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Stygian Stride - Stygian Stride

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Artist: Stygian Stride

Album: Stygian Stride

Label: Thrill Jockey

Review date: Apr. 4, 2013

It’s interesting to evaluate Jimy SeiTang’s emergence from the laid back heat of Psychic Ills, through the muted soft-pulse of Rhyton to his first album produced alone, Stygian Stride. The first obvious change is the move to pure electrics; though remaining true to his psych roots, he keeps it analog rather than work with his laptop. Now he’s moving into the world of spaced-out solos, ala Gas, with a six-track offering that leaps head-first, away from the engaging world of pop into an almost experimental form of prog-infused-psych, an ambient music that pairs techno and soft-pedal mood music.

Stygian Stride is a far cry from the straight psych basics of SeiTang’s earlier recordings, although you can hear the connections to Psychic Ills’ Mirror Eye. His solo effort is stripped back with a lot of repetition, as if every note is hard won and important to grasp. These repetitions form the throbbing base for high-register melodies or zany outer space anfractuous snippets of theme that evoke white bubble suits and giant leaps for mankind. Other times, he’ll use sustained chords over an insistent drone with a cathedral reach, the occasional burst of electronic bird song adding to the already powerful wings of a soaring track. As if all of these electronics aren’t enough of a surprise, SeiTang starts the album with a track called “Celestial Stems” that sounds like Alan Parsons Project’s “Sirius” if it had been remixed by Manuel Göttsching.

Most of Stygian Stride’s tracks are a bit more grounded, the standout being “Drift,” its bumping four-note melody rhythmically complementing some low gyration. “Taiga” has a hint of vocals to its meditative mood. But no matter the tempo or timbre, this album always feels like an act of love between SeiTang and his vintage equipment.

By Lisa Thatcher

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