Psychedelic music: the genre brings to mind Beatlesque imagery of swirling colors and drug-induced hallucinations. Beginning in the 1960s alongside the greater psychedelia movement, psychedelic music became popularized by artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Janice Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and The Beatles which grew into a genre completely different from the classic rock and jazz of years past. While heavily associated with hallucinogenic drugs, notable psychedelia guarantees a musical experience unique to the genre; however, the listener chooses to experience it.
“Psychedelic music was introduced to me by a friend. I had no idea it even existed prior to that experience, but it intrigued me thoroughly as something that plays with your mind more than it does with your ears. The layers of sound production and almost musical ‘environment’ created with the genre are difficult to pinpoint while listening to it, yet they create an almost encompassing feeling with the music. Going on a journey with music and feeling is really what the genre is about,” Kennesaw Mountain magnet senior Gavin Williams said.
Melody’s Echo Chamber:
The project of French artist Melody Prochet, Melody’s Echo Chamber combines her delicate vocals with the memorable bass lines typical of psychedelia. Prochet’s discography progresses from her self-titled debut album to her most recent release, “Emotional Eternal”, totaling three albums with the inclusion of her 2018 release, “Bon Voyage”. Each album stands on its own as a complete work of art, with consistently fresh and experimental instrumentation that never sounds out of place that allows the listener to enter an echo chamber of sound.
Typical of an artist that embeds their emotions in their music, Melody Echo Chamber’s work seems to chronicle her personal progression. From her tumultuous first album, which received a musical contribution from Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, to “Emotional Eternal”, a refined version of Prochet’s unique brand of psychedelia, Protchet’s maturation as a person becomes evident.
“I Follow You” stands among Melody’s Echo Chamber’s best songs. The song covers the mental landscape of romantic rejection, concisely summarizing the feeling in simple lyrics and an extremely distorted guitar solo that evokes an emotional breakdown. “Shirim” sits at the top of the Spotify ranking for Melody’s Echo Chamber, a bass-heavy song with a magnetic melody.
Sunbeam Sound Machine:
Sunbeam Sound Machine’s discography provides the perfect soundtrack to drift off to. The work of Australian musician, Nick Sowersby, Sunbeam Sound Machine gained acclaim in Australia’s psychedelic scene in the early 2010s and fans continue to enjoy the project’s output today.
Sunbeam Sound Machine stands apart from other psychedelic projects due to the large-scale orchestral sound several of its songs embody. With slowly-building layers of strings and synths pulled along by Sowersby’s nearly intelligible vocals, “Fever Dream” showcases Sowersby’s composing prowess in the song’s waves of sound. “Other Kindness”, an intimate and calming song filled with looping riffs and modulation, shows the other side of Sunbeam Sound Machine’s appeal.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard:
Arguably one of the most versatile modern bands regardless of genre, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard (KGLW) has gathered fans from across the globe. Although the band leans into progressive rock and heavy metal occasionally, their output of pure psychedelic music remains unmatched. From the farthest reaches of their discography to their newest album, “Omnium Gatherum”, KGLW offers their listeners a comprehensive array of experimental and traditional psychedelia. Notable songs include “Most of What I Like”, “God is in the Rhythm” and “Slow Jam 1”, although the group’s prolific and never-stale discography offers something for everyone.
While they occasionally diverge from the genre, their hallmark sound possesses firm roots in psychedelia. Even when they delve into the realms of metal and industrial electronic music with albums like “Murder of the Universe” and “Infest the Rats Nest”, there remains a mind-bending quality reminiscent of classic psychedelic music.
Dan Deacon’s unique blend of classical orchestral compositions and modern electronic music makes him a one-of-a-kind musician. Starting out with a basic midi composer in his early childhood, Deacon has since advanced far beyond the limitations of his own skill and outdated computer.
His latest album, “Mystic Familiar”, takes the listener on a journey of discovering inner peace, featuring themes of becoming content through enjoying nature and meditation that become enhanced due to Deacon’s incredible skill as a composer. The sound of the album produces a feeling of waves gently colliding against the shore and watching a perfect night sky that envelopes the listener. This album alone marks him as an innovator and pillar of modern psychedelic music, but the rest of his discography deserves respect as well. “Gliss Riffer”, his first breakout album about reincarnation, maintains a reputation as a true psychedelic journey.
“Whenever I would go on drives or long drives for tournaments and stuff, and I was driving and it was maybe 6 a.m. in the morning, I would turn on psychedelic music just so I could be in a good mood. I wouldn’t be so cranky in the morning,” senior Ellie Boyle said.