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The Psychogeographical Commission - Genius Loci

"Have you ever walked around a city?
Or let a city walk through you
Explored the naked vacant spaces
Unbuilding maps within your mind"

Psychogeography in a nutshell, as described in the first few lines of 'Have You Ever?', a track from Genius Loci, the first release from The Psychogeographical Commission, as represented by Hokano and Mrsix. Hokano, as some may know, have previously released a CD, Ointment of Civilisaton, while Mrsix although involved in music for quite some time appears much more enigmatic.

Genius Loci comes in full colour artwork, modeled on a six-panel foldout map, with the disc fastened to the Greenwich end of the Blackwall Tunnel. It is a fantastic example of packaging reflecting the music. The Psychogeographical Commission operate in the same field as English Heretic - seeking out the magic and the secret history of cities and the spirits which dwell within them. 'The Fires of London' unearths the mysteries of the city through its occult mappings and lost rivers against the backdrop of the Great Fire. 'Spare Thoughts' appears to evoke the presence of artist-magician Austin Osman Spare, while the contemporary inhabitants of Camden are mythologised in the 'Camden Book of the Dead'. These are just some of the themes dealt with on Genius Loci.

The sound of Genius Loci is borne from simple hypnotic guitar patterns and atmospheric electronics. It's pitched somewhere between the esoteric electronics of Coil and the post-rock mannerisms of LaBradford. Vocals are kept to short choruses, there drawn-out delivery assuming a strong ritual flavour. Most often, though, the spoken words are delivered like voiceovers on a documentary film. The opening track, 'The Fires of London', carries elements of all with plaintive guitar notes, electronic wash and psychedelic effects. Spoken words detail the history of the city, while the chorus pays homage to the past, effectively blurring the boundary between past and present. Similarly the clockwork rhythm of 'Camden Book of the Dead' resembles the clatter of hooves on cobbled streets, while flanged and ringing acoustic strum surround the vivid descriptions provided by the narrator of the human flotsam and jetsam that populate Camden High Street. Bass notes meander over glistening electronics on 'Spare Thoughts' as treated voices pan between speakers, like an unseen entity flitting round your room. The title track with its hissing rhythm, hazy guitar chime and sung chorus carries a melody strongly resembling Death In June's 'The Honour of Silence', as a spoken voice enters over electronic whirr and ambient hum. Genius Loci doesn't spend all of its time harking back to the distant past. 'Certain Shifting Angles' posits a manifesto for architectural progress, its future scenario matched by heavily processed sci-fi vocals over deep, dark swabs of sound. Location recordings feature prominently throughout and particularly on the final minutes of the cheekily titled 'OK Commuter'.

Hats off to Holkano and Mrsix, from the packaging to the music Genius Loci is a mesmerizing piece of work, one that consistently entertains, intrigues and inspires. So get out there. Snag a copy of Iain Sinclair's Lights Out For The Territory, drop this into your iPod as you pound the cities streets. Genius Loci is for those who walk with the Gods. Don't miss out on the map pack edition, it's limited to a mere 250 copies. Recommended. For more information go to or