Boomkat Product Review:
1080p and RVNG alum RAMZi's latest is a psychedelic salve that updates fourth world atmospherics with fuzzed 'n blunted downtempo rhythmic construxions. RIYL DJ Python, Boards of Canada, Gigi Masin.
"hyphea" was born when Montreal's Phoebé Guillemot was asked to write a score for Frederic Lavoie's "Fun Fungi", an experimental documentary about mushrooms. The sketches for that soundtrack eventually grew into this album, that Guillemot worked on during the pandemic to curb the boredom of isolation. This is maybe why the record's sound word is so well developed and widescreen; Guillemot's music has been shifting and changing over the last decade, but she sounds moored on "hyphea", working in a fertile space between fourth world experimentalism, psychedelic trance eccentricity, and rhythmic, club-aware electronics.
Somehow, it sounds like Boards of Canada's early material if they'd been inspired by Shpongle rather than RZA. There's no dusty boom bap here, but Guillemot has the same dedication to quirky, documentary score electronics, hallucinatory vocals, and strong, memorable themes. 'foggi' is an unfussy example of this, lifted by airy synth chords and a stark, slow-motion beat that's not a million miles away from DJ Python's similarly horizontal "Mas Amable".
When Guillemot lets her ideas develop further, the album really begins to shine: 'smooshi' sounds exactly as the name suggests, propelled by a pliable rhythm and the kind of unstable rainforest atmospherics that Jon Hassell patented back in the 1970s; 'megafauna' meanwhile does a good job of twisting tabla whirrs into ethnographic liquid D&B. When she gets it right, Guillemot manages to write music that sounds like 21st century loungecore - queasy listening for young millennials and older Gen Zs who were dragged up listening to EDM rather than AOR or popular jazz.