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Infected Mushroom - Classical Mushroom


Guest chleroux[at]nordnet[dot]fr
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I think Classical Mushroom is one of the best album ever created. BP Empire shouldn't even be compared to CM. :)

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Its very true! :) maybe not THE best IMHO ;)

 

I have dragged a few of my friends into psytrance with this one back then! Just an eternal masterpiece that together with The Garthering is the jewel of israeli psytrance!

 

10/10

 

B)

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  • 7 months later...

God, this one is still such a disappointment in my ears... I'll add a review in a few hours, just lemme get my head straight.

The cheeseness effect of this album is killing me... :lol:

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You know how sometimes people feel weird when they have a feeling that they’re bouncing away from the majority. When they feel like the odd ball. Or the ugly duckling. And that’s how I always saw my relationship towards “Classical mushroom”. I always felt awkward because I never really enjoyed this album. One of the most praised psy trance albums ever, and I never liked it. Not even now, seven years after its release, does it leave me impressed or overwhelmed with awe when I listen to it. While I was more than glad to jump on the I.M. band wagon when “The gathering” was released, I was also very keen to jump out on the next stop because this was a journey I’d rather not take. For me, Infected Mushroom seemed like the next great act on the scene after my favorites like Astral Projection, Etnica and to a lesser extent Cosmosis took musical directions I did not favor too much. Let me try and point out in brief what is it that frustrates me here.

 

After “The gathering” I thought of these guys as being highly witty with their sample usage, only to find myself hating virtually every sample on this release: tracks like The Shen, None Of This Is Real and Mushi Mushi have samples that take the word corny to whole new levels of existence. And especially the first of the three, which has an amazing mid part, until being terrible interrupted at 03:30 by some deep, distorted voice which then takes over and ruins the track’s vibe. As if it hasn’t already been spoiled enough by that classical melody which sounds like something from the “Home alone” soundtrack… And the female vocal near the track’s end muttering something about love and understanding. Was that really indispensable for the track? I think we really could have made it through the track sane & in one piece even without it, I.M….

None Of This Is Real has a killargh guitar riff which I will not comment. I prefer not to. For this track seems around six times worse now than it did years ago. I have absolutely nothing against guitars in trance if they’re aptly used, like for example on Miranda’s Real Rush, The Delta’s remix of Stranded or even some of Infected Mushroom’s tracks from their debut. But this is just wack. And that: "This isn’t real… none of this is real" sample just ruins the track for me and calls for the skip button emergency.

 

Well, and my problem with Mushi Mushi is that it just doesn’t blend in with the rest of the tracks- it has that “banging” sound from their first album, but taken six or seven bars down. And the bass kick is identical to the one from their debut’s second track, The Gathering. At best, Mushi Mushi sounds like a throwaway track from their first album. It sounds as any standard psy trance track circa year 2000. Uninspiring? Yes, to say the least...

Sailing In The Sea Of Mushroom has some really (if I may) funky psychedelic effects at the beginning, and the percussion beat to accompany them really fail to raise an eyebrow. And the guitars at 01:50… grrrrrr! Yes, this is psy trance, and yes all the psy elements are here, but IMO, it just doesn’t add up to anything more than a pretty standard psy thang. And the messing around with, and distorting those vocals from 05:10 on sounds like some rookies trying to out do Hallucinogen in his own game. And that part more than any other really kills the track for me. The last two minutes are pretty cool though, a nice twisted melody takes over, but no. That annoying distorted voice just had to come back on track, with the guitar, naturally… Oh well. That is actually my biggest problem on the album. On each track there are intervals and certain sections which really do it for me, but are usually stopped by badly placed samples, cheesy guitar riffs or just being overrun and marred by what are supposed to be psychedelic sounds mixed with classical instruments.

Dracul, for example, rolls along just nicely for the first half, until those unforgivingly awful “da da dada da da” vocals interrupt the track’s flow. And what’s even worse, from that point on, the melody and its background effects completely accommodate themselves to the vox, and the track takes a turn for worse… Too bad, because they really had something going on at the beginning. And even the classical intro here sounds wonderful. I’m usually a sucker for those, and this is one of those moments where the album actually comes together in my ears. That is, until it gets spoiled by a mouldy and holed Swiss cheese of a sample going: "My prince is dead... all is lost without him...may god unite us in heaven". Argh, it just had to happen. They just have a knack for those supposedly „laughing my ass off funny samples“!

Nothing Comes Easy has almost the same vocal distortion tricks used on Sailing In The Sea Of Mushroom, and yes it irritates me. But what gets on my nerves even more here is that I feel how this track is too long. It would have been perfect if it wasn’t for those last eighty seconds. ‘Cause after the climax, the track is all ready to end, and then all of a sudden it hits you again, with a melody sounding like an unadjusted Stradivarius violin! It seems to me those last eighty secs were added for the hell of it, just to make the track lengthier, for it would have been so much powerful if it were about a minute shorter. Oh, well, I guess Amit Duvdevani and Erez Aizen just needed some more space to kick is in their face with their "oooh, we’re so different than the rest sound"!

Disco Mushroom, what could have been a standout track, has all the components to turn it into a real stomper, but they just don’t come together well. Even though the intro is executed very well with the scary sample going: "I’m not afraid any longer mommy!", and it actually does sound scary. The kind of sample today’s dark psy trance producers can only dream of using. It may sound pathetic and worn out in many people's ears, but keep in mind that back when this was released, samples like that one weren't a cliche! And those opening chants from the “Excalibur” movie set the mood perfectly. And the biggest paradox is that after such a spooky opening you get some joyful xylophone sound alike melodies! And without sounding redundant. And what I like the most here is that 40 second interlude from 04:00 to 04:40! That is some wicked melody. Sounds like something I heard on one of those merry go rounds in Gardaland some years back. The same melody is then ended with the sample from the beginning, and here it’s actually done without breaking the track’s flow, as on the vast majority of the album’s tracks. But then, from then on, the track only goes deeper in some goofy psychedelia, and we’re enveloped in effects, sounds and noises we love so much from Infected Mushroom, but it's like we're hearing a whole new track! The mood set at the beginning is gone, those cool melodies are gone, and once again, as on some of the previous tracks, just when I thought they had sumthin' going on, they just had to mess it all up with the obligatory sample inserting formula. And I'm really pissed off now, because for its first half Disco Mushroom is so good it makes me forget some gaffes of the past.

But it’s actually not all that bad; as most seem to agree upon, Bust A Move is a true masterpiece here, and possibly Infected Mushroom’s finest track ever. It has it all: a killer sample, a super dance floor friendly beat, very psychedelic, acidic and distorted sounds all over the place, and a climax composed of intensely psychedelic melodies joined with some truly spectacular piano stabs. This is the track that defines the album, and most probably is the tune that I.M. wanted the rest of the album to sound like. Or at least I hope so. Too bad they failed. But a gargantuan track nonetheless. Remember how the rest of "B.P. Empire" seemed just average once you heard its last track, Dancing With Kadafi? Well, to me it did. Same goes for "Classical mushroom"! Only cubed. The opener must be one of my top 10 psy trance tracks ever. And yeah, it does use guitars, and they are flawlessly used here, as well as just about any other sound and effect to be heard on this track.

And the album’s closing track, The Missed Symphony, albeit not a stand out, is not bad either. If nothing, like the opener, it successfully captures the essence of this album: it nicely mixes in live and classical instruments with Infected Mushroom’s intense psychedelic gravy. But it just doesn’t come across as striking as the opener, which is really the one to watch out for. The closing number is not downtempo or ambient, but it’s not as crazy as some other tracks on the album either. And I find it pretty original too, mainly due to its slick way in incorporating what is otherwise considered hard to harmonize. And the amount of sounds and instruments skillfully used on this one, without resorting to sounding cheesy or over produced, is to extol as well! A very nice way to close the album. I certainly find this one more praise worthy than Dancing With Kadafi.

Now, as I stated above, after “The gathering” I was very amazed by this Infected Mushroom sound, and I thought to myself: “If this is what’s coming next, then all is not lost!”. And yeah, I still do enjoy their debut album very much today as well. Something I definitely cannot say about “Classical mushroom”. While I find the standout track here really amazing, and I would place it among I.M.’s finest work ever, the rest just fails to impress me, and makes me believe that this release does not stand above the average psy trance piece of work. OK, I’m exaggerating now. By now means is this an average release, I can appreciate the amount of balls it took to produce and publish it, and the originality is on high level here. But the fact that this release is original does not necessarily make it good in my ears. I mean, I don’t care how creative and original an album is if all that talent is not used promptly. Meaning that parts of this album are too crowded and overloaded with noises, making it hard to enjoy, whether you're in the bedroom or the dance floor. Other times, it comes across as involuted psy trance. Strip it of those live instruments and you have not much left. Some tracks, being overflooded with live instruments, eccetera are not in any way suitable for any dancefloor, but are simultaneously waaaaaay to intense for home listening. And I always thought how the perfect balance between live instruments and the psy trance aspect of their music would be perfected on their third album. Here, it goes from one extreme to the other. If there is a lot of talent, hard work and imagination displayed, I will be more than glad to hear what the music has to say. But “Classical mushroom” never spoke much to me. When I look past all the creativity and stuff, the music itself, no matter how ahead of its times or whatever else people wrote about it, never clicked with me. And I don’t think it’s because I’m narrow minded or anything. I just didn’t like it and that’s it. Period!

These guys are very talented, and they’ve already proved it on the debut, and talent is displayed here as well. So what’s the problem? Well, for me, this is where Infected Mushroom got caught up in their own web of trying to sound so different from everybody else. And on this particular album, they very much succeed. They seem to flirt with their own style and persona, but it gets tiring after a while to continuously be subjected to these sonic onslaughts. What makes this an even tougher album to go through for me is Infected Mushroom’s larger than life braggadocio attitude. They have a lot to say. And they do say a lot in rather unconventional and original tracks. But I don’t think that originality and creativity are the only criteria for making a great album. I mean, Astral Projection made four spectacular albums without their sound greatly evolving! Some of I.M.’s ideas are so nicely laid out and arranged that at certain moments (namely tracks 1 & 5) you’d dare call them the single greatest psy trance act of all times, and then all of a sudden, tracks like Dracul and None Of This Is Real urge me to place this album as a discount item during my next backyard sale. The high points of “Classical mushroom” are sky high, but its low ends are about as low as Infected Mushroom has ever been. While I always appreciate artists taking new directions and experimenting with their music, that doesn’t imply that I am obliged to be satisfied with the paths they take. This just seems, at places, that Infected Mushroom are so busy trying to be different, that they forget to produce god damn good psy trance music. And good psy trance music is what we got, front to back, on their debut album! Some of these tracks combine live instruments with really heavy mental psychedelic sounds just for the hell of it, without really mashing together properly. But when it all comes together, like on Bust A Move for example, this becomes one hell of a ride I thoroughly enjoy. My regret is, those moments are too few and are too far apart… I know that saying that I’m dissatisfied with this album after twelve pages of almost only laudation is the equivalent of imagining myself as being an ice cube diving head first into a volcano, and expecting to freeze the lava upon initial contact! I guess the sample from the album’s smash tune sums up the whole concept for you: "Alien DNA infected us. It's about time we infected them!", meaning the vast majority got infected and heavily hooked to this new Infected Mushroom sound. I am one of the few who haven't got stung. Not yet! And I'm glad I haven't! Or could it be just that my immunity is too tough to breach? Oh well, in the words of one famous Sicilian writer Leonardo Sciascia: "A ciascun il suo"!

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  • 1 month later...

Everyone was talking about this infected mushrooms , i was beginning to feel like

woha do I listen to goa and I don't hold an IM's album yet ?

 

I was very uncertain about which album to start with : leaving the latest ones,

about which I really read too many negative comments , I preferred to

risk my money on the gathering or classical mushrooms.

I liked more classical mushrooms' cover (very serious and professional

principle of choice) , so

now I'm listening to this one for the first time, 7 years after its release.

 

My first impression is really confused. I can't understand really what

I'm listening to ... there are a lot of things ... some passages make me think

to some Castlevania's soundtracks :ph34r: ...

 

Maybe this will grow slowly, for now it 's really puzzling me.

 

Anyway if I wanted something that could break the flatness of

classic goa/trance style , avoiding any kind of deja-vu , surely

a lot of passages here surprised me ... but I'm not really

catching it ... I don't know, it's not having the same effect as

twisted or IFO ... maybe it needs more time ...

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  • 2 weeks later...

for me it still relies on the mood ..

for example, bust a move, amazing production,

sometimes i can't really follow the whole flow because

there are too many passages form classical to guitars to psy ,

sometimes it turns me crazy, most of all after 05'39"

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  • 1 month later...

I think it was videogame noises that got me into Infected Mushroom. Somehow I must have been gaming when I first heard it and the association began. Then I see "classical mushroom" and it seemed like this was the future for me..high tech meets tradition. I, after having listened to all the albums of IM over the years have come to enjoy this one the most, probably because my first listens were also part of some my first voyages into psy trance and the culture as well. Not the best album ever, but certainly close!

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  • 1 year later...
  • 8 months later...
  • 3 years later...

yoy1cd038.jpg

 

Artist: Infected Mushroom

Title: Classical Mushroom

Label: Yo yo Records

Date: 2000

 

1. Bust a move
2. None of this is real
3. Sailing in the Sea of Mushroom
4. The Shen
5. Disco Mushroom
6. Dracul
7. Nothing comes easy
8. Mush Mushi
9. The missed symphony

 

"This isn't real! None of this is real!"

 

I try to stay away from anything infected.

 

Some of that stuff is really nasty. My wife is a surgeon and sometimes she tells me some horror stories in the OR. Swollen erupting lesions, necrotic tissue...

 

And then there's the smell...

 

Which could be an analogy to describe whatever the hell these guys are doing these days. Sellouts, commercial, pop, noise...they've been called all these things. Having long left their goa roots behind them their sophomore effort still had some of that old magic. Of course it generated a lot of varying opinions, just look at this thread. But whatever label you want to attach to this project they seem to be unafraid to...go there.

 

Nobody really knows where there is, hell I don't think they even know. Whether it's their awful singing (screaming) or melodies that have no direction they will put it all out there. And we continue to buy it.

 

Like it or not they are icons in our little corner of music and unlike Astral Projection they are at least still producing music. Well, content in the form of an album. Classical Mushroom was a showcase for their talent and musical brilliance with eerie melodies, distorted leads, and power. Combining real world instruments with their brand of electronica is quite polarizing. You're either going to love it or hate it. Classical structures are present in many tracks like the piano riff in Bust a Move which may transport you back to the Renaissance.

Probably not.

 

Guitars in psy? The debate rages on, but I like the low crunch in None of This Is Real as well as the forlorn wail. The track is futuristic and dark and seems to be in perpetual motion. Sailing the Sea of Mushroom is more of a percussive exercise than a track and The Shen also doesn't shy away from the rhythmic stuff. But it also shows their affinity for what the f*ck moments. Somehow they manage to make that deep guttural sample work. The deeper you allow yourself to fall into this one the bigger your smile will be.

 

Disco Mushroom is definitely not disco, but they sound like they lifted the Depeche Mode style for this one. Dracul combines the theatrical with the psychedelic. Melodies are everywhere as is the trademarked IM vocal manipulation. Nothing Comes Easy undergoes so many changes that it never fails to entertain. But that can be said for all the tracks. Mushi Mushi is a melodic journey that invites you to discover how powerful, magical, and yes evil these guys can be. By the time they finish with the Missed Symphony one can only shake their head with awe and appreciation. How high these guys must have been.

 

I think this is definitely a classic bit of psytrance. They are on a whole other level of consciousness with this release. This album brings so many moods together with outstanding production. Changes in direction are standard and the detail is mind numbing. It obviously affected me; I mean, was it necessary to write so many words in a thread that already has 12 pages? A previous reviewer mentioned that this was tailor made for those with short attention spans and I can see that. Everything is in a state of constant evolution. Like that musical phrase? Don't get used to it, it'll be gone before you know it.

 

The good thing is an equally varied and interesting one isn't far behind.

 

Mdk

 

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  • 8 years later...

I sometimes wonder how the music of IM would've sounded today, if they had chosen to venture even further down the darker path of some entries on this album, and on their debult album The Gathering. The track Return of The Shadows in particular, which had a very dark sound. I'm not sure it would've translated in the enormous success/mainstream cross-over that they're enjoying now. But it would certainly have been interesting to hear. 

This album created a sort of new subgenre to Psytrance, a gothical interpretation of the Israeli Psytrance formula. It's sometimes a bit caricaturistic in it's delivery. Which I think might've softened the perceived darkness somewhat. It doesn’t come across as a dark album in the sense of evil or foreboding, more like some cartoony type of darkness. Which might also be the shroomy aspect, since shrooms as anyone who’s been exposed to their magic knows, have a giggly effect on the mind. :D  At the same time I feel like some passages and tracks have a very somber mood and nostalgic sentiment attached to them. For example the intro to The Missed Symphony.

I might be wrong, because I don't know these guys. But from interviews and such, Duvdev always comes across as the joker of the group, and Erez as a bit more serious? So maybe that's what we are hearing at times on this album. Those more serious elements of the album I think are hauntingly beautiful. As they sound almost like as if listening to somekind of blend of Psytrance and Franz Schubert, Frédéric  Chopin, Franz Liszt or perhaps some Fugue by Johann Sebastian Bach.

At the same time I was quite surprised to see/hear Duvdev play some acoustical piano cover of some of their earlier tracks on instagram, perhaps The Messenger piano intro if my memory serves me well. So it's probably not as a black and white as one might think. As it indicates that Duvdev was probably much more involved in the actual piano/melodic compositions than I previously thought. Since Erez is the one who most oftenly plays the keyboards during their perfomances and studio interviews. It could easily be interpreted as him beeing the only keyboard wizard of the group.

The classical aspect of this album, continues a bit with the concepts introduced by Wendy Carlos's on the soundtrack of A Clockwork Orange. Wherein classical music by Bach was interpreted on analog Moog synthesizers. Which was a novelty at the time.

This album if I recall correctly from an interview took around 9 months or a year to make. Which if correct, makes a lot of sense. Since there is plenty of details and variation in the tracks. The track Symphonatic and the track Classical Mushroom would've fitted right in on this album. And that's what they've done somewhat in retrospect by adding the track Classical Mushroom to this album digitally on Spotify. I like this album a lot, it's a unique concept. The use of chords, scales and melodies inspired by classical music, and some acoustic sounds combined with psychedelic synthetic sounds, is a successful marriage. 

On release this album shocked the Psytrance community, since it was very cutting-edge and also introduced the previously unheard of fusion between classical music and Psytrance. It showcased the latest in Psytrance production standards, and set the bar quite high for themselves as well as other artists of the era. And I certainly believe that it opened up some creative doors for more experimental Psytrance concepts. I also think it marked a departure for Infected Mushroom stylistically, in terms of them previously having been more  influenced by Hallucinogen. On this album they didn't try to sound like Hallucinogen anymore and had found a very unique sound. Their previous album The Gathering is no doubt also a great and original album, but the Hallucinogen influence is more prevalent there. I think the Gamma Goblins pt 2 track in particular, shaped a lot of Infected Mushrooms early stylistic development. 

This album will always have a special place in my heart, since it was the era of my youth and exploration of psychedelics. The mushroom experience was indeed a perfect fit for this album on release. And everything from the album cover to the sound of the album just felt right in that context. In that sense this album did exactly what Hallucinogen’s Twisted album did for my first explorations with LSD. So these two albums encapsulated the psychedelic experience for me, each providing a perfectly tailored soundtrack. And I'm sure it was for others as well.

There was also some trippy Infected Mushroom wallpapers one could download at the time from their website, and a Winamp skin. :) Nice times indeed. A track by track review will not be necessary, since I think Trance2MoveYou and others already eloquently put into words much of how I felt myself of the magnificent tracks on this album. Even if some influences of this album could be heard in some other artists work afterwards. None managed to pull it off like these guys did. This album is very unique and not an easy concept to copy. And there is nothing else quite like it to this very day, 21 years later. A truly innovative classic Psytrance masterpiece.

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