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13 Degrees Of Reality

The Heliocentrics describe themselves as “a London collective of musicians who are linked by a common aim to create our own musical identity, not following trends or genres but making the music we want to hear but cannot find. A psychedelic music collective breaking boundaries between funk, rock, electronic, ethnic traditions and the experimental”. I’m not even going to try and better such a perfect description. Having worked with Ethopian Jazz legend Mulatu Astatke and Madlib’s Yesterday’s New Quintet, and collaborated with the likes of MF DOOM and Percee P, the musical respect The Heliocentrics enjoy from their peers is not to be understated.

13 Degrees of Reality, the follow up to 2008’s debut LP Out There, begins with the psychedelic “Feedback Intro”, a taste of things to come, and is followed by “Ethnicity”, a track a little reminiscent of early DJ Shadow productions which feels like it should only be played while lost in the desert, hallucinating. These two tracks set the foundations for the following 19 songs, a consistent melting pot of tightly arranged, hypnotic soundscapes, never veering too far off the signature sound but also not confined to one singular place. This is an album to dedicate an hour to, to be soaked up like a musical bath.

There are a number of skits and interludes that make the 21 tracks pass by in a blur of wailing guitars, delay and distortion, and the overall feeling remains the same throughout, giving the listening experience a hazy quality. Maybe not one to put on if you’re feeling a bit tense. My only criticism is that it can be difficult to differentiate between songs, and the album becomes a pretty overwhelming listen at times, especially at the more experimental points, which I suppose is to be expected.

I’ve started watching Breaking Bad recently, and The Heliocentrics would be the perfect soundtrack to some of the scenes; edgy, anxious and intense build-ups, before diverting to a very different place entirely before you’ve even realised.