“He was just one of those guys with that weird light around him. He just knew he wasn’t gonna get so much as a scratch here.”

This quote from ‘Apocalypse Now’ is an all time favourite, mostly because it encapsulates my philosophy on life in general. It felt particularly true during my pharmacologically fuelled 90’s – it’s essence, suffusing the alacrity of my tribe, gathered here under the collective banner, of Eindhoven Psych Lab 2016.

Now in it’s third incarnation, Eindhoven Psych Lab remains for me, THE benchmark for how an indoor music festival should be organised, and for all others to aspire to. De Effenaar‘s seamless ability, to cosset and cocoon it’s musicological merry pranksters, is simply without peer – as evidenced by this year’s breathtaking line-up.

If there is one potential flaw, in an event so fabulously convivial, it’s in the very real possibility that the social whirl, comes dangerously close to overshadowing the music! A tightrope for all gathered, to negotiate their way through, over the two, synapse shredding daze…pjimage-2 copy 9

Images by Patrick Spruytenburg fotografie

The Future’s Dust get proceedings underway with the promise of taking, “its audience along on a nightly stroll through the rugged hills that connect the plains of pop-rock to whatever unknown land you venture into if you’d pass those slopes. These are the ranges that have been pioneered by the likes of The xx, Bon Iver and James Blake, and between their tents and camps The Future’s Dust creates a compelling ambience, writing darkly comforting songs that contain both intimate synths and expansively tearing guitars, hollow silences and echoing drums, that invite you to both withdraw and get drawn into; sometimes through techno-esque dynamics, and sometimes without warning”…

In synch with the party atmosphere, BLANK up the tempo with their trademark adrenaline shot, the intracardiac injection form this Psychwave band from Amsterdam, provides the jolt everyone is looking for…

Forever Pavot unleash their, “Pop 60’s Psych Library Soundtrack Prog” sensibilities on the Main Lab stage…

Lab Rats on Rafts, are a Rotterdam quartet who have been riding high on their live reputation of late, their recent gig at Fuzz Club’s Under The Arches for one, garnering rave reviews. Their Post-Punk/New Wave hybrid, finding an idiosyncratic outlet in the band’s recent revival of the Lee Hazelwood / Nancy Sinatra anthem, ‘Some Velvet Morning’…

Some other mainstream musical event took place in Eindhoven that weekend, the ensuing traffic chaos resulted in late arrivals not only for some of the fans, but also for The Oscillation and Useless Eaters – whose slots were mercifully rearranged for later in the day.

The unexpected interruption, in the natural flowing order of things, afforded further opportunity to bask in the (Hoe)garden, sample the as ever exquisite culinary delights, and to immerse yourself in the unhurried camaraderie of friends old and new.

Orchestra of Spheres kickstart proceedings again, these New Zealand rhythmic raconteurs, “use homemade instruments like the biscuit tin guitar, electric bass carillon and sexomouse marimba to create their cosmic dancing sound”…

There is a real sense of anticipation as Throw Down Bones unleash their command over the Observatory stage. Tightening their grip on the adoring masses, with each nuanced coaxing of their, “Noise Militia / Amnesia haze kraut / philosophical drone”. Frankie & Dave are clearly in their element. For those fortunate to have witnessed these “mountain sound” assassins before, the Effenaar set-up and premier sound quality, ushers this cold-wave pairing into the realms of Jupiter, as they deliver their mercurial set. “Is everybody in?” The ceremony has most certainly begun…

Hills, “exist to make music and create a meditative space, without rules, heavily dependent on improvisation” – and tonight is no exception to that mantra. These Gothenburg scene-stealing stalwarts, weave sonic tapestries in honour of our psychedelic forbears, their consulate musicianship, “focuses on the groove/sounds and rhythm instead of classical songwriting structures”, ensuring that, “Hills try to keep it honest, analog and raw the very best way they can”…

Camera and their unique, “improvised 4 to the floor krautmusic with an adventurous Punk / DIY-Attitude”, crank the pace back up to fever-pitch. The frenetic spectacle and aural assault of these Berliners, again proving their live credentials…

Brooklyn dystopians, Parquet Courts deliver a detuned, feedback maelstrom of disenfranchisement. Their DIY underground ethic, steeped in sticking it to the man…

Everything comes to those who wait. White Hills are in danger of becoming something of an institution. To have kept such a keen and instinctive finger on the musical pulse, for the duration of their thus far, 10-odd year career is bordering on the uncanny. That they have remained vital and relative, lies in Dave W.’s assertion that, “I’m very conscious about making the records sound very different from each other.” That and their incendiary, high octane, “Motorik Fuzz”, live cacophonous cocktails, ensures that tonight seethes with rebellious charm. Always the genial spokesman/woman in conversation, the pervasive air of genuine, heartfelt concern for our societal ills, is underpinned by the soundtrack of an ethereal juggernaut…

Temples “are a psychedelic group from the Midlands” – so says their no frills, matter of fact statement, which that part of the UK has become synonymous with. Their melodic, indie-pop retro groove, rewards the faithful with a glimpse of some new material from their forthcoming album…

The revised schedule now kicks into effect, with Useless Eaters and The Oscillation reprising their earlier slots, ahead of the highly anticipated Audio Test 005…

The moshpit accompanying Useless Eaters says it all, as does the recent ‘Temporary Mutilation’ EP, “this release especially exemplifies singer / guitarist / leader Seth Sutton’s growth as a sonic craftsman – less concerned with “punk” as a sound while inevitably remaining PUNK, devoting himself to the development of unique noise. The title track’s skeletal arrangement and oddball meter has been embellished with haunting vibrations via phones of the saxo & xylo variety, electronic rhythmic units have been employed… and the entirety of the EP bleeds with Sutton’s trademark horrific sci-fi imagery and aggressive riffs and delivery”…

It’s been a lllooonnnggg day by the time The Oscillation hit the Main Lab stage around 01:30, but everyone is grateful they are here. Demian Castellanos and cohorts are immediately in their stride, the “experimental / rock / drone/ psychedelic” ripples, emanating from the stage, enliven all present with the barrage of sonic blanketing…

Sadly there is only 15 minutes before the culmination, for me, of months of anticipation is unleashed on the Observatory stage – RMFTM meets GNOD: Temple Ov BBV Audio Test 005.epl16!

With both bands at their respective cutting edge of experimentalism, what unfolds is a bruising exercise in brutalist deconstruction. A pounding, punishing, post-apocalyptic sturm und drang. The intrinsic essence of “music” is here dissected, in controlled laboratory conditions, stripped bare of ornament, exposed on a disparate, shattered slab. The primordial building blocks, emphatically eviscerated, slowly coalesce with crystalline purity. A transfixive, ritualistic cleansing has enveloped, the audience dismembered, released and reborn in spiritual harmony… ingnodwetrust…

Coming on for 03:00, I bid the Lab farewell – first day closers, the eclectically percussive, Cairo Liberation Front meets High Wolf, will have my attention some other day…

Eindhoven Psych Lab 2016mg, Day Two review to follow…