Album Reviews: Paisiel by Paisiel

When I was reimagining my website and thinking how I could refresh things, this album by Paisiel was pretty much the sort of thing I had in mind. The fact that it is being released by one of my favourite labels, Rocket Recordings, is perhaps a coincidence… or maybe just an indication of the way musical development is going… or maybe its not so much about the music itself but the terminology we place around it. In the final analysis a label is in the eye of the beholder, and so what one person might think is ‘psych’ may we be a complete anathema to another.

This is one of the reasons why I have decided to move my writing from my ‘Psych Insight Music’ blog to this more genre-neutral one, because I really don’t want labels to limit what I write about… or what others expect me to write about. I am, therefore, no longer listening to this album by Portuguese duo João Pais Filipe and Julius Gabriel wondering whether I can locate it in a particular musical place, rather be more free about what I am hearing and what it says to me.

Originally a cassette release on the ever-interesting Lovers and Lollypops label, this is a brilliantly eclectic album which takes in many musical styles and mixes them in a way that is both thrilling and suspenseful. You are never really sure which way the music is going to go… this is strange because two of the three numbers on this album are also long improvised tracks which rightly drive through long sonic arcs during which you are drawn into rhythms that both propel the sound forward and leave indelible marks in your psyche.

Opening track ‘Satellite’ is a case in point… beginning with a temple bell as if calling us to ritual we find ourselves in a long intro in which the veiled sounds feel like a mist on our minds before the tribal drumming kicks in to clear away the fog and a simply beautiful sax glides in and just takes the whole track onto a sublime level… you could say it’s jazz… you could say it’s world music… you could probably put in a good case for Krautrock.

But why would you?

Just enjoy it, because this for me is absolutely top notch eclecticism which takes us out of our need to label things… encourages us to just let go of that which we cling on to… just enjoy it and feel free!

The other longer track on the album, ‘Limousine in the Dessert’, also begins in a quiet manner giving us the sense that we are moving through dense undergrowth… the sounds of creatures all around us. Here I felt ambivalent about whether they were threatening or not… I suspect that will come down to mood. Very quickly, however, the beats are emerging though and we have a pacey and atmospheric track with a dual techno/ tribal beat which, when combined with that sax, quickly establishes itself as a winning combination for me. It is a piece of music… like the whole album… which very much reflects where I am now… music which somehow is dragging me out of the morass that is much of contemporary society… creative expressions shining through the gloom.

The third, shorter track, ‘Cause Yourself to Rise, Gong’ is, as you would expect, more immediate showing that Filipe and Gabriel can also produce music which is more intense and concise… in many ways a distillation of the other tracks on the album… have a listen…

This is the sort of album that sets the way forward for me, because it does not try to fit into any particular conventions… nor does it seek to jump on any bandwagons. There is a certain freedom to Paisiel’s music which tells you just to take it at face value… after which you are free to explore it unfettered… wander through and develop your own narratives and ideas… engage with it and enjoy it… that’s not a new concept but it’s one that we perhaps should remind ourselves of every now and again.



Thanks very much for reading my blog, I really appreciate this. I write it as a labour of love to help me enjoy music, and to give something back to the many talented people who put out these incredible sounds.

To make it as enjoyable as possible for others I do pay extra so there are, for instance, no ads on these pages; but it would be great if the blog could pay for itself.

So, if you’ve really enjoyed your visit here and have found some music that you think is amazing, why not buy me a coffee (I write in independent cafés a lot) by clicking the “make a donation” button on the sidebar or footer depending on your device.


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