Mythic Sunship press photo for Blacklisted Copenhagen

Mythic Sunship creates Another Shape of Psychedelic Music

The culmination of a decade-long journey results in one of the most ambitious psychedelic space-rock album to date.

Published: October 10, 2018Words: Mythic Sunship & J.Scott StrattonArtist Link: elparaisorecords.comSoundcloud: Album

The journey of discovering new sounds can sometimes be a long and difficult one for a band with a number of years under their belt. Depending on the level of success of the music release during that time, it can quite easy to get complacent or feel the pressure from management or label to keep producing the status quo. Don’t rock the boat, don’t throw any wrenches in the works – of course, these are the sometimes coming from the business side of the music industry. I would like to think that most musicians, as artists, are continually looking to shake things up.

To be honest, with a band like Mythic Sunship – existing right in the heart of the growing independent Danish psychedelic scene – I’m reasonably confident that there is a little more openness for experimentation. And experimentation is precisely what Mythic Sunship has done with their latest album Another Shape of Psychedelic Music.

For this album, they forsook the heavy low end and replaced it with the frantic, freestyle saxophone – which removes the driving weight of their sound and substitutes it with a kind of frenzied immediacy.

There is undoubtedly a more acid-jazz tone to this album, which blends perfectly with some of the more the recognizable elements of their previous albums. While the mood on their previous albums had more standard compositions that you would expect from a band in this genre – even taking into consideration that they freestyle most of the elements of their songs – Another Shape of Psychedelic Music brings something entirely new. I don’t want to say it’s a coming of age album, because that sounds incredibly patronizing, but this album does feel like Mythic Sunship has finally reached the place they should be – with everything they have released prior only working to get them in shape to create this album.

Mythic Sunship press photo for Blacklisted Copenhagen
Another Shape of Psychedelic Music is quite a contrast to previous recordings, with the addition of saxophone and more explicit jazz elements. What lead to the point of departure?

Frederik: Honestly, it feels more like a point of arrival. While I’m personally very happy about the first three albums, Another Shape of Psychedelic Music is the album that I’ve always hoped we would make someday, even back when it was way out of reach in a cellar under Øresundskollegiet 10 years ago. Why it was now specifically was a matter of timing mostly. We wanted to add the saxophone, but we also felt that we had reached a natural conclusion with the anaconda trilogy (Ouroboros/Land Between Rivers/Upheaval). We had explored that part of our sound enough that it made sense for us to go somewhere else.

It was only earlier this year that you released Upheaval. How has the process differed for writing Another Shape of Psychedelic Music?

Frederik: With the first three albums, including Upheaval, we went up to a small cabin in Northern Zealand and isolated ourselves to work on these albums. We brought all the studio gear up there and just jammed away. With Another Shape it was a more controlled and confined process. First of all we went to the studio of Jonas Munk (of Causa Sui and El Paraiso) to record the album. Going to the studio we had more specific ideas about where we wanted the record to go, but the majority of the music that ended up on the album was still stuff that we played for the first time in the studio, including the two tracks where Jonas plays along (Backyard Ritual and Out There).

Mythic Sunship press photo for Blacklisted Copenhagen
What there a conceptual approach to the writing the album, or more a stylistic one?

Frederik: We should probably clarify that we don’t write the music. Outside of very few riffs/ideas everything is improvised. So usually, when a track starts out, all we know is: Who is gonna start and what tonality are we playing.

This album seems to have traded the heavy chugga-chugga for a more frantic immediacy and dreamy atmospherics. Do you have to change amps and guitar sounds to achieve this?

Emil: Yes and no – I’ve never changed my setup to achieve a certain sound. However, new gear is, for me anyway, the mother of invention. When an amp broke down during the Land Between Rivers recording sessions, the resulting Japrock-esque sound of the replacement amp gave birth to the idea that became the opening chords of “Nishapur”. I picked up a cheap but fun vibrato pedal shortly before we recorded Another Shape … and the sound of a fast-sweeping vibrato certainly lends itself to the frantic immediacy of “Last Exit”. Mostly, I think the addition of another solo instrument has allowed me and Kasper to explore new territory.

How do you feel the addition of the sax will affect the live performance?

Frederik: We’ve already played a couple of shows with Søren and it’s killer.

Any plans with experimenting with any other instrumentation for the next EP?

Frederik: After releasing two albums in one year, I think we’re taking a break from recording to focus on playing live for a while. But who knows. We are definitely very aware that we don’t want our sound to get stale.