Psych-pop outfit Beyond The Wizards Sleeve, made up of electronic pioneers Erol Alkan and Richard Norris, will be serving up their debut LP The Soft Bounce on July 1st (Phantasy Sound). It’s a brilliant dark cosmic mish-mash of influences, references and riffs.
The album features guest appearances from Blaine Harrison (Mystery Jets), Euros Childs (Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci), Jane Weaver, Holly Miranda, and Hannah Peel. With their fixation on collaboration and their relationships with other musicians, we thought what better way to interview the duo than to simply ask them about the tunes that influenced this new record. And yes, it’s just as eclectic as we thought.
Richard: Laraaji has been releasing phenomenal ambient/drone/levitational music for years, on cassette, CD and vinyl. Best known for his album Day Of Radiance as part of Brian Eno’s Ambient series on EG, his album ‘Essence/Universe’ is two half hour long mind opening meditations.
Richard: This mix of quiet ecstatic euphoria, kosmische, shoegaze and dance is a singular blend.
Richard: An early eighties New York record made by Bill Laswell, Michael Beinhorn and Fred Maher that sounds like it was made in 70s Germany. The motorik groove is deconstructed halfway through, revealing a phenomenal psychedelic section that sounds immense on a dance-floor.
Richard: Tropicalia was a big influence on the BTWS album, and this is one of my favourites, a breezy ray of sunshine taken from the classic album ‘Tropicalia ou Panis et Circencis’. Not sure about the bread and circuses, but the record is excellent, featuring Tom Ze, Os Mutantes and more alongside Gil.
Richard: A truly unhinged psychedelic garage classic. The saying goes that a watched kettle never boils. I’ve never heard that a watched kettle leads to throbbing fuzz tone, echo chambers from hell and screaming insanity before.
Erol: I was a bit of a latecomer to this record, but in the short time I’ve known it I’ve become a little obsessed by it. It’s probably to do with the playful atmosphere the record has, and I really love her voice. The general production and double tracking of her voice creates something quite attractive. The sound of her voice was an influence on the track ‘Black Crow’.
Erol: I bought the ‘Disintegration Loops III’ CD a while back, I genuinely feel this one is a modern classic. The only other person who I feel is making music as essential in this field is Babe Terror and even though they both evoke a similar atmosphere, their music is quite different. The textures within this record are incredible.
Erol: This track is a big influence on ‘Door To Tomorrow’, it is a very earnest and childlike song, incredibly playful yet melancholic. If you can strike upon that difficult balance then it’s likely to yield something special. Euros Childs was the perfect choice for it, the marriage of his voice against white funk drums and a baroque backing has created – at least for us – something magical.
Erol: If there were to be loud guitars on this record, then they would need to be really loud and really heavy. ‘Iron Age’ is probably one of the greatest titles for a rock track that we’ve ever seen, so it needed to be quite abrasive and impolite. There are several influences to that track which steer it away from just being a noisey burst of metal. It was important to balance it with something quite colourful, which came in the form of Blaine Harrison. ‘Magic Potion’ is a good example of a record which works on different levels, but carries an incredible energy.
Erol: Not so much this song, but more the simplicity of indie song writing from the mid 80s through to around 1993. When bands were happy to be vague yet incredibly simple, using no more than 3 chords. I find it a brilliant end of scriptwriting, when a verse runs no longer than 20 syllables and the chorus is an ‘oooh’ or ‘aaah’. ‘Diagram Girl’ was intended to feel immersive, but to be no longer than 3 minutes. It’s also a duet but sung by one voice which is manipulated. The song feels particularly blue.