Let’s get one thing straight right away: Infected Mushroom has not sold their psy-trance soul to the dubstep devil. Granted, two tracks on their newest LP, Army of Mushrooms, feature the downtempo beats and signature womp-womp bass sounds that immediately suggest EDM’s red-headed stepchild of a genre. Yet Infected Mushroom, the Israeli-born duo of Amit Duvdev Duvdevani and Erez Aisen, infuse their dubstep experiments with plenty of psychedelic touches and unexpected twists.
The tracks in question, “U R So Fucked” and “Wanted To”, aren’t the only deviations from the classic Infected Mushroom psy-trance sound. Army of Mushrooms returns Duvdevani and Eisen to more of a dance club style, foregoing the live band aesthetic that characterized their 2009 album, The Legend of the Black Shawarma. The lead track, “Never Mind”, pushes their sound into a brighter space with a joyous main riff, while both bass and drums seem to contain much more treble than the subterranean bass lines of their 1999 debut, The Gathering. It works as an announcement that this album has a straighter techno flavor, redolent of old-school synths and ’80s-styled industrial noise.
The rock vibe of past albums comes out in force on a badass cover of the Foo Fighters’ “The Pretender”. The duo infuses the track with a drum ‘n bass beat and bathes it in layers of their signature electronic fuzz, while an epic, metal-styled synth solo midway through the song creates a true electronic/rock hybrid. ”Nation of Wusses” features a big four-chord jam with a tension-filled build that drops into a thick trance beat, pulsating with analog timbres.
The brainier, more intricate side of dance music hasn’t disappeared, either. Quick cuts, juxtapositions, and tempo changes are frequent techniques, while the duo often pulls the track apart and then builds it back up, never content to simply bring the music to an ecstatic peak and headbang behind the console. “The Rat” comes off much louder and more techno-centric than their previous psy-trance efforts, but then an eerie, minor mode melody enters, heavy with effects, ping-ponging across the stereophonic field, accompanied by ethereal synths. Times like these remind you what the “psy” in psy-trance represents.
Essential Tracks: “Nation of Wusses”, “The Rat”, “The Pretender”, “Never Mind”, and “Wanted To”