I love experimental music, but so much of it never really hits me in the chest. It’s rare to come across an album that both genuinely experiments and retains the knack of pulling at you emotionally. There’s maybe a couple albums a year that do this. Recently, that’s been Daniel Bachman’s The Morning Star, Caterina Barbieri’s Ecstatic Computation and Liz Harris’s Nivhek project. And now, Tony Njoku’s Your Psyche’s Rainbow Panorama.
What a joy it is to listen to a record like this, as accessible to a pop audience as it is satisfying to synthesiser dorks like me. Nowhere else are you going to find indie songwriting holding together Drukqs drums (‘CONFIDENT’) right next to wild Deli Girls cyberpunk (‘FURIOUS’) and bubbling Caterina Barbieri synths (‘BAFFLED’). The great thing about this record is that it has all these vastly different moments, but Njoku’s vocal performances keep them grounded and feeling part of the whole.
What you get isn’t just the abstract pleasure of great sound design and weird song structures; it’s an intimate portrait of self-attacking masculinity and insecurity, which pulls the listener deep into the guts of these emotions without spouting the usual patronising talking points around male mental health.
There are minor missteps – a slight overreliance on vocal effects at moments when an unprocessed performance would resonate slightly more, perhaps – but this is basically me being pedantic for the sake of balance. Your Psyche’s Rainbow Panorama is masterful.