“Being from Italy and doing what we do – we are outsiders” says Luca Giovanardi, a founder member of Julie’s Haircut, whose always incendiary yet increasingly outlandish sound has found itself with few parallels in their homeland since their inception towards the end of the last century. “We have always been outsiders.”
Yet in following their own singular pathway, the band have arrived at the deep-end approach to sonic innovation audible on their debut release for Rocket Recordings, ‘Invocation And Ritual Dance Of My Demon Twin‘. Seven albums into a mission initially inspired by the likes of Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine and Spacemen 3, the band now find themselves at a new plateau of small-hours elucidation and revelation that may summon the spectres of the wayward squall of early Mercury Rev, the shamanic allure of Dead Skeletons or the wild soundscapes of Amon Duul II to some, yet essentially sounds like no-one but themselves.
It was in around 2005 that the band decided to pursue a more experimental mindset, and central to this reinvention has been the evolution of an alchemic compositional method which sees them triumph via intuitive processes to arrive beyond notions of classicism, genre and contemporary reference, somewhere in motion along the pathways of the consciousness-expanding psychedelic continuum without paying lip-service to its well-worn signifiers.
“In fact we don’t ‘write’ songs anymore, not in the usual sense” he explains “It’s more similar to what Teo Macero was doing on Miles Davis’s records: improvising freely and then ‘finding’ the song, refining it until it comes out in its final form. Can – whose former singer Damo Suzuki is now a very close friend of ours and we’ve been performing with him many times – used a similar method. And of course both Can and Davis have been two huge influences on our work in the last ten years.”
The result is a record built on trance-like repetition that grows to mantric intensity to summon atmospheric plateaus redolent of the psychic and surreal transgressions of its title – a double-helix tribute to both Frank Zappa and Kenneth Anger. Coruscating guitar overload and jazz-tinged blowout collide amidst hypnotic soundscapes like the shamanically inclined ‘The Fire Sermon’ and the eleven-minute motorik magnificence of the curtain-raiser ‘Zukunft’. Yet atmospheric restraint, glacial texture and immersive groove play as large a part in this blinding and beatific soundworld as droning darkness or overheated amp tubes.
As the band elaborates, “Psychedelic music has always been about adventure and loss of any safety net”. True to form, central to the succor provided whilst lost within the grooves and headspace of Invocation And Ritual Dance Of My Demon Twin is that it offers no security at all.