Review: The Psychogeographical Commission - Genius Loci (2008)


tpsc_glartist: The Psy­cho­geo­graph­ical Com­mis­sion
release: Genius Loci
format: CDr, CD
year: 2008, 2009
label: Self-released
dur­a­tion: 52:45

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Ori­gin­ally released in late 2008, Genius Loci is the debut album of the Eng­lish duo The Psy­cho­geo­graph­ical Com­mis­sion, con­sist­ing of mrsix and Hokano. Their music, as the band name indic­ates, is ded­ic­ated to explor­ing the psy­cho­lo­gical char­ac­ter­ist­ics and effects of the (urban) land­scape, in this case, focused on Lon­don. This is explored music­ally by fus­ing influ­ences from ambi­ent, indus­trial, field record­ing, and exper­i­mental music in gen­eral.

The res­ult is a col­lec­tion of songs that charts dif­fer­ent aspects of the theme chosen for this album, vary­ing between a num­ber of musical modes in between. Some tracks explore spoken or sung nar­rat­ives and con­ven­tional song struc­ture, oth­ers are geared more towards field record­ings and drones. On the whole, the exper­i­mental bent of the music reminds me some­what of later Coil mater­ial, but per­haps most of all of Eng­lish Heretic, who blaze a sim­ilar trail through England’s psy­cho­geo­graphy.

Though Genius Loci has ele­ments in com­mon with the artists afore­men­tioned, I feel it lacks a bit of the ori­gin­al­ity or sali­ence inher­ent in their works. The album flows nicely and has enough vari­ation to never bore, not to men­tion a great atmo­sphere. Nev­er­the­less, I miss a bit of an edge or chal­len­ging touch in these tracks. The album is best exper­i­enced as it was also inten­ded by the artists: as a musical and aural back­drop when explor­ing an urban envir­on­ment one­self. In such a set­ting, Genius Loci shows its strengths more than in any other.

For lov­ers of exper­i­mental music in the (post-)industrial corner with a fas­cin­at­ing con­cep­tual back­ing, Genius Loci is well worth your time and money. Two ver­sions are cur­rently avail­able: the ori­ginal CDr release, housed in a map-like double gate­fold, lim­ited to 250 cop­ies (pic­tured here), and the remastered CD edi­tion in slim­line DVD pack­aging.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. The Fires Of Lon­don (4:22)
2. Cam­den Book Of The Dead (4:00)
3. Have You Ever? (4:24)
4. Where Roots Think Of The Child (3:54)
5. Spare Thoughts (5:58)
6. The Ones Who Walked Before (8:16)
7. Genius Loci (6:34)
8. Cer­tain Shift­ing Angles (4:40)
9. OK Com­muter (10:38)