Italian multi-instrumentalist Valerio Willy Goattin (he of Galaverna and Slap Guru fame!) adds to the shut-in musical cornucopia with his new alias Kavee and a current record, Metempsychosis. He describes the album as “an acoustic escape towards the dreamlike dimension of music, a journey through mysterious and distant landscapes”.
In a very wonderful way, there’s a lot of Jethro Tull’s ‘Living In The Past’ (sans flute, but thank you Ian Anderson!) in this music. Sure, “We’ll go walking/While others shout/Of war disaster”, or, in his other words, “Here on the inside, outside so far away”.
Put simply, this is beautiful acid folk that, through inner reflection, finds purpose and existential strength (plus beauty!) amid what Ray Davies called, “A mixed up, muddled up, shook up world”. And yeah, this music does “live in the past” in a very literal way, as it glances back into the late Sixties and early Seventies, when, as my friend, Kllda Defnut, always says, “Music created colours that Crayola will never comprehend”.
Not only that, but the psych vibrations ignite the open-throttled synapses (the very places where nerve cells dance with other nerves cells) in the human brain.
The first (and title track) begins with a simple acoustic guitar melody, which evokes the sound of Wishbone Ash, circa Argus, when Andy Powell and Ted Turner wove a delicate tapestry of melting euphoric notes with dappled autumnal ‘Leaf And Stream’ tranquility. And the vocals caress all the ghosts of the past, who still inhabit (and breathe within) the daily pulse of any sacred woodland rivulet. This tune, quite simply, drains eternity. The guitar bit at the end simply bleeds beauty during this seven minute plus sonic psych ride.
Great music sometimes does that.
‘The Loss Of The Sun’ pursues that charm into an ever deeper sitar Eastern vibe, with a languid vocal, that again, dances in brain synapses with a melodic mantra that certainly echoes The Third Ear Band’s psych-prog instrumental pulse. And the tune gives a one-man-band (sort of bare bones) nod toward other 70’s psych folk bands like Dr. Strangely Strange, Forest, Cob (Clive’s Own Band with the made for Hit Parade title, Moyshe McStiff And The Tartan Lancers Of The Sacred Heart!), Perry Leopold (of Christian Lucifer fame!) and, of course, Germany’s entry into the folk psych Olympics, Broselmaschine, with music that curls like a Celtic illuminated letter, just as (the great) Horslips sang, “ We’re the laughter in the twilight/You can hear beyond the hill”. Indeed! And as they also confessed, “We’ve grown sideways to the sun”.
Metempsychosis does, indeed, vibrate “sideways” into any ever circular “sun”. And, to cite yet another reference, it rides with an acoustic shotgun in the same funhouse time machine as Nick Saloman’s Bevis Frond.
Then the acid-folk (to almost quote Fleetwood Mac) “plays on”. ‘Indian Summer’ (with lyrics by poet William Campbell) has a pleasant and hypnotic drone, and when propelled by sitar and electric guitar, travels off to musical mysticism. This is (to quote the great Kevin Ayers exactly) a “Song For Insane Times”. If anything, all this shut-down isolation has provided a quietude for inner introspection, which is always a good thing. As Peter Gabriel sang in The Lamb’s ‘Carpet Crawlers’, “We’ve got to get in to get out”.
Then, ‘Like Morphine’ is acoustic comfort, with a guitar and voice that follow Lennon’s suggestion to “Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream”, because these days, truly, “Tomorrow Never Knows”. The song also sports a harmonium hum and a glance at that other Beatle’s Blackbird acoustic sound.
‘Interstellar’ is a lengthy acoustic strummed (and rather urgent!) song that flows into a lovely exotic electric guitar that roams the universe a bit, until it returns to frame the final solitary words, “Days go by without worries but my soul has no time to calm down, to set up its own way, its own run”. Well, to get a bit quote happy (sorry!), William Blake said, “I must create a system or be enslaved by another man’s”, which is a close cousin to Ian Anderson’s ode to individuality: “And if I laughed a bit too fast/Well it was up to me”. So, there really is no doubt about the vibe here, as fellow-psychsters, The Pretty Things, once threw out the rhetorical rock ‘n’ roll question, “Get the picture?”
And speaking of (the before-mentioned several times!) Jethro Tull, ‘An October Evening’ conjures the acoustic foggy and off-hand vocal of Ian Anderson, in his best ‘Sossity, You’re A Woman’ underground subdued rock charm. Ditto for ‘Awakenings’, with its Mick Abrahams This Was bluesy guitar solo and more of Ian A’s early distorted ‘A Song For Jeffrey’ vocal sound.
The brief ‘01/01’ instrumental ends the album with a classical guitar instrumental, which serves as a nice final introspective glance at that “journey through mysterious and distant landscapes”. A bit of icing on the cake here: The title, Metempsychosis, references (Thank you Wikipedia!) “the supposed transformation at death of the soul of a human or animal into a new body”—a laudable concern that begs a nod and a wink toward the lyricism of the rock band Areosmith – “You gotta love it!”
So, this music wobbles with transistor tube patience; and while it is “living in the past”, it also conjures a belief in always much needed modern introspection (perhaps in 5/4 time!) that pushes that past into a welcoming world “of an acoustic escape”, that oddly, returns us all into the past glories of the long forgotten and eternally blissful folk-psych garden of truly wonderful music.
Artist’s website: https://kavee.bandcamp.com/releases
‘Indian Summer’ – official video: