[Review] Hofmann's Kaleidoscope Vol. 1 - Expiation of the Psychedelic Hunters Compilation

Hofmann's Kaleidoscope Vol. 1 - Expiation of the Psychedelic Hunters Compilation
The other day I was out for dinner with a friend in an Italian pizzeria. The... mesmerizing...melodies...of a best-of Italian music cd were filling up the place. But after a while the cd was stuck and for an hour or so we were listening the same two tunes again and again. Actually we were listening half of each tune. In the beginning it was like a really weird, fucked-up or even creepy remix. But after a while it started to feel like Groundhog Day... So when we left (my nerves were really streched up), I promised to myself not to hear again any music coming from Italy... Fortunately the good guys from Vincebus Eruptum and Perkele.it changed my mind when they sent this brilliant compilation...

I presume that most of you are aware of Vincebus Eruptum which in my opinion is one of the best (if not the best) printed magazines. It requires a lot of guts, patience and love for music to create something like this. While Vincebus Eruptum is an Italian english-written magazine, Perkele.it is a well-respected, completely Italian webzine.So the guys behind the two zines in collaboration with ExLab who created the artwork. put out a compilation titled "Hofmann's Kaleidoscope Vol. 1 - Expiation of the Psychedelic Hunters" which was released as a supplement to Vincebus Eruptum #14 limited to 200 copies.

Hofmann's Kaleidoscope Vol. 1 features 12 tunes by Italian bands from the wider heavy psych spectrum. I only knew (and like) only half of the bands participating so when I got it, I went straight ahead for a listening experience. And of course I wasn't disappointed by the result. But let's take a deeper look...

01. Clark Nova - Gentlemen Start Your Engines
Clark Nova is quite an old band, being on the streets from 1995 and with two releases on their back. I hadn't heard anything by them before so it was a pleasant surprise and a well-fitted opening with their Spacemen3-influnced psych rock.

02. Enormous - Fly Low Dragonfly
Not much info for these guys and I don't think they have released anything yet beside their contribution here and a few tracks in myspace. Swirling, deep-space repetition suitable for late night rituals...

03. Insider - Dark Age
This is the first band I already knew.They have released four albums until now with "Simple Water Drops" being their best one (I didn't have the chance to check "...Vibrations From The Tapes..." though which was released in 2012). "Dark Age" is a 13-min space oriented track in the veins of the old ones like Hawkwind, Ash Ra Tempel, Gong... Top notch!

04. Motopolkablacksamba - Astroblues
Well that's a cool name for a band... And another one I didn't know, although they have two releases out there. "Astroblues" as the title clearly states is the most blue-oriented track here with a gentle psych touch here and there.

05. Trip Hill - Fever
Trip Hiil is a one-man project (Fabrizio Cecchi), having released four albums so far and it's a band I like a lot. Generally he's being influenced by late-60's psych scene as well as by kraut rock. "Fever" is based mainly on a repetitive percussion "mode" surrounded by some guitar drones. Cool stuff.

06. Anuseye - Thirst For A Fix
Anuseye is another band I learned through the comp, although Claudio Colaianni was in Colt 38 and That's All Folks (along with Luca Stero).  "Thirst For A Fix" is one of my favorite tracks here, having a heavier vibe and some stoned-out vocals.

07. Otehi - Sea Witch
Ah Otehi... A band that I really love and they're great guys too. While their first release "Noisy Spirit" was quite monolithic, they recently made a turn to more psychedelic sounds, something I applaud. "Sea Witch" is one of these "new-era" tracks and a personal favorite, probably because it brings in mind my beloved Mugstar.

08. Epstein Superflu - The War Inside Darktown
Another Italian underground band with an inspired name... I think they have released a demo back in 2007 and "The War Inside Darktown" was part of it. It's closer to stoner rock having some cool melodies and heavier grooves. Actually is a very catchy tune and I wonder why we haven't heard anything more by these guys. I hope they're still active and working on new stuff...

09. Perizona Experiment - Santa Canapa
While they're out there from '97 and having released three albums, it was the first time I came across Perizona Experiment. "Santa Canapa" is a 10min song where a lot of styles are blended creating a very interesting mixture.

10. My Brand Is Grass - Dolce Ginocchiata (sui denti)
I don't have the slightest idea who these guys are, neither what they're doing. All I know is that "Dolce Ginocchiata" is a hell of a song. Probably because the last month, I'm in a garage/rock 'n' roll/freakbeat/surf mood, I couldn't stop repeating this tune. Simply awesome!

11. ZiZ - ZiZ
I'm a little bit confused here since the only ZiZ I know they're not from Italy. I will check with the guys from Vincebus Eruptum for more info and update this part. But anyway, Ziz prepare us for the compilation's end point with their calm (mostly...), touching melodies...

12. No Strange - Pogaridade
"Hofmann's Kaleidoscope Vol. 1 - Expiation of the Psychedelic Hunters" comes to its end with the best possible way... No Strange is the oldest band being featured, formed in 1980... "Pogaridade" is an ambient tune (almost new-age), travelling your mind in tropic, unexplored forests. The perfect goodbye..

Overall  "Hofmann's Kaleidoscope Vol. 1 - Expiation of the Psychedelic Hunters" is an amazing compilation and a fine way of exploring the Italian psychedelic underground. Also is another good reason for buying the latest Vincebus Eruptum magazine and support the impressive (and hard) work these guys are doing. I want to believe that there will be more volumes in the future.

A big fat thanks to Vincebus Eruptum, Perkele.it and ExLab for sending it to me. And a friendly suggestion... When it's sold out, it would be great to put out some digital copies too, so more people can give it a listen...

For more info on how to get Vincebus Eruptum #14 and  "Hofmann's Kaleidoscope Vol. 1 - Expiation of the Psychedelic Hunters" visit Vincebus Eruptum website

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