"It has been made to beam out of a big sound-system to lots of smiling faces..."
The second album from chill-out rockers Hoopy Frood from the UK and is produced by the mighty Ott. The album tells the story of a girl called Indigo who is destined to change the world via the 100th Monkey theory with each track telling us the story of her journey to enlightenment.
The music is very positive and light, full of playful riffs and melodies, with that start dreamy and fragile and then build up into fully danceable chill out. Dreamy vocals sit deep in the mix which help balance the feel of the music. There's obvious jazz and pop influencesand you can hear a mixture of Amorphous Androgynous and Pink Floyd with a sprinkling of Ott's magic on top. 'Suspended in the Brightness' could easily have been on Blumenkraft' while 'Chasing Inspiration' is a lesson in pure fun, with a rhythm that will carry you along smiling. It's not hard to imagine the music outside at a festival somewhere, it feels like it has been made to beam out of a big sound-system to lots of smiling faces. Definetley worth checking out if you are a chill-out lover looking for something heart warming and less electric than a lot of the releases out there
"They open in us deep emotions and hidden thoughts..."
Hoopy Frood, a collection of genuine musicians, who know how to play most well known instruments and to create from these a rainbow of melody and sounds. Their music is a big mix from all conceivable chill music styles of electro, over rock, folk and pop. Sometimes synthetically, sometimes acoustically they bring us the supplest ambiente. They open in us deep emotions and hidden thoughts. Special effects and pleasant refrains ring us to the internal peace. They are psychedelic and occasionally remind you of the pacey style 70's with modern pop.
"Hoopy Frood has a wonderful gift for making beautiful, organic and fun pieces of music..."
As soon as you've taken in the opening track of Hoopy Frood's 2004 debut album, Psychonaut, you know you are in for an eclectic, multi-faceted psychedelic treat. Beautiful guitar mixed with the occasional drumbeat leads into fun-sounding keyboard, which then turns into a haunting piano, and back to the guitar and keyboard. Finally female voices chant over these sounds as it fades out.
I gave that description for one reason: to show how eclectic even a single track on this album is. Does it work? Yes. Like Shpongle and Ozric Tentacles before them, Hoopy Frood has a wonderful gift for making beautiful, organic and fun pieces of music out of a diverse range of influences. And unlike most albums in the psychedelic ambient genre, Psychonaut manages not to sound like "Shpongle lite" and instead forge their own sound. If Shpongle is a mind-bending trip through consciousness, Hoopy Frood is a delightful celebration of life.
If you're new to the psychedelic ambient genre, this is as good as any of an album to start with. However, if you're familiar with it, you'll notice many differences. Unlike most psychedelic ambient albums, Psychonaut eschews foreign chants and Terrence McKenna samples in favor of clean trance-style vocals. It works well for the album and helps set a different type of mood. It also draws its influences from mostly Western music, though there are still African and Eastern influences on the album.
You'll find yourself moved through a range of emotions as you listen to Psychonaut, a range as wide as the number of influences. From the chilled-out tone of "Nlite" to the melancholic "The Voice," Psychonaut finally culminates with the nearly 13-minute epic Light and Breath, with a guitar solo almost rivalling "Comfortably Numb." You are then left to decompress to the beautiful acoustic guitar stylings in "Friends."
Hoopy Frood is music for music fans. If you enjoy a diverse range of styles, you'll enjoy Psychonaut. If you enjoy albums that are not just collections of songs, but musical journeys, you'll find yourself playing it over and over again. Hard copies of Psychonaut are hard to come by, but you can find this album easily in the iTunes Store.
"I will never tire of Hoopy Frood…"
errrrrr.... It's difficult to disassociate myself from Rubbish Records and say what I think on a personal level but Rubbish says - this is good: buy it and we'll make a small commission. I say - WOW !!!!!! This album is totally up my street - I really can't recommend it enough. It is definitely the MOST played promo I have received. I'm not really sure what it's got going for it, I'm not qualified to say how good or bad the musicianship is or how technically good it is, but the way this album has been constructed is, for me, as effective and impressive as I found Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd and I've never grown tired of that. I suspect I will never tire of Hoopy Frood. I feel they have chucked Pink Floyd, Fun Loving Criminals and Enigma into a bucket and pulled out one of the most outstandingly pleasant albums of the year. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is I LIKE IT! I hope you do, too.
"I am still blown away every time I hear it…"
OK boys & girls, properly strapped in are we? Every once in a while something extra special comes along, for some of us - this is such a time. Hoopy Frood, you might have never heard of them but after this release you will have. Psychedelic ambient meets Pink Floyd. Wow!. I won't keep banging on about it. Suffice to say I am still blown away every time I hear it.
"We suspect the work of hippies …"
Hoopy Frood is the sort of music you might stumble across by accident at a festival. Bridging the gap between progressive rock and psy-chill, it's not going to be to everybody's tastes but for certain members of the psy community, this could be a bit of a gem. Sequence kicks off with circular, guitar-led chillage; and a woohoo is in order ("woohoo!") because uncharacteristically, the guitar's actually decent. Not the sort of skid row power chord monstrosity to infect a lot of "dance floor stormers.
"Never Coming Down is one of the handful of tracks here that deploy vocals; and read that in terms of 'it's a song' rather than the normal psytrance use of vocals as another instrument. Lyrically, it's something rather yogurt-weavy, but pleasant: we suspect the work of hippies. Title track Psychonaut is delightfully awash with guitars, The Voice is a sort of hippy Noel Gallagher / Dido collaboration: an interesting one for sure, though even with repeated listens I'm not quite sure what the song's on about.
Haze is a real tickler: jazzy bass, sliced-up vox, and plenty of other noises all jumping about, making for a nice psy crossover track. Psychology is best described as Small Faces meets Twin Peaks meets Enigma with a sprinkling of semi-flamenco Muppet Show (yup, I told you it was psychedelic.) Impermanence tackles a sort of fast-paced digidub and comes out smelling of roses, Light and Breath is a sort of Vangelis-meets-Café Del Mar floatathon, which is rather spoiled by the sound of a woman moaning suggestively, followed by an overblown guitar solo.
Closing Track Friends is a nice guitar-led ending, a bit like an acoustic Jimmy Page or (how's this for an obscure reference) WG Snuffy Walden, who composed the Thirty-something soundtrack. All in all a likeable, if puzzling album.