Psychic Ills and Gibby Haynes’ Nowhere in the Night arrives from somewhere sometime ago, a document of sound bending, twisting, and stretching with the joy of collaboration and untethered aspiration.
Psychic Ills, then the trio Tres Warren, Elizabeth Hart, and Brian Tamborello, first intersected musically with Gibby Haynes, then and forever the founding member of Butthole Surfers, when the two groups with Texas roots toured extensively in 2009, and next when the Ills invited Haynes to contribute to the fourth volume of FRKWYS, an ongoing series of intergenerational collaborations that began that same year. Featured alongside interpretations of Psychic Ills’ music by Juan Atkins and Faust’s Hans-Joachim Irmler, Haynes’ contribution, a melted, modular melange, inspired the four musicians to manifest their mutual appreciation in a studio setting.
With a single session booked at the mid-aughts Brooklyn institution Monster Island, Psychic Ills and Haynes settled into the depth of a cold early February 2010 night to chase a spirit of intuition and improvisation down all corridors conjured. Positioned at their stations to those familiar with the original Psychic Ils formation before they expanded and evolved in years to follow (Warren on guitar, loops, percussion, and harmonica, Hart on bass, and Tamborello on drums), Haynes became the odd man in, hovering and howling behind a modular synthesizer and rack of vocal processors.
When the quartet finally found their footing and familiarity on the studio floor, engineer, Matt Boynton, pressed record at 10 pm and let the virtual tape roll until 4 am. Over the next several months, Warren assumed the responsibility of wading through the magical murk of the session, and editing down the material into a cohesive, if not completely outer limit, album. Nowhere in the Night is not only lost sound in its twelve year journey to reach an audience beyond its makers’ circle, but also in its liminal, chasmic characteristics. Not a psychedelic void, as much as a ceremonial realization of group mind and playful madness.
“Revisiting this music after so many years brought me back to that frenzied all-night affair,” Hart recollects. “We wanted to see what would happen if we mixed Gibby’s raw power with our nomadic improvisations of that era. This album captures a moment in time, a window into that mad night of experimentation.”
After the Nowhere in the Night session, the mixed and mastered album would remain relegated to a handful of test pressings while respective creative paths lead to and through new horizons. The project was never abandoned, rather allowed time to steep in mystery. Tres Warren passed away in March 2020. With Liz’s guidance, we’re humbled to offer this intimate yet expansive document, and honor Tres’s time with us.