REVIEW TIME: PSYCHIC MIRRORS – OPHILIA

Psychic Mirrors - Ophilia

Nature of Evil was so much more than another modern funk (adjacent) album and Ophilia is so much more than another Nature of Evil.

Anyone expecting an album of “Draw Me Your Favorite Funk”s is gonna be disappointed but they should have known better anyway. Plenty of $5 Slave, Dazz or Fatback albums out there to keep you going. “Ricky Thai” probably the DJs’ go-to on here with its resonant byeowww layered on the one here and there, but there’s more on this album that will work on the floor. Open your heart.

Elsewhere there’s little intros/outros/vignettes that could easily stand on their own as fleshed out pieces. Plus fleshed out pieces that you might have first suspected to be intros/outros/vignettes. This is a simultaneous exercise in restraint, taste and risk. Not many people could do this.

The sound. Despite referencing stuff you’ll be familiar with, the end result is a brand new little universe outside of time that’s completely its own thing. It’s the future, you’ve been there before but it’s different this time. Silky Rhodes. Scratchy upright piano. Throaty lazer bass. Room sound ad-libs. Bells on A1 a nice touch too.

Somewhere between the writing and the production you’re phased into this feeling that’s not so much dreamlike, more the moment just after waking from one where you’re caught between both worlds. Plus a bit of that near-yet-far feeling Brian Ellis manages to do so well so often. It’s not (just another) modern funk (adjacent) album. It’s not strictly AOR. You get the feeling it’s a long moment through the very personal lens of Mickey de Grand IV.

RENA ROMANO “DO IT TO ME AND I’LL DO IT TO YOU”

This one’s a fun and loose dancer from Renata Romano / Rena Romano / Rena Feeney. No need to spend too much energy on being a “singer” when you just wanna have a good time and/or own the label. Throw in an excited drummer, a soggy Moog and a splashy Simmons Clap Trap and you’ve got something going.

The track’s about as simple as it first sounds but you could remove some elements and it’d probably hit even harder.

MARZ “EVERYBODY GET UP”

A good song about having a good time. Low-slung layered bass swinging around in the bottom end, hot synths up the top and some real thick vocoder.

I saw a comment on YouTube, Discogs or somewhere else a while ago saying it’s Tawatha Agee on the vocal but can’t confirm.

LEMELLE “A MAN LIKE YOU”


Lemelle’s “You Got Something Special” just got reissued so thought I’d give some shine to the project’s other track, “A Man Like You”, released the following year on the same label and involving mostly the same people.

A tight and bouncy bassline, big claps and a great vocal from Cindy Mizelle – you can’t go wrong.

DR. BOOGIE & FREE “DON’T WANNA LOOSE YOUR LOVE” (INSTRUMENTAL)


A cool slice of Euro boogie built around a really sticky bassline and a relentless synth squiggle. I was put on to this one by an Instagram video of Mr Groove playing it at a Funk Freaks party. Even only hearing it recorded through PA by an iPhone across the room then distorted back to me through a different iPhone, that synth just called out to me.

The track was written and produced by Steve Mannen who was in Sky Trane in addition to being the man behind the desk at Halfmoon Productions for a while. There’s an interview with him over at Jordan Valley Records that’s well worth checking out (as is their ┬ácatalogue). .