In mapping the progression of San Francisco psych-beat producer Al Lover the growth shown stood out the strongest as a former beatmaker with a Southern-twang in the loops morphed into a full-bred freak of the West Coast. He was gradually distancing himself from his origins and therefore defining his sound as not simply a psych-head with Madlibian tendencies or worse a rap producer with a passing fancy for Thee Oh Sees shows. With the release of Sacred Drugs last year, Al Lover was the exception to those talks of psych-rock stagnancy and rudimentary saturation. Armed with collaborations with Tim Presley and recent Sub-Pop signee Morgan Delt, his records traversed boutique psych labels while he physically traversed the U.S. and Europe with his contemporaries at festivals like Austin Psych Fest and Liverpool Psych Fest. He was that dude in the scene giving the baked and fried a new path to transcendence.
But he’d yet to truly transcend, that is until now. “Genisis Porridge” is Al Lover’s psychedelic arrival, his terrifying ascension through a portal where there is little looking back to be done. The 21-minutes of sci-fi rising is an arresting piece of composition with tension wound so harrowing it would give John Carpenter goosebumps. It is the definitive moment, the definitive and absurdist lone a-side recorded like a deal with the Prince of Darkness that true psych-heads will approach with timidity in swallowing though tabs. “Genisis Porridge” is “peak at your own risk” material.
Still holding on to enough sanity for the b-side? “Death Rattle” evokes a rugged, western cool that deserves to be the slow-mo intro of a cocaine cowboys film—that scene as it’s all about to go down in the casino lobby. And while drone factored into recent output like Sacred Drugs and the GOAT Remixes, Cave Ritual revisits the loop-digging funk with a psychedelic perversion on “Permanent Now”. “Brian Jonestown Masochist” is in dedication to their Satanic Majesties third request, while “Goddaughter” is the courteous closer that confidently operates through aural cavities without disruption, knowing the mind has been tormented enough through the duration of Cave Ritual.
Al Lover’s Cave Ritual is out January 27 on Stolen Body Records.