A quick glimpse at Mexico City-based DJ and producer Charlie Atom‘s list of remixes – the most popular being of LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem”, others including Ke$ha and Rihanna - would easily lead one to believe that his newest album Psychedelhi would be a fist-pumping soundtrack to a fraternity rager. Fortunately, that’s not the case, as Atom ambitiously attempts to take the listener on a “magic voyage”. While Psychedelhi ultimately does not quite reach the stars it so gallantly strives for, its lengthy venture into nearly every house derivative imaginable is a success.
“A New World” starts the journey, with an eclectic mix of trance-inducing elements, including endless throbbing bass, swirling synth lines, bouncing rain drops, and a steady progression to a mid-tempo danceable melody. These prove to be the base components of each song, although Atom does toy with some different Ableton add-ons as the album progresses. “Hallucinogen Overdose” proves to be the Psychedelhi standout. Its nods to dubstep and very progressive house show Atom at his best and would be perfectly at home at a late-night, light-intensive Bonnaroo set. The energy is maintained throughout, as latecomers “Whirlpool” and “Thirsty” are perhaps the most danceable, and most departed from the realm of typical house music.
There is definitely room for improvement, though, as Atom’s propensity to spend too much time building beats becomes tiresome mid-way through the record. Furthermore, Psychedelhi is sometimes too layered – shrouding what could be moments of originality. “Arcadia” provides an example of this when its subtle, what-sound-like African djembe rhythms are immediately drowned out. Its the subtleties, though, the “Arcadia” moments, that make Psychedelhi ultimately compelling. There’s definite potential in the mass of interstellar adventuring, and in the meantime, while Atom pares down his music to the essentials, Psychedelhi is, if nothing else, certainly a fun dance record.
Essential Tracks: “Whirlpool”, “Hallucinogen Overdose”