Drop a needle on Psyché's debut double-sider and you'll see visions, or rather Mediterranean visions, be they of waves of heat shimmering above dunes of sand, or of women dancing around a bonfire on a rocky plain, or of bushy cliffs overlooking emerald-green and turquoise sea. The name Psyché is of course ancient Greek for 'soul' or 'mind', signifying the band's love of psychedelic funk, but also the wide range of Mediterranean influences – from Southern Europe to the Balkan Peninsula, and from Anatolia to the Maghreb – that provide an endless source of inspiration for their hypnotic sound and minimalist style.
Psyché members Marcello Giannini (Guru, Nu Genea, Slivovitz), Andrea De Fazio (Parbleu, Nu Genea, Funkin Machine) and Paolo Petrella (Nu Genea) have been active in the Naples music scene for almost two decades, most notably during the first wave of the new Neapolitan Power movement (Slivovitz, Revenaz Quartet). Over the years they have often crossed paths and collaborated on side projects in various genres (math-rock duo Arduo and, more recently, Italo-disco duo Fratelli Malibu), before working together as the rhythm section of Nu Genea's live band. Following their first tour with Nu Genea in 2018, they started Psyché with the intent of exploring more minimalist styles and making musicwith just a few elements.
A unique combination of psychedelia, groove and improvisation, the music of Psyché goes back to the roots of our future; it evokes visions of a mythical past, blending centuries-old music traditions and mixing them with modern genres. Like a warm Mediterranean breeze, it travels across lands, seas and eras, distilling essential rhythms and cosmic pulsations.
The album's opener "Kuma" (titled after the first ancient Greek colony on the Italian mainland, now an archeological site near Naples) is like a vibrant, magical wave. With its deliberately simple harmony and sharp guitar riffs, it travels across the Mediterranean from Italy to North Africa, first lapping gently on Greek and Turkish shores – with some compositional elements reminiscent of Italian pop legend Lucio Battisti – and then speeding up and landing on the driving, syncopated rhythms of afrobeat. While listening to it your eyes fill with images of small white houses shining in the sun, of fig trees heavy with fruit, of spice bazaars and colourful medinas, and you can almost feel the desert wind blowing in your hair.