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  • Lucia Roca

The New Era of the Psychedelic Sound

Cover Art: Sophie Cheng

Ever since the ’70s and beyond that into our past, we have seen the rise and acceptance of psychedelic music as a new sound that is widely enjoyed on a regular basis by more than just your friendly neighborhood hippie. Many things are used as a positive escape, and it’s safe to say that this genre accomplishes the submersion no less than flawlessly.

In summary, psychedelic music is known as a wide range of music styles and genres that were influenced by 1960’s psychedelia, “a subculture of people who used psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline and DMT to experience visual and auditory hallucinations, synesthesia” and more extended side effects. As experienced by many, the psychedelic sound takes on many characteristics such as exotic instrumentation, quick tone shifts, and other sound effects used to create the feeling of depersonalization.

In the start, the main contributors to this genre included the Beatles, with their record-breaking song “Strawberry Fields Forever” off of their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This song caused a massive wave of both support and backlash, as it was experimental for the band themselves; however, it was also used as a form of inspiration for future aspiring artists. Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix were also among other early creators of the psychedelic sound.

However, as we move into a new decade we are seeing outstanding releases of this distinct genre from multiple new and seasoned artists. The first and most popular of the list is the one and only Kevin Parker, otherwise known as Tame Impala. His particularly beautiful sound is displayed generously on his newest albums Currents and The Slow Rush. These include songs such as “The Less I Know the Better”, “Disciples”, “Lost in Yesterday” and “One More Year”. His albums also include very detailed cover art that displays this psychedelic genre, as well as thrilling lyrical ideas that illustrate his true understanding of the abstract concepts behind the psychedelic sound itself. Another grand contributor to the new psychedelic sound is the band MGMT, famously known for their 2007 release of the song “Kids”. Some of their less popular, yet equally enjoyable releases include “Little Dark Age”, “When You Die”, and “As You Move Through the World”. Their sound is also highly influenced by the electronic genre, which adds plenty to their already immersive auditory experience. Some honorable mentions of bands/individual artists with psychedelic sound include Cocteau Twins, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, and Empire of the Sun.

Overall, the psychedelic sound is something that is constantly evolving and changing as we move into a higher understanding of the human consciousness. It is something that will continue to grow with our further understanding of technology merged with the music industry, as well as the growing acceptance of the more unique aspects of life.

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