Words by Armin Enayat
Close your eyes and step out of the boundaries, get into the dark in a kaleidoscopic world of being, where you float through the black hole of feelings and life experiences on a very deep personal level. Sometimes poetic, sometimes surrealistic, Hip To The Jag — as Kavus Torabi’s debut solo album— juxtaposes 60s psychedelia with avant-garde experimental space rock in a limitless cosmic ambience. It’s been almost two decades now that Torabi has been carrying the fire torch of British psychedelic music under different names such as Gong, The Utopia Strong, Knifeworld, Guapo, Cardiacs and a few more to mention. His always-creating attitude has now led to 10 hypnotic and evocative tracks which can take you to any moments in your timeline (whether in the past or your future) as in birth, hope, manipulation, solitude, failure, ambition, confrontation, rebirth, salvation and transition.
Pushing far behind the sonic limits, courtesy of the Indian harmonium, the intro track ventures out by the guiding acoustic guitar to “Chart The Way” towards the shimmering mystery of the unseen world. Drama and tragedy remain inevitable in the path. The rise and fall are the key signatures throughout the album as in the story of how the ambitious soul tries to spin “Silent The Rotor”, but instead, by the heavy drone of revelation and the tribal rhythm of manipulation, turns tragically into “A Body of Work”; a body led by acoustic guitar and cold vocal line in a dead silent atmosphere adding up to the sadness and oddness of the work.
In the middle of the darkness, a drone-scape ghost of light flits across “The Peacock Throne” tickling the eye to see the immortality. Filled with the astral reverberation of harmonium, “You Broke My Fall” goes beyond the standards of a psychedelic piece tripping through delicacy and fragility of a soul. There is a magnetic power buried in the “Cemetery of Light” which urges you to follow the attracting strums of the guitar and smooth blows of the synthesizer in search of the secret.
Here comes the cliffhanger of the album when “Radio To Their World” commences by a mystical message through the harmonium calling out for confrontation; “To be, or not to be, that is the question.” The unrestrained indulgence in migration is evident through the stomps of the bass line and the progressive picking of the electric guitar in “My Cold Rebirth”. Levitated in a dream of the divine world “Where the Eyeless Walk”, a smooth transition occurs in a 9-minute track, as the highlight of the album’s sonic experience which seems to indicate the ultimate fate of being; “Slow Movement”.
No wonder to be classified as a concept album, the modular structure of Hip To The Jag is an amazingly designed piece of art by Kavus Torabi which goes further than the world of music; where could be either found in a dim theatre as a musical, or a book of poems in British literature.
Hip To The Jag was released on the 22nd May 2020 and is available to purchase on vinyl, CD or digitally here
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