The best psychedelic prog you can buy this month

Take a trip with Rob Hughes as he seeks out new psych prog

Cover art for Yama Warashi

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

An intriguing batch this month, none more so than Moon Egg (Stolen Body Records), the latest from Yama Warashi. Essentially the alter ego of Bristol-based Japanese artist Yoshino Shigihara, the album sees her joined by various members of local experimentalists, BLOOM. The songs are mostly rooted in psych folk, but wander far and free, picking up spores of jazz, avant pop and African rhythm. Often delivered in Shigihara’s mother tongue, her subject matter - mycelium, lunar phases and nuclear power stations – gives things an added sense of surreal dislocation. Funa Uta and Half Moon Bamboo are especially good.

Sticking with all things lunar, London quartet Dark Moon excel on their debut, Lost In Love & Fear (Transcendental Grooves). Spacey and rich, it’s powered by psych blues grooves in the spirit of ’69, though it’s ultimately centred around the luminous voice of Lola Ulalume. The title track brings a dash of proggy funk, there’s a bewitching cover of Dr John’s I Walk On Gilded Splinters and I Fly (described by the band as “a voyage out of ordinary reality”) is altogether tougher, with a terrific solo.

Those of a heavier persuasion will find much to shout about on 11Paranoias’ fourth effort, Reliquary For A Dreamed Of World (Ritual Productions). The trio of Adam Richardson, Mike Vest and Nathan Perrier serve up vistas of doomy sound, fashioning deep jams that canter along on hypnotic grooves with a startling intensity. The immersive experience, not unlike a pow-wow between HP Lovecraft, Loop and Comets On Fire, is perhaps best illustrated by Destroying Eyes and the monstrous Milk Of Amnesia. Incidentally, at just under four minutes long, the latter is the shortest tune they’ve ever recorded.

Another power trio, the curiously-named Denis The Night & The Panic Party, opt for a different tack on Cosmic Youth (Wall Of Sound). Having bonded over a shared fascination with psychedelia, shoegaze, avant-rock and electronica, Ono Nora Fiorani, Nicola Sbrozzi and Alessandro Gobbi dream up “tri-dimensional landscapes and soundtracks for raves”. Cue a feast of rhythmic trance, phased effects, big beats and hazy vocals, exemplified by Androgynous Love and shivery epic, You Could Be My Home. The title track, meanwhile, sounds like an alternative party banger were Prog ever to hold a knees-up in Ibiza.

On a funkier tip, Brazilian-American threesome São Paulo Underground get busy on Cantos Invisíveis (Cuneiform), which takes tropicalia, jazz and world music out into the starry beyond. Led by Chicago all-rounder Rob Mazurek, the album is exquisitely layered, with horns and percussion melting into samplers, synths and improvised progtronica. Finally, Sheffield’s Baba Naga unleash a wonderful debut EP featuring a pair of songs - Plná Krvy and DeificYen - that fuse Eastern-flavoured trippiness to distorted guitars and variations on a fuzz riff. Highly recommended.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.