Mystic Spy/Psykho Dojo


Mettle Records, 2018

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


A Denver outfit who have been plugging away for over a decade now, Itchy-O is a giant ensemble of 50+ musicians who are nearly redefining experimental and avant-garde sounds with their precise chaos and orchestrated innovation.

“Black Mist” starts the Mystic Spymy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 portion with a harp before a cosmic sort of tribal sound unfolds with a dark spirit and mesmerizing instrumentation. The marching band style drumming of “Ghosts Of Treason” follows where atypical percussion is on hand, as are woodwinds. “Saptaloka” and “Idra & Scepter” bookend this portion, where the former is a barrage of all sorts of sci-fi ideas; the latter offers acrobatic drumming alongside abrasive electronica.

“Pole Start” starts the Psykho Dojo side with a bare drum being manipulated for five minutes before the lengthy “The Silver River,” which is characterized by ambient, mysterious textures. At over nine minutes, it's the longest and most interesting track, combining sparse moments of faint sounds clashing against reckless percussion before building back up into a guitar focused adventure. “Diakkas” exits the listen ominously, where drums are the focus though machine like noises linger in the background.

The themes around the album include “a realm of esoteric trickery and espionage” and “a parallel universe of deep martial psychic discipline.” With synth, theremins, vocoders, and samples, among many other noise makers, Itchy-O mashes hard rock, electronica, and world music sensibilities that I doubt anyone else is matching.

In a time with endless self-promotion, Itchy-O prefer anonymity, and their art is equally mystifying, as their self-described 'savagely sophisticated' formula truly resides in a category all its own. As a bonus, the LP version even comes with a 'zine that contains a puzzle, that, if you figure out, lets you log in to an interactive site that allows you to layer, record and download your own versions of the songs and then download them.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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