eclectic guest appearances. You've got Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Beastie Boys’ Mike D, The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft, Kool G Rap, The Stone Roses' Ian Brown, as well as further instrumental contributions from Metallica’s Jason Newsted and Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis. Loosely tied together through eerie sci-fi samples (as well as Shadow's trademark aesthetic), the album plays like a surreal film soundtrack that exists in Shadow's and Lavelle's heads. Track to check out are the opener "Guns Blazing (Drums Of Death, Pt 1)" with the cracking drums and spacey sound bites that reinforce Kool G Rap's ferocious lyrical onslaught, the Portishead sounding "Bloodstain" (featuring Alice Temple), the moody and hypnotic "Lonely Soul," the Beastie fever-dreamed "The Knock", and the penultimate track "Rabbit in Your Headlights," featuring a haunting piano ballad over Thom Yorke's warbling vocals (peep the bizarre music video for the track, directed by Jonathan Glazer. As Vinyl Factory's Eliot Wilder writes, "the expectation was that Psyence Fiction would be a sort of Endtroducing….. Part II. And in some ways, it was." 13 tracks in all on 2 LP's, released by Mo Wax. Recommended.
- double vinyl pressing
- printed inner sleeves
- music label: Mo Wax 2019
reviewed by Ralphy Corduroy 2/2019