Artist: Amorphous Androgynous (FSOL)
Label: Psychobaby Records
Genre: Abstract, psyche rock, neo psyche, prog, downtempo
Roughly two years after the release of both versions of the “Isness” albums, out came “Otherness.” It is more of a compilation than an album, as one would guess. It features material from the “Isness” recording sessions and alternative mixes that ended up on the mispress or on the singles. You may notice that there is a two disc version that both features “Isness” and the “Otherness.” In fact, my computer’s media player assumes this is the version I have (it’s not). This version is quite scarce now, while the standalone version isn’t as pricey.
We open with two Abbey Road mixes that appear on the mispress album, alongside “Goodbye Sky.” In fourth place is “The Lovers,” which sounds differently mixed than the “Translations” version right off the bat. We have some extended guitar and sitar workings, organic percussion in spots and things really mellow out towards the end. It’s a very impressive take on an already amazing psyche groove.
“Maharishi Raga” is a major instrumental reworking of “Divinity.” It is a lot more playful and relies more on acoustic guitar and sitar. On that note, “The Band” eases in next; another reworking of “Divinity.” This is more laid back and the vocals have a gentler feel than the mispressed version. Still, it is quite good and I can’t help but sing along. “Rural Green” is a lot more abstract, despite having a catchy guitar sample, reversed strings and a downtempo beat. It’s good but one would be hard pressed to find where this might have fit originally for the album. The guitar heavy “Chawawah” bolts us into a very Beatles-esque psyche jam. It’s bubbly and honestly a ton of fun.
“She Sells Electric Ego” soars in from the “Mello Hippo…” single and before long, we’re blessed with the very short but sweet “Chinese Whispers” before being launched into another “Mello Hippo…” rework. “The Conga Run” sounds like another “Divinity” demo, this time with a lot more plucky and perky guitar. We get a more African styled beat in spots and there’s no sign of vocals this time around.
Surprisingly, we get a more big beat techno sounding track with “Theram.” It reminds me a bit of Indian Ropemen (a la “Elephantsound”), which I have to say is really enjoyable. And lastly, we get the blissful and gentle “Toy Piano” version of “Divinity” to close things out.
Should you buy this? If you’re into the “Isness” era sessions, this is perfect. There’s a nice balance of alternate takes as well as unreleased tracks of various styles to fit your fancy. This bridges the gaps nicely between the official version of that album and the mispress, give or take a few tracks that seemed to have vanished between the cracks. For fans of the ambient stuff, you will not find much of that here at all. If that was what you were solely after, you may want to skip this release. However, as it stands alone as a compilation, I find this really enjoyable.
4.5 out of 5