Various Artists – Cyberdog Vol 4: Psy-Fi Systems Review

Although this is the fourth volume put out by Cyberdog (Released March 11th), it is their Psy trance compilation. Before hand the other volumes have been Electronica and Cybergoth. This was kind of an surprising choice when I first heard about the genre choice, even since the inception of this genre in the early 1990’s, Psy Trance has historically never sold well in North America. However, this is an import CD from the UK, and Psy Trance’s biggest following is in England, along with Israel, India, and South Africa.

Cyberdog, for those of you who are unaware, is a major outlet of Cyber-esque clothing. PVC, rubber, UV refractive clothing, LED embedded clothing and more. It tends to be a little on the pricey side, but the clothing is both highly stylized and attention getting. You can take a look at their online store and learn more about the company at http://www.cyberdog.net.

Psychedelic Trance has its roots in both Goa and Suomistyge aka Spugedelic Trance. This is a little bit fascinating from an sociological point of view, as Goa Trance is primarily East Indian Trace, while Spugadelic is Finnish. On a whole, Psy trance can be distinguished from the general umbrella of Trance we have here in the States by two key factors. The first is that Psy trance is generally faster than normal Trance. The average BPM for a Psy Trance song is between 135 and 150. The second key characteristic of Psy Trance is that it tends to be more melodic. One could even say it has a touch of Darkwave in it. This comes from the more New Age Goa style fusing with the more punky feel of Suomistyge.

CDV4 is a compilation album mixed by Oforia, aka Ofer Dikovsky. Offoria is one of the best known DJ’s in the Israeli Psy Trance scene. This of course means little to those of us in the Western Hemisphere, but it does appear Cyberdog went for one of the A names in the genre. The CD is only an hour long and contains ten tracks, each from a different group. The tracks are:

1) Homeless by Fatali

2) Inner Bright by Timelock

3) Merlin (Infected Remix) by Infected Mushroom

4) Virtual Space by Basic

5) Magic by the Freak Show

6) Return of the Machines (Future Prophecy Rmx) by Oforia featuring Bwicked

7) Unreal by Atomic Pulse vs. Cyrus the Virus

8) Feel the Vibration by Future Prophecy

9) Strike Twice by Echotek vs. Atomic Pulse

10) The Prophecy by Astral Projection

Oforio did an excellent job of blending all ten tracks together to where it the entire album feels like one very long song. Each track blends seamlessly into the next, while still having a distinct sound and feel to them. For example, Unreal has a more traditional trance feel to it, with heavier beats and a definite cyber influence. The track before it, Return of the Machines, is noticeably slower and the percussion is faster and lighter. Yet the two blend seamlessly into each other. The shift in styles and rhythm is subtle and actually helps one to appreciate the individual tracks once one perceives where the breaks are.

As well, the faster nature of this form of trance coupled with the stronger emphasis on synthesizers found in this sub sect of the genre creates an interesting duality for the CD. The entire compilation is not only very easy to dance, but the Goa influence on the album also makes this CD surprisingly relaxing as well. You can play it as background music and it manages to be quite soothing, even with the sped up tempo. One can’t really comment on the vocals, as nearly all of it is digitized sampling.

As Psy Trance is primarily a Commonwealth and Israeli music trend, it’s hard to say how someone Stateside will react to it. If you tend to be a fan of club style music or something a little more experimental yet upbeat, Cyberdog Volume 4 is probably a good first taste, as you’re getting multiple bands with a unifying mix via Oforia. If you’re one that generally eschews the club scenes and especially the more techno or goth style ones, that this is probably not the import for you to pick up. Europeans familiar with the myiad version of Trance to be found over there, you’ll find Cdv4 is a pretty good CD. There isn’t a bad track on the disc if you like this style of music, and many trance fans will appreciate the different levels one can appreciate this album on. And that’s not even taking into consideration the fact most fans of Psy trance are generally hepped up on E and stimulants while listening to this genre.

At 14 quid, Cdv4 is a pretty pricey CD in this age of MP3 downloads. It’s generally going to be a purchase for fans of the musical genre or of Cyberdog itself. The music style (as well as the outlet of distribution) may be a little too obscure for American audiences, but if you have the chance to listen to even a track from the CD, you really should. Hearing it just might offset both the trouble of tracking this CD down, as well as the cost.

Link: Cyberdog