The Institute for Psychic Reform is apparently
a somewhat eclectic, loosely formatted collective based around
the person of Alan Evil in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.
Dream It Was Crazy is their latest effort, a
long ambient set that begs comparison to Chill Out,
KLF's 1990 classic. Like that older album, this is ambient in
the sense that structure is barely there, not in the sense that
it is necessarily relaxing, peaceful music. This is music that
flows, seemingly organically. You never know what is going to
come up next, and there are many layers of sound, so even if
you spend several days just sitting and listening, you will
still discover new things.
Due to this "collage" nature it is difficult to discuss songs.
There aren't really "songs" in a traditional sense, just as
there aren't really melodies in a traditional sense. Oh sure,
there are themes and sounds that reappear periodically, but
they do not constitute some nugget that you can hum as you go
about doing your housework.
This just isn't that kind of music.
And that will dissapoint, annoy, or frustrate a wide range
of people. If you are one of those people, then this really
isn't for you. If, however, the collage nature that i have described
appeals to you, then i think this is a great release to check
out. It is well done, and contains lots of interesting sounds.
It is not so much a directed journey as Chil Out
was (that album being a collage based on a hypothetical train
ride across America. Silly Brits -- as if you could ride a train
across this country....), but is more like, well, like you are
sitting somewhere, and a wide range of things occur around you.
There is one loud theme that reappears periodically, constructed
out of loud, bellowing keyboard hits. This sound reminds me
of some loud machine, like a street cleaner or something. So,
in a sense, what this is like is like sitting on a bench in
a park and just listening.
I enjoy this kind of thing, and i think it compares well to
In An Off White Room by The Album Leaf (which is an extended
ambient collage of sounds you would here if, presumably, you
were sitting in the off-white room.)
One interesting point of note is this comment in the liner
This album was recorded live and direct to two track and
was created with minimal mastering and editing.
When you get down to it, that is pretty durned amazing considering
the flowing nature of this piece. No, really: Chill Out
was crafted on computer, and this album has a very similar
feeling. There are loops and sounds and instruments that flow
in and out of focus. To think that The IFPR did that live is
kind of amazing!
The album is divided up into 11 tracks, but there isn't any
real reason for that. It is not as if you are going to come
home from work and think, "Boy, what a day! Track 4
off of Dream It Was Crazy will really relax me..."
No, instead, you'll put the whole disc in and relax for an hour....
So, i recommend this to ambient fans. It is an interesting
listen, and Mr. Evil has threatened to include a CD-R of some
alternate live versions of this piece with future orders. So
act now and get twice the ambience for you dollar. That oughta
keep you occupied for a good long while....