Psychemagik: Top 5 Records To Save From A Fire
Astral house cosmonauts Psychemagik have a dual reputation for turning out some of the most infectious edits in the business, and also for possessing a ridiculous record collection. So ridiculous in fact, that it’s been the saviour of finders ranging from the Chemical Brothers to Q-Tip. With a record pool so obscenely vast and treasured, we wondered what records they’d save from a fire if they could only grab five before running out the door and into the night (hypothetically of course). Danny McLewin gives us his picks.
#1 HAROLD & MAUDE (JAPANESE ONLY) SOUNDTRACK – CAT STEVENS
This is #1 for many reasons but mostly cause my mum bought it for me for my birthday when she was very sick with cancer. At the time I wasn’t sure if it was the last birthday gift she would give me but thank the universe, she made it through. I was looking after her at the time which took me to Kent which is where I met Tom, the other half of Psychemagik. Mum being ill made it all happen and the fact that she survived and Psychemagik was born in that process, makes this record for me the most epic symbol of hope and positivity. I’m a huge Cat Stevens fan and the way the music creates the mood and feel of the movie is quite spectacular. I can’t comprehend how any other music could have replaced it. The perfect symmetry of soundtrack to picture. It’s also my favourite film.
#2 LIKE A SEED – KENNY RANKIN
The track ‘I Was Born’ on this LP is one of my favourite songs of all time but the whole LP is pure class. It’s a track that struck a special chord immediately with it’s melodic and authentic heart wrenching lyrics and immaculate arrangement. Epic folk funk gold of the highest songwriting and production caliber. It’s one of those tracks that has been so powerful to me in terms of sharing it with people either just hipping them to it or playing it out, it’s the kind of record that changes people’s lives. The last track on Side A, ‘Stringman’ is also a beauty. We used to sing it to our string arranger Richard Chester every time he called us much to his chagrin!
#3 EMI HARMONY VOCODER ACETATE – UNRELEASED
I have this super rare late 70’s EMI demonstration acetate that showcases the capabilities of the EMI Harmony Vocoder and there are a bunch of sick unreleased Paddy Kingsland tracks on it, we would have sampled it by now but there’s an annoying voice-over dude jibbering over the tracks. My life’s mission is the get the OG masters and remove this shitty VO. I’ve even spoken to people at EMI about it, so hopefully just a matter of time. It’s one sided and has an etching of the EMI Dog and Gramophone on the flip.
#4 AL-DOS BAND – DOING OUR THING WITH PRIDE
This is simply one of the dopest gospel funk jams on the planet imho! Sick hip hop style drums, slick guitar chips, tweaked out synths and the sweetest most uplifting vocals. Al-Dos was an all back band with one white member, hence the name, an abbreviation of ‘A Little Dose Of Salt’ and the spirit and meaning behind it represents everything positive about music and the people that make it with genuine intention and integrity. We’ve licensed this track for our next compilation ‘Magik Sunset’ pt.1 and it’s with immense pride we can share this beautiful nugget of joy!!
#5 VALLEY OF PARADISE – PSYCHEMAGIK (WHITE LABEL TEST PRESSING)
This record has a special meaning as it was me and Tom’s first record we put out of our own music as Psychemagik. It was the first track we made and during it’s conception we both realised that we were onto something working together. When we first made the track we were sampling David Crosby’s ‘Orleans’ but later we re-recorded the vocals. We signed a major label deal which later on turned out to be a terrible idea but were blessed to have a live 17 piece orchestra playing the strings on that record. We recorded at Lyndhurst Hall in Air Studios which is a converted church and helped add to the overall holiness of the track. We tried to clear the publishing with Crosby’s people for about a year and had almost given up when we finally heard back that he’d heard the track and loved it. He kindly gave us permission with his blessing which was a magical moment for us. The major label we were with didn’t want to release it cause they didn’t like it. When we finally were free from their clutches, we released it on our own and it sold out on pre orders and we repressed it 3 times in a month!