While I was listening to Chrome Upon Guayota – the new project from Barcelona-based Russian multi-instrumentalist, producer and DJ Mateis e. aqir – on the bus this morning, I started thinking about psychedelia, psychedelic experiences, and altered states of consciousness. When you throw these sorts of terms around, it’s pretty easy and perhaps fair to connect them with drug use, but there are other ways to enter altered states of consciousness, and music is one of them.
Across Chrome Upon Guayota, Mateis e. aqir integrates a few different psychedelic musical traditions in the pursuit of evoking an altered state of consciousness. It’s a zone one might describe as intertwined with a special summer he spent on the Spanish isle of Tenerife in 2017. Mateis e. aqir talks about this as a time he spent sleeping on beaches, staring at the stars, and riding scooters down long windy roads. He was meeting new people, feeling new emotions, and arriving at the sense that “time exists in us – not us in time.” As such, the album’s six tracks sit together as an impressionistic audio documentation of his memories of those magical and transformative days, making for a daydream of sorts that passes rather smoothly.
Before I forget, I wrote earlier about his integration of psychedelic musical traditions, so let’s get back to that for a moment. First of all, you have the folkloric aspect, hypnotic bongo drums and shakers, echo-saturated guitar figures, traditional acoustic music in its role as a vehicle for group rituals. On top of that, you have shimmers of dub (as a technique), classic new age music and, vintage drum machine-led electronica, music for meditation through meditation, and music for meditation through dance. The result is music with an equal balance of forward momentum and buoyancy – drive, life, and escapism. New beaches, new rivers, new villages, and most importantly, new friends and ‘Expensive Bongos.’
Chrome Upon Guayota is out now in digital and cassette formats through 100% Silk (purchase here)