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My Tricksy Spirit - My Tricksy Spirit album review

Knifeworld-affiliated psychedelic gamelan trip hop lives!

My Tricksy Spirit album artwork

My Tricksy Spirit hark back to that time in the 90s when trip hop and The Orb provided a stoner escape pod from the harsh world outside, with all manner of cosmic sounds hatching out of further collisions between dub reggae and world music. The band was formed around the shimmering tones of south east Asian music lecturer Nick Gray’s gender wayang (a little group of bronze metallophones, used in Bali to accompany the shadow play). Their ever-present spectral entity is bolstered by a panorama of textures provided by the string-driven arsenal of Charlie Cawood (Knifeworld, Mediaeval Baebes) and multi-instrumentalist Rob Shipster, while Always With You and Winter Story feature the soulful vocals of Roxanne Ainsthorpe. The album is comprised of only five long tracks that usually begin with Gray’s luminescent globule rattling before someone uncorks a bassline carrying the fathomless ambience of a passing blue whale’s scrotum (adding to several similarities with Jah Wobble’s world music dubscapes). Then it’s into the main body of the track before a lengthy Orb-style coda as the hallucinogenics taper off. As purveyors of intensely human psychedelic alchemy in an age of machines, My Tricksy Spirit deserve a bong of your time.

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!