A while ago, I impulsively picked up this comp at the Wicker Park area Reckless Records. When I approached the counter, the clerk, temporarily abandoning the general affected demeanor of a record store employee, exclaimed “man, I was wondering when someone was finally going to pick that up!” So I figured I gripped something pretty rad that day.
Trap Door: An International Psychedelic Mystery Mix was compiled by San Francisco-based Dis-Joint Records, a label interested in all the weird freaky-deeky obscure shit that tingles my solar plexus. It’s a mixtape, in some ways, insofar as the compilation flows together seamlessly and features DJ-helmed breakbeats augmented by dub low end. In other ways, not so much, as the source material jumps between disparate sounds and genres within the psychedelic element of the ’60s and ’70s. Trap Door strikes a great balance.
The result is a sound straddling the median between Os Mutantes/Love and DJ Shadow/J Dilla. Fans of Ghost Box will also fervently dig. File this under the same categories as the Sublime Frequencies releases, Light in the Attic’s The Free Design: The Now Sound Redesigned, and Edan’s flower-power psych-hop ripper Beauty and the Beat.
Billed as an “international psychedelic mystery mix,” Trap Door takes the listener on an anarchic sonic trek to the four corners of the planet with a freshly packed hookah in one hand and headphones in the other. Recorded from original vinyl pressings, this handpicked selection of secret global oddities from Israel, El Salvador, Turkey, Korea, and elsewhere received extra tweaking with the addition of bugged-out dialog and liberal use of an Echo-Plex for the hazy, dub-style final mixdown. Trap Door literally veers all over the map, careening from synth-heavy, Euro prog-fusion throb to minor-key, Middle Eastern violin workouts to melancholy, Latin psych-pop while still coming together as a cohesive nocturnal soundtrack.
Though several of the tracks unsurprisingly spotlight the kind of breaks that make big-name producers go weak in the wallet, it’s Veltri’s ear for stunning tunes comparable to the best work of South American psych giants Os Mutantes and We All Together that elevates the mix to a higher level. The willful exclusion of artist info will madden detail-obsessed record geeks, but even the savviest digger would probably need several lifetimes and unlimited frequent flyer miles to track down these lost gems — even if they had all the pertinent info. Beat heads and psychedelic excavators alike will find plenty to love about the trippy yet still fundamentally funky flavors of Trap Door.
Here are some of my favorites. The whole compilation is great, so if you like this, pick it up. Fo’ realz. Do it. Think of it like this – you’re getting a few dozen rare and priceless psych gems tied together in one album priced under $20.
Trap Door International Psychedelic Mystery Mix – Untitled 3
Trap Door International Psychedelic Mystery Mix – Untitled 4
Trap Door International Psychedelic Mystery Mix – Untitled 11
Trap Door International Psychedelic Mystery Mix – Untitled 12
Trap Door International Psychedelic Mystery Mix – Untitled 15